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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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
|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
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
Regarding this matter many complaints have been made but no action
has been taken.
C. M. Kamburawala
|For all Three Decades!
Why die any further
Silent thieves as fund raisers
Remember, the limbless are forever.
Irene de Silva
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!
|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
Capt. L. B. Lanka (Wilbawe) Jayaratne
Mrs. Iranganie Devi Seneviratne Jayaratne
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!