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Life: Lessons to be Learnt

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Life, is the most unpredictable thing anybody could come across. Life can be planned to the very last dot, yet it can always find a way to sneak up on everyone and surprise you with an entirely different plan. However, what is more beautiful than the unpredictability of life is the lessons that it teaches us. With every twist and turn, life teaches us a lesson that goes a long way, and more importantly into helping us in making wiser decisions in the future. This is because when life teaches a lesson it goes to the extent of making sure that the lesson is learnt so well that the same mistake will not be repeated again.

Sometimes, especially the older generation thinks that life is measured by the years a person spends on this earth, when life is really about the countless memories made with family and friends, and the quality of life while living. It is never about how long one has lived, but how well that person has lived.

There are two ways of living. One is living in the moment, and the other is living in the hope of furthering the future. One who lives in the moment does not have any worries in life, and one who lives thinking of the future will always have a backup plan when things go south. While there is no right or wrong way of living since it has to be done according to each person’s desires, one thing is clear. It is that, no matter what’s done in life, it should always justify the mere fact of being alive.

For some, life comes very easy while for others, life is a tough row to hoe. Sometimes this could be thanks to karma, sheer luck or plain hard work. Whatever it is, it should be borne in mind that humans are put on this earth for a purpose, and at times the purpose could be helping another, standing up for another, taking care of another and in extreme situations changing the world for the better. With that all being said we must always keep in mind that the main and most fundamental purpose of life is being happy.

The reason that changing the world for the better has become such an extreme situation is because of the personal, social and political agendas people have created. Thereby they tend to forget some of the most basic things such as committing towards a better world, living conditions and ethics. People should always be reminded how gifted they are to be born as humans, how privileged they are, and for everything they have. They must always bear in mind that what they already have is what someone else is wishing for, and only one who is living without them would know how difficult it is to live otherwise. Having said that, it’s a shame to see that there exist people in the real world who take life for granted as though life happens on a repetition. What many tend to overlook is the fact that what is done as people in this life has a significant bearing as to what the next life will be. Religions, beliefs and historians have taught by their experiences that karma exists, and what is done in this lifetime is a reflection of what might be in the next, if there is one at all.

Henry Ford says, the secret to having a successful life is to find what one is destined to do and then do it. Majority have forgotten this due to the social stigma that has been set by the society as to how one should live, what one should do as a career, how one should behave as a or man or woman, and how one should dress as a man or woman. The society has created social norms and social expectations which has led become socially approved. It’s important that one must not give into the norms set by society, which hinders the ability one has towards committing what life has actually put in motion. As previously mentioned, everyone has a purpose and that purpose should never ever be driven by what the other person thinks is right. Nobody in this world must ever live to please others, and do what is only acceptable and comfortable for others. If flying is impossible one must at east try to fly. Then maybe, just maybe, one could do life better.

The best thing life has to offer is a chance at defining and redefining oneself by the years and years of experiences received by doing life.  Like Robert Frost says, life goes on.

Key Words: Life, Happy, Beautiful, Unpredictable, Social Stigma

Rtr. Bipash Suriyage

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F1 helped me with a mental health battle I never knew about!

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Mental Health! The sensitive topic which most of us try to ignore, more so in Sri Lanka. It’s a serious issue ignored or not, and I personally feel that it is as serious as a disease like Cancer. The danger of Mental Health is that it doesn’t have a physical way of identification most of the time. As a result of this, we may tend to assume it is something else and disregard it, or even worse, go ahead with the wrong diagnosis without getting any input from a Mental Health Professional.

I have been a F1 fan for the past three years, and a Petrol head ever since I was a mere infant. Over the years, I have now tended to make F1 a part of my life. It has become such a big influence on me that whenever I hit a low point in life, it has been the place I go to, to uplift myself or simply asses a situation on various scenarios that have happened in F1.  

I didn’t really realize this until a couple months back. Even though I have always known that I might have been suffering from some sort of mental health disorder, I have always ignored it and never paid much attention to it, although knowing this was a terrible thing to do. Most of the time I would just pass it off as a mood swing or a bad day.

Since a F1 season is not something that goes year-round and there is a off season for the sport, there usually won’t be any action between the months of December to February until pre-season testing, and until the end of march where the season opener is held. This time frame is known to be a hibernation period for any passionate F1 fan.

