Health and Views: April 2019 – 2nd Issue – By Dr Harold Gunatillake
Sinhala & Tamil Avurudhu (New Year) Celebrations was held at Rouse Hill Regional Park on 14th April 2019. It was an awesome celebration enjoyed by the old boys of Dharmaraja College, Kandy and their friends and families. Filmed by Dr. Harold Gunatillake.
Education played a key part in the life and culture of the country and that dates to 543 BC. There are no records of names of schools during the prehistoric era, other than hear say information that the boys and girls attended the temple schools named “Pirivena schools” (monastic colleges)
Sri Lanka’s modern educational system was brought about by its integration into the British Empire in the 19th century. With the colonial expansion the children of parents living in the coastal regions and subsequently the interior provinces were given an English based education in missionary based schools, thoroughly neglecting to promote the teaching of English to the majority traditional Sinhala Buddhist people, by opening Buddhist schools to teach English.
In the 16th century when the Portuguese occupied the coastal regions, their missionary groups set up a few schools to promote Roman Catholicism
British after occupation in 1815, in 1836 framed a standard system of education in the school based on recommendations of the Colebrooke Commission. This Commission was appointed as a Royal Commission of Eastern Inquiry by the British Colonial Office. One of the recommendations was to appoint a commission to manage education in the country.
Matara Janadipathi Vidyalaya though sounding a Buddhist name, was founded in August 1814 inside the Portuguese Fort at Matara as a missionary school by Methodist missionaries headed by Rev Dr Thomas Coke Royal College, Colombo which began as a private school in 1835, was made the first government-run secondary school for boys in 1836.
The critical period of the impact of the missionaries was from the 1920s to early 20th century and the major inhabitants of the island being Sinhala Buddhists were powerless to create Buddhist Schools to teach in English media and the mother tongue, in keeping with the Buddhist traditions.
The American missionaries sponsored by the American Board of Commissions for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) took the opportunity to spread their Gospel by starting schools in Jaffna in 1813 and started the American Ceylon Mission (ACM) to Jaffna.
During that time, these missionaries got engaged in original translations of books from English to Tamil, and vice versa, printing and publishing, establishing primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions and providing health care for the residents of the Jaffna Peninsula.
British Colonial office in India and Ceylon restricted the American Missionaries to educate and improve the conditions of Jaffna people by providing health care, and not to any other region, including the Southern parts of the island.
As a result of this move, Jaffna boys and girls had the opportunity and opened the gates to obtain a good education in English and their social standards and self confidence grew, whilst the major race -the Sinhala Buddhist people became a second-class suppressed class of inhabitants, with no political power, or the opportunity to create young people with leadership qualities through English media.
Jaffna Central College a Wesleyan Methodist English School was founded in 1817.
All schools in the early 18th century was founded by Catholic churches, Benedictine monks, and Anglicans.
Piyaratana Maha Vidyalaya -located between 64- and 65-mile post along Galle- Colombo main road was the first Buddhist school that was founded.
It is important to know, and of historical importance for the Buddhists, the pioneering role played by this school, and the pioneering efforts made during that period by the founder of this school in promoting national education in Sri Lanka. It was the charismatic Piyaratana Tissa Thero who took the initiative to find this Buddhist School – who challenged missionary education in Ceylon under the British rule. The significance of this challenge was that it was the first ever attempt to revive Buddhism through the promotion of native Buddhist education subsequent to the victorious great religious debate known as Panaduravadaya (Debate held in Panadura). (Ref: Memories of Weerasooriya Clan)
Panadura Debate (Panadura Wadaya) 146 years ago, a debate was held at where Rankoth Viharaya stands today, in Panadura.
Migettuwatte Gunananda thero, a leading Buddhist orator debated against the Christian group Rev David de Silva, a fluent speaker in Pali and Sanskrit addressed the audience of around 6000-7000- but he was not well understood by the people. In complete contrast Mohottiwatte Gunananda who used plain language to counter the arguments of his opponents won the day.
As a result of this debates, Buddhism in Sri Lanka saw a revival.
There were other debates recorded in history: Baddegama Debate, and a third one in Udanwita in Kegalle District.
Colonel Henry Steel Olcott an American citizen, educated at City College, New York, a philanthropist, military officer, journalist and lawyer, came to Ceylon to further his studies in Buddhism. He realised that there were no Buddhist Schools to study Buddhism. He, understanding the need to provide Buddhist children with an appropriate Buddhist environment through a systematic objective, he established the Colombo Buddhist Theosophical Society on June 17, 1880.
