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Why do we love to drive?

WHy do we love to drive

Despite soaring levels of congestion, declining levels of courtesy, rising fuel prices and ever more oppressive enforcement of speed, I could still find a million reasons to go out for a drive. It may be driving to university, going to the gym, going grocery shopping, visiting the doctor, dropping by a friend’s place or even dropping by for a small job across town. These activities, these appointments, and burdens have all turned driving into an automated activity. Take all of these out of the equation and all you’re left with is the pure joy of driving.

 

But not everyone enjoys driving. There are also a lot of people who prefer being chauffeured around without having to deal with the stresses of driving during rush hours while they relax in the backseat after a hard day of work. There are circumstances which when they are just right, lots of people enjoy driving, even if those circumstances don’t come along very often, and then there are those, myself included, who enjoy driving every time they do it.

So, bringing you an idea through my perspective, what is it about driving that fascinates me and people like me so much that we don’t ever get bored of it? To me, the only facet of this is the car. Let me explain.

You see, to me cars mean freedom. It’s the first sense of freedom that we ever really get in our lives. That excitement we have when we receive our driving license knowing that it’s the start of a whole new chapter, unlocking seamless possibilities and routes ahead. It’s about the freedom to travel to places that you’ve never been before or see something you’ve never seen before. The opportunities are endless and it all starts with the turn of a key or the push of a button. There cannot be anyone out there who has driven a car and has not felt it, the feeling of downright freedom when you get behind the wheel and turn on that power plant known as the engine.

It is true that the emotions of driving are not quantifiable, hence why it’s so hard to express it but to me personally, a good driving experience will be when the car has good handling, decent power, and proper involvement. Driver involvement I believe, is subjective. Some people may prefer the new electric cars with loads of automation involved bringing about the ease of overall handling and driving. Don’t get me wrong, these cars are impressive in their own right but as I said, driver involvement is subjective and I personally prefer to have either a petrol or diesel engine, good steering feedback, throttle response, braking and one of the most controversial topics of the current day, a manual transmission, on the car I own. The reason for this is because, for me, driving is about the emotional experience as much as it is about the sense of freedom and adventure. It’s about how the car feels, how the car vibrates through the wheel to your hands and the seat to your back, listening to the engine and matching revs to the gear when shifting. So, I do strongly believe that the cars we choose to own and drive are basically an extension of our own personality.

One may ask, why are some of us still so in love with the manual transmission? No, it’s not because the manual makes you manlier, it’s because as Henry Catchpole so wonderfully describes it; fundamentally, the manual transmission heightens your awareness and interactions with almost every facet of the car, adding a very distinct layer of tactility, specifically amplifying your sense of speed which to me is a marvelous feeling. So, with the manual, you just feel more intimately connected with the engine which to a true petrol-head, means that they are literally in heaven.

But that’s all about the emotions involved and the relationship one has with his or her car. There is also the sense of adventure which plays a major role in why we love to drive so much. The simplest example? Taking a girl on a date. You don’t want to call an Uber for that. What you want to do is impress her and it helps a lot when you pick her up and drop her off in your own car. Or your dad’s car.

You thought I forgot about racing? How could I when it’s one of the best activities created by man. That feeling when you and a couple of more friends are driving down Galle road, past 10 in the night and you’re both at a red, parallel to each other,  talking trash, revving those engines, some even their hybrid and electric motors which don’t even come close to the revs of a petrol or diesel engine, but that doesn’t  even matter because when that light turns green, it’s all about that adrenaline rush for the next 50 to 100 meters, the few seconds where you think you’re Lewis Hamilton until of course, you slow down before getting caught to the cops. That feeling of pure excitement and joy you get in those few seconds cannot be gained by the means of any other activity, which is why we love to drive on our own.

There is also the excitement of going places, the opportunity to just plan and go on road trips which is one of the most amazing things to do in your life. You haven’t lived if you haven’t gone on a road trip, doesn’t matter if it’s with your family or friends, you definitely need to go on a road trip and experience a whole new outlook of the experience of driving.

 

Driving gives your life an edge, a different vibe which makes life dynamic, which is human nature and hence it’s thanks to driving that you feel part of nature, part of the world and in control of what’s ahead of you. You decide what matters, you decide when to pause and its people closest to you that get to share this feeling with you. Whether you’re with your friends or with your family, what can be better than this calm yet enriching experience?

This is why despite all the troubles, excitement prevails. Even if you don’t feel the overflowing joy all the time, the feeling is still there every single time you get behind the wheel. This and all those other reasons is why I love driving as much as I do.

