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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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FeaturedGeneral

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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FeaturedGeneralYouth Time

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

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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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Drools – Vet Talks

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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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FeaturedGeneralYouth Time

Sky is the limit

Sky is the Limit

Passion is something you desire to have or do. We all have our own passions but many of us rarely chase them. But also there are many of them among us who have made their passion their profession. It is a difficult road but a road which will lead you towards many rewards and worthy experiences in life. Mahela Jayawardena is a prime example who worked hard to make his dreams come true. He is a hero and an icon for me as well as all the cricket fans out there. It has been a dream to meet him in person for a long time, which is why I decided to attend “Sky is the Limit” organized by the Rotaract Club of University of Colombo, Faculty of Management and Finance.

He came up to the podium after he was introduced and he started his speech by taking us on a journey through his remarkable cricket career. He mentioned many incidents which happened in his life which taught him many lessons. He faced a lot of hardships in life, especially when he lost his brother at the age of 18, he explained to us how it changed him and made him realize that there are more things to life than cricket. While his initial dream was to represent the National Cricket team remained, he built another dream which is to build a cancer hospital. He was able to build a cancer hospital in Maharagama with the support of the government and many others and he pioneered in building another one in Thilippalei as well.

He explained a lot of important life lessons to us using many of his experiences as a cricketer. When he was explaining his attitude in the field and towards cricket, he said “Control what you can control” which really caught my mind. It may seem like just five words but it has a lot of meaning behind it. He said that if you can focus on things which you can work on rather than things which are out of your control and beyond your reach, you can narrow down your focus areas which will help you to work on things within your reach more, and be successful with less frustration. In this way, we can utilize our time effectively without wasting it unnecessarily on things which are not worth your time. He said that this helped him to improve on his game a lot especially when playing in foreign conditions as it always presents batsmen an added challenge.

He spoke about a few values he believes everyone should nourish in their lives which will stand as pillars holding our lives on it. Honesty, respect, hard work and ethics are the values he said that all of us should focus on. He explained all these values using different examples in his cricketing life. It is when he also said “You cannot demand respect; you need to earn it” which was another important thing that caught my mind. He said that it doesn’t matter who it is, but if you give the proper respect to them, then you will be respected as well.

Then it was the Question and Answer session. The audience asked some difficult questions from him but he answered all of them with patience and a smile just like how he used to bat all those long test innings. Then there was a small-time for everyone to take a picture with him. Everyone in the audience was lined up with a lot of excitement to take a picture with their cricket hero. I was finally able to reach the top of the queue to take a picture with him which was one of the primary objectives for all of us who attended the session. It was a great session where I’m certain that everyone had a lot of lessons to learn which can help us make our dreams come true as well.

I’d like to thank the Rotaract Club of University of Colombo, Faculty of Management and Finance for organizing this insightful session with such an inspirational personality and giving cricket fans like us an opportunity to meet him in person.

Rtr. Thisura Ramanayake

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The Cuisine of Sri Lanka

The cuisine of Sri Lanka – Website

Sri Lanka boasts of unique cuisine, shaped by the fruits and vegetables to be found in its abundant garden, and by recipes brought to Sri Lanka by traders and invaders. The Indians, Arabs, Malays, Portuguese, Dutch and English have all left a mark on the Sri Lankan diet.

Curries in Sri Lanka can be very hot indeed although adjustments are often made to suit sensitive western palates. If you find yourself to have taken a mouthful of something that is simply too hot, a gulp of water does not bring you relief. Instead, that’s like throwing fuel on a fire. Far better is a forkful of rice, or better yet some cooling yogurt or curd or even a cucumber. Another surprisingly effective strategy is to sprinkle plain grated coconut over the curry- that’s what those side dishes are for. On the other hand, if the curry is not hot enough the solution to that is to simply have some pol sambol which is a red-hot side dish made with grated coconut, chili and spices.

Sri Lankan rice and curry usually include a variety of small curry dishes either vegetables, meat or fish. Chicken, fish or dried fish are very much popular whereas beef and mutton are also available.

