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Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Wind of Change

By Nihal D. Amerasekera 

As the dust settled from the tragedies of WWII,  the wind of change  swept  across  the Indian subcontinent with the growth of national consciousness. 

We grew up through the dying embers of colonial Ceylon.  There began an interminable conflict  between British values and post independent nationalism. Meanwhile the schools in the big cities encouraged us to maintain British ways. In many affluent homes, English remained the spoken language. We took on British culture, manners and mannerisms. On the 4th of February 1948,  the administration and the flag changed overnight. But the cultural change took a lot longer.  At school, we were discouraged from speaking in Sinhala. “Godaya” was a term reviled by all.  The word “Swabasha” was used as a derogatory expression.  

The British introduced their own social structure and aristocracy, to help in their administration. This social hierarchy was added on to our own class  and caste system.  These hereditary titles and privileges prevailed all through the British period. After independence the aristocracy declined, but slowly. With every general election the voice of the people began to be heard with ever increasing force until the emergence of the age of the common man. Many welcomed the triumph of meritocracy but  they were less enthusiastic to accept the power of the people. 

Up until our country’s independence, Medical College was the citadel of the privileged class. The medical students were educated in the top schools and came mostly from the upper echelons of Ceylonese society. Their bohemian lifestyle and legends had entered the folklore of that great institution. In 1948 the cultural transformation began and when we joined the Faculty in 1962 it was at the tail-end of this remarkable era.  In our batch we had the rich and the poor and the many in-between.  There were those from different ethnic and social classes.  Although I would like to think elitism didn’t exist in Medical College of our time, the cliques and exclusive parties of a few would say otherwise. That was the way society had turned us out .  We often rose above those differences.  In good times and bad, as a batch we jelled marvelously well.  We remained united during the tension and turmoil of the rags and suspension. The success of the Block night and the Final year trip speaks volumes. Our fine multiple Batch Reunions are a great tribute to our members unity. What age has taught me over the years is that we are all different. But it is important we are equal. 

My generation grew up with this changing attitudes and beliefs. Sometimes we felt stranded  in ‘no mans land’.  There are many in our batch who accepted change with good grace. We are proud of our gifted musicians Zita and Mahen who sing those melodious old  Sinhala songs from long ago bringing back childhood memories.  They have brought an extra dimension to our Blog. I feel immensely fortunate to have listened to Sinhala music in my childhood and also watched the early Sinhala films which have turned out to be classics.  HM Rupasinghe, Sunil Santha, Chitra and Somapala, Rukmani Devi and others made a tremendous contribution to Sinhala music. I found some of the Hindi films  rather jolly and good all round entertainment. Their music was interesting. Many of our early Sinhala cinema took the cue from those ever popular Hindi music and films.  

Would anyone be brave enough to write a piece in Sinhala for our Blog? 

The Colombo schools hung on to British values a lot longer.  English classical and popular music remained in their curriculum as did  ballet and English drama at the expense of our own.  There was a resurgence of the local dances and drama which gradually gained popularity after independence.  Those lost arts took a lot longer to be revived. We must be thankful to those village schools that maintained Sinhala and Tamil traditions and preserved the arts for posterity. 

In many ways our generation was fortunate to get the best of both worlds. It seems we were better prepared for life.  English is a universal language and our early exposure to this at home and school  made our professional lives so much easier.   I am unaware of the situation in SL now.  The wide gap that existed between the schools of the big cities and villages have largely disappeared. The world is a much smaller place than when we were growing up.  Television and the digital age have brought knowledge far closer to everyone. I hope we have retained our national identity and values whilst accepting what is good and wholesome from the rest of the world.  

I have lived in exile for over 40 years and love the way of life in England.  I love English classical music, drama and ballet.  Visiting English country houses and gardens and watching cricket at Lords have now become a part of my great enjoyment of life. Yet, I am a Sri Lankan at heart.   Amazingly I still can speak Sinhala fluently to be understood. But I cannot comprehend the modern Sinhala spoken by Newsreaders on TV and Radio. Reading Sinhala newspapers is much harder and slower. The drift away from my beloved country  I would put down to the awesome force of destiny.  

I wish Sri Lanka will remain a country where all its people can live in peace. We have come through tough times.  We now recognize conflict and fear.  I hope we have learnt from the mistakes of the past.  As I have said earlier, the premise that we are all equal is an important one for our future peace and prosperity.

A Personal Experience - Sent in by Razaque Ahamat

The other day when I was at the Cardiology Clinic, I was very early for my appointment and was seated next to a man when a woman arrived and sat next to me on the other side. She was very chatty and said "Oh this Clinic is not busy!!" Then she followed up by saying "Only three of us and you are the PIG in the middle" looking at me as I was seated in the middle!!.
I replied " Do you realise what you have just said,lady?. I am a Muslim"!! and smiled.
You should have seen her face!!! It went 'cherry red ' considering the present global/racial politics!!!
The other side of the coin is that this animal, PIG/OORA seems to be following me around the world --- if you have read my earlier postings, you will recollect. I suppose the animal is well aware that it is safe with me and will not be EATEN UP in Ham, Pork, Bacon and Pates!!!!

My postings like this one seem all to be "DOUBLE HEADED" ......... just like I was bullied in school by my classmates!!!

