People and events

Smile awhile and stay young
Brahma Kumari Sudha Rani Das Gupta’s lecture on the basis for happiness
By Saradha Mohan Kumar

Want to stay young? No need of a facelift, start smiling instead. A smile, which spreads happiness, is also a natural face lifter, said Brahma Kumari Sudha Rani Das Gupta in her lecture on the basis for happiness in life on Sunday.

Brahma Kumari Sudha Rani Das Gupta addressing the gathering. Pic by Sanka Vidanagama

The lecture was organised by the Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga Centres in the country. The members, who learn meditation, values and principles, call themselves "Brahma Kumaris". "Happiness is the best nourishment medicine," she said citing that food that is consumed in a bad mood might spoil the body, but, if taken happily gives more energy.

Brahma Kumari Gupta, who was awarded the Jubilee Medal in the 55th anniversary of UN peacemaking activity, interacted with the audience about the source of happiness in life. While many agreed on meditation, a few said sharing experiences with others will increase happiness.

To spread the message of happiness and love, the Indian festival of Raksha Bandhan was celebrated after the lecture. "Raksha Bandhan literally means bond of affection," said the lecturer.

The ceremony marks the pure love of the relationship between a brother and a sister. On this occasion, the sister ties a thread called "Rakhi" around her brother's wrist and applies a mark called "tilak" on his forehead.

The brother in turn promises his sister to protect her in any situation. The festival is celebrated with sweets, which are to indicate the purity in life. The members of the centre tied Rakhis, applied tilaks and distributed sweets to the audience marking the festival.

Bishops College gets new principal

On May 31, 2011 at the Church of St. Michael's & All Angels, Polwatte, which is closely linked with Bishop's College, the new Bishop of Colombo Dhilo Canagasabey instituted and installed an old girl of the school Sharmila Gunatilleke as the new Principal. This was done in the context of the Liturgy of the Church of Ceylon.

In a piece like this it is good to go back to the origins of the school. Although the history of the school published in 2000 considered the year 1875 as the date when the school began one cannot forget the role played by Colombo's first Anglican Bishop James Chapman and his wife Frances in the origin of the school for Bishop Chapman was the Bishop of Colombo from 1845 till 1862. However the 2000 publication states that the origin can be traced to 1857 and the period 1857 to 1875 could be called the tunnel period borrowing a term from Church history.

Bishop James Chapman in one of his many writings has said "How great a door can thus be opened to us with the simple lessons of Christian truth imparted upon the young hearts of the future of the mothers of hundreds." Therefore it could be taken that in Bishop Chapman's mind the beginning of the school was to produce good mothers. This thinking must be seen in the context of what was stated by Frances Chapman whose father was once upon a time the Headmaster of Eton. Mrs. Chapman has stated that there was a need to have a Girls School in Colombo for children of the high classes and this could be understood when Mrs. Chapman also said that the school is for upper class girls.

Initially it was the Sisters of St. Margaret's who took care of the school. Tthis Order was a creation of Dr. John Neale and was founded in 1855. Till 1955 the school was managed and handled by those Sisters and sadly according to my research the school has yet to produce a Nun to join the ranks of St. Margaret's.

Therefore the new Principal inherits the Bishop's College legacy for she is a product of that school and returns to head the school after having been at Peradeniya for her undergraduate studies and thereafter been a teacher at her old school for a while and recently at an International School.

Education in its entirety and totality while being mindful of tradition and legacy must touch base and should be contemporary and contextual. This means although Frances Chapman wanted the school for girls from the upper class and Bishop Chapman wanted a school to produce good mothers today's task is much bigger which I am sure all those responsible for education at Bishop's College are aware of.

May the school begun because of the Chapmans in Colombo continue to produce women of honesty and integrity who will walk tall with their heads held high, and lead from the front, both as members of the Church and as citizens of Mother Lanka.