 

Rtr. Sandaru Bandara

 

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One strike and you’re out

Athletics – Olympics: Day 14

“If you want to know the value of a millisecond, ask the athlete who won a silver medal at the Olympics or, the athlete whose race ended before it began”

It is only the best of the best who have lived the moment of standing before the finals of the Olympic Games. You and I can only imagine what it feels like. Being under like lights of that field of the Olympic final with a crowd of over 70,000 spectators glancing down at you, eagerly waiting to see who will next hold the title of “The fastest Man on Earth.” Having your proud nation wait breathlessly until you raise the county’s flag, and another globe full watching you through television screens. You’re less than ten seconds away from your victory after the shot of the gun. This moment should feel very special indeed and it has taken these athletes four years of waiting and a lifetime of hard work.

After coming thus far, does it seem possible to believe that you could still mess up? That a matter of a fraction of a second could blow out everything? That you could relegate from an Olympic Finalist to a mere spectator watching your fellow competitors chase the goal without you? Yes, it seems a little too harsh, but so are the rules folks.
In 2010, the IAAF tightened rules for sprinters introducing the zero tolerance rule for false starts. Alternatively referred to as the One-strike-and-you’re-out rule, this would result in immediate disqualification of the athlete in the case of a false start with no warnings or do-overs. This rules was believed to be the cruelest one yet, in all of sports.
However, the IAAS did not make this decision over night. There were a couple of rule changes regarding this matter over the years and various issues arising from them. Therefore after careful consideration, the IAAF have settled to the zero tolerance rule. The rule was officially announced in 2010 after passing 64% approval.
The rules that existed before were quite flexible. Initially sprinters were only disqualified after their second false start. This seemed quite fair towards the runners, although some athletes still let their chance slip. Linford Christie of Great Britain was amongst them when he was dismissed before having the chance to defend his title at the 1996 Olympics. Anyhow, we can all agree that if you false start twice in a single race, that you’ve had your chance.
Later the IAAF identified a few drawbacks of this rule. They believed that it gave the athletes the chance to guess when the gun sounded and gain advantage. Also, having to start races many a times used up a lot of time, especially on television and the events could not be kept to their time slots. This would have also affected the quality of international games. Therefore the IAAF brought in a rule change in 2003.
In 2003 the rules were revised so that only one false start was allowed per race. If one runner false started, the entire field was warned. The next runner to false start would be dismissed regardless of if it was the first one or not. But later it was noticed that relatively slower athletes deliberately jumped the gun the first time to add pressure to the ones who are generally faster out of the blocks. Runners started to mentally affect their opponents as well as not receive punishment for false starting. This was considered unfair even within the rules. Hence, the IAAF saw the need for yet another rule change.
There came the one-and-do rule in 2010; the cruelest of all time. A single false start, or for that matter, the barest of a flinch would result in the dismissal of the athlete. Not even the slightest twitch was allowed.
Imagine finally having your Olympic moment, you’re on the starting blocks, and you scratch you nose and that’s it? You just let your victory slide through your fingertips before you been knew it. Certainly this rule crushed the dreams of many Athletes, and was no exception even to the big man; Usain Bolt.

 

Bolt, also known as “The fastest man on Earth” was ironically one of the few who applauded the zero tolerance rule. He simply couldn’t believe himself when he false started in Daegu at the 2011 world championships leaving the crowd startled. It was heart breaking to watch this man walk out of the fields of the 100m final leaving behind the victory that was destined to him.
He was not alone. British 400m sprinter Christine Ohuruogu was also disqualified at the same championship after false starting at her preliminary heat. She was the gold medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
However, this championship gave a point for the IAAF to prove, resulting in only ten false starts overall under the new rule. This was less than half the number recorded in previous meets under older rules.
Anyhow since many believed that this rule was impractical, the definition of a false start was changed prior to the 2012 Olympics making things a little more flexible. Flinching and twitching was allowed and an athlete would only have a false start called against them if their hands left the ground or their feet the blocks, before the gun. This change resulted in no false starts being recorded at the 2012 Olympics, allowing this rule to settle.
At the 2016 Olympics the 21 year old French hurdler Wilhem Belocian broke the audience’s hearts as he jumped the gun at his 110m hurdles preliminary heat. It was his first time at the Olympics and his Olympic dream ended before it even began. It’s within the rules now and he had to go, but I can’t help feeling bad for this guy.
Does this all seem fair? That one moment could be the difference between everlasting glory and being forgotten forever. Well, it’s awful to accept but that seems the case folks. If you’re at the Olympics games, maybe there ain’t no time for mistakes.

Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena

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Health tips for a better life

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Given today’s hectic lifestyles, it can be a challenge to keep up with all the new discoveries related to exercise, fitness and health. To help fill in the gaps in your knowledge, here are some interesting health- and fitness-related findings and trends.

