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A tribute to one of the greatest singers ever on her birth anniversary

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By Sunil Dharmabandhu
Retired visiting Mental Health Act Commissioner
UK
sunilrajdharm@yahoo.co.uk

Karen Anne Carpenter was an American singer and drummer who, along with her elder brother Richard, was part of the duo the Carpenters. Supremely talented and blessed with a distinctive three-octave contralto range, she was praised by her peers as one of the greatest singers ever. Her struggle with and eventual death from anorexia later raised awareness of eating disorders and body dysmorphia.

I am a regular ardent listener to Sri Lanka’s Gold FM in the U.K. and often get emotional when it plays Karen’s beautiful “Sing, sing a song”! This has its roots through a stage in my career working under the then medical director, Dr Mark Tattersall, a specialist in Eating Disorders at a private hospital in the U.K. where I learned first-hand how difficult and challenging it is to treat and look after adolescents, predominantly females suffering from typical and atypical eating disorders, some even having to be detained under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act which legally allowed force feeding through nasogastric tubes as such interventions are deemed to be lifesaving!

Background information

Karen was born on 02 March 1950 in New Haven, Connecticut and moved to Downey, in California, in 1963, with her family and died on Sri Lanka’s Independence Day in 1983. She began to study the drums in high school and joined the Long Beach State choir after graduating. After several years of touring and recording, Carpenters were signed to A & M Records in 1969, achieving enormous commercial and critical success throughout the 1970s. Initially, Karen Carpenter was the band’s full-time drummer, but gradually took the role of frontwoman as drumming was reduced to a handful of live showcases or tracks on albums. While the Carpenters were on hiatus in the late 1970s, she recorded a solo album, which was released years after her death.

At the age of 32, Carpenter died of heart failure due to complications from anorexia nervosa which was sadly little-known at the time even in the States and her death led to increased visibility and awareness of eating disorders. Interest in her life and death has spawned numerous documentaries and movies. Her work continues to attract praise, including appearing on Rolling Stones 2010 list of the 100 greatest singers of all time!

Karen was the daughter of Agnes Reuwer (née Tatum, March 5, 1915 – November 10, 1996) and Harold Bertram Carpenter (November 8, 1908 – October 15, 1988). Harold was born in Wuzhou in China, where his parents were missionaries. He was educated at boarding schools in England before finding work in the printing business.

Karen’s only sibling, Richard, the elder by three years, developed an interest in music at an early age, becoming a piano prodigy. Karen’s first words were “bye-bye” and “stop it”, the latter spoken in response to Richard. She enjoyed dancing and by age four was enrolled in tap dancing and ballet classes.

Family moves

The family moved in June 1963 to the Los Angeles suburb of Downey after Harold was offered a job there by a former business associate. Karen entered Downey High School in 1964 at age 14 and was a year younger than her classmates. She joined the school band, initially to avoid gym classes. Earliest symptom of an eating disorder? She graduated from Downey High School in the spring of 1967, receiving the John Philip Sousa Band Award, and enrolled as a music major at Long Beach State where she performed in the college choir with Richard. The choir’s director, Frank Pooler said that Karen had a good voice that was particularly suited to pop and gave her lessons in order for her to develop a three-octave range.

Karen Carpenter had a complicated relationship with her parents. They had hoped that Richard’s musical talents would be recognied and that he would enter the music business, but were not prepared for Karen’s success. She continued to live with them until 1974. In 1976, Carpenter bought two Century City apartments that she combined into one; the doorbell chimed the opening notes of “We’ve Only Just Begun”. She collected Disney Memorabilia and liked to play softball and baseball! Growing up, she played baseball with other children on the street and was picked before her brother for games. She studied baseball statistics carefully and became a fan of the New York Yankees. In the early 1970s she became the pitcher on a celebrity all-star softball team.

