Archive | October, 2012


Hameedia brings ‘Planet Fashion’ to Racecourse Shopping Promenade

Posted on 30 October 2012 by admin

Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa opens ‘Planet Fashion’. Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Hameedia Managing Director, Fouzul Hameed, Deputy Managing Director, Hussain Sadique and Senior Brand Manager, Samudu de Silva are also in the picture. Last weekend Colombo's racecourse promenade opened its doors to the public. Among the top-end boutiques was 'Planet Fashion', run by Hameedia. 'Planet Fashion' was opened by Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa. Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, Gotabaya Rakjapaksa. Hameedia was joined by Madura Fashion and Lifestyle, a division of Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd of India. "We thank the Government for its far-sighted initiative in transforming the former racecourse into a 21st century shopping arcade. Planet Fashion brings the world's leading men's clothing brands under one roof and is proud to open its doors at the racecourse promenade and with the transformation of the Old Dutch Hospital in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka now joins other world capitals which have transformed old heritage buildings into modern leisure and lifestyle centres," Hameedia's Managing Director, Fouzul Hameed, said.

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The Elephant Rock (Ethugala) – Kurunegala

Posted on 30 October 2012 by admin

The Elephant Rock is synonymous with the city of Kurunegala. The unique value of the Kurunegala town is Elephant Rock (325Mtrs.). It resembles an elephant. Legend has it that during periods of severe drought, the animals threatened the city's water supply, they were magically turned into stone. Situated at the foot of the 325km black rock Ethugala is an excellent view of the city and the Kurunegala Lake, from the Top.

"It brings back happy memories of the good times we had growing up in the sixties with close friends and family in Kurunegala and climbing up the Elephant Rock with sandwiches and other pastries made by our parents. This was an annual outing in the olden days and how much we enjoyed it," says Upali Obeyesekere, editor of The Times of Sri Lanka website. This writer has posted a photograph of a close family friend (Malcolm Livera) atop Elephant Rock with the sprawling city of Kurunegala in the background. The development that has taken place in the city, the last few decades is quite impressive.

Kurunegala was the royal capital (from the end of the 13th century to the start of the 13th century )and also important cross town linking many ways to visit various towns from the Kurunegala. Puttalam Road, Dambulla Road, Negombo Road, Kandy Road, Colombo Road are some of the important cross roads. The city of Kurunegala is situated at a high altitude. Most of the city is plain land except the surrounding rocks. The city observes a tropical and temperate climate although the year. The precipitation range is 1800 millimeter per year. Three capitals of ancient times are situated near the city: Panduvasnuwara, Dambadeniya, and Yapahuwa. Ruins of old monuments are still found in Panduvasnuwara.  

Kurunegala houses many reputed educational institutions. Some of them are: Maliyadeva College, Maliyadeva Balika Maha Vidyalaya, St. Anne's College, Holy Family Convent,  Sir John Kotelawala Maha Vidyalaya and so on. Many well known politicians in parliament (old and present) hail from Kurunegala. Well known politicians associated with Kurunegala are Sir John Kotelawala, H. Sri Nissanka, U.B. Wanninayaka, D.B. Welagedera, D.P. Wickramasinghe, D.B. Monnekulame, Bertram Markus, Ariya B. Rekawa, Rohitha Bogollagama, Johnston Fernando, and many many others.

Kurunegala has many tourist attractions. The coconut plantations and the paddy fields offer a very picturesque sight. Dense forest is situated on the southwestern part of the city.

  • The Rocks: Along with “Elephant rock,” there are seven other rocks named after animals: Etha-gala, Ibba-gala, Ada-gala, Elu-gala, Yakdessa-gala, Kuruminiya-gala, and Wandura-gala.
  • Kurunegala Lake: Situated at the central part of the city this lake offers a great tourist attraction.
  • Kurunegala clock tower: Built in 1922, in memory of the brave officers, who died in World War I. The tower is also used as a memoriam for the soldiers of the Second World War as well.


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“We can learn a thing or two from Sri Lanka”, says business visitor

Posted on 30 October 2012 by admin


The following impressions of Sri Lanka from Ravindran Raman Kutty is worth sharing. This article appeared in the "Malay Mail".

Meetings and work brought me to Sri Lanka last week. Colombo was a pleasant surprise for me, as I was thinking weapon wielding army officers will be welcoming me. I was wrong. Colombo airport was small but cute and clean. The immigration officers were the most courteous immigration officers that I have ever encountered. Both air and ground airline staffs were kind, humane and courteous.