1. Most people want to have a fun experience when they exercise, but exercising on your own can often feel boring.

From boutique studios to hardcore workouts in gritty industrial spaces to slogging through the mud, this past year showed us that people want to do more than just sweat during their workout time. Rather, they want to have a unique exercise experience that allows them to connect with other like-minded individuals. Whether it is the challenge of the workouts or the opportunity to combine exercise time with social time, high-intensity workouts are clearly more than just a passing fad.

2. A diet with high in processed or red meats could increase the risk of developing cancer.

World Health Organization released a statement indicating that consuming large amounts of red or processed meats could increase one’s risk of developing cancer. While this doesn’t mean that the occasional piece of bacon or grilled T-bone will trigger a heart attack, it does highlight an easily correctible behavior (reducing your consumption of these foods) that could improve your health, reduce the risk of cancer and add years to your life.

3. Having virtual friends who exercise can have a positive impact on your lifestyle.

We all have the friend (or friends) who feels compelled to post a selfie in every conceivable location or constantly provide status updates on the most inane facets of daily living. There is some good news for fitness enthusiasts, however, as emerging research suggests that having virtual friends who exercise can have a positive impact on your lifestyle by helping you to improve your level of physical activity.

4. There are huge benefits of exercise for older adults.

We have known the general benefits of exercise for years, but as the population ages, we’re learning more about the benefits of exercise for older adults. During the later years of the human lifespan, exercise isn’t just about vanity or aesthetics—it’s about promoting good health, improving the quality of life and enhancing cognitive function. Both cardiovascular exercise and resistance training can elevate levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a neurotransmitter responsible for growing new cells in the brain.

5. Staying physically active throughout the day is an important component of achieving and maintaining good health.

We now know that getting to the gym for a workout isn’t enough. In fact, researchers have quantified the negative consequences of remaining sedentary throughout the day and identified the benefits of short bouts of low-intensity physical activity. Healthy behaviors that get people moving throughout the day, such as having a standing desk at work or taking brief walking breaks, can help improve overall health and well-being.

6. Sleep plays an important role in weight loss and maintaining optimal health.

The next time you want to sleep in or spend the day snoozing on the couch, tell yourself it’s part of a well-rounded exercise program. This year, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (yes, there is a whole organization dedicated to learning about sleep) recommended that people get at least seven hours of sleep per night to maintain optimal health. And in a separate study, researchers found that a lack of sleep could lead to weight gain. In other words, sleep plays an important role in weight loss and maintaining optimal health.

7. Fitness is becoming more global.

Worldwide, people are beginning to realize the importance of daily activity and exercise in promoting optimal health. As a result, health club franchises such as Gold’s Gym and Anytime Fitness are expanding internationally in markets such as Indonesia, India, Philippines, and Egypt. If you’re an ACE Certified Fitness Professional and have a desire to live and work overseas, now might be the time to pursue that goal.

8. Women like lifting weights, too.

In gyms around the world, women are muscling the guys out of the squat cage in order to achieve the aesthetic benefits of strength training. Thanks to the impressive results that thousands of women are achieving by participating in high-intensity workout programs, women who might have skipped the weight room in favor of more cardio are learning that gripping and ripping with the iron is a great way to achieve the strength and aesthetics they desire.

Rtr. Naweed Niyaz

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Initiative Q: Free Lunch?

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Seen this?

 

Followed by this?

And were you like?

Ladies and Gentleman, let me introduce you to the payment system of the future (drumroll) Initiative Q.

Initiative Q is an initiative by the former serial entrepreneur and PayPal guy, Mr. Saar Wilf, which aims at creating a digital global payment system by issuing a dedicated centralized private currency known as Q tokens.

All they require from your end would be:

  1. Your Full Name
  2. Email Address
  3. To send invites to your friends to do the same
  4. That’s it.
  5. I like lists.

Wait.

 

 “Is this like bitcoin?”

Yes.

No.

Not Really 🙂

Initiative Q, unlike Bitcoin, is not a crypto-currency. Crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple are based on the blockchain technology. Initiative Q on the other hand, targets on having a centralized database which would track the transactions carried out using the Q tokens.

“Free Money!!!”

Not yet.

Right now the tokens you earn are worthless and you cannot use those tokens to trade even in the Initiative Q’s own servers either.

Now that you read so far into this article, let’s start answering the real questions

  1. How can I expect to gain anything out of this?

In order for this system to start functioning, this system should be adopted by a significant global population. As economics dictates, money has no value without perceived value. To quote the founders of this initiative, it faces the chicken and egg scenario:

“No buyer wants to join a new network with no sellers, and no seller will offer a payment option that no buyer uses.”

To get around this, Initiative Q would reward you with free tokens if you are to sign up and invite five more of your friends (these friends who would supposedly invite 5 more). They also go onto say that the earlier you adopt the more tokens you would earn.

