South Africa bounce back in the first one-dayer as the Lankans discover the good, the bad and the ugly – BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE.


south africa


Sri Lanka can celebrate the good, the bad and the ugly since their fantastic Test series win over South Africa after a dismal batting performance gave the home team a morale boosting effortless win in the first one-dayer in Johannesburg.

That Test success appears to be quickly fading into a distant memory unless the plucky Lankans can discover a winning combination to be competitive in the four games ahead.

The good was the discovery of a brilliant new talent in debutant Oshada Fernando who followed his Test series heroics with a masterly 49 before being unfortunately run out. His stroke play and cool , calm confidence overshadowed many of the more experienced campaigners in the squad as he deftly handled the South African attack smacking them to all parts in his entertaining knock. He is certainly a player to watch over the years.

The bad was the batting which recovered from the quick exits of Niroshan Dickwella and Upul Tharanga to irrational shot selection and then going on to 195 for 5 in 36.2 overs before they folded to a measly 231 in 47 overs which was almost unforgivable. Only three batsmen, Oshada Fernando (49), Kusal Mendis (60), and Dhananjaya de Silva (39), made score worth a mention as the others looked lost at sea on a track that seemed to have no terrors.

A score of 231 always suggested that the game would not go the distance as South African Skipper Faf du Plessis 112 off 114 balls and Quentin De Kok 81 off 72 balls raced to the target with more than 11 overs remaining

The ugly was the evidence of the spat between skipper Lasith Malinga and experienced Thisara Perera appeared not over and done with. Perera who is capable of turning a game on its head with his incredible talent appeared listless while batting with Malinga and the shot he offered to get out looked like fielding practice to David Miller at short cover. This, when the team urgently needed an injection of runs to lift them from a domino effect as wickets fell around him in quick succession.

The fact that they did not bat out their allotted overs is a disturbing statistic which needs to be addressed by the coaching staff. It appears to suggest that there is a lack of genuine all-rounders in the squad or the selection process needs some tampering.

As they move to Centurion for game two it is hoped that they will show the qualities Dimuth Karunaratne’s men displayed and take the series to a competitive level. They certainly don’t lack the talent to beat anyone if they are in the right mindset.

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Desmond De Silva in Dublin – Performs to a great crowd of Sri lankan fans in and around Dublin: Ireland

We know Sri Lankan’s migrated for studies and better job opportunities and also a better life in places like the USA, UK, Australia and Canada. Yet it does come as a surprise when we find a strong Sri Lanka community 3 hour drive from Dublin. This is what Desmond De Silva & his wife discovered on a recent trip to Dublin with friends last November.

Suminda Ranatunge met with them and kindly became a tour guide as he showed them around beautiful Dublin. Suminda expressed a desire to invite Desmond to perform at an event for the Sri Lankan community in Dublin. He informed Desmond that there were approximately 200 Sri Lankan families living and working in and around Dublin. He said that the community was widespread approximately 3 hrs drive from Dublin and that he tries to organise events in order to keep the community together and give them a place to meet, be entertained and have a good time together. Desmond accepted the invitation.

On February 15 th in a little historic place called Ross 2 hr drive from Dublin, a Dinner Dance was organised by Suminda with Guest Artiste Desmond De Silva. The band Skyhigh from the UK were the musicians for the night.

The event was held at Brandon House Hotel New Ross Co. Wexford and not surprisingly a Sri Lankan Duty Manager by the name of Anslem Diaz was in charge. 

Suminda had organised the show with no committee and for no reward other than to get the community together for a night of entertainment with legendary Desmond De Silva.

People drove long distances, some up to 3 hrs, to get to the event. Many had booked accommodation at the hotel so that they could enjoy the night and not worry about the long drive home. 

Needless to say, Duty Manager Anslem Diaz went the extra mile to ensure that the hotel did their very best to contribute to the success of the evening.

