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|Talk anything but politicians and Hollywood
Our newspapers have two categories of people on
whom we should not waste even one second of our precious time but
about whom the newspapers write volumes and volumes and we stupid
readers keep lapping them up. Yes one is the politicians and the
other is the Hollywood actors.
Actually, do the newspapers reflect the attitude of the people, or
is it the other way about? Is it the people reflect the attitude of
the papers? Do we get our ideas shaped by the newspapers? Is it
because the papers keep publishing useless, horrible or tasteless
news about small people that we the Sri Lankans also have become
“small” in our thinking? Have we been brainwashed by our newspapers
to magnify the insignificant and ignore the important matters?
Whatever our stupid, useless undeserving, politicians do become the
big news. It is talked about for weeks. It is commented on, praised,
condemned – anything but taken action on. We have become the
gossiping, grumbling, resenting people – we have become sick and
tired of them but still keep lapping up their stories because they
have become our past time and we have nothing better to do. We don’t
know much about anything else to do. Even Hollywood stars sigh it is
news! Their adulterous life is juicy news. Their moods are what we
live on. Their sizes are what we waiting to know about. Who is
sleeping with whom is what makes our day. Aren’t we a shameful
Why not for a change stop harping on the atrocities committed by the
politicians? Not that we are going to do anything much about them
anyway. All of us agree one and all –we are just a bunch of lotus
eaters. So might as well talk about only the good deeds done by them
that is if at all they do anything worthwhile or else let’s talk
about something worthwhile. Even the weather. Or the birds. Or the
moon. Anything but these two. Please.
Dr Mrs Mareena Thaha Reffai
|National reconciliation is a crying need
I for one cannot connect our government’s apparent concern for
national reconciliation and the recent cabinet decision to sing our
National Anthem only in Sinhala. To my mind, this decision seems to
be a reaction to that Oxford invitation. Leaders of nations should
not and must not react like this. The leaders of our land must
respond positively and creatively to that Oxford invitation.
Of course, some of us were rather pessimistic when the government
announced the appointment of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation
Commission (LLRC). For in a sense, the history of our land on the
subject of national reconciliation has been one of broken promises
and when one major political alliance wants to handle and manage the
reconciliation, the other would not co-operate and help.
Reading the media on the subject of the National Anthem, it is very
clear that some of us sadly have a very strong pro Sinhalese
mindset. As a minority, I cannot feel what the majority community
feels but I can understand their feelings.
During the period 1505 to 1948 our land was under foreign rule
and during this period sadly the Sinhalese suffered like the
minorities. With independence in 1948, the pendulum has swung the
other way and Ceylon/Sri Lanka did not take on board the minorities.
As a minority with regard to race, religion, language, I
nevertheless think of myself as a Sri Lankan and, therefore, given
my background, I will still respect Mother Lanka.
However, at a recent public function when the National Anthem was
sung in Sinhala, I saw a few members of the minority community not
mouthing those words. How can they? For the National Anthem states
that all of us are the children of one Mother. In this context, the
President and the Cabinet must ask the question does the mother
force all the children to learn only one language when the father in
a mixed marriage belongs to another language group.
So, this Karunanidhi bashing by writers from Colombo/Sri Lanka
and overseas will not help us. We have been told over and over again
that we need a home-grown solution to our national problem. So, may
I suggest like at a recent musical programme the National Anthem was
played, the words were not used, and I saw all in that hall stand to
attention and appreciating the sentiments.
If the leaders of our land are genuinely interested in national
reconciliation then they must show it and not just mouth words to
please India and some world body.
The minority of this country are not only the Tamils and the
Muslims but also the Sinhalese who are part of Colombo’s 55% in the
slums and Sri Lanka’s 80% of the poor. Therefore, it does not really
matter in what language the National Anthem is sung but what matters
is that all our people from Hambantota to Jaffna, Colombo to
Batticaloa must have rice and curry on their table. For this
economic development there must be political stability based on
genuine national reconciliation.
Can’t we, therefore, taking the reality of all our religions
consider the people of Sri Lanka as human beings and using the
values of the four major religions of our land to work for peace and
justice for all our people. Hence, the immediate need is to address
the deep rooted problem of all the minorities certainly both
political and economic. Over to all Sri Lankans, who value the unity
of the country and respect the plural nature of our land.
|Don’t fall for credit card tricks
I am writing this letter to advise all credit cardholders
particularly housewives who are gullible to dirty tricks employed by
the promotion of various supermarkets and outlets by using
particular credit cards. All those gilded advertisements indicating
big discounts is a huge farce which has gone unchecked by any decent
authority in government or private sector. As to why there has been
no authority either controlling or regulating the lies of these
hawks is incomprehensible in this modern age.
If ever you see an advertisement promoting discounts from 5 to 50%,
you can be sure that the 50% discount would be for some faded old
balloons or some useless items.