Razaque Ahamat.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bad Pain - Sent in by Rajan (Patas) Ratnesar

A 70 year old man went to his doctor’s office complaining about a pain in his private parts. The doctor gave the man a jar and said, “We will start with a sperm test. Take this jar home and bring me back a sample tomorrow.” The next day the 70 year old man reappears at the doctor’s office and gives him the jar, which is as clean and empty as on the previous day.
The doctor asked what happened and the man explains: “Well, doc, it’s like this: First I tried with my right hand, but nothing. Then I tried with my left hand, but still nothing. Then I asked my wife for help. She tried with her right hand, then her left, but nothing. She even tried with her mouth, teeth in, teeth out, and still nothing. We even called up the lady next door and she tried with both hands and her mouth too, but nothing.”
The doctor was shocked! “You asked your neighbor?” The old man replied, “Yep, but no matter what we tried we couldn’t get the darn jar open!”

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Adult but truly amazing - Sent in by Sriani (Dissanayake) Basnayake

Married couple at a Zoo walks past a gorilla enclosure.
Says the woman: 'Mark, Do you know that gorillas are the only animals which resemble men in their behavior?
Look, seeing that no one is looking, I'll expose one of my breasts 2 it & see how horny it gets just as men do.'
Mary then exposes one of her breasts, and, sure enough the gorilla gets excited and grabs the bars of the enclosure as if it wanted to break free.
'See,' says the woman, 'Now, I know why you react the way you do; men can't control their animal instincts just like gorillas can't.'
Says Mark: 'Now expose both breasts and let us see what happens.'
The woman exposes both breasts to the gorilla and it gets very excited and is now desperately trying to escape from the enclosure.
Says Mark: 'This is incredible, now, pull your skirt up, turn around and expose your bum and let us see what happens!'
The woman pulls her skirt up, turns around with her bum to the gorilla, which by now ,was extremely aroused, breaks free from the enclosure, grabs the woman and starts yanking the clothes off her.
The woman yells: 'Mark , what do I do now? Please, help me!'
Mark replies: 'Now, tell him you have a headache and you're not in mood ... Let us see if Gorillas and Men are the same..

Monday, April 27, 2015

Flower Show - Sent in by Sriani (Dissanayake) Basnayake

Two little old ladies were sitting on a park bench outside the local town hall where a flower show was in progress.

The older one leaned over and said, ''Life is so boring. We never have any fun anymore. For £10.00 I'd take my clothes off and streak through that stupid, boring flower show!''

''You're on!'' said the other old lady, holding up a £10.00 note.

The first little old lady slowly fumbled her way out of her clothes and completely naked, streaked (as fast as an old lady can) through the front door of the flower show.

aiting outside, her friend soon heard a huge commotion inside the hall, followed by loud applause and shrill whistling.

Finally, the smiling and naked old lady came through the exit door surrounded by a cheering, clapping crowd.

''What happened?'' asked her waiting friend.

''I won £1000 as 1st prize for 'Best Dried Arrangement'.''

Jokes - Sent in by Rajan (Patas) Ratnesar

Nothing to Declare
An attractive young woman on a flight from Ireland asked the Priest beside her, "Father, may I ask a favor?"
"Of course child. What may I do for you?"
"Well, I bought my mother an expensive hair dryer for her birthday. It is unopened but well over the Customs limits and I'm afraid they'll confiscate it. Is there any way you could carry it through customs for me? Hide it under your robes perhaps?"
"I would love to help you, dear, but I must warn you, I will not lie."
"With your honest face, Father, no one will question you."
When they got to Customs, she let the priest go first. The official asked, "Father, do you have anything to declare?"
"From the top of my head down to my waist I have nothing to declare."
The official thought this answer strange, so asked, "And what do you have to declare from your waist to the floor?"
"I have a marvelous instrument designed to be used on a woman, but which is, to date, unused."
Roaring with laughter, the official said, "Go ahead, Father. Next please!"

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Creative Spot - Another beautiful song by Mahendra (Speedy) Gonsalkorale

Dushmantha aho kimado

This song is an old favourite sung originally by Rukmani Devi.
The backing music is played by another Medico - Suraj Ranasinghe who posts in You Tube too.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Hooker's Confession - Sent in by Sriani (Dissanayake) Basnayake

A couple was lying in bed together on the morning of their 10th wedding anniversary when the wife says,  
'Darling, as this is such a special occasion I think that it is time I made a confession...... before we were married I was a hooker for eight years..'

The husband ponders for a moment and then looks into his wife's eyes and says,
'my love, you have been a perfect wife for 10 years! and I cannot hold  your past against you..  
Maybe you could show me a few tricks of the trade so as to spice up our sex life a bit..?'

She said, 'Darling I don't think you understood me correctly, my name was Brian and I played rugby for Wales .........'

Rohini Abhayaratne's brother

Pram has just informed me that Rohini Abhayaratne's brother Malin has passed away this morning. Funeral is at Jawatte Cemetery today at 4.00 pm.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Rajarata Medical Students being helped by Sanath Lama

As you all know, Sri Lanka now has a number of  Medical Faculties unlike during our time when there were only two. But one of the biggest problems faced by students in these medical schools is the shortage of teaching staff. You may have read in the media that medical students in the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Rajarata are the worst affected.