With the 2020 season opener in Australia planned for March, I was very eager to see the cars being back on track again and see what the world’s best drivers and faster cars had to offer. But 2020 being 2020 gave us a pandemic to worry about, and waking up on the morning of the 13th of March to find out the race was officially cancelled broke hearts of the millions of fans that were ready for the action. With the situation worsening in a very short period of time and the whole world being sent into lock down, it was no surprise that the track action every F1 fan was waiting for would be postponed indefinitely.

I was upset to not see any action happening, but it was for the safety of everyone. Here’s where I slowly started to realize that what I have was not a mere mood swing. Although there was no live action racing I sometimes spent my free time watching some old races, but they never ever gave me the same thrill a live race would give. Within the short time period of a few months I went to feeling very demotivated and down. I tried to ignore it and get my work done, but this wasn’t easy since this was also the time period where we were stuck at home, and going out meant risking a lot of people.

On one fine day F1 announced that they will be starting the season in July, and hearing this brought back a lot of adrenaline to my body. I’m sure a lot of F1 fans felt the same. With this, I was counting the days until I could hear the sound of the engines going around a track once again.

As the start of the season was drawing closer and closer, the excitement of the fans was felt everywhere and I made the bold decision to start up a page dedicated towards giving my opinion on the world of F1. I was so excited that all I could think of was the Free Practice session happening on a Friday. This was probably the most excited I have been for a practice session because they are usually the boring parts of F1, so it just goes to show much I have missed the sport.

I was in a really good place/mood (whatever way you want to define it) when the race weekend got underway. Every negative feeling I had in the past few months just vanished. I then realized how strange it was that I first ignored it all thinking it was a mood swing of some sort. On July 5th at 6.40 P.M. the moment I have missed since march was finally here. I officially launched my page “F1 with TSG” (Theekshana Sankalpa Gunasekara), on social media and was ready to hear the signature words of David Croft saying “Its lights out and away we Go!” This for me was an instant adrenaline rush and I just loved the feeling. It was an exciting race, and even though my favorite driver finished 4th it was still a memorable moment to see the Fastest cars in the world go around resonating the sounds on the Hills of the Austrian Alps.

Regardless of everything that happened in a short two hours I was genuinely feeling very good. I was in a happy mood for weeks with back to back race weekends and more importantly being able to express my thoughts on F1 via my page. This went on for a few months, and one day on an off week I started to sit down and collect my thoughts on what had actually happened to me during lockdown, and how I bounced back. This was also the time my Co-International services Director and I were making the year plan for our avenue. So, I came up with the idea of doing a project on Mental Health awareness called “Break the Stigma” and after agreeing on it, I started to do a bit of research on the topic.

It was at this moment that I realized that I have been taking my Mental health for granted and started to trace back to see what had actually happened. It was at this moment that I realized that F1 has been the place I always ran to at any time I felt down or wanted some motivation, or even to just isolate myself. I brief F1 has been my therapy for everything. I don’t even know how many times F1 could have saved my life, or how many times I’ve relied on the sport for help, but all I know is that F1 helped me with a mental health battle I never knew about!

This is not to say that I have only relied on the sport for help. It would be inhuman of me to not mention my family and my golden group of friends, the ‘Mashed Potatoes’ who have been there for me even though they probably wouldn’t have known I was having issues with Mental Health. Well, even I didn’t realize it until very recently. Nevertheless, they have been a constant pillar of support whenever I needed to be saved from a dark past of mine.

Having issues with Mental Health isn’t anything to be ashamed about or something only among the less fortunate. Anyone can have it, even without knowing it, and some may knowingly ignore it. Mental Health being a Taboo topic, some may try to self-diagnose it which is again very wrong and could be very harmful. This is mainly because it is possible to self-diagnose a wrong decease, which could lead to many complications and side effects. So, in case you are afraid to come out or have decided to keep it to yourself and not do anything about it, just remember that anyone can have it and there is nothing wrong in it, but it’s important to fight through the tough times to get to the better ones. After all, Diamonds are made from pressure. And after all, we are all human and no one is perfect.

