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|A letter from a Malli
This is a letter I wrote several years ago to my older brother,
urging him to get married. I came across it whilst going through
some old files recently.
But my near lyrical appeal fell on deaf ears, for my brother 45
years old then, yet remained a bachelor for life. Incidentally, my
father to whom I refer in this letter remained at the crease up to
96 years and my brother predeceased him. This is the letter.
“My dear Aiya,
First, let me beg your pardon for writing this letter to you, for
you may quite rightly, consider it impertinent and presumptuous.
Nevertheless, please do not assume that I am mad or bad - I am only
sad. And it is this sadness that prompted me to write to you.
My dear Aiya, it is my humble opinion that you have seen, tasted and
possibly digested only one aspect of life, while I am well and truly
sailing merrily on the vast ocean of life, seeing and tasting life
in its glorious entirety.
Life is actually a dream (sometimes a nightmare) and it is only
natural that one should try to make this dream one of happiness and
fulfilment. After all, assuming that we sleep eight hours a day, we
spend one third of our lives in slumber, and the real living is
confined to just two-thirds of our lives.
Wedded life is often referred to as two people rowing a boat through
If one of the two rows erratically or rocks the boat, it is left to
the other to point out, gently and tactfully, the error the other
one is committing and show how the boat should be rowed. (Of course,
if that person, be he the captain or chief mate, insists on rowing
wrong, one is quite justified in throwing him or her overboard.
That’s how lawyers earn a living!)
On the way, passengers might board the boat, and believe me, Aiya,
they add to all the fun of the journey though sometimes you may not
think so, for with them on board, it is most difficult to keep the
boat steady and not rocking.
Of course, if you are footloose and fancy-free, you row alone, and
may think that it is very jolly to do so. But soon you are going to
be tired, bored, frustrated, unhappy and very, very lonely. And when
you do, it may be too late. That is why I am writing to you, for
soon it would be too late for you too.
The time has come for you to sign on a chief mate.
I was convinced of this during our recent holiday in the Jaffna
peninsula, and so were the others in our party.
Aiya, my mind goes back to nearly ten years ago when in 1964, a
young administrator sitting in the medical superintendent’s chair in
the general hospital, Colombo.
All of you, Aiya, my sisters and their spouses, all sat around me
after dinner on my first day in office, and told me that it was time
I took a wife.
I followed your advice, and I tell you quite truthfully and
sincerely, that I do not regret it at all, far, thanks to her, I
have lived (and yet to live) a full and happy life.
I hope and pray, Aiya that you too will add a similarly charming and
gracious person to your crew, and taste the same fulfilment and
happiness I do. Do it, Aiya, before you are forced to abandon the
ship without having lived life to the full.
Take our father as a shining example of a simple man who has lived a
full and contented life, something he could not have done if he did
not take our mother aboard. On the way, they took six passengers,
though one was to last early in the journey.
Many years later, amma too disembarked, but father is not alone in
the boat, for we - five passengers - are yet helping him to row the
boat slowly, but steadily. Please do give what I have said in this
letter serious thought, my dear Aiya.
I am your ever loving Malli.”
W B Wijekoon
Visiting consultant physician
|His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm
brought honour to his country of birth
His Eminence Albert Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, the Archbishop of
Colombo Metropolitan is the pride of Sri Lanka, being the second son
of the Sri Lankan soil to be elevated to the much prestigious
position, a “Prince of the Universal Church”.
His Eminence has brought honour to his country of birth, to the
village, polity at Polgahaweha from where he hails and to Mutuwal
where he was brought up by getting a cardinalate to Mother Sri Lanka
once again almost after four and half a decade.
His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Cooray OMI, was the first Sri Lankan
son elevated by the then Pope Paul VI on February 22, 1965, to the
position of Prince of the Church wearing the ‘Red Hat’.
The cardinals will be addressed as “His Eminence”, a practice which
comes from the year 1630.
Those elevated to rank of cardinals from then on, place their
signature with their first baptismal name in this fashion: Malcolm
The Cardinal was born on November 15, 1947 and was baptised at the
church dedicated to the Virgin Mother of Lourdes at Polgahawela.
He is the only son to Patabendige Don William, a station master by
profession and to Mrs Hettiarchchige Mary Winifred.
He received his primary education at St Andrew’s Vidyalaya,
Mutuwal, at De La Salle College, Mutuwal and at St Benedict’s
At the age of 18, he entered St Aloysius Minor Seminary at Borella
on March 15, 1965 with a letter of recommendation from Rev Fr H Don
Anselm addressed to the then Rector, the late Chilaw Bishop Rt Rev
Dr Franck Marcus Fernando. Bishop Franck Marcus, the Auxiliary to
His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Cooray OMI, took over the office of the
Chilaw See following the retirement of the erudite, scholarly first
Sinhala Bishop Rt Rev Dr Edmund Peiris.
