By Ranee Mohamed
compassion, Dr. Nalin Perera does not use his practice
of natural medicine to amass wealth. Instead he gives
his patients the greatest wealth of them all, good
To his modest
practice situated in a quaint lane adjoining the St.
John’s Church in Stanley Tillekeratne Mawatha, Nugegoda
come hundreds of patients who have exhausted and
abandoned all other forms of medicine.
"They come to me as
a last resort, when all other systems have failed," said
Dr. Nalin Perera, with a smile of understanding. It is
not an easy task, taking on cases which have not
responded to known forms of cure. But to this ‘natural’
doctor, taking on a challenge comes naturally.
problems of backpain, migraine, skin ailments,
arthritis, complications of gastritis, and a multitude
other ailments which have not been soothed by other
systems are being nursed to normalcy here.
It is an amazing
combination that Dr. Nalin Perera practices. He ought to
be proud, descending from a dynasty of vedamahathayas,
the custodians of the temple of Neelamahara famed for
their treatment and cure of psychiatric complications.
But Dr. Perera surrounded by his own understudies of
young ayurveda physicians is perhaps the most
down-to-earth wizard of natural medicine that one could
ever bump into.
He sits in his
white hued apartment, wearing white. His pure thoughts
giving his face a serenity that we do not often see in
people today. White chairs, white floors, white walls —
all try to say something, but those things unsaid are
found in the thinking and beliefs of the good doctor.
"Our love ought to
extend from us to the environment — to all living
beings. It is only a person who is of sound mental
health who is able to radiate love to all living
beings," said this animal lover, who has a parrot and
cat in his home who have also learned to live together
in harmony. This harmony, serenity and compassion seem
to be infectious here. It seems like it is a centre of
goodwill in the heart of the bustling Nugegoda.
Dr. Nalin Perera’s
understanding and concern for all living beings have
made him fearless. So much so that he believes that no
harm will come to him because of his pure thoughts of
love and compassion. It was in his teenage years that he
had begun to venture into the dangerous exercise of
handling crocodiles and snakes. Having collected over
5000 snakes for the zoo, Dr. Perera has also had a
harmonious and rewarding relationship with his pet
python at home.
"It was the way
they were handled, with dignity that made it easy for me
to get along with them," he says with a smile. But
sometimes cobras may have difficulty in absorbing
compassion even in its gist. "I have been bitten by a
cobra," he said pointing to his palm, but that wound had
healed, under his own treatment, he says. Sometimes harm
too hesitates to rest on those with loving thoughts.
It is a rare form
of medicine that he practices, a combination of natural
medicine, homeopathy, and acupuncture. His ancestors
were practitioners of natural medicine and as a young
boy, Nalin had been surrounded by forefathers treating
folk for various ailments.
With the guru-shishya
(teacher/student) theory very much alive in his
place of birth, it is thus no surprise that he is today
a doctor and that too a doctor competent in three forms
of treatment. "There are no complications, this
treatment goes well with the Western form of treatment,"
said Dr. Perera who had just returned after treating his
serious dengue patients lying in hospital.
"I value peace of
mind and I cherish the contribution I make to society,"
Dr. Nalin Perera
does not suggest expensive tests as he insists that the
pulse is the best way to diagnose irregularities. "You
can diagnose certain imbalances in the body with the
rhythm and tempo of the pulse," he reveals.
There are however
certain whisperings about Dr. Nalin Perera and the
effectiveness of his treatment to fight obesity and fat.
When asked about the anti-ageing therapies for which he
has been sought after, Dr. Nalin Perera did admit that
there are ways to fight wrinkles and bring about fat
loss, "but it is the suffering and the ailing that I am
concentrating on in greater measure," he said.
This doctor seems
to have cultivated some rare hobbies — from having
handled snakes in his teenage years, he now seems to be
happiest with the wind in his sails — a competent
sailor, he says that the ocean waves bring about a gush
of fresh air to his busy days as he breaks through the
waves in a bid to reach towards a newer and carefree
happiness in the horizon.
Then again, from
sailing he seems to drift closer to land, this time to
photograph the rare medicinal herbs in Sri Lanka. "Sri
Lanka with all her abundance of herbs needs a record of
the rare medicinal plants," he observes, having
photographed and recorded over 1000 such plants.
