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12th July 1998

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A view from the hillsDreams waiting to come true

Two men, one dead, one still among us, had and hold two dreams - dreams of Kandy, dreams of science, history, culture.... both arising from love. The first was the late Dr. Cyril Ponnamperuma who piloted the IFS until that wonderful Sri Lankan trait, jealousy, drove him away.

Come to think of it, there is this one unregistered organisation in this country where membership swells uncontrolled - the J Plus Organisation, where every member is on the Jay roll of honour as long as he or she stays true to form, dragging down the achiever, besmirching the name of the winner, scorns the diligence of the dedicated and ousts the best to uphold the mediocre. This, I think, deserves a special monograph some day, but let it slide for now. Dr. Cyril Ponnamperuma had this dream.

A Science City. Take the stretch between Getambe and Peradeniya. The scientific institutions are many and varied. This stretch will take in Gannoruwa as well (with its Plant Genetic Resources Centre) and the Galaha Road where everything from Veterinary Medicine to Livestock breeding is pursued. Even the Botanical Gardens remains, a monument to Botany! So how about it? Let's get the show on the road. Let's declare Kandy's Science City! We can even now make Dr. Ponnamperuma's dream come true!

Remember my piece of Dona Katherina's burial place? Well, Mr. S.B. Karaliyadde is still fighting tooth and nail to have that area in Kegalla declared an Archaeological Reserve. Dona Katherina, the consort of King Vimala Dharma Suriya, who was the king who built the Dalada Maligawa, deserves more than this surely. Mr. Karaliyadde was most rueful when he met me last week. "Officials promised to look into things when they all came to Kegalla for the big exhibition there," he said, "but I suppose the tamasha overrode all else." He has written to and called on Mr. Siran Deraniya-gala, but admits that the Archaeological Department is inundated with letters such as his.

But is it so laboured a business to declare Dona Katherina's burial place an Archaeological Reserve? Also, as Karaliyadde reminds, the people of Dumbara, who held a special love for their queen, did much to help in the building of the Maligawa. "They brought the finest Napane timber from Pathadumbara," he said. And Karaliyadde's dream? That a statue of Dona Katherina be erected in the girdling green of the Maligawa... and her burial place be saved from present encroachment and desecration.

Two dreams - and so easily made to come true. Can we see it all happen, please.


HongKong Bank has introduced its new Phonebanking service which gives round-the-clock access to the Bank to obtain account information and carry out specific transactions on the phone. The service is offered free of charge. The Phonebanking number is 332211.

Choir Festival

Under Choir Direc tor and organist, P.Gerald Cooray, the Kandy Church Choirs rolled out in prayerful melody on Saturday, June 27 at the Methodist Church in Yatinuwara Veediya, Kandy.

This festival has become an annual event, sponsored by the Kandy Bible Society. This year, with the participation of choirs from eight churches and schools, the Festival took the form of a Choral Service where about 100 voices rang out the anthems "Lead me, Lord" and "Come, Holy Ghost." The congregation also joined in several hymns and it was a splendid tribute to splendid faith as they sang the Lord's song, not by the rivers of Babylon, but in the heart of the city!

Forests and trees

Professor H.P.M. Gunasena of the Post Graduate Institute of Agriculture, Peradeniya, informs that the University's Oxford Forestry Institute (a link project of Forestry Research) has three publications which are available free to all interested. You could collect the publication of your choice from the PGIA at Old Galaha Road.

The books are: "Gliricidia in Sri Lanka," "Calliandra - A Multi-purpose Tree for Agro-Forestry Systems in Sri Lanka," and "Neem in Sri Lanka."

Outsize zips

Go to any "thrombol" shop, ask for a zip and you'll get the standard 8-inch. If you're lucky, the man could dig out a 12-inch but in colours that are surely called Frightened Peach or Gizzard Green. There's this tailor in Kandy who tells me that as far as he knows, and in his umpteen years of experience, there are two very large Kandyan gentlemen who need 15-inch trouser zips in the place where it most counts. Every time they come to him it's the same old moan. "How to get? Last time I had to go to Colombo and hunt in the side streets of Pettah. So go. If you had any sense, you would have brought some extra zips the last time."

Well, they have a point there. Also, they didn't take kindly to the tailor's suggestion that he put in a three-inch patch either north or south. "Either way makes it difficult in the extreme." "Difficult for what?" "That's not your business." Our tailor dislikes zipping down to Colombo. "Why can't they make some 15-inch zips?" he cries. Evidently, our zippies don't measure up to the Kandy biggies. Aney, sin, no?

Balm for the block

Seen at Katugastota: those police road barriers on wheels, all yellow and black, tigerishly striped with a black STOP order. That's on an upper cross panel. Beneath, another panel with the consoling words in red: VENDOL BALM. What a soothing thought. Reach for the balm especially when driving anywhere is today's major headache.

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