Recent news say that Ratnapura General Hospital has no water for its
patients. It is very pathetic as Ratnapura often experiences floods and
I believe, this area has one of the highest rainfalls in the country.
Why should not the authorities whoever are concerned, adopt the
rainwater collectors system. I did this very successfully (1981) in our
Transport Yard for years to wash our trucks. When the water was fresh
they even bathed. Every third or fourth day it rains here. I believe it
is so in Ratnapura as well.
This should be a good natural solution than blaming each other. Just
collect the roof rainwater with tanks above a man’s height.
Love is defined in so many ways and the great Poet Shakespeare in his
own way said “It is better to have loved and lost, than to have never
loved at all”. An experience of falling in love, being romantic and an
imagination of the two coming together to face this world is something
which every youngster goes through in his teenage years.
More wisdom sets in only after the teenage of nineteen. Love is
described in so many different ways and Some are: Love is patient, Love
is kind, Love does not envy, Love dies not boast, Love is not proud,
Love is not rude, Love is not self-seeking, Love is not easily angered,
Love does not keep record of wrongs, Love does not delight in evil, Love
rejoices with truth. Love always protects, Love always trusts, Love
always hopes, Love always perseveres, Love never fails, and of all Love
in the real meaning is immortal.
The greatest love story which depicts the immortality is the fine
example of the great monument. King Shajahan of the erstwhile Moghul
empire in India built this great Taj Mahal for his beloved wife Mumtaz
in whom he embodied the true meaning of love and which bond was not
separated by any means. Incidentally Mumtaz had 14 children.
The Taj Mahal is a monument for love, which was in White Marble.
Shajahan’s wish was to build an identical one opposite the Taj Mahal
with Black Marble. This was not to be as his Son Arungazel took over the
reigns and imprisoned the father granting him the wish of seeing the Taj
Mahal from the prison chamber. Grief stricken Shajahan died and was
buried next to Mumtaz in the Taj Mahal. This is a true story of the
immortal love and a true story at that, let us not abuse love for
selfish wishes. True love never runs smooth, they say but I say that
true love centers on immortality like the greatest historical monument
the Taj Mahal.
So, not only we show love the romantic way but love your neighbour as
yourself and also show your true love and affection not only to fellow
human beings but to all living things be it humans, animals or plants.
‘Long Live True Love’
This refers to the opinions of Dr. Nalin de Silva (NS) and K. Godage
(KG) appearing in another daily on the racial identities in this
I have been informed by a scientist working in the area of genetic
engineering (who for obvious reasons does not wish to be quoted) that
there is greater genetic affinity between low country Sinhalese and the
Tamils of the North than between low country Sinhalese and Kandyan
Sinhalese. This has been ascertained by the analysis of mitochondrial
DNA on a sample basis. This confirms the point made by NS that a fair
number of Northern Tamils were actually Sinhalese who settled in the
North. This point was made many years ago by Dr. PAT Gunasinghe who had
studied this aspect, particularly the change of place names in the
KG made the point that many Sinhalese living in the coastal belt in
the West and the South are descendants of immigrants from South India,
Kerala in particular. And they would have mixed with the ancient
Sinhalese living in the West and the South.
I believe that such a genetic mosaic makes for a rich pool of genes
benefiting the lines of generations that follow among the low country
Sinhalese and Northern Tamils. But the main point is that this
consanguinity should promote better inter-racial relations between the
two communities which also share a rich Hindu Buddhist culture.
Recently Government news bulletins include appeals to doctors who
have left the country to return for service in a now peaceful
This prompted me to fetch this annexed letter, from my father and as
it appeared relevant (highly) in the present context and predicament in
I, therefore, thought of sending that magic letter to you.
A letter from a father
In 1973, I got a Nuffield Foundation Fellowship and proceeded to
England with my wife and two children.
The United Front Government was in power at that time and it was the
height of the era of shortages, bread queues and the infamous haalpolu.
