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Friday, November 30, 2018

Creative Spot - The First Snowfall by Srianee Fernando Dias

Softly the shimmering snowflakes flutter down
transforming the black surface of the driveway,
and the un-raked piles of leaves on the lawn and footpaths.
The dark night is gently illuminated by a glowing,
thick white pristine blanket.
The beams of light from the lamps along the footpaths glisten,
like an image on a Christmas card.
I look out the window at the cold silent scene,
enjoying the peace outside and the warmth indoors.
Minutes go by…
…and I hear them, the grating sounds of the snow removal trucks,
scraping the driveway, pushing the snow aside, clearing the way.
In readiness for the morning.
Life will resume.
Cars will once again be driven on the snow cleared streets.
But me? I’m retired,
and will probably push the ‘snooze’ button on the alarm…

The YouTube link if you like it that way.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Creative Spot by Mahendra (Speedy) Gonsalkorale

This presentation by Speedy was done combining music
he composed and performed on his new Yamaha Genos,
photos from his mobile and a poem on the 
English Countryside he had done a while ago .

As you know, autumn is one of the most beautiful times 
of the year in England.

Click on:

Speedy has attached a photo to go with it if any viewer 
has  a problem getting the YouTube clip photo and can 
only post the link.

Friday, November 16, 2018

DR. Darrel Weinman's Obituary

Many viewers had not known that our beloved teacher and former Neurosurgeon of the GHC Dr. Darrel Weinman had passed away recently. For their benefit, I have published below an Appreciation by another teacher - Dr. PR Wikramanayake who was VP/OPD, GHC when we were medical students in the 1960s. This article was published in the three main Sunday newspapers in Sri Lanka namely the Sunday Times, The Island and the Sunday Observer.

Note by the Blog Administrator: Regarding ND's comment under Speedy's article 
("A lasting recollection from my time in the Faculty") as mentioned in Dr. PRW's  Appreciation, he had resigned from his post in the GHC and left the country in 1970 and had first gone to UK to take up a position there (and not to Australia to which country he had migrated later).

"PRW too left our shores to serve as a physician in Sydney. He had his own personal reasons for leaving SL just like many of us who now live in ‘exile’. Life’s journey is never a straight road it’s many twists and turns take us in paths beyond our wildest dreams".