Fifty odd cameras
As one wonders
about the story behind the 50 odd cameras lying behind
his book case, he brings close two more cameras from his
bedroom. "These belonged to my father," he offers as
photographer Asoka Fernando quickly abandons his job of
taking photographs and begins to get closer to the old
medicinal plants and sailing in his mind and heart, make
Dr. Nalin Perera an exceptional man, but what makes him
a dreamboat in the rough seas of life is his love and
care for his patients and the approach to his profession
— that it is a treating and not a money-making exercise.
"Money has never
been my motive. My primary goal is to heal people," said
Thus there is
little wonder that this centre of natural medicine is
crowded with the helpless, the hopeless and the
dejected. And Dr. Nalin Perera is at his helm — reaching
out with a strong hand and a soft heart towards people
who need love and care the most.
From Thriller to heartbreak
Michael Jackson — No more
—Michael Jackson, the "King of Pop" who once moonwalked
above the music world, died Thursday as he prepared for
a comeback bid to vanquish nightmare years of sexual
scandal and financial calamity. He was 50.
Jackson died at
UCLA Medical Center after being stricken at his rented
home in Holmby Hills. Paramedics tried to resuscitate
him at his home for nearly three-quarters of an hour,
then rushed him to the hospital, where doctors continued
to work on him.
"It is believed he
suffered cardiac arrest in his home. However, the cause
of his death is unknown until results of the autopsy are
known," his brother Jermaine said. Police said they were
investigating, standard procedure in high-profile cases.
brought a tragic end to a long, bizarre, sometimes
farcical decline from his peak in the 1980s, when he was
popular music’s premier all-around performer, a uniter
of black and white music who shattered the race barrier
on MTV, dominated the charts and dazzled even more on
His 1982 album
Thriller — which included the blockbuster hits
Beat It, Billie Jean and Thriller— is
the best-selling album of all time, with an estimated 50
million copies sold worldwide.
At the time of his
death, Jackson was rehearsing hard for what was to be
his greatest comeback: He was scheduled for an
unprecedented 50 shows at a London arena, with the first
set for July 13.
As word of his
death spread, MTV switched its programming to play
videos from Jackson’s heyday. Radio stations began
playing marathons of his hits. Hundreds of people
gathered outside the hospital. In New York’s Times
Square, a low groan went up in the crowd when a screen
flashed that Jackson had died, and people began relaying
the news to friends by cell phone.
"No joke. King of
Pop is no more. Wow," Michael Harris, 36, of New York
City, read from a text message a friend had sent him.
"It’s like when Kennedy was assassinated. I will always
remember being in Times Square when Michael Jackson
Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an
American recording artist, entertainer, and businessman.
The seventh child of the Jackson family, he debuted on
the professional music scene at the age of 11 as a
member of The Jackson 5 and began a solo career in 1971
while still a member of the group. Referred to as the
"King of Pop" in subsequent years, five of his solo
studio albums are among the world’s best-selling
Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana (an industrial suburb
of Chicago, Illinois) to a working-class family on
August 29, 1958.The son of Joseph Walter "Joe" and
Katherine Esther (née Scruse) he was the seventh of nine
children. His siblings are Rebbie, Jackie, Tito,
Jermaine, La Toya, Marlon, Randy and Janet. Joseph
Jackson was a steel mill employee who often performed in
an R and B band called The Falcons with his brother
Luther.Jackson was raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses
by his devout mother.
From a young age
Jackson was physically and mentally abused by his
father, enduring incessant rehearsals, whippings and
name-calling. Jackson’s abuse as a child affected him
throughout his grown life. In one altercation—later
recalled by Marlon Jackson—Joseph held Michael upside
down by one leg and "pummeled him over and over again
with his hand, hitting him on his back and buttocks."
Joseph would often trip up, or push the male children
into walls. One night while Jackson was asleep, Joseph
climbed into his room through the bedroom window.
Wearing a fright mask, he entered the room screaming and
shouting. Joseph said he wanted to teach his children
not to leave the window open when they went to sleep.
For years afterwards, Jackson suffered nightmares about
being kidnapped from his bedroom.
Jackson first spoke
openly about his childhood abuse in a 1993 interview
with Oprah Winfrey. He said that during his childhood he
often cried from loneliness and would sometimes get sick
or start to regurgitate upon seeing his father. In
Jackson’s other high profile interview, Living with
Michael Jackson (2003), the singer covered his face
with his hand and began crying when talking about his
childhood abuse. Jackson recalled that Joseph sat in a
chair with a belt in his hand as he and his siblings
rehearsed and that "if you didn’t do it the right way,
he would tear you up, really get you."
