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Letters


Readers please note it is essential that all Letters to the Editor carry the full name and address of the writer, even if it has to appear under a pseudonym. This applies to all email letters as well.

 

Paba deserves Oscars

I just want to salute everyone, who is involved with the production of the teledrama, Paba
This has become the most popular Sri Lankan TV programme, in the West. Sri Lankans who live abroad, like to watch teledramas.

Paba is the best teledrama, which I have watched on the small screen. This is available on www.nilwalasat.com <http://www.nilwalasat.com/> and www.youtube.com http://www.youtube.com/, almost every day.
I think the whole production team should be awarded Oscars, for making this wonderful series. I am so happy to see my former colleague of the SLBC, Ramya Wanigasekera, in a leading role. I met Ramya at the SLBC canteen last September, when I was on holiday in Sri Lanka. The moment she saw me, she was very humble enough, to come to me, and say “hello” to me. What a talented lady she is.

I enjoyed her acting in Kelanipalama, many years ago and Paba is second to none. Nowadays, you see so many boring teledramas on small screen, just to make money, but this is the current most popular series among the Sri Lankans, who live in the West. I must also comment on Mervyn’s character. Ananda Wickramage is doing a superb role, and he is undoubtedly better than, Charlie Chaplin or Norman Wisdom in Western cinema.

The story and the script are fantastic. Every episode has humour, suspense, love and romance. Being a former member of the technical staff of the ITN, when it was at Pannipitiya, I must also thank, my former colleague and my good old buddy Vipula Rathnasiri, who is the programme manager, for giving his full support,to make a series like Paba, and I hope ITN will make more teledramas like Paba, in the future too.

Ladies and gentlemen, we Sri Lankans, who live away from our motherland, take our hats off and pay our gratitude to you, for making such a wonderful teledrama series.
Our sincere appreciation to the whole production team, including all actors and actresses, who took part in the series. Well done.
Sisira Chandarsekera SLBC Correspondent in the UK

****

What are the politicians thinking?

Recently, we saw a hilarious incident, where the UNP instigated people, to come and break cooking pots, on the road. As a responsible party, they should have made people, sit on the road and cook with water without rice, or exhibit their broken crockery, and torn clothes. That would have communicated a message.

What were they trying to display, by breaking pots? At a time, one cannot even forego a cup, breaking pots is the worst thing, one could do. I wonder, who paid for all the pots, which were broken with glee, by the politicians? Certainly not the politicians, and certainly it did not look, as if they were breaking, their own pots.

The seniors conveniently stayed away. Shouldn’t they have brought their microwaves and fridges and broken them, too?
We have come to a situation, where the so called leaders, cannot even think of a constructive way, to show displeasure.
Is there any hope for Sri Lanka?

 Dr. Mrs. Mareena Thaha Reffai
Dehiwala

****

Fragile ideas

Reading an article in the telegraph, London Group, 2008, titled ‘Embryo Bill sparks row with church’, where it says, that Prime Minister of England, Gordon Brown is being pressurised by the Catholic Church, to allow a free vote on the Bill called ‘Embryology’, and calling upon all Catholic members of parliament, to vote according to their ‘Conscience’, which would mean the defeat of the Bill.

It is not my intention, to support or be against, this vital bill, required for advancement in medial science, but would wish to quote from a book titled “The Idea Book” by Fredrik Haren, which should be a guiding strength, to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, to take a firm decision for the sake of human beings.

“Most cultured, throughout human history have not liked creative individuals. They ignore them or they kill them. It is a very effective way of stopping creativity. Even today it is often difficult for new ideas to be accepted. Half the work of being creative, is to go forward with your ideas, even if you are almost certain of meeting resistance, at the beginning”.
It is hoped, the High Commissioner for UK in Sri Lanka, will transmit this golden advice to his government.

G. A. D. Sirimal
Boralesgamuwa

****

No action, talk only

The pathetic performance of Bandula Gunawardena, the Minister of Trade and one thing and another, reminds me of the eunuch guarding the harem.
He knows what is done and how it is done. Given the job however, he can’t do it himself.
There are a few more like him, in the Cabinet and its vicinity.

Nihal Ratnayake
Dehiwela

****

It tolls for treason

Worldly watchdogs!
Playing to the underdogs
Of self-inflicted wars.
Barking up the wrong tree
Feathering their nests
TREASON, to quell or quest?

