Strange things happen occasionally. 

Because of the fact that I love music in general, all types of music, but certainly music that “tells a story”, while browsing through the many CD’s I have recorded, I suddenly came across one with the “title” of the above article, containing songs that do exactly what I am talking about. They tell stories. Reminiscing on just one such personal experience, I decided to share this with all my readers of eLanka, numbering over 20.000, to date. 

     This happened in Melbourne, Australia in the mid 70’s. I was well into my 2’nd part-time job, as an “entertainer” & “floorshow artiste”, Venue being “The Rising-Sun” Pub., in Richmond. It was a Saturday evening, my 2nd appearance in as many weeks, at the pub, a large popular one, with a “dining room” adjacent to the massive “men-only” bar, as was the custom at the time. Ladies, with or without partners were always welcome to the dining room only.

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An absorbingly educational evening – From a Guest (photos thanks to Senanie de Silva)

Ceylon Society of Australia

Ceylon Society of Australia

Ceylon Society of Australia

Ceylon Society of Australia

Ceylon Society of Australia

Ceylon Society of Australia

Ceylon Society of Australia

Ceylon Society of Australia

Ceylon Society of Australia

Ceylon Society of Australia

Ceylon Society of Australia

Ceylon Society of Australia

The Ceylon Society of Australia held its third public meeting for 2018 in the presence of 72 members and guests on a nippy Sunday night on August 26 at the Community Centre hall in Pennant Hills.

         Our speaker was Dr Palitha Kohona. He hails from Matale and had his early education at St Thomas College, Mount Lavinia. Thereafter, he obtained his LLB (Hons) at the University of Sri Lanka, a Masters in Law from the Australian National University and a Doctorate from Cambridge University in the UK. He is an Attorney-at-Law, Supreme Court of Sri Lanka and is Honorary Professor at Utah Valley University, USA.

             Dr Kohona is a citizen of both Sri Lanka and Australia and has served both countries as a diplomat, as well as serving as an international Civil servant at the United Nations. He has written extensively on a range of subjects.

               Sitting in the middle of the Indian Ocean at the southern tip of India, and at the cross roads of the monsoons, Dr Kohona said that Sri Lanka occupies an enviable strategic position. This geographically unique location has attracted numerous sailors, traders, holy men and even invaders in the country’s past. The Chinese were well represented among them for over two millennia as evidenced by the wrecks of the large number of Chinese vessels off the coast of Sri Lanka and the hordes of Chinese origin porcelain and coins being discovered regularly. At times, we elegantly parried these varied attentions and benefited from them. At other times we faltered and suffered. Now, Dr Kohona continued, we are facing another opportunity/challenge with China giving high priority to its well-funded Belt and Road Initiative.

                Today an additional factor must enter our considerations, the speaker pointed out. We possess a 200-mile exclusive economic zone and possibly a vast area of sea bed to which we have lodged a claim since 2009. The wealth of this area, both in the water column and trapped

in the sea bed, could make Sri Lanka a prosperous nation with

careful management.

                An absorbing question time was followed by the usual social.

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Desmond rocked Kandy – Reported by Dr Harold Gunatillake
Desmond desilva

“The great entertainer of all times” performed at the Royal Crown hotel, Ampitiya Kandy, Sri Lanka, on the 2nd September for a crowd of over 1000 young and old merry-makers.

Youthful golden voice has not changed after decades of performing and considered as the “King of Baila”.

The hall was packed with young and old revelers, and there was hardly any space on the dance floor left when Desmond started his renditioned accomplished English and Sinhalese old songs of his top hits followed by his favourite Baila sessions which continued till on midnight.

Kandy mayor Kesara Senanayake was one of the chief guests.

It was a very memorable event for the revelers, and more the hotel service was par excellence.

Desmond desilva


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It’s not all doom and gloom for the Wallabies –


Tough critics following the Australian game are all doom and gloom as they lament about another Bledisloe series defeat that stares in the face of the Wallabies who must now confront and overcome the enemy at Eden Park which is the fortress of New Zealand rugby.

But the flamboyant French recently showed that the Kiwis can be unsettled to an extent even at home, despite losing the recent series. The Wallabies must therefore approach this game with the ferocity they displayed in the Sydney loss and hope that fortunes go their way in opportunistic moments that present themselves like the Kiwis did last week.