That’s my story and obviously writing this was personally very difficult for me, and me being an introvert I am, didn’t help. But I hope my story could be a helping hand to someone, anyone who needs to get out of the dark and make it through. I’ll leave with a quote by a Rotarian that was really embedded in my mind. “You’re not Okay, I’m not Okay, But That’s Okay”.  

Rtr. Theekshana Gunasekara

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The Future of Smartphones

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If you could travel back in time to the beginning of the year 2007 and ask someone what they think the future of mobile phones would be, they’d probably tell you that phones would get smaller to improve portability or they might tell you that phones would have much better battery life.

If you tell them that after 13 years, in 2020, a mainstream phone has a full touch screen of 6.5” with no bezels or that a phone would carry a camera capable of capturing breathtaking images or that a moderate or even a cheap phone could quite literally do most of the daily tasks they do in their computers, they’d probably laugh at you.

At the beginning of 2007, people didn’t know that they would need a smartphone, they didn’t know that in only a few more years, the smartphone would become almost a “need” rather than a want.

So how did this happen? How did we end up getting something that has become an inseparable part of our lives when we didn’t even know we needed it?

Enter Steve Jobs. On the 9th of January, 2007 a revolutionary new product was announced. In Steve Jobs’ words, “An iPod, a phone and an internet communicator. These are not separate devices. This is one device. And we are calling it the iPhone. Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone”. Reinvent the phone they did.

So what does the future hold? What is the next revolutionary thing in 2020 that is gonna change smartphones as we know them?

I won’t bore you by saying that processors will get faster and cameras will get better. We all know that’s happening. In this article, I will look at what innovative phones have been released recently which might just be the next big thing.

Foldable phones

For those of you who don’t have an idea of what I’m talking about, a series of foldable phones have been released since 2019. The main advantage is that you can use it as a phone as well as a wide display tablet if you need to. Remember that revolutionary next big thing that I was talking about? Well, this could be it. It’s still in the early stages and we can’t quite say how it’s going to go. The main issue with these right now is how expensive they and how thick the body is which makes it difficult to carry it around. But with a few new developments, we could easily see a foldable phone in everyone’s hands in the next few years.

Royole Flexpai

This is the first foldable phone released and it’s really a hit and miss. As you can see it looks chunky and doesn’t look very appealing.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

The first fold-able phone released by Samsung, the galaxy fold was way better. It had a great screen when unfolded and a decent set of cameras. The biggest catch was that the screen when folded was very small and almost impractical to use. This meant that the Fold is to be used as a tablet primarily but also as a phone if need be. The need for 3 sets of cameras and two screens meant the Fold would have a hefty price tag of $2000.

Huawei Mate X and Mate Xs

Now this, this is what I think is the first step in producing an actual widely used fold able phone. The main difference in this is that the screen folds outward in contrast to how it folds inward in the Galaxy Fold. Since this means that the front folded display is actually a part of the same display that is present when unfolded, it translates to an amazing front folded screen. The Mate X is also much thinner than the Galaxy Fold. It also allows you to take selfies from the back camera which is a huge added bonus. All these points to the fact that the Mate X is a phone first, and a tablet second, which I believe is what will be more useful.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

In the second generation of foldable phones by Samsung, they fixed pretty much most of their mistakes. It is still an inward folding phone but the front folded display has been upgraded to a full-screen display which is a huge step in the right direction. The bulky front camera setup in the unfolded screen has also been replaced by a notch which looks much better. This phone is also still considerable thick however.

Apart from these, there are multiple other foldable phones in the market and I’ll leave a link for you to check it out if you are interested.

Foldable phones are still in infancy and need many improvements, but in a few more years, with a few more improvements, we could potentially see fold able phones in the hands of everyone.

Rtr. Lakshan Banneheke

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A New Day in the Covid Free World

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Hitting us without a warning late last year, Covid-19 marked one of the most drastic pandemics ever faced by man-kind. Having already taken thousands of lives with millions left to suffer, the virus changed us all in a way we had never imagined. Although the situation is easing for some of us, the day that the whole world would be free from this era seems far ahead…

It is definite to arrive one day, but today we can only imagine it. A world we could be ourselves again. A world free of Covid-19. A new world, with hopefully our habits and thinking patters changed for the better.  A world where we would be more understanding of people, our relationships and our planet. A world we wouldn’t take for granted and will protect for our future. A new beginning with new understandings.

