Koradekumbura, the first and only Karate Village in Sri Lanka


Jayaweera Jayasundara with the villages of Koradekumbura

Jayaweera Jayasundara with the villages of Koradekumbura

Having learnt from my good friend Mr. Daya Wijesinghe from Kandana, that there is a small rural mountainous hamlet in Badulla district, which runs a very successful program of a whole village getting together to do physical exercises and karate practices,  I decided to go and see for myself  this village. It was night when I reached the village of Koradekumbura. I stayed at the house of Mr. Jayaweera Jayasundara, the founder of the karate program. I was woken up by Jayaweera early in the morning of May 17, 2017.  I had asked him to do so to see how his “students” practice physical exercises in the early hours of the day in the village playground.  Mr. Jayaweera arranged a three wheeler for me and I felt uncomfortable, as to why I could not walk to the venue, while all others in the village just walked, jogged or ran to the playground. I suppose he wanted his guest to be comfortable.

It was about 5.20 am when we reached the village playground; already there were more than 50 children, adults and seniors assembled in the playground. They had already started doing physical exercises. There were more adults and seniors than the young.  I was surprised to see the range of ages of the villagers who came for the karate and physical exercises. Kids as young as 5 to seniors as old as 80+!!!

The practice had begun last year and it gathers momentum every day. All of the 82 students in Medainna Primary School in Koradekumbura start karate practices from 6.30 am to 7.00 am. Altogether, around 130 children and 100 adults do both physical exercises at dawn and karate practices in the evenings. Around 25 young girls and women do stick fighting. With such numbers in a small village like this, it may be the village with fittest people in Sri Lanka. One could observe at the very first instance that the inhabitants of this village are all in a very fit physical state.

The program and the structure Mr. Jayaweera has formed seem very strong that even without his presence, the program will continue. He formed a Parents Association to run the project. Each member contributes 200/- LKR per month towards the expenses for attending tournaments etc. But the Founder of the Program Mr. Jayaweera does all his training totally free of charge. Though money can be counterproductive for a genuine initiative like this, I am still of the view that Mr. Jayaweera’s great service has to be recognized and rewarded in some way. Aligning a whole village for karate practice and physical exercise is no easy task anywhere in the world.

Mr. Jayaweera wanted to have a building to carry out the karate practices during rainy days, which is a regular occurrence   in this mountainous village. Having understood the importance of the program by being an active member of the trainees, one of the members of the sports program and also the treasurer of the Parents Association Mr. B. N. P. Somarathna donated a quarter acres of his land situated in a strategic location in the village.  Mr. Somarathna also works as Mr. Jayaweera’s deputy in the sports program in the latter’s absence. Their dream is to build a 90×35 feet building (auditorium), to house the training program. The estimated cost is around 3.5 million LKR. I feel it is your duty to help complete this project and make this a good example for the rest of the country that usually waits for the government to do everything.

Non communicable diseases such as; cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory problems, diabetes and cancer are the main problems in Sri Lanka, claiming 103,500 lives each year. (http://www.searo.who.int/srilanka/areas/noncommunicable_diseases/en/) It was this reason that Mr. Jayaweera, being a retired Physical Health Instructor, was instrumental in starting the sports program.

Should not both the State and Private Sector take this physically fit village as an example and replicate it across all over Sri Lanka?

If the current Minister of Sports, Hon. Dayasiri Jayasekara is as interested as he shows in physical fitness of the people, I suggest that he visit this village in person and spend a day and then take this golden example and replicate it throughout the island by using Mr. Jayaweera as the national consultant to the program. Appointing an official from an air-conditioned office from Colombo will not be as effective as Mr. Jayaweera, who is a son of the soil.

 

 

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Motorcycle Journeys – Trip to Bandarawela from Mahawilachchiya with Aleksandar Isailović from Serbia


Our route from Mahawilachchiya to Dambana

Our route from Mahawilachchiya to Dambana

I started the trip to Bandarawela from Mahawilachchiya around 7.00 am on May 15, 2017 with Aleksandar Isailović from Serbia and reached Mirahawatta (off Bandarawela) via Mahiyanganaya the first day. Despite having an international license, Aleksander could not ride the bike as my Bajaj Pulsar 150 is not a model he had any experience with. In fact, it was my fault that I did not give him enough time to get accustomed to my bike during his stay in Mahawilachchiya.