Jackson suffered a
setback on January 27, 1984. While filming a Pepsi Cola
commercial at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles,
Jackson suffered second degree burns to his scalp after
pyrotechnics accidentally set his hair on fire.
Happening in front of a full house of fans during a
simulated concert, the incident was the subject of heavy
media scrutiny and elicited an outpouring of sympathy.
PepsiCo settled a lawsuit out of court, and Jackson gave
his $1.5 million settlement to the "Michael Jackson Burn
Center" which was a piece of new technology to help
people with severe burns. Jackson had his third
rhinoplasty shortly afterwards and grew self conscious
about his appearance.
On May 14, 1984,
Jackson was invited to the White House to receive an
award presented by American President Ronald Reagan. The
award was given for Jackson’s support of charities that
helped people overcome alcohol and drug abuse.Jackson
won eight awards during the 1984 Grammy Awards. Unlike
later albums, Thriller did not have an official
tour to promote it, but the 1984 Victory Tour, headlined
by The Jacksons, showcased much of Jackson’s new
solo material to more than two million Americans. He
donated his $5 million share from the Victory Tour to
the charity single We Are the World with Lionel
Richie, which was released worldwide to aid the poor in
Africa and the US. He was one of 39 music celebrities
who performed on the record. The single became one of
the best-selling singles of all time, with nearly 20
million copies sold and millions of dollars donated to
Jackson gave a
90-minute interview with Oprah Winfrey in February 1993,
his first television interview since 1979. He grimaced
when speaking of his childhood abuse at the hands of his
father; he believed he had missed out on much of his
childhood years, admitting that he often cried from
loneliness. He denied previous tabloid rumors that he
bought the bones of the Elephant Man or slept in a
hyperbaric oxygen chamber. The entertainer went on to
dispel suggestions that he bleached his skin, admitting
for the first time that he had vitiligo. The interview
was watched by 90 million Americans, becoming the fourth
most-viewed non-sport programme in US history. It also
started a public debate on the topic of vitiligo, a
relatively unknown condition before then. Dangerous
re-entered the album chart top 10, more than a year
after its original release.
Jackson was accused
of child sexual abuse by a 13-year-old child named
Jordan Chandler and his father Evan Chandler.The
friendship between Jackson and Evan Chandler broke down.
Sometime afterwards, Evan Chandler was tape-recorded
saying amongst other things, "If I go through with this,
I win big-time. There’s no way I lose. I will get
everything I want and they will be destroyed
forever...Michael’s career will be over".
investigation began, with Jordan Chandler’s mother
adamant that there was no wrongdoing on Jackson’s part.
Neverland Ranch was searched; multiple children and
family members denied that he was a pedophile. Jackson’s
image took a further turn for the worse when his older
sister La Toya Jackson accused him of being a pedophile,
a statement she later retracted. Jackson agreed to a
25-minute strip search, conducted at his ranch. Doctors
concluded that there were some strong similarities, but
it was not a definitive match. Jackson made an emotional
public statement on the events; he proclaimed his
innocence, criticized what he perceived as biased media
coverage and told of his strip search. Jackson began
taking painkillers, Valium, Xanax and Ativan to deal
with the stress of the allegations made against him. By
the fall of 1993, Jackson was addicted to the drugs. His
health deteriorated to the extent that he canceled the
remainder of the Dangerous World Tour and went
into drug rehabilitation for a few months. The stress of
the allegations also caused Jackson to stop eating,
losing a significant amount of weight. On January 1,
1994, Jackson settled with the Chandler family and their
legal team out of court, in a civil lawsuit for $22
million. After the settlement Jordan Chandler refused to
continue with police criminal proceedings. Jackson was
never charged, and the state closed its criminal
investigation, citing lack of evidence. Later that year,
Jackson married singer-songwriter Lisa Marie Presley,
the daughter of Elvis Presley. They had first met in
1975 during one of Jackson’s family engagements at the
MGM Grand, and were reconnected through a mutual friend
in early 1993. They stayed in contact every day over the
telephone. As child molestation accusations became
public, Jackson became dependent on Lisa Marie for
emotional support. Shortly afterwards, she tried to
persuade Jackson to settle the allegations out of court
and go into rehabilitation to recover—he subsequently
did both. Jackson and Presley divorced less than two
years later, remaining friendly.
speculated that Jackson underwent multiple nasal
surgeries, a forehead lift, thinned lips and a cheekbone
Jackson wrote in
his 1988 autobiography Moon Walk that he only had two
rhinoplastic procedures and the surgical creation of a
cleft in his chin.