A New Day in the Covid-Free World

Slowly, Sam cracked his eyes open. The sunlight streamed down from the open windows, to the bed he lay in. The sky has never looked bluer, more beautiful in all the years he spent in this world. Birds chirped outside, adding a fitting cheerful tune to the morning. Yes, it was true. Finally, the world was free of the pandemic.

Starting off as a virus bred through animals, Covid-19 spread like wildfire across the globe from a remote market in the corner of the world. It engulfed everyone in its dark wings, leaving in its wake a plethora of heartbroken souls who looked up at the heavens through face shields made of plastic, gushing out their terrible prayers from behind their masks. It was the black plague of the modern age, the worst nightmare come true for humanity.

But now, after years and years, mankind’s resilience has pulled through. They have all made it to a world free of the dreaded pandemic.

For the first time in as long as he could remember, Sam walked through the open doors into the sunshine that lay beyond. It was a beautiful feeling; neighbors and relatives all flocked along the roads to embrace each other, some in happiness, some in grief, but all in solidarity. Gone were all the differences that divided humanity. Everyone perceived everyone as their own, and new friendships kindled like flames everywhere he looked. It was the dawn of a whole new era. An era of humanitarian growth, friendship and fellowship across lands and seas.

The world too had changed. The gray clouds that hung around the cities were now merely a forgotten memory. So was the ozone layer that was torn apart. Nature had finally made its peace with humans; animals roamed freely in the urban parks, birds nestled peacefully on abandoned office blocks, and flowers blossomed on the vast graveyards. It was as though mother nature had decided to forgive humanity for all the suffering that she was put through over the centuries. The skies looked bluer, and the grass was greener.

Sam felt an oddly giddy feeling of happiness taking over his body. Looking around him broadly, he took his first steps on his long adventure on mother earth, promising himself to venture far and wide, experiencing everything this world has to offer to him. He would strive to always be a responsible person, to make maximum use of this valuable opportunity that mother nature had bestowed upon him, as one of the lucky few who survived one of the darkest eras of humanity. He promised to leave the earth a better place than the one he lived in. Looking up at the heavens high above, Sam smiled.

Rtr. Hiru Ihalakorala

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The Power of Affirmations: How to make them work for you

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Do you know what happens when you say “Can’t” to yourself?

Here’s a simple test for you!

Hold your arm at 90 degrees to the side of your body, make a fist and think of something you can do really well. Ask someone to try to push your arm down, and your task is to resist. Now, repeat this test but this time think of something you believe you can’t do.

You will discover that you will have difficulty resisting the person pushing down your arm the second time, and that much of your prior strength will be gone. It has been proven that when you think or say you can’t do something, your brain decreases the amount of electrical energy going to the parts of your body that would be used to do those things. Here is where affirmations roles come to play!

An affirmation is any statement you regularly repeat to reaffirm to yourself what you intend to achieve or what you will do. An affirmation is a positive declaration of what you believe to be true, or the truth by which you choose to live. It is like an insurance policy for your goals and objectives.

For Example, Churchill’s “We shall fight them on the beaches”  speech was an affirmation to motivate the British to overcome their enemy. John F Kennedy’s statement, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” was an affirmation to change American thinking. Muhammad Ali’s “I am the greatest” helped rocket him to becoming one of the world’s most successful athletes.

Affirmations help us express what we feel, in words. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between reality and fantasy, so it accepts the affirmation as reality and creates the neural connections that drives your body towards your goal.

The key to making your own affirmations work is to choose the ones you want for yourself. Then visualize them and repeat them over and over again until they become part of your being. The exciting thing about affirmations is that you have 100 percent control over which ones you put into your mind. This is also the exact same process that negative thinkers use to get their lousy outcomes.

“You are a living magnet.

what you attract into your life is in harmony

with your dominant thoughts”

Brian Tracy, Entrepreneur

What the Skeptics think

Some people may be skeptical about this. They may find it difficult to accept that what they say over and over again can make a difference in their outcomes. The truth probably is that, they have been practicing negative affirmations for years without even realizing it!

For example, think about public speaking. If you find the courage to deliver a speech but tell yourself that you won’t be any good, chances are that you will screw up. This further confirms your negative affirmation. Conversely, if you affirm that you can speak well and repeat this to yourself and visualize it often enough, your Reticular Activating System begins to believe you can do it.