Things everybody found so frustrating, but had to grin and bear. But my
wife and I did not have to. We had got this rare chance to get out of
the country (a very difficult thing at the time with all kinds of
restrictions on travel abroad) and after a lot of soul searching we
decided to settle down in the UK. We conveyed our decision to my father
in Sri Lanka and he wrote back to us.
His letter made us change our minds and return home. My father was
then 97 years and a very sprightly 97 I must say. He read widely, smoked
cigars, enjoyed the occasional Brandy and was very active and was
healthier than many people half his age. Of all his faculties, only his
hearing was slightly affected. Here is the magic letter sent us by my
dear father, that changed my fate and up to date I have not regretted
that decision I took based on my paternal advice;
My dearest son and daughter,
I received your letter last week and was quite surprised to read
about your decision to stay back in the UK.
There is absolutely no harm in going round the world as a tourist, or
to educate oneself, but when one thinks of people deserting the
Motherland in search of pleasure and material comforts, such people are
hardly patriots: I would call them ‘stateless’ or destitutes.
You, my son, got this wonderful opportunity to go to the UK in the
face of much competition. Many were the machinations and impediments you
had to overcome. But those who awarded you the Fellowship had the
fullest confidence in you, and that is why you got it.
They believed that you would enlarge your professional horizons and
return to Sri Lanka to place the knowledge so gained at the service of
your country and her people. Heaven knows our country needs such
knowledge. Take a good inward look, my dearest son and daughter, are you
going to honour that faith and that trust, or are you going to turn your
back on the people who gave you that Fellowship?
Whatever irritations, frustrations and even hardships there are in
Sri Lanka right now, remember they are temporary, that a new era will
dawn. And this is the country of your birth, the country that nurtured
you and gave you the chance to be what you are today.
We are still groping for a national identity, still labouring to
resurrect our old cultural values, our traditions and our heritage.
After all, they had been suffocated under the enormous weight of foreign
cultures and influences for almost four centuries.
It is not going to be easy. It is going to take time. But it won’t
help this debt-ridden poor country of ours if her educated sons and
daughters flee to serve foreign masters and themselves.
This letter is a very human impulse, but it must be stifled in the
greater interests, that of our people and our country. A few must
sacrifice for the good of the many and the ability to resist the
temptation of dollars and pounds and the fleshpots of the West, is the
sacrifice you must make. This is the least your country expects from
you. Anyway, my son and daughter, the decision is yours. Take my advice
or leave it. May the blessings of the Noble Triple Gem be on you. Your
The dictatorial attitude of the chief selector and his high-handed
nature has cost us winning the 50 over World Cup Final held in the West
Indies and the more recent T 20 Final in England.
Although 16 players are selected he keeps on selecting just 11 to 12
players per tournament despite continuous failures of some cricketers.
In the 50 over World Cup he selected Upul Tharanga despite many failures
in the preliminary rounds ahead of the proven Marvan Attapattu.
Although, it is conjecture, if Marvan played in the finals and opened
batting with Sanath, with Duckworth/Lewis coming into play, we would
have achieved the target if we got a good start. Instead, Tharanga got
out for a duck and the target went out of our reach due to loss of
wickets despite Sanath/Sanga heroics.
In the T-20 finals, how Chamara/Mubarak continued to be selected is
most surprising. In the first place, how Mubarak with a career strike
rate of just under 70 was selected for the tour is most surprising.
Mubarak is no Marvan to be selected for all tours as the record speaks
Our selectors have now introduced a new concept of ‘Bench Cricketers’
in Mahroof, Thilina Thushara who are proven all rounders and De Saram a
batsman who has not got a tenth of the opportunities Mubarak has got.
Finally, we would not have even reached the final had it not been for
the superb captaincy of Kumar Sangakkara ably assisted by the
experienced Sanath, Dilshan, Mahela, Murali and Malinga together with
It is high time that we bring back retired top cricketers like
Michael Tissera, Sidath Wettamuny, S. Skandakumar etc. to a new
Selection Committee and Anura Tennakoon from the present Selection
Sports Minister please take note.