It is indeed a noble gesture on the part of our distinguished colleague Sanath Lamabadusuriya to have taken a decision to help out. Accordingly, Sanath will be spending alternate weeks in Rajarata, Monday to Friday. He has responded to the many requests from there considering the fact that there is not a single senior teacher for Paediatrics. Sanath's decision to teach the deserving students in Rajarata is all the more creditable because there had been many requests from the Malabe Teaching Hospital (a private institution that was started by former MP Dr. Neville Fernando) for his services. It is a known fact that students at Malabe are much more privileged and come from affluent homes unlike the relatively poor students in Rajarata.

Needless to say, Rajarata medical students are extremely happy with this turn of events. Sanath is also fortunate that other Paediatricians in Rajarata have been Sanath's former students. According to Sanath, these doctors are very helpful and
have been giving him unstinted support.

We must as a batch, commend our colleague for undertaking this task to meet an urgent national need.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Advertising War - Posted by LA

Four reputed insurance companies with networks of branches all over the world, decided to set up business in a new rich town with a booming population. They were vying with each other to get a share of the lucrative life insurance market.

For an advertising campaign to be successful, it has to have a suitable theme and a slogan. Most advertisers go for slogans that are catchy and have rhyming words. With the drawing board work completed, the companies were now ready with what they thought were sure to bring success. All of them were prepared to throw money around. Thus the campaigns were to be carried out using the print and electronic media, hoardings, neon signs etc. Whether it be a commercial spot on TV or advertising copy, each ad had a special place for the campaign slogan.

The first company which broke the ice launched their campaign with much fanfare. They came up with the slogan - "From Cradle to Grave". They left it at that with the townsfolk wondering what it was all about. But the four words were pregnant with meaning. What followed explained that the company provided life insurance cover from the beginning to the end of life.

The company that followed with their launch went one better. They used the slogan "From Womb to Tomb", effectively outdoing the first company with regard to the length of the lifespan. The third company not to be outdone, coined a novel slogan "From Sperm to Worm". After all, life begins with the male sperm and following death, what remains is the body which is consumed by maggots.

Then came the gem of a slogan from the last company. When everything seemed to be lost, their campaign outdid the rest. Their slogan was "From Erection to Resurrection"!

An Unfinished Journey - Sent in by Rohini (Senaratne) Anandaraja

Here I was,seated in a classroom in the "very feminine sounding but leading girls' school down a flowery avenue" (Lucky Abey quoted), totally oblivious to what the teacher was teaching, trying to divide a square into ever smaller halves, and finally concluding that this division could go on indefinitely but realizing there was no way of achieving this!

The day I learned that the smallest unit of all matter was the atom, I felt 'enlightened' and satisfied that the reason I couldn't get to the 'atom' in my square was because it was too small to see with my eyes!!  A while later, I was to learn that the atom contained smaller particles - the protons, the electrons and the neutrons, and since then - that these subatomic particles have yet smaller elementary or fundamental particles - the fermions, the bosons, consisting yet again of several types of quarks, leptons, gluons etc, each with their own properties and even colour charge.

And so it went on - until CERN (Conseil Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire) -The European Organization for Nuclear Research- commenced its operation of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2008/2009, and in 2012 demonstrated the existence of the Higgs boson particle which gives mass to all other existing particles. The Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded in 2013 to Peter Higgs from UK and Francois Englert from Belgium for this discovery.

The LHC is the largest physics experiment that ever existed - with the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator, situated in a tunnel 27 kilometers long, 27 kilometers in circumference, upto 175 meters underground in the Franco/Swiss border. It is designed to collide two counter rotating beams of protons close to the speed of light. Until 2012 ,it was operated at energy levels upto 3.5 to 4 TeV per beam (tera electron volts), and then it's operations were paused for an upgrade to prepare it for the currently planned operation at a higher energy level of 6.5 TeV per beam so it would yield more data.

The beams of protons move around  the LHC ring in an ultrahigh vacuum thinner than interplanetary space, guided by magnets maintained in a superconducting state at minus 271.3 degrees C (colder than outer space) by a closed Helium circuit. A number of accelerating structures boost the energy of the particles along the way until they reach a speed close to that of light before they collide - the aim being to create the conditions that immediately followed the Big Bang.
The collisions are made to occur at 4 locations around the accelerator ring, corresponding to positions of the particle detectors ATLAS, CMS, ALICE and LHCb - each of which gathers different data.

New discoveries expected to emerge from this experiment are said to be:
* confirmation of Higgs properties with greater precision, which may lead to new laws of physics
*explain why masses have such diversity in the building blocks of nature
*investigation of Dark matter which is considered to be 27 % of all matter in the universe - and could predict a host of new particles
 *information on Quark gluon plasma( a fluid form of matter that existed shortly after the Big Bang)which would give   more information of the early universe
*detection of mini black holes
* explain the imbalance between matter and antimatter in the universe at present.

As with any new project - there have been warnings and doomsday scenarios predicted as a result of this experiment by  various religious and other groups (reminiscent of the days of Galileo). However, CERN's LHC Safety Assessment Group has proclaimed that they take safety very seriously and that the collisions present no danger.

All this is fascinating. However, since those days in my classroom well over 3 score years ago, I have realized that the ultimate reality is unlikely ever to be known.

Further details and photos available from CERN, New Scientist, and many other websites accessible from Google .

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Phil's Scrotum - Sent in by Sriani (Dissanayake) Basnayake

The best story of the year doesn't give the proper praise and credit for this painful, but understandable story as told by a loving wife........