If this all seems too good or too simple to be true, understand that it is the identical process to the way your current outlook on life was developed. Always remember, no one else is responsible for your current circumstances. You created them with the help of your affirmations, whether you knew it or not.

“You are today where your thoughts

have brought you; you will be tomorrow where

your thoughts take you.”

James Lane Allen, American novelist

Rtr. Naseef Ahamad

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A Journey that moulded the speaker in me

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In most families, the second child is usually the one who has to live behind the shadow of the first-born’s success, but in my family it was mutual. Even though I was the “smarter one” who always got better grades, I couldn’t help but notice how proud my parents and I myself were about how much my sister had achieved at such a young age. One such thing was that she was the president of the Gavel Club of her School and how much of a sharp speaker she was.

So, while participating on a club project called ‘Million Smiles’ our president announced of an opportunity for two members from our club to participate in a joint initiative by Rotary International and Toastmasters International, conducted in order to improve the public speaking and leadership skills of Rotaractors. At first it was not something I was very keen on. Even though I was eager to overcome my fear of public speaking, I was not ready to acknowledge it and work on it. But after mentioning it to my mother that night, and she and my sister both insisted that I participate in it.

Our first session commenced on the 2nd of January 2020 at Coco Space with the presence of 30 participants and 10 Toastmasters, with our co-ordinator Rtn. G.S. Sylvester. Our first huddle was an exemplary Toastmasters’ session conducted by the Distinguished Toastmasters. I remember my first Round Robin session so well, because me being the person I am, had a usual attack of stage fright and could not even speak for 20 seconds.

The session continued with a Keynote speech conducted by DTM Balraj Arunasalam about the 3*4 rule of public speaking, followed by a prepared speech demonstration and a table topic session for us speech crafters. We were evaluated by multiple role players including the General Evaluator, Evaluators, Timer, Grammarian and Ah-counter and received their constructive feedback.

At the end of the session our course coordinator DTM Tissa Dissanayake announced that from the following week the sessions would be conducted by the participants themselves and asked for volunteers to take up the different roles. I was thinking to myself that if I wanted to step out of the shell, that this is somewhere I could start. So, amidst the encouraging voices I raised my hands to become the ‘Toastmaster of the Day’ for the upcoming week.

After co-ordinating with DTM Tissa, I got the hang of the flow of proceedings and after a kind introduction by him on the second day, I took over the floor. At first, I was nervous but after seeing some kind faces from the audience smiling back at me, I felt more at ease and everything went smoothly.

The ten sessions covered numerous essential segments of public speaking and leadership skills through their keynote speeches. They included body language and vocal variety, persuasive speech, project management, team building, active listening and evaluate to motivate, how to add humour to your speech and Impromptu speaking.

The success stories of this programme were showcased when the Rotary International President Rtn. Mark Maloney and Rotary First Lady Gay Maloney graced the Rotary International District 3220 Intercity Meeting held at the Hilton Colombo on the 17th of February 2020. The four extremely talented speech crafters; Rtr. Sanduni Hettigoda, Rtr. Christina Kanagaperumal, Rtn. Mayuka Pathirana and Rtn. Danya shared their thoughts and insights gained from this pilot programme.

At this occasion, Rtn. Balraj Arunasalam, Toastmasters International President 2017/18 answered three frequently asked questions about the pilot programme through his speech. Firstly, he explained the purpose of this programme as to attract and retain new members to Rotary. To the question of how we could benefit by this, he gave a precise answer which I quote, “It will empower fellow Rotarians to learn the art of effective communication, inspire the audiences with their public speaking skills and enhance their leadership skills”. The third and final question he answered was the necessity Rotary had to join with Toastmasters. He explained that Toastmasters members can give back leveraging communication and leadership skills by participating in leading Rotary Projects. DTM. Balraj concluded his speech expressing his privilege to have been a part of this pilot programme mentioning that it was the first of its kind, where Toastmasters and Rotary International partnered up for such a cause.

We were drawing towards the end of our speechcraft programme, and it was soon the day for the Grand Finale. It took place on the 5th of March 2020 at ICBT Campus. The occasion was graced with the presence of DTM Balraj Arunasalam and the Chief guest: District Governor 2019/20 of District 3220 Rtn. Karunakaran.  The usual Toastmasters procedures were conducted before the awards ceremony, in which Toastmaster of the day Rtr. Mishal Faizan took control and led the proceedings.