Desmond did not disappoint his fans. He had everyone on the dance floor from the start of his first song. Guests danced the night away and Desmond obliged the many requests for photo opportunities. Desmond was humbled to be told by many guests that they could not believe that they were lucky to actually be at a live performance by him. Most had lived in rural areas of Sri Lanka with no opportunities to actually attend concerts that were held in the cities. All they could and did have were cassettes or CDs of Desmond that they avidly listened to often. Seeing and listening to him live and being able to dance to his music and be photographed with him was for them an unbelievable experience. 

Suminda is to be commended for giving the small Sri Lankan community of Ireland a memorable night of entertainment.

Sri lankan fans in and around Dublin Ireland

Sri lankan fans in and around Dublin Ireland

Sri lankan fans in and around Dublin Ireland

Sri lankan fans in and around Dublin Ireland

Sri lankan fans in and around Dublin Ireland


Sri lankan fans in and around Dublin Ireland

Sri lankan fans in and around Dublin Ireland

Sri lankan fans in and around Dublin Ireland

Sri lankan fans in and around Dublin Ireland

Sri lankan fans in and around Dublin Ireland


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Philip Ruddock – An Honorary Sri Lankan?

By William de Silva
Co-ordinator of Sri Lankan Over 55 Community Homes

Philip Ruddock with William de Silva

Sri Lankan Senior’s Day 2019: Over 250 Sri Lankans have come to celebrate at the Thornleigh Education and Leisure Centre, and the venue is packed. Out of the corner of my eye I can see a grey haired, fair skinned man joyfully tucking into a rather spicy Sri Lankan curry. I look a little closer and realise it’s Philip Ruddock, our guest of honour.

Naturally, there’s a steady stream of seniors waiting to meet him. I wait for an appropriate time to introduce myself to Philip Ruddock. Seeing so many fans of Mr Ruddock, I leaned in and said, “Once upon a time you wouldn’t have been very popular with our people.” He looked a little surprised. “Oh, why?” he responded matter-of-factly.

Ruddock was one of the generals of the John Howard Government who played a pivotal role in “turning back the boats,” including the Norwegian freighter Tampa.

If you’re not familiar with the Tampa boat crisis, it was August 2001 when the Australian Government took a firm stance and refused the Norwegian freighter MV Tampa carrying 433 refugees to enter Australia. Those who recall the events of the day may remember some of the headlines like, ”that boat will never land in our waters – never!” You may also recall that the headlines were all about the refugees throwing children overboard.

With regards to the Tampa crisis, I completely disagreed with Ruddock’s stance. As I sit among my Sri Lankan community, it is so clear that we are all migrants in this country. And, many of us have had to jump through the proverbial hoops to be granted the privilege of calling Australia home.

So, it begs the question; how does a government go about managing immigration?

To even begin to understand the most uncompromising government rulings, you need to understand their inner workings. During my conversation with Ruddock, he highlighted a few points that are worth considering.

“To put it in perspective, we get applications from more than a million people around the world every year, and we can’t take them all.” Ruddock wanted to make the point of noting the challenge of such requests, and how any government could manage receiving such a large volume of new arrivals. “If it’s badly managed, the people will say “enough is enough.”

Today, Australia is a melting pot of diverse cultures and nationalities. Ruddock posed the question to me; “How do you balance it, so that it’s fair to Australian people as well as new migrants?” This is a great question from the ex-minister.

As a Sri Lankan community, what solutions are we bringing to the table? And, how do we want to approach the issues of people smuggling and illegal immigrants? Rather than waiting for the government, what are our responsibilities as citizens of Australia?

“My view” Ruddock stressed, “We need to determine who needs help the most for the limited number of places we have.” He continued, “We want to be fair when it comes to what’s in Australia’s best interest and, has the support of the public.”

As Philip Ruddock emphasised, there is a difference between skilled migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and illegal immigrants. Australia needs skilled immigrants. Sri Lankan’s excel in providing the skills that the Australia labour market requires. We are fully supported by the Australian government in bringing families over here.