 The pastor asked if anyone in the congregation would like to express praise for answered prayers.

 Suzie Smith stood and walked to the podium.
 She said, "I have a praise.
 Two months ago, my husband, Phil, had a terrible bicycle wreck and his scrotum was completely crushed.
 The pain was excruciating and the doctors didn't know if they could help him."

 You could hear a muffled gasp from the men in the congregation as they imagine the pain that poor Phil must have experienced.

 "Phil was unable to hold me or the children," she went on, "and every move caused him terrible pain.

 We prayed as the doctors performed a delicate operation, and it turned out they were able to piece together the crushed remnants of Phil's scrotum, and wrap wire around it to hold it in place."

 Again, the men in the congregation cringed and squirmed uncomfortably as they imagined the horrible surgery performed on Phil.

 "Now," she announced in a quivering voice, "thank the Lord, Phil is out of the hospital and the doctors say that with time, his scrotum should recover completely."

 All the men sighed with unified relief. The pastor rose and tentatively asked if anyone else had something to say.

 A man stood up and walked slowly to the podium.

 He said, "Hi, I'm Phil." The entire congregation held its breath.
 "I just want to tell my wife, the word is sternum."

Monday, April 20, 2015

Creative Spot - A Poem by Mahendra (Speedy) Gonsalkorale

All kinds of Misses

Miss Chief is far too bossy
Miss Fortune is so unlucky
Miss Heard's totally paranoid
Miss Laid was never ever found
Miss Identified ended in prison
Miss Rule was charged for treason

Miss Adventure lost her way
Miss Judged had her say
Miss Diagnose, the useless doctor
Miss Treat an absolute monster
Miss Guided is always in trouble
Miss Quote comes in with rebuttal


Golden Wedding - Sent in by Sriani (Dissanayake) Basnayake

Golden Wedding:
A couple had been married for 50 years.
They were sitting at the breakfast table one morning when the wife says, 'Just think, fifty years ago we were sitting here at this breakfast table together.'
'I know,' the old man said.  'We were probably sitting here naked as a jaybird fifty years ago.'
'Well,' Granny snickered.  'Let's relive some old times.'
Where upon, the two stripped to the buff and sat down at the table.
'You know, honey,' the little old lady breathlessly replied, 'My nipples are as hot for you today as they were fifty years ago.'
'I wouldn't be surprised,' replied Gramps.   'One's in your coffee and the other is in your oatmeal
My darling, my lover, my beautiful wife:
Marrying you screwed up my life.

I see your face when I am dreaming.
That's why I always wake up screaming.

Kind, intelligent, loving and hot;
This describes everything you are not.

Love may be beautiful, love may be bliss,
But I only slept with you because I was pissed.

I thought that I could love no other --
that is until I met your brother.

Roses are red, violets are blue,
sugar is sweet, and so are you.
But the roses are wilting, the violets are dead,
the sugar bowl's empty and so is your head.

I want to feel your sweet embrace;
But don't take that paper bag off your face.

I love your smile, your face, and your eyes ....
Damn, I'm good at telling lies!

My love, you take my breath away.
What have you stepped in to smell this way?

My feelings for you no words can tell,
Except for maybe "Go to hell."

What inspired this amorous rhyme?
Two parts vodka, one part lime.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

New Check for Prostate - Sent in by Mahendra (Speedy) Gonsalkorale

An old guy goes to his doctor for his physical and gets sent to the Urologist as a precaution. When he gets there, he discovers the Urologist is a very pretty female doctor. The female doctor says, "I'm going to check your prostate today, but this new procedure is a little different from what you are probably used to. I want you to lie on your right side, bend your knees, then while I check your prostate, take a deep breath and say, '99'.
The old guy obeys and says, "99".
The doctor says, "Great", now turn over on your left side and again, while I repeat the check, take a deep breath and say ,'99". Again, the old guy says, '99'."
The doctor said, “Very good”.
Now then, I want you to lie on your back with your knees raised slightly.
I'm going to check your prostate with this hand, and with the other hand I'm going to hold on to your penis to keep it out of the way. Now take a deep breath and say, '99'.
The old guy begins, ………………………

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Short Story - By LA

At a time when the Sinhala New Year is being celebrated in Sri Lanka, I thought of posting this on our blog. This short story is set in the early seventies when the country was plagued by scarcities of all essential goods. It was also the era when professionals like doctors were leaving the country in droves seeking greener pastures.

(All characters in this story are fictitious).

Pamela's Shopping List

Pamela was a polished young lass born into a rich family living in Colombo 7. Very good looking at age 18, she was a bright all round student. But she was on the verge of leaving school as her doting parents didn't want her to go to the University. After all, they had grandiose plans to give her in marriage to an eligible young man hailing from an equally affluent family known to them. The prospective bridegroom was about to complete his own education in a prestigious university abroad.

The driver of the Mercedes Benz which Pamela's father owned was Piyadasa who had very little to show by way of education. Although he was a typical village lad by upbringing, he knew a smattering of English having worked in the big city for some time. He had started as a domestic servant in the household but his wealthy employer was impressed by Piyadasa's devotion to duty. The old gentleman helped Piyadasa to obtain his driving license and was soon elevated to the position of driver when the faithful Publis Singho had to retire due to old age.