 Invite friends who would invite more friends… PYRAMID SCHEME!!!!

 

I wouldn’t really deny that it isn’t (hold your horses), but the only pyramid scheme-like features it does have is its marketing method. A typical pyramid scheme would require you to both make a payment or purchase and distribute a certain product which this initiative doesn’t entail. Since money isn’t changing hands through their methods, there really isn’t anything bad about it.

Fingers crossed!! if all goes according to how the founders speculate this to be, I’d say you’d be looking at a few million rupees by then.

  1. So WHEN will I get MY millions?

 

That’s the best part. You probably won’t.

Raised your hopes too high? Well to give my honest opinion this system already faces an uphill battle against regulatory commissions from all the different countries, implementing security networks etc.  to achieve its very grandiose plans. So even if this works, it would definitely take many years till you would see some value in those Q tokens. To quote the founder of initiative Q Saar Wilf “It is not a get rich quick scheme and I think that’s where people get confused. You have to reach critical mass if you want to create a currency and that is what we’re trying to do.”

Just keep in mind that this by no means a “Get rich quick” scheme. If at all, you would be lucky if you get rich at all in the distant future through this technology. Aligning to what the founders of this initiative have stated, I’d recommend you treat this as a “Free Lottery Ticket” rather than a definite speculative investment.

Bitcoin’s success story has inspired a lot of new investors to give proper consideration to cryptocurrency and similar digital financial technology. Certain other cryptocurrencies also faced this surge in popularity even extremely ridiculous ones, such Doge coins (yeah you read it right) which actually managed to earn a market cap of over $650 million. This sort of exciting technology also seen its share of downfall as we saw with the crashing of the bitconnect bubble which was worth around $3 billion dollars which left so many investors with nothing but broken hopes and empty pockets.

Initiative Q, on the other hand, doesn’t ask you for an investment of any sort which would bring you to the question.

  1.  Is there anything to lose?

 

Most Pyramid or Ponzi schemes would usually entail dubious promises of future returns for a certain initial payment, which really isn’t relevant when discussing initiative Q (at least for now).  If there is any threat it would be the fact that they do nevertheless collect certain information which is your name and email address. While I do understand that most of you reading this article do already give out these details anyway to all kinds of websites and apps, one major fact which I do take into account is that the information this system would end up collecting is that of people who are specifically interested and are very naive (including myself) with regards to “Get Rich Quick” schemes. If this initiative fails (which it has a high probability to), the company may sell this database to scammers (to whom this would be a fortune) to pay its bills. As the saying goes “ If you aren’t paying for it, you are the product”.

Again beyond the possibility of gaining nothing but a spam box full of scam emails, there really isn’t much to lose.

Initiative Q promises a better alternative to existing conventional financial systems and existing blockchain based cryptocurrency.

Its plans still seem ambiguous and it remains still questionable whether it can solve existing loopholes in the current digital financial systems such as cryptocurrency.  But nevertheless it opens the possibility for the advancement of technology and we know all too well to say that this advancement would not be achieved overnight.

Fingers crossed. This will change the future.

Rtr. Asel Gunaratne

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Video Editing 101

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As the sun lazily faded by the Marine Drive, and the street lights down the Buller’s Road lighting up the evening. A small crowd was gathering up at the reception of the Achievers Lanka Business School. This crowd represented the members showing up for the weekly General meeting of the Rotaract club of Achievers Lanka Business School.

However, unlike other meetings, there was something contrasting about this week. Most members have brought a laptop with them (while we do have some who tend to forget as well). This was because of our first Professional Development project, ‘After Effects 101!’ that was scheduled to take place later that day.

Rtr. Sahan Munasinghe and I, the two Professional Development Directors for the year 2018-2019 had been continuously nagging, our fellow board directors and club members to take part in this project. Initially slightly reluctant, but when the day came, they all walked through the doorway, slightly weary after a long day but ready to learn what some consider as modern art, video editing.

Whilst paying close attention to the evening’s proceedings, Rtr. Sahan and I, joined by our guru for the evening Rtr. Anushan, hastily ensured that everyone’s laptops had the required software installed and files copied for the upcoming workshop.

Rtr. Anushan Sathananthasarma, one of the humblest characters you will ever meet, is well known for being a great basketball player and being there to help out the club whenever he is required, but this particular evening it was his wizardry in video editing that was to come into play. Being one of the main ‘IT gurus’ of the club for many years and having conducted many past workshops on skills such as Photoshop, Anushan eagerly agreed to mentor our members on video editing.

