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Friday, September 29, 2017

Creative Spot by Zita Perera Subasinghe

A word spoken

A word spoken and a stone thrown
Are one and the same thing
A word heard, much like the stone
Can cause a mighty sting

And a scratch and a bleed
And a mental hurt
So, everyone does need
To take care before the word you blurt
Or ‘Repent at leisure’ after ‘Act at Speed’!

Mental hurt can even be
Far worse than any bodily pain
Neither can be recalled you see
So ‘Think first!’, it’s not in vain

The spoken word, good and kind
Can the very opposite be
It can calm and heal the mind
The difference is, easy to see

So, ere you speak or throw a stone
Pause! Reflect! Stop! Think!
Do it only, if it is known
To just please, not cause a stink!

Words are treasures, priceless charms
And can bring harmony, peace
Can win a war without arms
Make world conflicts surely cease

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Little Hearts Project of Lady Ridgeway Hospital

Photo: Lakshman Abeyagunawardene
Photo: Lakshman Abeyagunawardene

"Little drops of water
Little grains of sand
Make the mighty ocean 
and the pleasant land"

It is quite well known now, that I have never used the Batch Blog for fund raising, propaganda, politics etc. In fact, I have had occasion to politely turn down a couple of contributions from members of our batch on such grounds. It is to their credit that they accepted my decision in good spirit without any form of misunderstanding. So, let me reiterate that the sole purpose of this post is to highlight the efforts of our colleague Sanath Lamabadusuriya. I have also steered clear of copyright issues. Not wanting to take a chance by downloading photos from the Internet, I drove to Galle Face on Sunday evening when the roads are almost deserted, to combine my evening walk with a "photo shoot" with my modest  camera. I selected two from my own shots of the mighty ocean and the fast changing Colombo skyline to be used as visuals for this post.

As you can see from the following string of e-mail correspondence with a circle of his friends, Sanath is doing his bit to raise funds for the Little Hearts Project of the Lady Ridgeway Hospital. His friendship with Dr. T. L. Chambers, the eminent Consultant Paediatrician of UK dates back to the time in the late 1980s when both of them were Co - examiners at the MD examination held in Sri Lanka. Later, Dr. Chambers had come several times to Sri Lanka for the same examination and for the Annual Sessions of the College of Paediatricians. On one occasion, Sanath had examined with Dr. Chambers in Portsmouth at the MRCP UK clinical exam as well. Both happen to be ardent cricket fans!

The Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians is closely involved with this project. Sanath is the current Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

In keeping with my policy of not exposing e-mail addresses wherever possible to keep away phishers, I have deleted all e-mail addresses.


Professor Sanath P. Lamabadusuriya

09:53 (45 minutes ago)
to bcc: me
i---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Professor Sanath P. Lamabadusuriya
Date: 22 September 2017 at 09:50
Subject: Re: Little Hearts Project - Lady Ridgeway Hospital Colombo
To: "Dr. T. L. Chambers"

Dear Tim,

Thank you very much for supporting the Little Hearts project. Your generous contribution is greatly appreciated by all of us. It is indeed a pity that Kumar decided to retire from international cricket and deprive us from witnessing his exploits on the cricket  field.

Kind regards,


On 21 September 2017 at 17:19, Dr. T. L. Chambers wrote:

I have sent a modest donation to mark the many kindnesses I have received in Sri Lanka. (Also to mark the wonderful batting of Kumar Sangakkara I witnessed yesterday at the OvalGG.

Kind regards,


From: Professor Sanath P. Lamabadusuriya
Sent: 13 September 2017 07:05:25
Subject: Little Hearts Project - Lady Ridgeway Hospital Colombo

Dear friends,

When I was working at LRH,I carried out an audit regarding causes of death in my unit. Infections was the leading cause closely followed by congenital heart disease ( CHD). CHD accounted for 25% to 35% of deaths every year. Majority of these deaths could have been prevented if facilities were available.