In 1999, rumours
swirled that Jackson had transplanted some pubic hair to
his jaw to try to make a Goatee.
"Why not just tell
people I’m an alien from Mars," Jackson told a reporter
at the time. "Tell them I eat live chickens and do a
voodoo dance at midnight. They’ll believe anything you
say, because you’re a reporter." The latest news about
Michael Jackson’s nose was that he had found a German
surgeon to repair his nose.
In recent months
the singer had appeared fragile and gaunt and was rarely
seen out without heavy make-up and a surgical mask.
Golden girl Farrah Fawcett is no more
She was Hollywood’s
penultimate golden girl. And, now, Farrah Fawcett, who
epitomized the all-American ideal of beauty, has died
after a three-year battle with cancer. She was 62. Her
spokesman, Paul Bloch, says Fawcett died Thursday
morning in a Santa Monica hospital.
In September 2006,
Fawcett learned she had anal cancer. The devastating
news led to a reconciliation with her on-and-off
boyfriend, Ryan O’Neal, 68, the father of their troubled
son, Redmond, 24. O’Neal was by her side as Fawcett went
through chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and the
actress was declared cancer-free in February 2007. But
later that spring, she learned the cancer had returned.
After growing weary of ineffective treatments in the
USA, Fawcett traveled to Germany in September 2007 for
alternative cancer therapies.
Her friend Craig
Nevius told People that Fawcett was "discouraged by the
treatments she got here. The fact that it recurred after
all that she went through was heartbreaking."
At her side
throughout her final difficult years: O’Neal — who
himself had battled leukemia — and their son, Redmond.
Fawcett will long be remembered
as the pistol-packing blonde Jill Munroe on the ‘70s
classic Charlie’s Angels. But her legacy may be that she
was never completely victorious in the decades-long
battle she waged to overcome that enduring, indelible
national hero is honoured in his home town
The statue of C.
S. Corea in Chilaw
C. E. Victor S.
e. Victor S.Corea
I had the pleasure and the privilege of
knowing Charles Edward Victor Senewiratne Corea of
Sinhapura, Chilaw, an Advocate of the Supreme Court to
whom I would turn whenever I needed advice and legal
assistance. His services were given willingly, free of
charge to the deserving, who desperately sought his
assistance. By nature, he always championed the cause of
the common man and money did not matter to him at all.
Forty-six years ago, moments before
C.E.Victor S.Corea was laid to rest in the Chilaw
Cemetery, Speaker R.S. Pelpola, representing Prime
Minister, Sirima R. D. Bandaranaike and her government,
at the funeral, had this to say, "Chilaw has had the
rare distinction of producing two of the greatest
patriots who served in the country’s legislature, C.E.
Corea and his brother, C.E.Victor S.Corea who won the
hearts of our people with their fearless campaign to
protect their rights and achieve independence for our
An influential Goyigama group
The Coreas, as described in Kumari
Jayawardena’s book is reproduced below:
"Unconnected to the liquor trade, but
making their money on plantation ventures was the Corea
family in Chilaw, an influential Goyigama group with a
history going back to Portuguese rule when they were
warriors to the Sinhala kings. During Dutch and British
rule, members of the family were officials serving the
state in various ways and rewarded with titles (Wright
Some members of the family took to the
legal and medical professions, most notably the sons of
Charles Edward Corea (a solicitor), who were active in
local politics and in the Chilaw Association which
campaigned against British land policies — especially
the Waste Lands Ordinance, and for political reforms.
The most active of Corea’s sons was C.E. (Charles Edgar)
Corea who spoke up for peasant rights and was militant
in his stand against the government.
He was President of the Ceylon National
Congress in 1924. C.E.Corea’s brother, Alfred Ernest,
was a doctor and the youngest, Victor Corea, was a
lawyer who achieved fame for leading a campaign (and
going to jail) in 1922 to protest against the Poll Tax
on all males; he was the first president of the Ceylon
Labour Union led by A.E.Goonesinha and was active in the
Ceylon Labour Party during the 1920s." (Jayawardena
1972: 238 & 277).
"While being professionals and political
activists, the Coreas were also important landowners. By
1927 C.E.Corea and his wife had 659 acres of land of
which 530 was coconut (Roberts 1979: Chapter IV,Table
2). This backing gave them the confidence to become
champions of dissident causes, involving workers and
peasants. And their economic interests and influence in
the Chilaw area enabled C.E. and Victor Corea to enter
the Legislative Council in the 1920s."