Irene de Silva
Colombo 5

****

                                                                   Appreciations                                                                 

A. K. Padumasena

It was a real shock to hear the sudden demise of Anguru Kankanange Padumasena on the 2nd of February after a brief illness, I have closely associated him from 1989, nearly two decades, initially as colleagues at Bank of Ceylon and then as ex-bankers. Although we had been in service from the sixties, opportunity arose for both of us to meet when we were assigned to the Western Provincial Office which was the first of it’s kind to be established. The office was housed at the York Street building in conforming to the Government’s new concept of decentralising the country’s administration.

Late Padumasena was a native of Matara, who hailed from a very respectable family. He had his primary education in Matara and his higher studies in Colombo. First, he opted for a career in teaching and was attached to the tutorial staff of Wesley College for a few years before joining Bank of Ceylon, in the year 1963 as a Junior Clerk. Prior to being promoted to the grade of Officer he had served in several departments and branches of Bank of Ceylon and he once recollected that his period at the Haputale branch, was the most memorable period. He got married late in life, as he was more interested in looking after his mother (although there were several brothers and sisters in his family). One condition he laid for the intended spouse was that she should be agreeable to look after his mother. His wife Soma was born in Malaysia and still she has family links with relatives there and they have since made several visits to Malaysia for important functions such as weddings etc

Late Padumasena was well known as ‘Padume’ to his colleagues and friends He became a very popular officer in the Bank during his tenure of service as the Manager of Regent Street branch, which more or less catered exclusively to the employees of the General Hospital. He knew almost every member of the hospital staff from the Medical Superintendent to the attendant. He was assigned to this branch before channel consultations of specialist doctors became popular. He has helped many Bank employees, their relatives and friends in numerous ways through his contacts with hospital authorities. He was a sought after person for the needy patients of all employees attached to the large network of branches scattered throughout the island.

‘Padume’ was a quiet and unassuming soft-spoken person, who possessed an exemplary character and performed his duties impartially and to perfection. He was a very punctual employee. His pragmatic approach and his pleasing disposition towards his subordinates were some of his outstanding attributes. The clients had free and easy access to him and he was a flexible person and a person who listened carefully to the requirements of the bank’s constituents. He abided by the rules and guidelines given to him as Manager to precision. He never exceeded his delegated authority. Whenever he exceeded his powers, he always made it a point to bring it to the notice of his superiors. He possessed public relations in abundance. Above all, he was a real gentleman. He was simply a man of virtue. After a few years at Regent Street branch he was appointed as the Manager of the Milagiriya branch of Bank of Ceylon. There too, he worked tirelessly for the needs of the clients as well of the institution. He retired from the Bank’s service in December 1994 upon reaching his 60th birthday having served an unblemished career, which spanned for over three decades.

‘Padume’ had a vast circle of friends both in the bank and outside. After his retirement and while I was still in service, we were in close touch having had a close rapport and understanding. We attended weddings, funerals and other functions together. I was a close family friend of his and quite often we used to visit his club BRC for a small drink and a chat. He never missed funerals of his relatives and friends in Matara .He always made it a point to attend every funeral. About three months back he and I attended a lunch patronized by about 40 ex-pensioners. He afforded me with this opportunity by inviting me where I benefitted because I met several senior colleaques. He was a very devoted husband and a faithful father to his only daughter Sweeni, a qualified Accountant. After his retirement he was very keen on giving his daughter in marriage. When she had confessed to him that she was having an affair he wanted me to go and meet his intended son-in –law, a Quality Control Manager of a reputed garment factory with his brother and another ex-banker. As a father he was keen to see his daughter’s fiancé. He was very happy after the meeting and the marriage took place without much delay and at the time of his demise he had a two year old grand daughter. They lived together in harmony at his residence at Flower Lane. Pepipilyana..
For his wife, the only daughter, son-in-law, family members and friends, his sudden demise was indeed an irreparable loss.

May he attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana.
Sunil Thenabadu
Australia