After the general meeting had concluded, with the projector set and the microphone switched on, ‘Anu’ took his place behind the podium and got straight into work. The main objective of this workshop was to create a video for the membership drive of the club. This involved in stitching together many small clips, editing these clips to ensure that they looked professional, adding photographs, music and being able to vary things like the intensity of the music and playback speed at just the required frames.

Our members eagerly listened in, eyes fixed on the projection on the wall while Anu took them through each and every step, making sure no one was left behind whilst answering the queries he received along the way.

The workshop was carried on smoothly for almost 90 minutes. By the end, every single laptop at the hall had a video playing, made up of small clips, photos, and music. Members who previously believed that video editing was a sort of alchemy that only the tech-savvy could pursue had now created an enticing video which looked classy and professional. The workshop was a SUCCESS indeed.

It ended with all the present members looking much happier than when they came in for the meeting. All the participants and both Rtr. Sahan and I didn’t forget to thank Rtr. Anushan for his excellent mentoring skills and how easy he made video editing seems to be. The day ended with positive feedback on how impressed the members were with the workshop and a few of them even gleefully shouting out about how they would put this newly learned skill to use that night itself to make more videos by themselves.

Rtr. Yasiru Gunaratne

 

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Millennials vs Gen Z

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For all the millennials who still think it’s them who run the world, it’s about time they had a major reality check and move over, because the generation Z is entering every major phenomenon as we speak, and they are here to stay!

There has been quite a contradiction as to how we can differentiate between Millennials and Gen Z from the birth years, as there are no such precise dates. Despite the confusion, the demographers state that the cohort starts from the year 1995 while some say it’s 1997. So, if you were born in the year of 1995 or later, then it can be safely said that you are a proud member of the Gen Z that makes up 25% of the world population.

Already emerging as the biggest threat to the millennials, the Gen Z purchasing power sums up to $44 billion according to the latest reports and these numbers will only keep rising in the time to come when who are now teens, but soon-to-be adults start entering the workforce. So how different are they from the Millennials? Are they just the same? You are about to get some answers.

The Gen Z differ from the Millennials in so many ways, be it their ways of thinking, patterns of shopping and what not. Regardless of the majority’s belief that they both represent all the same qualities the constant research has proven otherwise.

Gen Z are thought to be more pragmatic than idealistic. They are driven by what is real and practical. Often cited as pessimistic for following this approach but infact pragmatists are known to visualize the bigger picture to eventually get to the result. Millennials are however idealistic thinkers who believe there is always a way for anything.

Gen Z process information much faster since they have been living in a world full of technological advancements while many of the millennials have lived their childhoods without even cell phones, let alone smartphones. However, their span of attentiveness is much lower compared to millennials or any other preceding generation. All the same, people who belong to the generation Z are believed to be better than millennials at multi-tasking. While the latter counterpart needs to put in their maximum effort to one task at a time the gen z are experts in juggling between many, being resistant to any distraction getting in their way.

 

Gen Z are much thriftier than millennials. Having spent their childhoods in a world with a positive economy, the millennials did not need to give much thought or concern towards economy but gen z, they are very much concerned of it. It is very likely because gen z was born in an era of recessions. Hence, they are very realistic and more likely to start off their careers at a younger age.

Millennials do think that a college degree is a must but Gen Z, not so much. The latter is more in to self-employment and will be the future entrepreneurs. They are much thrifty as mentioned earlier and ‘Student debt’ is not something they would fancy. Millennials, however, are driven by the degree concept despite of the student loans.

Individualism is also one of the things that Gen Z value the most. They are all about representing who they really are, exploring gender norms and doing things that no one has ever done before. Unlike the millennials they have no brand loyalty, they just like to dress, eat and live as it fits and not into lavish spending. Always more vocal about their viewpoints, gen z is working towards social justice and accepting the world as it is.

Gen Z also prioritize privacy more than millennials do. They are conscious and have seen many vicious events take place all their lives from global terrorism, financial crisis to cyber-attacks and think that the world is not such a safe place. They believe the privacy is at stake and take great measures to secure their space.

 

All in all, millennials and the Gen Z are drastically different, and the latter are all set to outpace the millennials in no time. By 2019,32% of the global population will comprise of Gen Z and consequently will be the biggest contributors to the world economy.

 

So, let’s set the stage for the new entrants to the world economy and prepare ourselves for the GENERATION Z.

 

Rtr. Nethmie Pasqual

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9th Installation Ceremony – Rotaract Achievers

BoD 18/19

It was that time of the year again. A much-awaited instance of liberation for an exhausted board, and a greatly anticipated moment of glory and pride for an unsuspecting set of “newbies”, oblivious to the many trials yet to come. As much as it was a relief for those that were stepping down from their positions of utmost responsibility, there was still a lingering sense of dissonance in the air. Because while Rotaract has its obvious instances of distress, it’s the numerous moments of bliss scattered throughout one’s Rotaract experience that is remembered. Thus, as can be imagined, the Rotaract Installation was more sentimental of a matter to those involved than you would expect for an event you’d usually sweep aside as a mere formality.

