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Very calm… YET DRAMATIC

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I’ve always admired the performance of Lean (pronounced Leanne) and her father Nigel Galway. They are Anglo-Indians, based in Coimbatore, and they are seen in action, on a regular basis, performing live, on their own social media platform.

Quite a few Sri Lankans, who have caught their live act, on social media, have been impressed by this duo.

In fact, Kevin Hingert, from the group Genesis, says “I love this duo.”

With so many bouquets coming their way, I decided to have a chit-chat with Lean.

1. How would you describe yourself?

I would say I’m a very calm, yet dramatic person, mainly around the people I’m comfortable with. I don’t really show emotions much, unless I know I won’t be judged. I’m friendly and pretty talkative, if the vibe is good. I also definitely stand against judging people for who they are, for I myself have a pinch of craziness, in me, and am a good listener…from what I’ve heard!

2. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’ve been asked this question a couple of times and, like always, I’d say, NOTHING. I am the way I am, for a reason, and I’m just growing, but my foundation is strong.

3. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

My family has been by my side through everything and I know they always will be. There’s nothing I wanna change about my family. We’re all imperfect but our love for each other is more than perfect.

4. School?

I completed my schooling at Stanes School ICSE /ISC, Coimbatore. School was one of the best foundations for me. I learnt very important life lessons and, for sure, my school did become my second home. I found some of the best blessings there, in the form of friends. School life will always be one of my most treasured memory.

5. Happiest moment?

I was blinded by what the world had to offer me, and my happiness depended on earthly materials, but it never lasted. I didn’t pray as often as I should have, I didn’t read the Lord’s word because I was “busy” and life was starting to get darker until I met a friend who questioned my beliefs and I then questioned myself and the Lord gave me answers. I received the Lord with nothing but faith and that was the moment I felt true happiness and peace.

6. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

My idea of perfect happiness is realising that happiness won’t come to you unless you stop complaining about everything that’s going wrong in your life and start looking at the number of lessons you’re being taught, the growth you’re experiencing, and the knowledge you’re gaining , His way is God’s way not yours or mine! We may not understand why our life is the way it is but leave your trust in God and just see how you will start looking at the brighter side of life and will be genuinely happy with whatever comes your way!

7. Are you religious?

I believe in God our Father, I believe in Christ the Son. I believe in the Holy Spirit. Our God is Three in One. My dad always told me that my temple isn’t built out there, from rock or stone, but is in me – my soul. It’s our soul that goes up to Heaven, so I feed it the Lord’s word and keep it clean. I believe in a personal connection with God.

8. Are you superstitious?

No, I don’t believe in superstitions. I personally think that superstitions make no sense because if you truly believe that God is in control of your life then a black cat crossing your path won’t kill you…just saying !

9. Your ideal guy?

My ideal guy is, firstly, someone that shares the same beliefs as me, I read somewhere that there is a huge difference between a Christian Man and a Man of God. I would prefer a Man of God – someone who challenges me to be the best version of myself, someone who I can hustle and grow with, be myself with, and, most importantly, be an example of the Lord’s existence.

10. Which living person do you most admire?

My parents. They’re two of the strongest people I know, regardless of the ups and downs, they’ve stuck together and fought through it all. They’re very down-to-earth and never show pride, or ego. The simplicity, and love for each other, that they have, is what I aspire . They sure have taught me that ‘Storms Never Last ‘ when you’re doing life with the right person! To me, they are the definition of a Match made in Heaven!

11. Which is your most treasured possession?

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. My most treasured possession is the kingdom of God.

12. If you were marooned on a desert island, who would you like as your companion?

Well, I would want my best friend to tag along, even being marooned on a desert island would be fun then! Plus, we would probably make a lot of good and crazy memories. She’ll definitely like the idea (lol).

13. Your most embarrassing moment?

I don’t really get embarrassed easily, and I like roasting myself, so I would say I can’t really remember anything that I would term to be my most embarrassing moment .

14. Done anything daring?

I’m a rebel when it comes to the norms of society. I just can’t walk with their opinions on how I should dress, talk, walk, or anything for that matter, especially when someone says I can’t do something because ‘I’m a girl’ and that’s exactly what I would do.

15. Your ideal vacation?

A world tour is a vacation I dream of. Learning new cultures and traditions has always excited me. I’d love to see the variety around the world.