He awakened a nation that was asleep and helpless with no self-respect or strength to fight and rise. He was the pioneer who agitated to give due place to Buddhism and the reformer who compelled the colonial government that existed at that time to declare the Vesak Full Moon Day, a public holiday
He was the forerunner who was responsible for the establishment of National Schools such as Ananda College. Col. Olcott, whose contribution towards the betterment of our country, nation, religion, justice and good conduct has been so great, therefore remains in our hearts forever.
He was the architect who designed the six coloured Buddhist Flag that has gained universal recognition.
We must record our highest gratitude to Madam Helena Blavatsky who assisted him in all his endeavours.
It must have been a most depressing era for the Sinhala Buddhist children, when they were deprived of studying in the English media whilst Jaffna children had the privilege of achieving the highest standards of education through the missionary schools.
Why the British created this divisive decision by depriving the education of the Buddhist children and giving the rights to the Christian missionary schools to educate in the English media in the Jaffna peninsula and other parts of the island, is something that leaves room for the southerners to wonder- just like their divide and rule policy.
Dharmaraja College founded in 1887 was a premier Boys’ School in Kandy. The college was named ‘Kandy Buddhist High School’. Trinity College an independent private school for boys was founded in 1882 by Anglican missionaries.
Andiris de Silva was the first headmaster. He was the only teacher of the school at that time, which had enrolled 12 students. The number of students reached the 50’s and the staff increased to three under Andiris de Silva, who was an efficient leader and an accomplished teacher. Many of the local nobles supported Mudaliyar Mohottige and the school by enrolling their children in, having faith in the staff
Subsequently, Wadugodpitiya Punchikorale was the first principal.
Sir D.B. Jayatillakr was the next principal. His salary was Rs 5 and he contributed RS 2 for the welfare of the school, every month
Mr H Banbury (1898-1899) succeeded Sir D.B. Name change to Dharmaraja Vidyala during his time. He obtained a Government Grant to run the school. The present single storied building in Temple Squire adjoining ‘Natha Devala’ was built by him and named Banbury building, after him.
Subsequent principals were:
Wilton Hack 1899-1899
Mr K.F Billimoria 1902 1932 College buildings in Hills built during K.F. 30 years
P de S Kularatne 1932-1936 Boarding was created during his time
L. H Mettananda 1936-1945
S A Wijetillake 1946-1955 Science lab was started during this time
Charles Godage 1955-1959 Dancing classes. Went to UK
D B Thewarapperuma December 1960 became a government school
E.A Perusinghe sports activities
Col S.L.B. Amaranayak1965 1971 and so on
Dharmaraja College should be proud of three historical events: one was when the founder of the Scout Movement Lord Baden Powell visiting the ‘Lake View Park International Scout Centre’ twice, a unique distinction held by any Sri Lankan school. Secondly, the visit of a Noble Laureate in Literature, the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore holding a dance recital at the Principal’s bungalow when he visited the school in the 1920s. Thirdly, the visit of the English poet D. H. Lawrence who spent a holiday at Ardnaree, the college Principal’s bungalow, in 1922.
These were notable events when Buddhist Schools were not given recognition as much as to the Christian Missionary Schools.
In the Christian Schools where Buddhist children were enrolled in, had to participate in the morning prayers and singing hymns, whilst the Buddhist children attending the Buddhist schools were deprived of learning Buddhism as a curriculum subject.
We, even in the forties and fifties after the World War 11, had to learn Buddhism in Sunday Schools conducted by the local temple priests. Today, it is a compulsory subject at GCE ordinary level.
In conclusion, I would like to state that it was a most depressing era for the Sinhala Buddhist people of the country, created by the British for no reason or other.
Nevertheless, Dharmaraja was a shining school holding high esteem in educating Buddhist children, and producing many eminent personalities and leaders of the country.
Even, today the IGP is an old Rajan- Mr Pujitha Jayasundera. It was he who was responsible for creating our Rajans’ association in NSW, when he visited Sydney on official capacity, at a welcome dinner given to him by the old Rajans.
I must say, that we are assembled here today due to the vision of two people- Col. Steele Olcott and Pujitha Jayasundera.
Let us stand by our motto: ‘Attahi Attano Natho’- Oneself is the refuge tor one
Dr Harold Gunatillake
Edith Wimalaratne- passed away on 7th April 2018. First year memorial Service was held on 6th April 2019, at Don Moore Community Centre, Carlingford, Sydney, Australia, among a large gathering of family and friends.
