Spice by Ginger
Massive turnout for UNP rally against cost of living
had been a massive turnout for the rally in protest at the cost of living organised by the
U.N.P. Ginger handles politics with kid gloves as that is not his business. What made
numbers assemble at that rally is totally another matter crushed by the weight of the
living costs. They would attend any meeting where there is a semblance of protest at the
cost of living. Actually what Ginger wants to know is how it all happened.
Inflationary rates have dropped all over the neighbourhood and why is Sri Lanka reeling
under the impact. There are some reasons that strike most of us and that is the handing
over of our essential services to the private sector. The transactions by themselves were
O.K. But is the lack of safeguards to insulate the public against the Prices of the
private sector that has led to much of Citizen Pereras woes. Nobody need lose money
over any venture, but the fact is that the state would have been less profit hungry than
the private sector.
Health coverage by media
How good is the health coverage by media here. In America, it was found wanting.
There were a few obvious defects in its coverage that was spotted by those who did an
analisis of reports that appeared in the papers. They were by no means flattering when you
come to think of it.
Now the question asked is whether the journalists are willing to take what doctors and
researchers tell them about certain drugs and not probe deeper into it to get at the
actual truth. They say over 80 per cent of the stories blow up the benefits of the drug.
They also failed to mention side effects and links between researchers and drug companies.
That Adonis look
Now who wouldnt like to get that Adonis look. Well defined muscles and
power in your body would help to draw many admiring looks no doubt from the fairer sex.
How do you get about it though. Now they feel that Creatine which is one of Americas
most popular nutritional supplements will help you realize your ambitions.
This supplement is supposed to make you a kind of superman. In fact, it has been proved
that it can increase strength, endurance and build your muscles. All this is correct, but
it also can have certain side effects, if you take too much of it. You could suffer from
dehydration, muscle and ligament tears and develop kidney problems.
Futile seminar on coal power
Apropos the letter of Mr. Tissa De Silva on the above subject in the Island of
Mr. Silva is surprised that "CEB has good peoples money as wasted on the
public seminar when the countrys President and Opposition Leader had both made
statements that they will not build the coal power plant at Norochcholai".
This statement of both the President and the Opposition Leader only appeared in the
press and may be that the CEB had not been officially informed of this decision in
writing. Further, one should not forget that this statement was made by both at the height
of an election campaign. I leave the readers to come to their own conclusions as to
whether the statement should be taken seriously under the circumstances which prevailed
Mr. Silva seem to be living in the clouds, not seeing realities, when he says
"Does the CEB and its Board of Directors as a government institution believe that the
President of the country would break the trust in her by the Church and people of
Narochcholai and thus give the CEB the green light."
Here again, I leave the readers to draw their own conclusions, taking into account the
election pledges made by political leaders before the elections and how many of them are
implemented and how many are forgotten conveniently.
Then he suggests buying electricity from the neighbouring country rather than buying
coal. The common in the streets, less intelligent than a professional of the calibre of
Mr. Silva sees this as penny wise and pound foolish. What if the neighbouring country
jacks up the price on cut off electricity, a vital component in a countrys
development. Why be dependent when we can have our own. If this suggestion was conceived
earlier, the present diesel and hydro plants are a waste of funds and Sri Lanka would have
been at the mercy of a foreign power.
The main reason as it now appears, for opposing the siting of the coal plant at
Norochcholai is that the sanctity of St. Annes church at Talawila which is about 15
kilo meters away. Does this mean that no other development project and a settlement cannot
come up in this area. Do they expect this area to remain as it is, undeveloped, to save
the church and also the inhabitants of this area to live in poverty?
Think positively. Advancement in material life is a for runner for advancement in
spiritual life, to serve God better.