On the bund of Mahawilachchiya Reservoir

On the bund of Mahawilachchiya Reservoir

Aleksandar Isailović on the bund of Basawakkulama Reservoir

Aleksandar Isailović on the bund of Basawakkulama Reservoir

Scene from the bund of Basawakkulama Reservoir Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Scene from the bund of Basawakkulama Reservoir Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

We had breakfast at my sister’s house in Anuradhapura and proceeded to Dambulla first. From Dambulla, we took the road via Kandalama – Bakamuna – Laggala up to Mahiyanganaya. The road from Dambulla to Bakamuna was not carpeted as yet but it was still a pretty good road and we never had any problems with the road condition. We had lunch at a small place at Girandurukotte. It was a delicious lunch with fresh vegetables and freshwater fish.

Bridge of Yodha Ela in Bakamuna

Bridge of Yodha Ela in Bakamuna

Ricefields in Girandurukotte

Ricefields in Girandurukotte

At Girandurukotte

At Girandurukotte

After lunch, we proceeded to Mahiyanganaya then to Dambana where the Vedda (a Sri Lankan aboriginal ingenious tribe) people live. I have been to this place several times and hence I personally know Vedda tribal chief, Mr. Uruwarige Waniyaleththo. The houses in Dambana are very eco-friendly. They are made with mud walls and hay stacks roof. You don’t feel the heat that thrust upon the village by the hot sun. We had a chat with the chief and then came back to Mahiyanganaya and then proceeded to Bandarawela. Roads are very well done, thanks to the previous government.

Mr. Uruwarige Wanniya, the Chief of Vedda tribe in Dambana, Mahiyanganaya

Mr. Uruwarige Wanniya, the Chief of Vedda tribe in Dambana, Mahiyanganaya

The roof of the hut of Mr. Uruwarige Wanniya, the Chief of Vedda tribe in Dambana, Mahiyanganaya

The roof of the hut of Mr. Uruwarige Wanniya, the Chief of Vedda tribe in Dambana, Mahiyanganaya

With Mr. Uruwarige Wanniya, the Chief of Vedda tribe in Dambana, Mahiyanganaya

We took some pictures at beautiful Loggaloya Lake. This place is so beautiful and even if you spend hours here you won’t feel enough.

The route we took from Dambana to Mirahawatta.

The route we took from Dambana to Mirahawatta.

Aleksandar Isailović at Loggal Oya

Aleksandar Isailović at Loggal Oya

Mahiyanganaya - Badulla Road

Mahiyanganaya – Badulla Road

The little tea shop we had tea on Mahiyanganaya - Badulla road

The little tea shop we had tea on Mahiyanganaya – Badulla road

We resumed the journey to Badulla and spent some time in Badulla, the small town where I spent honeymoon for year!!! Badulla is a very peaceful and beautiful small town. I love this place.

We left for Bandarawela and met my friend Nimal Gunarathna there. He is a computer teacher in Devananda School, Mirahawatta. He also conducts some private tuition classes in Bandarawela town. We spent night at his house and had a delicious dinner cooked by Nimal’s wife. We had a wonderful tight sleep as the weather was cool and there was not a single mosquito to disturb with their buzz.

Nilminimala – A Budding Young Artist


 

Nilminimala Smile

Nilminimala Ariyarathna

This was written by me in March, 2000

Having seen some extraordinarily beautiful paintings that were done by a young village lass, I was desperate to meet the artist. She lived in a very remote typically traditional village on the outskirts of Mihinthale, Anuradhapura. I visited the artist personally with a teacher of mine on Sunday the 24 of March 2002. The road to her village was through some beautiful rice fields and a lush jungle. Most fascinating sight was the ancient Maha Kanadarawa reservoir.

nilminimala painting1

Nilminimala with one of her paintings.