Sydney Knight

Inner Wheel new district chairman calls to assist rape victims

The 27th District Assembly of Inner Wheel District 322 was held on June 25 at the Galle Face Hotel, Colombo where the out going District Chairman Mala Edirisinghe installed Roshani Peiris, as the District Chairman for 2011/2012 . Ms Peiris has been a member of the Inner Wheel club of Kandy for the past 26 years and played a pivotal role in the activities of the club, serving as its president and chairman of many fund raising projects. She has also served in the capacity of District Treasurer, Extension Service Chairman and a member of the organizing committee of the Inner Wheel South Asia Rally held in Herbaria.

In her inaugural address, Roshani Peiris called on the members of the 19 Inner Wheel clubs of District 322 (Sri Lanka) to unite in support of victims of rape and their children across the country. She said that these victims of rape - many of them in their teens - faced insuperable obstacles in re-integrating into society. She appealed to the Inner Wheel members to give them the compassion, understanding and the moral and financial support they needed to re-build their shattered lives and carve out a future for themselves and their children.

The new district chairman has named this District project of assisting the victims of rape and their children to improve the quality of their lives as "Hope For Tomorrow". This project is financed by the Inner Wheel Club of Kandy, which organised a Fashion Show by their member Lillian Perera and sponsored a concert by Soundarie David to raise the necessary funds.

Her message was reinforced by a hard-hitting presentation by Dr. Mrs. Shiyama Arambepola, Consultant Psychiatrist, General Hospital, Kandy - who spoke movingly of the physical and psychological traumas suffered by these women, the social stigma they faced in their communities and their desperate need for understanding and assistance.

Before a large gathering of dignitaries, members of Inner Wheel, Rotarians and friends, the in-coming Presidents of the 19 clubs of District 322 offered the newly installed Chairman Roshani a "nil manel" (the national flower) as a mark of their commitment to the organization's goals and programmes in Sri Lanka.

The Rotary District Governor Elect, Rtn. PHF Gehan Siribadanna congratulated District Chairman Roshani on her election to this high office and wished her every success. He was confident that Inner Wheel and Rotary would work together for the betterment of the poor and under-privileged in Sri Lanka.
The Assembly also marked the end of an eventful year under the stewardship of out-going District Chairman Mrs. Mala Edirisinghe, who completed a very successful year of service that focused on less fortunate children. The past year also included a highly successful South Asia Rally held at Habarana, that brought together more than 800 Inner Wheel delegates from Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and elsewhere for a weekend of fellowship and cultural exchanges.

Closely allied to the Rotary movement and comprising, for the most part, of wives of Rotarians, the worldwide Inner Wheel movement is dedicated to the betterment of underprivileged women, children and the elderly through community-oriented service projects. This year the worldwide movement under the leadership of International Inner Wheel President Catherine Refabert has adopted the theme "Think Ahead - Aim High" as its motto.

NCC holds workshop for terra cotta craftsmen

The National Craft Council (NCC), in its bid to recognize and help reduce the problems faced by practitioners of the traditional arts, has been organizing week-long workshops for craftsmen around the country.

A few weeks ago the Folk Art Centre came alive as designer Senaka De Silva helped traditional craftsmen discover new avenues for creativity within the discipline of laaksha art and sesath making.
Last week's sessions with Senaka were focused on terra cotta, and twelve young entrepreneurs explored ways of infusing the traditional with the modern. The finished products included tills, decorations in the form of traditional cooking utensils such as the koraha and the nemiliya, ancient Kandyan figurines and traditional brass oil lamps re-done in clay. Traditional wooden masks were also experimented with, as hypothetical wall-hangings and lamp shades.

"No other country has a crafts system as diverse as ours," says Senaka describing the endless possibilities of the art, adding that participants also explored clay jewellery at the workshop. "The purpose of the programme is to bring forgotten crafts back into a sophisticated market" he added.

Europa Philharmonie to perform in Sri Lanka

The renowned Europa Philharmonie, conducted by Reinhard Seehafer, will be on a concert tour of Sri Lanka later this month.