In conclusion, I quote the Bible - O Lord! forgive them for they do not know what they
G. A. D. Sirimal
Coconuts and heart disease
My attention has been drawn to a letter published in the Island with regard to the
relationship between coconut consumption and heart disease. Although coconut contains no
cholesterol, it has a very high content of saturated fat (palmitic, myristic and lauric
acids). Consumption of saturated fat raises the blood cholesterol as it shuts off the LDL
cholesterol receptors in the liver. Receptors are like gates through which LDL cholesterol
(bad cholesterol) enters the liver. Excessive consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol
in the diet reduces the number of liver receptors allowing the blood cholesterol to go
In contrast reducing the intake of saturated fat and cholesterol in food increases the
number of receptors allowing the blood cholesterol to get lower.
There is abundant experimental and clinical research linking a high level of
cholesterol to coronary heart disease. In fact, an elevated LDL cholesterol is the major
cause of coronary heart disease in addition to other causes like Diabetes, High blood
pressure, Cigarette smoking, Low HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and elevated
One of the most important factors that determine the level of cholesterol in the blood
and coronary heart disease is the hereditary factor. Although two third of the cholesterol
is made in the body and one third comes from the diet, excessive consumption of coconut
may raise your cholesterol further and lead to coronary heart disease.
Therefore, it is advisable that those concerned with the relationship between coconut
and heart disease, should in the first instance check their level of cholesterol in the
blood. If the cholesterol level is normal ( less than 200 mg%) they need not restrict
their intake of coconut as they are genetically endowed with abundant LDL receptors in the
However if the cholesterol level is high (over 200 mg%) and /or they already have
coronary heart disease, they should restrict their intake of coconut products in the food
including the use of coconut oil for frying, as they may be sensitive to the cholesterol
raising effect of saturated fats.
Since coronary heart disease affects mostly urban Sri Lankans who consume other sources
of saturated fat (dairy produce and animal fat) coconut consumption should be restricted
in this category. As rural Sri Lankans consume less animal fat and dairy produce and their
major source of fat in the diet is derived from coconut, their intake of coconut need not
be restricted. Additionally, the rural population in contrast to the urban leads a far
more active life and will be utilizing the calories derived from coconut fat.
In summary, restriction of coconut products is advisable in those with a high
cholesterol, those with coronary heart disease and those with other risk factors for
coronary heart diesease.
Dr. Hemal Fernando M.D.
The vatican and coal powered
I write with reference to the "Italian response" in the Island of June 8.
After stating that coal generated power feeds the Italian grid and that there are
beautiful non spoilt cathedrals and churches in Italy, the writer asks "So how can
Catholic bishops, who often visit Rome, oppose coal power stations?"
There is a flaw in the above argument.
The coal fired power is produced in one place and it is used elsewhere, sometimes
hundreds of miles away. To my knowledge, no Bishop or environmentalist has suggested that
coal generated current pollutes the place where that current is used. Presumably the
current generated at Kalpitiya will be used in the South (losing a good deal in the
transmission, by the way). It is not the South, that will be polluted or attacked by
terrorists - but Kalpitiya. It is like the case of Puttalam cement factory. The people of
Puttalam suffer. But thank God, people all over the Country who use that cement do not
Regarding Poland being a pioneer in coal use, it is understandable. Poland has more
than enough coal and it has traditionally provided livelihood to many. Sri Lanka have to
import every bit of coal it uses. Specialists have pointed out that even some countries
that have coal and have generated power with coal in the past are now gradually turning to
other sources of power (e.g. natural gas).
They have realized the disadvantages of coal. Naturally they would like to palm off
their coal and expertise to the poor third world countries, for good money.
Are we true Buddhists?
I read a most interesting article by Mrs. Nalini Colonne on the above subject. Yes, I
am ashamed as she says we Buddhists do not practice our religion. I fully agree with her.
I think 80 per cent of Buddhists in Sri Lanka especially in big towns like Colombo,
Kandy, Galle etc. to name a few and in the suburbs, they are name-sake Buddhists. They
repeat the precepts like parrots.