We were warmly welcomed by the artist herself, a 20 year old, clad in a traditional dress called ‘cheeththa’. The whole appearance of Nilminimala, the artist, looked more like one of her own paintings. This typically shy village lass had something that most Sri Lankan girls do not possess – brown eyes. One cannot accept the fact that she is an amateur in painting. The colors she uses, though very cheap ordinary water colors, are amazingly matching. The painting which caught my eyes was the ‘blue lady’s painting done only with different blue shades of the color blue.

Nilminimala Painting2

Nilminimala with one of her paintings.

She draws oil paintings as well. Most of her paintings depict rural village scenes with shepherds, beautiful damsels, people working in rice fields, girls bathing in rivers, etc. Having asked why she paints village scenes she says, “That’s all I see in and around the village. I’m fascinated by the surroundings. I wonder why the city people mock at these villages for the simple fact that the villages are rural. Yes we don’t have the facilities the city folks have, but we have the freedom and the calmness which you’ll never have in a city.”

I too understood that it is the environment that produced this budding artist. She must be the luckiest person to have a mother who teaches in the village school, and a parent who encouraged the child to choose a field like painting in spite of the fact that such proficiency do not have a demand in the job market.

nilminimala painting3

Nilminimala with one of her paintings.

To my question about her future aspects as a professional painter, her replay was;

“I love painting and I do it for fun. I can spend hours on a painting. It takes a long time to finish a good painting”.

Unfortunately she doesn’t know the real value of her own paintings. She says that her paintings have never been appreciated except by her mother and other teachers who taught her art of drawing.

Nilminimala

I showed some pictures that I had edited with a computer and she was greatly impressed and was keen to learn it. Her deep interest indicated that she has the potential of becoming a most talented computer graphic artist too. Buying a computer with the necessary software is far above reach for her.

Nilminimala will be a part of Horizon and Horizon website would be decorated with her artwork with the next update.

P. S.

Unfortunately this plan did not work. Had the plans went the exact way we expected, things would have been very different by now. She could have been the next Picasso. Such a talent going into the waste ………. Life is like that.

Rambutan Season 2015


Anthony Tissera, a rambutan seller in Ja-Ela along Colombo - Katunayake Airport road

Anthony Tissera, a rambutan seller in Ja-Ela along Colombo – Katunayake Airport road

For the last three years, I have been writing a post on rambutan season each year consecutively. After reading my posts, two gentlemen from an Indian fruit farm called Homegrown www.homegrown.in visited Sri Lanka and took rambutan fruits and plants to India. They were particularly interested in Malwana rambutan variety. Now they grow Malwana rambutans in their farm in Kerala, India. They personally visited Malwana with me to see rambutan gardens. I too bought two plants two years back and one survived and thriving now. I learnt from my Indian friends that their plants are also growing well.

Rambutan on display at Kalagedihena

Rambutan on display at Kalagedihena

This time around rambutan harvest has been very good just like the last two years. As a result the price of a single fruit has come down to 5 rupees in Colombo and suburbs and in Kandy as I checked the prices myself. In Malwana, a fruit costs around 3 rupees according to the rambutan sellers in Kalagedihena along the Colombo – Kandy road. Rambutan prices in Anuradhapura, my hometown, is little expensive. They sell 15 fruits for 100 rupees. But fresh fruits are available in Anuradhapura unlike in the past.

A pregnant woman selling rambutans in Kalagedihena. It was from people like this that the notorious deputy minister allegedly collected commissions.

A pregnant woman selling rambutans in Kalagedihena. It was from people like this that the notorious deputy minister allegedly collected commissions.

It was reported this year that a politician, a deputy minister from the previous government took a cut from the small scale rambutan sellers in Gampaha district, his electorate, by force. After his party was defeated at the presidential election in early January this year, rambutan sellers lodged a complaint against the former deputy minister. He was so corrupt that his own party rejected his nomination to contest to the parliamentary election scheduled to be held in August this year along with some other former MPs who have corruption and drug trafficking allegations. This is a good move. It is sickening to hear that a person in the capacity of a deputy minister collecting commissions from the poor rambutan sellers. Imagine what he must have taken from the mega projects in his electorate and in the capacity of a deputy minister in his ministry.