He introduced his General Evaluator Rtr. Yasasi Samarakoon who then spoke about her role for the day and introduced her team of Role-players- Ah counter: Rtr.Dhanuka Perera, Timer: Rtr. Ahamed Amar and the Grammarian: Rtr. Arosha Jayasundara. Rtn. Danya Udukumbure led the round robin session. After four prepared speeches by Rtr. Thaveesha, Rtr. Shanik, Rtr. Dilanka and Rtn. Rasini, the table topic session commenced conducted by Rtr. Nipun Alwis. Finally, after the speeches were evaluated and the reports by the role players were submitted, the meeting was adjourned by the president and the award ceremony began.

The emcees Rtr. Christina and Rtr. Arshad welcomed the gathering and introduced and invited Rotary Coordinator Rtn. Sylvester to welcome the dignitaries and speech crafters to the occasion.

Something I would remember forever happened that day during the speech of DTM Balraj. He mentioned about someone he noticed at the first gathering who couldn’t speak for 20 seconds in the round robin session, turning out to be someone having a free and uninterrupted flow of words rushing out of their mouth today. He said it was through this that he witnessed the success of this project. He said this all with a kind smile gazing towards me which made me realize that it was indeed me he was talking about. Even though this would have been a simple triumph to someone else, it meant so much to me. Being the insecure person I am, this made me realize how wrong I was to second guess what I am capable of.

Following DTM Balraj’s speech was the address by District Governor of District 3220; Rtn. Karunakaran. The awards ceremony was then conducted by the Course Coordinators DTM Tissa Dissanayake and DTM Rameshkumar Karuppiah where around 50 talented speech crafters were rewarded. After the vote of thanks given out by speech crafter Shadly Fernando, the pilot project conducted by Toastmasters International and Rotary International was successfully concluded while everybody mingled around enjoying the lovely refreshments.

Rtr. Sandithi Jagoda

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The Dawn of a New Beginning

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They say that every end is a new beginning, and with new beginnings come more opportunities. Opportunities to explore and experience, with each new experience moulding us into the people we are today. As I believe Rotaract Achievers is one of the best places to gain leadership experience and to learn and thrive. We are undoubtedly proud of our members, of how much they have grown over the years, how much they have offered this club and their hard work, dedication and the perseverance towards doing better for people and society. While doing for others, we are even more proud of how we have helped each other grow to become better versions of ourselves.

Although every member of the club has their own inspiring life story, let’s talk about two individuals who have come a long way. The two individuals who will now take the baton in leading the club. It’s none other than Rtr. Thisura and Rtr. Suwithi, the 20.21 generation of Rotaract Achievers.

For me, one of the best things about being a leader is being able to inspire those around me and seeing them grow into amazing individuals who are passionate about what they do. Having said that I take pride in saying that I had the opportunity to see Rtr. Thisura and Rtr. Suwithi grow into the amazing Rotaractors they are today.

The kind hearted charming personality of Thisura is not a secret to any of us. Don’t let the 12-year-old boy look, fool you. He is strong-willed and ambitious. I remember months back when Thisura was just taking up the role of secretary, he said to me “I’m not much of a public speaker”. Today I see him motivating and encouraging the entire club.

As a secretary, he was indeed a pillar of strength to the club and a role model. On a side note he was also the known “singer” and entertainer of the club. As I always say the club was blessed to have him. As a president I have no doubt that he will do wonders and take the club to an even greater height.

Suwithi on the other hand has more of a bubbly personality. She is courageous, energetic and always up for a new challenge. Her electrifying enthusiasm and persistence, mixed with being a little blonde when it comes to jokes although she laughs about them anyway, all make her a best fit as the club secretary. Suwithi has shown remarkable commitment in the past year and will undoubtedly reach even greater heights with her new role.

The incoming board is truly lucky to be led by this amazing duo who pour their hearts and souls into the club. However, the leadership of these two individuals will not be the only driving factor. I watched the entire board of officials showing extraordinary flair in the past year, which is why I am confident that the club is in good hands. I am nothing but unbelievably proud of my team. I am humbled and honoured to see them become the leaders they are today.