Filmed by Dr. Harold Gunatillake
Let us discuss today, the importance of checking your blood pressure regularly.When you are 40 and over, it is advised that you check your BP annually.Owning your own BP apparatus would be an impetus for such recordings, regularly When you are a kid, your heart works beautifully with absolute, no strain. This is attributed to the fact that all your arteries -major, minor and minute tributaries to the fingers and toes are expandable, elastic and mobile, and not stiff, causing no resistance to the pumping action of your heart.
With age, the blood vessels seem to harden, become less expandable, becomes stiff and increases the resistance on pumping the blood from your heart.With increased resistance from the thickened blood vessels the heart needs to pump more forcefully.
That creates the higher pressure on the arteries, and that would be the onset of high blood pressure.
This pressure is measured by the sphygmomanometer by your doctor in his office. The upper reading is referred to as the systolic pressure, because that is a measure of how much the left ventricle of your heart is straining to pump the blood to the periphery.
When the left ventricle of your heart which pumps the blood to the periphery now needs to relax to fill with blood from the left upper chamber -called the left atrium.The lower pressure created in the blood vessels is related to the phase when the heart muscle relaxes between beats allowing the chambers to fill with blood. This is referred to as the diastolic pressure
So systolic pressure is when the heart contracts, and diastolic pressure is when the heart relaxes to fill with blood for the next beat, or you could say between beats. Adults should keep their systolic pressure at 120mm. of mercury and the diastolic could vary between 60 to 80 mm. of mercury.
When the diastolic pressure is more than 90 or higher means you have high blood pressure.
There was a time when your doctor would say when the BP is higher, it is okay for your age.
Now, it is believed that all adults at any age should keep the BP consistently at 120/60-70
Both systolic and diastolic blood pressures are important, but for those forty and older systolic is more important than the diastolic. It is the systolic pressure what increases our risk of having a heart attack, stroke or artery disease in the legs. So, remember, that systolic BP is more important and needs to be kept at 120mm of mercury.
No bargaining at all.
When the BP increases with a systolic pressure of 180 mm of mercury or higher or a bottom number of 120mm Hg can damage blood vessels and is referred to as a hypertensive crisis.
In the early stages of rising blood pressure, it happens so slowly over months or years, the body seems to accommodate the increase until such time the vessels cannot tolerate anymore, and the warning signs are imminent.
This is the main reason why you should check your BP at home or with your doctor frequently with every visit to your doctor, to prevent such episodes that can cause instant death.
How can you prevent high blood pressure?
The answer applies to all chronic diseases whether it’s high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, diabetes among others.
Eat the right foods meaning unprocessed low fat, and low carb in small quantities at a meal.
Avoid animal foods with high saturated fats.
Avoid those foods in the refrigerated section of your supermarket where all frozen foods are saturated with transfat- a killer that is used to maintain the shelf life of foods.
Exercise daily, at least a brisk walk of 10,000 steps.
Control your diabetes with medication and low GI foods.
Eat more oily fish than meat. Oily fish contains omega 3 fatty acids that keep your blood vessels soft and elastic.
Now let’s talk about the pulse rate or heart rate
When you get your BP checked you don’t seem to record the pulse rate which is as important, for deciding on medication for high BP.
If your BP is high and pulse rate is also rapid- more than 80 per minute at rest, your doctor will prescribe certain drugs like betablockers and calcium blocker drugs in addition to slow the heart rate to about 70 at rest.
When you exercise your target heart rate tells you if you’re exercising too hard or not hard enough. Everyone’s target is different, but in general, during moderate or vigorous exercise, you want it to be between 50% and 85% of your maximum heart rate, which is the hardest your heart can work safely. Your maximum heart rate when you exercise should be 220 minus your age.
Using a heart rate monitor can help you get fit.
Wearable electronic heart monitors, and exercise machines with built-in heart sensors, can give you up-to-the-minute information on how hard your heart is working. That can tell you how hard you’re exercising. It can help you pace yourself, too. It may even help keep you motivated.
Hypertension is the most common condition seen in old people and lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, if not detected early and taken steps to treat adequately.
Blood pressure increase is inevitable as you age, due to the thickening of arteries- a natural event called arteriosclerosis.
The heart becomes strained to push the blood from its left ventricle into the circulatory system.
High blood pressure is avoidable if you take steps to check your BP regularly.
Hope this video has been useful.