It was even more enjoyable when I took a quick dash to Kandy, wanting to visit the highlands of Nuwara Eliya. The Queen’s Hotel which, I spent a night was squeaky clean, though it was an old Viceroy’s palace aging more than 100 years old. The lacquered shiny floors were immaculate with the colonial Dutch design making a permanent impression on the guests. The service by the front office was exemplary and extremely hospitable.
It was a journey back to history, where I was fortunate to revisit the epic Ramayana. I visited the Hanuman Temple at Ramboda where Hanuman was searching for Sitadevi, Chinmaya mission of Sri Lanka has built a temple. The image of Lord Hanuman here is 16 feet. I also visited Sita Eliya, where Sita was kept abode by Ravana, the king of Lanka. The exact spot where, Sita was kept abode is now marked with the idol of Sita flanked by Rama and Lakshamana.

The epic Ramayana was related in a very simple yet effective way by the caretaker of the temple. He made it a point to point to the Footprints of Lord Hanuman which were so obvious, as they were now painted with a coat of yellow paint. He also pointed to the river in which Sita was bathing. The hill just along the river is what Lord Hanuman burnt in his escapade to rescue Sita from Ravana. The Ramayana was certainly exciting to read, but to view the exact spots at the Nuwara Eliya was awesome and was very exciting. The cool breeze, the foggy low lying clouds, the scenic tea plantations were all breath-taking.

Tea plantation

As a tea freak, I made a point to visit a tea plantation on the hills. I ordered my tea with a luscious chocolate cake, which was a magical combination for the cold and freezing weather at the hills. I managed to drink three cups of the 'Mackwoods' tea and was almost feeling 'one too many' after the third cup. The satisfaction that I derived was unexplainable, as the cup had no drops to prove.

The drive down the hills was picturesque all the way. Beetroots, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, reddish, cabbage, cauliflowers were the main items in every stall, bidding good bye or inviting one to stop to buy. The weather was so cold that we did not use air-condition, on our Toyota Hybrid which was our rented car.

The scene maybe quite similar to Cameron Highlands, but the ambience, hospitality, warmth and honest people of Sri Lanka must be mentioned and applauded. We have to learn much from the Sri Lankan who were besieged by war for more than 30 years. The country may have lost many thousands of lives and several politicians including some prime ministers. Their quest to return to normalcy is very evident. Colombo, Kandy is the two places that I visited.

They were immaculate and clean. The roads were clean and overall appearance of the city may look like some parts of India, but it’s pleasant, safe and clean. The roads are wide and the ride to the Highlands has better roads than our Cameron Highlands. We must learn about hospitality and humility from the Sri Lankans who are extremely pleasant and caring.

Public infrastructure

My visit to the Pettah market was even shocking. It was an exact scene of Calcutta in terms of traffic. But the roads were clean. The walkways were spotless. The safety level was undeniably great. I even visited a toilet in the Pettah Cross Street and was shocked to see, a clean toilet, with running water and a functioning cistern pump. The doors latch was still secure and there was no stench or stain for anyone to puke or close your nose. I am certainly impressed by the condition of the toilet, even if I want to compare with our Taman Tun Dr Ismail market’s toilets.

Malaysia we are more modern. We have the twin towers. We have the largest highways. We may have the longest bridge. Our FDI and GNI are worlds apart to Sri Lanka. We have fantastic public infrastructures to pride on, but Sri Lanka has one thing…their roads are clean, their markets are clean, the people are emphatic, they are courteous and they are in a hurry to recover the 30 lost years of development. I hope we can learn these simple traits from Sri Lanka and become a greater nation by afar!

Courtesy: The Malay Mail


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Beverley Pinder-Mortimer is new Councillor at Melbourne City Council

Posted on 30 October 2012 by admin

A Sri Lankan born Australian entrepreneur Beverley Pinder-Mortimer was elected Councillor to the Melbourne City Council at the recently held municipal elections.

One of Melbourne’s best known communications consultants, Beverley’s strong passion for small business reflects the almost 30 years she has spent operating her own small business.

On top of her business interests, Beverley devotes significant time, effort and energy to the not-for-profit sector as well as her ‘inner circle’ comprising her mother, Olga, husband, Russell, and his children Jake and Andre.

Migrating from Sri Lanka with her family as a teenager, Beverley is also a former Miss Universe Australia.

