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Monday, March 28, 2016


Sent by Mahendra (Speedy) Gonsalkorale.

World Capitals March 2016

By a  Special Fast Correspondent.

896,845 hits and closing on a Million!

Chaos reigned since the announcement of a Special (as yet undisclosed) prize for the One Millionth Visitor to the ever popular Blog, Colombo  Medgrads 1962.

This blog is about new entrants to the Colombo Medical Faculty of the University of Ceylon (as it was then known) in June 1962, and set up by Dr. Lakshman Abeyagunawardene

A spokesman we contacted  said, “On 5-2-2016, the Blog had 885,954 hits.
This is a hit rate of about 200 a day. (8896 over 44 days)
We are short of 105.150 to reach a Million. if our hit rate continues at approx 200 per day (average), we need another 520 days to reach a Million. This is in about 17 months.
Based on these figures, we expect the 1 Million mark to be reached around July-August 2017:

The publicity phrase  "Go on a blogging blitz and let us reach a Million hits" is reported to have gone viral.

My Life at Jeewaka

 By Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Jeevaka was the most celebrated doctor in India during Buddha's time. He was Buddha’s physician. Hence Jeewaka is a great name for a Buddhist Medical Hostel.

Spiritually, all through my adult life I have been a drifter and a nomad, born under a wandering star. I first saw life as a Christian in a family not too enamoured with the rights and rituals of religion. Thus I was allowed to roam free to choose my own path and philosophy. I began to question the presence of a supreme creator reading the origin of the species by Charles Darwin as a teenager. As a young medical student when I saw the suffering of the masses in the General Hospital Colombo, that was the  final straw. This nomadic drift should not be confused with a lack of respect for values and beliefs. Despite all this I have the greatest respect for Christianity for teaching me how to lead a good and righteous life as a kid growing up in a rapidly changing world. Even now when I sit in a Church it gives me a warm feeling of love for humanity as we all walk this long and tortuous journey we call life.

Living at Wattala I travelled daily from Hunupitiya to Maradana by train with a happy band of medical students. The journey during the height of the rush hour had standing room only. It was both tiring and time consuming. Chatting with Razaque Ahmat, Bernard Randeniya, Ananda Cooray and Ananda Perera made the journey bearable. In my wisdom I convinced my parents I should move to the Jeewaka Buddhist Hostel in Turrett Road to allow more time for study. They agreed too easily. There was then no formal application process for Jeewaka. I made my intentions clear to my friend RN de S Amarasekera, then an honourable senior. I think at the time there were 20 students at Jeewaka.  My informal application was rejected out of hand as they didn’t want Christians. Although dejected and disappointed  I never gave up hope. I explained to RN de S my complex spiritual existence and my philosophy being closer to Buddhism than any other. I am grateful he had the belief and the courage to accept my word. He fought hard with the Jeewaka hierarchy to allow my entry into the brotherhood.

There was a resurgence of our heritage and values after independence from British Rule. A small band of Buddhist Medical Students, circa 1962, approached Prof RP Jayawardene to provide  a safe haven for Buddhist students. Unlike at Peradeniya students from far away who joined the faculty had no hostel accommodation. With determination, tenacity and perseverance their dream was realised and the Jeewaka Buddhist hostel was born. The good Prof became its first Warden. The pioneers who founded Jeewaka were:

Dr L U Abeyasiri, Plastic Surgeon, UK
Dr R N D S Amarasekera, GP, UK
Dr D P Athukorale, Consultant Cardiologist, Sri Lanka
Dr Hema De Silva, USA
Dr L C De Silva
Dr Ubhaya Dias,, New Zealand (Passed away 2002)
Dr Titus Dissanayake, Consultant Geriatrician, UK
Mr Sumith Fonseka, Thorasic Surgeon, UK
Dr G R W Godakumbura, Consultant Surgeon, Sri Lanka
Dr H P Gunawardena, Psychiatrist, USA
Dr D V J Harischandra, Consultant Psychiatrist, Sri Lanka
Dr Herath, USA
Dr A K C A Jayasena, UK
Dr Karunapala, Consultant Psychiatrist, UK
Dr Bernie Peris, Former GP, UK (Passed away 1999)
Dr Rajapakse, Sri Lanka (Died ....)
Dr Ajith Silva, Radiologist, Australia

We salute them. The hostel was housed in a large two storey building opposite the Liberty Cinema. A short distance away was the busy Galle Road and the deep blue waters of the Indian ocean.