Every year 3000 children are born with CHD..Eight out of every 1000 children are lost before their first birthday.
Little Hearts project is a dream with the vision of securing the ability to treat 10,000 babies born with CHD every year and prevent 1500 unnecessary deaths..Once the facility is established  it would  provide 100% free of charge medical services to children from all parts of Sri Lanka. It is a project approved by the Ministry of Health. Total amount of funds required is Rs. 2 billion . So far Rs. 175 million has been raised. My daughter Dilusha, who is residing in Norwich, UK ran a Sri Lankan food festival recently and raised over Rs, 500,000.00 for the project. My appeal to you is to contribute in whatever way for the project so as to save precious little lives .Majority of parents of these poor children do not have lobbying power and therefore it is our duty to do it on their behalf. 
I have attached some relevant documents as well.

Kind regards,


Blog Administrator's note: The documents referred to are not posted. Viewers who wish to see them may contact Sanath directly.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Our Elders

Our Elders

Keep them happy and healthy, 
comfortable though not necessarily wealthy
Keep them active and always value them
Encourage independence and sensitively use them
Love them and support them as they decline
And when their time is ripe, 
let them go, with the dignity they deserve
for peaceful and permanent recline.

By Mahendra (Speedy) Gonsalkorale

Monday, September 18, 2017

After all, it's not a thankless job at all!

It is my duty as the Blog Administrator to explain matters when needed. Regular bloggers (especially those based outside Sri Lanka) might wonder where Sanath Lama is these days and why he is so quiet. 

As with most blogs and bloggers, when a post is a week or two old, viewers tend to read comments under the latest post, but not read older posts and comments. But please note that Sanath had made a long comment under Rohini Ana's previous contribution (Dr. Rasalingam's Appreciation published on September 4th) wherein he has explained his prolonged absence, apart from adding to what has been said about "Ras" by Rohini.

Of course you know that Razaque and Lucky Weerasooriya are unable to contribute more often due to ill health. On top of that, LW had to move temporarily from Fort Myers in FL because of Hurricane Irma. You might also recall that Srianee (Bunter) flew to Peru in the first week of September and we have not heard from her since then. It so happened that my daughter Dilushi who lives in Virginia Beach, VA also went on holiday to Peru about the same time. She had to change flights in Miami on the way in to South America, and she was stranded in Lima once Irma hit FL. It is common knowledge now that the Miami Airport was closed for days. It was with much difficulty and after some delay that Dilushi got her return journey re-routed via Chicago and Canada. Thankfully, she is now back at home. I have a feeling that Bunter too had to change flights in Miami as she was flying in from CT. I have sent her an e-mail but not received a reply as yet. As explained by Speedy in his comment under Rohini Ana's latest post, he had been quite busy with another important matter.

So you see folks, the blog serves many purposes. When a regular contributor is "missing in action", other "regulars" begin to wonder!

To conclude this long comment on a happier note, I have now discovered (mainly through private e-mails) that many members of our batch do visit the blog regularly although they don't contribute. I must also take this opportunity to thank you all for keeping the blog going and giving a much needed wake-up call to others in the batch. I do appreciate your efforts to keep my enthusiasm alive at all times through your much valued contributions and comments!

This being a fairly long comment, I hope you won't mind if I publish it as a separate new post as well. 


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Is there a Fog you can't see the Blog?

There once was a guy named Lucky,
Doing Community Medicine he was happy.
In Sri Lankan shores he travelled afar
For preventive medicine and community care.

In time he succumbed to his itchy feet,
Flew to foreign shores more ambitions to meet.
To Malaysia, Carolinas, and around in the states
He cruised all over- no time did he waste.

A promise he made to himself while afar,
To return to his motherland- his heart lay there.
Though it certainly was a tricky affair
In those times in Sri Lanka when nothing was fair.

He settled himself down with pride and flair
His message to others was in the air !
Having dug his feet in , he needed a dare-
He started a BLOG! for us everywhere.

It reached million hits, he was as pleased as Punch-
Mahen, Nihal and Zita, your 'numbers' were 'crunch'.
Razaque ,Srianee, Sriani and Kumar
As well as Lama, joined their talents to share.

So did our quiet but talented friends
Indra, Ranee, Lucky Weera from United States.
Cyril Ernest, Sumathi - not the least- though late,
Appeared in the blog of this Lucky Abey !