My insight into Phillip Ruddock was this; he was a tough, unwavering and uncompromising Minister. Yet, beneath this exterior, is kindness and generosity. I felt I’d misjudged this man based on what I’d seen in the media. Given his experience, Phillip Ruddock can make massive contributions to our country by having skilled migrants excel in Australia.

Keen to learn more about Mr Ruddock, we talked about the times he visited Sri Lanka. “Three or four times” he says. Polonnaruwa and Kandy had been a distinct highlight.

During our conversation, his genuine love for Sri Lanka was evident. Most politicians who attend our functions stay the obligatory hour or so, and excuse themselves saying “I have another function to attend to.” There was no rush with Ruddock. He wasn’t grand standing.

After a few hours I made my way out. As I glanced back, I noticed Philip Ruddock was still there – chatting with fellow Sri Lankans. He was at ease with our Sri Lankan community. Just happy to chat and be part of the crowd. I could see his appreciation for new Australians, and their journey.

By William de Silva
Co-ordinator of Sri Lankan Over 55 Community Homes
M: 0414 834 733

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Celebrating Anne the journalist and writer

Saturday, February 9 saw friends and family of the late Anne Abayasekara, gather to celebrate her life as a journalist and writer. The event organised by her seven children, held at Ferguson Hall, Cinnamon Gardens Baptist Church, focused on Anne’s long and distinguished writing career from 1947-2014. It included reflections on the recently published book ‘Telling it like it is: Selected Writings Volume 1 Anne Abayasekara’.

Rohan Abayasekara

Rohan Abayasekara welcoming the guests and Dr. Nimal Sanderatne delivering his tribute to Anne

Anne’s son Rohan welcomed the guests  and among friends and family members who lit the traditional oil lamp was Anne’s only great-grandson in Sri Lanka; seven- year-old Yannish. Another son Dilip 

section of the invitees

Family and friends: The audience at the launch

delivered an opening prayer after which his sibling Ranjan spoke at length on ‘Telling It Like It Is – Anne the Writer’. He traced her extraordinary writing career beginning with his earliest recollections of her as a writer, and up to the evolution of the book. Daughter Sarla read extracts from the book, followed by a tribute to Anne, both as person and writer, by Dr. Nimal Sanderatne, distinguished economist and a literary figure in his own right. His speech titled ‘Anne – A Personal Reflection’, drew on long years of having known Anne and her husband Earle, including early beginnings in the same village community as that of Anne, about a decade apart. He emphasized the importance of her writings to what the country aspires to today, in terms of reconciliation and good governance. Ranmali, the eldest of the seven then spoke of ‘Anne, the Person’ both from the perspective of a daughter and as a global citizen.

Anusha the youngest offered a prayer of thanksgiving after which she and Dilip led the participants in singing ‘How Great Thou Art’. After a Vote of Thanks delivered by son Ranil, the rest of the evening was taken up with refreshments, book sales and plenty of fellowship among the 170 plus guests.

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The pen PROVED MIGHTY INDEED! – A Celebration of Anne Abayasekara, journalist and writer

On Saturday February 9, Cinnamon Gardens Baptist Church was host to a celebration of the work of the late Anne Abayasekara, Sri Lanka’s first woman to become a staff journalist and a much beloved writer over her career of nearly 70 years.

The evening proceeded with each of her seven children speaking about their mother, recounting fond memories of the sounds of her typewriter in the family home and sharing poetry she had written for her grandchildren; all to an audience of family, friends and people who had been, in some way, affected by Abayasekara’s work.

Pieces of writing were also read from a compilation of her essays and articles, entitled ‘Telling It Like It Is: Selected Writings Volume 1’. The collection, curated by her children, contains work from a prolific writing career beginning in 1947 and only ending with her passing in 2015.

