I was rather amused to read Asantha U. Attanayake’s claim that
teaching grammar in communicative classroom should be avoided. This is
ridiculous. My nearly three decades of teaching English at the English
Language Teaching Unit at the Kelaniya University, would have been a
futile exercise had I avoided teaching grammar in a communicative
My experience that adult learners like to learn grammar as discrete
points, is hardly plausible. Speech work goes a long way to engage them
in singing, motivating dialogues and engaging them perform in playlets.
Pupils should be afforded the opportunity to memorise verses like James
Joyces’s Chamber Music.
Lean out of the Window
I hear you singing a merry air
My book is closed
My book is closed
I read no more
Watching the fire
Dance on the floor.
Singing and singing
A merry air
Lean out of the window
Such verses enable them to cultivate a sense of rhythm and promote a
love for a smooth language perception.
In recent years English Language teaching in our country has taken on
a new character. Previously it was usual to talk about the aims of
English learning in terms of the so-called language skills of speaking,
understanding speech reading and writing and these aims were seen as
relating to general education at the primary and secondary levels.
Recently, however a need has arisen to specify the aims of English
learning more precisely as the language has increasingly been required
to take on an auxiliary role at the tertiary level of University
As an active national guide lecturer, I wish to see the industry
boom. Sri Lanka needs more rooms in Kandy, Nuwara Eliya even Colombo.
Also most of the vehicles, we all utilize to transfer the guests are
old and obsolete. The coaches vans and cars have to be luxury and
I hope duty concession given to vehicles be allowed to be imported by
the licence guides and tourism related companies. Also a cable car
system is welcome at Hatton Upcountry area. This will be a hit among
local Sri Lankan and foreign tourists.
The Central Bank was able to do a great service by helping the fixed
depositors of banks and lending institutions which were not even
registered by the Central Bank because the Banking Act was amended in
Parliament with the help of the Pramuka Depositor’s Association. But the
Pramuka depositors are now a forgotten lot by the Central Bank and the
The scheme formulated by the Central Bank in 2007 is most
unreasonable on the part of the depositors who had invested over Rupees
one lakh as it had neither refunded the balance capital invested by them
nor the interest of five percent accrued on the capital from 2002
onwards. This was a reduced rate of only about 1/3rd of the normal
interest at government rates.
Pramuka was a bank registered in the Central Bank and also one
recommended by them by publishing in the newspapers. As a result the
public was tempted to make deposits and also renew them from time to
time. Closing the bank in 2002 was a big injustice to the depositors.
According to the scheme, interest of five percent has to be paid from
2002, only for refunds made up to one lakh in 2007 and for the balance
capital, no interest will be paid for the first five years or so.
The scheme also states that the balance capital will be refunded
after four, seven and nine years respectively from lower to higher
capital invested, after reopening of the Sri Lanka Savings Bank in 2008
with the reduced interest of five percent.
Hence the loss incurred to a depositor is around 100 to 200 percent
of the capital invested for no fault of the depositors and this is very
clearly an injustice.
This is a mistake done by the Central Bank staff some years back and
it is not too late to correct it even now. As a first step I would
suggest to pay interest at the reduced rate of five percent immediately
for all the deposits from the closing date of the Bank in 2002 without
any discrimination. Further the depositors would very much appreciate if
the capital investment be refunded in a much more shorter period.
It is also understood that the progress made in recoveries from loan
defaulters is not satisfactory. It was published in the newspapers some
years back that the necessary rules and regulations will be amended
accordingly to expedite recovery of loans from defaulters, but it had
not been done so far. So many have died of shock and heart attacks and
were also paralysed due to the sudden closing of the bank in 2002.
The depositors appeal to the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to look into
the long-suffering Pramuka depositors from 2002 and to provide immediate
relief to them.
Dengue an illness that could be fatal has risen again. It is now on
the increase and claims lives from different parts of the island.
According to the statistics this year the highest number of deaths have
been reported from Kandy district. The health officials have already
warned that amount of victims would rise if necessary action against
dengue is not taken by the authorities and the general public.