Thank you for watching
Probiotics are beneficial live bacteria, and the common ones mentioned are L. acidophilus and bifidobacterial, certain yeast and a few other live bacteria.
According to the adopted definition by FAO/WHO probiotics are: “Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host
These beneficial bacteria are in milk fermented with lactic acid, and Bulgarians and Russians who live largely on milk fermented by lactic acid bacteria were exceptionally lived longer.
In 1935 certain strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus were found to be very active when implanted in the human digestive system. These organisms were used for the relief of constipation. These strains of lacto-bacillus have many other health benefits.
Prevention of colon cancer
In the laboratory trials some strain of Lactobacillus has demonstrated to have anticancer effects thought to be due to their ability to bind with heterocyclic aminescarcinogenic substances formed in cooked meat.
Animal studies have demonstrated the efficacy of a range of lacto-bacillus to be able to lower serum cholesterol levels, presumably by breaking down bile in the gut, thus inhibiting its reabsorption, which enters the portal blood stream as cholesterol. Human trials have shown that dairy foods fermented with lacto-bacillus can produce reduction in the total and LDL cholesterol levels.
Lowering of blood pressure
Some clinical trials have shown that consumption of milk fermented with strains of lacto-bacillus may result in modest reduction in blood pressure.
Improve immune functions
Lacto-bacillus may protect against pathogens by means of competitive inhibition (i.e., by competing for growth), and there is evidence to show that they may improve immune function by increasing the number of IgA- producing plasma cells, increasing phagocytosis (killing pathogens by certain white blood cells), as well as increasing the T lymphocytes.
There are many other health benefits, such as decreasing the incidence or respiratory tract infections, dental caries in children, treatment and prevention of acute diarrhea and many others detailed earlier.
It was a scientist by the name of Kollath who introduced the term “Probiotics”. He pointed out that probiotics stimulated the growth of other microorganisms. In 1989 Roy Fuller suggested a definition of probiotics which has been widely used: “A live microbial feed supplement which beneficially affects the host animal by improving its intestinal microbial balance”.
Live probiotic bacteria are found in foods such as yogurt, Kefir, Sauerkraut, Tempeh, Misso soup and so on.
Yoghurt and other supplements
The manufacturers of probiotic yoghurt claim their products can help relieve digestive irregularities and boosts the immune system. Yogurt naturally contains lots of probiotic cultures that strengthen the digestive tract. Some Greek yogurt also have added probiotics
like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei that may help increase the good bacteria in your gut.
It is advisable to take two tablespoons of plain, low fat, unsweetened yogurt daily. Yogurt needs to be kept in the fridge to keep the live bacteria active
Probiotic bacteria are created when the above foods are fermented with lactic acid. For instance, Kefir is a fermented probiotic milk drink: Sauerkraut is finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid and so on. Kombucha tea and water kefir are beverages beneficial as probiotics in aiding the natural healthy gut bacteria.
They are available in your supermarket and are very refreshing drinks.They should be refrigerated and good to quench your thirst and a substitute for drinking water. They have no added sugar and low calorie.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Like other fermented foods apple cider vinegar may be considered as a probiotic. You need to buy the unpasteurized liquid with cobwebby strands that cloud the liquid- also referred to as the ‘mother’.
A few drops in your cool drinking water daily would be enough. Do not take more than a few drops daily, as the acid in the vinegar can erode your enamel.
Supplements in capsule form do not have live probiotic beneficial bacteria and it is a big gimmick to sell products by big Pharma. Most foods with live bacteria need to be refrigerated such as yogurt and others.
Some ask the question that beer and alcohol drinks are fermented products, so why not drink them for health reasons. Such fermented beverages don’t seem to have the cultured bacteria in the process of fermentation.
The bottom line is that there is no proof that supplementary capsules have live bacteria.
Sinhalese New Year, generally known as Aluth Avurudda in Sri Lanka, is a Sri Lankan holiday that celebrates the traditional New Year of the Sinhalese people in Sri Lanka. It is a major anniversary celebrated by not only the Sinhalese people but by most Sri Lankans.
Sri Lankans who left the shores for better pastures, in their retirement in the alien country, are getting that feeling of loneliness, when the kith and kin lives far away, and your lifetime partner has left to a better world. The saying goes,” We are born alone and die alone”
Loneliness becomes part of the journey when you get that terrifying feeling of getting in to the ‘departure lounge’
Most of us don’t fear death, because that is inevitable if your born, but the fear of ‘Loneliness’ is dreading and enduring during the last stages with accompanied disabilities, ill-health, and your hapless life, in the hands of the carers.