The outpouring of appreciation following Abayasekara’s passing has been richly deserved. Her work was multi-dimensional and thoughtful, providing valuable insights for generations of readers, ranging from genres as diverse as political commentaries to marriage advice. Having reported on historic occasions such as Sri Lanka’s Independence celebrations as a young journalist at Lake House, Abayasekara’s work as compiled in ‘Telling it like it is’ also serves as a political and cultural history of Sri Lanka. Her articles representing snapshots of Sri Lankan life over the course of seven decades, captured through the lens of a perceptive and compassionate mind.

Anne with her husband

Anne with her husband Earle

In her writing Abayasekara was unwaveringly principled, addressing controversial questions of conflict and division in Sri Lanka, she spoke both reflectively and fearlessly of the many socio-political issues facing the country. In 1983’s ‘Are You Guilty of an Act of Omission?’, she writes of the horrors of Black July and the reluctance of the country’s political leaders and media to acknowledge the reality of the senseless racial violence that had occurred. She decries the lack of a response, writing of the victims, “No assurance has been given them that they will not suffer the same loss, or worse, again. There has been no public condemnation of the savage mobs which wreaked such havoc so swiftly. No one has said that such savage acts have no place in a dharmishta society.”

section of the invitees

A section of the invitees. Pictures by Shan Rambukwella

Abayasekara’s work also promoted the rights of women in a time where this was far from usual in the press. For instance, in ‘Voice of Woman Demands to be Heard’, published in the Daily News in 1948, she reports on a meeting of the Eksath Kantha Peramuna. Here, Abayasekara championed grassroots emancipatory movements organised by and for working class women. She writes of her experience at the meeting “I looked at the women surrounding me and couldn’t help sensing the tremendous possibilities the expressive faces suggested… Other women’s movements have been born and died in this country, but it seemed to me that the Eksath Kantha Peramuna had a better chance of survival because the common woman was with them. And the voice of the common woman must sooner or later be heard.”

Anne’s great-grandson

Anne’s great-grandson lighting the oil lamp

Anne’s Children (From L) Front

Anne’s Children (From L) Front : Ranmali, Anusha, Sarla. Second Row: Rohan, Ranil, Dilip, Ranjan

Her work also has a more personal component with many articles included in the book offering advice on issues such as marriage and family. This desire to offer help extended beyond her writing career, with Abayasekara also working as a professional counsellor in her later years.

A certain sincerity and natural good heartedness extend throughout her writing, with even her courageously direct political articles being somehow both uncompromising and empathetic. The accusatory tone in articles like ‘Are You Guilty of an Act of Omission?’ is intertwined with and is a result of, the deep compassion she felt for those suffering from grave injustice. She writes, “We have stood with Tamil friends beside the rubble of their homes. They don’t know where to turn or what to do. They are fearful, uncertain of the future and feel they can remain in Sri Lanka only at the risk of their lives.” Each of her political statements is deeply embedded in the lived human experience against which all political action is ultimately justified.

The high esteem that Abayasekara was held in was reflected in the words of the guest speaker, former Central Bank officer Dr Nimal Sanderatne who noted that “Anne’s life and work were unique, they reflect the conscience of a person deeply committed to ethical values and true patriotism. She was a courageous writer who in many of her writings expressed views that even the press refused to publish.”

In times of political uncertainty and societal strife, the kind of brave and humane writing that Anne Abayasekara produced, acts as both a mirror to a society’s ills as well as a voice of guidance in navigating the obstacles they create. Her contributions will be sorely missed.However, in the preservation of her writings, we have inherited a valuable moral compass which will assist us in our steps forward, such that we may in her words “build bridges of friendship that will unite all of us, whatever race or religion we profess, so that together, as Sri Lankans we can build a better tomorrow in this beloved land of ours”.

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“STORIES IN SONG” 2019 Series. – “COUNTRY OLDIES” – By Des Kelly

 Country oldies, but “goodies” I should add, because, here are a “Couple” that both made it to the stage of the old Opry,

as it is fondly known, singly, and as an extremely popular snging duo. Their names, Jeannie Seely, still performing at nearly 79 years of age, and Jack Greene, who sadly passed away in 2013, aged 83. R.I.P. Jack, It was easy to see why these two performers were so very popular. Their voices in harmony were pleasing to hear, even though both of them had performed for many years before they got together to vocalize on a song that is certainly one of my favourites, and after you, my readers, hear it, I am sure that you will love the song too. 

