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17th May 1998

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Sinatra: you did it your way

If the late J.R. Jayewardene were among the living, he would have joined the world to mourn the death of old crooner, Frank Sinatra, at the age of 82. A colleague who was at the White House on June 18, 1984, speaks of an encounter between the late President Jayewardene and Sinatra. It was during a reception accorded by President Ronald Reagan to the Sri Lanka President.

At the post prandial speech, President Reagan read out a prepared text. President Jayewardene, in his immaculate white national dress, rose to speak off the cuff. American celebrities and Washington's elite were there to hear him. He wound up his speech by referring to Frank Sinatra, who was seated in the same table, and declaring "Mr. Sinatra, like your song, I do politics in my country in my way…."

There was a thundering ovation when the speech ended. White House Spokesman Larry Speakes told Sri Lankan journalists covering President Jayewardene's visit " Hey, your guy outdid our guy…." But the most touching moment came at the Sinatra concert that followed. Clutching a microphone, Frank Sinatra, bowed to the audience and then declared "For you, President Jayawardeen (he could not pronounce Jayewardene) I dedicate this number…"

And it was "I did it my way." As it ended,Mrs. Elena Jayewardene, walked up the small stage to give an appreciative kiss to Sinatra. Frank, you did it your way to win the hearts of millions around the world, from kings to commoners and millionaires to minions.

Epicurus will not hesitate

Epicurus is constrained to refer to that otherwise better forgotten Chennai Wallah episode.

Media Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, who has earned a reputation for his occasional verbal outbursts, gave national prominence to Epicurus. He charged that Epicurus has lampooned our Wallah for he contradicted a report in The Sunday Times.

I said last week it was not over any contradiction. The Sunday Times which is bold enough to publish what is fit to print is even bolder to say it is wrong, if that be the case.

Epicurus has now learnt that those good boys at the club that is foreign think there was a threat from one scribe to another.

No Sirs, Epicurus does not believe in threats, intimidation or harrassment.

Whether they go crying to Mangala again or not, Epicurus will not hesitate to speak out.

Jungle Telegraph

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