I wonder whether most of them even know the meaning of them. "Metta" is
compassion and kindness shown towards other living beings. These Buddhists and even some
animal-lovers forget the suffering these poor animals go through in the early hours of the
morning in the abattoirs. When they eat the beef steaks, mutton chops, ham, bacon and
sausages, they dont realize that this is the flesh of animals which were killed just
The Buddha preached "Ahimsa" and Metta. Metta is compared to a mothers
feeling for her only child. If so, they should not eat the flesh of these poor, dumb
animals who cannot plead for themselves. Those who want to eat flesh say that the Buddha
said, not to kill and did not forbid them eating. This is like the age old Sinhalese
saying "Ugurata hora behetha Kanawa" meaning swallowing medicine with out the
knowledge of the throat.
The Lord Buddha said not to kill in the first of the five precepts and not trade in
flesh is one step of the Noble Eight-fold Path. If people do not eat, then there
wont be sales so no killing. Does this not stand to reason. They do not kill
to throw the flesh to the dust bin or feed the dogs.
I have often heard the butchers saying We would not kill if youll
Dr. C. D. Godamunne
Kandy Humanitarian Society
Commercial banks, competing for deposits, offer various concessions and incentives to
the public. One such is the payment of interest "up front". The depositor is
told that he will be paid the interest on the deposit at the time the deposit is made. The
fact is that the depositor is not paid the interest at the advertised rate on the date of
For example, a bank advertising deposits @ 10% per annum with the interest paid
"up front", will take a deposit of Rs. 90,910 and give a deposit receipt for Rs.
100,000 payable at the end of 1 year, claiming that the difference of Rs. 9,090 is the
interest paid "up front".
The interest on Rs. 100,000 @ 10% per annum is Rs. 10,000 and not Rs. 9,090 which is
what the bank actually pays. If interest is being paid "up front", the Rs.
100,000 deposit receipt should be given for Rs. 90,000 and not Rs. 90,910. What the bank
actually does is, that it accepts a deposit for Rs. 90,910 on which interest will be paid
at 10 @ per annum on maturity - the only difference being that the receipt is for Rs.
100,000 and not Rs. 90,910.
If the banks claim is that a receipt is given for an amount higher than what is
deposited and that the difference represents the interest paid "up front", then
the rate is NOT @ 10% per annum but @ 9.09% per annum - a big difference!!
The persons who strictly applied the payment of interest "up front" were the
money-lenders of yesteryear. When one wanted to borrow Rs. 1,000 he gave the money-lender
an I.O.U. for Rs. 1,000.
The money-lender gave him the Rs. 1,000 but immediately took back Rs. 50 being the
interest on Rs. 1,000 @ 5% per month! That is what interest paid "up front"
Road/Kotte Road intersection
Oil Barrels painted in black and yellow together with boulders have been placed at
locations above with the intention of regulating traffic.
The intention is to be appreciated but as a motorist who uses these roads regularly my
observation is that the barrel facing Talawatugoda Road does not appear to be at the
Consequently, motorists wanting to turn right from Kotte Road into Talawatugoda Road
have got into the habit of not going round the barrel in the proper way.
Some of the barrels already show signs of dents, no doubt provided by the crazy Sri
Lankan motorists! In my view, wht is required is a set of traffic lights not painted
barrels and policemen to direct traffic.
Once installed, the traffic lights will do the job much more efficiently. Traffic
policemen hiding in ambush can nab those who try to beat the lights or like some who
ignore them with amazing regularity.
Allan de Saa Bandaranaike
The news of the sudden demise of Allan de Saa Bandaranaike, a long-standing close
friend for about fifty years came as a shock and a cause of much grief and sorrow. No less
would it have been for those who looked forward to his week-end "Poets Corner"
and his wide circle of friends. Both of us joined the then Prisons department of which the
Probation unit was an appendage way back in 1951. It soon expanded to become the separate
Probation and Child Care Service Department during our time.
However, in due course, we sought other avenues of employment. Allen joined the Prisons
department where he served as Superintendent of Prisons; but our friendship continued to
the end. I have personal knowledge of his devotion and competence as a probation officer
who successfully rehabilitated convicted offenders, referred from even the Supreme Court,
who had histories of crime because some of them now doing well in life, call on him to
express their gratitude.