The loneliness that most of us experience is far more than being alone.
Meeting at monthly rendezvous, organized by the Sri Lankan Association, is an immense salvation to the expat Sri Lankans in Sydney.
You will notice how much they enjoy the company of friends and people meeting for the first time, in this video.
Please share and enjoy this video with that frame of mind, that one day you’ll also be a victim to such a situation.
Fifty years ago, and prior, we knew that we had good bacteria in our gut. We named them “Bacterial Flora”
We were then advised to go soft on antibiotics, as they destroyed our friendly gut bacteria and changed the ecosystem
Scientists call them microbes, and a group that includes bacteria, viruses, bacteroid, and fungi in the gut- was given the name Microbiota and microbiomes.
They are found not only in your gut but also your skin, mouth, nose and other openings
Each microbiome includes over 10, trillions of microbial species, all interacting with one another.
In toto there are over 100 trillion of bacteria, viruses and fungi in your gut.
They keep bad bacteria in check and looks after your health and wellbeing.
In the human gut, microbes not only aid digestion, but also affect obesity, allergies, immunity and even brain development;
Beyond people’s bodies, these microorganisms have created the Earth’s oxygen-rich atmosphere, and, also enable plant and ocean life to thrive.
The number of bacteria in our gut outnumbers the total number of cells in our body. We have 100 trillion cells in our body.
There is an estimated 1 kilogram of bacteria within each average human adult.
One gram of your faeces contains a greater number of bacteria than there are humans on the planet Our microbes could be the key to our future health
Microbiota- those microscopic organisms in our gut play a vital role in keeping us healthy. Some microbes secrete molecules like the Bifidobacterium which digests dietary fibre in the colon, produces short-chain fatty acids that stimulates the growth of the immune cells that control inflammation.
Eating foods with high dietary fibre like the veggies seems to prevent large bowel inflammatory diseases like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and some forms of cancer and these microbes seem to assist in the process.
A vaginal microbe, Lactobacillus feeds on sugars and produce lactic acid, which discourages other bacteria that gives vaginal infections.
Knowing which sorts of microbes are normally found in healthy people can help us understand the roles that changes in microbe
populations play in disease -said Dr. Curtis Huttenhower, associate professor of computational biology in the Department of Biostatistics at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Why microbial diversity is important
Diversity is the key to beneficial microbial populations. Not only does a wider array of microbes mean a greater variety of bacterial by-products for body cells to use, it also leaves less territory for disease-causing bacteria to occupy. That’s why the new approach to microbes is directed at maintaining a healthy balance of germs throughout the body.
The gut response
Foods affect our health in two ways—through the fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and other nutrients they pro-vide, and through the bacteria that break them down in the intestine. Early research indicates that a diet high in saturated fat increases the proportion of one phylum (major group) of bacteria, Firmicutes, to that of another phylum, Bacteriodetes. A high ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteriodetes has been linked to obesity. If we eat a lot of processed foods, populations of fibre loving Bifidobacterium, which is linked with lower rates of inflammation, will shrink.
Our intestinal bacteria may be key to understanding why the traditional “Western diet” hasn’t served us very well. Studies comparing populations of intestinal
microbes have indicated that people eating a traditional Mediterranean diet or a traditional Asian diet—both of which are plant-based—have a greater diversity of intestinal bacteria and a higher proportion of beneficial bacteria than Americans and Europeans whose diets are heavier in red meat, sugars, and other refined carbohydrates, and lighter in fruits and vegetables. Westerners also have a higher rate of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and colon cancer.
Avoid unnecessary antibiotics
Too many antibiotics are prescribed for minor ailments especially among kids. This can harm by destroying the beneficial bacteria in your gut. You should check whether the infection is caused by bacteria or a virus.
How does a baby get those beneficial bacteria when just born for good health?
When the baby enters the world through the birth canal gets a coating of vaginal microbes. These bacteria protect the baby from skin and gut infections.
On the other hand, those babies born by Calcarean section miss out on these beneficial microbes and are exposed to infections, unfortunately.
There is a war going on in our gut between the good bugs and the bad germs.
Good bacteria reward our dietary choices by producing metabolites for a healthy gut & well being
Eating the right foods is important to keep our good bacteria in harmony and they in return will reciprocate good bowel & general health
This is where you need to take prebiotics and probiotics daily to keep your good bacteria happy
Reference -articles by Alanna Collen & Alan Brown