Awarding the token of Appreciation to the Immediate Past President Rtr. Laila Zafir by her Board of Directors.

The Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School has a long history of individuals rising to the occasion to save the day, or in more Rotaract terms: to save a project. If there was one guy who’d keep rising to the occasion over and over again until it was common place to see him become the hero, it would be Rtr. Hamdhan, whom the general public may know by any of the numerous colorful nicknames he has accumulated over the years. While the rest of us were merely enthusiastic, Rtr. Hamdhan was passionate. A trait which he held true to up until the moment he was adorned with the President’s collar and walked up to the podium to address the gathered as the newly appointed President of the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School. The level of emotion he displayed at the podium was a testament to all that makes Rotaract worthwhile: lifelong friendships, love, dedication and a zealous hunger to serve.

Handing over the duties to the new President Rtr. Hamdhan Sulaiman by the Immediate Past President Rtr. Laila Zafir

Rtr. President Hamdhan’s heartfelt speech wasn’t the only surge of emotion present that day. Rtr. Naadir’s brilliant introduction of Rtr. Hamdhan despite being literally a continent and several seas away drew waves of laughter and applause from the audience. Hopefully, the revelations made in the said introduction wouldn’t hinder Rtr. Hamdhan’s numerous international exploits- or may I say “attempted exploits”. The customary introduction of the board members also struck a few chords in the emotional spectrum, albeit mostly from the more humorous portion of it. Rtr. Laila’s final speech and her subsequent release of Rtr. Rangesh from her friendzone came in close second to being the highlight of the day. However, the winner and the proverbial cherry on top of the cake was Rtr. Devindini’s surprise pre birthday celebration where the entire hall erupted into singing happy birthday while she awkwardly stood in front of everyone, failing repeatedly to blow out the candles (after the third attempt she gave up and resorted to ignore the flames while she dove in). All in all, at the very least Rotaract Achievers knows how to throw an installation.

The Board of Directors for the years 2018/19

Rtr. Randima Fernando

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Kebethigollawa – A Project Life Experience

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The suburbs of Colombo were whizzing past my window as Shalutha briefed us on what we needed to do when we got to our final destination: Kebethigollawa. It had been little less than an hour since we departed from Fort, and what was left of the morning darkness was slowly creeping away as we struggled to keep in sync with the train’s almost rhythmic jerks and quivers. Besides Shalu there were  four other people in the group: Anushan, Naweed, Mindula and myself.

Each of us had a vague idea of what we needed to do and why we were being sent on this seemingly exciting trip. Project Life is one of the main Community Service projects of Rotaract Achievers, and one that we greatly pride ourselves in. It aims to provide rainwater harvesting systems to areas affected by chronic kidney diseases in Kabiththigollewa. We were being sent to collect the requisite data that would help in determining the homes that needed the rainwater harvesting systems the most.

As the hours passed, the green outside our windows turned to a greyish dusty brown. The temperature within became ever harsher as the train traveled further north. After several hands of cards had been dealt we finally arrived at Vavuniya. Our two guides from the Agriculture Department were waiting for us at the station exit. They lead us to a bus that took us from Vavuniya to Kebethigollawa. The bus trip turned out to be a far less delightful experience due to the scorching sun and the dry warm wind that kept buffeting on our faces. A small sheltered truck was waiting for us at Kebethigollawa to take us to the zone.

It didn’t take us long to realize that we had reached the most difficult part of our journey. The roads were little more than narrow dusty pathways littered with potholes, upon which the truck lumbered along with little subtlety. Within the truck, the five of us struggled to hold on to something so as to not be thrown off. Clouds of dust kept flooding in as the truck moved ever into the dry locality.

Almost an hour later, we arrived at the house of our first candidate. At first glance, it was not unlike any other normal house I’ve seen. Faded walls, brown rooftiles, a polished floor and a familiar feel of homely mundanity veiled the struggle the inhabitants of this household were going through in acquiring clean water. Over a delicious lunch prepared for us by the middle-aged couple living there, we came to learn that the husband was suffering from a kidney disease. According to them, they had to walk kilometers everyday to collect water from the nearest lake and get it cleaned from the public filter system installed in the area. It was startling that they had to follow such a routine to simply get the drinking water they required, whereas we constantly take our privileges for granted.

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Shalu was asking questions and collecting data while the rest of us strolled around the house scanning the surrounding area. A humongous well at the back drew our attention. Upon closer inspection, we came to see that the entire well had dried down to a few cups worth of muddy water at the bottom.