A private TV channel showed some delightful excerpts from that
magical musical fantasy The Wizard of Oz featuring Judy Garland in a
heart warming tribute on the film’s 70th anniversary - Alas! poignant
memories of days never to return.
Dipping into my movie memorabilia I came up with another all time
great also celebrating its 70th birth day this year, the magnificent
Gone With the Wind.
Interestingly, both films had very similar post-production problems
in scripts, casting and directing and both were finally directed by
Producer David O. Selznick paid $50,000 to the film rights of
Margaret Mitchell’s book about the American Civil War. He engaged some
15 screen writers, including the great novelist Scott Fitzgerald, at
various times and four directors ending up with Fleming.
In a poll conducted the public voted Clark Gable to play the roguish
Rhett Butler which he did so brilliantly.
But he was denied the Oscar and he was furious accusing Selznick of
betrayal. For the female lead famous Hollywood stars like Bette Davis,
Katherine Hepburn and over a thousand other unknowns were screen tested.
But it was the little known British stage actress Vivien Leigh who was
selected to play the tempestuous Scarlet O’Hara.
Incidentally, I remember vaguely Vivien Leigh coming here to make, I
think it was, The Elephant Walk, filmed in Hantana, Kandy. But, due to
illness she was replaced by Elizabeth Taylor. She died of TB in 1967.
The most spectacular scene was the burning of the city of Atlanta.
Selznick put to torch over 30 acres of an old studio back lot buildings.
Every Technicolor camera in Hollywood (only 7 were available then) was
used to record the fire from different angles.
The picture ran for 3 hours and 40 minutes and cost $4 million, a
princely sum then. It won 8 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best
Director, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.
The latter award to Hattie McDonald, the first ever Black American to
win an Oscar. Labour Unions denounced the film and the New York Daily
Worker sacked the film critic for being harsh in his review of the
picture, which they considered to be an apology for slavery. The film
was premiered in Atlanta, where most of the story was set. The city’s
population of 300,000 swelled to almost 1.5 million by a flood of people
lining up the streets to watch the grand parade of the stars in 50
A film of superlatives, Gone With the Wind is probably the most seen
and the most successful movie ever made. Film historians agree it also
rang down the final curtain on Hollywood’s Golden Age - a magnificent
swan song, as it were.
The program Uda Rata Menike telecast at 7.30 p.m. on Saturdays
through the Rupavahini Channel is an interesting one of educational
value to both the young and old.
This, I am sure must also be enjoyed by nature lovers of this
country, and is of tourist value too. This program has been edited with
much thought to bring to the forefront the beauties of nature in our
The lady who is going through the episodes to keep the viewers’
attention should be congratulated for her part, as she is keeping the
viewers spell bound whilst going through the story explaining the
scenes, the places and sights of interest to train travellers in this
beautiful country. I, as an ex-railwayman and a son of a former Station
Master, who has been at Ulapane, Kadugannawa and several other stations
up-country, have been to the hill country on several occasions during my
school holidays and can recall the happy memories of these sights even
The train journey beyond Nawalapitiya up to Badulla will be
fascinating and thrilling for the children when the trains go through
tunnels, ravines, reaching ‘Summit Level’ at 6225 feet, if I remember
correct. ‘Sarisara’ was also one such program where the TV viewers were
taken to view the breathtaking waterfalls in the island along the main
and estate roads in Sri Lanka. The beautiful sights and important towns
or tourist and historical value can be filmed like in this case, and
shown through the State channels during the weekends so that our
children could view them, and at the same time educate themselves.
Present day children do not have the time and privileges we had and
enjoyed during our school days, due to the present day economic and
other conditions prevailing in the country. I understand that a railway
theme song titled Kinihiren Negana Rawaya was played at the opening
ceremony of the Railway Museum at Maradana recently. Since this song is
available as a CD, I wish to suggest that this cassette be played at the
start or end of this program on Saturday evenings.