It speaks a great deal for his devotion and competence and a pride to this country that
he was chosen as a probation officer in England, the birthplace for the concept of
probation. He served there for ten years in Nothampton and came back because with age, he
could not stand the English winter on account of a recurrent chest problem - his achilles
heel. Being a keen sportsman, he plunged himself playing cricket for the NCC at the time
when Dr. N. M. Perera was president, and playing tennis as a member of the Orient Club.
With declining health, he gradually gave up out-door games and satisfied himself with
playing Bridge, a game he loved so much and devoted the morning to his other love poetry
which he wanted to share with others. He spent many hours reading the biographies of the
popular poets and labouriously typed them out himself for the weekly "Poets
Allan was a man of many parts. Not many are aware that he took part in de
Lanerolles hilarious comedy, "He comes from Jaffna". He had a rich voice
and at parties when he sang, his voice was heard above others. His recitation of poetry
was exemplary. (He has gifted me with a few cassettes recorded of some poems selected by
me). He was grateful to his Alma Mater, Richmond College and her teachers one of whom was
his father, Major de Saa Bandaranaike and W. Dahanayake who encouraged him to read,
appreciate and recite poetry.
Although he moved with friends in high places, he came to the level of the ordinary man
when dealing with him. He always cracked jokes with his domestic staff. He was simple in
his habits. He preferred sambol and rice to other spicy dishes on the table. To the last,
he wore wooden slippers of a bygone age.
He had many setbacks besides his various illnesses; but he never was overwhelmed by
them. He never bore grudges.He faced them with philosophical calm.
He was a perfectionist to a fault. He always gave friendly advice which he did not
often follow. He went out of his way to help a friend. His end would have come much
earlier but for the motherly care of Chandranie, his wife. Many who knew him will mourn
the loss, a lovable friend and gentleman. May he reap the benefits of the worthy life he
Social service is the only pleasure to those who wish to serve mankind. The late Mrs.
Ira Amarasekera too belongs to that category. Social service was her only way of joy. In
the true sense of the word, she was a social worker. Although she was a trained teacher, a
principal, she had spared most of her time for social service, especially she worked for
the benefit of the down trodden village folk.
The late Mrs. Ira Amarasekera was the founder principal of Peththenigoda Maha
Vidyalaya, Narammala. So, about 40 years ago, this school was the Bana Maduwa (Preaching
Hall) of Peththenigoda temple and step by step, she had encouraged the villagers and
developed the school as a Maha Vidyalaya having all the facilities.
This little school of Kurunegala district developed as a top class school because of
her endless power, wisdom and devotion. She had spent her wealth, time and energy for the
true development of the village and school. Although, she was a devoted principal, she
always paid her attention for the grievances of her staff and helped all the young
teachers as a mother.
The late Mr. I. M. R. A. Iriyagolle former minister of Education (1965-1970) ordered
the director of education of Kurunegala to supply all the concessions for her school for
the satisfactory results of OLevel exam. In addition, Mr. Iriyagolla gave a good
library (A Siyawasa library) and new buildings too.
Her husband, D. R. P. Amarasekera was a planter. Mrs. Amarasekera was the pioneer/
founder, leader of Mahila Samithi and Village development activities of Narammala and
Dambadeniya. Thus, she was the founder of Mahila Samitis at Kadahapola, Karuwalagahagedara
and Peththenigoda villages. She had introduced a new saving scheme among the village women
folk and began a Mahila bank, for the first time in the country. So, I wish to point out
this concept will be the origin of present Janashakthi bank of Hambantota.
Mrs. Amarasekera was a talented poetess and authoress who had published two books,
namely, "the daughter" and Child is your wealth. Her life is an
example to the new generation of our country. She was a strong member of Vayamba writers
guild and conciliation board of Polgahawela. Lavishly she spent money for the construction
of Buddha statues at Hirikulapitiya Viharaya and new library of Huruggomuwa temple. She
was the chief daika of Pravashana Lankara Pirivena of Narammala and visited the sacred
Birth Place of the Buddha. Mrs. Amarasekera was the Mother of three children. Her elder
son Daya is the head of Dept. of Sociology, university of Peradeniya and Priyanka,
attorney-at-law and Sunil. She spent a full life, dutiful, purposeful and meaningful.
