There appears to be some misconceptions as to the identity of the
insects that attack visitors to the Sigiriya rock.
Some refer to these as wasps others as Bees and some others as
If they are hornets they are a potential danger to human lives as
multiple sting from hornets can be fatal.
Recalling a personal experience several years ago in the jungle of
Nikaweratiya, a group of us accompanied by a few dogs were walking
through a jungle path. The dogs disturbed a low lying hornet’s nest
provoking an attack.
While the dogs scattered the hornets came for us. Fortunately for us
there was a village tank close at hand and we took refuge underwater,
bobbing up from time to time to gulp air, while the hornets continued to
hover above us.
It was quite some time before they moved away. One of the dogs had
collapsed on the path and was unconscious. We rushed it to a
veterinarian for treatment to no avail. The animal died shortly
Therefore multiple hornet stings on humans can also be fatal.
Coming back to the insects that now regularly attack humans on
Sigiriya rock it is necessary to correctly identify them as wasps,
hornets or bees.
If they are hornets it is best to destroy them before a fatality
occurs. Wasps I believe do not nest in large concentrations and these
insects may not be wasps.
If it is bees maybe same experts on bees could suggest a method of
turning them away from their traditional habitat.
However could a biologist in the first instance correctly identify
these insects, so that authorities could take appropriate action to
protect humans from an accident that is waiting to happen, when an
attack takes place, or fatalities could be caused due to multiple stings
I last climbed Sigiriya rock over 25 years ago. At that time bees or
whatever they were, were not a danger. Perhaps because people were less
noisy and orderly at the time.
Over to the experts.
The Postal Department in Sri Lanka should be commended for issuing
special stamps with an indigenous outlook for festivals like Christmas
However Christmas stamps are issued usually about one month before
the event whereas Vesak stamps are released about a week or ten days
before the festival.
Although I am a Catholic I send Vesak greetings to my friends abroad
by post. I rarely get an opportunity to use special Vesak stamps for the
purpose because of the delay to release them.
Beside Buddhists are nearly 70 percent of the population in Sri Lanka
and the Christians are less than 7 percent. The Vesak mail in our
country should be equal or even heavier than the Christmas mail.
The Vesak cards have to be posted in advance to reach the people in
time. When there is a delay to release the special Vesak stamps, people
would lose the opportunity to use them for Vesak cards.
The postal authorities may be pleased to release special Vesak stamps
at least two weeks before the festival.
We wish to place the following glaring injustices done to the
servicemen and the ex-servicemen by the Manager and the Chairman of the
Board of Trustees of the Sri Lanka ex-Servicemen’s Institute, Bristol
These soldiers are deprived of their facilities provided by the Sri
Lanka ex-Servicemen’s Institute in accordance with the Law No. 8 of 1973
of the National State Assembly.
The Chairman and the Manager of the Institute created contracts for
the contractors by demolishing two dormitories which consisted of ten
and six beds. Also they demolished all the single rooms and all were
converted into double bed rooms. Newly constructed three toilets with
modern sanitaryware and floor tiles were demolished.
A large beer garden well turfed and planted with beautiful foliage
plants - best beer garden in the heart of Colombo Fort was cemented
after uprooting the foliage plants and removing the turf. Photograph
shows the beer garden.
Those who occupied the beds of these dormitories were the poor
ex-Servicemen who come down from distant places to attend to their
medical clinics at early hours of the dawn. Some of them are old and
Those soldiers from the operational areas going on leave break their
journey at late hours and occupy the dormitories of the institute.
Soldiers attending to their various official matters at their
headquarters also stay here. All these facilities are no more except
them occupy a double bed room for a rent of Rs. 450 per night as against
the Rs. 60 per a bed at the dormitory.
We request to the authorities to grant redress to all those
The following is a copy of a farewell speech I made in June 1994, on
my retirement from Government Service. That was 15 years ago. Today we
see and hear quite a lot of sad news of negligence at Government
hospitals by young doctors, budding consultants and even fully fledged
consultants such as the incident at Matara Hospital where a nurse, of
all people, died as a result of negligence by a consultant.
Director, fellow consultants, friends and colleagues,
Let me thank you most sincerely for arranging this farewell for me
today, I deeply appreciate it.
Seventeen years is a long time and when one adds eight years to it
(my period of service as final year medical student, Intern, Registrar
to Professor of Medicine, VP-OPD, and as Resident Physician), it adds
upto twenty-five years. A full quarter century of my life I have been
walking through the portals of this great institution. It will thus be
difficult for me to hide my tears when I leave this great institution
Today, which also coincides with the official birthday of Her Majesty
the Queen of England I enter the Seventh Decade and the Third Chapter of
my life. As number seven is supposed to be my lucky number I hope I
would be able to have an uneventful seventh decade, with luck.