Petula Clark, Olivia Newton-John and Dionne Warwick were her close friends. While she was enjoying success as a female drummer in what was primarily an all-male occupation, Carpenter was not supportive of the women’s liberation movement, saying she believed a wife should cook for her husband and that when married, this was what she planned to do.

No interest in marriage

In early interviews, Carpenter showed no interest in marriage or dating, believing that a relationship would not survive constant touring, adding “as long as we’re on the road most of the time, I will never marry”. In 1976, she said the music business made it hard to meet people and that she refused to just marry someone for the sake of it. Carpenter admitted to Olivia Newton-John that she longed for a happy marriage and family. She later dated several notable men of the day.

After a whirlwind romance, she married real-estate developer Thomas James Burris on August 31, 1980, in the Crystal Room of The Beverly Hills Hotel. Burris, divorced with an 18-year-old son, was nine years her senior. A few days prior to the ceremony, Karen was taped singing a new song, “Because We Are in Love”, and the tape was played for guests during the wedding ceremony. The song, written by her brother and John Bettis, was released in 1981. The couple settled in Newport Beach. Carpenter desperately wanted children, but Burris had undergone a vasectomy and refused to undergo an operation to reverse it. Their marriage did not survive this disagreement and ended after 14 months. Burris was living beyond his means, borrowing up to $50,000 (the equivalent of $142,000 in 2020) at a time from his wife, to the point where reportedly she had only stocks and bonds left. Karen’s friends also indicated he was impatient.

A close friend, recounted an incident in which she and Karen went to their normal hangout, Hamburger Hamlet and Carpenter appeared to be distant emotionally, sitting not at their regular table but in the dark, wearing large dark sunglasses, unable to eat and crying. According to Kamon, the marriage was “the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was absolutely the worst thing that could have ever happened to her.”

In September 1981, Karen revised her will and left her marital home and its contents to Burris, but left everything else to her brother and parents, including her fortune estimated at $ 5 to 10 million (between $14,000,000 and $28,000,000 in 2020). Two months later, following an argument after a family dinner in a restaurant, Karen and Burris broke up. Carpenter filed for divorce on October 28, 1982, while she was in Lenox Hill Hospital.

Carpenter begins dieting

Karen began dieting while in high school. Under a doctor’s guidance, she began the Stillman diet eating lean foods, drinking eight glasses of water a day, (tantamount to water loading, a common tactic in eating disorders) and avoiding fatty foods. She reduced her weight to 120 pounds (54 kg) and stayed approximately at that weight until around 1973, when the Karens’ career reached its peak.That year, she saw a concert photo of herself in which her outfit made her appear heavy. She hired a personal trainer, who advised her to change her diet. The new diet caused her to build muscle, which made her feel heavier instead of slimmer. Carpenter fired the trainer and began her own weight-loss programme using exercise equipment and counting calories. She lost about 20 pounds (9 kg) and intended to lose another five pounds. Her eating habits also changed around this time; she would try to remove food from her plate by offering tastes to others with whom she was dining, typical tactics anorexics adopt in a sly manner!

By September 1975, Karen weighed 91 pounds (41 kg). At live performances, fans reacted with gasps to her gaunt appearance, and many wrote to the pair to ask what was wrong. She refused to declare publicly that she was in ill health; on her 1981 Nationwide appearance, she simply said she was “pooped”. Richard later stated that he and his parents did not know how to help Karen.

In 1981, she told Richard that there was a problem and that she needed help with it. Karen spoke with Cherry Boone who had recovered from anorexia, and contacted Boone’s doctor for help. She was hoping to find a quick solution to her problem, as she had performing and recording obligations, but the doctor told her treatment could take from one to three years.