16. What kind of music are you into?

I listen to all kinds of music but Country would always top the list. Every country song tells a story and that’s the most beautiful part of the genre. I hope it never dies.

17. Favourite radio station?

I really don’t have one, as of now.

18. Favourite TV station:

I prefer reading books over using gadgets…Call me old school but it helps my mind work better.

19. What would you like to be born as in your next life?

If there is a next life, and I was to pick, I’d most certainly pick myself again. As crazy as I am, I love every single part of the Creator’s work and, yea, would love to do it, all over again.

20. Any major plans for the future?

I’m an Anglo-Indian and I love my culture, but it’s dying out and it makes me sad to see what I grew up in is slowly disappearing. I want the world to know more about us, our culture, our cuisine, and more. I wanna save my culture from being forgotten. They say the way to anyone’s heart is through food and it sure is true for me. I want to open a line of restaurants that specialise in Anglo cuisine. My parents make the best Anglo food I’ve had and I want to give their recipes the recognition it deserves.



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Features

Is it impossible to have hope?

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So, a woman has lost again to a man. I refer here to Matale District SJB MP Rohini Kaviratne having to concede her bid for Deputy Speaker of Parliament to some bod of the Pohottu Party, who, sad to say makes only a negative impression on Cass. Conversely, Kaviratne looks competent, capable, trustworthy, able to communicate and command, and most importantly speaks and conducts herself well balanced. So different from most of the MPs, particularly of the government side, who lack education, and in appearance and behaviour – decency. Please, take my word for the fact that I am not a party person. What I want in our representatives is education and decorum. And they should at least once in a while use their own heads and make decisions that are good for the country and not follow the leader through sheep like, sycophantic obedience. Of course, even more than this is self interest that prompts the way they act and decisions are taken, especially at voting times.

Rohini Kaviratne made a bold statement when, as Wednesday’s The Island noted, she told Parliament “the government was neither run by the President nor the Prime Minister but by a ‘crow.’” Utterly damning statement but totally believable. Deviousness as well as self-preservation is what motives action among most at the cost of even the entire country. And, of course, we know who the crow is – kaputu kak kak. Cass lacks words to express the contempt she feels for the black human kaputa, now apparently leading the family of kaputas. Why oh why does he not depart to his luxury nest in the US of A? No, he and his kith are the manifestation of Kuveni’s curse on the island. Strong condemnation, but justified.

You know Cass had a bold kaputa – the avian kind – coming to her balcony in front of her bedroom and cawing away this morning. Normally, she takes no notice, having developed sympathetic companionship towards these black birds as fellow creatures, after reading Elmo Jayawardena’s Kakiyan. She felt sorry for the crow who cawed to her because his name has been taken to epithet a politico who landed the entire country in such a mess. And he is bold enough to attend Parliament. Bravado in the face of detestation by the majority of Sri Lankans! Cass did not watch afternoon TV news but was told father and son, and probably elder brother and his son attended Parliamentary sessions today – Wednesday May 18. May their tribe decrease is the common prayer; may curses rain on them. Cass recognises the gravity of what she says, but reiterates it all.

I am sure Nihal Seneviratne, who recently and in 2019, shared with us readers his experiences in Parliament, moaned the fact that our legislature always lacked enough women representation. Now, he must be extra disappointed that political allegiance to a party deprived Sri Lanka of the chance of bringing to the forefront a capable woman. Women usually do better than men, judging by instances worldwide that show they are more honest and committed to country and society. The two examples of Heads of Government in our country were far from totally dedicated and commitment to country. But the first head did show allegiance to Ceylon/Sri Lanka in fair measure.

As my neighbour moaned recently: “They won’t allow an old person like me, after serving the country selflessly for long, to die in peace.” Heard of another woman in her late 80s needing medical treatment, mentally affected as she was with utter consternation at the state of the country. One wonders how long we can be resilient, beset on every side by dire problems. But our new Prime Minister was honest enough to voice his fears that we will have to go through much more hardship before life for all Sri Lankans improves.

Thus, my choice of pessimistic prediction as my title. Will we be able to hope for better times? Time will be taken but is it possible to have even a slight glimmer of hope for improvement?