Vegetarians would not have trouble finding tasty food as some unique Sri Lankan vegetable curries are banana (ash plantains), banana flower, breadfruit, jackfruit, mangoes, potatoes, beans, and pumpkins. An accompaniment of mallung (shredded green leaves with spices, lightly fried) is common, and the meal would not be complete without parippu (red lentil dhal) or another pulse curry.

The usual Indian curry varieties are also available in the Sri Lankan cuisine, including the South Indian vegetarian thali and the delicate North Indian biriyani. Also from the northern Jaffna region comes odiyal kool, a seafood stew that is rich in flavor.

The spices used to bring out the flavors of Sri Lankan curries are all made locally. Spices, particularly cinnamon are the reason why Europeans were interested in Sri Lanka. The essential ingredients in most curries are chili powder, fresh chilies, turmeric, cinnamon quills, curry powder, curry leaves, pandanus leaves, garlic, coconut milk and sometimes crushed maldive fish.

Disappointingly, and despite the huge amount of rice eaten in Sri Lanka, it is often bland. It generally has a musty smell and tastes just like cardboard. Try the delicious partly hulled red rice instead!

Coastal towns of Sri Lanka provide the whole country with fresh fish. Prawns are also widespread. And in Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna and Tangalle you can find delicious crab and lobster. A popular dish in the south of the island is ambul thiyal, a pickle usually made from tuna, which is translated as ‘sour fish curry’.

Other unique Sri Lankan dishes are hoppers and string hoppers. Hoppers are usually eaten for breakfast or as an evening snack. A regular hopper is rather like a small bowl-shaped pancake, skillfully fried over a high flame and sometimes served with an egg fried into the middle or with honey and yogurt. String hoppers are tangled little circles of steamed noodles used as a curry dip instead of rice. They make a filling meal at breakfast or dinner.

Also a very popular breakfast dish among Sri Lankans is fresh bread dipped in a curry with thin gravy called hodhi usually dhal curry.

Another rice substitute that can be found is pittu, a mixture of flour and grated coconut steamed in a bamboo mold so that it comes out shaped like a cylinder.

Lamprais, a popular dish of Dutch origin, is made of rice that’s boiled in meat stock then added to vegetables and meat and slowly baked in a banana-leaf wrapping. It is much more appetizing than the literal translation ‘lump rice’ suggests.

At teatime you can dine lightly on a plate of short eats. This is the local term for a selection of ‘Chinese’ rolls even though they are not really like Chinese spring rolls. The range of short eats would include meat or vegetable patties, cutlets, pastries and vadai (made with lentils or flour). At these shops a significant amount of short eats are served and the bill is added up according to how many are left.

A filling snack, which you can find mainly in street-side huts, is the rotti, a small parcel of anything you fancy wrapped up in a sort of elasticated, doughy pancake. A rotti chopped up and mixed with vegetables (or meat or egg) is called a kottu rotti. If you eat kottu rotti every day, you’ll soon become attuned to the chop-chop sounds of the kottu rotti maker at the local hotel in the evening.

Sri Lanka is well known throughout South Asia for locally originated sweets and desserts. Desserts are usually served as parts of main meals, whereas sweets are consumed at tea times. Unique Sri Lankan desserts include wattalappam which is an egg pudding of Malay origin that’s vaguely caramel-like in taste and curd with honey or curd with treacle. Curd is locally known as kiri-pani and is soothing at any time of the day. Curd is a rich and tasty yogurt made from buffalo milk. It comes in a shallow clay pot with a handy carrying rope which makes  it so attractive that you’ll hate to throw it away. The treacle is called kittul and is a syrup extracted from the kitul palm. When boiled and set to form hard blocks you’ll have jaggery, an all-purpose candy, and sweetener.

Kiri bath is a dessert of rice, cooked in milk. It’s served at weddings and is traditionally the first solid food fed to babies. It is also enjoyed as a tasty dish with a sambol or jaggery served at special occasions.