Charles Edgar Corea, Dr Ernest Corea and
Charles Edward Victor Senewiratne Corea and their two
sisters were the children of Charles Edward Corea, a
leading lawyer and his wife Henrietta, a highly
respected family in Chilaw. The family was severely
affected with the demise of Charles Edward Corea, when
the eldest son, Charles Edgar Corea (C.E.) was only six
years old and Victor Corea just an year old, which meant
that the children had to depend on their mother
Henrietta, a young widow of 21 for their upbringing.
Courageous and capable as she was, she accomplished her
responsibilities to the letter and educated her sons to
be in the forefront of the nation’s struggle for
C.E. Corea, entered Royal College, had a
brilliant career, passed out as a Proctor following the
footsteps of his father, joined the Chilaw Bar and rose
to eminence in his profession. Ernest, studied at S.
Thomas’, entered Medical College and passed out as a
doctor. The youngest, Victor, also schooled at S.
Thomas’ and passed out as an Advocate of the Supreme
Court. Victor, came under the powerful influence of his
brother C.E., excelled in the law courts and took to
politics working closely with the brother at a time when
under British rule the brothers campaigned vigorously to
free their countrymen from the bondage of the British
A brilliant lawyer
C.E. Corea, rose to fame, as a brilliant
lawyer and a politician par excellence whose skill at
arguing was not second to any of the British with whom
he clashed often in the country’s legislature. Some of
his ideas were original and his arguments, forceful. He
was a master of the English language as Principal
Woodward of Richmond and Warden Stone of S. Thomas’ both
acknowledged. This perhaps was one of the reasons which
catapulted him to fame in the political field.
As a patriot, he was bold and fearless
and never lacked the courage to stand by his
convictions. He founded the Chilaw Association which
became so virile and so valid that its criticisms of
governmental policy made a tremendous impact in his
fight against imperial onslaughts and excesses.
Victor Corea, at every turn warned the
British that their days in Ceylon were numbered. Every
action of his was pro-Sinhala. He named his residence
‘Sinhapura’ and his letterheads carried his crest in
gold print of a Lion resting its head on its forepaws,
rays of the sun in the background and the challenging
caption ‘Awake not the sleeping Lion King.’ It was
common knowledge that his crest, skilfully designed,
displayed a factual representation of his bold and
He named his sons Siddartha, Sri Rahula,
Sri Vikrama and Sri Sangabo. He started his own printing
press and published the Sinhala journal, Lanka
Tharuna Handa in order to inculcate a feeling of
nationalism and a distaste for what was alien and
foreign as was done by Mahatma Gandhi in India.
He was popularly acknowledged as the
champion of the common man and fought fearlessly against
any issue that oppressed his people. When the villagers
of Merawela were prohibited from earning their income
from limestone and the business was vested in the
government the senior men of the village turned to
Victor Corea who championed their cause and won their
rights to continue the business.
The Temperance Movement
During the Sinhalese-Muslim riots of
1915, Victor Corea, fought shoulder to shoulder with his
brother and other leaders for the release of the
fighters of the Temperance Movement and fought for the
Reform of the Constitution in order that Ceylon could
free herself from arbitrary, autocratic and imperial
rule and bondage. Victor Corea and his brother C.E.
Corea protected the Muslims in Chilaw area from the
wrath of the embittered Sinhalese.
The Corea brothers were responsible for
completely exonerating the people of Chilaw from paying
damages which was a penalty imposed on all the citizens
of Ceylon. They both championed the cause of national
unity and were acclaimed in Jaffna as outstanding
leaders. The regard, respect and admiration the people
of Jaffna had for the brothers — C.E. and Victor — is
supported by the fact that C.E. Corea was the only
Sinhalese who had the rare distinction of being elected
president of the Jaffna Association.
In 1915, in the thick of the
Sinhalese-Muslim riots, Victor Corea delivered a gem of
an address at Dharmarajah College, Kandy under the
chairmanship of the then Diyawadana Nilame on the
Centenary of the Kandyan Convention while a police
cordon surrounded the College Hall. F.L.Woodward,
Principal of Richmond College, Galle in a lecture
delivered by him made the following remarks:
"The only work that is worth anything is
really the work of love
The first work of love is in the home,
the second, in the town
A patriot does work for the love of his
country. I might mention as an instance, the town of
Chilaw where the two Corea brothers — C.E. Corea and
Victor Corea — are trying to do so much for the welfare
of their country."