There is much debate about the appointment of Ranil W as PM. We admire him for his knowledge and presence. But the greatest fear is he will defend wrong doers in the R family. Let him be wise, fair and put country before saving others’ skins. He has to be praised for taking on the responsibility of leading the country to solvency. He said he will see that every Sri Lankan has three meals a day. May all the devas help him! The SJB, though it refuses to serve under a R Prez, has offered itself to assist in rebuilding the nation. Eran, Harsha, and so many others must be given the chance to help turn poor wonderful Sri Lanka around. And the dedicated protestors, more so those in Gotagogama, still continue asking for changes in government. Bless them is all Cass can say at this moment.

Goodbye for another week. hoping things will turn less gloomy, if brightness is impossible as of now.

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Lives of journalists increasingly on the firing line

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Since the year 2000 some 45 journalists have been killed in the conflict-ridden regions of Palestine and senior Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was the latest such victim. She was killed recently in a hail of bullets during an Israeli military raid in the contested West Bank. She was killed in cold blood even as she donned her jacket with the word ‘PRESS’ emblazoned on it.

While claims and counter-claims are being made on the Akleh killing among some of the main parties to the Middle East conflict, the Israeli police did not do their state any good by brutally assaulting scores of funeral mourners who were carrying the body of Akleh from the hospital where she was being treated to the location where her last rites were to be conducted in East Jerusalem.

The impartial observer could agree with the assessment that ‘disproportionate force’ was used on the mourning civilians. If the Israeli government’s position is that strong-arm tactics are not usually favoured by it in the resolution conflictual situations, the attack on the mourners tended to strongly belie such claims. TV footage of the incident made it plain that brazen, unprovoked force was used on the mourners. Such use of force is decried by the impartial commentator.

As for the killing of Akleh, the position taken by the UN Security Council could be accepted that “an immediate, thorough, transparent and impartial investigation” must be conducted on it. Hopefully, an international body acceptable to the Palestinian side and other relevant stakeholders would be entrusted this responsibility and the wrong-doers swiftly brought to justice.

Among other things, the relevant institution, may be the International Criminal Court, should aim at taking urgent steps to end the culture of impunity that has grown around the unleashing of state terror over the years. Journalists around the world are chief among those who have been killed in cold blood by state terrorists and other criminal elements who fear the truth.

The more a journalist is committed to revealing the truth on matters of crucial importance to publics, the more is she or he feared by those sections that have a vested interest in concealing such vital disclosures. This accounts for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, for instance.

Such killings are of course not unfamiliar to us in Sri Lanka. Over the decades quite a few local journalists have been killed or been caused to disappear by criminal elements usually acting in league with governments. The whole truth behind these killings is yet to be brought to light while the killers have been allowed to go scot-free and roam at large. These killings are further proof that Sri Lanka is at best a façade democracy.

It is doubtful whether the true value of a committed journalist has been fully realized by states and publics the world over. It cannot be stressed enough that the journalist on the spot, and she alone, writes ‘the first draft of history’. Commentaries that follow from other quarters on a crisis situation, for example, are usually elaborations that build on the foundational factual information revealed by the journalist. Minus the principal facts reported by the journalist no formal history-writing is ever possible.

Over the decades the journalists’ death toll has been increasingly staggering. Over the last 30 years, 2150 journalists and media workers have been killed in the world’s conflict and war zones. International media reports indicate that this figure includes the killing of 23 journalists in Ukraine, since the Russian invasion began, and the slaying of 11 journalists, reporting on the doings of drug cartels in Mexico.

Unfortunately, there has been no notable international public outcry against these killings of journalists. It is little realized that the world is the poorer for the killing of these truth-seekers who are putting their lives on the firing line for the greater good of peoples everywhere. It is inadequately realized that the public-spirited journalist too helps in saving lives; inasmuch as a duty-conscious physician does.

For example, when a journalist blows the lid off corrupt deals in public institutions, she contributes immeasurably towards the general good by helping to rid the public sector of irregularities, since the latter sector, when effectively operational, has a huge bearing on the wellbeing of the people. Accordingly, a public would be disempowering itself by turning a blind eye on the killing of journalists. Essentially, journalists everywhere need to be increasingly empowered and the world community is conscience-bound to consider ways of achieving this. Bringing offending states to justice is a pressing need that could no longer be neglected.

The Akleh killing cannot be focused on in isolation from the wasting Middle East conflict. The latter has grown in brutality and inhumanity over the years and the cold-blooded slaying of the journalist needs to be seen as a disquieting by-product of this larger conflict. The need to turn Spears into Ploughshares in the Middle East is long overdue and unless and until ways are worked out by the principal antagonists to the conflict and the international community to better manage the conflict, the bloodletting in the region is unlikely to abate any time soon.