A dried up well, of no use to the inhabitants.
A dried up well, of no use to the inhabitants.

After bidding the couple farewell, we got back on the truck and started towards the next house on Shalutha’s list. The house we arrived at was still being constructed. Three young children were sitting on the veranda, with the thin shade of a wooden beam fixed above them protecting them from the scorching sun. A man whom we inferred to be the owner of the house came out to meet us as we approached the house. We explained to him the purpose of our visit, after which Shalutha began his usual routine of questions. We learned that he was from the army, a fact that he was reluctant to share with us because according to him, people tend to think that they do not need any help if they have any affiliations with the army. A woman appeared from the house and brought each of us a glass of water, as if it was the most valued thing they could give.

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By 6 o’clock in the evening, we had finished all the houses on Shalu’s list and were heading back. On our way back, we came across a blackened field with clouds of black smoke and embers billowing upwards in an indolent fashion, and one majestic tree completely aglow in amber light. Our guide told us that often, one careless cigarette thrown away or a fire lit in the wrong place resulted in an entire area being lit up.

Bidding farewell to our guides from the Agriculture Department, we took a bus to Anuradhapura, because by then the last bus leaving to Vavuniya had already left. After getting a late dinner from Anuradhapura, we walked all the way to the railway station, where we waited for the Night Train leaving for Colombo. By 9.30pm the train had arrived, and we were already in our seats. Moments later, as the train sped along rail lines, I struggled to recall everything of importance that had happened to include in the report, but my mind kept wandering off. In the end, I gave up. I laid back, and let the calm hypnosis of the obscurity passing by my window put me to sleep.

Rtr. Randima Fernando

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FIA – The Battle

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Not all battles are fought with swords and bows and arrows. Some are fought with vocal chords, drumsticks and your dancing shoes. Sometimes in packed arenas, in place of blood drenched battle fields”.

This year, the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School reinvented one of its signature projects to a novel, electrifying format, where the grand finale was transformed into a battle, under different categories, for the first time in Sri Lanka.  Adding to the excitement of the battle was the ring placed right in the center of the stadium, replacing the stage. On that ring, in the center of a 360⁰ arena, with the audience as close as possible and the atmosphere as electric as imaginable, the contestants battled it out for the title in the categories of Solo Singing, Group Singing, Bands, Beatboxing and Group dancing.

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This year, FIA was undertaken by our current president Rtr. Maneesha Abeyarathne and was chaired by Rtr. Kenneth de Zilva, Rtr. Rimzan Raheem and Rtr. Hamdhan Sulaiman  with the aim of fundraising ‘Project Life’; a community service project to provide Rain Water Harvesting Systems to areas affected by Chronic Kidney Disease in the North Central Province.

Initial round of auditions featured over 100 contestants from the 5 categories. The intensely fought auditions was followed by semi finals and then workshops for the chosen finalists. In the lead-up to the finals, the finalist also geared up for a photo-shoot, which fueled the Social Media segment of the Most Popular Contestant awards, which reached over 50,000 people on Facebook. All this culminated in the clash of 14 finalists in the 5 categories, at the Grand Finale on Saturday the 27th of May at the Royal MAS Arena, from 6 PM onwards. The winners walked away with Rs 300,000 worth of cash rewards and gift vouchers.

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Solo Singing

The Solo singing category was one of the highlights of the finals. It was a complete change over, as the 4 finalist chosen, were asked to pair up and work together, instead of against each other. Their challenge was made unique, as the judges handed a song to each pair and requested them to practice and perform together. The judges constantly worked on their performance, which resulted in a masterful performance of the two songs at the finals.

 

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After the two breath-taking battles between the pairs of Apshi-Moksha and Falan-Lasith, it was Moksha and Falan who made it to the finals. Following a closely contested individual performance round, judges were faced with a very tough choice, And ultimately crowned Falan the winner in the Solo Singing category.

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Beatboxing

This category was a definite show stopper as FIA 2017 presented Sri Lanka’s first-ever beat boxing battle, which had the audience at the edge of their seats. As Anish and Vihan out did each others’ performance as they went back and forth in two rounds of performance,  the audience were left mesmerized by the sheer magic of the music that was made purely by their vocal chords.

The two finalists kept up the intensity right until the last buzzer. This is another contest  which made the job extra hard for the judges but Anish ultimately prevailed to emerge victorious.

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Group Singing

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Vocal Ignite’s excellently choreographed performance made them winners in this category which also featured heart-warming performances by Carllin & Moksha and the Siblings. Vocal ignite were specially impressive as they sang acapella with beautifully synchorized outfits and moves.

 

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Group Dancing

ECANS and Rhythmic squads put up delightful performances in the dancing category. Their beautiful costumes, innovative choice of songs, precise dance moves and excellent synchronization, showed the amount of thought and preparation each group had put into their performance. Ultimately, ECANS came out victorious in this closely fought battle.