When I stepped into the house I felt at home instantly. The hostellers were a friendly bunch. To my good fortune LPJM Wickramasinghe, Sanath de Tissera and Upali Wijeratne
joined the hostel about the same time. Now our batch showed a strong presence and we became a force to reckon with. The hostel was managed by the students and for the students. There was a President , Secretary, Treasurer and a Committee. We took turns to  place food on the table. This was an onerous task given over to the “buthmaster”. We took on the burden for a week at a time.  Here we learnt to provide a good balanced diet within the confines of the budget. Mealtimes were a minor ordeal for the hapless “buthmaster”.   Criticisms, comments and acerbic remarks flowed freely. At times this required a thick skin and broad shoulders. Much of it was done in jest with occasional hurtful comments  done in the hope that high standards will be maintained. Despite our youthful exuberance, civility and good manners prevailed. We employed a young male cook who gave us excellent food.

Dinner time was a welcome break from the books. There was an unwritten rule that dinner was served at eight and all were expected to take part. This was a time for some light banter and a time to bond. Many had stories to tell and anecdotes to relate. Medical College was a hotbed of gossip and there was never a dull moment. We had our own court jester to lighten the proceedings. He said:  a pharmacist mistakenly put some GUANETHIDINE tablets into a bottle of BENDROFLUMETHIAZIDE. The THIAZIDE was greatly offended and said to GUANETHIDINE “I say you are very ISMELIN”.  After dinner an eerie silence descended on Jeewaka which extended far beyond midnight. This was prime study time. The silence was only broken by an occasional whisper, a silly giggle or a noisy snore of a lad overcome by tiredness.

The Buddhist hostel was no mini ashram or a monastery. Non of us were vegetarians. It was a lively house of boisterous medical students with the same desires and passions as anywhere else in the world. No alcohol was allowed within the premises. Jeewaka wasn’t a bohemian playground. Life was serene but never boring.  Those of us who cared for a drink visited the bars and taverns at weekends, but discreetly, and learnt to behave ourselves when we got back. There was a strict hierarchy based on seniority and a strong sense of mutual respect. We all cared for each other and shared our books and knowledge. The camaraderie and companionship brought us together. There was a certain enduring calmness that existed at Jeewaka very different from the other medical and university boarding houses we all know.

Whenever we returned from our trips home it was a tradition to bring some sweets biscuits or cakes to share with our friends. There was a guy from Galle called “K” who didn’t like the idea of sharing. He brought eats which he hid in his suitcase and brought king coconuts which he kept under his bed. Once a guy brought a long LP needle and 50 ml syringe and pierced the eye of the king coconuts and syringed out the fluid until all of them were bled dry. Later we heard ‘K’  cursing the vendor who sold him the dud coconuts.

Saturday night was music night. Mohanlal Fernando is a fine musician and played his piano accordion with Esiri Karunaratne on the drums and we all joined in singing the favourite songs of CTF, Chitra and Somapala and Sunil Santha etc. This was most enjoyable and we often looked forward to Saturday nights to exercise our vocal cords.

Blackie the black mongrel was our mascot. He was calm as the morning sunrise and never barked but had some disgusting habits  lacking the finesse and the polish of some of the dogs I know. Despite this Blackie was treated like royalty being a pioneer member of the institution and a close associate of its founder members. I think he knew it and took advantage of his prestigious position showing off his filthy habits, much to my utter chagrin.

I must re-tell a story I have published on this blog before. We had great fun at Jeewaka which was a happy place. We examined patients late into the evening and were returning back to the hostel, cycling along Turret Road. My  borrowed bike had a lamp but Cunningham’s  cycle didn’t, but he carried a torch (used to test the pupils). A policeman stopped us and asked Cunningham about his cycle lamp.  He then showed him his torch. The Policeman said” The lamp must be attached to the cycle”. Cunningham in his cheek said “ The torch is attached to me and I am attached to the cycle. So the torch is attached to the cycle.” Those were the days when a doctor could do no wrong. Cunningham displayed his stethoscope relating his exploits in the emergency room. The Cop listened with bated breath. Cunningham was let off with a gentle caution.