Visit to psychotherapist

She then chose to be treated in New York City by a psychotherapist. By late 1981, Karen was using thyroid replacement medication, which she obtained using the name of Karen Burris, to increase her metabolism. She used the medication in conjunction with increased consumption of the laxatives (up to 80–90 tablets per night) upon which she had long relied, which caused food to pass quickly through her digestive tract. Despite Psychotherapist Levenkron’s treatment, including confiscation of medications that Karen had misused, her condition continued to deteriorate, and she lost more weight. Karen told Levenkron that she felt dizzy and that her heart was beating irregularly. Finally, in September 1982, she was admitted to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, where she was placed on intravenous parenteral nutrition. The procedure was successful, and she gained some weight in a relatively short time, but this put a strain on her heart, which was already weak from years of improper diet. How different treatment approaches are today when patients are prescribed strictly controlled diets, starting with the lowest at A gradually increasing to B, C etc., with weekly weight charts and physical exercise programmes too gradually increased after multidisciplinary team meetings involving nursing staff, dietitian, art therapist, psychologist, key worker and chaired by the Consultant. I recall the fiasco when the private hospital I was working at recruited an Australian chef who had worked at the Sydney Opera House: he prepared tasty dishes rich in calories which created an immediate uproar amongst the patients! Dietitian got involved quickly to diffuse the situation teaching him how to prepare prescribed calorie-controlled diets! The clinical practice was all the multidisciplinary team sit with patients at lunch time playing a supportive role and giving them set times to finish their meals under close supervision to stop “smearing, hiding, dropping bits of food etc.!

Determination to reinvigorate career

In Karen’s case, she was not able to receive such individual care plans though she maintained a relatively stable weight for the rest of her life and returned to California in November 1982, determined to reinvigorate her career, finalise her divorce and begin a new album with Richard. On December 17, 1982, she gave her last singing performance in the multi-purpose room of the Buckley School in Sherman Oaks in California, singing Christmas carols for her godchildren, their classmates and other friends. On January 11, 1983, she made her last public appearance at a gathering of past Grammy Award winners, who were commemorating the awards show’s 25th anniversary. She seemed somewhat frail and worn out, but according to Dionne Warwick was vibrant and outgoing, exclaiming, “Look at me! I’ve got an ass!” She had also begun to write songs after returning to California and told Warwick that she had “a lot of living left to do”.

Plans for resuming tour

On February 1, 1983, Karen saw her brother for the last time and discussed new plans for the Carpenters and resuming touring. Three days later, on February 4, Karen was scheduled to sign final papers making her divorce official. Shortly after waking up on that day, she collapsed in her bedroom at her parents’ home in Downey. Paramedics found her heart beating once every 10 seconds (6 bpm). She was pronounced dead at Downey Community Hospital at 9.41 am.

Carpenter’s funeral was held on February 8, 1983, at Downey United Methodist Church. Approximately one thousand mourners attended, including her friends. Her estranged husband, Thomas Burris, also attended and placed his wedding ring into her casket. Carpenter was buried at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Cypress, California. In 2003 her body was moved along with her parents to a private mausoleum at the Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park in Westlake Village in California.

An autopsy released on March 11, 1983, ruled out drug overdose, attributing death to “emetine cardio toxicity due to or as a consequence of anorexia nervosa. Karen was discovered to have abnormal blood sugar levels. Two years later, the coroner told colleagues that Carpenter’s heart failure was caused by repeated use of ipecac syrup, an over the counter emetic often used to induce vomiting in cases of overdosing or poisoning. This was disputed by Levenkron, who said that he had never known her to use ipecac and that he had not seen evidence that she had been vomiting. Karen’s friends were convinced that she had abused laxatives and thyroid medication to maintain her low body weight and thought this had started after her marriage began to crumble.

Eating disorders common

Eating disorders are one of the most common issues experienced by people all over the world, but often the least talked about. An estimated 30 million people are currently in the throes of an eating disorder, in the United States alone. Anorexia is one of many eating disorders, affecting people of all ages, backgrounds, and genders. But with the proper knowledge of the statistics behind anorexia, early intervention, and treatment, people with anorexia can get back to leading healthy and happy lives.

