Once a 'home only' garment, sarongs have
The British Royal Family was beset by aches and pains over the last week, kicking off 1998 with a plethora of injuries caused by everything from old age to high spirits. The much loved Queen Mum, 97 years old and still going strong, underwent a successful hip replacement operation after a fall at the weekend. Buckingham Palace reported that the Queen Mother, the mother of reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth, had "passed a comfortable night."
To underline the seriousness of the operation, the palace also announced that she would not be receiving any visitors in the next 24 hours. She had appeared in good health earlier while attending church at Sandringham with Queen Elizabeth and other members of the royal family. The always-smiling, always-cheerful Queen Mother has long been dubbed "the nation's favourite grandmother", remaining a respected national figure who has always been treated with great affection by the British public, despite the many tainted scandals other members of the Royal Family have undergone. She was born as Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the daughter of a Scottish earl, on August 4, 1900. She was the wife of King George VI and earned praise for remaining in London throughout the German bombing campaigns during World War Two.
News of her latest accident dominated the British media on Monday, as possibly the best loved Royal in the country went through her second hip replacement operation in three years. She had the other replaced in a routine operation in 1995 at King Edward VII Hospital , and broke this one after a fall at the Royal Family's estate in Sandringham, in eastern England, while watching her horses. She is known to have an experienced eye for horses, and her string of thoroughbreds has made her one of the most successful horse breeders in Britain.
It was another horse that derailed the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles , who broke a rib when he tumbled from his horse in a hunting accident , while riding with the Wynnstay hunt at Malpas on the north Wales border . Charles 'clutched his chest and writhed in agony after falling on a steep bank' , according to a report in the Mirror newspaper. He then abandoned his day of hunting and was taken to a friend's house where a doctor told him the extent of his injury.
The Prince is no stranger to horse-riding accidents - he broke his arm in 1990 while playing polo and has faced calls to give up hunting since then, especially since public support has grown for parliamentary moves to ban hunting, which is regarded as archaic, barbaric and elitist.
He is apparently being nursed at Birkhall, the Queen Mother's home on the Balmoral estate in Scotland, and his physiotherapist, Sarah Key, was being flown over from Australia to care for him."He doesn't know exactly how he did it," a source told the Mirror. "One minute he was riding up a hill, the next he was on the ground. Whatever the case, when he arrives in Sri Lanka , the Prince must be hoping that nobody slaps him on the back. What was that about a kingdom for a horse?
My dearest daughter
A few days ago I came across a quotation that I thought I must share with you. 'Accept me as I am - only then will we discover each other.' Don't you think that would be a very apt saying we could adopt in our own lives especially regarding our attitude to those closest and nearest to us. Very often we try to change the person to whom we expressed so much devotion and concern during the period of courtship. The young wife wants the boy who was carefree and happy with his position at work to become ambitious and hardworking - she nags and pesters him, and soon gone are the days he went to play cricket or enjoyed a film! The boy who thought his girl's charm was in her shyness and soothing quietness, suddenly wants her to be a live wire at the social rounds he goes to and give him a boost in his career by her wit and conversation! Not only does it happen in marriage, it also happens with regard to the ambitions parents have for their children.
A fond father or mother wants a child who is keen on music to be an engineer or a doctor or vice versa. We try to impose our ambitions on to our children. How often I have seen families where a girl or boy is naturally shy the parents pressurizing the child to be different . ' Go and join in that game' says the irate father when the child only wants to be left alone! Or 'why can't you be like Anil, see how he studies one never sees him playing like you do.'
So many comparisons are made. We don't really bother to find out what another would like to do, we usually want them to follow the stereotyped image we have created. How often that leads to disappointment, anger and even hate. Don't you think daughter if we accept the ideas in the line I quoted to you, there would be less unhappiness?
While everyone else focuses on Sri Lanka's history, Afdhel Aziz takes a fanciful peek into our future...
It has been a hundred years since the last colonial invaders have left our shores. The battles that we fought to preserve our identity seem unnecessary with the perspective of time, Sri Lanka is now more multi-cultural than you would believe. After the flight of money from Hong Kong after the 2028 pro-democracy riots in the Lan Tau Islands, nationless, faceless capital appeared in the coffers of our banks. And with them came a plethora of investors. Taiwanese, Chinese, Singaporean, all looking for a safe haven in which to operate their global concerns from. We are now the Switzerland of South Asia, our lips sealed, our discretion absolute, secret account numbers encoded in our heads.