****

Reflections on Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur Charles Clarke, multi-faceted great personality
British born, rare gifted, talents, abilities epitome of dignity
Up to date with astronomy, space travel ‘n cosmetology
Kind hearted, generous person, never had temper tantrums, created history.
Fond of Mars, his futuristic lucid vision
Accomplished writer, great British author science fiction
Keen on diving ‘n under water excavations, explorations
Famous concept, geo stationary satellite for global communication 36,000 km from above the equator on orbit
Officially named in his honour “Clarke’s Orbit”
Queen Elizabeth II honoured him with a knighthood
Stargazing with home made telescope in boyhood.
Named Grand Master by science fiction writers of America
Served as Vice Chancellor from 1972-2002 Moratuwa University Sri Lanka
Highest civilian honour Lanka Abhimanaya , pride of Lanka
In 1986 Vidyajothi (luminary of space) by President of Sri Lanka.
When 45 severe attack of polio paralysed him completely
As his farewell to sea he wrote Dolphin Island very seriously
Thereafter needed a wheelchair yet worked with a sense of humour
Recipient of many accolades, gold medals, awards with great honour.
Founder President of Sri Lanka Astronomical Association
Science fiction born out of fertile inborn imagination:
Seemed to live ahead of time with unthinkable expectations
Penned scores of novels, short stories, nonfiction work, splendid contributions.
The greatest film ever made, master piece, Space Odyssey
Made Sri Lanka his home for more than half a century
Member of Underwater Explorers Club, avid scuba diver
Initially served in ranks corporal, commissioned as pilot officer.
Popular TV series Clarke’s Mysterious World, world of strange powers
Inventor, philosopher, explorer, predicted space shuttles, space elevators
Made Sri Lanka famous to world, Clarke the most known foreigner
Clarke influenced by H.G, Wells, a science fiction writer
Final statement on religion, gave instructions for a secular funeral
“No religious rites of any faith be associated with by funeral”
Enormous contributions to humanity’ll be cherished for ever
Unique human, peaceful death, lost to the world forever.
By Kumari Kumarasinghe Tennakoon

****

Former U.S. Ambassador James W. Spain- A true friend

From a speech made by Nihal C.I.De Silva, at the memorial service arranged by the Current American Ambassador In Sri Lanka, Robert O ’ Blake Jnr, His D.C.M., Jim Moore and coordinated by Nihal C.I.De Silva and programmed by Rev.John Purves, Pastor, St.Andrews Scots Kirk .Galle Face on January 11, 2008, at 5 p.m.

“A nation’s greatness lies not only in the men it produces but also in the men it remembers”- John Fitszgerald Kennedy 1963 before his assassination in downtown Dallas in the state of Texas.

And in this context Ambassador Robert O Blake, DCM Jim Moore and Team have done amply proud by uncle Sam in remembering a true fallen son of the soil. Thank you on behalf of the Spain Family.

It was sometime in 1985 that HE John Hathaway Reed informed me that he would be leaving shortly and his successor would be one Jim Spain who will be here alone as he had lost his wife and only daughter, and that I should visit him.
He said that he has listed me in his inventory as a MUST meet person.
I phoned through to Jefferson house and was informed by his youngest son Bill that he will be in only later that month., and he gave me the date.

I visited Jefferson House the very day he arrived and met with HE Jim Spain and his son Bill, and what was to be a brief chat turned out into a nightmare, a few hours of question time or shall I say interrogation.
Jim wanted to know every thing about Sri Lanka, that evening itself.

That was Jim Spain. He did not want to tread on any one’s toes . “I told him that we are yet, very much colonial, in style in many ways. “Yes Sir No Sir” to bosses and high ranking officials etc, etc.

Finally he said he had two more questions for that day. One “Do Sri Lankans go hunting, if so what do they hunt? Two: “Do you play tennis”?

Many are the weekend hunts that we did together in the plantation, I managed at Hewaheta in the Nuwara Eliya district ( Hope Group ), and many a successful night as much as many an unsuccessful night.

In later years after retirement, I introduced Jim to a few of my planting buddies who were keen hunters and volunteer Army officers together with me and who had served in active duties as Platoon commanders. Many are the occasions we have gone on hunts with my friends Sarath De Soysa ( Army), Ronnie Gunaratne, Neomal Basnayake ( B.I.L.)., and Errol Arnolda (Army).

Jim was the only Sri Lankan who served “Wild Boar Ham.” He experimented it and asked my nephew, Sumithra, who was MD at Elephant House to try to cure a leg of wild boar and it turned out to be a great success with hardly any layers of fat and many were the diplomats and friends who were treated to, or demanded wild boar ham sandwiches when they visited Jim.

I was tremendously popular in diplomatic circles especially with the hunting enthusiasts, the Cubans ( Olga & Moises ), Chezcs Z Deno Litavsky, Bulgarians, Polish (Drodsz), Iraquis ( Thariq), and Russians (Igor), to name a few.