Right now there's a lull, so It's time to cheer
The blog's maker who'd wonder what's gone so queer!
Have his friends abandoned him? oh dear oh dear !
This cannot be true - so don't shed a tear.

WAKE UP dear bloggers ! It's no time to snooze!
Get your pens, paint brushes, and play the 'Blues'.
Lucky's had a good rest  and is ready to move
Lets not wait till in grief he goes on the booze!

By Rohini Anandaraja

P.S. The above is just a few lines written in fun - some details may be inaccurate.
Most Importantly, I vouch for Lucky's sobriety !

Monday, September 4, 2017

An Honoured Sri Lankan Passes Away

Young "Ras"
Dr. N. Rasalingam

Achievements at a glance (click on picture to enlarge)

Dr. N. Rasalingam
By Rohini Anandaraja

Dr. Nagalingam Rasalingam - born in Sri Lanka on 3rd May 1936, passed away peacefully  in Auckland, New Zealand, on 26th August 2017.

He had arrived in NZ in 1969 to begin work as a Houseman in the Public Hospital in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.  Here he impressed his consultants and colleagues with his knowledge of medicine as well as his dedication to work, his cooperation, and his charming personality, to the extent that other Sri Lankan medical professionals were enthusiastically recruited to Wellington Hospital on his recommendation.

In 1974 , he moved to Auckland, to establish his own General Practice- not in a plush elitist area, but in an area of 'special need' where he offered free health care for children under 6 yrs of age, as well as the disadvantaged, long before government funded schemes became available. Known to his patients as Dr.Ras, he served this community with great dedication and compassion.

During the Sri Lankan ethnic conflicts , his own family suffered tremendous loss. He was not only instrumental in helping his own family, but many others who were at risk of losing their lives, to migrate to New Zealand..
During his time in Auckland, there were many other refugees groups who arrived in NZ from Cambodia, Vietnam, Kosovo, Zimbabwe etc, fleeing persecution in their mother lands. His great empathy saw him dedicated to helping these traumatized people settle into their new homes, ensuring they have accessible and affordable health care.

He established interpreter services for them , became Chairperson of the "English for speakers of other languages " Advisory Board at the Auckland University of Technology. In 1991 he served as the inaugural President of the Auckland Refugee Council , continuing in this role for 10 years. In 2006 he became the inaugural President of the Refugee Council of NewZealand, ensuring that New Zealand met its legal and humanitarian obligations under the United Nations Convention on Refugees (UNCR). He was also President of the Ethnic Voice of New Zealand, and spent countless hours being an inspirational and vocal leader, assisting refugees and migrants assimilate into NZ society. Many were the lives he touched.

Making an impact on government and departmental policies and procedures has always been a difficult task. However, Dr. Ras' persistence resulted in many changes for the better management of refugee and migrant issues at the highest levels of government. In recognition of his  dictated service , he was awarded a Queen's Service Medal (QSM) in 1990, and was conferred " Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM)" in the Queen's Birthday Honours in year 2000. His awards and accolades have been many, a list of which appears at the beginning of this article.

Dr. Rasalingam has been a very loved and respected member of the NewZealand community that Sri Lanka can be proud of.

His funeral took place on 3rd September, the proceedings commencing to the strains of " Disce Aut Discede" the Royal College anthem, as Ras had been head prefect of RC in 1956. It was attended by over a thousand mourners, with eulogies by a past Governor General of NZ, and past minister and incumbent Mayor of Auckland with whom Dr. Ras had worked closely. They enlightened us further on what a great, yet humble man he was, and made the point that it was unusual for one person to be conferred two honours- but that Dr. Ras  was an extraordinary  human being that they were very privileged to know.

He leaves behind,  his wife Malar, his son Ravi-a cardiologist in Boston, and daughter- a lawyer in NewYork.

His great humanitarian work now behind him  - May his kind soul Rest in Peace.

Blog Administrator's note: "Ras" was a few years senior to us in Medical School. But most of us knew him at least as a "Common Room Acquaintance".

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Pictures from CoMSAA 2017

As I have been doing every year in September, the last picture shows the few from our  batch who attended CoMSSA 2017. The only other batch member who attended Sanath Lamabadusuriya had left by the time this photograph was taken.