The daily routine was for Piyadasa to drop Pamela at a very feminine sounding but leading girls' school down a flowery avenue in the morning and to be picked up each afternoon at school closing time. Many were the students from a nearby boys' school who were eyeing the girl seated in the rear seat of the big black Benz. They came from the same social background that Pamela belonged to.

However, fate was to play a role in transforming young Pamela's life. One thing led to another, and the driver and his employer's daughter soon fell in love with each other. "Head over heels" so to say, to signify the intensity of their love. The parents got to know about it and as expected, ordered them to stop the affair forthwith. The driver was sacked but the duo had found a way of secretly meeting each other during school hours. The inevitable happened with the young girl eloping with the former driver. Pamela sacrificed her entire future when she decided to enjoy marital bliss in Piyadasa's humble home in his village in Buttala.

The son of a poor farmer, Piyadasa helped his father in his day to day work. What he earned was hardly sufficient for the newly weds to have three square meals a day. Pamela had smuggled out some cash and that helped the young couple to tide over the most difficult period. To her credit, Pamela had adjusted herself well to fit into village life, sans running water, electricity or any of the modern conveniences she took for granted in her Colombo 7 home. With her meagre resources, she managed to effect improvements to her new home.

Then came Sinhala New Year time and Pamela set about the task of redecorating her humble abode. Running out of cash, she realised that a few metres of Long Cloth was all she could afford to cover the worn out upholstery of the old living room furniture. Moreover, in that austere period, even Long Cloth was not available in Buttala or Moneragala. Since she needed a few other sundry items as well, Pamela asked Piyadasa to take a bus to Pettah, especially to purchase the precious Long Cloth. Knowing that Piyadasa was unfamiliar with what headed her shopping list, Pamela gave strict instructions to Piyadasa to memorise the words "Long Cloth".

The long awaited day dawned at last, and Piyadasa boarded a bus to proceed to Colombo city. He found a seat at the rear end of the bus where he settled down for the long journey, but kept muttering "Long Cloth", "Long Cloth" to himself. He was practicing the key words as per Pamela's instructions. By the time the bus reached Belihuloya, as often happens when one tries to memorise words that don't mean anything, "Long Cloth" had changed to "Long Coloth". As the bus passed the Ratnapura bazaar, "Long Coloth" had become "Lung Coloth". Piyadasa however was pre occupied with his continuous narration of "Lung Coloth", "Lung Coloth" which by now came to him almost mechanically. The rickety old CTB bus arrived in Pettah and drew to a halt in the allotted slot. Piyadasa continued his manthram with his mission uppermost in his mind, but by that time, "Lung Coloth" had changed to plain and simple "Lung Kaloth".

He wasted no time and rushed to the nearest textile shop near the Bo tree at "Gas Paha Handiya" (turn off to Gasworks Street). He timidly walked up to a sales girl who was day dreaming at a counter and asked her in rustic Sinhala "Lung Kaloth keeyada"? Translated into English, it meant "How much is Lung Kaloth"?

What poor Piyadasa didn't know was that the sales girl happened to be a part time prostitute. Selling cloth in the textile shop was only a day time job for her. At night time, she was engaged in the more lucrative trade of selling her body to any man who came to her for sexual favours. When confronted with the question, the sales girl coyly but unhesitatingly replied "Lung Kaloth panahai. athul kaloth nang seeyai" (what she really meant was that just bringing it close costs fifty, but if you want to insert, it will cost hundred").

Friday, April 17, 2015

The writing is on the wall !! - By Nihal D. Amerasekera

The writing is on the wall !!

By Nihal D Amerasekera 

The above caption is a reference to a graffiti on the wall in Babylon, the great Kingdom, between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris around 550BC. The region  iscurrently referred to as Iraq. The graffiti  was a prediction about the destruction of the Kingdom of Babylon. So you see, Graffiti is old as history itself. 

In the spring of 2008, the Tate Modern in London opened the world’s first major public museum display of graffiti and street art.  Thankfully it is considered as serious art.  With his satirical street art, dark humour and political sketches Banksy is one of the best known of  the street artists. 

Wall paintings , etches and scratchers have been with us since the time of the Pharaohs.  I have seen their handiwork in Ephesus in Turkey from the 10th Century BC.  Ever since I arrived in London, the graffiti capital of the world, I have been mesmerized by the artistic beauty and the clever thinking behind some of the work of the ‘masters’.  Their creations with the spray cans and the paint brushes have been magnificent. They use their creative minds as their palettes  andthe drab walls and railway arches as their canvas. Of course there is vandalism and bad language created by warped minds of some graffiti artists.They too are a cross section of our society with those same social problems. 

I will always remember a graffiti of Che Guevara on a blank wall which is  a symbol of poverty and suffering of the social underclass. Its colour and the facial expression brought him back to life.This must be the work of another Picasso unable to claim his fame due to his background of poverty. Since the 1970’s there has been a gradual move away from graffiti as it is a now a punishable offence.  Graffiti are  considereda desecration of the environment but I remember with much affection the glory days  of those colourful murals  and inspirational aphorisms. There  is  often an irresistible desire to scribble. I read a news clip from the Sri Lanka Daily Mirror of a girl who had scribbled on the mirror wall at Sigiriyawith a hairpin and was punished with 2 years imprisonment. The sentence was later squashed. The wheels of justice in Sri Lanka grinds slowly both to convict and to release. 

