National Civilian Bravery Awards 2006

The recipients of National Civilian Bravery Awards 2006 held on November 30 at the BMICH and Gull Avid Butt and Sean Sathyamoorthi, winners of the Gold Medal for Asia for Civilian Bravery, and Budal Na Award with the President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, and the President, Foundation for Civilian Bravery, Kasun P. Chandraratne.


International workshop

An international workshop on Molecular Biology, Histopathology and Stem Cell research in Neuroscience will be held at the Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayawardenapura, from December 14 -18.
The workshop will consist of lectures, demonstrations and practicals conducted and presented by an eminent group of resource personal from Australia, India, Canada, Hong Kong, Korea, Netherlands, Singapore, and UK. The workshop will be attended by the president of the International Brain Research Organisation and former president of Asia Pacific Society for Neuroscience. It will also see the participation of students from neighbouring countries.
There will be several important outcomes of the said workshop. The following are the benefits to the Faculty, Sri Lanka and to the region; Human resources development, to develop collaborations of research between Sri Lanka and other research groups, to ascertain possibilities for young scientists from Sri Lanka and neighboring countries for Ph.D. or postdoctoral training and research in Neuroscience in other countries, putting up in to greater use of the equipment donated by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke (NINDS) of National Institute of Health (NIH), USA and in setting up the first national “Brain Bank” and Genetic diagnostic and DNA fingerprinting services and training
Successful contribution of the said workshop will go in a long way for the development of molecular biology research in this part of the world. This Workshop would serve as a milestone in Sri Lanka’s scientific research.


AIDEX 2006

AIDEX 2006, the annual Sports festival for users of the Jaipur limb, organized by the Colombo Friend in Need Society will be held today Reid Avenue Grounds, Colombo 7.
The Chief Guest this year is Mr. Mohammed Haji Omar, Chairman of the Brandix Group of Companies.


Public talk by J. Krishnamurti

‘What is wrong with pleasure?’, organised by the Krishnamurti Centre of Sri Lanka, a replay of a recorded public talk (video) by J. Krishnamurti, will be held today (November 12) at 9.45 a.m. at Anula Nursery School, 310 High Level Road, Colombo 6.


Computers for Amparai

 In keeping with the island wide Information Technology EWeek promulated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Governor of Northern and Eastern Provinces and Rear Admiral, Mohan Wijewickrama, are seen declaring open the computer resources centre of the Zonal Educational Region in Amparai.


Computers from HRC

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRC) distributed several computers to State Children’s Homes in the country at a special ceremony held in Colombo recently.
HRC Commissioner, former Court of Appeal Judge, Justice D. Jayawickrema, speaking at the ceremony said that the Human Rights Commission intends to assist the needy in the country in future with the available funds in the Commission.
HRC Commissioner, retired High Court Judge Mahanama Tillekeratne, HRC Commissioner, Attorney at Law M.T.M. Bafiq, HRC Secretary D.J. D de Silva, HRC Assistant Secretary Legal Nimal Punchinilame, HRC Research Officer of Monitoring and Review Division M. A.M Chandrasiri and the other members of the HRC staff and officials of the State Children’s Homes also participated at the ceremony.


Minister Welgama in Shanghai

Industrial Development Minister, Kumara Welgama, and senior officials of the Ministry recently participated in a tour of the Canton International Industrial Exhibition in Shanghai in the Republic of China and in a few of its factories and also in the Jurang Town Industrial Zone in Singapore.
The Canton Exhibition consisted of around 5000 stalls and over 1 million exhibits. Over 100,000 foreign buyers and observers and over 150,000 local buyers and observers also participated at the said exhibition.


10th anniversary celebrations

The SAARC Women’s Association is celebrating its 10th Anniversary today (November 12) at the Cinnamon Grand Colombo, from 7pm onwards. Giving the guests a taste of the region, traditional handicrafts will be displayed and on sale. There will be ‘action’ of what one would see on any sidewalk in any of these cities and villages depicting the Streets of SAARC.
Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Nelum Abeywardena, Mehmood Mandiwala, and Saeeda Mandiwala from Karachi and representatives of the Diplomatic Corps of the SAARC countries will participate.


Bible Society’s Good News Fair

The Annual Sale and Good News Fair of the Ceylon Bible Society was held on September 30 at Dutch Reformed Church, Wellawatte.
Shown here (from right) are General Secretary, Ceylon Bible Society, Lakshani Fernando, President, Vasanthy Rajaratnam, Chief Guests, Mr. and Mrs. Scahaffter, President, Women’s Committee, Marcia Seneviratne, and the other members of the Women’s Committee and the General Council.


Sunshine Charity’s ‘One Rhythm’

The Sunshine Charity presents ‘One Rhythm’ featuring the Ravibandu Drum Ensemble, Anthony Surendra with Shakthi, and flautist Nikhil Narayan at the Lionel Wendt Theatre on November 14 at 7.00pm. A guest appearance will be made by Jerome Speldewinde. Directed by Indu Dharmasena, this event is in aid of the Sunshine Day Care Centre, Sambalthivu, Trincomalee, caring for children affected by the ethnic conflict, the tsunami and poverty.