Beaten in Sydney 38-13 by what looked like a hiding, the Wallabies can reflect on their performance as one where they had the required arsenal to match it with the mighty All Blacks but let themselves down at crucial stages of the game in the second term to completely nullify a gallant performance in the first half.

The All Blacks were forced into an uncharacteristic brand of rugby in Sydney which made them look vulnerable throughout although the final margin of victory looked staggering and indeed flattering. Take away the opportunistic moments that changed the course of the match and the score line could have been much tighter.

Plenty of work is needed in the scrum and line out in particular, which caused the most amount of damage by turnovers making this a work ethic that needs urgent attention. The All Blacks will exploit any chink they sense in these close contests.

The Wallabies played a well-orchestrated brand of rugby drilled on foiling the All Blacks pressure and by it they were able to change the visitor’s strategy to scrambling in defense rather than their renowned silky-smooth skills when they have control of a contest for most of the game. In fact, the All Blacks struggled for fluency in the first half because of the relentless defensive effort of the men in Gold resulting in an uncharacteristic morass of mistakes.  

In contests such as these two committed halves is the required minimum, but alas for the Wallabies, their fiery first half appeared to have sapped their momentum and the resultant stream of basic errors caused the blowout.

If lessons have been learnt Michael Hooper’s men must ensure the lapses are rectified. But expect a more committed All Black comeback too as Steve Hansen will not be satisfied with his charges effort being the perfectionist he has been.

The All Blacks for their part can review this as a wake-up call to the closing gap between themselves and the hungry pack in their wake bent on bringing their glorious run at the top of world rugby to a halt.

Returning skipper Kieran Read seemed to have made a difference to the All Blacks previous woes tightening the defense to near what it used to be and stifling many a threatening Wallabies counter attack which would have opened them up.

It all points to a riveting series and if the Wallabies can penetrate their graveyard where they have not tasted success for 32 years. An unlikely success could yet bring back that elusive Cup that has been away from Australia for too long.


South Africa and Argentina also figured in a titanic encounter before the Springboks took control of the game in the second half to win 34-21. The 2018 Rugby Championships promises to be closer this year than ever before.






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Swarna Pusthaka – Sri Lanka’s richest literary prize to be presented on Sept. 15

Five Sinhala novels shortlisted from record 125 published in 2017 in the running for prize purse of Rs 1 .25 million The race for the ‘Swarna Pusthaka’ award, Sri Lanka’s richest literary prize, has entered the final stretch with five Sinhala novelists vying for a purse of Rs 1.25 million – Rs 750,000 to the winner and Rs 100,000 each to the five finalists.

Presented annually for the past 11 years by the Sri Lanka Book Publishers’ Association (SLBPA), the Swarna Pusthaka (or Golden Book) award recognises the best work of Sinhala fiction published by a publishing company in the preceding year.

The 2018 award, to be presented at a grand ceremony at the BMICH on Saturday, 15tn September, will go to the novel chosen through three rounds of judging of 125 novels published in 2OL7 and submitted for consideration.

The five novels that made the final shortlist are ‘Appachchi Ewith’ by Saman Wickramarachichi (Sarasavi Publishers), ‘Asanaga Wesi’ by Darshana Shammi Wijethilake (Susara Publishers), ‘Chakra’ by Jayatilaka Kammellaweera (Wijesuriya Grantha Kendraya), ‘Yakada Silpara’ by Wimal Udaya Hapugodaarachchi (Fast Publishing), and ‘Warana’ by Padmini Seneviratne (Vidarshana Publishers).

The winner of the 2018 Swarna Pusthaka award will receive a total of Rs 850,000 in prize money, including the Rs 100,000 he or she is entitled to for making the final five.

A five-member supreme panel of judges will select the winner out of five novels that made the final shortlist. The judging panel for the first round comprised of 12 judges who were required to read every one of the 125 books. The twelve best novels shortlisted by this panel were then submitted to a second panel of five other judges, which cut the shortlist down to the final five.

The Chief Guest at the ‘swarna Pusthaka’ Awards ceremony will be Minister of Higher Education & Cultural Affairs, Dr Wijayadasa Rajapaksa, and the Guest of Honour the Managing Director of Sampath Bank, Mr Nanda Fernando. Sampath Bank is the Principal Sponsor of the 2018 Swarna pusthaka award.