Rambutan on a creative display in Digana, Kandy

Rambutan on a creative display in Digana, Kandy

OK. Back to rambutans. According to the sellers, the season will last around three more weeks and this is the peak of the season. Prices will fluctuate according to availability of the fruits in coming weeks. So, if you want to visit Sri Lanka to taste rambutans, this is the high time you visited. Do not regret and postpone your visit. If you visit Sri Lanka these days, you will see rambutans from the airport road itself to almost all parts of Sri Lanka. Mohammad, an experienced young driver from Colombo who can speak decent English has been our chauffer during our visits to Malwana and you too can contact him on 071-2669696 and arrange a trip to Malwana rambutan gardens. He knows the right places and people. Just let him know in advance. His fares are reasonable as well.

Though there are two colors of rambutans as red and yellow, red variety is the most sought after by the customers though the tastewise there is no big difference. Malwana variety is the most popular over other types that come from adjoining areas of Malwana.

These are some useful links to websites about rambutans. Apparently, there is a dedicated site called www.rambutan.com with a lot of information and lovely pictures. Though the site design is not very professional, it has a lot of necessary information.

  1. Rambutan – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rambutan

  2. Opening the rambutan – http://www.rambutan.com/

  3. Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka – http://www.agridept.gov.lk/index.php/crop-recommendations/1083-rambutan

No More Live International Cricket On Channel Eye Please


Sri-Lanka-vs-Bangladesh-21

I was among the millions of happy cricket fans when it was announced that the Sri Lanka’s Bangladesh cricket tour was going to be telecasted live on Channel Eye for the simple reason that Channel Eye has clearer signals than Carlton Sports Network (CSN.) In addition to that, we were not happy about the unusual circumstances that resulted CSN grabbing live cricket from Channel Eye in an unethical manner.

But after the conclusion of the Bangladesh tour of Sri Lanka I feel that live cricket telecasting be better off without Channel Eye. Channel Eye disturbed the viewers throughout the Test series with hourly Tamil news updates that resulted viewers missing even very important milestones during the games.

Things got worse with the start of the one day series. (I cannot comment about the T20 series as I could not watch it.) During the ODI series, Channel Eye stopped live telecast for almost 15 minutes for 7pm Tamil news telecast. This is very unfair to the cricket fans. We expect an uninterrupted coverage. Channel Eye doesn’t have an ethical right to disconnect the live coverage for something else. If they cannot provide uninterrupted coverage, they should have let some other channel to buy the telecasting rights in the first place. Or they could have easily transferred newscasts to their sister channels Rupavahini or NTV without interrupting live cricket. But this did not happen.

CSN also brings us full repeat telecasts the next day for those who missed the live matches. But Channel Eye restricts matches only to nightly highlights. CSN finds enough advertisements to run even during repeat telecasting bringing profits to the channel. Channel Eye, being a channel that runs with the taxpayer money, cannot find enough advertisements even for live Test matches. This shows sheer inefficiency of the state channel.

So, like many others now, I prefer CSN to telecast live cricket matches that Sri Lanka take part even with not-so-good signals. At least they provide uninterrupted live coverage. Channel Eye does not understand priorities so they should not be given live international cricket that Sri Lanka feature anymore.

Miniature Sailing Ships – Wishmitha Handicraft, Seeduwa


A yellow ship

A yellow ship

When I ride towards Negombo from Ja-Ela I had seen this place called Wishmitha Handicraft which produces wooden miniature sailing ships. Today I thought of exploring the shop. It is full of sailing ships of different colors and sizes. The proprietor and the creator is a guy called Liyanage Sumedha. He has ships in a price range from 750 to 35,000 rupees. He was making one worth 30,000 rupees when I met him. He already had a buyer for it and the buyer decides the color and the size. He says that people who believe in Feng shui art buy the miniature ships to decorate their houses. They believe that the ships bring the house prosperity. But if you keep the ship in the wrong way it brings bad luck. Ask him what side should be exposed to the door side.

