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Kumar Anthony Paul Fernando: Forgiveness incarnate

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“Beautiful Memories silently kept of one that we loved and will never forget” is what’s inscribed in Kumar’s tombstone by his family. It’s been one year for the 12th of September 2020 since my good friend Kumar Fernando left us to go to his creator. Even though he is no more with us, his memory and influence will always live on, in the lives of those who knew him, and were touched by his generosity and kindness. Kumar’s life has left an indelible imprint in the life of his close family and friends and this void can never be filled.

I got to know Kumar initially in 1972 while we were in school, but it was much later that we both entered the same profession as planters and worked in the same area and thus became close friends. This culminated in him inviting me to be his ‘best man’ at his wedding in 1976, a moment I still cherish.

Several years later after excelling in his chosen career as a Planter in Sri Lanka, he had the good fortune of being selected to work in Transkei, South Africa, where he worked with distinction for the Magwa Tea Corporation for 14 years, rising to the position of General Manager – Operations before he decided to leave Transkei for Melbourne, Australia at the pinnacle of his career.

His new home, Melbourne Australia offered Kumar many opportunities. Due to his versatility, entrepreneurial competence, and dedication he set up a successful restaurant business with his wife Nelu in a very short space of time. As always Kumar worked tirelessly to set it up, and the business flourished even in a highly competitive environment like Melbourne, purely because of Kumar’s commitment, perseverance and hard work.

Kumar unhesitatingly shared his success with others by unselfishly sharing his time and advice specially with many Sri Lankans who were learning the nitty grittier of business in Melbourne. I have had personal knowledge of some people whom he has helped, and these were some of his very endearing qualities that are rare in today’s world. Another quality that I found in Kumar as the years went by is that he could easily forgive those who wronged him and even go to the extent of helping such people and encouraged others to do so too.

By this quality he was practising the biblical principles of ‘forgiveness’ which many find hard to do. I know that this characteristic of forgiving others came very easily to him, entirely because of the grace he carried from the Lord. Forgiving and caring for people and assisting them came very naturally to Kumar. During my few visits to Melbourne, we used to discuss this area of forgiveness and spirituality in detail and I was amazed by his faith.

In the Gospel of Luke Chapter 6: verses 27-28 Jesus says ‘but to you who are willing to listen, I say love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you, pray for those who hurt you”. I can clearly say that Kumar lived and practised the Lord’s instructions and this is the legacy he left behind for his close friends and family. While I know that Nelu and his children Tehani, Ayesh and Sudesh and the extended family will continue to miss Kumar immensely, they can be proud that Kumar’s life was exemplary, serving the Lord and living the Word to his best always.

Visiting Melbourne will never be the same for me, I will miss Kumar and the special times we shared. I will always hold dear the fond memories I have of him and I am proud to have been his close friend for there many years. I know that the Lord Jesus has granted him eternal rest.

Rohan M Fernando



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HNB partners Hayleys Agri for offers on Kubota, Agrotech, Farmtrac agriculture machinery

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(from left) Hayleys Agriculture Sales Manager Sunil Gamini, Hayleys Agriculture General Manager Sumith Herath, Hayleys Agriculture Director Lushan Abesekara, Hayleys Agriculture Director Amjad Rajap and Hayleys Agriculture Managing Director Jayanthi Dharmasena with HNB Deputy General Manager- Retail and SME Banking Sanjay Wijemanne, HNB Head of Micro Finance Vinodh Fernando, HNB Head of Personal Financial Services Kanchana Karunagama, HNB Head of Leasing Niluka Amarasinghe, HNB Assistant Manager- Leasing Roshan de Silva and HNB Business Development Executive- HNB Leasing Mahesh Ratnayake.
 
HNB PLC, renewed its partnership with leading agricultural machinery and equipment supplier Hayleys Agriculture, to offer customers convenient leasing solutions and attractive benefits for Kubota, Agrotech and Farmtrac range of machinery.
 
 The partnership which offers HNB customers special rates on tractors, transplanters and harvesters was inked at a ceremony held at Hayleys Head Office. HNB Deputy General Manager- Retail and SME Banking Sanjay Wijemanne and Hayleys Agriculture Managing Director Jayanthi Dharmasena graced the ceremony as guests of honor.
 
 “Last year was especially challenging for us all. However, we have continued to work tirelessly to provide our customers with the best possible deals available in the market. As such, we hope that entrepreneurs in the agricultural industry will make use of this offer to strengthen and expand their businesses,” HNB Head of Personal Financial Services Kanchana Karunagama said.

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Virtusa sponsors first virtual IEEE Sri Lanka robotics workshop

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The Arduino compatible ZUMO 32U4 robot interfaced using ROS during the workshop

Virtusa Corporation (NASDAQ GS: VRTU), a global provider of digital strategy, digital engineering, and IT services and solutions that help clients change and disrupt markets through innovation engineering, sponsored the first in a series of ‘Workshop’ branded events organized by IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) Sri Lanka Section Chapter in partnership with IEEE Sri Lanka Section.
 