I started my career as a trainee radiologist in a London teaching hospital. It is a completely different ball game to being a medical registrar. Once again I felt like a helpless medical student learning the heart sounds, timing murmurs and eliciting  clinical signs.To make diagnoses looking at images and not having the patient before me needed a new way of thinking. The return to radiation physics was soul destroying. The rest of the trainees felt the heat too. I wasn’t surprised to find a graffiti in an inaccessible corner of the registrars toilet “XRAY IS A FOUR LETTER WORD”. It was a graphic description of my own sentiments. Honest, I didn’t write it but wish I did !! It was much later I realized the immense importance of imaging and its vast potential. Radiology was one of the best things I have done in my life. 

Although ablutions are a basic and mundane function, lavatorialhumour has been in existence since time began. The public toilets are a magnet for graffiti artists. The dim lights in the basement and the relative seclusion perhaps help in its creation.  I recall reading a hurriedly written script on the wall “Pass anything but not wind”. All I could say is “Easily said than done”.Amongst a gallery of graffiti in the Oxford Circus public toilet their was a polite request “don’t overestimate your ability, get closer to the urinal.” Gents toilets are a paradise for dribblers.  If I had the courage to replyI  would have said : “ I will  have to swim to get there”.  On the back of a toilet door was a gentle reminder :“Your exhaust needs a silencer” 

On a blank wall near London’s Kings Cross station there was a forlorn script written in brilliant red “ Obama for President :  Cameron for Queen” 

The word “phat” doesn’t mean what it sounds. According to the  Merriam-Webster dictionary it is an adjective meaning ‘very attractive or appealing’.

Be that as it may,  when I was walking in London’s China Town I came across a plush notice “Tea Rooms”  and then in small letters“A quiet place for a tea and Phat”. I was greatly enticed by what’s on offer and stepped in.  It was most certainly quiet and the tea was good but I didn’t have the urge for the Phat.  

On a wall near the London’s Olympic stadium was a sinister note:

“Get a free vasectomy – do the 100 Metre hurdles” 

I appreciate enormously the subtle humour of those wall-  scribblerswho are said to be on the margins of society.I have always been fascinated by these ‘Confucius’ like aphorisms: 

“End of the world is nigh - beat the rush and by your lottery ticket”. 

“Life is a thief of time” 

Old fishermen never die - they just smell that way” 

“Save fuel - Get cremated with a friend” 

“Today is yesterdays tomorrow” 

“Keep death off the roads - Drive on the footpath” 

“Amnesia, where are you?” 

“My inferiority complex isn't as good as yours” 

“Examinations are nature’s laxative” 

“Cigarettes are the biggest cause of statistics” 

“Eat more beans, the world needs more gas”.

“Yoga is made out of full cream milk” 

“Death is hereditary” 

“Neurotics build castles in the air.

Psychotics live in them.

Psychiatrists charge rent.” 

It is not a graffiti but Oscar Wilde who said “I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.”.Self deprecation is an art form and is an important aspect of British humour. This well thought out graffiti appeared at the very corner of a wall full of multi-coloured scribbles – “Those who can write , write books. Those who can’t  - write graffiti”. 

I hope I have whet your appetite for the wisdom of graffiti. They certainly rule ok and have a world of their own.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Jokes - Sent in by Sriani (Dissanayake) Basnayake

1.  There are 3 Male and 1 Female pencils in a box. The Female pencil  got  pregnant!!
    Which Male pencil is responsible?

 2.   Woman in bed with husband's best friend,  phone rings
! "YES".. OK,
 BYE". She turns  to her lover and says, THAT'S MY HUBBY, SAYS HE IS NOW

 3.   Three Roosters: normal, retarded and a gay.
         Normal : cock-a-doodle-dooo!!!
         Retarded : doodle - cock - a - dooo !!!
         Gay : any-cock-will dooo !!!

 4.  3 Guys were introduced to a girl.  Hi, I'm Peter, not a saint.
          I'm Paul,  not a POPE.
          I'm  John, not a Baptist...
         The girl replied.. Hi. I'm Mary, not a VIRGIN.

 5. Girlfriends are appetizers. Tastes good at any time. 
     Mistresses are Tom Yams..Hot and  spicy. Eaten frequently.
          WIVES are Maggie. Eaten when there's nothing to eat.!!!

 6.  Income Tax office asked a Prostitute why she puts her occupation  as
                                                        “CHICKEN   FARMER”.
          She replied:  I RAISED 5,000 COCKS LAST YEAR.!!

 7. Yesterday's news   A nun jogging at Jogger' Park was raped by 4  guys.
        Today's News :- Nearly 100 nuns found jogging at the park.