For the past 44 years Beverley has lived and worked in Melbourne, mostly in and around her much-loved St Kilda Road precinct.

An ardent lover of the ‘boulevard’, Beverley’s day is not complete without a morning walk along St Kilda Road.

Since the age of 14 Beverley has been involved in numerous charities from the Harold Blair Aboriginal Children’s Holiday Project to Sacred Heart Mission. More recently, Beverley has dedicated her support to the Lighthouse Foundation, National Institute of Integrative Medicine and HELP Sri Lanka.

Beverley’s loyalty to the community from which she has derived her success and her enduring care and consideration for the environment, as well as her understanding of the homeless, means she is well placed to seek nomination for the City of Melbourne.


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Digital media publisher labels ‘Sri Lanka’ as #1 tourist destination

Posted on 23 October 2012 by admin

World’s most renowned and largest travel guide book and digital media publisher –“The Lonely Planet” has named Sri Lanka as number one destination in the world to visit in year 2013.

The travel experts and the voters have predicted that Sri Lanka will be on the top of the hottest new holiday destinations for the travelers in year 2013. Under the title ‘Serenity returns to Serendib “ the travel guide raves destination Sri Lanka describing the multi-faceted experiences the traveler can look for in this small Island , fused with novelty and indulgence :

“Dubbed Serendib -the origin of the word serendipity “ by seafaring Arab traders centuries ago, Sri Lanka has been anything but serene in recent decades. …South Asia's most compact country have remained off limits to even the most intrepid traveller. .…investment is again fuelling the tourist industry and visitor numbers are steadily increasing. Prices are affordable. Indeed, Sri Lanka is emerging as one of the planet's best-value destinations.

The travel guide book highlights the emerging new popular places to visit in Sri Lanka including the newly opened up East coast and less travelled paths in the western coast as well : “North of the capital Colombo, on Sri Lanka's west coast, Kalpitiya and the Puttalam lagoon are eco-tourism hotspots with bird watching and kayaking. Near Dondra Head, on the south coast, mighty blue whales are regular visitors from January to April while land-based wildlife thrills include the leopards and elephants of Yala National Park, and the more rugged and remote Wilpattu National Park, open once more after being closed for more than two decades “

Being famous for pristine sandy beaches from the begining, the Lonely Planet remarks that the total experience in Sri Lanka is truly a life changing experience for any traveler:

“The gloriously arcing beaches of the nation's east coast are now challenging traditional southern favourites. Arugam Bay's sandy crescent is one of Asia's best surf spots and further north, Uppuveli and Nilaveli near Trincomalee stretch for several pristine kilometers….Explore the glorious labyrinth of Galle's 17th-century Dutch fort. In past centuries, the Unesco-listed colonial town was a prosperous hub of global trade and now boutique hotels and an emerging arts scene instil a cosmopolitan allure. Further north, you can discover Sri Lanka's imposing ancient cities, emerging from a verdant landscape. All around the country, tuck into great-value local cuisine including grilled seafood, spicy kottu (roti chopped and mixed with vegetables) and multi-course mini banquets of different curries at family run guesthouses. Indian and Thai cooking may be world-renowned, but Sri Lanka's time in the global gourmet spotlight can't be far away.”

The country is becoming easier to reach due to cheap fares from regional hub Bangkok said Lonely Planet.

The annual Lonely Planet lists are compiled based on unbiased views of the staff, writers and travel community. Spokesman Adam Bennett said that the choices are not based on where travellers are already going but rather are "our pick of where we believe travellers really should consider visiting in 2013." He said that destinations make the list for a variety of reasons, including special events, recent developments or buzz, or that the destination is up-and-coming and worth visiting before the crowds get too big.

This achievement is certainly a boost for the Tourism industry of Sri Lanka which keeps on breaking its own records through out the past years and strategically targeting 2.5 million tourist arrivals by year 2016.



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Latest ‘shopping complex’ in Colombo – Race Course Building at Reid Avenue

Posted on 22 October 2012 by admin

The up-market shopping complex in the old Race Course building at Reid Avenue, which has been renovated preserving its historical value and colonial architecture, was declared opened by Defense Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapakse on Saturday (20). The modern complex also houses supermarkets, restaurants and office space. It was refurbished under expert architectural design at a cost of Rs. 125 million using the manpower of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). With the success of converting the Old Dutch Hospital in Colombo into a popular shopping centre by the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, the historic grandstand and mini pavilion were refurbished while retaining the spirit of its original colonial architecture.