The perspective to be placed on the conflict is to view the principal parties to the problem, the Palestinians and the Israelis, as both having been wronged in the course of history. The Palestinians are a dispossessed and displaced community and so are the Israelis. The need is considerable to fine-hone the two-state solution. There is need for a new round of serious negotiations and the UN is duty-bound to initiate this process.

Meanwhile, Israel is doing well to normalize relations with some states of the Arab world and this is the way to go. Ostracization of Israel by Arab states and their backers has clearly failed to produce any positive results on the ground and the players concerned will be helping to ease the conflict by placing their relations on a pragmatic footing.

The US is duty-bound to enter into a closer rapport with Israel on the need for the latter to act with greater restraint in its treatment of the Palestinian community. A tough law and order approach by Israel, for instance, to issues in the Palestinian territories is clearly proving counter-productive. The central problem in the Middle East is political in nature and it calls for a negotiated political solution. This, Israel and the US would need to bear in mind.

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Doing it differently, as a dancer

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Dancing is an art, they say, and this could be developed further, only by an artist with a real artistic mind-set. He must be of an innovative mind – find new ways of doing things, and doing it differently

According to Stephanie Kothalawala – an extremely talented dancer herself – Haski Iddagoda, who has won the hearts of dance enthusiasts, could be introduced as a dancer right on top of this field.

Stephanie

had a chat with Haski, last week, and sent us the following interview:

* How did you start your dancing career?

Believe me, it was a girl, working with me, at office, who persuaded me to take to dancing, in a big way, and got me involved in events, connected with dancing. At the beginning, I never had an idea of what dancing, on stage, is all about. I was a bit shy, but I decided to take up the challenge, and I made my debut at an event, held at Bishop’s College.

* Did you attend dancing classes in order to fine-tune your movements?

Yes, of course, and the start was in 2010 – at dancing classes held at the Colombo Aesthetic Resort.

* What made you chose dancing as a career?

It all came to mind when I checked out the dancing programmes, on TV. After my first dancing programme, on a TV reality show, dancing became my passion. It gave me happiness, and freedom. Also, I got to know so many important people, around the country, via dancing.

* How is your dancing schedule progressing these days?

Due to the current situation, in the country, everything has been curtailed. However, we do a few programmes, and when the scene is back to normal, I’m sure there will be lots of dance happenings.

* What are your achievements, in the dancing scene, so far?

I have won a Sarasavi Award. I believe my top achievement is the repertoire of movements I have as a dancer. To be a top class dancer is not easy…it’s hard work. Let’s say my best achievement is that I’ve have made a name, for myself, as a dancer.

* What is your opinion about reality programmes?

Well, reality programmes give you the opportunity to showcase your talents – as a dancer, singer, etc. It’s an opportunity for you to hit the big time, but you’ve got to be talented, to be recognised. I danced with actress Chatu Rajapaksa at the Hiru Mega Star Season 3, on TV.

* Do you have your own dancing team?

Not yet, but I have performed with many dance troupes.

* What is your favourite dancing style?

I like the style of my first trainer, Sanjeewa Sampath, who was seen in Derana City of Dance. His style is called lyrical hip-hop. You need body flexibility for that type of dance.

* Why do you like this type of dancing?

I like to present a nice dancing act, something different, after studying it.

* How would you describe dancing?

To me, dancing is a valuable exercise for the body, and for giving happiness to your mind. I’m not referring to the kind of dance one does at a wedding, or party, but if you properly learn the art of dancing, it will certainly bring you lots of fun and excitement, and happiness, as well. I love dancing.

* Have you taught your dancing skills to others?

Yes, I have given my expertise to others and they have benefited a great deal. However, some of them seem to have forgotten my contribution towards their success.

* As a dancer, what has been your biggest weakness?

Let’s say, trusting people too much. In the end, I’m faced with obstacles and I cannot fulfill the end product.

* Are you a professional dancer?

Yes, I work as a professional dancer, but due to the current situation in the country, I want to now concentrate on my own fashion design and costume business.

* If you had not taken to dancing, what would have been your career now?

I followed a hotel management course, so, probably, I would have been involved in the hotel trade.

* What are your future plans where dancing is concerned?

To be Sri Lanka’s No.1 dancer, and to share my experience with the young generation.

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