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The modern day hero
The most recognised Sri Lankan face
He can be the only “life of the party”
Enjoying success and good fortune
Capitalise on it, your magnetism strong
Positive increased personal power
More and more clout begins to register.
Burning desires to accomplish
Considered strategies put into place
Greatly widens the scope what can achieve
Keep mind focussed through positive
Will make the progress you’ve been seeking
And begin to brim with vitality and promise.
The stars begins to supply rocket fuel
Your vision broad enough what SL want
Explore the unknown and the unknowable
The outcome beckons like a ‘crown’
Accommodate more ‘Chintana’ ideals
So make along nicely and much can be achieved.
Days may have already warmed your heart
About all the meetings, even those that
Come by surprise will tingle, exiting success
So remain sharp, ride that ‘success wave’
‘The architect of new visionary ideas” I compared with Ghandhi,
Jinnah and Mao
An uncanny spiritual and inspired legacy.
In your challenging life journey
To weave SL’s winning success
Deeper self empowers action
May ‘true blue’ wishes come true
To see the star trail open
And take my country’s fate
Where it wishes and where it will.
With your vivacious personality
And worthwhile interest
People are drawing to you by speeches
Now those others find very attractive
Bringing power to realise the future
And the outcome will be delightful
So revel in your new insights.
Progress cannot be halted
No matter who what getting you down
Will overcome all in more ways than you know
You will shout from roof tops
Rewards for efforts coming your way
And the ‘wheel of fortune’
You displayed gentle side to the world
After communicating from the heart
SL won’t be ungrateful you little ‘soldier’
So stay’ grounded and touch the stars’
And if the ‘ CROWN’ fits wear it
You will know what life’s maze to astound you!
Major General, rtd
Let loose the rebel within you
No matter what your height is
You know you are taller than you think?
Lightness and brightens every step
And success surrounds you General
Use that good portion of animal instinct.
Devoted to those who love
But beware of betrayals
For you’ll travel the world
And live thousand times
To settle the score
Although love conquers all General.
Things are looking up
With each passing day
Achievements of your goals
Closer to significant resolutions
But don’t get caught up if you win
With those unnecessary extravaganza General.
Wisdom and kindness with humanness
Knowledge and good portion of instinct
No matter what life brings you General
Stars adorn your noble pathway
To navigate SL by the “lone star” General.
Organise your time well
To cash on high points
Wanting to win any argument
To bring your hidden strength
If someone plotting against you
To disarm him or her in advance general.
Good fortune has its eye on you
Drive the open road with care
Turning corners with care
And cast off excess baggage
As a detour may require
Keeping clear to get you there.
From Chilaw to Batti
Jaffna to Dondra through Central
As you take critical corners
Major Goals come into view
And time to scale those pinnacles.
Your home with the beloved
Ready for enrichment
Make sure you pick up
Helping the poor, the old, sick
And under privileged to
Weave a fortune into your life.
|Sri Lanka - A land blessed with natural
|Our country is one of those countries with sea right round with
a rich source of fish of many varieties unlike some landlocked
countries and nature against them. Also the various fresh water
lakes and rivers are special to our country. But, other countries
explore our natural resources. They come and poach in our seas for
months along and take away tons and tons of fish.
What have we done to explore these natural gifts? Also our fresh
water lakes and rivers have not been explored fully for irrigation,
power and fresh-water fisheries etc.
Our soil is so rich that anything sow germinates. Look at the lush
greenery all over the country. With so much of water resources,
fertile soil, our country should be self-sufficient in rice, sugar,
vegetables, onions, garlic etc. Also with so much of fodder we
should be self-sufficient in milk. What have we done to explore
these natural resources?
Fruits, a wide variety, though seasonal are only special to our
country. The bananas (16 varieties), avocados, rambuttans, guavas,
durians, passion fruits, jaks, jumbus, oranges, mandarins, grape
fruits, grapes, apples, mangosteens, mangoes, papayas, what juicy
fruits are these? Have their cultivation on a commercial scale
undertaken to supply the world. What have we done to explore these
With the sea right round, have we explored fully the tourist
potential? With the many scenic locations in the hills, in the
mountains, by the river, by the forest etc, with so much of
wildlife, the local birds, the migratory birds, etc what have done
to explore these natural resources?
With rains all 365 days - a gift from the rain Gods, though there
are the drought prone zones, unlike other countries, these do not
prolong for years as in some countries. Have we utilised these
natural gifts to the full? What have we done?
No, doubt all efforts are made to get the benefit from these
natural resources but sad to say not explored to the full. What have
we done to explore these natural resources?