Like Indians, Sri Lankans waste no opportunity to indulge in their sweet tooth by sweets known as rasakavili. You could try kavum, a spiced flour and treacle battercake fried in coconut oil or aluva, a rice flour, treacle and cashew-nut fudge. Another Sri Lankan dessert specialty is the dark and delicious kalu dodol made up of coconut milk, jaggery and cashew nuts. These desserts are traditional sweets for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

Buddhism and Ayurvedic medicine have contributed to nourish the Sri Lankan cuisine. This is evident from the customs and ethics that prevail in the country. Further, different beliefs, blessings and worships have also contributed to nurturing the country’s food habits. The Sri Lankan traditional cuisine is an exclusive and unparalleled cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.

Rtr. Sandithi Jagoda

ශ්‍රී ලංකාව අද්විතීය ආහාරපානවලින් සමන්විතය. එයින් බහුල ප්‍රමාණයක් අප ගෙවතු උයනේ වගා කල හැකි පලතුරු හා එළවළු වලින් සෑදිය හැක. තවද ශ්‍රී ලංකාවට වෙළඳුන් සහ ආක්‍රමණිකයන් විසින් වට්ටෝරු ගෙන එන ලදී. ඉන්දියානුවන්, අරාබිවරුන්, මැලේ ජාතිකයින්, පෘතුගීසි, ලන්දේසි සහ ඉංග්‍රීසි යන සියල්ලන්ම ශ්‍රී ලාංකික ආහාර වේලෙහි සලකුණක් තබා ඇත.

ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ව්‍යංජන සැර බවින් අධික වේ. එබැවින් බටහිර තාලයට ගැලපෙන පරිදි වෙනස්කම් සිදු කළ ඇත. අධික සැර යමක් මුඛයට ගත් විට, වතුර පොදක් ඔබට සහනයක් ගෙන දෙන්නේ නැත. එය ගින්නක් මත ඉන්ධන විසි කිරීමක් වැනිය. මෙවැනි අවස්ථාවකදී වඩා හොඳ විසඳුමක් වන්නේ බත් පොදක්, සිසිල් යෝගට් හෝ කිරි කෝප්පයක් , පිපිඤ්ඤා ගෙඩියක් වැනි දෙයකි. තවත් පුදුම හිතෙන උපාය මාර්ගයක් වන්නේ ව්‍යංජන මත ගාන ලද පොල් ඉසිමය. අනෙක් අතට, ව්‍යංජනය ප්‍රමාණවත් තරම් සැර නොවන්නේ නම් එයට විසඳුම වන්නේ ගාන ලද පොල්, මිරිස් සහ කුළුබඩු වලින් සාදන ලද අතුරු කෑමක් වන පොල් සම්බල් ටිකක් සාදාගැනීමයි.

බත් සමග අනුභව කරන සාමාන්‍ය ව්‍යංජන එළවළු, මස්, මාළු හෝ වියළි මාළු වේ. කුකුළු මස්, මාළු හෝ වියළි මාළු ඉතා ජනප්‍රිය වන අතර හරක් මස් සහ එළුමස් ද තිබේ.

අළු කෙසෙල්, කෙසෙල් මල, කොස්, අඹ, අර්තාපල්, බෝංචි සහ වට්ටක්කා වැනි සුවිශේෂී ශ්‍රී ලාංකික එළවළු ව්‍යංජන නිසා නිර්මාංශිකයින්ට රසවත් ආහාර සොයා ගැනීමට අපහසු නොවනු ඇත. මැල්ලුම් සහ පරිප්පු නොමැතිව ආහාර වේලක් සම්පූර්ණ නොවේ.

දකුණු ඉන්දියානු නිර්මාංශ තාලි ව්‍යංජනය සහ උතුරු ඉන්දියානු බුරියානි ඇතුළු සුපුරුදු ඉන්දියානු ව්‍යංජන ප්‍රභේද බොහෝමයක් ශ්‍රී ලාංකික ආහාරවල තිබේ. උතුරේ යාපනය ප්‍රදේශයේ ඔඩියල් කූල් නම් මාළු ඉස්ටුව රසයෙන් පොහොසත් වේ.