“This award scheme was created with the aim of motivating writers, bringing out the best literary works and stimulating reading,” said Mr Vijitha Yapa, Chairman of the SLBPA. “We are greatly encouraged by the response to the initiative and its evolution over the years.,,
Presented by the Sri Lanka Book Publishers Association since 2007, the Swarna pusthaka Awards
programme is held in conjunction with the Colombo lnternational Book Fair (C|BF), which takes place
every September. This year’s book fair opens on Friday, 21’t September.

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Auxiliary Bishop of Colombo, Most Rev Maxwell Silva – Holy Innocents Church, Croydon (Sydney event)

Most Rev Maxwell Silva

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ

The Auxiliary Bishop of Colombo, Most Rev Maxwell Silva will be in Sydney. During his visit, he hopes to celebrate a Holy mass for the Sri Lankan Catholic community in Sydney.

You are cordially invited to participate at this mass 

on 23 September at 11.30 at Holy Innocents Church, Croydon followed by lunch.

Preferable dishes for the main meal are: 

  • Chicken Curry
  • Beef Badun
  • Potatoe tempered
  • Egg Plant Moju
  • Bean and Cadju curry

Desserts may include:

  • Biscuit Pudding
  • Creme Caramel
  • Pavlova.

Please email us back your attendance and what you would like to bring and the quantity – this would help us to have an idea of the number of people and quantities of food to set up the hall and tables for food accordingly.

Fr Chaminda Wanigasena

Chaplain Sri Lankan Catholic Community, NSW

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Margaret Varcoe

Margaret Varcoe, sister of Collingwood Magpies star Travis Varcoe (Photo Source: Nine Sports

A phrase, that takes on one of the most important decisions that EVERY Sporting Club, anywhere, should make. If it is, as termed, “a contact sport”, the “safety helmet” & the wearing of one, is paramount. “Aussie-rules” football would have to be the prime example, of a contact sport, and yet I have noticed a minimum number of players wearing head-gear, while concussion is common, especially when the game itself has become much more rough & ready nowadays. Head-clashes occur often and very sadly, it is this that ended in the fatality of a treasured sister of a Collingwood champion Travis Varcoe.

     Margaret Varcoe, like her brother, loved playing footy.

This beautiful Aboriginal girl has just succumbed to a head-clash, suffered in the very game that she loved to play.

Had she been wearing a safety helmet, I feel that the result would NOT have ended in a heartbreaking tragedy for Australia and especially the Varcoe family. Sure, the girls are now playing this game that was hitherto, a man’s game only, all the more reason that adequate safety procedures should be adopted. I do not mean to even compare the difference between Aussie Football & the American game, where the “players” are totally hidden under so much safety gear, it seems that they are non-existent. We prefer to “see” our sportsmen & women, in their physical-beauty, BUT, I say again, with their heads protected, at all times. Make it the same rule as seat-belts. You want to play, or even practise Aussie-rules, you wear a safety helmet. 

     I will take this no further. I have written about this problem before, but the hierarchy seem to take no notice.

However, eLanka & each and every Lankan Aussie sends our deepest sympathy to Travis Varcoe, his family and friends. Rest in peace Margaret. You died, doing what you loved to do, your team will always remember you and so will we.

Desmond Kelly

   Desmond Kelly.


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     An intriguing statement to an even more intriguing question.  When is “honey” not “honey”?. The answer is, when it is the honey that comes from China, because, as the Chinese tell us, “you get only what you pay for”. In other words, most of the honey we Australians eat, comes from China, and if we “Bs” wish to eat the pure nectar of real bees, we have to get off our backsides and pay more money for pure honey. Capilano’s “no-go”, our Social Media tells us so. According to them, (the S.M.), our money is not well spent, we’re getting about 70%(honey),& that’s not funny!!.

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This week is Multicultural Health Week 2018 (3 – 9 September) with the theme Health Literacy with the tagline ‘Talk, Act, Listen – for better health’.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant launched Multicultural Health Week this morning at the Liverpool Hospital which was attended by close to 150 people.

Health literacy is about how people understand information about health and health care and how they apply that information to their lives, use it to make decisions and act on it. 

The importance of health literacy is reflected in the National Safety and Quality Health Services Standards (second edition) / developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare.