Peterite Christmas Sing Along 2006

The annual Christmas Sing Along organized by the Old Boys Union of St. Peter’s College, Colombo 04 will be held at the college hall on Saturday December 9 from 7:30pm onwards.
The band for the evening will be Kings and Compere, Mr. Priya Peiris.
Tickets priced at Rs. 300/= will be available at the College Swimming Pool as well as at the Gym. There will be food and drinks stalls while hampers await winners of the ticket draw.
For further information please contact Lasantha on 0777358305 or Denver on 0714 145454.


The Nation Diary

November 14
‘The Longest Yard’ (113min - 1974) at the American Centre - 6.30 pm
November 14 & 15
‘Working Women of the World’ by Marie-France Collard (57min - 2000) in French with English subtitles at the Alliance Française – 3.00/6.30 pm
November 17
‘Cézanne in Provence’ at the Alliance Française, Kandy – 6.30pm
November 17
‘Clean’ at the Vibhavi Academy – 3.00pm

November 12 - 19
An exhibition of paintings by Upachandra Thilekewardene at Thambapanni
November 13 – 15
An exhibition of paintings by Thamara Damayanthi at the Lionel Wendt Gallery
November 13 - 15
Art exhibition organised by the Chithra Lane School at the Lionel Wendt Gallery
November 15
‘Landscape of my dreams’ at the Alliance Française, Kandy
November 17 - 19
International exhibition of Photographs organised by the Photographic Society of Sri Lanka at the Harold Peiris Gallery
November 17 - 19
Art exhibition by Shantha Weeramuni at the Lionel Wendt Gallery

November 18, 19, 24, 25 & 26
Indu Dharmasena’s new comedy ‘Money Makes the World Go Round’ at the Lionel Wendt Theatre


Soma and the company were inseparable

In the early days of Wijeya Newspapers, a good three months before The Sunday Times was born in June 1987, I met Somasekeran Tharmaratnam, a Director of the company.
I only learnt that Soma, as he was fondly called, was a Peterite and a ruggerite too at College only after he passed away this week. That he also represented my alma mater at Public Schools athletics was not known to many of us.
Such personal achievements were never bragged about by Soma. He was however proud about his contribution towards the success of the company. For him, the company and he were inseparable. He lived, breathed and dreamed an impossible dream. He was able to savour the fruits of his labour.
His office was next to Mr. Ranjit Wijewardene’s, the company’s Chairman. In fact, he had a doorway from his room to Wijewardene’s, suggesting the implicit trust the Chairman reposed in him.
The combination was a winning one; Wijewardene was soft spoken and Soma was rough and tough. He probably assumed that role to successfully deal with the minor staff. But, deep within, as many would say, he had a soft heart for the workers, especially those with financial difficulties. He would even create jobs for those in need, but never feared to sack them, if they were found wanting.
Lavish with his personal money, Soma was extremely careful with the company wealth.
Soma was an early bird who was in office by 7:00 a.m. He also made surprise visits to ensure the workers were on the job. He was stern but at the same time caring.
Soma was a great builder and a tower of strength for the company, the Chairman and staff. After the Wijewardene’s lost Lake House, a gold mine, it was Soma who laid a solid foundation for the company’s infrastructure.
Several times he used to visit India to purchase machines and enjoy the hospitality of the Malayalam Manorama group. Often he would ask me to put in a word to fast track a visa for him. Even when abroad, he always had the company at heart.
It was success after success at Wijeya Newspapers and when the Midweek, the precursor of the Daily Mirror was launched in January 1996, Soma was distraught as the paper could not go to bed on time not for distribution but in accordance with the auspicious time.
Certainly, it was not all work and no play.
Being a bachelor, he was a happy go lucky person who loved partying. Every year he makes it a point to have a party to celebrate the anniversary of The Sunday Times at his Hyde Park Corner residence.
Soma loved to be trendy and fashionable and would attire himself with the finest silks; flashy clothes, luminous ones were among his wardrobe.
In the early days of the company, I used to organize matches with the Upali Group of newspapers, and Soma was sure to mark his presence, and lavishly at that. He used to also contribute to the annual year-end party.
Soma also appreciated the hard work of key staff in the editorial, advertising, circulation and other departments and would invite them once in a way to his estate in Bingiriya.
But as he lost his grip on life, weighed down by ill health, the parties were less frequent and completely abandoned with time. As he felt less wanted and was not in a position to contribute further largely on account of ill health, the once energetic Director became disillusioned. Afflicted by many diseases, his health was on the wane. He was in and out of hospital. When I went to see him before leaving Wijeya Newspapers, he was blank. He remembered me, but could not figure out what I was trying to say. I did not tax him, but wished him well.
May he attain Moksha!