However, for teenagers and young adults, anorexia and other eating disorders can increase the odds of suicide by up to 32 times. Many anorexics feel hopeless and as the number one fatal mental illness in young people, eating disorders maintain a mortality rate that is 12 times higher than the mortality rate of all other causes of death within that age group. Regardless of age, every 1 in 5 anorexia deaths is a result of suicide. Without treatment, up to 20 percent of all eating disorder cases result in death. Ironically, it’s similar in prognosis to alcoholism- once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic, though one is an addiction and the other far more complicated. In addition to having an eating disorder, some patients have:

Underlying anxiety

Depression

Mood disorders

Personality disorders

Even self-harm issues

The prevalence of eating disorders in non-Western countries is lower than that of the Western countries but appears to be increasing, according to Maria Makino, MD, PhD and Lorriaine Dennerstein, MBBS, PhD in her thesis “Prevalence of Eating Disorders: A comparison of Western and Non-Western Countries



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Opinion

An open letter to 6.9 million

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Basil Rajapaksa has recently said that the Rajapaksas are not responsible for the dire situation in the country. He told the journalists not to pass the ball to him and he passed the ball to the people, especially to the 69 lakhs who voted the “Pohottuwa” into power.

So, my dear 6.9 million citizens,

You are my brothers and sisters. The Rajapaksas may blame you for the dire situation in the country but I do not blame you. I do not condemn you. For everybody makes mistakes. We are frail human beings. Now I am a senior citizen and in my life time I have been pickpocketed three times. It cost me three purses, a few thousand rupees and two ID cards to learn the lesson. But dear 6.9 million brothers and sisters your present political lesson cost all of us national bankruptcy, millions unemployed, unending queues for petrol, diesel, kerosene, cooking gas and passports, exorbitant price hikes of essentials, lack of essential medicines, looming starvation, anarchy, destruction and terrifying death. I hope you have learnt the lesson, at least by now.

Do you realise what kind of image you have shown to the world of our people, of us? Out of courtesy they will not voice it but they consider us damn fools.

Didn’t you know about the Rajapaksas and the tsunami funds? Didn’t you ever wonder how his three brats were spending like nothing and living it up like playboys? Have you never heard of Siriliya? Have you never heard of the deals between the Krish and the Rajapaksas? Didn’t you ever realise what an enormous amount of money has been wasted on useless white elephants, like the Lotus Tower, the Sooriyawewa Stadium, the Mattala Airport and the Hambantota Conference Hall? Why is it that the murderers of Thajudeen and Lasantha Wickrematunga can never be discovered? The latest revelation, from circumstantial evidence, is that Adani Group probably has dealings with the Rajapaksas. The Pandora Papers expose has raised the Rajapaksas to the notorious status of International Crooks. This is only the tip of the iceberg; if you scratch the garbage heap you’ll find more.

I cannot understand how the 69 lakhs got so thoroughly fooled by the Rajapaksas. You believed scandalous tales about infertility Kottu, infertility garments and Muslim doctors making Sinhala mothers sterile, etc. Everybody knows but nobody says who the brains behind the Easter Sunday massacre are. I guessed who it was quite soon. In any crime, the prime suspect is the one who profited most from it. Ask any police detective. The monks, intellectuals, professionals, and artistes were taken for a ride. Therefore, I do not blame you, the 69 lakhs. But the world was surprised that the citizens of Sri Lanka have such low IQ and can be so easily fooled.

Never mind all that; now let us talk about how to remedy the damage done to yourselves, us and the country. Here are a few methods to keep the right attitude to the current reality.

No.1: Never tolerate or get used to the hardships we are going through. If you are in a queue, curse the government loud enough so that at least the men in front and behind can hear you. The problem is not organising the queue more efficiently; the problem is there should not be any queues. The scarcity of petrol and diesel is a deliberate ploy by the heartless government to suppress the protest by the people. The only solution is a new stable and respected government and sending Rajapaksas to jail. Curse the government when the power cut begins. When you go shopping, curse the government loudly for the high prices of things or their lack. Keep the public aware of the hardships they unjustly endure. Never allow them to get used to it. Rage, rage against Gota and the 225 thieves.