Causative organism and vector
Dengue is caused by a virus. This virus could be commonly found in
all tropical parts of the world especially in the urban areas. The virus
is transmitted by vector mosquitoes named Aedes aegypti and Aedes
albopictus. The mosquitoes that transmit the dengue virus could be
easily recognized by the black and white stripes on their abdomen and
white spots on their legs.
During a blood meal the mosquitoes ingest the virus to their bodies
from an infected person. This virus could be transmitted to another when
mosquitoes bite. They usually bite during the daytime - be it in the
morning or evening.
These mosquitoes are usually seen in dim areas. The female mosquitoes
lay eggs in clean torpid waters, for instance inside flower vases, old
tires, drains, and coconut shells etc. The eggs may survive for over one
Types of dengue and the symptoms
Mainly there are two types. They are Dengue Fever (DF) and Dengue
Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF). The symptoms of Dengue Fever (DF) are high
fever, Headache, rashes on the body, muscle and joint pains, nausea and
vomiting. These symptoms may occur within five-seven days after a bite
of an infected mosquito.
The medical researches have found out that only a small percentage
develop Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever. This is a crucial stage since it may
lead to severe bleeding of the internal organs. The symptoms of Dengue
Haemorrhagic Fever are similar to those of Dengue Fever but also include
severe stomach pain, enlargement of the liver, brown or black coloured
vomit or faeces and bleeding from nose and gums.
There is another type called Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS). In this
case the fever of a patient with Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever may suddenly
drop but the patient may feel rather ill followed by the symptoms like
coldness and paleness of body, drowsiness, acceleration of breathing and
pulse rate etc.
The medical information says dengue virus may cause in the drop in
the platelet count. Platelets are responsible in clotting the blood and
they repair the damaged blood vessels. In an infected person the
platelet count is a useful measure of diagnosis. Other diagnosis may
comprise the presence of specific antibodies to dengue virus.
The Medical officers advise that the dengue suspects should be given
rest. The children with fever should be kept away from school. They
should be given plenty of fluids to drink. If Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever
is suspected, the victim should be taken to the hospital immediately for
intense medical care.
Prevention of dengue is better than cure. Hence there are many ways
of preventing the disease. Vector control is one of the most convenient
ways. The vector mosquitoes could be controlled biologically or
physically. Biological control measure is using parasites or pathogens
to destroy the stages in the life cycle of mosquitoes. This includes
destroying of larval stages of mosquitoes by introducing fish species
into the water bodies. The fish would feed on larvae and life cycle is
disrupted. This is a widely used control measures.
Physical control is the eradication of all possible mosquito-breeding
sites. The mosquitoes may breed in drains, discarded cans, tins,
buckets, pots, vases, tires, coconut shells etc. and in stagnant water
bodies like ponds, pits and the like. The frequent water flow should be
allowed in drains. The water in flower vases, pots, kept indoors should
be changed frequently or few salt crystals should be added.
Personal protection which is prevention of being bitten by mosquitoes
is important too. This includes wearing long garments so the arms and
legs are less exposed. Mosquito repellents too could be used. The
repellents make the human body less attractive to mosquitoes as they may
hinder the mosquitoes sensory reception.
We must always focus on keeping our surroundings, schools,
workplaces, homes and gardens clean and free of garbage. This is an
effective way of preventing this deadly disease.
Community as a whole should draw attention towards the cleanliness of
our environment. It is praiseworthy to note that island wide anti-dengue
campaigns are now in progress. These should be widened under the
guidance of Health Ministry, Public Health Inspectors, Government
Institutions in order to carry out the alertness of the disease to all
segments of the society.
It is disheartening to observe that senior citizens most of whom are
on retirement from public or private service are disregarded by the
youths and the middle aged in buses and public places.
Once I noticed a young van driver taunting an elderly person while he
was walking along the side of the main road. That young driver passed
some indecent remarks on that respectable feeble senior citizen.
The driver who condemned such an aged person did not think of his
aged father or grandfather who too could be treated badly by another
Apart from this harassment to senior citizens some youths do not
offer a seat to the standing, aged person while travelling in the bus.
Sometimes, that aged person may fall down due to faint inside the bus.
Even then, only a few will be sympathetic to the physically disabled
elderly men or women.
Therefore, may I appeal to the Chairman of the Transport Board or
private bus company to reserve seats to the aged senior citizens in the