When every male in Ceylon above the age
of 21 had to pay the British government Rs.2 as Poll
Tax, Victor Corea refused to pay it in 1921 and wrote to
the governor that according to their law he should be
arrested. Orders were issued to arrest Victor Corea, and
during his month’s stay in jail he crushed metal on the
road exposed to the view of the general public, under
the heat of the scorching sun and later inside the jail,
beat coconut husks, and twisted rope.
Even though he suffered unbearable pain
with his palms covered with blisters he did not complain
but continued to perform his tasks. When orders came
from the governor that Victor Corea be given a bed to
sleep on and European food of his choice he refused to
accept any form of special treatment and subjected
himself to the punishment imposed on prisoners in
general. When large crowds from near and far came to
witness this spectacle of an Advocate of the Supreme
Court from an affluent family, fighting the cause of his
countrymen, the British, realising that Victor Corea was
gaining unprecedented popularity as a national hero,
decided to abolish the Poll Tax and release him.
Shortly after his release Victor Corea
addressed his supporters at the Tower Hall. The Times
of Ceylon carried the following article:
"The Tower Hall in Maradana was the
scene of an electrifying drama. But Annie Boteju and
Marshall Perera were not the star attractions. The
occasion was a political meeting. It was the climax of a
day of national mourning in remembrance of the
declaration of Martial Law on June 4, 1915.
As this story unfolds, the Speaker on the platform is
C.E. Victor S.Corea.
"June 4, 1922 was a Sunday and the
thousands who packed the Tower Hall and its environs
exploded in an orgasm of applause. The Times of
Ceylon, always a faithful barometer of the political
climate, recorded the next day that the Tower Hall was
packed to utmost capacity. On the verandahs outside, a
tightly wedged mass of humanity surged to and fro, a
large number remaining on the street outside."
"Such was the magnetic attraction of C.E.
Victor S. Corea that the police party present was led by
the Acting Inspector General of Police himself."
A fighter for justice
What was most remarkable about Victor
Corea is the fact that he was a fighter for justice and
would not hesitate to give leadership to his people
without any fear of the consequences. Even though he
waged a relentless campaign against the British
government he did so with the ultimate goal of achieving
independence for his country. His campaign was similar
to that launched by Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subas
Chandra Bose in India.
Mahatma Gandhi, as a part of his
campaign distributed a colourful poster under the
caption, Fighters for Swaraj and featured oval-shaped
bust size photographs of all the political giants in
India who put their heart and soul fearlessly in their
struggle to achieve independence for India. Victor Corea
was honoured by having his photograph included amongst
the Indian patriots.
When Gandhi visited Ceylon he made it a
point to visit Chilaw and personally presented a poster
to Victor Corea in appreciation of the campaign he
spearheaded at a national level in Ceylon which gave
added strength to India’s campaign.
Beating of hewisi stopped
When the beating of hewisi at the
Dalada Maligawa in Kandy was stopped on the orders of
the Government Agent, Kandy — a Britisher — because it
was a disturbance to his wife it was Victor Corea, a
Christian, who alone rose in protest to display the
courage and guts he was well known to possess by asking
the G.A. to remove his wife to any place he liked and
that the hewisi in the Maligawa must continue in
accordance with tradition.
If the Diyawadana Nilame was not
prepared to continue the beating of hewisi, he
vowed that he would come to the Maligawa and beat the
hewisi himself. Since Victor Corea, by that time was
known to be a man of action who would live up to his
word, the G.A. withdrew his order, fearing that there
would be unrest in the country. The beating of hewisi
has continued ever since.
Very few people of the present
generation are aware that Victor Corea was the
forerunner and the pioneer of the Labour Movement in
Ceylon. He had the rare distinction of being the first
president of the Labour Union which culminated in the
formation of the Labour Party of Ceylon. A.E. Goonesinha
who succeeded him later was his loyal confidant and
Victor Corea, was at the zenith of his
power soon after he came out of jail after the Poll Tax
was abolished. His popularity was unprecedented at the
time he chose to contest his relative, E.W. Jayewardene
(President J.R. Jayewardene’s father) and won by a
comfortable majority to be the Member for Colombo North
in the Legislative Council of Ceylon in 1924. He was a
Founder Member of the Ceylon National Congress along
with C.E. Corea, E.W. Perera, Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan,
Sir P.Arunachalam, and Francis de Zoysa who were
stalwarts in the political arena. It was the greatest
political force in the country at the time, inspired
from its counterpart in India, the Indian National
On December 2, 2008, Chilaw paid a
fitting tribute to C.E. Victor S. Corea by having his
statue unveiled adjoining the District Court. The
imposing figure of Victor Corea attired in the Corea
costume he designed for himself, in a standing posture
is indeed a landmark in Chilaw. This masterpiece of art
sculptured by Kalasoori Ariyawansa Weerakkody was the
last of his creations. Sadly, although he did not live
to see it installed in Chilaw, it must be said that the
stamp of class that is associated with the works of
Kalasoori Ariyawansa Weerakkody is unquestionably at its
best in this last creation of his.
