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Did you cause the floods?

For most of us, the recent floods were just some news and figures. Though the loss of lives was minimal, many of us don’t recognise the trauma of going through such calamity. We do not realise the pain of having to move out of our homes, to stay without meals or a cup of tea, to see our loved ones sleeping among strangers on the bare floor, to realise our houses have been burgled in our absence, to return to find our meagre possession spoilt beyond repair by rain water, loss of daily wages due to the weather, many more which most of us are mercifully spared of.
However, we must stop and think whether we have been the cause of these floods directly or indirectly. Did we cause this misery to thousands knowingly or unknowingly? You may be surprised to find the answer is in the affirmative in more than one way.
If you are in residence in a house situated in an area reclaimed from where the water should have drained, then you have been certainly been responsible for quite a large number of people’s misery. Can you claim ignorance? Not really. We are responsible for our every action. It is our duty to find out the impact of each of our actions. And if necessary we ought to rectify it.
If you had this nasty habit of throwing plastic and sili sili bags covetously into the drains and wayside garbage dumps, yes, you are one of the culprits. Blockage of the drains has been the major cause this time for fast floods built up in urban areas. It may have been that little bag that you threw which was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
If you were this anti-nature person who hates trees, who never planted one but thrived cutting them down for one reason or another- yes, you contributed to the floods. You may have been the mudalali who was felling trees illegitimately or may have been the furniture buff who kept buying new furniture just for the fun of it without thinking twice what this is doing to nature yes, you are another culprit.
In another small but sure way was to waste papers forgetting every inch of paper comes from trees and by not reducing waste or not reusing or recycling papers we all contributed to the floods causing havoc in the natures balance and don’t we feel guilty?
Where we all have to share the blame and hang our heads in shame is the fact that in spite of repeated warning of floods we did preciously nothing about it, last year, the year before, and the year before.
We like the proverbial ostrich which buries the head in the sand wishing the trouble to go away, we all kept quiet knowing very well it is just another spell of rain that will bring the flood water to our own doorsteps. When it did, we wring our hands in despair.
So what do we do? We listen to news, read the figures day in day out, and go our own ways thanking the Lord that it was just a touch and go?
So now, do you feel that you are also part of this large picture?
And what are you going to do about it?

Dr Mrs Mareena Thaha Reffai


Bill Gates marketing flowerpots

About a month ago, I had to go to Akbar Town Mosque, Hunupitiya, Wattala to attend a funeral of an old boy of my school. (By the way, may Almighty Allah bless him, forgive him and grant him Jannathul Firdouse). What surprised me were the flowerpots kept on the steps to the entrance to the mosque and those kept in the garden. Would you believe that the pots were not the usual ones made out of clay or cement? The pots were beige plastic pots with pores. These were the casings of computer monitors.
I wonder what would happen to those in the pottery industry, if we go for discarded computer monitors instead of purchasing the normal clay or cement pots. This is another instance of recycling old monitor casings, the other one is where it is being used as baskets mounted on pushbikes. How many more uses these casings will be put into, we have to wait and see.

Mohamed Zahran


Conflict resolution

From the media we gather that the President has appointed a high powered commission to look into the subject of Conflict Resolution.
Based on media reports, as to the mandate given to the commission, one wonders whether the purpose of this exercise is to resolve our national conflict which could be traced to 1930s.
Although reference has been made to this commission being like the work done in Northern Ireland and South Africa, the main mandate is to learn lessons.
The study of learning lessons is focussed on the ceasefire between Ranil Wickremesinghe led Parliament of Sri Lanka and the Tigers brokered by the Norwegians. Thereafter, the commission is to report as to what happened from the collapse of the ceasefire till May 2009.
Looking at this critically in the context of today’s Colombo and Sri Lanka, one gets the impression that the purpose of this exercise is to criticise Ranil Wickremesinghe’s attempt on conflict resolution and uphold the methodology chosen by the Government of Sri Lanka from 2005 onwards. This comes out clearly in an interview given by our Defence Secretary who is also now in charge of urban development.
According to Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the period from 2005 to 2009 is the most significant years in the recent history of Mother Lanka.
As for a student of conflict resolution at its best, the work of this commission will not handle national reconciliation. On the other hand, it will enhance the conflict already existing between the UNP and the SLFP. Once again, the southern conflict is focussed. The age old problem of the minorities will once again be shelved.
Nimal Bheveti, a regular writer in the columns of our newspapers in a recent contribution has asked the question why this exercise.
Over to all Sri Lankans interested in national reconciliation and the future of Mother Lanka.

Sydney Knight


Kindness to animals

At a time when kindness to human beings is sliding down talking of kindness to animals might be incongruous. Yet, if human beings are to raise their level of kindness to their fellow beings, they must start to show their kindness to animals as well.