Before you do your shopping, check as to what exactly is entitled to
what discount or you will be saddled with a meagre discount or no
discount at all because they all cover these up under ‘Conditions
Apply’. It is always the poor sales girl or the cashier at these
supermarkets and outlets that bear the brunt of the wrath of the
customers. I have personally witnessed many angry customers berating
these poor girls at the counter. In fact, I myself have been annoyed
and have confronted them about this kind of robbery perpetrated by
so called respected private sector companies.
So beware, especially during this season of these predators, who
will brew everything possible to entice you part with your credit
cards for purchases you do not want for which you have to pay
enormous interests to the banks.
|Halt cruelty to animals
The stray cats and dogs on the government hospital premises of
Nagoda, Kalutara are being killed in a very cruel and inhuman way by
the hospital labourers using lethal injections.
This is a covert operation carried out by the hospital’s minor
employees with the connivance of medical practitioners attached to
The public, religious workers and animal lovers are deeply concerned
about this merciless act.
C M Kamburawala
|Don’t blame the met men
to inform the learned Professor O A I Illeperuma, with reference to
his letter appearing in an English Daily, that no one should blame
the met men for the inaccurate weather forecast as it is beyond
their ken. It is self-evident from the below mentioned verse from
the Holy Quran:
“Verily, the knowledge of the hour is with Allah (alone). It is He
who sends down rain, and He who knows what is in the wombs, nor does
anyone know what it is that he will earn on the morrow. Nor does
anyone know in what land he is to die. Verily, with Allah is full
knowledge and He is acquainted (with all things).” (Chapter 31 -Luqman:
It is well nigh impossible for the met men to give correct forecast
always as the knowledge is only with the Omnipotent, Omnipresent and
Omniscient God (Glory be to Him).
I also like to draw the attention of my non-Muslim brothers and
sisters as to why we, Muslims say Insha Allah (God Willing) when we
intend doing something later on because as per the above verse we do
not know what will happen the very next moment!
Rev Bro Alexander Cyrillus FSC
God’s inestimable gift to
generations of Benedictines
The demise of Rev Bro Alexander marks the end of an illustrious
chapter in the annals of Lasallian education in the country.
The life of Bro Alexander ended on a sombre note after several weeks
of lapsing into a state of unconsciousness; his voice was stilled
and the weary physique at rest. The late Brother, commenced teaching
in the early 1950s as a fledgling member of the De La Salle Order.
The years and decades that followed witnessed Bro Alexander making
remarkable strides in the education of students who came under his
tutelage in the institutions coming under the purview of the
Brothers in the metropolitan city and townships beyond.
Bro Alexander made a very significant and perennial contribution to
St. Benedict’s College both as a teacher and director. He was a
martinet who focussed his teaching on the hallowed motto of the
school “Religio Mores Cultura”.
During his stint Bro Alexander proved his acumen as a mentor par
excellence and capable administrator aided by his personal vision of
sending his myriad students into the world with innate confidence to
surmount challenges, if any. It was in the 1980s during his
stewardship as director that St Benedict’s witnessed a renaissance
and in this backdrop the college continued to register commendable
progress and emerge as a front-runner in the schools arena.
Past students from the 50s onwards will recall the invaluable
guidance rendered by Bro Alexander in moulding them into useful
citizens in the social milieu. The majestic building in recognition
of his stature by the global Benedictine family stands as a silent
sentinel to his laudable achievements and a perennial symbol of
remembering their beloved teacher.
In 1979, Bro Alexander was appointed Provincial Visitor of the De La
Salle Brothers in Sri Lanka which post he illumined until the end of
his term in 1981. The saga of our former mentor will be etched in
the minds and hearts of his fellow Brothers, teachers and vast
concourse of students who benefited from his academic prowess and
penchant for English in which he excelled and the warmth and
affection he exuded.
In his seemingly valedictory letter to me dated June 21, 2010 Bro
Alexander had remarked “I’m okay now. My father died at 83 and
hoping to die at the same age. I’ve three more years to live. That’s
good enough.” It was not to be and the Creator summoned him to His
Heavenly abode as a well-merited reward for the unswerving and
exemplary commitment to his vocation as a De La Salle Brother. It
could be verily said that Bro Alexander was God’s inestimable gift
to generations of Benedictines and alumni of other Lasallian schools
where he diligently followed the hallowed precepts of his Founder.
In retrospect countless students who have accredited themselves
in their avowed professions will in unison attribute their success
to their beloved mentor whose educational skills and incisive
imparting of knowledge with due emphasis on discipline had equipped
them well to face the world.
Bro Alexander was a colossus and an educationist par excellence with
his wide repertoire of men and matters. He was at ease with the
affluent and the ordinary folk and endeared himself to all those who
had the privilege of being associated with him during his sojourn on
In the College Magazine published in 2000 it was edifying to
peruse Bro Alexander’s article titled “A Benedictine Vision - 2100”
– in it one comes across many a gem of wisdom for Christian
educationists to ponder over. The visionary Brother imbibed the
fundamentals of being a true disciple of St John Baptist De La Salle
and was a crusader for the poor and marginalised in society.