There was an annual hostel trip when we travelled the country in a coach visiting old Jeewakites who treated us most lavishly. Music and fun went with us wherever we went. Jeewaka organised an annual marathon. We all took part pounding the roads of colpetty. After much practice and panting, on the day Upali Wijeratne won the marathon. There was the Jeewaka dinner and dance when the present hostellers invite the past Jeewakites and their partners. It is a magical evening when we all dress up for the occasion and dance to the music meeting old friends at dinner.

With all the fun and the frolic which was endemic at Jeewaka, poring over books remained our main pastime. The intensity of the friendships and the genuine goodwill between us helped enormously to tide over the stress and strain of constant study. During those months Sanath de Tissera was my constant companion. His calm demeanour and Buddhist philosophy radiated wisdom essential for a peaceful and fulfilling existence. After a full days study we often walked to the sea to watch the waves roll in while the sun went down. He talked about Abhidhamma and the teachings of the Buddha and I was mesmerised by its relevance to real life. Once after a thoughtful discussion we turned back to return home. I was still deep in thought. The noise of the wind and the crashing waves drowned the roar of the oncoming train. As I was about to step on the rail track Sanath pulled me back with an almighty heave saving me from certain death. This event changed my life forever. Since then I have always considered life as unpredictable and uncertain at any age. Life is as fickle as a dew drop at the tip of a blade of grass swaying in the crisp morning sun.

Exams came and went and soon it was time to say goodbye to a life I knew and loved. As I reflect on my life now, those 18 months I spent at Jeewaka were some of the best. Having lived together I became incredibly close to the students. I still remember them, as I saw them last, with their young impish faces and mischievous smiles. It is sad when I think that many of them I never saw again.

I dedicate these memoirs to my parents, who provided the encouragement and paid the bills and to fellow Jeewakites who by their friendship enriched my life. I am alive today but for the mindfulness of Sanath de Tissera. Sitting on the rocks at the Colpetty beach seeing the sun go down is an image I will never forget.

Jeewaka Buddhist Hostel has survived the turbulence of a multitude of political upheavals, the turmoil of an economic downturn and the anguish of an uncertain future. They had great difficulty finding a permanent home. After Turrett Road they made several moves before finding a home at 124, EW Perera Mawatha Colombo 10. The present Warden Prof Harsha Seneviratne has helped Jeewaka remain afloat despite all its perils. To me personally Jeewaka has lived up to its principles.   Long may its ideals and values survive.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Lankan doctor recounts a happy professional experience

Kumar Gunawardene is the latest contributor to the blog. He had sent me an e-mail with this article that had been published in the Island newspaper. Dr. Chiam has some resemblance to Revo Drahaman. I have reproduced it below.

A tale of a City State and extraordinary medical services available there

A Lankan doctor recounts a happy professional experience


Dr. Paul Chiam

Drs. Chua and Kumar Gunawardane

by Dr Kumar Gunawardane
Senior Cardiologist,
The Townsville Hospital, Queensland, Australia.  

Recently my wife and I accompanied a close relative to Singapore where she had complex cardiac surgery. Being a cardiologist of long standing in an Australian Teaching Hospital I knew what to expect in terms of management; I was acutely aware of the seriousness of the problem too and the risks and complications of such treatment..

We were very fortunate to have been recommended an exceptional young cardiologist, Dr PAUL CHIAM and through him a gifted cardiac surgeon DR CHUA YEOW LENG.

I first met Dr Paul with the patient’s husband and subsequently with the patient and her family. Prior to that I researched his background and also reflected on the attributes of a good physician - qualities that I would look for if I was the patient; also the traits that I had observed in the great and good physicians that I had worked with in Sri Lanka, UK, Australia and USA.

 I was thoroughly impressed on both counts.

The Internet was a mine of information. We learnt that "Dr Paul Chiam was a general and interventional cardiologist at The Heart and Vascular Centre Mount Elizabeth Hospital. He was also an Adjunct Associate Professor at the National University of SingaporeYong Loo Lin School of Medicine and Visiting Consultant at the National University Heart Centre Singapore. He was previously Senior Consultant at the Department of Cardiology, National Heart Centre Singapore and Adjunct Associate Professor at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore.

He graduated with the MBBS degree from the National University of Singapore  in 1996 and was on the Dean’s list for being one the top students in the final MBBS examination. He was also on the Dean’s List in the third professional examination in 1995.He obtained the MRCP (UK) in February 2001.He then obtained the Master of Medicine degree from the University of Singapore in June 2001 where he was awarded the Gordon Ransome Gold Medal for being the top examination candidate.

