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Our ‘In’s’ and ‘Out’s’ in the English language



by S. N. Arseculeratne

The English language has spread world-wide like the pandemic of Covid. In Sri Lanka the English language has become our lingua franca.

We vintage colonials, use English in conversations at home but when my friends cross-swords with me, they use Sinhala occasionally which is more expressive. We Lankan locals have expressive repartees, “Ado” for look here, “Bambuwa” for nonsense, yako”’ for you devil, and “tho”, “thopi” and “pissa” for inccorrigibles. And bravo, the Oxford English Dictionary has now included the Sinhala word ‘Aiyo’, so why not enrich the English language with these other words also? Though English is often our Lingua domestica, it continues to plague me. Here’s why.

At a recent party, the comperè invited “men and their spouses” for a game. Look, the plural of mouse is not mouses but mice, so why shouldn’t he have asked men and their spice to join? That’s more spicy and s-exciting. Many from Portugal are Portuguese but one chap should be a Portugoose, as with goose and geese, but not so, why? I like being outspoken, but I cannot be inspoken. The pragmatic Americans who invented the atomic bomb also made reparations to the English language. They dispensed with unnecessary prefixes that fix me, but we in school were taught English-English which had these prefixes. I was driving behind a petrol bowser which admitted being ‘Highly Inflammable’. Being a literal man, taking it as English-English, I lit my pipe but my passenger threw it out of the window. He was an American to whom petrol is flammable, and in America I wouldn’t have lost my pipe.

Cricket is thoroughly English, but we former British colonials won the Cricket World Cup in the 1990s. We spend five days in the hot sun (when is the sun not hot?) playing it, and when an American wanted to know what this game is all about, he was told by his English friend: “You see, you have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man who’s in the side that’s in, goes out and when he’s out, he comes in, and bats until he’s out. When they are all out, the side that’s been out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When both sides have been in and out, including the not out’s, that’s the end of the game”. Having won a World Cup in cricket we Lankans are not bowled-out by that explanation but the pragmatic Americans called it a day as they found English cricket is confusing and settled for baseball instead; all’s well as it lasts only a few hours. But we intrepid Lankans still play cricket and not our traditional game of gudu.

There are other hiccups in the English language; these relate to the prefixes ‘ex’ and ‘in’; We have an exhaust but no inhaust. Amogst other former colonials, the Malaysians are reasonable people and so, despite their British colonialism, they have simplified English with exhaust and term it egzos; Ice cream, to them has become simply aiskrim. Other outlandish folk also use English as when a Thai lab-lady told me, on seeing me enjoying music “Buchy, you are so enjoyable”. I dared not relate that to my wife.


And we simple ex-colonials are sometimes just as blunt; a restaurant in Kandy has the name “Eat me“, and another advertises its ware as being of “Purity, quality and tasty”. But when a grocery store in Kandy advertised that it sells “Cow Pee” my wife asked me whether they also sell “Bull shit“. There are other quandaries. There are in-things but not out-things. I have met insufferable people but never a sufferable one. We then have in-laws and sometimes they are outlaws.

Kids find this in-out matter amusing, with the following story. Two skunks that are known to stink, In and Out went out for a walk. In got lost but Out located him. When asked how he did it, he replied “In stinked”; it could also have been because of Out’s instinct. Animals display instinct but seldom outstinct; species sometimes get biologically extinct. The only animal that displays out-stinks are skunks. The remedy for this in-out imbroglio is what we had in junior school, Practical English, but I think this has now disappeared from school curricula; it should be restored. I’ll stop wearing decrepit clothes and shoes and wear only crepit ones but shops do not sell crepit footwear. I prefer to doctrinate folk to be good, not merely indoctrinate them. So it’s no wonder that some wise guy said that the English language takes the cake for blatant inconsistency, and I’ll vote for him for the Pulitzer Prize for Archaeo-Linguistics. The late Professor S. R. Kottegoda, who was the Founding President of the Society for the restoration of the Lost Positives in the English language, would have been happy to read this, but the old bard at Stratford-upon-Avon might not have been amused.

Humour is what keeps me going. As a youth I enjoyed reading Stephen Leacock, James Thurber, Damon Runyon, Bill Bryson, PG Wodehouse, Lord Chesterfield’s Letters to his son, and our own Tarzie Vitachchi of yesteryear, and last Sunday, I read an ad for the fare in a guest house “up-country” (note-we have no down country but only low country). “Newly Tourist Hotel, Working distance from the city, beautiful cold, mist windy, Buffet and Ala Cart“.