Homer describes the Race of Men is like the race of leaves. As one
generation flourishes another decays. Jefferson wrote to John Adams,
near the end of his life;
“There is a ripeness of time for death-regarding others as well as
ourselves. When it is reasonable we should drop off and make room for
another growth. When we have lived our generation out we should not
encroach on another.”
I think this is most appropriate for retirement too, for it is really
a form of death. We should cease to live for ourselves now, but try to
live with, and for, others as far as possible.
A long time ago, a few months before I was to assume duties as
Consultant Physician in this Hospital, a certain bit of advice was given
to me. “When you finally come to work in a Teaching Hospital, if you
wish to live long avoid two types of people the student and the
patient.” There was a point in this advice, for the adviser meant two
1. Give a chance to the assistants to get close to them and get
experience etc. and
2. These two factors namely the student and the patient both tend to
raise your blood pressure when they do not cooperate properly with you
and in the process may give you Hypertension or even a Heart Attack.
I on the contrary, think that the two most important items of wealth
(wasthu) in a Teaching Hospital are the Student and the Patient, non
other. Hence I am happy to say I decided to totally reject that advice
given to me with good intention and got very close to my patients and
the students, so much so that I used to wear a mask whilst examining
patients, so that I could get closer to patients as much as possible and
yet protect myself from their occasional bouts of cough etc. Those days
I was labelled a ‘Masked Physician’!
I am sure that it is because I got very close to them I am healthy,
happy and contented today in my Seventh Decade. So, my advice to you
today is that if you wish to end up happy, healthy and contented, get
closer to the students and the patients, for it will follow like the
night the day, you will reap the harvest. In the 2nd Century in a
Babylonian Talmud was found the following utterance - “Much have I
learned from my teachers, more from my colleagues and from my students
more than from them all.” I have modified it thus to fit the 20th
Century viz. “Much have I learned from my teachers, more from my
students and colleagues and from my patients more than from them all.”
The students and the patients are the ones that keep you alert and
astute, they are the torch bearers, they light up your path, they give
you all the necessary advertisement for you. You do not have to stoop to
That is an art best practised by the Quacks. The voice of the
student, voice of the patient and this above all the voice of conscience
is the Voice of God. Work according to a crystal clear conscience and I
assure you no harm will ever befall you. No legal cover or insurance
cover is then warranted for, God will look after all that.
Finally, I wish to leave you with two messages.
1. Motto of Mahatma Gandhi
“I shall not fear anyone on earth. I shall fear only God.
I shall not bear any illwill towards anyone.
I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
I shall conquer Untruth by Truth and in resisting Untruth
I shall put up with all suffering.”
2. Criteria for a good consultant viz. Power of a God Patience of a
Saint and the Sense of Humour of a third year Medical undergraduate. I
hope I have lived up to it. I thank you all again and bid farewell!
In recent days Sri Lanka has gained a rapid growth in all sectors
including the industries. Emergent industries exploit more energy than
Current scenario in electric generation points in a direction that in
nearest future we will have to burn double the fuel we consume today to
generate electricity through thermal power.
Even though the Government has taken initiatives to cope with the
growing needs, its our responsibility to use energy wisely.
We Sri Lankan’s were thrifty in everything we do from the past. Since
the early days we didn’t misuse any of the resources we contain. Yet the
post independent era explain how our lives create to change with the
alteration in our minds to devour more than we desire. We pursue the
American lifestyle where communities are tempted to spend lavishly on
With the affect of all market activities taking place and changing
lifestyles of our people tend to consume more than our forefathers.
‘Energy saved is energy found’ is quote I like to hum around. It’s
noted that change of behaviour could change anything. It’s the mind we
have to tame before all things as per the Buddha, accordingly change
your mindset to conserve energy the way you could. Don’t munch through
what you don’t essentially require.
A little change could do wonders;
Replace one ordinary bulb with a CFL, and save enough energy
to Recharge your laptop for 1,027 times
to Read 6,396 emails
to take a 24 km outdoor trip in your vehicle
to watch 431 hours of TV
to run a A/C for 22 hours
and to surf the Web for 214 hours.
This shows how small step could change everything, so as a person
take one step than your other citizen. Be conserve oriented. Go ahead
and start the change from your own home. If we start we could change our
community, our city, our country and the earth itself.