The Chairman of the Urban Council,
Chilaw, W. Hilary Prasanna Fernando who ceremoniously
opened the C.E.Victor S.Corea Memorial open in an
inspiring address said:
"Chilaw indeed is proud to have produced
a patriot of the calibre of C.E.Victor S.Corea who is a
descendent of Edirilla Rala. Victor Corea, opposed every
move of the British that had an adverse impact on the
country and the people. He campaigned vehemently for
independence and sought the support of the people by
uniting them. Today, we as grateful citizens of this
country pay homage to a National Hero who fearlessly
fought for the rights of our people and championed their
cause. What is important is that we must draw
inspiration from their selfless service to our country."
— P. De Silva
Sanath – in real
By Ranee Mohamed
Actor, director and scriptwriter, Sanath
Gunathileke is a hero in real life as he has been in all
the over 130 films that he has been associated with down
the years. His smile lights up his life as he talks of
the teachings of the Buddha – the path he has chosen as
his way of life.
As Sanath Gunathileke’s latest
production Eka Math Eka Rataka is the talk of the
town, Gunathileke believes that his ‘different’ theme
will not merely entertain viewers, but will thrill them
and educate them on differing lines of thinking and of
different characters within our society.
A film by an actor/scriptwriter/director
and producer is likely to embrace all aspects in their
excellence and Sanath Gunathileke says that he has put
his heart and soul into the making of Eka Math Eka
"Life has not been easy for me," says
the award winning film star who dazzled hearts and minds
during his active film career. Having won best actor
awards in all three/four major film festivals held in
Sri Lanka and the best supporting actor award too in the
festivals, Gunathileke is modest about his achievements.
But the awards that adorn his home in St. Lawrence’s
Road, Wellawatte is proof of a great young actor who
made it to the top without influence, without money and
without powerful backing.
Missed Medical College
A student of Kingswood College Kandy,
Sanath Gunathileke achieved excellent results at the
G.C.E. Advanced Level examination, but the district
system stopped him from going to Medical College by a
mere two marks. "I was disappointed and sad and my
father was more than disappointed, he was angry," said
Gunathileke of his lawyer father who had great hopes for
It was at this time that Gunathileke
spotted an advertisement by Vijaya Dharmasiri in the
Dinamina seeking young actors. That interview at
Sudharshi was the stepping stone to the great heights
that Sanath Gunathileke has reached today.
Away from home, boarded in a flat in
Colombo, Sanath Gunathileke surged ahead with a
determination. His good looks and acting talent got him
the awards, the spotlight and the popularity.
From his first film Situ Kumariyo
the curtain rose to a star-struck career for Gunathileke
– Ganga Addara by Sumithra Pieris, Ridi
Nimnaya by D.B. Nihalsinha, Palama Yata, Viragaya,
Salman Maduwa, Kadepathaka Chaaya… he continued,
spending his days and nights on the sets.
"It is my role in Viragaya that
will never leave my mind," he said. Having written the
script of Sisila Gini Gani, Gunathileke also has
two scripts which he has not made into films. "one is
about a journalist and the other is with a Buddhist
theme," revealed Gunathileke.
"My newest film Eka Math Eka Rata
is about an exceptional character. It is not about the
stereotype woman who takes revenge, or falls in love –
it is different and a character that we all ought to
study and understand," said Gunathileke.
"It is an adults only film and the
artistic creativity has received great reviews," said
However, the making of Eka Math Eka
Rata had not been an easy exercise. Set in Nuwara
Eliya, Sanath Gunathileke said that the weather had not
always been on their side. "Sometimes the light
interfered with the shooting and at times the light rain
forced us to stop. The gloom and the mist added to the
effective presentation of the theme," said Gunathileke.
"Eka Math Eka Rataka has not been
easy and I have to thank Premasiri Khemadasa for being
there from the beginning of the film. Usually the music
is brought in after the film, but I gave him the film
and got him involved from the beginning and he was a
great source of encouragement," recalled Gunathileke.
"I am thankful to Janaka Ramanayake for
his investment in the film. I also wish to thank the
Chairman of the Film Corporation Jayantha Dharmadasa and
his team for the post production work," said Gunathileke.