“They that instruct others unto justice will shine as stars for all
Farewell dear Bro Alexander! We will cherish the memories of your
|Dr A T Navaratnam
A life full of pride, joy and
Quite often we find people that change our way of thinking, who
are selfless in their offering and who are committed to their
vocation. As Albert Einstein puts it, “The value of a man should be
seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.” In one
word Dr Navaratnam was a man who gave. He gave much to his work,
much to the people who knew and worked with him and much to the
family he left behind.
His was a life that exemplified brilliance, and inspired all who
crossed his path. With his dedicated service as the resident doctor
of the Galadari Hotel since its inception, Dr Navaratnam touched the
lives of many with his kind and gentle nature, his soft-spoken words
and his ever smiling face. He was sincere, earnest and loyal in his
service. His was living proof of how fine a physician can be. He was
not only cheerful in himself but he gave much cheerfulness to
others, especially to his patients.
He was known for his generosity, known for selfless giving. He was
passionately interested in his vocation as a physician. Ample are
the situations where he has helped the employees free of charge,
giving out personal care and going out of his way to make certain
that a patient was duly cared for. Many of whom he ministered found
him to be a splendid person of great intellect and a very big heart.
So as we pay our last respects to this great man more a father to
all whom he ministered to, sorrow fills our hearts Dr Nawa, as he
was known throughout the hotel, has silently closed the door of life
and departed from us. Our lives will be empty in the areas that he
had brightened and his light will shine on in the hearts of
thousands that came to know him more as a person than a physician.
As Thomas Campbell sees it “To live in hearts we leave behind is not
The management and the staff of the Galadari Hotel are deeply
saddened by the death of Dr Alalasundaram Thirianasambandar
Navaratnam. He was indeed an extraordinary physician, a true friend
and most of all a great humanitarian.
Staff of Galadari Hotel
He was an
embodiment of love and generosity
When I read my mother’s text message to my husband’s phone ‘How
can I break the news to Randi that Lakshman aiya passed away this
afternoon” I was stupefied, I was dazed and went numb. My father’s
closest kin, his most beloved ‘loku aiya’, our beloved ‘Lakshman
mahappa’ was gone…
Being the only child thaththa is, he looked up to Lakshman
mahappa as his own sibling- son of his eldest uncle. Lakshman
mahappa in turn cherished thaththa as the little brother, like his
very own. We grew up loving him and relating to this warm human
being through the deep bonding my father and he mutually shared. He
was robbed from all of us in the cruelest way when we were all
looking forward to a ‘fun-filled’ weekend at his exotic hide-out in
Hanthane. The last thing I would have contemplated was penning words
of appreciation about Lakshman mahappa when all of us would have
been celebrating his jocund company in the misty hills.
When our busy schedules were testing us against our will, I
remember telling amma ‘let’s cancel everything and go to Hanthane
this Saturday, it’s now or never’. The words still echo in my mind,
Lakshman mahappa, you left us forever, never will we hear that
much-loved jovial chuckle of yours… Your visits to maha gedera in
Madapatha were always memorable, marked only by humour and your warm
persona complemented by a tune on the organ - your inherent musical
faculties coming alive! We are poorer today, Madapatha Attygalle
clan robbed untimely of another supreme human being.
You were an embodiment of a committed professional, a success
story of inspiration. You took pride in your strenuous yet
fulfilling professional journey which commenced at Lanka Porcelain.
With a considerable share of foreign exposure, you reached the
pinnacle of your career, an asset to the organisation, standing by
it through many a trial and tribulation, so much so they would not
let you call it a day. I remember as a child how I was mesmerized by
the beautiful crockery you gifted the family with, in those
intricate designs you took pride in. ‘Blue Hill, Summer fruits’
still adorn our collection, of which call upon a reverie of yours…
Your hospitality touched every heart in the family. The second
generation of the family was not spared of it! When malli and his
‘Rugby clan’ were stranded in Kandy at the last match, you came to
their rescue offering ‘right Royal’ lodging at Hanthane. Young at
heart that you were, I’m sure you concealed many a boyish pranks of
When the tragic news reached me that you simply collapsed at
home, I questioned ‘why was the fate so cruel to steal you when we
were to see you in few more days? Why did you summon us only to say
our last adieus to you?’ You loved us dearly as children and I know
that you looked forward in cherishing our little Samadhee enjoying
the vistas of your little Eden. We were not so fortunate.
You are leaving behind your soul mate Amitha nenda and your precious
son Tharindu, creating a void in them which cannot be filled. A
doting father and a loving husband, you were an embodiment of
warmth. Thaththa is poorer without you Lakshman mahappa - he who
cherished you with no conditions attached. We all are indeed. We
will only live with beautiful memories of yours and that
unmistakable laughter which will echo over the Hanthane hills….
Duwa- Randi (Randima Attygalle)