No. 2: Either organise yourself or get somebody to organise small neighbourhood groups everywhere in your village, town and work place. Get in touch with someone in the Aragalaya and tell them you are ready for a final showdown.

No. 3: Write a letter of appreciation and encouragement to each one of the people who are at the Gotagogama. Or send a Thank You card for the sacrifices they are making for us and for our children. Here is their address: (Name) The Library, Gotagogama, Galle Face, Colombo 2.

No. 4: If you believe in a Universal Force or God, as I do, pray insistently with grief and groans and ask him to save our country from the rapacious scoundrels and killers who are holding our people by the scruff of the neck and robbing them clean.

No. 5: The evil government is driving us to a famine and starvation. Let us not be selfish. Let us share what we have or what little we have with those who do not have anything. Let us be always kind and considerate to our fellow citizens whoever they maybe.

Forget race, religion, language or whatever divides us. All of us are brothers and sisters in this national calamity, all children of Mother Lanka. Let us save her and ourselves together.

Down with the Ali Baba and the 225 thieves!

Aragalayata Jayawewa!
Fraternally your co-citizen,
Fr Chryso Pieris SJ

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Opinion

We will remember, and we will be grateful

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by Krishantha Prasad Cooray

For as long as the human race has organised itself into sovereign nations, no country has had a story of limitless success. Nations and empires alike have risen and fallen, over thousands of years. Every language has phrases like “it takes a village” to remind us of the limitations of individual people and the need to work together. Similarly, no nation will ever thrive in isolation. The fate of every country is dependent on its relationships with other countries, with allies who share their values and who support each other in times of need.

History is littered with examples of countries that have been beset by natural disasters, militarily crippled, ridden with diseases, targeted by terrorism or economically ruined. What separates those who overcome these challenges from those that don’t is the willingness of other countries to come to their aid.

After World War II, for example, when the Axis powers were roundly defeated, it was the countries that vanquished them who stepped in to rebuild them. Indeed, without the aid of the Allies, neither Germany nor Japan would have grown into the economic powerhouses they are today.

The Marshal Plan, an American initiative, enabled West Germany and other West European nations to rise from the ashes of war and gain rapid economic development.

Japan, on the other hand, had far fewer friends. As European victims of German aggression feared the prospect of a united Germany, Asian victims of Japanese aggression feared a remilitarised Japan. Cold War politics too played a role, with the Soviet Union accusing the United States of planning to turn Japan into a military camp against itself and China. It was only at the San Francisco Peace Conference in 1951 that a peace treaty was finally signed, ending the occupation of Japan, restoring Japanese independence, and putting the country on a path to prosperity.

At that conference, it was then Sri Lankan Finance Minister Junius Richard Jayawardena, who spoke most persuasively about the case for making peace with Japan as an independent non-occupied nation. Jayewardene reminded the audience that prior to the barbarity of World War II, Japan had long been a staunch ally of other Asian nations. “It is because of our age-long connections with her, and because of the high regard the subject peoples of Asia have for Japan when she alone, among the Asian nations, was strong and free and we looked up to her as a guardian and friend,” he reminded the assembled world leaders.

Japan has never forgotten, and even today, memorial statues and plaques across Japan mark the country’s gratitude to J.R. Jayewardene. Sri Lanka, at the time, had nothing to gain from the vanquished Japanese. But we came to the aid of a nation in need and did the correct thing. A quarter century later, when J.R. Jayewardene became President of Sri Lanka, our relationship with Japan became one of the cornerstones of Sri Lanka’s subsequent prosperity.

Today, Sri Lanka finds itself crippled by an unprecedented crisis. Our people are in abject financial peril. Over a quarter of the country is starving and malnourished. The economy is paralyzed and many children are unable to reach schools due to fuel shortages. Electricity has become a luxury, and essential medicines have become scarce.