In the coming years carbon credit will play a major role in
financials of every country, if we conserves energy and reduce the
environmental pollution, Sri Lanka will rise as rich nation both in
quality and quantity. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country nothing is
compared with her beauty. So don’t rape her on her own ground. Think for
a minute and change the behaviour from today.
We need it now!
We were taught to be honest and especially to mind our own business,
as our problems should not be anyone else’s problem. We now find many
countries from the West and Europe trying their level best to give
saline and oxygen to the terrorists who have murdered thousands of
innocent people cold bloodedly. The saline and oxygen is given under the
pretext of democracy and human rights?
The so called civilised are the most uncivilised, because they have
two tongues and their mouths are taped when terrorists hack and kill
innocent villagers. I suppose these are civilised acts or accepted norms
by these nations, and not considered inhuman acts or genocide by Uncle
Sam and company?
The LTTE emblem is openly exhibited in Europe and all Western
countries. The emblem has 33 bullets and moreover two guns on either
side. I suppose these guns and bullets are not taken into any serious
account as they do not bring any harm. This sort of gimmick has gone too
far and with all odds facing against us, let us see the final push where
only cowards who are unable to fight face to face hide behind human
There is a famous saying that cowards die many times before they are
dead and the fate of the Tiger leader is at the doorstep and it is a
matter of days for his fateful destiny.
A Sinhala film based on the ethnic issue was telecast recently. This
film carries several smoking scenes and they were shown as it is without
masking the scenes.
Has this electronic channel which identified them as Lankeya
Abimanaya, got a special privilege to advertise smoking in spite of the
existing law in Sri Lanka which has regulated direct or indirect tobacco
advertisements through mass media?
On another recent occasion the same channel depicted smoking scenes
through another film violating the existing law. Although this situation
was highlighted for action by the authorities concerned, no such action
was taken against violation.
Studies on smoking scenes in films have revealed that viewing smoking
scenes in movies is a significant risk factor for smoking among older
teens and young adults. They reveal that film actors have a lasting
impact on the minds of children and young adults. The more smoking that
children see on screen, the more likely they are to smoke.
In studies on smoking scenes in films, researchers have followed up
with young adults and those who had seen the most movies with smoking
were twice as likely to become regular smokers (defined as smoking more
than 100 cigarettes in a lifetime) as those with the least exposure.
Studies also report that heavy cinematic exposure might promote
progression to ‘more advanced stages of smoking behaviour’ and that
reducing children’s exposure to movie smoking could be a key tool in
preventing the long-term health hazards of smoking. The authorities
responsible for law implementation please read these study findings and
fulfill your responsibilities properly.
Why not take action against violations, if there is a particular law
in the country, and what is the use of laws if they are not being
Regarding Keith Vaz MP demonstrations I am glad Sri Lankans were able
to get together for this event. It appears Mr Vaz has accepted the
invitation to visit Sri Lanka. He should be shown how Tamils and
Sinhalese co-exist peacefully in Colombo. All my neigbours around my
Colombo apartment are Tamils. I do not have any problem with this
neither do they.
Mr. Vaz should also visit the IDP areas and see for himself how the
refugees are treated. Sri Lanka is the only place in the world where the
terrorists are fed and taken care of by the Government. At one time I
remember a terrorist leader was treated in a secure enviroment at the
Apollo hospital and sent back to the Wanni. This type of action confirms
the naivity of Sri Lankans, in the eyes of the world, and strengthens
our critics to denigrate us further.
I hope Mr. Vaz would refrain from supporting the LTTE until he sees
the facts for himslef.
Lack of sites for waste dumping
I read with interest the news item in the Daily News of April 17
titled solid waste management on firm footing.
According to the news item, steps are being taken to acquire the
waste dumping sites by the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry
and the UDA in conformity with a Cabinet decision.
Wherever garbage is dumped it becomes hazardous to the environment
and health. Stench and the breeding of flies are part and parcel of
garbage. It is nothing but unfair to dump the garbage of Colombo City in
another area where less privileged people live.
I have seen how this problem has been solved in the Maldive Islands
and holiday resorts scattered in the Indian Ocean.
Garbage is collected on a daily basis and transported by tippers to a
jetty where the garbage is unloaded into a ship berthed there. The ship
carries it to the deep sea and jettisoned.
As Sri Lanka is an island with limited land area this may be the only
solution we could think of. The capital cost incurred for a project of
this nature will pay dividends in the long run.
Minister of Environment and Natural Resources please look into this
After all, the age old saying is Okkoma Kunu Beruwala Bokkatai. (All
the garbage goes to the bay of Beruwala.)