With each generation, Rotaract Achievers becomes a stronger entity delivering more and more service to the community. Now is your time to lead. This is not an easy journey. It will surely be filled with tears, sweat, hard work and happiness but at the end of it you will be able to look back and say “we made it!”

I am a firm believer of taking chances and being fearless because if you don’t you will never know and you are only as brave as you allow yourself to be!

Best of Luck!

Rtr. Sathma Jayasinghe

President 2019-2020

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The Fandemic

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Due to the sudden outbreak of Covid-19, the entire country went on lockdown as a safety measure at the end of March. As people who were busy with our university studies and of course Rotaract work, adjusting ourselves to this new lifestyle certainly wasn’t easy. At a time when we were bored out of our minds staying at home during the lockdown, the Rotaract Club of University of Colombo Faculty of Management and Finance brought us a refreshing experience – The Fandemic – An online quiz series based on 4 fandoms.

I and my fellow members from our club were really excited to try this out since we saw the first poster and the teaser video. We even talked about which quizzes we will be choosing to participate and even considered binge-watching them all over again! We were able to see how much hype it set among others as well when the WhatsApp groups were created to communicate the participants for each quiz. The group chat was flooding with messages and GIFs related to each quiz and it was really fun to get to know the fellow crazy fans of your favourite show/movie franchise!
The first quiz was on the 15th of April, based on F.R.I.E.N.D.S., the quiz I was waiting to try out the most. Being a die-hard fan of F.R.I.E.N.D.S., I pretty much knew a lot about the series starting from the dialogues, so I was excited yet nervous to see the questions.

I got into the final 50 along with Rtr. Thisura Ramanayake. The final 50 were divided into groups of 10 and only 2 out of the 10 were selected for the final round from each group. There were some tricky questions as well; for example, “When did Chandler’s father put on a Santa suit?”, “Who’s the owner of Rosita?”. After a competitive round, I was placed 2nd in my group making my way to the finals.

The questions in the final round were much more challenging. The fellow finalists knew the show to the core and gave a really good fight till the end. At last, Rtr. Riz Liyanage from the Rotaract Club of Faculty of Science University of Colombo became the champion of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. quiz – the ultimate F.R.I.E.N.D.S. fan. I was placed 4th overall which truly made my day.

The second quiz was on the 19th of April, based on Harry Potter. All the Potterheads, including myself, were eager to test our knowledge in Harry Potter. I don’t think there’s anyone who didn’t binge-watch the Harry Potter franchise during this lockdown, and this quiz sure made all participants relive the enjoyable moments of the series. Me, Rtr. Thisura Ramanayake, Rtr. Rahul Jeyanthan and Rtr. Asel Gunaratne got into the final 50 and Rtr. Rahul snuck through to the final round. While he ended up claiming the 3rd place, Sheron Felix became the champion – claiming to be the biggest Potterhead of all.

The third quiz was on the 23rd of April, based on Marvel. I really enjoyed the Avengers movie franchise so I thought of giving this a try as well. However, the quiz was based on movies like the X men series, Deadpool, TV series and comics which I wasn’t very familiar with. So, this quiz was comparatively hard and I couldn’t go beyond the first round. Rtr. Hasitha Jayasuriya and Rtr. Naadir Thassim were able to move into the final 50. Rtr. Adheeban Gowrishankar from the Rotaract Club of Faculty of Science of University of Colombo became the champion and proved that no one can outsmart him when it came to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The fourth quiz was on the 26th of April, based on Game of Thrones. This was the only quiz I didn’t participate since I haven’t watched the show. However, my fellow club members participated and Rtr. Asel Gunartne was able to make it to the final 50. Ravindu Shehan emerged champion in the quiz and certainly made his fandom proud.

The show wasn’t over yet… after the four champions were selected from each fandom to the surprise of the participants including the four champions, a final quiz was held for them to battle one last time for the Ultimate Throne – THE FANDEMIC – ENDGAME!

The Fandemic – Endgame was held on the 27th of April, and the quiz was streamed live on Facebook. I watched the live stream and the finalists competed really well. In the end, Sheron Felix went past his fellow competitors to win The Fandemic.