  Quanah Talmadge Tubb, also known simply as Billy Talmadge, wrote the song which was turned into a “hit” by his famous Uncle Ernest Tubb, who was a Texan and quite probably sang this song “on request” more than any other, and Ernest Tubb & his band named the “Texas Troubadours”

did sing many many songs. Unfortunately, Ernest also passed away at 70 years of age, but THIS SONG will live forever, in the hearts & minds of Country Music lovers.

Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you the “Jeannie & Jack” duo, with a couple of great songs that they did together. Please enjoy them. They may have been “oldies” but they are certainly “goodies”, because “COUNTRY” is what MUSIC is about, and I love my music ” Country-Style”.


Desmond Kelly.
 (Editor-in-Chief)– eLanka


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Tuesday, 5 March 2019


More than 3500 children from migrant backgrounds will be encouraged to participate in the NSW Rugby League ‘Try League’ program thanks to the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government.

Minister for Multiculturalism Ray Williams announced NSW Rugby League will receive $400,000 to run the program, a commitment made possible thanks to the strong economic management of NSW Liberals & Nationals Government.

Mr Williams said the funding will expand the program across Western Sydney, South Western Sydney and Coffs Harbour.

“I’m delighted to support the ‘Try League’ program, which is breaking down barriers and social isolation for people from diverse communities,” Mr Williams said.

“This funding will encourage greater participation in Rugby League by creating a welcoming atmosphere for kids of all backgrounds.”

Member for Riverstone Kevin Connolly said the funding demonstrated the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government’s commitment to support local communities in Western Sydney.

“This program provides a wonderful opportunity for multicultural youth to engage in the social benefits of sport, creating a pathway to join local Rugby League clubs in Riverstone,” Mr Connolly said.

NSW Rugby League CEO David Trodden, welcomed the funding announcement.

“This is great news for the NSW Rugby League, which will allow us to expand our grassroots initiatives with multicultural communities. I hope we can see some of our future participants play for the Blues one day,” Mr Trodden said.

Over the last year, the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government has provided more than $23 million to multicultural communities. 

MEDIA: Nomiky Panayiotakis 0418 680 775

Try League

Try League


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New look Sri Lanka in historic series win over South Africa






Vishva Fernando and Jusal Janith Perera

Vishva Fernando and Kusal Janith Perera celebrate Sri Lanka’s first Test win in Durban.

Kusal Janith Perera

Kusal Janith Perera celebrates one of Sri Lanka’s greatest wins.

Lasith Embuldeniya

Lasith Embuldeniya grabbes 5 for 66 in the first Test.

Dimuth Karunaratne

Dimuth Karunaratne skippers historic series win in South Africa.

Kusal Mendis

Kusal Mendis

Oshada Fernando and Kusal Mendis

Oshada Fernando and Kusal Mendis steers Sri Lanka to historic series win in Port Elizabeth


One Kusal spelt trouble for South Africa in the first Test but two Kusal’s spelt double trouble as Sri Lanka stunned the hosts and the rest of the cricketing world to pull off a sensational series victory in Port Elizabeth against all odds.

After Kusal Janith Perera led the heroics by snatching victory from the jaws of certain defeat in Kingsmead, Durban, Kusal Mendis and debutant Oshada Fernando made a mockery of what appeared to be a batsmen’s nightmare track in Port Elizabeth to effortlessly guide Sri Lanka to a historic 2-0 series triumph in front of a shocked South African following and followers worldwide who reflected on their dismal performances in New Zealand and Australia, then in wonderment at the miraculous form reversal.