View(s): 272

Wonderful man and brilliant Neurosurgeon
Dr. Darrel Felix Weinman
Darrel Weinman was born on November 20, 1929.
He attended St. Peter’s College Colombo where he was a brilliant student and excelled at sport. He was the school cricket captain. A few years ago when a mutual friend, Dr. Tony Don Michael passed away, and I informed him, he said, “He was my protégé.” Tony had played cricket for St. Peter’s under Darrel.
Darrel was a good student and I am reliably informed by his classmate (from 2nd year at  St. Peter’s) Dr. Derrick Nugara who graduated with  him, that he qualified with 1st class honours. I didn’t know him as a student as he was a few years senior to me, but in 1957, when he was studying for the primary FRCS, he borrowed a box of pathology slides from me. Needless to say, he passed first and won the Hallet Prize.
We were next in London in 1960 when he was studying for the FRCS and I, the MRCP. We both returned to Ceylon in 1962, after passing our exams, to begin our careers at the General Hospital Colombo. I was appointed to the OPD, as Physician in 1964  and we saw a lot of each other.
But it was in 1968 that our close friendship began. When Dr. George Ratnavale, Neurologist took six months off, I had to act for him. Fortunately, after my MRCPE I had spent three months at the Maida Vale Hospital, following the post graduate Neurology course with some of Britain’s foremost Neurologists. I remember, in particular, presenting to Lord Russell Brain. This helped me to fit in easily to the job. We immediately set up a partnership – me the acting Neurologist and he, the Neurosurgeon. To say that he was brilliant is an understatement. We would do weekly joint ward rounds with our junior staff.
A new close relationship then began. At least two or three times a week, we would go out in the evenings and have dinner(just the two of us).We would start at the Officers’ Mess at Galle Face, he was in the Army, then on to the Akase Kade or GOH (names fade!). All the waiters knew Weinman Mahathaya ! The routine after dinner was that we would visit the NSU (sometimes at midnight). He wanted to review the patients he had operated on that morning. Such was the dedication of the man. Many nurses would be sleeping on the floor, not knowing that the Boss was visiting!
It was at that time, his romance blossomed. His junior, Brinda and he fell in love. It was quite a romance. Rumour has it that when Brinda was a student, she had said, “One day I will marry Darrel Weinman”. Only Brinda can confirm this. They lived happily married for almost 50 years.
He used to come home for my children’s birthdays. On one occasion, I was giving a talk to the post graduate institution on Diabetes which he attended. After the talk he came to me and said, “You are mad, giving your secrets away.”
I left for UK in 1970. Around 1973, Brinda came to London to sit for her FRCS. Darrel accompanied her. They visited my house in London. During the day, we took them to the races at Royal Ascot. We were near the stables when the Queen came round. Darrel the Army man, stood to attention and saluted the Queen. I was quite amused. That night, they came home for dinner. After dinner, he and I sat in a room, the others in the next room. After a few drinks, he became quite emotional and said, “I will go wherever you go.” We were both contemplating moving to Australia
In 1975,I got a job as Consultant Physician to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney. He wrote to me suggesting, that if I came over, we could start a group practice. Me as the physician, Brinda as the surgeon and he, the neurologist. As I had a hospital appointment, I had to turn down the offer.
We arrived in Sydney in February 1975. Two days after we arrived, he came home and drove us around the eastern suburbs particularly, Bondi Beach. We remained close and often visited each other.
His love was Neurosurgery. It was difficult to get a teaching hospital post as a neurosurgeon. He was appointed Neurosurgeon to Canterbury & Banks town hospitals. But neither had an ICU to look after neurosurgical patients. So, after some time he turned his talents to general practice. He had a huge practice and his patients loved him.
The last occasion we probably met was when out mutual friend, Dr. Tony Don Michael visited Sydney. Her stayed with me and one evening we went to Darrel’s for dinner. Darrel was a gifted pianist and played by ear. After dinner, Darrel sat at the keyboards, Tony (a brilliant tenor) and all of us had a typical Sri Lankan “sing-song”.
I had cardiac surgery in 2015 and now don’t drive much. Never at night. So although we spoke about getting together, it never happened.
He was a wonderful man and brilliant Neurosurgeon. He cared for his patients and loved his wife.
He will be sadly missed.
Ranji Wikramanayake

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Creative Spot Quiz No. 6 by Indra Anandasabapathy

The answer is Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The clues are there in each picture though in one picture there is a row of Indian flags that may put viewers off. 

Here are a few pictures from a well known city, in the news in the recent past. Can the readers identify it?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A lasting recollection from my time in the Faculty

By Mahendra (Speedy) Gonsalkorale

There is probably no limit to the recollection of interesting episodes during our Faculty times. I regard the Blog as a proper medium to record some of these and hope many others will follow. In this post, I close my eyes and transport myself back to the mid-sixties to the Physiology Lecture theatre, a place I recall with a mixture of awe, veneration and wonderment. When I first walked into that theatre with its wooden panelling, tiered rows of seats arranged in a semi-circle with a long front desk behind which was a big blackboard, for me it was like walking into a place of worship. The currently hackneyed word “awesome” describes it well.

The occasion I am reliving was an evening Lecture by a new Neurosurgeon by the name of Darrel Weinman. The hall was packed and before the arrival of the Lecturer, there was the usual loud indecipherable cacophony of voices mingled with the noise of feet on the platform on which the chairs were arranged.I observed that last minute preparations were being made on the front desk by the Chairman, who I think was Prof Koch but my memory is not infallible.

Suddenly, the noise subsided quickly to be replaced by the pregnant silence of eager anticipation. Dr Darrel Weinman, looking young, smart and dapper, walked in with a big smile lighting up his handsome face. He was much shorter than I expected and was wearing an academic gown. He looked very distinguished and learned.