With the moving of Fr Franck Marcus as Auxiliary to Cardinal Cooray
OMI, Malcolm came under the influence of Rt Rev Dr Nicholas Marcus
Fernando, who assumed duties as Rector.
Fr Fernando while serving as a member of the staff of the National
Seminary, Kandy was ordained a Coadjutor Bishop of Colombo and later
assumed office as the Colombo Archbishop, following the retirement
of Cardinal Cooray OMI.
Archbishop Emeritus N M Fernando is now spending his retirement
days at Emmaus at Tewatte. His Spiritual Director at the Minor
Seminary was, Archbishop Emeritus Rt Rev Dr Oswald Gomis who served
as Gnanartha Pradeepaya Editor simultaneously. Bishop Gomis now
spends his retirement days doing research to divulge the hidden
history of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka.
Having completed his philosophical studies at Ampitiya and after
a period of regency (going back to the world) to test his vocation
to the priesthood, he was sent to Rome to continue his Theological
studies. He was ordained a Priest of God by Pope Paul VI on June 29,
1975 and was back in the country in 1978 to serve the People God
first as an Assistant Parish Priest and initiated the Seth Sarana
project in 1983.
He served as the Assistant Parish Priest, Pamunugama / Kepungoda and
Dungalpitiya. He then served as the Parish Priest of Payagala,
Kalutara and Kolonnawa. He also served as lecturer at the Museaus
College Kalutara and Professor at the Blessed Joseph Vaz Deva Dharma
Nikethanaya, Colombo. He then served as the National Director of
Pontifical Mission Society and was also the Archdiocesan Coordinator
for Human Development and Archdiocesan Director of Caritas Colombo -
Fr Malcolm was consecrated as an Auxiliary Bishop on August 31,
1991 by the then Archbishop Nicholas Marcus Fernando at the Basilica
of Our Lady of Lanka, Tewatta and was appointed the first Bishop of
newly created Ratnapura Diocese on November 2, 1995 and took over
the diocese on January 5, 1996. On 2001 October 1, appointed as the
Adjunct Secretary, Congregation for Evangelisation of Peoples,
In the year 2004, he was sent as the Apostolic Nuncio to Indonesia
and Timor East and called back to Vatican in 2005 and was appointed
as the Secretary General of the Congregation for Divine Worship and
the Discipline of the Sacraments, Vatican. He then being appointed
as Archbishop of Colombo See took over the office on August 5, 2009
as the 11th Archbishop with the installation ceremony held at St
Lucia’s Cathedral, Kotahena, Colombo.
His Eminence took over office of the Colombo See from his former
Spiritual Director, who served the Colombo See having come from
Anuradhapura Diocese rendering service for five years in the North
|Eschew violence to relish
The recent uproars in the educational
institutions in our country gives us clear evidence to the theory of
social learning of the modus operandi of using aggression and
violence to achieve goal.
These issues are emerging after the victory achieved in the battle
front inducted by the 30 years of various terrorist tactics and
activities applied by the rebel groups to attain the so-called
emancipation for the subjugated section of our people,
Due to this state of affairs, the moral values and standards of the
nation have been placed in quandary that augurs bad to our future
The degeneration of disciplines and etiquettes in the educational
institutions needs an urgent attention from the concerned authority
to contain the escalating trend of using violence and immediate
remedial action should be instituted.
Aggressive behaviours, as expounded in social learning theory, are
learned by observation.
Violence has been used as a response to adverse situation and as a
method to attain goal in life. Social, religious and political
organisations have been applying the violent tactics to coerce
people to the confession of dogmas.
Many of the stalwarts of our political institutions use violence and
accommodate hooliganism as an appendage to their parties to attain
their political, personal and parochial gains.
Religious institutions have been wallowing in violence to establish
their doctrinal hegemony over the other sects with internecine
fighting and killing.
All these greatly influenced the mind of younger generation and gave
vent to the expression of their frustration using violence as a
method of achieving goal in an adverse circumstance.
They resort to violence to find solution to their problems and
grievances disregarding the accepted peaceful means and ways.
It is believed that using violence is an easy way of attaining
The process of consultative methods with compromise and consensus to
resolve conflict and contradiction has become as an obsolete to our
present generation since they are not exposed and did not have
opportunity to engage in such process.
So, the validity and importance of dialogue in resolving problems
should be inculcated in the minds of our students and the present
The religious and political leaders of our nation should set example
to our younger generation to pursue peaceful means to solve problems
adhering to accepted social norms and values.
In this regard, the teachers and lectures of our educational
institutions have to a play major role in edifying our students with
the emphasise on the importance of using peaceful means in seeking
solution to problems without resorting to aggressive and violent
If we can not achieve this, the whole purpose of education will be
lost and our future generation, who is expected to bring progress
with permanent peace and prosperity to our fractured nation by the
protracted 30 years of war, will be fragmented among themselves
without enjoying the peace recently achieved by the present
government with the concerted effort of all concerned.