All the doomsayers who condemned this team for lack of technique and temperament including yours truly, were left dumfounded as the brave lads from Lanka capably led by new skipper Dimuth Karunaratne displayed fight rather than fright to stage a commendable come from behind effort that sent them into the annals of history. Not only did they win the series, but they also recorded just their third win on the African continent while becoming the first Asian team to win a series there and the only the third team to beat the South Africans on home soil. Only two other teams, England and Australia have secured series wins in South Africa before.

Sri Lanka’s first win ever in South Africa was under Tillakaratne Dilshan in the 2011/2012 series in which current skipper Karunaratne was a member of the squad that went down1-2 to the hosts.

To summarize this series, it was a titanic tussle between the relatively unknown Sri Lankans fresh from a forgettable drubbing in Australia and New Zealand and the cocky hosts who are ranked number two in the World and appeared to take their opponents as a walk in the park prospect.

Although they refused to admit it, the approach proved to be a mindset they will regret for many years to come as they recall the pain and humiliation inflicted on them by the smarting Lankans seeking some form of redemption. There is no doubt that luck played a big part in Sri Lanka’s success as they pulled off a Houdini like escape in the first Test, then folded like a deck of cards in their first dig of the second Test before Kusal Mendis and youngster Oshada Fernando rode their luck and batted with arrogance and authority to make it a thrashing of the home team in the end.

Successful skipper Dimuth Karunaratne admitted after the game that they had made up their minds to do something special for the suffering fans who endured the torture of their substandard performances in Australia. “We learnt a lot from those defeats and were able to address our weakness against the rising ball. And it paid off in this series”, he said.

They showed flamboyance and scant respect for the feared South African attack led by Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada as they raced to the target with carefree abandon and finished proceedings well within three days

After Sri Lanka’s bowlers followed up their first Test effort to bowl South Africa out for a mere 222, it appeared like the Lankans euphoria after a shock first Test win had quickly evaporated as the home team struck back by bowling them out for 154. Newcomer Vishva Fernando and Rajitha grabbed three apiece and Dhananja De Silva got two to keep the lankan dream of a series win alive.

Down but not out, Sri Lanka struck back swiftly as Suranga Lakmal, 4 for 39 an Dhanjaya De Silva, 3 for 36 with Rajitha, 2 for 20 wrought havoc to skittle the home side for 128 raising hope for an upset if they were up to it needing 197 for a series sweep.

An analysis of the Sri Lankan turnaround appears to suggest that they needed fresh new direction and it came no sooner Chandimal was removed from his role as skipper and the selection role was relieved from coach Hathurusinghe leaving him to concentrate on the team’s performance instead. Hathurusinghe’s stint as Sri Lanka coach hung like the Sword of Damocles over his head if the islanders ended their Southern Hemisphere sojourn winless and without a competitive edge.

His future was rescued by the blooding of youngsters of whom Vishva Fernando, Lasith Embuldeniya and Oshada Fernando who stood tall in their formative stints suggesting that there is plenty of talent from the cricket mad Island which only needs to be identified and harnessed.

Overall, Sri Lanka’s fielding has lifted somewhat under Australian great Steve Rixon and they functioned as a unit backing each other in an effort that appeared lacking on their previous tours.

Reports from Colombo also indicate that the new skipper’s stand on persisting with Lakmal and Kusal Mendis in the team for the second Test against some selection committee members who insisted on them being omitted proved to be the ultimate difference.

They have risen from the depths with this great effort and Sri Lankan fans are optimistic that the new direction and a new Sports Minister in Haren Fernando whose focus is on the development of the national team was the tonic they needed to turn things around.

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On Wednesday 27th February, 2019, Late of Croydon

Loving son of Irving and Lenore (both dec). Brother of Demaris (dec), Maxine, Francis and Tony. Uncle and grand uncle to many nieces and nephews.

Gifted educator and friend of many.

Mass of Christian Burial for Howard will be offered in St Joseph’s Catholic Church, 126 Liverpool Rd Enfield, on MONDAY 11th March, commencing at 10.30am.

Following the Mass the cortege will proceed to the Sacred Heart Chapel at Rookwood Catholic Crematorium.

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