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25th April 1999

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Junior Times

Front Page

Hello Children,

It is a blessing to have sight. You have only one pair till you die so they are indeed precious. That's why we are often asked to look after them and protect them from all harm.

When you play with sticks and stones and your parents tell you don't, that is because they can prick your eye. We must learn to listen when things like this are told because it's for our own good.

So many little children are born blind and don't see the wonders of this world. Some after they see all the beauty for no fault of theirs they go blind due to medical reasons. And this can be a frightening experience. So take advantage of what you have. Look after those precious eyes and help those who do not have sight.

Until next time,
Aunty Sunshine

To the one I love

She's loved with a love
That remembers her helpfulness
Time and time again

She's loved with a love
That remembers how kind
And how gentle
She always has been.

And she's loved with a love
That remembers the thoughtfulness
She's never failed to show.

She's loved with a love
That is grateful
And a love that continues to grow.
She's no other than my ever loving

Maash E. Hewagama
President's College

I'm a blind girl

I was nearly blind when I was born. My parents were worried to see me in this state. They took me to a doctor. But the doctor said that he cannot make me see. But my sister and parents look after me very well. My sister helps me in my studies. She speaks to me kindly. Though I am sad that I'm blind, I won't give up.

I am trying to learn about the world. It's so hard that I cannot see it. I can't even see my mother and father. I don't know how the world looks like, but I can hear noises and birds singing. My sister and mother advise me saying that if I try, I can do what others can do.

I'm using a stick when I walk. That makes it easy to walk. Sometimes when I walk to school my sister leads the way. She holds one of my hands and leads me.

Himashi Alwis
Holy Family Convent

If I ever had

If I ever had a dog,
It would wag its tail
With a beautiful 'Woof".
Jumping up and down
Going around me,
Asking me to play.
Oh! what fun
Will I have
But, it's a dream.

If I ever had
A brother,
Who is older than me.
We would have fun, together.
Without fights,
Sharing and caring.
Lonely times
Would have been fun.
Secrets and jokes
Only among us.
Oh! what fun
Would it be
But, it's only a dream.

Nisha Dassanayake


I wish he was still here
Always cheerful, always smiling
If he was here today,
We would leap about and play,
But he isn't here.
And, to my eyes, it brings a tear
I will never forget him
How could anyone?
My father told me of the times they had.
Always happy, never sad.
Who am I talking about?
Of course, my grandad.

Reshani Mendis

My country

My country is Sri Lanka. It is in the Indian Ocean. It lies between longitudes 79 and 81 east and latitudes 5 and 10 north. From north to south the island is 425 kilometres long.

The President of Sri Lanka is Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka is Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

The highest mountain is Pidurutalagala. The longest river is the Mahaweli. Sri Lanka has an abundance of fauna and flora.

The capital of Sri Lanka is Sri Jayawardanapura Kotte. There are nine provinces in Sri Lanka. Tea, rubber and cocount products are important exports. I love my country.

Asha Shamani Jayawardana
MR/ Edandukitha-Kanishta Vidyalaya

My school

The school I attend is Muslim Ladies College. It is situated at Bambalapitiya. It was founded on November 1,1946. The land for the school was donated by our leader Marhoom Sir Razik Fareed. Our first principal was Mrs. Ayesha Rauff. Our school started with three teachers and 20 pupils. The school had only one small building.

Now our principal is Mrs. Faleela Be Jurangpathy. We have 150 teachers. The teachers are my guide. They teach me not only school subjects but also right conduct. Now there are six buildings and about 3000 pupils. At present there are two libraries, a playground and a science laboratory.

In 1996 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our school and the President graced the occasion. The Minister of Higher Education, Mr. Richard Pathirana declared open the newly built primary section.

I love my school as she gives me what I need most to become successful in my life, education. My school will shine among other schools. I love my school best.

Fathima Shahina Nalim
Muslim Ladies College
Colombo -4

Stamp News 64

Handicrafts - symbols of our culture

By Uncle D.C.R

Arts and crafts form a vital part in any culture. Handicrafts are a fine example of how craftsmen are preserving the intricate elements of these built over centuries. Stamps issued time and again featuring our handicrafts have helped to display the talent of our craftsmen to the entire world.

imageAmong widely accepted handicraft items are the beautiful metal and wood carvings, jewellery, caparisoned elephants and brassware. Certain parts of Sri Lanka have made a name for particular handicrafts. Dumbara mats of Kandy, for example, are well known. So is Ambalangoda for masks. Galle for shell work and lace. Reed and rush from Kalutara and handloom textiles from Polgolla have their own distinct character. Coir products are the speciality in the coastal belt down South.