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Bands

The performances of all three bands was unforgettable, with a combination of covers as well as originals.

PLAGUE, who had the audience head banging to their electrifying riffs and sensational beats, of their rendition of “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes and “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd, emerged winners in this category, amidst some intense competition from Fire Island La Bandos.

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The event also featured special guest performances by some of the biggest names in the industry, including Julius Mitchell of Beat Boxing fame, and ‘Freeze’. Julius and Prince Leone had the audience in awe while Freeze managed to get them dancing on their feet, to their sensational baila music.

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In all, the audience and the contestants witnessed a night of talent and entertainment they’ll remember for days to come. The committee will take pride in knowing that they have changed the scope of talent competitions forever, and laid the platform for greater things to come.

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Signing off,

Kenneth, Hamdhan and Rimzan

Project Co-Chairpersons.

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Sherwood Shootout: The Game of Tag

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“Archery Tag” doesn’t sound unfamiliar in America and Europe anymore as it has already become a crowd attraction. But for many Sri Lankans, it was the first time they heard the name of this unique sport. On 14th of May 15 Teams filled with excitement walked into the Campbell Park Ground to battle each other out and Team Knockout Kings stole the show. This is how all the preparations prior to the event day set up the platform for Sherwood Shootout and how the First ever Archery tag tournament in Sri Lanka unfolded.

Technically this is the “New Member Project” which is assigned to all the new members in order to get to know each other and identify the special skills each other possess. Every Year the New Member Project has done something unique and entertaining such as Soap Football and Bubble football in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Therefore there was an expectation right from the beginning to pull off something not mainstream. After Days of discussions, we agreed to organize an Archery Tag Tournament which was then something we also lacked the experience of it. But we found it an exciting challenge as we had to organize the project while learning about the background of the subject itself.

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Deciding a catching name was again an important step as it would help us to get the crowds’ attention. After considering many suggestions we came across two which were “Sherwood Shootout “ and “The Game of Tag”. Finally our Co-chairperson Rtr. Kasun suggested that we should combine both names as “Sherwood Shootout: The Game of Tag” and the issue of project name was solved like that. Then we had to choose a venue to host the event. We tried to contact almost all the grounds around Colombo and Campbell Park ground was selected after considering the availability on the decided date 14th of May.

One of the major milestones in any project is finding sponsors. At that point, we were about two weeks from the Event and started to feel the rush as we had to get the support of sponsors for Awards, Beverage and Etc. Meanwhile, we have already started our PR campaign with the help of our go-to IT guys Rtr. Ranoj and Rtr. Anushan. Teaser video we released to social media played a major role in terms of attracting contestants and also sponsors. One of them was Rupavahini who approached to us inspired by the concept of Archery Tag. They took the complete responsibility of Pre-Event and Post-Event Media coverage. It was certainly a morale booster for us knowing that this project has already caught the attention of the Key Target groups.

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Archery Tag League Sri Lanka as the officials took the full control of the event with regard to preparing the field, providing the equipment, scoring, and Judging. Through the commitment and the determination of the two chairpersons and all the committee members, we managed to find sponsors for Prizes and awards. Our target number of Teams for the event was 18 as the gameplay was structured for League format. Everyone approached their colleagues, friends, classmates and pushed them for the registrations. Until about 4-5 days for the event day, we were well behind our target number of registrations. But everyone kept their heads high and managed to get 15 teams on board which was a huge accomplishment indeed.

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On the event day, we assisted Archery Tag League officials in preparing the field, setting up barriers and preparing the playing field. 15 Teams were divided into groups of three and the first round was played according to League format. The top team in each group advanced to the Quarterfinals and the losing teams were given a wild card round played out in a knockout format for a spot in the quarterfinals. Knockout Kings, Kollane, Kimbula Banis, and Titans went through to the Semi-finals and out of them Knockout Kings and Kimbula Banis advanced into the Finals undefeated to battle each other out for the Championship of the first ever Archery tag tournament organized in Sri Lanka. After an exciting battle Knockout Kings were able to eliminate all the five members of the opposite team and emerged as the Champions of Sherwood Shootout. They walked out with Certificates and Prize Money and the 1st runner-up Kimbula Banis with Vouchers and Certificates and 2nd Runner-up Titanz also with Vouchers and Certificates.

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Feedback from the participants after the event showed that they had a great day at Sherwood Shootout. The way it was organized and the gameplay was planned smoothly that they even suggested that we should organize this as an inaugural event in our Rotaract Calendar which of course we would definitely consider about looking at all the positive reactions and what we could achieve in a short period of time.

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Rtr. Ashen Hirantha

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