However insufferable English-English is, and despite these hiccups in I will not use a sufferable lingo such as Urdu or Esperanto, I’ll continue to hiccup in Singlish, the local dialect of the Queen’s English. However we Lankans are claimed to be high on English literacy scale, and our debt to papa Shakespeare must be acknowledged. And now that our word “Aiyo is in the Oxford English Dictionary, I might be permitted to greet the old Bard Bill Shakespeare with another common Sinhala word “Ado” and say to Bill patting him on his back, “Ado Bill, Sinhala is now in the world’s English”.

Despite our massacre of the English language, we owe a huge debt to old Bill Shakespeare the father of the language. He is so great, several compatriots claim him to be of their own kind. Many articles have appeared on him, but I want to know who Shakespeare really was. He is so famous that diverse people claim him as their own. The Sinhalese think he was Shakes Perra of Bambalapitiya, the Burghers think he was Shakes Pereira a Burgher from Kotahena, those of Portuguese origin think he was Shakes Fereira from Lisbon, the Tamils think he was Shekar Periar from Killinochchi, the Muslims swear that he was Sheik Shapir from Kattankudy, The hiccups in our use of English could have originated from the diverse ancestry of the olde Bard. But Ann Hathaway had the last word and hath her way; she knew that he was really an Englshman from Stratford Upon Avon, and she married him as women always have the last word. But dear reader, you can have it As you like it, as Bill himself wrote as the title of as his play.

Bill was a great writer and philosopher who wrote All the world’s a stage and the men and women merely players. And as we age we get sans eyes, sans ears, sans hair and sans everything. So naturally I was scared about my being sans hair but my barber reassured me that being a thinker I am bald in front; sexy people are bald behind and people who think they are sexy are totally bald which I am not. My optimist doctor reassured me that my eyes are OK, as I can see through people, and with both eyes through one keyhole.



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To recognise and reward Women Entrepreneur



by Zanita Careem

WCIC “Prathibhabis-heka” national awards will be given to outstanding women entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka and the SAARC said Anoji de Silva, the chairperson of Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce WCIC at a press conference held at the Jetwing hotel Ward PlaceThis year the Women Entrepreneur Awards 2022 is powered by DFCS Aloka.This National Award which is recognised globally will help women to market their products to international buyers

“As a country we have faced many difficulties over the last few years. Now this is the time to reflect and ensure that local women can contribute and progress to be on par with international entrepreneurs She also noted that this award ceremony is a great opportunity for all since it’s an absolutely empowering platform. “You hear success stories of women from different walks of life and it’s very empowering and inspiring. I’m sure that the younger generation of women who will watch the ceremony wii be inspired to be sucessful entrepreneurs in the future S

“Our women entrepreneurs have the potential to help our economy to grow. They have made vast strides to build companies on a set of values and they have created diverse working environments.

The WCIC Prathibhabisheka Women Entrepreneur Awards will be held in January 22. To the question how financial records of small businesses headed by women could deter their ability to apply the chairperson said.

“We have a startup category which is under five years where they can submit documents for consideration. She responded “These women can apply but must submit proper records to back their applications or else they will be rejected wholeheartedly.The Women Entrepreneur Awards 2022

“Prathibha” depicts excellence in Sanskrit and WCIC will showcase the excellence of outstanding women entrepreneurs through WCIC Prathibhabisheka –

“The relaunched property is structured to assess the businesses in a holistic manner. We invite outstanding women entrepreneurs, especially the ones who have braved the challenges in the past years to share their story of resilience and achievements to compete for the coveted – WCIC Prathibhabisheka The Awards will honour women entrepreneurs for their tenacity to scale and grow, and for their contribution and impact on the economy. Whilst the competition is primarily for Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs, we have also included an opportunity for women in the SAARC region to compete in a special category” stated Anoji De Silva, the Chairperson of the WCIC.

The members of WCIC Ramani Ponnambalam and Tusitha Kumarakul-asingam, said”. We will be accepting applications under the categories – Start-up, Micro, Small, Medium and Large. Each category will have a specified revenue for the year under review – 2021/22. Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards will be presented for each category. With the view to identify and promote regional women entrepreneurs, we will encourage applications from all the provinces in the country and select the “Best of the Region” from each province.

The women will also be considered for the coveted special awards – Young Woman Entrepreneur, Outstanding Start- up, Most Positively Abled Woman Entrepreneur, The Most Outstanding Export Oriented Entrepreneur, The Best of the SAARC Region. The ceremony will culminate with the selection of the “Women Entrepreneur of the year -2022”.

“The entry kit can be downloaded from and completed and submitted to the WCIC along with all the material required to substantiate the applicant’s story. Entries close on the 31st of October.” stated Tusitha Kumarak-ulasingam.