Recently, I heard over the radio that in Taiwan the government has opened two multi-storey nursing homes for cats and dogs with cancer and heart diseases.
About two years ago, a cat with two kittens came into the compound where I was staying and in a few days she and one of the kittens disappeared. The other kitten, a male, was deserted alone and deeply distressed. I earned for it, though I myself existing on vegetable diet. Last year a female cat came pursuing him. She was an enterprising and forward creature and very beautiful. She was pregnant and came up to me and pleaded with me to allow her to come to the room where I was staying in the first floor of the building where I was the only occupant, though with a few rooms. She managed to get into the room and I allowed her to stay in my room with the other cat. In the course of time, she littered and the way she cared for the three kittens was amazing, always hugging them, kissing them tenderly and feeding them, I saw to it that she did not have to go in search of food for her. Some of my friends came forward to take the kittens when once they started to walk and eat. But unfortunately all the three kittens died one after another in a month’s time.

I was making preparation to leave Colombo and go to Jaffna, my birthplace, for my healthcare, in my advanced age. I was highly worried about the female cat getting pregnant again and being in a desperate position to look after herself and the kittens. I contacted a veterinary surgeon to have her sterilised for which I had to pay about Rs. 1,000 and I had to take the cat to his dispensary, a fairly long way. Taking her was a problem.

At this juncture my friend Stanley, who is a bachelor like me and an animal lover who goes feeding stray cats and dogs, got a lady member of the Animal Welfare and Protection Association to do the sterilisation and the operation on the male cat also free of charge through the association. He also got the association to have another pair of cats, male and female, in a nearby compound, which I used to feed, to be sterilised and operated. The doctor came to my place, took the cats in his van and brought them back in about three hours after the operations. It is a wonderful sight to see these animals kissing each other and playing about.

This association is, I understand, headed by a medical specialist who is or was the head of a government medical institution and the other members are also of high standing. They have been, I also understand, doing this mobile service to the animals silently for many years. Their services should be appreciated and, above all, supported by members of the society whether animal lovers or not and also by the government.



Remembering Arahant Mahinda on Poson Day

In the stillness of the night this Poya Day,
Full moon shone brightly in the Milky Way,
Casting its benign look on the human race,
Heralding an era for man to be humane,

Bathed in the moon light at Mihintale,
Stood Arahant Mahinda in all his grace,
Bringing a message from King Asoka the Great,
To King Devanampiyatissa of Lanka’s fame.

He saw Devanampiyatissa giving chase,
With bow and arrow, taking aim.
At a deer, running, knowing its fate,
That was the picture on this eventful day.

Tissa! Tissa! Called Mahinda, far away,
The King was aghast; who could call my name?
Seeing a halo on the rock at Mihintale,
He left his chase and obeisance he paid.

While preaching the Dhamma, in silence, Tissa stayed,
Gave up his chase, Dhamma he embraced,
Enthroned Buddhism as religion of the state,
To rule the country in the Buddhist way.

Let Arahant Mahinda be remembered on this holy day,
Seek solace in the sublime Dhamma way,
According to the preaching of Buddha, a treasure he gave,
And attain Nibbana, the souless state.

G. A. D. Sirimal


Malfunctioning teller machine

People’s Electronic Teller machine installed within the precinct of the Maggona branch is not working properly and on most of the days it is out of order.
This has caused much inconvenience to the clients of this bank branch and SET cardholders. Thus, any person who needs fast cash has to go another 10 km distance to the next ATM machine in the Aluthgama town.
Regarding this matter many complaints have been made but no action has been taken.

C. M. Kamburawala


For all Three Decades!

We lived...through it
Why die any further
Silent thieves as fund raisers
Remember, the limbless are forever.

Irene de Silva
Colombo 5



Mrs Vinitha Samarawickrama

She led a meaningful life

That fateful day, February 21, 2008 was an extremely sad day that brought very sad news of a dear one giving great pain of mind to all who knew her specially to our family. It is really too much and too bitter to hear that she is no more. To those of us who had the good fortune to associate her closely, we have lost a sincere genuine personality from our midst - a lovable and charming lady of exceptional calibre. My association with her started after the marriage of my daughter to her son. It is little over a decade since I got to know her. She was exceptionally a fine person, the type that one will rarely come across. She was calm, soft spoken, warm and well mannered with her friendly personality. It is with great respect that I recall the time, though not very long, I spent with her. Small in stature, she was very simple but sophisticated at the same time in keeping with her dignity. The fact that she belonged to the old stock of imperial days was well reflected in her. From her early childhood she had been brought up in the family traditions and grew up to be a pretty young lady at the time of her marriage.