ශ්‍රී ලාංකික ව්‍යංජන වල රසය ඉස්මතු කිරීමට භාවිතා කරන කුළුබඩු සියල්ලම දේශීයව සාදා ගනු ඇත. යුරෝපීයයන් ශ්‍රී ලංකාව කෙරෙහි උනන්දුවක් දැක්වීමට හේතුවද මෙයයි. බොහෝ ව්‍යංජන වල අත්‍යවශ්‍ය අමුද්‍රව්‍ය වන්නේ මිරිස් කුඩු, නැවුම් මිරිස්, කහ, කුරුඳු, කරපිංචා, පැන්ඩනස් කොළ, සුදුළූණු, පොල් කිරි සහ විටක තලා දැමූ උම්බලකඩය.

ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ විශාල සහල් ප්‍රමාණයක් අනුභව කළ නමූත්, එයට කාඩ්බෝඩ් රසයක් ඇත. එය වෙනුවට අර්ධ වශයෙන් පොලාගත් රතු සහල් අනුභව කරන්න!

ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ වෙරළබඩ නගර මුළු රටටම නැවුම් මසුන් සපයයි. ඉස්සන් ද බහුලව දක්නට ලැබේ. හික්කඩුව, උණවටුන සහ තංගල්ල වැනි ස්ථානවලින්,  ඔබට රසවත් කකුළුවන් හා පොකිරිස්සන් සොයා ගත හැක. දිවයිනේ දකුණේ ජනප්‍රිය ආහාරයක් වන්නේ ටූනා වලින් සාදන ලද අම්බුල් තියාල් ආහාරයයි.

අනෙකුත් සුවිශේෂී ශ්‍රී ලාංකික කෑම වන්නේ ආප්ප සහ ඉදි ආප්ප ය. ආප්ප සාමාන්‍යයෙන් උදේ ආහාරය සඳහා හෝ සවස කෑමක් ලෙස අනුභව කරනු ලැබේ. සාමාන්‍ය ආප්පයක් කුඩා පාත්‍ර හැඩැති පෑන්කේකයක් වැනි ය. ඉහළ ගින්නක් මත බදින අතර සමහර විට බිත්තරයක් මැදට බදින ලද වේ. එය මී පැණි හෝ යෝගට් සමග අනුභව කරනු ලැබේ. ඉදි ආප්ප යනු බත් ආදේශකයකි. එය තැම්බූ නූඩ්ල්ස් හා සමාන කුඩා රවුම්ක් ය. මෙය උදේ ආහාරයක් හෝ රාත්‍රී ආහාරයක් ලෙස පිළියෙළ කරනු ලැබේ.

ශ්‍රී ලාංකියන් අතර ඉතා ජනප්‍රිය උදෑසන ආහාරයක් වන්නේ නැවුම් පරිප්පු ව්‍යංජනයක පොඟවා ගත් පාන්ය. තවත් බත් ආදේශකයක් වන්නේ පිට්ටු. එය තැම්බූ පිටි සහ ගාන ලද පොල් මිශ්‍රණයක් වේ. එය සිලින්ඩරාකාර හැඩයකින් සමන්විත වේ.

සවස් කාලයට ඔබට ‘shorteats’ පිඟානක් ආහාරට ගත හැකිය. ‘Chinese rolls’ යනු භාවිතා වන දේශීය යෙදුමයි. ‘Shorteats’ පිඟානකට පැටිස්, කට්ලට්, පේස්ට්‍රි සහ වඩේ ඇතුළත් වේ. මෙම සාප්පු වලදී ‘shorteats’ පිඟානක ඉතිරිව ඇති ප්‍රමාණය අනුව බිල්පත එකතු කරනු ලැබේ.

ඔබට වීදි දෙපැත්තේ පැල්පත්වල සොයා ගත හැකි කෑමක් වන්නේ රොටි ය. ඔබ කැමති ඕනෑම දෙයක් පිටි

සමග ගුලි කර පෑන්කේකයක් ලෙස ඔතා ගත හැක. රොටී, කපාගත් එළවළු (හෝ මස් හෝ බිත්තර) සමඟ මිශ්‍ර කළ විට කොත්තු රොටි ලෙස හැඳින්වේ. ඔබ සෑම දිනකම කොත්තු අනුභව කරන්නේ නම්, කොත්තු රොටි නිෂ්පාදකයාගේ ‘චොප්-චොප්’ ශබ්දයට ඉක්මනින් හුරු වේ.