The Chairman introduced him with a brief but informative speech and invited Dr Weinman to address the audience. The exact topic is not of importance for this short essay. What he actually said is also not of great relevance. It is the manner of delivery, the visual aids used and his incredible ability to hold the audience spellbound with his eloquence and mastery of the topic that has stood in my memory. I had never before been to a Lecture so beautifully illustrated with a slick slide presentation. Not for him the “next slide please”. He signalled when he wanted the next slide with a press of the little “batta” he held in the palm of his hand,  invisible to us, which emitted a loud and sharp clicking noise when pressed. These were days long before computers and PowerPoint. The slides had to be made and mounted individually in the Photographic department. The Lecture had to be planned and made ready days before the presentation as no last minute editing was possible. All this required skill and mastery of the topic and Dr Weinman certainly possessed these qualities.

He spoke for about 40 minutes or so during which there was perfect silence only to be broken by prolonged and loud applause when he finished, which he modestly acknowledged with that warm and charming smile we all recall with endearment.

The physiology lecture theatre is also fondly remembered for other virtuoso presenters such as Dr Carlo Fonseka, Dr Wickrema Wijenaike, Prof “Bull” Seneviratne, just to mention a few. Who can forget our first days in the Faculty when we sat strictly according to alphabetical order ready with pen, and with note book perched on the little wooden pad on the right arm of the chair? Who can forget the loud noise we made by stamping on the wooden platforms on which the chairs were placed when there was occasion to cheer or applaud? The acoustics and the seating arrangement were perfect. After many decades of sitting in various auditoriums and lecture theatres in many countries, I regard the Old Physiology Lecture theatre as one of the best.

As we all know, Dr Darrel Weinman passed away recently.I was prompted to write this article when my thoughts turned to him when I heard of his demise. I regard myself as very fortunate to have benefitted from his knowledge, teaching ability and kindness; truly a great doctor and human being.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Decluttering: d e c l u t t e r i n g….

It is a craze that has hit the  world. In some parts of the developed world it is big business. People throng to Meeting rooms where a young Oriental lady demonstrates how to fold a gaudy, unruly looking shirt into a neat rectangle. One can accommodate a hundred of these in a drawer. Scarcity gave way to Plenty and with it came the tendency to hoarding as a result of which one added umpteen items, needed as well as not so needed, until our houses were brimming with items, goods, clothes and ornaments so much so that we practically tripped over things. But that did not deter us from adding more in the next High Street sale. Our neighbours had some items which we didn’t really need but we just had to have it too. And so,it went on.

How often do we declutter a room? And then put back items where they were? And so, the collection of dubious requisites continued. So now comes the Declutter Expert! She herself had been a victim of Clutter but suddenly, Eureka! She found the answer. She explains how to do it. “Hang a tote bag on the outer door handle. Put in it unnecessary clothes and other items not in use. When leaving the room take the bag away and give it to Charity or just get rid of it.” Important point! Do not look at what is in the bag. Decluttering has been extended not only to items and things like clothes, ornaments, books (that you hope you will find the time to read) and travel souvenirs, but also to one’s jobs, redundant partners, unhelpful friends, troublesome employments, to mention a few. The Declutter Specialist goes on to say, ‘First identify the things you want to keep either in the room, the kitchen, the garden, the employment, marriage, family and friends. Then apply ‘Declutter’ action to all others.’

Let’s think of it in a different way:

You’ll separate want from waste.
You will not act in haste.
For what you want, you have space;
The other things disappear with grace.

But there are two sides to the story. Consider the matter from another angle.

Everything in its own place
Is like a clock which has no face
Like and elephant with no tail
How can he brush off a tick or snail?

Clutter, besides, is more interesting
Like a garden with blooms bursting
Like a fruit seller with apples and pears
Take them off! He’s reduced to tears.

Clutter makes the town to flourish
Full of wares and foods to nourish
Take them away, pull them down
The place becomes a real Ghost town

Problem is the human race
Most good, some a ‘waste of space’
Even I ask the Powers that be
From this world, please declutter me!

Reported by: Zita Perera Subasinghe

References: Decluttering by Kon Mari method from The Week magazine in September 2018, Various talks on BBC Radio, Internet sites for diagrams. The verses are mine.

Friday, November 2, 2018


CoMSAA President Prof. Jennifer Perera and Dean of the Colombo Medical Faculty addressing the gathering. Secretary Dr. Sumithra Tissera is also in the picture


Treasurer Dr. Sahan Guruge

President Elect Dr Iyanthi Abeywickrama


Vote of Thanks by Dr. Munaweera