Born to a very respectable and well renowned aristocratic family in the South during the Imperial regime, she was very proud to speak of her ancestry. She took great delight in relating them to us as a common topic when reminiscing the past. During happy moments she would narrate the glorious past of her family. Being the only daughter, one person whom she adored very much was her only brother Danister Serasinghe, a reputed lawyer of the imperial era. She had a very happy family life married to the late D.I.G. Winnie Samarawickrama, a very sincere and honest personality dedicated to the profession - a person of rare qualities who is said to have believed in the honest performance of his duties. She took great delight and pleasure in actively participating in the household activities natural in a happy family. The stability of a good home was always there. She was a devoted wife and an affectionate mother to her illustrious children, all doing well in life. She lost her husband in late 90’s (September 1, 96). She spoke about her husband with admiration recalling the good work and the service he had rendered. She was a pillar of strength in all his activities. The Venerable Nayaka Thera of Mettarama temple mentioned how she displayed her concern and deep affection during the terminal illness of her husband who also was in the habit of visiting and had close connections with the temple consulting them on important matters. He repeatedly emphasised how he had been blessed with a caring, dedicated wife who attended to all his needs to the last. She had a deep respect for the Sanga. She spent her sunset years mostly involved in religious activities and regular alms were given to the temple. She knew the essence of the teachings of the Buddha very well. According to the Nayaka Thera, the merit she had acquired in her life span was more than sufficient for her sansaric journey.

During happy moments she would recall her student days at her Alma Mater. I was told that she received her education boarded in the hostel of most prestigious school at Matara, St Mary’s Convent. She was a very familiar figure in the school, actively participating in most of the activities of the day. Very often she fondly recalled happy moments of laughter in school.

Her sincerity and affection towards us can never be erased from my mind. I remember so well the many many trips we went together to Kataragama, Kandy etc. to visit religious places, whose company I treasured very much. On every occasion we met at a party or get-together she was there with her usual smile, warmth and hospitality beyond words. She was the chief entertainer at family gatherings which was later passed on to her children during the evening of her life. Her birthday, July 7, was celebrated annually by the children where we also participated to make her happy. Lalith figured prominently on every occasion. She had led a very good social life helping the poor and the needy and also enjoyed her life to the fullest before the demise of her husband after which she tried her best to fulfill her family obligations.
The mouth watering brinjal, pickle, marshmallows, milk and coconut toffees prepared by her were delicacies enjoyed by the entire household. Her demise is mourned by all her relatives and friends and those whom she helped with a noble heart. Her only loving grandson, little Vihan also feels her absence very much. She was often well praised as a very good mother-in-law. Her memory will certainly live as one of those who led a meaningful life. She has left a memory so beautiful which will not fade away with the passage of time. Let this be a tribute to her. May she attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana!

Rupa Banduwardene


Senator C. Sarath Wijesinghe

Millionaire with sterling qualities

Senator Sarath Wijesinghe of Miriswatte Walawwe, Miriswatte, Kaburupitiya was a Senator of Parliament of Sri Lanka (1956-1965). He was the Minister of Nationalised Services of S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike Government. He was a landowner/planter by profession, managed his own estate group of companies which are situated in all planting districts of Sri Lanka. Senator Sarath Wejesinghe hailed from a very outstanding and respectable family in Kamburupitiya. His parents were Muhandiram D. F. Wijesinghe of Kaburupitiya and Mrs. S. L. Goonatillake Wijesinghe of Weligama. They were leading agriculturists/planters, graphite miners.
I can remember during the Parliamentary election campaign of 1956 Rt. Hon General Sir John L. Kotalawela, Prime Minister of Ceylon then, wanted to have lunch with him which he prepared for him by 12.30 p.m. But he did not turn up even till 4.00 p.m. Sarath Wijesinghe was so furious, he got his workers to lock up the gates. Sir John came by about 5.00 p.m. and he ordered the watchers not to open the gates which they obeyed. Chandrasena Wijesinghe was a well disciplined gentleman with sterling qualities. He contested Hakmana and Akuressa seats unsuccessfully. He was married to one of the sisters of. Dr. S. A. Wickramasinghe M.P., and had only daughter, Nandani Wijesinghe who was subsequently married to attorney-at-law Vernon Dissanaike, who too are no more now. Senator Sarath Wijesinghe, a multimillionaire treated his poor relations well.
May he be born among us till he achieves Nibbana in his journey in Sansara!

Capt. L. B. Lanka (Wilbawe) Jayaratne
Mrs. Iranganie Devi Seneviratne Jayaratne



Lakshman Jinadasa

Left friends in a sea of sorrow

It is with deep sense of grief that I write these words of our beloved friend who passed away a few weeks ago. Leaving a whole world of friends in an untold sea of sorrow, he passed away at a private hospital. Anybody who associated with Luxman, many of whom affectionately called him “Jinna,” even for a short while will bear testimony to the agony his family and friends are going through and the silent thoughts and the wound that have been engraved in their hearts since his demise.
Jinna always had a deep sense of humane qualities and never forgot the poor and the underprivileged. So was he to his friends. Kindness was stamped in all the words he spoke and every step he took. Sincerity was his theme in life and his clean way of handling matters won the implicit trust of all his friends and associates. The most admirable and endearing feature we all loved to be around him from our childhood was his simplicity.
People of noble virtues are hard to find and Jinna was a man of deeds than words. His prime concern and priority were his family and the business and he always had time for any of his friends.
All your friends cherish those lovely memories and have had to bear the emptiness your demise created. Jinna, have a nice and pleasant journey; we pay our tribute to a truly remarkable friend!

K.R. Pushparanjan
Mt. Lavinia




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