The Fandemic – An online quiz series based on 4 fandoms was certainly a refreshing experience to Rotaractors as well as non Rotaractors and made our boring lives rather enjoyable during this quarantine period. Kudos to team FMF for coming up with this creative idea and for putting a lot of work to come up with a total of 29 quizzes – it sure must not have been easy. This made us relive the good moments we had with the 4 fandoms and the credit certainly goes to team FMF for that.

Rtr. Vinuri Ramanayake

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FeaturedGeneralYouth Time

Hotdog Showdown

hotdog

Would you believe me if I said that there is an event where you get to eat any amount of hotdogs you want? Sounds like every foodie’s dream come true right?

Well then, the place you should have been was at Green Path on the 15th of February, where we got the opportunity to gobble down hot dogs. Its called the Hot Dog Showdown and yes you guessed it right, it’s a competition where you have to eat hot dogs. This is an event organized by the Rotaract Club of Informatics Institute of Technology and the challenge is to eat any amount of hotdogs you can within a time span of 2 minutes. Sounds good right? Well, there’s more to it. They give amazing prizes too. That’s just not it. There is a wide variety of food stalls, celebrity guest appearances, a motor show that brought in many sports cars along with the presence of Dilantha Malagamuwa and many more. The organisers had managed to entertain everyone who attended. Foodie or not, it was an evening to remember.

If I dive a bit deep into this project, the proceedings from this event are invested in a community service project named E-mithudama done by the Rotaract Club of IIT. It is based around the core objective of helping school children from rural, underprivileged areas of the country- to support and uplift their computer literacy.

The Hot Dog Showdown is quite a famous event in the Rotaract calendar. It is an event where most rotaractors come together. It is a place where memories are made.  This year, there were many performances from La Bandos, Watalappan and a music band from IIT. This event also featured a dancing item and the famous Srilankan celebrity IRAJ.

This years event was a little more special to us because of Rtr. Suwithi, one of our club members won the 3rd place in the women’s category. Furthermore, it was seen that the men’s winner won for the 5th consecutive time which made the audience awestruck. Overall it was a great event and an event that shouldn’t be missed.

Rtr. Nuwanthi Manapperuma

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FeaturedGeneral

Drools – Vet Talks

drools

Rotaractors are an unstoppable species. Their ability to find ways to accomplish the need to fill the gaps in society is unfathomable! And the project, Drools- Vet Talks organized by the Rotaract Club of ICBT is such an initiative that sprung up to educate people in aiding their pet animals during the quarantine.

Receiving a warm welcome from Rtr. Methmi Pinnagoda, the project commenced through an online platform, adapting to the present circumstances. The guest speakers for the day, the founders of the Pet Vet Clinic, Dr Nalinika Obeysekera and Dr Janaki Collure started off with impact of COVID-19 on animals, clearing the common questionnaires that run about in our minds.

“Can us, humans catch the virus from our pets!?” was one of them. Though cats have the ability to get infected from humans and show the ability to spread among other cats, it is highly unlikely and there is no evidence so as to humans getting infected from pet animals. Dr Nalinika also went out to explain that dogs show more resistance to the virus and do not possess the ability to spread it among their kind or humans.

Rtr. Tashya Wickramarachchi then opened the platform to Dr Janaki to share her knowledge in Pharmacology and her years of clinical practice experience in several countries in enlightening us with the basic medical treatments that can be followed at home till help arrives. Humbly did she go on to make us aware that Panadol nor Panadeine like painkillers are NEVER given to cats but to dogs and introduction of jeewani (5ml at a time) with respective to vomiting and diarrhoea.

Our loved buddies, especially puppies and kittens and can get themselves in quite risky situations with their playful nature! Munching into poisonous substances is the worst of all. Making pets swallow a considerable amount of charcoal is the key, according to Dr Janaki, as it absorbs poison.

Dr Nalinika, whose love for animals is inestimable, reminded us of the love and joy that our pet animals bring about in our lives, encouraging us to use this time to build a deeper connection. Teaching us to prepare them for our full-time absence when COVID-19 dies down as well.

Thus, ended an impactful project from the Rotaract Club of ICBT, serving justice to all our animal friends and enlightening pet owners not only from Sri Lanka but Pakistan and India as well! Kudos to everyone who put the event together!

Rtr. Niflaz Nuhuman

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