22nd November 1998
Ever broken a window pane by going to play cricket or damaged your Amma’s expensive Sari by parading around. It would be so easy to pass the blame to your brother or your sister when the question is asked ‘who did it?’ But if you’ve been taught that honesty is the best policy then you have been taught well. If you have tried to tell the truth and then got punished for it well that’s the way it goes. Sometimes it can be very disheartening when the truth gets you punished. But keep in mind that even though you get into trouble even when you tell the truth your parents or anybody for that matter will have great regard for you. In the long run your honesty will be rewarded and you will learn that people will depend on you much more. So you see that honesty can indeed be a very good virtue. Never be afraid to own up to the wrong you do for it will go a long way in the future.
Until next time
“ Do this,”
“ You little wretch, There’s a speck of dust on the floor,”
“ This plate of rice For the whole day will do.”
By Thamali Jayasinghe
There was a time
Trees had grown, rivers had flown
Man began to harm Mother Nature.
Smoke went out and into the air
Wonder trees became desert by closing their eyes
Ashan Jayathree Perera
When I was small my father brought me a small puppy as a present. We named him Broon. He was brown in colour. From that day we looked after him very carefully.
He grew up rapidly. He was a very faithful dog. Broon was a very good watchdog. He never allowed anybody to come into our garden, in our absence. He lived for eleven years with us.
Though he was eleven years old he did his duty very well. He wagged his tail whenever he saw me.
One day he got very sick. My father took him to the vet several times. Unfortunately his illness became worse. It was on Friday morning, I gave him a cup of milk to drink. But he did not drink it. So I went to school very sad. When I returned from school my mother said that my pet dog had died. I was very sad and cried all day. My two brothers got together and burried him.
Iwill never forget my faithful dog.
Thilini Ishara Godage
A cry of an infant
October 19 was Deepavali for Hindus. In Karaitivu there was a musical programme arranged by Vivekananda Sports Club.
The Kalmunai SIVAS and the Super Tuners musical group were invited by Vivekananda sports club. Nilamathi, Srithar Pichiyappa and Anton Thevasakayam were the popular singers and Kawsalya was the local singer.
At about 10.30 p.m. the programme started with Anton Thevasakayam who sang the first song. Sometime later Nilamathi was singing her song when suddenly there was a bomb blast. People ran away and my brother and I also ran.
Many village people stayed in our home for the night. Next day we heard that one singer and one officer were dead. This day will be remembered for as long as I live.
S. Thinesh Vipulananda
Honouring the UN member states
By Uncle D.C.R
We are all used to seeing flags. We see flags almost every day whenever there is some event. A flag is a piece of cloth or other material, usually rectangular, bearing a distinctive design and displayed as a symbol or signal. Flags are most commonly displayed hanging free from a staff, pole or rope to which they are attached along one edge. The attached end of the flag is called the hoist and the body of the flag is known as the fly. Each country has a national flag. Early national flags often used royal insignia, like the fleur-de-lis of France. The United Kingdom’s Union Jack combines the crosses of St George (England), St Andrew (Scotland) and St Patrick (Ireland). The Stars and Stripes of the United States, officially adopted by the US Congress on 14 June 1777, now consists of 13 alternate red and white stripes for the original colonies, and 50 stars for the present states. We are all too familiar with our own lion flag. The United Nations Postal Administration has created a flag series to honour its Member States. Originally launched in September 1980, the total number of Flag stamps issued to date number 176.Periodically, groups of eight stamps are issued, the last one being released in February 1998. It was the twelfth group and comprised the national flags of the Federated States of Micronesia, Slovakia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Monaco, Czech Republic and Estonia. Sri Lanka was honoured some years ago when the Lion Flag was featured along with those of Djibouti (one of the 53 countries in Africa), Bolivia (Latin America) and Equatorial Guinea (Africa). Incidentally, Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) became a member of the United Nations on 14 December 1955 when Sir John Kotelawala was the Prime Minister. The Flag Series has provided collectors with an opportunity to enjoy the colourful and varied designs of the flags which fly outside the headquarters of the UN in New York. The Flag stamps are true miniaturized versions of the national flags faithfully reproducing not only the colours and designs, but also the flags’ true proportions. International organisations including the Red Cross and UN have their own flags. Other internationally used flags include the white flag of surrender and the yellow flag for infectious disease.
Eating, drinking and cleaning
Birds use a lot of energy flying, and must feed often to stay alive. On the whole, birds can eat anything that nature has to offer, but only a few birds, such as crows, can eat everything. Others prefer to eat only a certain range of food for which their beaks are adapted.
Many birds are plant-eaters. Thrushes like berries, and finches and sparrows go for seeds. Seedeaters have stout little beaks to crack open the seeds. These birds are usually small, for they have to clamber nimbly over slender twigs to find food. So too are hummingbirds. They feed on the nectar in flowers, hovering over a bloom and dipping their long thin beaks into the petals. Larger birds such as parrots and toucans have strong and large beaks to feed on tropical fruits, and swans and geese tear up grass and water plants with their broad bills.
Insects are a common bird food. Warblers seek insects among leaves, picking them up with their little pointed beaks. Tree creepers pull them out of crevices in the bark with their long, curved beaks, while woodpeckers chisel into the bark with their sharp beaks to get insects. Several birds, such as swifts and nightmares, chase flying insects through the air with wide open mouths.
Shellfish and worms are the food of wading birds that live at the seashore and in damp places. These birds have long beaks that they use to probe the sand, mud or soil for food. Many birds hunt larger and more active animals. Several are fish-eaters, but face problems in gripping their slippery catch. Some diving ducks and sea birds have beaks with swath edges to grip fish. Birds of prey such as eagle and falcons, and owls and shrikes, are meat-eaters. They mostly hunt small animals such as mice and birds. They have strong hooked beaks that can tear their prey to pieces .
A few birds use objects to help them get food. A thrush will bread open a snail on a stone to get at the meat inside, while gulls drop shell fish onto rocks to smash them. The Egyptian vulture breaks open tough ostrich eggs by dropping a stone on them. The woodpecker finch of the Galapagos Islands gets insects out of crevices in bark by probing for them with a cactus spine or a thorn held in the beak.
Birds have to drink as well as eat. Some desert birds can exist on the juices of the food they eat, but most birds have to drink water. They drink by lowering their beaks into some water, and then tipping their heads back to make the water flow down their throats. Pigeons can suck up water and do not have to tip their heads back to drink.
A bird has to care for its plumage. Otherwise, pests will invade the feathers and they become untidy, making it difficult to fly. Birds spend a lot of their time cleaning themselves, for they are covered with thousands of feathers.
A bird has four main cleaning actions. It has to bathe to clean the feathers, and get rid of pests. Most birds take a dip in a puddle of water and ruffle their feathers. ~Some bathe in the rain, and others may use some dry dust to rub through their plumage. Preening often follows bathing, but may take place at any time. The bird runs its beak through its feathers to get rid of dirt and pests. It cannot attend to its head feathers in this way, and so scratches its head with its claws or allows another bird to preen its plumage instead.
To help keep the plumage healthy, birds oil their feathers with a waxy substance from a special gland near the tail called the preen gland. They smear the wax over the plumage with their beaks. This makes the plumage waterproof.
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