The war in the North has been over for close to forty years now. Jaffna is now a canton, an independently run administrative unit with its own elected governor and council. Sovereignty has been preserved, dignity and face has not been lost. Elegant, economic solutions have saved the day. After all, these days it is more important what company you work for than where it is located. Jaffna is thriving financially, a crossroads for businessmen in Asia who want to buy, sell and trade - cotton, software, bananas, whatever, you can find it ther. The megacontainers unload in the deepwater port of China Bay, pouring out their cargo of goods and people, workers in transit to the garment factories of Mombasa and Lagos. Investment has been high in Africa, and with good reason. The garments they produce there are far cheaper than anywhere else in the world, and Sri Lanka was not slow to shift their operations there .
Colombo now boasts as one of the most pollution-free environments in Colombo. Strict checks by the Environmental Protection Agency ensure that the fumes from the electropetrol cars do not choke the lungs of the youn. The penalties for pollution are higher than even Singapore. (But you can still chew gum without being jailed. . . things haven't got that silly as yet) The old Marine Drive still is the artery that carries vehicles around the periphery of the city - but the supershuttle train service alongside it is the public transport that everyone uses. Efficient and electric it ferries in thousands of workers everyday from the fast expanding suburbs of Kalutara and Negombo. There are very few vehicles on the roads... but there still are traffic jams occasionally. Funny, people thought it would stop after all trishaws were banned.
Pettah and Fort are now car-free pedestrian zones, accessible by foot only. The thirty seven storey underground carpark in the heart of the business district stacks the vehicles up deep into the bowels of the earth. No concrete desecration of the skyline. Above the Harbour Quay entertainment area towers the graceful lines of the Peoples Tower, a confection of glass, wire and steel rising into the sky. The stockmarket is here, the pit still a vast collection of yelling screaming humanity, looking for the fortune in the numbers that flash on the boards. Technology has not managed to quieten down the thrill and excitement of the floor. It still stubbornly insists on doing things the old way, reserving its right to shout and be the product of flesh and blood in an increasingly silicon world.
On the top forty floors of the Peoples Tower is WebCity, the outpost of Sri Lanka in cyberspace. Jacked into their consoles, designers manipulate blocks of text and graphics into new worlds, the information streaming by in a blur. Sri Lanka now exists in two universes, real and virtual. Stepping in and out is as easy as getting in and out of a car. A thousand channels of information, education, entertainment feeding the island. The wealth of the world's knowledge at everyone's fingertips, free, limitless and instantly accessible. Every town centre has a terminal, every school has a network; everyone has access. Referendums are instantaneous and democracy is as pure as it can get. Rich or poor, everyone has an equal say.
In Kandy, giant satellite dishes track the motion of the spacebirds, which stream their feedback to the hills, bouncing off them to the entire island. The hills are the place of learning again, their climate cool and conducive to the pleasures of education. The universities are filled with poets, bridge builders, dancers and mathematicians. People work fewer hours a day; there is enough work for everyone; there is time for leisure, for families, for growth. After years of trying to control the hydra that is the economy, the laissez faire approach has worked the best. Left to itself, everything finds an equilibrium, a balance, a state of harmony. Down South, the fleets of seamining ships come and go through the night. They collect manganese ore from the ocean bed, bringing it back to be processed in the superheated furnaces and sold around the world. The Indian Ocean has been beneficial, generous. Careful culling and controlling of the harvests of the sea - seer, plankton, seaweed - has produced a steady supply of protein for the country.
Some things have remained the same. Every year the throbbing, magnificent spectacle of the Perahara takes to the streets, now bigger and more breathtaking than ever. The parade is longer, the whip crackers slapping the roads with their lash, the acrobats swinging high on stilts, tumbling down side streets, until the entire town is awash in light and drums and people. The elephants still parade, solemn and unawed, bedecked in the trappings of their role as prime actors in this theatre of the street. The sun still shines, hotter than ever, the heat stifling in the middle of the day; at night during the monsoon season, the waters rain down with their ageless ferocity, the coconut trees thrashing in the wind. The sea still cradles the island, holding it in its embrace. Nothing has changed. Everything has changed. Sri Lanka moves on in time.
Continue to Mirror Magazine page 2 * Familian Fashions * A return to natures creations
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