Come on you the politicians, the scientists, the academics, the
business community, the privileged in our society rise up to the
occasion and explore to the fullest the potentialities of our
natural resources and make our country self-sufficient with the
Natural Gifts. Why should we importing tin fish, rice, dhall, sugar,
fruits, dry fish, Maldives fish, onions, and the many alike?
|My vote to end ear-splitting noise
|“The man of honour should minister to his friends... by
liberality, courtesy, benevolence, and by doing to them as he would
be done by.” - (Sigalovada-suttar)
It appears that the monks are above the law. This is another
category of citizens who enjoy this privilege.
To highlight my point let me place on record what happened. On
Sunday, December 27, as advertised, the chief incumbent of
Gunawardanaramaya Temple in Koralawella Moratuwa held its annual
“Sangamitta Perahera”. The loudspeakers that lined the road, the
penetration and numbers of which have progressively increased in the
recent years, commenced their intrusion into personal space at
around 10.00 a.m. in the morning and of course, it drove me away
from the comfort of my home, not being able to bear the noise level.
I, however, hoped to return when I thought the noise would subside
as evening progressed.
On returning home around seven in the evening, as one would, to
the comfort of home the noise from the loud speakers was 5tH! as
strong as it was, but since there was some rain which I thought
would encourage proceedings to finish early, and that the monk,
being a monk, would let sanity prevail. I assumed that the noise
would stop at 10.00 as was required by law, so I decided to stay in
my home of over 25 years and endure the noise for a few more hours,
and not run away as I did in the morning.
Alas! I was sadly mistaken, not only did the loudspeakers
continue to dish out the noisy drivel, the volume doubled as well.
The time was now well past 10.00 pm. I tossed and turned in bed in a
fume effort to shut out the noise, to no avail. Ear plugs capable of
shutting out noise from Formula One cars too failed. There was no
hiding from the deafening sounds, short of moving to another
It was torture in the extreme, from the ear-splitting noise and
sleep deprivation, and what appalled me was that it was dished out
by a monk in the name of Buddhism, with absolute impunity and total
disregard to the law and the comfort of fellow beings and animals
alike, totally against the Buddhist doctrine. This continued
unabated till after 3.30 a.m. the following day.
My night totally wasted, the following morning, another day, I
went forth to face the other perils of life in this island, which
are too much to enumerate here.
This loudspeaker use is a very regular occurrence, especially in
religious use and often commercially, and I write this in complete
frustration and in a miserable and helpless state and in the belief
that at least the publication of this letter and the use of my
franchise would grant me redress.
I would, therefore, wish to advise those presidential contenders
that my vote is for whoever stops this madness. I would also invite
my fellow citizens to follow me in supporting this. May I also spare
a thought for the sick, animals and birds who have had to suffer
this unusual cacophony.
Finally to those monks who perpetrate this horrific noise another
thought from the Buddha,
“The member of Buddha’s order... should not intentionally destroy
the life of any being, down even to a worm or an ant.” - (Mahavagga)
D. M. Balasuriya
|The miracle of an Iranian saint in Sri Lanka
|Muslims of Sri Lanka attribute the luscious growth and beauty of
natural vegetation, of our spicy land and it being immune from major
permanent calamities to the presence of shrines, temples, mosques,
churches and kovils. The tsunami caused only a limited damage and
was short-lived. Sri Lankans generally are very religious even
atheists and rationalists among them though they publicly deny
religion, privately during the birth of a child, a marriage and at a
death ceremony insists on recitals of prayers and seek blessings not
withstanding their disbelief in spiritual matters.
As I am more
aware of Islamic practices, a legendary narrative of an Iranian
saint who visited our island now interned in Shiraz, Iran would
underscore the spiritual blessings on Sri Lankans. The name of the
saint was Abdullah ibn Khafif. Ibn Batuta in his book ‘Travels in
Asia and Africa 1325-1354 translated and selected by H.A.R. Gibb
George Rutledge & Sons Ltd pp 95-96, 256 details the miracle of this
saint. It must be remembered that Ibn Batuta was a world famous
traveller who recorded experiences of his travels in widely read
books. Ibn Batuta says that Abdullah ibn Khafif occupies a high
place among the saints and relates the following story about him.
“One day the sheik went to the mountains of Serendib (Adam’s
Peak) in the land of Ceylon accompanied by about 30 darwishes. They
were overcome by hunger on the way, in an uninhabited locality, and
lost their bearings. They asked the sheik to allow them to seize one
of the small elephants, of which there was a large number in that
place and which were then going to be transported to the king of
India. The sheik forbade them but their hunger got the better of
them and they disobeyed him and seizing a small elephant, killed and
“That night, as they slept, the elephants gathered from all quarters
and came upon them, smelling each one of them and killing him until
they made an end to them all. They smelled the sheik too but offered
no violence to him; one of them lifted him with its trunk, put him
on its back and brought him to the inhabited district.”