Liyanage Sumedha, the Artist

Liyanage Sumedha, the Artist

Sumedha’s buyers range from locals to foreigners. Foreigners usually buy the smaller sized ones as they find it difficult to take the bigger ones home in the plane. Some foreigners have promised him a lot, like providing opportunities to export his ships to their countries but those nice talks were just limited to talks, nothing more. He is still hopeful though.

A Set of Ships

A Set of Ships

Ships are colorful and beautiful. They are mainly made with wood and for sails, Sumedha uses some kind of papers that are colored with a spray gun. He sprays different colors into papers to get the desired colors of the ships. When he sprays these things you should look at him. His clothes are also painted with the spray gun and he himself looks like a painting. I am not sure you can buy that painting though.

A big ship

A big ship

The sailing ship maker, Liyanage Sumedha is a 32-year-old man originally from Hokandara. When asked how he got into the ship business, he told me that he once made a miniature sailing ship by looking at a picture some 5 years ago. There was a buyer for it. Since his friends encouraged him to produce more he ventured into making sailing ships as a business. He moved to Seeduwa and rented this place and opened up the shop.  Some sailors, after seeing his ships, advised Sumedha on the designs and finishing of the ships. A keen learner, Sumedha includes those changes in his new ships. There are two more helpers who work under Sumedha now. His father also helps him in the ship making.

A grey ship

A grey ship

Both Sirasa TV and the Sunday Times newspaper have covered his creative venture last year and sales increased heavily thanks to the publicity they gave him. He says he still gets orders from outstations due to that publicity.

A set of ships

A set of ships

Ships look really nice. There is no doubt you too will feel like owning one if you saw his ships with your own eyes. His excellence cannot be shown better with a newspaper, TV or on internet pictures. You have to be there and see how neat the sailing ships are.

Steve Jobs Theory

There are some wooden trishaws, bullock carts, kerosene oil carts of yesteryear in the collection, separately from the ships. But I don’t see the logic of selling this common stuff that can be bought elsewhere. It only distracts the customer. Like Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs thought a producer should sell only what is unique for him, not small stuff that doesn’t add value to the main product. If I were Sumedha, I would throw away all these small stuff and keep more ships at display instead.

I liked the open air shop a lot, though it is little untidy and disorganized, I think you should try to buy a ship or two to keep at your home, not because that I believe in Feng shui but because of just the beauty of the ships.

Wishmitha Handicraft, Opposite Police Station, Seeduwa

Telephone 077-1639034

A grey ship

A grey ship

We Don’t Understand This Cricket


From www.dailynews365.com

Sanath Jayasuriya – The picture from http://www.dailynews365.com

Sri Lanka cricket team doesn’t perform that well for some time now. They are not that bad as well. They became runners up in two consecutive World Cups and two Twenty20 World Cups. More than the talents of the players, there is a problem with the way the team is selected.

Many including me believed that with Sanath Jayasuriya at the helm of the Selection Committee things would go right. But it is not to be. His committee makes ridiculous decisions that none of the former committees made.

Take a look at the way the senior cricketers are being “rested.” They rested Mahela, Dilshan, Kumar, Rangana, Lasith, etc. who were performing well while almost all the newcomers failed to make an impression barring, maybe Thisara Perera at times, but not that consistently. This affected the team’s overall results during the ODI and T20 series just concluded against South Africa. There is no argument that young blood should be infused to the national team. But there is an accepted way to do that. Usually other countries provide opportunities for young players during practice matches and A team matches and through domestic tournaments. Once a cricketer is well-seasoned only he is taken to the national team, that too is when a senior player is retired, injured or omitted due to lack of performance.

Here in Sri Lanka, the best performers are rested and young players are drawn into the national team in a surprising haste damaging the very careers of those young players as they have failed in the big leagues after being drafted to national team.

Sri Lanka has this crazy idea of playing underperforming youngsters just after a series victory. Other national teams don’t do it and when they are 3-0 in the series they want to make it 5-0, not 3-2. But our decision makers have a yearning for playing youngsters and losing remaining matches. A win means a lot in international cricket. Teams are seeded due to wins and losses, not according to series victories. Other teams don’t “test” their young players at a cost of a match. They have other stages where they are tested as mentioned above. But we have an idiotic system to risk victories to make way for so called young players. This is why Sri Lanka cricket team goes deep down and suddenly reemerges again thanks to individual talents of some players, not winning as a team. A team’s composition shouldn’t be shaken much. The core of the team should be consistent and when there is a vacancy, a young man who does well can be drafted in. Young players have to sharpen themselves till they get an opportunity.