My sporting days are over

My  Pilot light is out

                                           What used to be my sex appeal

Is now my water spout.
It used to be embarrassing
To make the thing behave
For nearly every morning
It would stand up and watch me shave.
But as I’m growing older
It sure gives me the blues
The poor thing can only dangle down me leg
And watch me clean my shoes
Spaghetti.A doctor was having an affair with his nurse. Shortly afterward, she told him she was pregnant. Not wanting his wife to know, he gave the nurse a sum of money and asked her to go to Italy and have the baby there. "But how will I let you know the baby is born?"she asked. He replied, "Just send me a postcard and write "spaghetti" on the back. I'll take care of expenses." Not knowing what else to do, the nurse took the money and flew to Italy.
Six months went by and then one day the doctor's wife called him at the office and said "Dear, you received a very strange postcard in the mail today from Europe, and I don't
understand what it means." The doctor said "Just wait until I get home and I will explain it to you". Later that evening the doctor came home, read the postcard, fell to the floor with a heart attack. Paramedics rushed him to the ER. The lead medic stayed back to comfort the wife. He asked what trauma had precipitated the cardiac arrest.
So the wife picked up the card and read "Spaghetti, Spaghetti, Spaghetti, Spaghetti - Two with sausage and meatballs, two without." !!!
Most embarrassing moment
A radio station in Australia ran a phone-in  competition to find
 the Most embarrassing moment in listener's lives.
 The final four were:

 4th Place
 While in line at the bank one afternoon, my  toddler  decided to release
 some pent-up energy and started to run amuck. I was finally able to grab
 hold of her after receiving looks of disgust and  annoyance from other
 patrons. I told her that if she didn't start  behaving herself, right  now, she would be punished. To my horror, she looked me in the eye and  said in a voice just as threatening, 'If you don't  let me go right now,  I will tell Grandma I saw you kissing Daddy's  willie  last night.' After  this enlightening exchange, the silence was  deafening. Even the tellers  stopped what they were doing. I mustered the last  of  my dignity and  walked out of the bank, with my daughter in tow.
 The last thing I heard  as the door closed behind me were screams of  laughter.

 3rd Place
 It was the day before my 18th birthday. I was  living  at home, but my
 parents had gone out for the evening, so I invited  my girlfriend over
 for a romantic night alone. As we lay in bed after  making love, we heard
 the telephone ringing downstairs. I suggested to  my  girlfriend that I
 give her a piggyback ride down to the phone. Since  we didn't want to
 miss the call, we didn't have time to get dressed.
 When we got to the  bottom of the stairs, the lights suddenly came on
 as  a whole crowd of  people yelled 'SURPRISE'. My entire family
 parents,  grand parents,  aunts, uncles, cousins as well as my friends, were
 standing there. My  girlfriend and I were frozen on the spot in a  state
 of shock and  embarrassment for what seemed like an eternity.
 Since then, no one in  my family has planned any surprise parties.

 2nd Place
 A lady picked up several items at a discount  store.
 When she finally Got  up to the checkout, she learned that one of the
 items had no price tag.
 The checkout girl got on the public address  system,  which boomed out  across the store for everyone to hear, "Price  check  for Tampax  supersize."

 But it got worse. Someone at the rear of the  store  apparently
 misunderstood word 'Tampax' for 'Thumbtacks', and  replied in a business
 like tone, his  voice booming over the same public address system:
 'Do you want the kind  you push in with your thumb or the kind one you
 belt  in with a hammer.

 1st Place.
 And the winner is . . . ..........

 This happened at a major Australian University,  during a biology
 lecture. A professor was discussing the high  glucose levels found in
 semen. A young woman raised her hand and asked,  "If  I understand you
 correctly, you are saying there is as much glucose  in male semen as in
 sugar?" The professor responded, yes, that's correct adding some
 statistical data. Raising her hand again, the  girl  asked, "Then why
 doesn't it taste sweet?" After a stunned silence,
 the whole class burst  out laughing. The poor girl turned bright red,
 and  as she realised  exactly what she had inadvertently said, she
 picked  up her books, and  without another word, walked out of the class.
 However, as she was  heading for the door, the professor's reply was a
 classic. Totally  straight faced, he answered her question. "It
 doesn't taste sweet  because the taste-buds for sweetness are on the
 tip  of your tongue and  not in the back of your throat".

Medical Student Howlers - Sent in by Mahendra (Speedy) Gonsalkorale

The following two stories are both true and perhaps known to many but it is worth recording for posterity.

The first was at a Ward Class conducted by Dr Ernie Pieris, one of the most respected and able Physicians of our time. He showed a meningitis patient with severe opisthotonus with head extended abnormally backwards and asked one of the students to describe what he saw and he, who shall remain nameless, said, "Sir, this patient is mentally backward".I wish I could recall what Dr Ernie Pieris said but I can almost visualise the amused and slightly cynical expression in his rotund face.

The second was at a Ward Class conducted by Dr Wickrema Wijenaike, one of the finest Physicians who graced General Hospital, Colombo. He asked students on how you surface mark the apex beat and an eager volunteer (not the same as above) said "Sir, it is in the mid clavicular line, half and inch internal to the nipple". Dr WW led the student to an elderly lady with rather large limp breasts which had seen better days and said, "According to you, this lady's heart is lying on the side of the bed".

There are many more, and some of them only us Medics from Sr Lanka would find amusing, but I shall leave them for another time.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ceylinco Bra - LA

When I saw Sriani's Baptist Bra....... Sorry! I mean when I read Sriani's contribution under the title "Baptist Bra", my mind went back to the time the Ceylinco Insurance Company (a leading life insurance company in Sri Lanka) was using a sales slogan to boost their sales of insurance policies. The advertising company which handled their account had come up with the novel slogan "Big or Small - Ceylinco Protects them All" (obviously meaning that they provide insurance cover to individuals of any age).