This is not the doing of the people but the result of mismanagement by corrupt, incompetent and short-sighted politicians holding the reins of power for their own gain. These politicians benefited. The people suffered. They suffer as I write and will suffer for a long time more to come.

It is tragic to see a country as resilient as Sri Lanka, with a proud history, being reduced to such a state. One day, I have no doubt that my country will rise again. But we will only do so with the support of friends, who will speak in solidarity and act in support.

Sri Lanka is but the first country to see its economy collapse at the mercy of corruption and rising global food and oil prices. It won’t be the last. Before long, other poorly managed countries will also begin to waver. Each stumbling nation can be rescued one at a time, but if several countries all collapse together, the chain reaction could paralyze the economies of not just the region, but the entire world. Sri Lanka, in particular, is ripe for rescue.

The people are clamouring for serious institutional and constitutional reform. If these reforms are coupled to both humanitarian aid and commercial investments, the payoff will be not just a monetary one, but one of deep gratitude.At this time, if people, institutions and nations alike come to the aid of the Sri Lankan people, that aid is needed like never before. Doing so will help avert or minimize a humanitarian crisis like Sri Lanka has never known. Any country can make a contribution to help feed the starving, heal the sick, employ the unemployed, light up a classroom, and take other steps to help Sri Lanka to jumpstart its economy.

It was such words of support, and deeds of solidarity that helped Japan in 1951, and for which Japan has remained grateful so many decades later. Likewise, such a word, such a deed, will be remembered by Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans, those who are suffering right now, those who survive, and their children. It is a brand of gratitude that is special because it is altruistic. People will remember, ‘they didn’t have to, they had nothing to gain, but they did anyway.’ We will remember, and we will be grateful.

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Opinion

Ohe Innava ; ban on Russian tennis players; greed leads via deceptive satisfaction to disaster

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Sins of the leaders suffered by innocents

This beautiful island seems to be at a standstill and its people rather dazed, confined to homes or queues for days on end (no longer hours). Maybe, Jaffna and its southern neighbouring Vanni are better equipped mentally and stoically to withstand these vagaries of fortune and carry on their lives as they know well, through experience (1983 to 2009 and even thereafter), with inbuilt mental and physical resistance. The government that should be so very occupied looking after its people, and MPs and their bosses mandated to do so, only continue emanating hot air and cruise around in their gas guzzlers, of course, in protected areas. They feel the anger of the people: righteous, justified and ready to burst forth in flames of anarchy at the first ignition. One VIP speaks to the public of imminent arrival of ships laden full with fuel and cooking gas; and another VVIP on further necessity to tighten belts and suffer. All of us are near suffocation because of the mistakes, corruption, extravagance and bl… idiocy of those who ruled us.

The biggest man, almost daily, gathers sundry officers to his vast meeting hall and while they gaze at him, some mindlessly but none interrupting, pontificates mostly on how they should be alleviating the hardships of the population. He singlehandedly caused farmers and now us immense deprivation. He thought his mea culpa would exonerate him. The ex-PM and doing-just-as-they bid ex-Gov of CB sit out in comfort on the look out to escape. The dethroned VIP heir is creeping back to meetings where he is not justified being in. Dreams of a glorious return? Shatter them to bits, you people are NOT coming back ever to power. 20 million people, including kids, know you all too well now and the bung screwed on tight on criticism popped off, released mostly by the peaceful protesters of Mynagama and GotaGoGama. Thank goodness for them!

Cass listened to the articulation of peaceful protesters in Havelock Town carrying succinct boards and good sense and intelligence in their heads as relayed by 8.30 pm Newsline of MTV TV One on Tuesday 28 late evening. What emerged was most forceful censure of the powers that were and are. ‘Go home Gota’ they said in unison and decently. What sort of a skin does one need to enable one to stay on when disliked so intensely and shown the exit explicitly by millions here and overseas. The protective skin of the armed forces is not available, one presumes. As is said, the soldiers’ old mothers can barely make ends meet with soaring prices and fathers are in queues, so how expect them to turn against their own suffering people even though commanded to do so?