He began Cardiology specialization in 2002 at the National Heart Centre, Singapore. In 2006 he was awarded a Health Manpower Development Pan scholarship to train at the renowned Lenox Hill Heart and Vascular Institute of New York in complex coronary angioplasty, carotid artery angioplasty and stenting, peripheral angioplasty and structural heart disease (heart valve ) interventions.

Dr Chiam performed the first Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) in Asia in 2009. He subsequently became the first Asian proctor for Edwards Lifesciences  TAVR program, and the Medtronic Core Valve program .He has trained new centres in South Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Japan.

Dr Chiam is well recognized in the field of interventional cardiology and has been invited to perform cases during "live transmissions" in complex coronary interventions, peripheral artery interventions and mitral valvuloplasties in Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Bangaladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Taiwan and China

He has published extensively in top cardiovascular journals. He won the Sing Health Publish Award in 2012 for a paper published in a major cardiovascular journal.

He is currently the Co-chair of the Scientific Committee of the Asian Pacific Society of Interventional Cardiology. He is also a Member of the American College of Cardiology Peripheral Vascular Disease Section Leadership Council.

The procedures he performs include coronary angioplasty including trans radial angioplasty (via wrist arteries), leg artery angioplasty, carotid (neck) artery angioplasty, kidney artery angioplasty, mitral valve ballooning, aortic valve ballooning, minimally invasive aortic valve replacement (TAVI),minimally invasive mitral valve repair (Mitraclip), minimally invasive leaky valve repair (paravalvular leak closure) and left atrial appendage closure( for irregular heart rhythms)"

This was indeed remarkable and I looked forward very much to meeting this cardiologist who was at the cutting edge in his field.

As an individual on the other side of the fence on this occasion, I and the family were looking for a cardiologist who was not only very skilled and confident about it but also a focused professional who was caring and com passionate, respectful and willing to value the patient’s and family’s wishes in the decision making process.

Dr Paul Chiam satisfied us on all these aspects. He was a good listener but also asked a lot of questions which made us feel that here was someone who treated each patient as an individual. The problem and the treatment, along with the risks and possible complications were explained in clear and simple terms. Needless to say we went along readily with his suggestions for investigations followed by open heart surgery and the choice of Surgeon.

Dr Chua Yeow Leng apart from being an excellent surgeon was also a very warm and compassionate human being. The patient had a very good outcome. She was out of the hospital in a week and returned to Sri Lanka after another week.

From a professional viewpoint I feel that both the cardiologist and the cardiac surgeon, their support staff and the hospital were world class and could be recommended unreservedly. The Doctors embodied the enduring values instilled by my mentors and colleagues during a lifetime in the medical profession and gives much hope for the future of this noble profession.

From the patient’s and family’s perspective, not only have they encountered wonderful healers but also extraordinarily special human beings.

(Dr. Paul Chiam

phone +6567353022)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Why Sri Lanka beats India in maternal mortality ratios - Al Jazeera English

Sent by Rohini Ana
I had no hesitation in posting this.

Rohini Anandaraja

23 Mar (1 day ago)
to me
Dear Lucky,

What follows is a link to an article sent to me by my daughter from NY.

Those in SL probably know all about this already.
To me it was wonderful news- I could appreciate the great way things have been organized.
If you think this might be of interest  in the blog  you may use it.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

British tourist on a bike in Sri Lanka

A day after I posted the photograph of the old Austin A 35 car, I found from where my brother had fished it out. I received this e-mail from Sanath Lama today and immediately thought of sharing it with a larger group. It is quite long, but well worth viewing if you can find the time. It is about a British tourist's Sri Lanka trip in 2015. He had covered the island by cycle from Dondra Head to Point Pedro, but the presentation seems to be heavily edited. The photographs are excellent and the brief text so very humourous! Rob has covered most of Sri Lanka on a bike and he had done it on a tight budget. 

Having seen most of the places that the tourist has described, it was quite an experience revisiting them in this pictorial record. Among them, the Galle Fort, the familiar Haputale name board displaying the elevation from sea level, Lipton's seat etc. There is one picture taken in Batheegama, Dickwella, a place that I am very familiar with. That's a village I used to visit regularly when I was MOH, Matara in 1970-1974. I had to go there not only for the routine ante natal clinics and the infant and pre school clinics but also for school medical inspections. 