"I am confident that this film with a
very unusual theme will present its viewers a different
line of thinking," said Gunathileke who holds promise to
rage on from acting to other areas of directing,
producing and script writing in the Sri Lankan cinema –
it seems like the curtains will never close on this
legend of the Sinhala film industry.
Shedding light — Part 2
age old battle of
Hip Hop vs Rock
So if Hip Hop is the new king of global
pop culture, the one that lost the throne and certainly
the crown would be good old Rock. Defying the trend to a
large extent, are acts such as U2, Coldplay, Killers,
All American Rejects, My Chemical Romance, Nickelback
and a handful of others. Without the material of bands
such as these, Rock music would not have a face any more
in global pop culture. If there is one who can develop a
solid conceptual framework for this happening, please
give me a call!
Is it that the music industry is much
like T20 cricket, where for six straight games you are
hot and then in the seventh all your weaknesses are
exposed and you go back to being a nobody? Hang on are
we talking about music or the Sri Lankan cricket team?
Sticking to music however, Rock has
suffered globally as a result of not evolving from
guitar riffs, long hair, make up and troubled story
lines written by troubled songwriters. I understand when
Slipknot and Mettalica convey angry messages, as these
are based on real life experiences, but when some of
these Sri Lankan bands start writing about demons,
monsters and creatures of the night, that just becomes
disturbing as much as it is cheesy like a double beef
The good old bands such as ACDC, Pink
Floyd and many others, are still selling records and
making millions touring and through placements in movie
soundtracks and television, however there is nothing new
to a greater extent coming through, much like the middle
order batting talent of the Lankan team. This is strange
considering the vast number of immensely talented
musicians out there. So what’s the problem?
In a nutshell it can be attributed to
the "fear of change." Yes, much like a professor nearing
retirement, rock musicians hesitate, fear and reject
change, which has led to the downfall of the genre. Much
like businesses merge and cross promote to expand, rock
acts should take a cue from hip hop artists and
collaborate, to fuse two segments and create wider
Some say it’s not about the money, but
here is the reality folks, if you don’t make money,
labels won’t sign you! So if you are not signed you
cannot get published and therefore heard!! A reality we
see even more true in Sri Lanka.
I was at the Shine, a fortnight ago, and
watched some local rock acts after ages. Might I say the
talent has improved by leaps and bounds, but the
audiences have got smaller and less interested in the
music. Power Cut Circus and Hollow Point Halo, two acts
that have been playing for a while locally, have great
musicians such as, Ranil and front men like Marsh and
Sean. However the music has unfortunately not reached a
wider audience besides the usual advertising industry
folks, who passionately follow them.
One must understand, that you cannot
export a brand of music that is already available
overseas and those audiences can access in their own
backyard. This does not mean playing sitars and tablas
to sound more Asian. Understanding that music is part of
a business model, is key to all rock acts, especially in
Sri Lanka. Frankly I am tired of all the hate showed by
the local rock industry to BnS, Iraj and Centigradz.
Deal with the fact that they have captured a market with
well produced songs (unlike the garbage heard from rock
acts), have distribution and licensing deals, larger
number of fans, tour overseas and simply put, make a lot
All in all, rock is dying (even faster
locally), and is waiting for some serious impetus to
take it back where it belongs. For this, the infusion of
new thinking, proper vision, production and management
is required. So if you got skills and you are ready to
show and prove, do write to me if you need help in any
of these areas!
Party at Vidumina
The Vidumina Centre for children with
learning difficulties and physical disabilities hosted a
tea party for children with special needs recently. The
event brought together children from the Vidumina
Centre, the Navodaya Centre in Mt. Lavinia and children
from the Bodowita Polythene Area.
The forum gave differently abled
youngsters a platform to showcase their talents. It also
provided a good opportunity for fellowship between
children with learning difficulties and parents.
The party was hosted by Marie Fernando,
directress of the Vidumina Centre and Barabara Dickman.
The Vidumina Centre has been in
operation for four years and currently has 10 pupils
aged between 7 and 28 years who attend regularly. The
Centre also offers parents of children with special
needs the option of leaving their charges in a safe and
secure environment should they need a carer for a few
The brainchild of Fernando the centre
offers a home away from home and also welcomes
volunteers to help with its work. Fernando says giving
carers of special needs children a break is very
important. While the tea party provided such a respite,
Fernando says her dream is to create a residential
centre where youngsters can spend a few days when