WCIC Prathibabisheka – Woman Entrepreneur Awards 2022 is powered by– DFCC Aloka, as the Platinum Sponsor, with Gold Sponsors – Mclarens Group, LOLL Holdings Plc, Hayleys Leisure Pic, and AIA Insurance Lanka Ltd (Exclusive Insurance Partner), Silver – Finez Capital Ventures Print and Social Media Partners will be the Wijeya Group and Electronic Media Partner–ABC Network with Triad as our Creative Partner and Ernst & Young as Knowledge Partner.

Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC) is the premier organization supporting entrepreneurs and professional business-women. The membership is open to women who believe they can contribute to society as well as benefit from the many facilities the organization creates. WCIC Prathibhasheka is relaunched this year as a flagship property, to recognize and reward outstanding women enterpreneurs who make a contribution to the SL economy.

For further information Contact- Janitha Stephens – 0766848080

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Marmalade sandwich in Queen’s handbag!



In this period of national mourning, it may seem frivolous to comment on the late Queen’s handbag. After seven decades of selfless service to the nation, fashion is but a footnote to Her Majesty’s glorious reign.And yet her style is something that helped to create the powerful majestic image of Queen Elizabeth II, and which made her instantly recognisable worldwide. A key part of that image, and a constant presence in her working life, was her black Launer handbag.

Launer London was Her Majesty’s handbag maker for more than 50 years and has held the Royal Warrant since 1968. Launer bags are formal and structured, and proved to be the ideal regal accessory for public engagements. Its first royal patronage came from HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in the 1950s. Where others might have bought the latest ‘It’ bag, Queen Elizabeth exercised characteristic restraint with her handbags throughout her life, focusing on quality over quantity in her loyalty to Launer.

Her Majesty was known for her love of colour in her working wardrobe, wearing rainbow brights in order to be better seen by the public, but her accessories were always muted. Black mostly, sometimes beige or white in summer, gold or silver in the evening: neutrals that matched with every colour, allowing her to dress with ease. The timeless style of her trusty Traviata top-handle bag suited the Queen’s no-nonsense nature and symbolised her steadfast reign. The late Baroness Thatcher shared the Queen’s love of a strong top handle from classic British labels such as Launer and Asprey. These bags helped promote a look of someone in control. Like Queen Elizabeth, Thatcher’s handbags were such a part of her identity that they have earned their own special place in history and have been described as the former PM’s ‘secret weapon’. One such bag has been exhibited at the V&A alongside Sir Winston Churchill’s red despatch box. Both are artefacts of cultural and historic importance.

It has been said that there was another purpose to the Queen’s handbag on public engagements, namely that she used it as a secret signalling device. According to royal historian Hugo Vickers, Her Majesty would switch the bag from her left arm to her right to signal for an aide to come to her rescue if she tired of the conversation in which she was engaged. If she placed the bag on the table, this was a sign that she wanted to leave. Ever-practical, HM needed a bag that focused on functionality over fashion, choosing styles with slightly longer top handles that comfortably looped over the monarch’s arm, freeing her hands to accept bouquets and greet the public. Even in her final photograph, meeting her 15th prime minister in her sitting room at Balmoral Castle, just two days before her death last week, the Queen’s handbag can be seen on her left arm. Perhaps at this stage it was part armour, part comfort blanket.Even at the age of 96, Queen Elizabeth II did not lose her ability to surprise. She delighted the public by taking tea with Paddington Bear at her Platinum Jubilee celebrations and finally revealed what she keeps in her handbag: a marmalade sandwich, ‘for later’.

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Cinnamon Grand, Colombo welcomes You to the SEQUEL



The next best thing in Colombo!

What would you get if you took the decadence of yesterday and paired it with the flavours of right now? Something bold and jazzy or rich and snazzy. Something we’d like to call the next best thing. All this and more at Cinnamon City Hotels to the SEQUEL at Cinnamon Grand, Colombo said a press release.

The release said the SEQUEL is where the old meets new, where charm meets sophistication and having a good time gets a new meaning. Colombo’s latest speakeasy cocktail bar is ready to welcome the discerning guest that is looking for that perfectly curated night.

“The SEQUEL will be a novel addition to Colombo’s nightlife catered to enthralling guests with our performances and showmanship,” said Kamal Munasinghe, Area Vice-President, Cinnamon City Hotels.

What do we mean when we say performance? It means that every little detail is tailored to those who appreciate elegance, and a bespoke experience like no other. Think walking into a vintage space accompanied by the sounds of Sinatra and Fitzgerald inviting you to do it your way or for once in your life. Think of the soul-searching and eclectic mix of Winehouse classics that you can drown your sorrows in.

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