The tour is organized by the Goethe-Institut and the Mount Lavinia Hotel. Made up of musicians from European Union countries as well as musicians from all over the world who have made Europe their home, the Europa Philharmonie is a European symphony orchestra which since 2009 has been based in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

Under the motto "Music for a better place" the Europa Philharmonie presents the sound of tradition, enriching the present and the future through music.

The Europa Philharmonie in this series of concerts titled the "3-5-0 Concerts" aims at raising awareness of the challenges of climate change. Of their three performances - one of them on July 20 is especially for children. The concert programme includes compositions by Bach, Vivaldi ("The Four seasons"), and Mozart. The orchestra will be performed in a chamber setting with 15 musicians. The solo violin parts will be performed by the young Hungarian violinist Sándor Jávorkai, a rising star in the classical music scene who has won several awards at international musical competitions.

The evening concerts, all at the Mount Lavinia Hotel will be on Monday, July 18 and Tuesday, July 19 from 7.30 p.m. onwards. The Wednesday, July 20 concert will be the special performance for children.
The tour of Europa Philharmonie is sponsored by Oman Air, Dimo / Mercedes-Benz, Allianz Insurance, and Herrenknecht Tunneling Systems.

Tickets are available at Goethe-Institut (39, Gregory's Rd., Colombo 7) and at the Mount Lavinia Hotel.

Go shopping for books and more deals on

'Paduma meets the Sunbird' Nihal de Silva's only children's adventure book, awarded the State Literary Award for children's fiction, is not what you would find on sale at

"This is one of the reasons, we started," says Mike Masilamani of Smartpola, "to promote Sri Lankan authors and indeed the kind of Sri Lankan products and services that you don't expect to find online."

One of the top selling children's adventure books in Sri Lanka 'Paduma meets the Sunbird' is one of the many 'smart deals' on offer along with Ramya Chamalie Jirasinghe's critically acclaimed collection of poems,and the 'Travellers Guide to Ceylon'., is a 'smart idea' of masters dot com and Riscor Consultants (Pvt) Limited. The former is best known for, Sri Lanka's first online dating site. Books are only a part of the 'smart deals' on offer. Hair cuts from Kess, designer eyeware from Techno Vision Optics, elegant picture frames from Imago, mouthwatering Cuptails and lunch at The Commons are some of the other 'smart deals' on offer. invites subscribers to firstly 'see smart' i.e. check the smart deal on offer, sign on for the deal and then 'share smart', or share it with friends, to get the minimum numbers required and finally to 'get smart' i.e. benefit from the smart deal on offer .

Riscor Consultants (Pvt) Limited incorporated by Chris Corea, is known for its innovative software solutions including a location based tracking solution for mobile phones, on online event calendar ( and online facility to translate English into Sinhala (

" is an ideal way for customers to find out about great new businesses and businesses to get more new customers,” Chris Corea said.

Ven. Rahula Thera retires after serving at Menik Farm

The first member of the Buddhist clergy to join the public service, Ven. Warapitiye Sri Rahula Thera, has retired after serving at the Menik Farm camp where displaced people were housed for several years.
Ven. Rahula Thera had made a special request to work in this conflict-affected area, despite being offered the Pannipitiya area.

The Mahanayake of the Malwatte Chapter, Ven. Thibbotuwawe Shri Siddhartha Sumangalabhidhana Thera has appointed Ven. Rahula as Chief Priest of the Manik Pokuna Rajamaha Vihara to serve the people there in his retirement.

Office bearers

The following office bearers were elected to the Sri Lanka Indonesia Friendship Association (SLIFA) at the annual general meeting held in the presence of Indonesian Ambassador Djafar Husein recently.
Patron: Indonesian Ambassador Djafar Husein; Vice Patrons: Joe Karunaratne, B.D.K. Saldin, Hamilton S. Amarasinghe and I.P. C. Mendis.