I last visited the Dondra lighthouse with another Britisher in 1997. He was Colin Glennie, my former boss at UNICEF, Colombo. We were on an official visit to Matara for some other purpose and Colin was very keen to see the Dondra lighthouse (he had once served in the Royal Navy). Unlike the British tourist on a bike, we went there in the UNICEF Representative's official vehicle (the latest model Volvo at that time) which carried the UNICEF flag as well. Needless to say, my boss was given right royal treatment by the lighthouse keeper as we were accompanied by the area PHI. 

You can imagine what a vast geographical area the MOH area covered at that time. Dickwella is about 21 km to the south of Matara along the coastal road. Towards Colombo, the area extended almost up to Weligama while in the interior, the adjoining MOH area was Kamburupitiya which was quite some distance away.

Don't miss the modest but mouth watering rice and fish curry breakfast at a way side boutique in the South! Didn't know that one of the ingredients in my favourite "Pol Sambol" is nitric acid!

Click on the following link for the presentation.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

My struggle to own a brand new car!

By Lakshman Abeyagunawardene

My brother Ananda who is based in California had sent me this e-mail recently. It reminded me of my own struggle to own a brand new car some day. It was not easy for those of us who opted to remain in our country of birth, particularly during those days of austerity, barriers and restrictions. I have described here, the history of that epic battle.

His e-mail:

Ananda Abeyagunawardene

02:47 (6 hours ago)
An Austin A35 destined to be given the last rites!

When I bought my first car in June 1968 (An Austin A 35 Reg. No. 2 Sri 185) as a newly graduated doctor, it was about 12 years old. But it looked much older and behaved like one. Today, a 12 year old would be much better looking and better behaved. My modest Mitsubishi Lancer Sedan is already 7 years old, but it looks almost new (having done only 50,000 km).

In the days when the import of brand new cars was prohibited, my second car - a Ford Prefect (EN 2359) was 15 years old at the time of purchase in 1969. Then came the Volkswagen Beetle (EN 4142) which was 21 years old (bought in 1975). The reconditioned bronze coloured Lancer 1200 (12 Sri 6548) was 5 years old (bought in 1983) when I imported it through Uni - Walkers. After nearly two decades with used cars, I was finally able to own my first brand new car which was a Nissan Sunny (12 Sri 5789) when I imported it through Associated Motorways following the usual formalities such as opening a Letter of Credit etc. It was bought in 1985 and I had to wait for two months for it to be delivered (bought for Rs 154,000 and sold for Rs 325,000 in 1995). Incidentally, my friend Senior Neurologist Dr. J.B. Pieris also ordered a Nissan Sunny which too came in the same shipment and had the Reg. No. 13 Sri 5790. Then I bought a Maruti Esteem (also brand new 19 Sri) for Rs 875,000 in 1995 and sold it for Rs 675,000 in 1997 when we "emigrated" to the US. I was able to walk in to the AMW showrooms in Kollupitiya and buy it paying "spot cash". In 2009, I bought my present car for which I paid Rs 3,995,000! Times had certainly changed by that time. There was a choice of brand new cars in Colombo showrooms. Visiting the showrooms to shop around was part of the thrill.

I have not included here, the used Peugeot 504 that I imported from the French Embassy in Hong Kong on my return from the US in 1975 and the cars that I owned in the US from 1997 to 2008. I used the 504 only for a brief two month period and sold it right away as it had a ready market. Interestingly, I spent only a mere Rs 16,000 to import the car and sold it for Rs 108,000. Around 1976, I was building my first house in Kirillapone and I needed the money. It was better to have a roof over one's head than to run around with a lakh on wheels! In fact, most government servants who went abroad on scholarships and dutifully returned, sold the cars that they were able to import.

So you see what an epic battle some of us staged to own a brand new car, not only after struggling for five years in medical school, but even after working as doctors in Sri Lanka for two decades. It was a heavy price to pay for opting to serve our motherland!

After almost a half century, this is what I now use to get about in this land like no other.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Man and Machine. How do they differ?