 Anchored to an alliance that goes back a number of years, Virtusa and the IEEE RAS Sri Lanka Section Chapter moved away from the traditional ‘Meetup’ to host a full day virtual workshop, offering a unique opportunity for participants to engage with robotics and automation experts on a virtual platform. An introduction to Robot Operating System (ROS) – the workshop explored the fundamentals of ROS including robot theory, perception, navigation and manipulation, followed by hands-on sessions on ROS basics, as well as moving and manipulating robots online.
 
 “Moving away from the physical auditorium set-up to a virtual platform, we were extremely thrilled with the participation we saw during the full-day workshop,” commented Dr. Peshala Jayasekara, Senior Lecturer – Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering, University of Moratuwa, lead presenter at the workshop. “Over 120 students, undergraduates, postgraduates, academia and industry stakeholders enthusiastically engaged and invested their day to successfully complete the workshop with an IEEE Technical Sponsorship, one of the highest recognitions in the world.”
 
The significance of robotics and automation largely depends on the broader collaboration between researchers and end-users of various domains – market potential that Virtusa continues to explore. Servicing multiple industries with intelligent engineering automation among a growing solutions portfolio, Virtusa promotes robotics research and application to generate greater impact by developing solutions to end-user driven challenges.
 
 “Robotics, particularly intelligent automation is rapidly changing the new norm of the IT industry,” Misnad Haque, Director – Technology at Virtusa elaborated. “From automated IT quality assurance to autonomous spaceflight, the opportunities to develop and nurture these bots are limitless. Events like this bring together like-minded humans – and perhaps robots too in the future –facilitating innovation through knowledge-sharing as well as experiential platforms that organizations like Virtusa can provide.”
 
 “Our aim is to host an IEEE Sri Lanka Robotics Workshop each year among other events, so that we can work together with expert resource personnel who are on par with global robotics trends and insights,” stated Prof. Chandima Pathirana, chairman of IEEE RAS Sri Lanka Chapter. “With Virtusa’s continued sponsorship and support, we are proud to say that this session delivered on the promised level of exposure and knowledge on robotics, and we look forward to inspiring the growing group of robotics enthusiasts in Sri Lanka.”
 

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Hyundai hands over ‘The Suites’ and ‘The Offices’ at Cinnamon Life to John Keells Properties

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Cinnamon Life Engineering Manager Yasindu Wijayawickrama, JKP COO Inoke Perera, HKN Senior Project Manager J.C. Wook, JKP Head of Sales Nadeem Shums, JKP CFO Ravi Wijewantha, JKP CMO Roshanie Jayasundera-Moraes, JKH Leisure Group President Suresh Rajendra, JKH chairman Krishan Balendra, HKN Project Director T.H Kim, JKH Property Group Sector Head Nayana Mawilmada, JKH Property Group Head of Asset Management Theekshana Jayarathna, HKN Senior Project Manager J.H Kim, HKN Resident Director Seo Seong-Soo
 
 
Cinnamon Life, John Keells Properties’ iconic mixed-development project, is ever closer to redefining Colombo’s skyline with the completion of its plush residential tower ‘The Suites’ at Cinnamon Life and the state-of-the-art office tower, ‘The Offices’ at Cinnamon Life.
 
 With its construction now complete, the 196-unit apartment building and the 30 storey office tower were ceremonially handed over to John Keells Holdings (JKH) chairman Krishan Balendra by T.H. Kim – Project Director of the contractor HKN (a joint venture between Hyundai, Keangnam and Nawaloka).
 
 Speaking at the event, Balendra said the completion of ‘The Suites’ and ‘The Offices’ at Cinnamon Life heralds a new beginning for the city of Colombo.
 
 Noting that the apartment buildings and the offices are a key feature in its mammoth integrated development project, the JKH chairman said, once completed, Cinnamon Life will rival anything that the South Asian region has to offer.
 
 “John Keells Holdings first conceptualized Cinnamon Life in 2010. Operating Cinnamon Grand and Cinnamon Lakeside, two large five star hotels, we knew that Colombo didn’t have the facilities to host large regional events. Cinnamon Life with its 800 roomed hotel, multiple banqueting and conferencing spaces and retail space is now positioned to host some of the biggest events in the region, particularly in South Asia,” he said.
 
 “It’s the largest private investment in Sri Lanka to date, and with its completion in the next year, we expect that Cinnamon Life will position Colombo as the leisure, entertainment and retail epicentre of the South Asian region,” he added.
 
 Balendra further added “These are challenging times, not just for us but for the world as a whole. With the right attitude, however, no challenge is insurmountable and as we, together with HKN, have ably demonstrated with the completion of these two towers.”

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