May she attain the supreme bliss of Nirvana.
Dr. Mirando Obeysekere
People and Events
St. Patricks College, Jaffna 150 years old
On 21st July, 2000, St. Patricks College (SPC), Jaffna celebrated its 150th year
as one of the oldest educational institutions in the island. It is a milestone for a
college that started in 1850 in two palm thatched huts. The Colombo Branch of the
Old Boys Association marked this occasion with a simple ceremony held at the Sri
Lanka Foundation Institute. Over 200 old boys attended the function at which the Chief
Guest was Ms. Linda Duffield, the British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka. Mr. Philip
McDonagh, the Ambassador for Ireland in India flew in from New Delhi to grace the
occasion. Rt. Rev. Dr. Kingsley Swampillai, the Bishop of Trinco-Batticaloa, himself a
distinguished Old Boy of SPC, was also present. In recognition of the contribution SPC had
made in the field of education, the Philatelic Bureau of the Department of Posts issued a
commemorative postage stamp to mark the 150th anniversary of the college.
St. Patricks College was established as the "Jaffna Boys Catholic
English School". It was founded by Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Orazio Bettachini from Rome,
in order to provide a high standard of English education not only to the Catholics in
Jaffna but to any interested student, irrespective of communal or denominational
differences. The Protestant Mission had already beaten the Catholics by establishing its
Christian mission schools in Jaffna 25 years earlier, which were attracting a large
proportion of the local population, including Catholics, much to the dismay of the
Catholic Mission. So the establishment of the first Catholic Mission school in Jaffna was
also an effort to stem this flow. The good Bishop also had plans to establish another
school for girls, which eventually became the Holy Family Convent (HFC). When it commenced
its operation, the "Jaffna Boys School" had a student population of about
50 boys and two teachers including its first Principal, the Irishman Mr. Patrick Foy. In
1861, the school was named "Jaffna Boys Seminary". We owe a great debt of
gratitude to the duo, Brothers Brynne and Brown of the Oblates of the Mary Immaculate
(OMI), through whose efforts, the Jaffna Boys Catholic English School was upgraded
and given its present name, St. Patricks College in 1881. Since then, SPC has
remained one of the leading educational institutions in the island, through whose portals
had come and gone thousands of students, Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims, Burghers, Catholics,
Hindus, Buddhists, - even students from overseas as far away as Uganda, South Africa, and
the Federated Malay States.
In 1863, there were 63 pupils and Latin was one of the important subjects that were
taught in addition to English and Mathematics. From such humble beginnings, through the
concerted efforts of its rectors and staff, SPC managed to produce the best results of all
the schools in the entire British Empire at the University of London, Matriculation
Examination in 1922, 1932 to 1935, and again in 1937. It is a tribute to the zeal,
dedication, and commitment of the founding fathers that SPC still remains a great
institution, respected not only for its achievement in the fields of education and sports,
but more importantly for the high moral values, it had always stood for.
Milton referred to his college, Christs College, Cambridge as a
stony-hearted step-mother. By contrast, to many of us who studied at the more humble
educational institution, St. Patricks College was more like a warm-hearted Irish
godfather. Our school days were indeed the happiest and carefree period of our lives. I
joined SPC in 1953, when the great Irishman, Fr. Timothy M. F. Long was still its Rector.
It was also the year when the Excelsior Carnival and Exhibition was held at the college
grounds. It was declared open by an illustrious Old Patrician, the late Mr. G. G.
Ponnambalam, Minister of Industries and Fisheries at that time, and an outstanding
criminal lawyer. 1953 was also the year when SPC staged the first Passion Play. It was so
successful that a record crowd of 30,000 people attended on the second night.
During my early years in Jaffna, I knew Rev Fr. Charles S. Matthews very well, as he
was a good friend of my father, and would often visit us at home. He was the most gentle
and humble priest I have ever come across in my life. So profound was his influence that
my parents named me after him. Father Matthews was the real force behind St.