I hope that the learned, intellectuals, professions and all
politicians of our country will unite to achieve this goal by
burying the differences among them in the best interest of our
Dr U L Sarafdeen
|Accolades for Defence Secretary’s sincere
As the residents of the area, we owe a deep
debt of gratitude to Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa for the
first credible raid on this notorious brothel, the biggest in
Colombo, which has been scandalously functioning quite openly for
years at this apartment complex in the heart of Kollupitiya, no
doubt, with the blessings of the owners of the condominium, the
management, and with the knowledge of the police.
It is not only the brothel that functions in this apartment building
but also a supportive night club owned by the brothel owners with
the permission of the apartment owning company and the management.
We, the residents on the area in particular, are indeed grateful
that the ‘Clean-up Colombo’ project of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is there
for us to see. We do most sincerely hope that he would ensure that
this vice den will never again be reopened, for on previous
occasions a few weeks after the token raids, the brothel was
reopened for business again. The police and the condominium
authority should question the management of this complex as to how
permission has been granted and the lease periodically renewed for
its continuance. The smell of corruption pervades.
|Olde Ceylon’s Charm
ne’er lost her charm
Year in year out, oh! oh!
With an air air here
And an heir heir there
Yet ne’er to be familiar
Now it is, mama, akka, aunty, oh! oh!
If decorum is not addressed
Next will be “respectfully” Yakko. Oh! Oh!
Irene de Silva
|Health hazard at Kalutara bus stand
The public toilets in the Kalutara main CTB bus stand are a
health hazard causing much discomfort to the people.
They are not maintained to the proper hygienic standard and emanate
unbearable odour, let alone reaching them.
No action has been taken by the relevant authorities so far.
Complaints made by the public have fallen on deaf ears.
C M Kamburawala
|Protecting minority rights
refers to Mifly’s letter on ‘Proposed ban on cattle slaughter’ that
appeared in the media.
I wish to submit my opinion on the issue as he has requested for
same from other readers.
I, as a Muslim, have a lot of colleagues, who are non-Muslims
working with me.
They are not only very friendly, co-operative but also very helpful.
It is so with my neighbours from the majority who have a very
cordial relationship with all the Muslims.
They are ever ready to help us at any time.
Therefore, I completely disagree with his accusation that the
majority community looks at Muslims as intolerant people.
As regards his another comment, it is the West who looks at Muslims
as enslaving the women and not the majority community of our island
as alleged by this writer who has nevertheless come out with a
As regards his main concern about cruelty to animals, it is only a
very few – infinitesimal - who object to the slaughter.
This, of course, will be there in any community.
We do have these conflicting situations even within our own family
circles which I think no one can deny.
I also wish to point out that he has forgotten about Aqeeqah which
is sacrificing goats on behalf of a newborn child.
According to the vast majority of scholars of Islam, it is a highly
recommended practice (Sunnah).
There is, however, a small minority of scholars who consider it
Let me also point out that Mifly has not given any thought to the
predicament of those Muslims who are either directly or indirectly
associated with this trade. How are these people going to survive
when people are already finding it extremely difficult to make ends
Although it is true that the consumption of beef or meat is not
compulsory or obligatory for us in terms of our religion and on the
contrary, it is permissible. May I also add that my children relish
meat curry than fish curry and on the days when fish is cooked, very
often I have observed that they consume less food and thereby,
substantial amount of food is left over which has to be either put
into the refrigerator or has to be eaten by us, the parents, to
avoid it going waste.
This is mentioned not to defend my point of view but to express the
true state of affairs and it could be sometimes an exception.
But, it is also likely that this situation, where children relish
meat over fish, may exist in other homes as well.
Being aware that Muslims have the right to slaughter enshrined in
Sri Lanka’s constitution, I foresee that the proposed ban will not
see the light of the day and I humbly pray that it be so.
Hope, the President will ensure that our minority rights are not
trampled and that we are given the freedom to practise our religion
but also permit us our other usual customary practices, without any
encumbrances whatsoever, as we have been practising to date.
In short, please let each and everyone in this island practise
his/her religion as has been the practice to date.
|Lessons to learn from overseas cricket
On the day President Mahinda Rajapaksa took his oaths for the second
time, to avoid being in the high security zone in the vicinity of
the oath-taking ceremony, I chose to go for the T20 game at the NCC
grounds, where the English women cricketers beat our women. While
watching this game, I also saw the game in Galle on TV, where our
men’s Test Eleven were being played.
When our women batted in that T20 game, I couldn’t see any
difference between the test match batting in Galle and that of the
Sri Lankan women batting at the NCC grounds. However, when the
English women batted, it was scintillating cricket.
While watching their captain Edwards batting, I was reminded of my
school days in Kandy when the likes of the late Canto Pieris batted.
Being a very keen follower of the game, I think we should take a
leaf from cricket overseas and groom different teams for Test
Cricket, One Day games and for T20. All these formats require
different batting styles. Can this be done? Overto Sri Lanka