But what the Selection Committee did was to risk victories by resting senior players who did well at a time younger players were not living up to expectations. This is not fair by those senior players’ perspectives. While winning matches for the country, those players too should be allowed to go for personal milestones as well. A sudden resting while performing well can hamper all his form. Sri Lanka had to pay dearly in the T20 series with South Africa’s lead of 2-1 which could have turned the other way round if the senior players played. It was the senior players who made a difference throughout the series, not young players.

We have also a very funny way of grooming captains. Today the captains are the players who were struggling to cement their places in the team few months ago, let alone captaining it. What is the message given to them by appointing them captains while still trying to make it to the team? They take it for granted and start playing irresponsibly. See the way both Angelo and Dinesh playing. None of them is performing impressively. They should have been kept at bay till they become consistent performers before making them captains. If their cricketing lives are to end prematurely due to unexpected appointments as captains, the selection committee has to take the responsibility.

Both Kumar and Mahela cannot say that they can’t lead the national team. They are the seasoned ones and should have been captains till the end of their careers. This is how they do it in Australia and England. They find new captains only when the older captains reach retirement age or fail miserably. Both Kumar and Mahela resigned after taking the team to World Cup finals. They should have been retained as captains for the country’s sake. If they say no, that is totally snubbing their employer, Sri Lanka Cricket. Actions should have been taken for snubbing. (But there are these gossips that they were forced to resign also.) They were decent captains and their performances were never affected by the weight of the captaincy as both of them were seasoned enough by the time they became captains.

I’m not too sure about the common opinion that Jayasuriya is avenging the seniors who were against the former’s inclusion in the national side at a time he was not performing. This could perhaps be true. But what Jayasuriya has to understand is that none of the present day seniors opposed him due to his age. They opposed him because he didn’t perform and he was in the team as an MP and enjoyed extra privileges and used his political links to make it to the team.  But Jayasuriya has no ethical right to “rest” the seniors for the simple reason that they opposed him at the earlier team selections.

I would advise Jayasuriya to pay attention to his political aspirations than messing up national cricket anymore. He has done enough as a player for cricket and we don’t need his service as a selector anymore.

‘The Buddhist’ Radio Station


thebuddhist

A friend of mine recommended me The Buddhist radio station. I have watched The Buddhist TV both on satellite and terrestrial TV but was fed up with repetition of programs that appear former Chief Justice. I never liked the channel and did not recommend it to anyone either. When my friend recommended me the radio station, I didn’t expect much.

But I listened to The Buddhist radio for few days since January 01st. It turned out to be a good station. It broadcasts songs that are related to Buddhism. I like them because the songs sound pretty good since they had been recorded before octopads came into the scene. Male voices of the announcers are deep while the female voices are sweet. Announcers sound intelligent and don’t chatter like in other FM stations.

As for the sermons, they have selected not-so-famous Buddhist monks most of the times. The monks who dominate the TV channels on Poya days are hardly heard on The Buddhist. Sermons sound good and on different topics. They repeat the same sermon thrice within three days. Station runs on 24/7 basis.

The Buddhist radio is broadcasted from Sambodhi Viharaya, Gregory’s Road, Colombo 7. The frequencies of the broadcast are 101.3 MHz FM (Colombo & Kandy) and 101.5 MHz FM (Down South.) They also have a webcast through http://www.thebuddhist.tv/liveradio.php. The programs are broadcast on Sinhala, Tamil and English.

Sri Lankan Government Hospitals Online


Homagama Base Hospital Website's Homepage

Homagama Base Hospital Website’s Homepage

While searching for the telephone number of Homagama Base Hospital, I was directed to its website. I was surprised because not many government hospitals can be found on the Net. I had a good look at the Homagama Hospital’s website http://www.homagamahospital.org/ and found much useful information available. They have lined up contact information, clinic schedules, information about different departments of the hospital, an image gallery and a video gallery with important interviews with doctors about some diseases. It is commendable to see this type of work done without waiting till government allocates funds for this type of work. In fact the Ministry of Health should start at least an info page for each government hospital in its website if they cannot afford to launch websites for each hospital.