The aim of Multicultural Health Week this year is to raise the importance of health literacy for health workers when working with people from multicultural groups. This year, we want to highlight the three domains:

  • Verbal communication (such as use of health care interpreters) 
  • Written communication (such as translated health information that are understandable)
  • Wayfinding (signages made easier for consumers to find key health services, as well as conducting hospital tours for newly arrived migrants and refugees)

Please see attached and below the following:

              Agenda for the week


NSW HEALTH MEDIA RELEASE: Talk, listen and ask for better health this multicultural health week


3 September, 2018


Talk, listen and ask for better health this Multicultural Health Week

The importance of communicating effectively with consumers from multicultural groups to ensure better health outcomes is being celebrated during Multicultural Health Week across the State this year.

Speaking at Liverpool Hospital today, NSW Health’s Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant launched the 2018 Multicultural Health Week and said the theme this year was Health Literacy – Talk, Listen, Ask – For Better Health.

 “With around 22 per cent of all consumers in the health system born in non-English speaking countries, the health literacy of this community is significantly lower than the general population,” Dr Chant said.

“Health literacy is how people understand information about health and health care and how they apply that information to their lives.

“Of those with a first language other than English, approximately 75 per cent had below-adequate health literacy, compared to 54 per cent of people with English as a first language.

“Typically culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities across NSW are also older and have a longer length of stay than other consumers.

“The role of our health workers assisting this population is more crucial than ever.”

Acting Director for the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service (MHCS), Michael Camit said the NSW Government has developed a new toolkit designed to help health workers support clients from CALD backgrounds.

“It contains information on assessing the need for an interpreter, risks around using friends and family members to interpret and the use of interpreters in health consultations,” Mr Camit said.

“The toolkit covers tips on ways to improve readability of health information, preparing health resources for translations and improve signage for health services as well as advise on hospital tours for newly arrived migrants.


“In 2016, 31.5 per cent of people across NSW spoke a language other than English at home compared to 27.5 per cent in 2011.


“The population of NSW is continually evolving and this week is a great opportunity to celebrate our diversity and vibrancy.”


For more information please go to:



NSW Health
Media line: (02) 9391 9121 (B/H) | (02) 9962 9890 (A/H)

Please send all media enquiries to

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Vijitha Yapa Sri Lanka – Online Book Store – We Ship Books Worldwide

2018 Colombo International Book Fair –
Colombo International Book Fair returns to city for milestone 20th year

vijitha yapa


Colombo International Book Fair returns to city for milestone 20th year

If last year’s figures are anything to go by, some 1.5 million book lovers from all over Sri Lanka can be expected to visit the BMICH over just 10 days later this month, when the annual Colombo International Book Fair (CIBF) returns for its 20th edition.

More than 450 exhibitors, 40 of them from overseas, have confirmed participation in the Book Fair, by footfall the largest annual exhibition in the country across all sectors.

Open to the public for 12 hours from 9am to 9pm each day at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Exhibition Centre within the BMICH precincts, this year’s Book Fair and will feature an ancillary Education and Career Guidance Exhibition at the BMICH’s Delegates Lounge. Organisers said 30 exhibitors including affiliates of foreign universities are expected to participate.

The Book Fair will see publishers, importers and retailers of books in English, Sinhala and Tamil as well as stationery, offering their products at 20% off their regular selling price, while stalls in the bargain section in Hall N will offer discounts of up to 80%.

Entrance is free for school children, university students, members of the clergy and armed forces personnel in uniform. Other visitors contribute an entrance fee of Rs 20 which is credited in its entirety to the ‘Daru Diriya’ scholarship fund which provides scholarships to impoverished students around the country. Selected students are sponsored from Grade I until they conclude their university education. The ‘Daru Diriya’ Scholarship scheme has sponsored many deserving children for the past 11 years.  

Minster of Education, Hon. Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, will officiate as Chief Guest at the opening of the Fair on 21st September while Gill Caldicott, Director of the British Council, Sri Lanka, will grace the occasion as Guest of Honour.

A highlight of the book fair will be the ‘Ketapath Pawura’ or ‘Mirror Wall’ near the open air hall. It offers visitors a wall on which to pen their creative pieces of poetry. After the conclusion of the Fair, the best works of visitor poetry will be compiled into a book and published, the organisers said.