“When the people of that inhabited area saw him, they marveled at
him and came out to meet him and hear his story. As it came near
them, the elephant lifted him with its trunk and placed him on the
ground in full view of them. I visited this island of Ceylon….”
Describing his sojourn in Sri Lanka then known as Ceylon (p256)
Ibn Batuta states:” After passing the small town of Bandar Salawat
(Chilaw) our way lay through rugged country intersected with
streams. In this part there are many elephants, but they do no harm
to pilgrims and strangers, through the blessed favour of the Sheik
Abdullah Ibn Khafif who was the first to open this road for the
pilgrimage to Adam’s Peak.
The Sinhalese people used formally to prevent Muslims from making
the pilgrimage and would maltreat them, and neither eat nor trade
with them, but since the adventure that happened to the Sheik, as
related above, they honoured the Muslims, allowed them to enter
their houses, eat with them, and had no suspicion regarding their
dealings with their wives and children. The Sinhalese people have
not forgotten Sheik Abdullah Ibn Khafif from Iran and to this day
they continue to play the greatest veneration to this Sheik and call
him, “the Great sheik” of Iran.
The affinity of the spirit of this Iranian Sheik long ago may
explain why the Islamic Republic of Iran has very close relations
with the Rajapaksa government, President Ahamadinejad is a very
close personal friend of our President Rajapaksa and Iran has given
huge amounts of funds for the development of the Uma Oya project,
the Petroleum refinery in Sapugaskande and for rural
electrification. Muslims believe the death of a saint is only a
physical death the spirit or soul lives in ‘barzagh’ a temporary
place till the Day of Judgment. In this state the saint with the
approval of God has the power of intercession to alleviate the
suffering of people who are alive. Who knows that the descendents of
the people who at one time long ago was hospitable to the saint
would have pleaded for intercession of the saint for relief from
economic hardship which resulted in Iranian help to the Rajapaksa
government. Those who know about spiritual matters do not reject
this possibility. However the atheist and agnostics will not
|Zebra crossing opposite Jetawanaramaya Temple
|I have noticed that not only the devotees to the above temple
situated on Jetawana Road, Colombo 14 but also the general public
are also very much inconvenienced on account of the bus-stop and the
crossing being located very close to each other. The reason is when
two or more buses want to stop at the same time at this particular
halt, there is no alternative but to encroach onto the pedestrian
crossing, making it risky and inconvenient for those who want to
cross the road. I have seen quite a large number of people come to
this temple and therefore, I suggest that the either the crossing,
which is somewhat right in front of the gate of the temple be
shifted or else the bus stop, in order to accommodate more buses
coming to the halt simultaneously.
I spoke to one of the priests, Venerable Madawela Dhammika
yesterday morning and his response was that it was not only an
obstruction but also a risk to one’s life - baadaawak vitharak
novai, maaraanthikai - if I were to quote him verbatim. I would like
the authorities responsible to know that the priest is also in
favour of keeping a reasonable distance, than what it is now,
between the crossing and the bus halt. Please note that a large
number of students also attend the tuition classes conducted in the
temple premises and therefore, it is very urgent that the Colombo
Municipal Council or the RDA, whichever is responsible take suitable
action soon, please.
|Lasting Post (Sri Lanka)
of war victories
Subjects of executive presidencies
Betwixt maturity and history
Repeating 26th Jan 2010 to the date
The words...abolish, abandon or abdicate.
Irene de Silva
|JOAN DE MEL
|Founder of Sumithrayo
We at Sumithrayo fondly remember our Mentor, Mother
and Founder Joan De Mel who passed away on December 27, 2008 in
Colombo at the age of 87 years, leaving behind her daughter Penny
and son Nick. Joan, the widow of a British Army Officer came to Sri
Lanka in 1971 to marry Bishop Lakdasa De Mel. Five years of
abundantly blessed and happy marriage convinced her that Sri Lanka
was her home where she claimed to have lived with her natural
elements, with the large family of the Bishop and many warm hearted
Sri Lankan friends.
Energetic and totally committed Joan was
persuaded into starting a branch of Befrienders International in Sri
Lanka, by none other than Chad Varah - the founder of the Worldwide
Organisation called “The Samaritans” which helps those who are
desperate, depressed, and lonely and contemplate suicide. Joan has
worked as a “Samaritan” in London. Knowing too well that it is a
daunting prospect for a foreigner especially in a strange land and
culture, Joan spent sleepless nights amidst insurmountable odds with
disheartening results. Then Dr Hugh, physician of Joan’s husband
(Bishop) rekindled her interest when he inquired one day, whether
there is any place in England which the suicidal can seek contact to
be dissuaded from committing suicide, as Dr Hugh had to deal with
four attempted cases of suicides admitted to his ward that day. At
that time there were no proper statistics on suicides in Sri Lanka.