Patricks greatness. He was a graduate of Ottawa University and had the longest
tenure of office as Rector - a total of 28 years between 1905 and 1921, and then again
from 1924 to 1936. It was during his time that new buildings were put up including a fully
equipped science laboratory, and a spacious and well-stocked library to improve the
quality of education. Father Matthews was a pioneer and a great visionary. In 1912, long
before the government pension scheme came into operation, he devised a pension scheme and
liberal salaries for the teachers at SPC.
But the most towering and colourful personality, who dominated the religious,
intellectual and social life of Jaffna was undoubtedly Fr. T. M. F. Long of Limerick, who
took over as Rector of SPC in 1936 from Fr. Charles S. Matthews. It was the period of
carnivals and concerts, pageantry and passion plays. Under the guidance and stewardship of
Father Long, SPC blossomed into one of the top-most educational institutions that was the
envy of other schools in the peninsula.
His warm Irish personality would often burst into ebullient smiles and rumbustious
laughter. Against the bureaucracy, his strong suit was competitiveness - always on the
lookout for a China Shop. With his philosophy of "Can do" and Irish humour, he
had a way of getting things done all his own. As he often said, "The best is good
enough for us". Wherever he went, and in whatever he did, he radiated an enthusiasm
that was truly infectious. He could sometimes appear aloof and intimidating, but those who
chose to meet him on equal intellectual grounds found his company truly exhilarating.
"Come straight in, Master, and sit thee down" was how Father Long greeted any
teacher who knocked on his office door. When he finally left Jaffna for good on the night
of March 30, 1954, I was one of the thousands who went to the railway station to bid him
"Farewell". There was not a single dry eye in the crowd that night. Father Long
came as an Irishman, but left as a Jaffna man. Long after he is gone, Father Long is still
missed by Patricians who knew him, but his work endures.
Mr. F. N. C. Savarimuttu, who taught us English, was an accomplished scholar who was
loved by all. Despite his learning, he remained a very modest man, accessible to all. He
was a man of the highest personal integrity, and whose friendship brightened and enriched
He was also a deeply religious man, whose beliefs were put into practice in all that he
did. He was an outstanding teacher who made the study of English language and literature
great fun. Known affectionately just by his initials, F.N.C. by all, he was one of the
rare breeds of teachers who never believed in corporal punishment. He had the amazing gift
of subduing any unruly student through the use of sarcasm and the razor-edge of his wit.
By force of intellect and personality, he exerted a profound influence on all of us. He
would exhort us to "read, read, and read books and newspapers", in order to
improve our language skils. What he generously gave us were his time, inspiration and very
high moral values, perhaps the most valuable gifts that any teacher could offer to his
Throughout my career at St. Patricks, I was extremely fortunate to have come
under the wings of some of the most dedicated teachers, without whose care, concern and
constant encouragement, I would not have become what I am. Teachers such as Messrs. F.N.C.
Savarimuttu (English), P. J. Amirthnayagam (English), S. F. Santiapillai (Latin/English),
Sam B. R. Alfred (Chemistry), S. M. Christy (Physics), D. S. Gnanapragasam (Physics), A.
B. Andrew (Botany), B. Lawrence (Mathematics), Rev. Fr. John Mary (Religion) to name a
few, were responsible for bringing the best out of even the worst students. One of the
finest memories of my time at SPC is the college anthem - the Alma Mater- written by Fr.
Michael Aloysius Murphy.
Alma Mater, blest sanctum of learning
Where the mind is adorned with rich lore,
And each tutored facultys yearning
Is sated and taught to seek more.
True to its motto, "Fide et Labore", St. Patricks College has stood as
a symbol of the Faith and Industry of the Catholic community of Jaffna, since its founding
150 years ago. Despite many difficulties and setbacks, SPC has provided excellent
education in the past for not only the Catholics of Jaffna, but to students of other
faiths from all over Sri Lanka as well. May it continue to prosper and promote the high
ideals for which it was founded by the Oblate Missionaries from Ireland.