The first set of stamps featuring our handicrafts were issued on April 7,1977. These depicted the talent of our craftsmen who, to this day, use age old techniques to turn out superb items of much value. They use local raw material and every piece is hand made. Brass lamps (seen in the 20 cents stamp) are a popular item in almost every home. They are a symbol of wealth and prosperity.image

Brass lamps are also symbolic of learning and spiritual enlightenment. Lighting a lamp signifies the dawn of light which dispels the darkness of ignorance and craving. In Sri Lanka, it is customary to light a lamp before any activity begins. All auspicious occasions like weddings, starting a business or a house warming begin by lighting a lamp with the belief that it will ensure success and good fortune.

The 25 cents stamp featured a jewellery box along with a number of traditional items of jewellery. These boxes are made of ivory, silver, copper or wood. Most of them have elaborate carvings and inlay work depicting traditional motifs of exquisite workmanship. The gold jewellery items also show the talent of the craftsmen who excel in such workmanship.image

The caparisoned elephant (50 cents) is another fine example of delicate workmanship. It is decorated with silver and gold work and is profusely studded with gems. It is generally made out of ebony and rose wood. The one depicted in the stamp is made of ivory.

imageThe Rs 5 stamp has a mask - a unique item among folk art in any part of the world. Originally used for ritual dancing and folk theatre, today the mask has become a popular item for decorative purposes. There is also the belief that the masks help to drive away evil spirits and cure diseases and possess the power to bring luck and prosperity. Possibly there is no better example to illustrate the wood carver's artistic talent than a mask. There are many types of masks used for ritual occasions as devil dancing (Bali & Thovil) or in folk drama like Kolam & Nadagam. The one seen in the stamp is the Nagaraksha identified as the ultimate in masks.

Plant distribution

Not only animals but also plants like to spread from one place to another. They will make full use of any new habitat if this is suitable for their growth and multiplication.

Plants spread, or distribute, themselves in many different ways. New generations may grow from seeds or spores that have come from the parent plants. This is rather like the way animals multiply, by having offspring.

imageBut often, unlike an animal, a single plant can spread itself over a wide area. The banyan tree of tropical countries can spread over several hectares by putting down roots from its branches into the soil. The roots then give rise to more trunks and branches.

Floating plants, such as the water hyacinth and the tiny algae of the plankton, are carried about by water currents and so spread in this way. Many plants will grow from bits broken off them. The rather simple plants called liverworts spread naturally in this way, from bits that break off and float away. In the sea, bits of seaweeds broken off by the waves help to spread these plants over wide areas. Many of the microscopic single-celled algae of the plankton are able to swim about, so spreading themselves within much smaller areas. Climbing plants, such as vines, will spread over the ground and other vegetation, sometimes for very long distances.

Spores, seeds and fruits

Most plants that are not seed plants reproduce by means of spores. These consist of only one or two cells and so are very tiny. The spores of algae and water fungi often swim away from the parents before giving rise to the next generation. In land plants, spores are usually carried far away from the parents by the wind. Huge numbers of spores can be made by a single plant. A giant puffball fungus contains as many as seven thousand million spores!

Seeds are larger than spores and are spread in other ways. Some have hairy parachutes, or wings, that help them float away from their parents on the wind. Others drift away on water, and some are scattered from seed pods which split open, sometimes so violently that the seeds are flung far and wide.

Many seeds are spread by animals which eat the fruits containing them. Other fruits have sharp spines or prickles which catch in animals' fur and are carried away.

Most seeds and spores never grow up into new plants. It is for this reason that plants make so many of them and are adapted in so many ways for spreading them.

The new generation

What makes a seed grow where it falls? First, it needs the right kind of soil. Depending on the plant, the soil must not be too hard, too loose, too acid or too alkaline. It must contain enough mineral salts of the right kind to nourish the plant.

Looked at another way, the plant must be properly adapted to grow well in the soil. But even if the soil is suitable, the plant may not grow well if, above ground, there is too little sunlight or too much chilling wind. Plants are adapted in various ways to put up with such conditions.

Its particular adaptations give to a plant its typical appearance. This is most obvious in the shape, size and number of its leaves.

Plants that live in very dry conditions are adapted to hold water for a very long time. For this purpose they may have thick, fleshy leaves with a waterproof surface. Or, like the spiny cactuses, they may have few or no recognizable leaves.

Water-living plants may have two very different types of leaf. Those always covered by water are long and thin, whereas those growing above the water surface are broader and look more normal. Water lilies have large leaves which float by means of many air spaces.

Most plants live neither in deserts nor in water, but in rather less extreme surroundings. All the same, they have many special adaptations to suit them to their ways of life. The life-styles of plants, like those of animals, vary greatly with their environments. Ends

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