Jim, as much as he was a keen hunter was also a keen tennis player and played the game not only for the sake of exercise but also with the intent of winning. He was always partnered by me and many are the times I have heard him, muttering to himself , referring to God and I thought that he was praying to the good Lord , for a victory. Instead when I got close to him it went like; “God Damn it Spain” or “Nihal you cover the net and I will cover the baseline”. ( Easily said than done, where I was concerned).
We had enjoyable times on the court with , Hans Moneimius, Ambassadors Marrion V Creekmoore, Syed El Ban Hawy,Tonia Shand, & John Field to name a few, from memory., and amongst the Sri Lankan community, my brother Lakshman, Surendra Seneviratne, nephew Rohantha Athukorala, Asoka De Silva, and R.L.Anthony Perera.

Ambassador Spain had another first in addition to wildboar ham. He was the first and perhaps the only US ambassador in history to go on a joint hunt with the Iraqi Ambassador, organised by me. To put it mildly, they were not at loggerheads then, I am talking about the late 1980’s , yet for all, nor were these countries, in the best of terms. I will elucidate a little more, to put the record straight. Jim was then retired US ambassador. When I broached the topic that the Iraqi Ambassador too had made a request to join us, Jim, replied saying, “Nihal I am not inviting him, you are the host, as long as he does not come into my sight, I will have no problem. Ha! What humour!

Come Sunday afternoon and one would see Jim at the famous Colombo Club. He had a luncheon date each Sunday with the world famous Science Fiction writer and award winner Sir Arthur C Clarke and mutual friend Hans Monheimus, until the very end.

He was kind and considerate to folks in trouble. He was a close friend of the famous “Podi Hamuduruwo”as he would refer to him. Very many are the charities he contributed to. He was a very generous soul.

On one occasion I told Jim that I will speak to his landlord to get the entrance corridor white washed, as Jim kept an impeccable house. Jim told me that he had found a solution to this problem by inviting President J.R.Jayewardene to dinner and mildly informed the building administrator about it and presto, the following day all hell broke loose and both corridors were painted and looked spick and span when the President visited Jim.

Each year on his birthday, the 22nd of July, our family together with Mrs.Christobel Weerasinghe (Her late dear husband was our Ambassador in Washington many years ago); would take a Chinese dinner and share it with Jim at his residence and sing Happy Birthday over a one candle cake.

Each year on Christmas Day he would join our family for luncheon when not invited else where, and we would drop by on the 25th evening each year with gifts for Jim and he in turn would have exclusive, personalized gifts for each one of us, gift wrapped by the Smithsonian Institute or Maceys or some such special departmental store in the US costing several hundreds of dollars.

He cared for his 4 domestics to the very end and provided for them on his departure.
I was also interpretor mudaliyar to him as he did not speak Tamil nor Sinhalese. I could go on and on, 21 long years down memory lane in the company of Jim Spain, but space precludes me from doing so.
May the turf lie soft on Jim and may eternal light shine upon him.
Requestcant in pacem.

Nihal C.I. De Silva

 His longest standing friend in Sri Lanka

****

Prof. James Randunna Corea: An orthopedic surgeon par excellence

It is with great sadness and with a sense of disbelief that I write this appreciation about a person who has had a profound influence on my life. It was only three weeks ago that I received an email from Professor Corea. I never envisaged that it would be the last email from him.

I first met Professor Corea in 1995, prior to which I have seen so many other doctors, and honestly I had lost all confidence in doctors by then. Professor Corea was however very different from the others I had seen, and was on a league of his own. I was one of his first patients and starting from our first meeting, we developed a great doctor – patient relationship.

I could recognise from day one that he was a very special doctor with very rare qualities, because he was willing to pay attention to a 16 year old teenager, who was struggling with life’s challenges both physically and psychologically.

Professor Corea’s surgical skills were brilliant and his kind nature and humane qualities were always an encouragement not only to me, but to many who consulted him. His corrective surgery enabled me to walk properly again, which I thought was not possible after few unsuccessful surgeries by other doctors.

He helped me to face life, much scarred by a narrow-minded society. He was one among the handful of people who believed in me at a time when I didn’t believe in myself. Words cannot convey the admiration and the gratitude that I have for him.

Sri Lanka will remember him as an exemplary orthopedic surgeon who transformed so many lives to face a better future. He was a beacon of integrity, par excellence, his commitments were always met and his promises always kept. I sincerely hope many other doctors will follow his footsteps.

I still find it hard to comprehend that Professor Corea is no more, but memories of him will always remain impressed in my mind and in so many others forever.

I extend my deepest sympathy to his wife and his children’s in their hour of grief. It is an irreplaceable loss to all who knew him.
He was truly a great man. May his soul rest in peace.
Primal Aubert Fernando

****

 

 

 

 

 

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