President: M.D. (Tony) Saldin; Immediate Past President: Dr. Dudley Thambinayagam; Vice Presidents: Abdullah Zulkifli and Patrick Rodrigo; Hony Secretary: Gamini Ranasinghe; Hony Asst Secretary: W.A.C.P. Wijayaratne; Hony Treasurer: T. Vanniasinkam; and Hony Asst Treasurer: Agus Djumadi.
Executive Committee: Fathona Said, Brigadier T.S.B. Sally, Nihal Gooneratne, Chrystal Abeydeera, Padma Pathirana, Carlo Ponnampalam, Ifthikhar Aziz, A. Razak Ahamed, Lester Seneviratne, Nissanka Madurapperuma, Monty Sally, Hussain S. Hashim, Iqram Cuttilan and Clarence (Bobby) Welikala.
Hony Auditor: Anuruddhika Wickramage

TAF and KDI hold regional dialogue on development

The Asia Foundation (TAF) and the Korea Development Institute (KDI) jointly sponsored a regional dialogue in Colombo from June 15-16 that brought together development cooperation experts from Korea, China, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. The purpose of the dialogue was to discuss and compare development assistance strategies employed by these Asian development partners. This was the second in a series of three meetings under the TAF-KDI project. The outputs of the dialogue series will inform the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF4) to be held in Busan, Korea, Nov. 29 - Dec. 1, 2011.

The current international aid architecture is largely a product of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)'s Development Assistance Committee (DAC). This structure is being challenged, however, by the increasing presence of non-Western development partners that are not members of the DAC or who have newly joined the group. These newer members take a different approach to development cooperation, placing more emphasis on mutual benefit, non-interference in political issues, infrastructure investment and concessional loans.

While some observers fear that these development partners may be undermining the DAC-led efforts to promote greater aid transparency, improved governance, debt relief and harmonization, others see opportunities for different innovative aid modalities, such as South-South and triangular cooperation.
Senior government officials from the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Ministry of External Affairs and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka participated at the event on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka, alongside similar officials from the other six Asian countries.

HSBC in step with traditional dance

Twelve young students who successfully completed a one-year Junior Scholarship Programme at the Chitrasena Kalayathanaya (Chitrasena Foundation) were presented with certificates by HSBC in its efforts to promote traditional dancing in Sri Lanka at a ceremony held at the Kalayathanaya.

Having seen the success of this programme, HSBC also initiated the Senior Scholarship Programme for which certificates were handed over to 10 students at the ceremony.

These fully paid scholarships facilitate training for two years at the Chitrasena Kalayathanaya. The recipients were selected through several rounds of auditions by Vajira Chitrasena herself together with daughter Upeka.

HSBC's Chief Executive Officer for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Nick Nicolaou and Vajira were present at the ceremony.

Sameen conferred ‘Order of the Rising Sun’

Former World President of the Junior Chamber International and former Provincial Councillor Isfahani Sameen will receive the 'Order of the Rising Sun' from the Government of Japan in recognition of his invaluable services in promoting bilateral relations between Japan and other countries.

Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Takeaki Matsumoto's congratulatory message followed the announcement made by the Government of Japan on June 17. "Please accept my sincerest congratulations on the conferment of The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette' in recognition of your outstanding contribution and my best wishes for your continued good health and happiness.”

An old boy of St. Aloysius College, Galle and Carey College, Colombo, Mr. Sameen was an active member of the Jaycees in Sri Lanka and founder member of the Wellawatte Jaycees in 1973. He was unanimously elected as the 44th World President of the Junior Chamber International in 1989.

As President of the Wellawatte Jaycees Mr Sameen was successful in signing a Sister chapter affiliation agreement with the Kitakyushu Jaycees in Japan and has been engaged in many activities including the gifting of two baby elephants from the Government of Sri Lanka to the Mayor of Kitakyushsu City.

Being conversant in Japanese he was project chairman of the Sri Lanka Trade fair in Kitayushu city in 1977 and was also leader of the organization when the Asian Pacific Conference was held in Yokohama in 1989.

Since 2005 he has been co-ordinator and host family to many Japanese children visiting Sri Lanka under the Asian Pacific Children's Convention. In the aftermath of the tsunami he spearheaded many rehabilitation efforts and secured numerous donations for welfare projects. The conferment ceremony will be held in Colombo.

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