The consultant surgeon Dr. C. K. Pathirana has designed the website with his own effort. The hospital needs computers and an internet connection to update the website timely. The website doesn’t have an email address because there is no facility to check emails timely. The hospital plans to convert its books and files into digital format and the only barrier is not having necessary infrastructure.

Mr. B. A. Mahipala is a big donor to the Homagama Base Hospital. He has done a lot to help renovate the hospital with his own money. Visit his company website http://www.bamholdings.com/.

Most of the private hospitals have websites and only few of the leading government hospitals have websites. Only one I could find was the National Hospital Websitehttp://www.nationalhospital.lk/.The Karapitiya Hospital has a webpage at Ruhunu University website http://www.medi.ruh.ac.lk/THK/index.php. But leading hospitals like the Eye Hospital, Lady Ridgeway Hospital, De Soyza Women’s Hospital, Kalubowila Hospital, Ragama Hospital, Kandy Hospital, Peradeniya Hospital, Anuradhapura Hospitalor Jaffna Hospital do not have websites though they are big hospitals. Sri Jayawardenepura Hospital has a very primitive website hosted at a third party server at http://www.infolanka.com/org/SJGH/.

It is encouraging to see that Ampara Hospital has a website http://www.ghampara.gov.lk though the hospital is situated far away from Colombo. This is a very informative website and has been assisted by the ICTA to set up. This can be taken as a model for other hospitals to follow. The site is being updated timely. The Ampara Hospital is a very special hospital in Sri Lanka and it has won a number of awards for its productivity.

A Paternoster, an Old-fashioned Elevator in the Ceylon Electricity Board Headquarters


Paternoster at CEB Headquarters, Colombo

I visited the headquarters of the Ceylon Electricity Board at Sir Chittampalam A. Gardiner Mawatha to meet an official there. This was my first visit to the institution and after the affairs at the reception I was asked to go to the 6th floor.

I went searching for the elevator but I found a strange elevator-like thing there instead of an easy to use elevator. (Later I heard from Mr. K. K. S. Dasanayake, the Deputy General Manager of CEB that this thing is called a “paternoster.” The paternoster had two rooms – one going up and one going down. One has to get into it while it is still moving. I am a guy who is very reluctant to get into an escalator. So, imagine the excitement I had while getting into a moving paternoster. Before getting into this, I studied how few people managed to get into it and asked a person how to go about it. He made me relaxed and said even small kids get into this easily (though it is not advisable for kids to use this.)

Paternoster at CEB Headquarters, Colombo

I got into it and the next problem was getting off of it in the 6th floor. I was more excited and someone in the paternoster told me to hold the handle well while getting off. Only two people can go in one cubicle at once and the paternoster has a chain of about 20 cubicles travelling one after the other. The same cubicles return to the downward travel once they go above the top-most floor (7th). Similarly they return to the upward travel once the come below the first floor.

With all the excitement I managed to go to the desired floor and met Mr. Bandula S. Tilakasena, the Additional General Manager of the CEB and the first thing I asked him was not about what I visited him for. I asked about the paternoster and both he and Mr. Dasanayake gave me a lot of information about it. According to them this is the only paternoster available in Sri Lanka and there are a few left in the whole world. You can read more about them in the Wikipedia page about paternoster by clicking this link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paternoster. According to Wikipedia, a few people have died while using paternosters. (Few people have died while using elevators too.)

Since my phone batter was almost dead I could not take few pictures of the paternoster and when I asked the polite telephone operator Ms. Dilini Kariyawasam to get me a photograph or two, she promised to send me some pictures. She had emailed me the pictures you see in this page within few minutes. (Who did ever say that government servants are not efficient?)

I could get down after the meeting with no limbs broken and my problem now is that I have to go there once again to collect some videos from Mr. Tilakasena. I keep postponing this due to fear on using the paternoster but I have to do it within next couple of days.