රසකැවිලි සහ අතුරුපස සඳහා ශ්‍රී ලංකාව දකුණු ආසියාව පුරා ප්‍රසිද්ධය. අතුරුපස සාමාන්‍යයෙන් ප්‍රධාන ආහාර වේලෙහි කොටසක් ලෙස පරිභෝජනය කරන අතර තේ වේලාවන්හි රසකැවිලි පරිභෝජනය කරනු ලැබේ. අද්විතීය ශ්‍රී ලාංකික අතුරුපස අතරට වටලප්පම් ඇතුළත් වන අතර එය මැලේ සම්භවයක් ඇති බිත්තර පුඩිමකි. එය කැරමල් රසයෙන් යුක්ත වේ. මීකිරි ද ඉතාමත් ප්‍රසිද්ධ අතුරුපසකි. දේශීයව කිරි-පැණි ලෙස හැඳින්වෙන අතර දවසේ ඕනෑම වේලාවක එය අනුභව කළ හැක. මීකිරි යනු මී හරකුන්ගෙන් සාදන ලද රසවත් යෝගට් වර්ගයකි. එය ආකර්ෂණීය නොගැඹුරු මැටි බඳුනක මිලදී ගත හැක. කිතුල් පැණි ලෙස හඳුන්වන්නේ කිතුල් අත්ලෙන් ලබාගත් සිරප් වර්ගයකටය. තම්බා කුට්ටි කළ සූදානම් කළ විට ඔබට හකුරු ලැබේ. කිරි බත් යනු කිරි වලින් පිසින ලද ආහාරයකි. එය මංගල උත්සවවලදී පිරිනමන අතර සාම්ප්‍රදායිකව ළදරුවන්ට ලබා දෙන පළමු ආහාරයද වේ. විශේෂ අවස්ථා වලදී පිරිනමන ලද කිරි බත් ලුණුමිරිස් හෝ හකුරු සමග භුක්ති විඳිය හැක.

ඉන්දියානුවන් මෙන්, ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයන් රසකාවිලි බොහෝමයක් සාදයි. අලුවා යනු පොල්තෙල්වල බඳින ලද පිටි සහ පැණි මිශ්‍රණයකි. තවත් ශ්‍රී ලාංකික අතුරුපස විශේෂයක් වන්නේ පොල් කිරි, හකුරු සහ කජු වලින් සාදන ලද රසවත් කළු දොදොල් ය. මේ අතුරුපස සියල්ලම සිංහල හා දෙමළ අලුත් අවුරුද්දේ සාම්ප්‍රදායික රසකැවිලි වේ.

බුද්ධාගම සහ ආයුර්වේද වෛද්‍ය විද්‍යාව ශ්‍රී ලාංකික ආහාර වට්ටෝරුව වැඩි දියුණු කිරීමට දායක වී තිබේ. රට තුළ පවතින සිරිත් විරිත් හා ආචාර ධර්ම වලින් මෙය පැහැදිලි වේ. තවද, විවිධ විශ්වාසයන්, ආශිර්වාද සහ නමස්කාරයන් රටේ ආහාර පුරුදු වැඩි දියුණු කිරීමට දායක වී ඇත. ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ සාම්ප්‍රදායික ආහාරපාන වට්ටෝරුව සුවිශේෂී හා අසමසම සංස්කෘතික උරුමයකි.

Translated by Rtr. Suwithi Karunasekara

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My Cola Conquer Colombo 2020

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-07 at 3.18.33 AM

9th of February 2020. A day much eagerly anticipated by the rotaracters of RACALBS. From the meticulous organization and execution by the organizing committee and the careful pre-planning by many of our participants, Conquer Colombo is by far one of the most hyped events of the Rotaract calendar. Setting the bar higher than ever before, My Cola Conquer Colombo 2020 was back with more new twists and challenges of all forms , be it rowing challenges, electric scooter challenges and even VR gaming challenges. This grand scale project involving almost 500 participants was initiated with the motive of aiding of the club’s major community service project “Project Life”. This project targets at combatting Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in several affected communities in Killinochchi  by aiding for the building of Reverse Osmosis systems. Since its inauguration in 2013, Conquer Colombo has been more than successful in aiding project life along with providing a unique experience to its participants.