An enterprising hawker at Pettah's World Market had picked this up to promote the sale of a local bra with the label "Ceylinco". He was shouting at the top of his voice "Ceylinco Bra!, Ceylinco Bra! Laabayi, laabayi". When a curious customer who was familiar with Ceylinco Insurance made further inquiries, the pavement hawker explained "Sir, haven't you heard about the latest brand of brassieres in the market?  Big or Small - Ceylinco Protects them All". The man was obviously piggybacking on the advertising campaign of Ceylinco Insurance.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Baptist Bra - Sent in by Sriani (Dissanayake) Basnayake

Baptist Bra
A man walked into the women's department of Macy's in New York City.

He told the saleslady, "I would like a Baptist bra for my wife, size 36B."
With a quizzical look, the saleslady asked, "What kind of bra?"

  He repeated, "A Baptist bra. She said to tell you that she wanted a
  Baptist bra and that you would know what she wanted."
  "Ah, now I remember." said the saleslady, "We don't get as many requests
  for them as we used to. Most of our customers lately want the Catholic bra
  or the Salvation Army bra, or the Presbyterian type."

  Confused and a little flustered, the man asked, "So what are the differences?"
  The lady responded, "Well, it's really quite simple. The catholic type
  supports the masses, the Salvation Army lifts up the fallen, and the
  Presbyterian type keeps them staunch and upright."
  He mused at that for a moment and then asked, "So, what is the Baptist type for?"
  "They," she replied, "make mountains out of molehills".

And, if you need more bra info - here's some more:
   Have you ever wondered why bras are lettered A, B, C, D, DD, E, F, G,
  & H and how the letters are actually used to define bra sizes?
  Well, if you've ever wondered, but couldn't figure it out, here's the code:

   A. Almost Boobs
   B. Barely Boobs
   C. Can't complain
   D. Dang!
   DD. Double Dang!
   E. Enormous
   F. Fake
   G. Get a reduction
A mother had three daughters and, on their wedding, she tells each one  to write back about their married life. To avoid possible embarrassment  to their new husbands by openly discussing their love lives, the mother  and daughters agree to using newspaper advertisements as a "code" to let  the mother know how their love lives are going.
The first one gets  married and the second day the letter arrives with a single message,
simply: "MAXWELL COFFEE HOUSE". Mother got the newspaper and checked the
Maxwell Coffee House advertisement, and it says: "Satisfaction to the  last drop..."
 So, Mother is happy.
Then the second daughter gets married. After a  week, there was a message that reads: "ROTHMAN'S MATTRESSES". So, the  Mother looks at the Rothman's Mattresses ad, and it says: "FULL SIZE,  KING SIZE". And Mother is happy.
Then it was the third one's wedding. Mother was anxious. After four  weeks came the message: "BRITISH AIRWAYS". And mother looks into the  British Airways ad, but this time she fainted. The ad reads: "THREE  TIMES A DAY, SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, BOTH WAYS."

Monday, April 13, 2015

21 year old fake doctor arrested in Dambulla - LA

I was in two minds, whether to post this under "Jokes" or "News". But as you can see, this is a news report from a reputed TV channel in Sri Lanka - Ada Derana. The ID which is said to be a US document provides hilarious reading. Please read the story I have related at the end of the Ada Derana report as well.

21-year-old ‘fake doctor’ arrested in Dambulla

April 12, 2015  02:43 pm

2 / 4


A 21-year-old individual, who reportedly impersonated as a doctor, has been arrested by the police at the Dambulla Base hospital on Sunday (12) morning. The police have also found an identity card believed to be a fake in which it says it was issued by the U.S. Department of Science & Health (Doctors).

The suspect has been identified as K.A. Harshana Maduranga Bandara who is a resident of Medirigiriya.
“The individual had been walking towards the operation theater at the time another senior doctor questioned him about his background details. Following the suspicious behaviour, the doctor in return has notified the police, what triggered the arrest,” a police officer said.

The police is yet to disclose the motive behind his actions. Bandara will be produced before the Dambulla Magistrate today.


The above report reminded me of an incident that took place in one of my former workplaces decades ago.

I was attached to the Health Education Bureau (HEB) of the Ministry of Health in Sri Lanka in the eighties. We had an attractive lady dental surgeon working in the Oral Health Sub Unit who had a regular visitor. Being a public institution, such visitors were common and nobody took much notice of this visitor who claimed to be a doctor doing private practice in Katana (a town close to Negombo).

As time went by, my suspicions were aroused mainly by the fact that this "doctor" in private practice seemed to have so much free time to drop in at the HEB for a chat with his friend. By the time I was also on friendly terms with the visitor,
I casually asked him about his medical student days because by appearance, he seemed to be a man of my own age.
He spoke very good English and was always well dressed. He told me that he graduated in 1968 from the Colombo Medical Faculty and went into private practice after a short stint at the General Hospital. This statement almost confirmed my suspicions because his name was unfamiliar and I had never seen him in medical school. As you know, we knew most of the students who were senior or junior to us personally. When I asked him about our teachers, he was hedging my questions. By the time I was quite convinced that this person was a quack, I pointedly asked him who the Professor of Medicine during his time was (any medical student who had passed through the Colombo Medical Faculty knew Prof. Rajasuriya). He replied that it is so difficult to remember the names of teachers and was always trying to change the subject. I also noticed that he was quite agitated and sweating profusely. Further questioning left no doubt at all that he was an imposter. The entire conversation took place in the presence of my dental colleague.

He broke off the conversation and left in a hurry, never to come back to the HEB. He would have been happy that we didn't inform the Police.