Wimbledon

The cricket matches between the Aussie team and a revived, zestful Sri Lankan team have been giving solace to a major section of our people. That is fine, since one needs to divert one’s mind and also grab whatever respite one can from the ongoing disaster that is our beloved country.

Cassandra is a tennis buff deriving not only sporty enthusiasm but also aesthetic satisfaction by watching good players on court. How so the latter, one may query. Just watch a good player and witness his/her playing is ballet like in postures and grace; a fine synchronization of muscle and limb. And for Cassandra the best is to watch the Wimbledon matches, the players and linesman and ball pickers all in white. Maybe Cass is conservative, a throw back on her upbringing, but discipline even in what the players wear is pleasing to her. Wimbledon times are not so inconvenient to us as matches start there at 3.30 (it was said) and so by 8.00 pm one can watch them over sports channels. It’s when the US Open is on that one has to watch into all hours of our night.

Wimbledon has banned Russian players and so men’s world number 1 Daniil Medvedev is out – banned; so also number 8 Andrey Rublev and women’s numbers 6 and 13 – never mind names, difficult to even spell. Great pity, especially regards Medvedev – almost humble on court – but again proof that sins of the leaders fall on ordinary heads. The organisers of Wimbledon decided in April to ban players from Russia and Belarus in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. So, ex KGB Putin’s fear of European Union’s expansion of influence and protection, or greed for expansion of Russian controlled territory or even a desire to re-establish a sort of USSR have impacted on innocent sportsmen and women.

Greed may be satisfied temporarily but degraded shame is permanent result

‘Bollywood actress of Sri Lankan origin’ as Jacqueline Fernandez is named by S Venkat Narayan and other media persons, has again been questioned by the Indian Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the gifts of dollars and expensive items given her and her family members by billionaire conmen Sukesh Chandrashekhar. Cass is not flogging a dead horse (or much alive, lovely mare here) but quoting this tidbit from Tuesday June 28 press, wishing to impress on herself and her readers that avarice and boundless greed lead to retribution and perhaps heart searing regret. It is obvious Jackie entertained the conman, and very intimately we suppose, to be worth all those millions gifted to her. It surely cannot be love. That explanation for the close liaison is good for the fairies to narrate. She was motivated by desire for quick immense wealth. And she has landed flat on her face: passport impounded, reputation gone, and with it admirers and Salman Khan too perhaps, and sure shot no offers of further stardom. She was catapulted to be top of the beauts on par with now exclusive Aishwaria Rai Bachchan. And what has avarice brought her to?

Cass in her age earned wisdom warns young beauties not to gamble on good looks. Many are the girls who did so and surely are cast aside and also fearful now since tables have been turned on their benefactors mostly by the sensible young ones of GotaGoGama. Where’s that beauty queen whose crown was snatched as placed on her by political influence, who accompanied Lohan R to Welikada prison in short shorts to view the gallows? We heard many a chick was given jobs, sometimes double at Sri Lankan, with no English ability, etc. No wonder our airline nose-dived and is still on that perilous down swing but sustained by government monetary life lines. Many were the discards given employment in Sri Lankan.

Another point: definitely a too flogged horse: are those who plundered government money and assets by the millions, nay billions happy and leading fine lives. Nay, No and Nein! They may be safe and their stolen wealth intact and in no danger of being confiscated, but their minds? Wellbeing? They cannot have such thick hides that satisfying the five senses brings them peace of mind? Again, a thundering NO. Reputations ground to dust; friends disappeared; and the door to a return to political power shut bang. Jolly good for those damned thieves who sent our country down to the depths. We will rise, that’s for sure. We have good people in the majority.

On that rousing note of determination to rise from the depths, Cassandra wishes you bye, for now. May its enforced curtailment of normal routines; immense difficulties and future bleakness not depress you too much. We as a country can only now go upwards, hit rock bottom as we are.

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