The Fair will also feature a Kids’ Corner with art and craft activities. Over the 10 days of the exhibition, a series of book launches and literary discussions will provide interesting diversions for the literati, while cultural events including dramas and musical performances organised by Event Partner, the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, will add colour to the evenings.

As in other years, the organisers have arranged free shuttle bus services from Borella, Kollupitiya, Rajagiriya and the Town Hall to the BMICH. Visitors who arrive by car will have the services of a shuttle bus from the car parks to the exhibition halls. Ample covered outdoor seating, refreshment outlets, free drinking water and printed stall plans have also been organised for the benefit of visitors.

Earlier in August, 14 leading book publishers and booksellers formally signed contracts to sponsor the CIBF 2018, with Sarasavi Book Publishers taking on the mantle of Principal Sponsor. The Platinum Sponsors of the Fair are Akura Book Publishers; Godage Book Emporium; M. D. Gunasena & Co; Master Guide Publications; Rathna Book Publishers; Sadeepa Book Publishers; Samayawardhana Publishers and Wasana Book Publishers; while the Gold Sponsors are Dayawansa Jayakody & Company; Samudra Book Publishers; Sathara Prakashakayo and Susara Publications.

Organised by the Sri Lanka Book Publishers’ Association, with the support of Official Banker – Sampath Bank, Electronic Media Sponsors – Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation and Neth FM and Hospitality Partner – Makeen Books; the Colombo International Book Fair 2018 will be a showcase for all leading book publishers, booksellers, author-publishers, sellers of educational aids and material and providers of IT services.





The Vijitha Yapa Group of Companies began in April 1981 when Vijitha Yapa Associates were appointed by Dow Jones & Company Limited of USA to represent them for advertising sales and distribution of their publications as the exclusive agent. The International Herald Tribune of Hong Kong, Newsweek Magazine, The Reader’s Digest, The Economist, Business Week and The Times Group of India are among those who are represented by Vijitha Yapa for the sale of their publications in Sri Lanka. In addition, Lonely Planet Publications of Australia, Periplus Publications of Singapore, Konark Publications of India and Time Warner Books of UK are among the publishers who distribute their books on an exclusive basis through the Vijitha Yapa Group in Sri Lanka. In 1991 the Vijitha Yapa Group decided to establish a chain of bookshops, and today, there are twelve branches. Vijitha Yapa Bookshop is the largest English bookstore chain in Sri Lanka and offers more than 250,000 titles altogether.. The Vijitha Yapa group hold the exclusive rights to sell books in the transit lounge of Colombo’s International Airport. Vijitha Yapa Subscriptions is the largest subscription agent in Sri Lanka. The Vijitha Yapa group has 150 employees and is primarily involved with media related activities.



A subsidiary company of the Group is VYAPR, Sri Lanka’s first Public Relations Company, serving a number of international companies.



Vijitha Yapa publications have so far published 120 titles on a variety of subjects. The most successful Vijitha Yapa Publications so far have been “Sam’s Story” by Captain Elmo Jayawardena, and “The Road from Elephant Pass” by Nihal de Silva. These books won the prestigious Gratiaen Award in 2001 and 2003 respectively as the best literary works in English, produced in Sri Lanka.Marshall Cavendish bought the rights to Sam’s Story for south east Asia.



The Gratiaen Award was established by Michael Ondaatje, the well-known author, from the proceeds of the Booker Prize. He received the Booker Prize for his book “The English Patient”.



Other well known authors whose books have been published by Vijitha Yapa Publications include Punyakante Wijenaike, who won the gold medal at the first Commonwealth short story competition, and Carl Muller whose books have been published by Penguin India. Both these authors have won the Gratiaen Awards for their books.



Mr. Vijitha Yapa – Founder, Chairman and Managing Director Vijitha Yapa was the founder editor of three National Newspapers of Sri Lanka, The Island, The Sunday Island and The Sunday Times. He is also the author of three books, including the Travel book – “Insight pocket Guide” published by APA publications, Singapore. He is a well-known journalist and his articles and photographs have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Financial Times and The Far Eastern Economic Review. Mrs. Lalana Yapa – Director Lalana Yapa worked in the Attorney General’s Department and is married to Vijitha Yapa.

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