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17th May 1998

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A view from the hills

by Carl Muller
The professor’s new book

Met Professor P.G. Cooray outside TNT Skypak in Kandy. Letters to courier. Everyone’s doing it these days. Who needs the Post Office?

In a couple of months, the Forest Department will be publishing the Professor’s new book, “The Knuckles Massif - A Portfolio” which holds a geographic essay on the Knuckles region as well as an essay on the conservation plans for that region.

Professor Cooray is one of this country’s most eminent geologists and environmentalists. His recent book, published by NARESA, ‘Commonsense About Our Environment” was released last year, while he is best acclaimed for his introduction to “The Geology of Sri Lanka” which, after 1967, was reprinted in 1984. A third revised edition is to be released shortly.

Cooray has packed his latest work with six colour plates by Vimukthi Wijayathunga, depicting the fauna and flora of the Knuckles region. In the fifties, when mapping the region as a field geologist, he made many sketches of various views. Happily, 34 of these panoramic sketches are also in the book, which also contains commentaries from various other sources.

In 1992, Cooray released his “Guide to Scientific and Technical Writing” - course notes which have been used today in over 50 workshops on scientific writing in Malaysia, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Zambia and Sri Lanka.

A most unassuming and affable man, still able to hold back that “scholar’s stoop”, he is one of Kandy’s proudest possessions, contributing tirelessly in the fields of learning music, the arts.

This column offers him sincere congratulations.

For the record.

The Central Provin- cial Council is compiling a big book which will record the achievements of several provincial ministries, progress made, hurdles overcome, over the past five years. The Chief Minister himself is overseeing the work and a team is out taking the necessary photographs and collecting all data. The book will also record the perfomance of various projects attached to ministries which include the RRDP, the VTW, the EPWRP as well as the advances made bv the Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Provincial Enterprises Promotion Council etc,.

That sinking feeling.

Work in Trincomalee Street Kandy has been a nightmare to unwary pedestrians who found many manhole covers removed and tossed aside and sewer and storm drain grills also given the same heave-ho. A Kandy businessman, stepping off the kerb in order to cross the road, really put his foot in it. Should he sue the Municipality?

His left foot entered a sort of mini-abyss and, as he lost his balance, he threw out his other leg,, which was very fortunate for as he plunged into the hole, one leg dangling inside - the other leg thrown across the gap prevented him from disappearing into the maw. He took the entire jarring weight of his body, right on his rib cage.

Being over seventy years old, the poor man hung at street level until he was helped out and rushed to hospital. The drain below, all of ten feet deep with more muck in it than the Augean stables, is a death trap. Had a child stepped unwarily or even a leaner man or woman, chances are; he or she would have plopped right in, maybe disappeared into the sewers.

Steer clear of road works. These Municipality bozos don’t give a cuss about the hazards they cause to the unwary “Must be a brain drain” a wag suggests. Maybe. When it comes to drains, no one seems to use his brains

Remember Royal’s Kasipillai?

His voice is stilled. When I last saw him, he lay in his Siebel Avenue home off Peradeniya Road, his trachea removed. Scribbling conversation on a notepad, his frame was frail.

Over fifty years ago, he captained Royal and was the hero of the College. A superb bat and a redoubtable skipper whose exploits on the Colombo Oval are still remembered with relish. He had a great team too Parathalingam, Van Twest so many fine cricketers who wore their colours proudly.

Kasipillai had cancer of both throat and lungs. Many Royalists of 50 years ago wished to rally round him, give him hope and courage. All he waited for was the one great scorer, and now he has left the field. Somewhere up there he is playing on.

Love that grandma sister of mine

Near or far, we do think kindly of our loved ones, especially on their birthdays. It’s different in my case. “Carl Muller’s birthday,’ people say, “you mean he was actually born?” But that’s by the way. In Bowala Road, Kandy, a sister following a University education in Russia had to wish her younger sister on her birthday. The younger is just in her teens, lively and curious, and was pleased to get her beautiful birthday card from Akki. “But the words are all in Russian,” she pouted, “what do they mean?”

Fond Ammi asked a Russian lady to translate. Happy birthday darling grandmother.... Our little miss is chagrined. “She’s the grandmother, not me!”

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