Having run a strong PR campaign teasing this year’s participants with past, present and futuristic videos of Colombo city, This year’s Conquer Colombo ran the theme of “Time Travel” where the participants took part in a time based adventure in order to save the apocalyptic city of Colombo. The storyline was ingrained in each of the three phases (namely past, present and future phase) and also within each challenge which included a unique story of its own. Shifting CC paradigms every year, this year’s event included the concept of hunting for “Key Fragments” which was a first in CC history. Completing  each challenge in a phase provided a hint to the location where the key fragment relevant for the phase was hidden. Once the participants have found the 3 fragments (which pieced together forms an QR code), it led the participant to a surprise coordinated location. This new format of the race was definitely an eye opener for many of Conquer Colombo’s veteran participants who has grown accustomed to the monotonous setting of the race. All these factors added in glamour and spice to My Cola Conquer Colombo 2020 and truly shifted the metrics of this year’s competition.

The event kickstarted with variety of small entertainment items by a few of the participants as the crowd started registering at Race Course in the morning. Following heated competition for the best themed and funkiest ride awards, everyone’s attention was taken away to the exotic cars of the Italian car enthusiasts club and the grand entrance of the 4×4 monster trucks by the Ironman team.  Following the announcement of the rules and regulations, the participants were taken by surprise by the sudden play of cryptic video. It showed an obscure time traveller fore-warning of an apocalypse in the city and that the participants must travel in time to save this mystery time traveller from a time chamber to save the city.

The cryptic message finally triggered the kick start of this much awaited race. Following a literal stampede of participants racing  to obtain their first clue sheet, teams were rushing at every direction to reach their rides and to figure out where to head first. Having  the opportunity to check up on each of the challenge locations, it was a pleasure watching the participants engage in not only heated competition but also genuine team work where each member prioritized and played according to each of their strengths. Cracking open a mystery chest at Escape The Room, speed painting two historical flags, rowing across the Beira or even fumbling on the floor playing bean bag twister,  It goes without saying that this year’s CC was truly an experience to remember for both the participants and organizers alike.

The closing ceremony capped off one of the greatest events of the Rotaract calendar on a high note. Having pieced together the 3 key fragments, many teams scrambled back to race course to  find the fabled time chamber where they witnessed the thrilling ending of the storyline. The closing ceremony started off with the commencement of the raffle draw which is one of the more awaited events during Conquer Colombo. Winners walked away with gift baskets and a variety of exciting gift vouchers. Up next came the awards for best themed, funkiest ride, Supermen and Wonder Women. Last but not the least, the top fifteen teams of Conquer Colombo 2020 were awarded with variety of exciting prizes from gift baskets to voucher. Team “Young Dumb and Broke” came in third and received a variety of amazing prizes along with an opportunity for an overnight stay at Mango House, Galle Fort. Winners of the Super men award “Team Joe-Pete” also went on to take the number 2 spot of My Cola Conquer Colombo 2020 winning an overnight stay at Jetwing hotel along with other exciting prizes. Team “Ali’s Army” topped the point list of this year’s event and went on to be crowned champions of My Cola Conquer Colombo 2020, securing 4 return air tickets to Singapore among other exciting prizes.

Providing new experiences which most participants  would have never before experienced anywhere else is what Conquer Colombo is held in high regard for. Regardless of whether participants managed to break into the top 15 or not, without any doubt, everyone left with a feeling of satisfaction and eagerness to look forward to this event again next year. From speed eating fried rice using chopsticks, mind boggling mind challenges such as the escape the room challenge to fast paced virtual reality gaming, My Cola Conquer Colombo 2020 was definitely not a day to miss. Reaching new milestones in a event ever-filled with potential, My Cola Conquer Colombo 2020 left quite the mark on the Rotaract calendar and leaving us with the anticipation of an even more awe-inspiring event next year.

Rtr. Asel Gunaratne

 

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