Why England? Why not here? Joan went back to her initial idea.
So, Joan seriously commenced her project with a new energetic
steering committee comprising Dr Wijerama, Mansoor and Nalini
mapping out various plans like obtaining a suitable building,
telephones, and volunteers of the appropriate blend of race,
character and abilities with effective training. Formalities to
register as a charitable organisation was taken into hand. Sri Lanka
Sumithrayo was established as a probationary branch of Befriender’s
International in 1974 despite diverse frustrations and anxieties
confronted during the course, but were overcome and managed with the
encouragement and enthusiastic support of her husband, friends and
well wishers. The name Sumithrayo was chosen after careful
consideration to mean “Best Friends” which seemed similar to
Befrienders. With Sri Lanka Sumithrayo (SLS) coming to reality,
Joan’s dreams of a peaceful retirement in her adopted country was
shattered and transformed into a busy, hectic and active schedule
helping out Sumithrayo. It is noteworthy and highly appreciable that
she continued as a volunteer at Sumithrayo like any other volunteer
till her last, which act portrayed her unstinted commitment to the
cause, age being no barrier!
Tender loving care is what Sumithrayo offers. Think what it
means! Someone who is unpleasant, perhaps unkempt or aggressive,
certainly difficult to love, is cared for so tenderly by an unknown
volunteer friend at Sumithrayo. It obviously transforms them to
regain their stature in their own eyes, which in turn makes them
feel that their immediate burdens are lessened and they have a
friend in need to support.
Joan’s husband, Bishop Lakdasa De Mel, passed away peacefully
after a brief illness in 1976 with contentment and satisfaction
having given his wholehearted support to the establishment of
Sumithrayo. We Sumithrayos are extremely grateful to him for being
the prop and force behind Joan and also for giving his valuable land
subsequently for the functioning of SLS. Joan being a contributor of
various articles to newspapers and church magazines, authored her
first book as a catharsis soon after her husband’s death, titled
“Lakdasa De Mel: God’s Servant, World Citizen’s Son”, which was
widely circulated and well received.
Joan also authored another book “Closer than a Brother” the title
of the book itself is a quotation from ‘Proverbs’ of the “Holy
Bible” which emphasises that the Sumithrayo exists, to offer caring
and genuine friendship to those who are overwhelmed by their
personal problems. She has portrayed honestly how Sumithrayo was
given birth inspite of the uncertainties of its early days, and of
the hopes, ideals and enthusiasm that have ensured its continuation
and development up to the present day.
We Sumithrayos are ever grateful for her invaluable contribution to
May she find eternal peace!
Sri Lanka Sumithrayo
One year death anniversary
|In memory of Lasantha
was predominantly, what we prayed for you….
As menace incessantly chased you….
Smile of yours seemed undying and alluring,
A depiction of sunshine in times of dejection…
Nothing on earth would match, no nothing at all….
To your legitimacy, where duty came first - in that service, you
Hellenic one may say, who hardly knew the man in you,
Not forgetting your imperative views….
Arrogant - another may say, to which not even were you close…
And perhaps could not even be, by force…
Well, for all of us au-fait with you - Lasantha,
You were the sweetest, the funniest, the warmest, the wittiest and
the able of them all…
Virtue seemed utterly a word meant for you,
Now many seem to cogitate, after you are no more….
Children were a world to you, amidst the hectic path you aspired in
Benevolence for them did naturally unfold - for kids you poured your
heart and soul
To retort to unending menace - was what you always refrained from,
Not considering you’d one day, pay the price of death, and would be
Endless were the nights - in your search for utter truth,
And working hours never did limit - to that of broad daylight
Reels of newsprint, exposed scandal after scandal…
You fought deadlines, with diligence and resolve
For endless years, you were strived to be hushed…
Ultimately what a shameless act was conduct
Notwithstanding the gravity of danger to your life,
You never took off - not in a single plight
One year goes by - since they came for you….
When they finally did so, no one was to speak for you….
Unbowed and Unafraid - you faced each day,
You lived up to those mere words….
Until your dying day
Now, you are no more among us…
Yet your morality shall sustain, come what may….
An intellect indeed - in exploratory journalism, without qualm,
Who paid the price of death - for exposing sheer facts…
Unbowed and unafraid - you shall march into history,
An audacious man of all time - who stood up for the needy
You shall linger in hearts of many - until the end of time,
Dear editor, mentor, second father and comrade…
Your journey shall continue, until the shore is reached, and
And yet, nothing I shall say - compares to you…
May peace be with you - and no harm once more reach you!