Sent by Zita Perera Subasinghe

Basic characteristics.
Man is the being who we now look upon as human who has the body of head, chest, abdomen and limbs with girdles connecting the head to chest and abdomen to limbs which form is common to primates and other mammals. Man differs in being endowed with a highly developed and differentiated brain which has governing functions of the limbs and other parts of the body and which has a highly developed cortex region which gives man intelligence and high discrimination powers in reasoning and language. This is found to a lesser extent in mammals and lower forms of the animal kingdom but man has these faculties developed to a high extent and it gives Man the power to reason, choose and execute functions at a level which determines most of the advancements in the world. Man has the power to exercise choice in doing acts beneficial or detrimental to himself and his fellow men and the animal kingdom. He has the power to advance or destroy himself and his surroundings. He has the power to conduct his fellow beings and surroundings in a process of war or peace. He has the capacity for love and hate. He has free will. He can be industrious or lazy, active or inactive, good or bad and has even the power to exalt himself or destroy himself.

A machine on the other hand is usually made by man or under direction of a man or men. It is a mechanical contraption to perform functions, which could be helpful to other beings, e.g. work, or detrimental to others e.g. injury or causation of death.

A machine can be programmed to function in a prearranged way do to required functions. and in doing so it usually requires energy which has to be provided in the form of an added power pack or device which imparts continuous energy provision. This happens in the human too like via the carbon cycle within the body. This ‘Power Pack’ is integrated into the human system from the beginning of the human being. And has to be fuelled by the provision of Food.  Fuel in its final usable form has to be provided in the machine. The energy is to be provided by combustion of fuel or use of direct energy forms like electricity.

Man is capable of fault due to exhaustion. Machine usually stops on exhaustion. Its function tends usually to be an all or nothing phenomenon. But a machine can make a mistake too by lack of maintenance or when it gradually runs out of fuel. In this way Man and Machine are similar.

Free will
As said before Man has free will, which the Machine has not. Man is the Boss and the machine is the Slave.
Man can choose to do good or bad by his own volition. But the machine usually has to be set to do what is considered to be bad or harmful by the person who manufactured or set it up. A machine has no free will.

Man’s origin is many thousands of years ago. History shows man has evolved physically and mentally over centuries. Charles Darwin enunciated the evolution theory of man from lower mammals but he could not directly show the evolution of a highly specialised brain in the man in his present form. Religions have a hand in this area of reasoning. In fact one of the defining qualities of man is the presence of a highly developed brain.
A machine can have high development in its structure and it can perform highly specialised function faster and more efficiently than man. But in the final analysis the machine has to be designed and directed by man.

 Since about 1000 BC there have been attempts at computation where man designed machines to do mathematics and other calculations fast and from mid 20th century this discipline was called computer science. In the last two decades this science has developed beyond all expectations and computers, which are ‘programmable’, do very complex functions in business, science and human recreation as with ‘computer games’, to such an extent that there is hardly any field, which now does not use computers. The latter, however, had its origins in 1850 under Charles Babbage and the first programme was considered to have been written by Linda Lovelace. The capacity to programme, ability to decode and behave as an electronic brain received a sudden boost after the second world war especially under the direction of Alan Turing of Bletchley Park fame. The idea of Machines, which were indistinguishable from a human, was his aim but to this day the so-called Turing Test which said man and machine could be made indistinguishable from each another has not been successful by any machine.

 Man has intelligence and so do machines and computers. But some human behaviour is ‘unintelligent’ and there is susceptibility to insults, temptation to lie, and man has a high incidence of typing errors that a machine does not!

A computer is programmable and executes functions with high accuracy.  But after all, man makes the computer!

A man finally is ‘alive’ with organic material in his body based on DNA, which is particular to his species. The machine needs no such chemical.

Man makes his power by burning food that he eats. The machine has to be given power by addition of fuel as already discussed.

Finally the argument that Man has Faith as in belonging to a Religion is unique and not found with a machine! Richard Dawkins the biggest modern critic of religion and faith calls Faith a great cop out! This is a subject, which does not add anything to the Man and Machine debate however.
Note from Zita:

I have not given any references but most are from the Wikipedia. Please also note than Man refers to the human being who could be a woman as well!  I would like to hear any criticisms and additions from colleagues. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Creative Spot - By Zita Perera Subasinghe

Dialogue with Death
Who are you? Where do you come from?
What is your destination?
Why are you so grim and gruesome?
And not known to procrastination

Why do you rob the life from a being?
While loved ones sob seeing you fleeing?

You hate life, you hate laughter
You leave strife to follow after
Yet in cases, where one’s in pain
One often chases your tail in vain!

Even you’re welcome in certain places
When pain’s gruesome and hell fire blazes

One holds your hand and breathes one’s last
Saying good-bye Land, to follow you fast

Then you’re the winner in Life’s last game
When even the sinner can breathe your name

So where are you heading, in this dark night?
With your victim treading a path against light?
You love this duel with a being’s last breath
You’re beastly and cruel

No wonder your name’s Death!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

E-mail from Zita Perera Subasinghe

This e-mail is from Zita.

7 Mar (5 days ago)
to me

The above link is one which takes you to a great programme about Flying mammals done by the famous David Attenborough 

I thought it will be a good one to go on our Blog as many will appreciate this great subject and the expert way it is delivered.


I leave it to your judgement to include it or not as you think fit.


Friday, March 4, 2016

A memorable patient

By Sanath Lamabadusuriya

Towards the end of 1991 when I was in Galle, as Prof. Priyani Soysa was due to retire, her post was advertised by the University of Colombo. I applied for it and was called for the interview which was on a Thursday. The previous Tuesday when I was seeing patients at the Cooperative Hospital, a girl was brought to me by her mother complaining that she had fainted in school. Her name was Rebelika and she was a student of Sacred Heart Convent. When I examined her I could not detect any thing abnormal and reassured the mother and advised her to be sent to school the next day. The next day (Wednesday) I was due to travel to Colombo for the interview. That evening when I finished seeing patients at the Cooperative Hospital, as I was leaving my room, Rebelika was carried to my room by her mother. She had collapsed again and I could hardly feel her pulses! I advised her mother to rush her to Karapitiya Hospital and drove to Colombo. As I was extremely anxious about her, the first thing I did on reaching Colombo was to ring the Karapitiya Hospital and inquire about her.(There were no mobile phones at that time) Fortunately on arrival she had been resuscitated and admitted to the ICU. I was very much relieved to hear the good news, because I feared for her life.

The next morning (Thursday) I went for the interview and was offered the post (I was the only applicant again!). When I returned to Karapitiya on the following Monday and went to the ward Rebelika had been transferred back to the ward from the ICU. She was completely normal by then. I was told that the patient’s father, who is a “Kathru” (editor), had wanted to see me. However I never met him. I sent Rebelika to the Cardiology Unit in Colombo and had her evaluated. She probably had “Sick Sinus Syndrome” where an arrhythmia develops spontaneously, without any warning signs and reverts back on its own. It was not possible to have diagnosed that condition, the first time I saw Rebelika.

Few months later when I was seeing patients one evening at the Central Hospital, in Horton Place, Colombo, (after having assumed duties in Colombo) a young boy was brought to me by his father, who was fair, short and had a grey beard. He was covering one hand with the Time magazine. The father told me that he wanted his son evaluated by me because his sister has been treated by me at Karapitiya Hospital. When I asked for the sister’s name, the reply was “Rebelika”!

When I asked for the father’s name, he said he was Victor Ivan, the editor of Ravaya. He was disappointed to hear that I did not read his paper and he offered to post it to me. He told me that his father had been a teacher, and has had an excellent library at home. Victor Ivan was a self-taught man who had read a lot of books available to him at home. One of his hands had got blasted when he was making bombs at home during the 1971 JVP insurrection. His “Nom-de-Plume” was Podi Athula. I wondered what would have been the outcome if Rebelika had passed away on the way to Karapitiya. Anyway, “alls well that ends well”. Rebelika’s brother was perfectly normal.

(Sanath has obtained Mr. Victor Ivan's consent for this article to be published. Sanath is in fact writing his autobiography these days and will be including this piece in it)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Another Unforgettable Gem

Badagini wela mama giya kala puthuge geta

Manala wee seruwak dunnayi mallakata

Gando nogando kiyala hithuni mata

Manalatha puthe, kiri dunne mang numbata.


When I visited my son's house once when I was feeling hungry

I was given a measured "seruwa" of rice into a bag.

I was in two minds whether to accept it or not

Did I ever measure the breast milk that I fed you with?

From Lucky (My own crude translation)

* In Sri Lanka, "Seruwa" is a common measure for rice.