The Colombo Racecourse Ground has been developed as the Sri Lanka’s first international rugby stadium and is now equipped with the latest facilities for rugby, including a state-of-the art gymnasium, changing rooms, media rooms and a jogging track encircling the grounds.On completion, the pavilions will provide seating facilities for over 2,000 spectators. The total project cost for the renovation of the pavilion, grandstand and the construction of the rugby ground has been estimated at Rs. 470 million. The race course built by the British in 1893 was then known as Ceylon Turf Club. It was the country’s first Prime Minister, the late D. S. Senanayake who, as Agriculture and Lands Minister, was instrumental in renovating the complex and vesting it with the people. It was at one time a popular venue for horse racing in South Asia.

Colombo racecourse area and surrounding modernised with new buildings:

From today (Oct.20) the racecourse and the surrounding area has to get a facelift with and modernised with facilities similar to those in western European countries for the benefit of people from many walks of life and is due complete all proposed plans by the end of next year. Today its first phase was opened by Ministers Basil Rajapaksa and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa
Already the area surrounding the Torrington square has already been given a face lift with car parks and modified lanes for people to have strolls have already been built to International standards.
Within the racecourse the latest International Rugby stadium complex is planned to be built along with a smaller ground for practicing. Adjacent to it is a modern shopping complex to be proposed to be built to international standards. A part of the proposed plans have already been completed with six shops and two restaurants. There are going to have McDonald’s outlets, Laksala and various fashion shops later on. Permission had been given for the construction of six modern shops and two restaurants like those in western European countries. It is proposed to have a car park to accommodate 125 cars.
At present the remaining construction work is about half complete. It is planned to complete the construction of the massive complex by the end of next year. The complex is built under the purview of the authorities of the Urban Development Authority.
The entire project is to cost around Rs 450 million. The name of the complex is yet to be named. The main purpose behind the construction of this project is for the people to relax after stressful days work. It is basically is to go along with the theory of a “recreation centre” concept. The project has been formulated for implementation with this concept in mind. 

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Qbaa – a fine dining restaurant opens at No.2, De Fonseka Place, Colombo 5

Posted on 18 October 2012 by admin


Whether playing his trademark cut shot over point, bowling his slow left-arm spin or grooving to eastern beats, Sri Lanka’s ace cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya, has a knack for adding a magic touch to whatever he does. This time around the Master Blaster has taken guard for a different innings – one of the culinary kind. Jayasuriya launched “Qbaa” – a fine dining restaurant in Colombo 5 while T20 excitement was at fever pitch. Located at No 2, De Fonseka Place, Colombo 5, the restaurant has a relaxed ambience.

Suzie Illangakoon, one of the four partners of Qbaa and a long-time friend of Sanath’s believed that he would be genuinely interested in starting up the venture. The four partners are Suzie, Shamendra Tilakasiri, Roger Perera, and Sanath himself.

“The idea of the restaurant actually popped up in April, and we really had to make haste to get things ready by October as we had the T20 World Cup at the back of our minds,” Suzie adds. “There was no compromising regardless of the limited time, as people look into the finer points.”

“Qbaa – is quite the eccentric name, but unfortunately there’s no story behind it,” laughs Suzie, “Q – all about quality.”

The restaurant had its opening on Friday, October 5 and Sanath was present to greet guests as they walked in. Cricketers, officials, ministers and other top brass made their appearances as the night evolved. Lasith Malinga was one of the first to arrive (joking that he’d been fielding all day), followed by mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis. The cricketers paid little notice to the West Indies vs Australia semi-final that was being screened at the bar, as if they already knew who they were going up against.

The late night breeze rustles a few leaves fallen on the tranquil rooftop – the perfect place for a cosy chat or striking that business deal. The restaurant is in itself built to cater to people looking for a relaxing evening after a long day at work. Simplicity is the overall theme of the interiors, designed by Architect Murad Ismail. The dining area leads to a wine cellar that boasts a range of fine wine imported from France, while a community table concept is brought into play where people can taste wine around the table.

The spacious bar boasts live performances by jazz artist Keithan Carter, who’ll keep the groove going four days a week.

Angelo Mathews and Dilshan look a bit tense before the impending finals, but even so cannot resist swaying to Keithen’s tunes, while Kumar Sangakkara has a minute and a half to spare for everyone who greets him. We grab the tiniest window available to speak to Jayasuriya. “This is a new experience for me, but I know I can take on the challenge of being an entrepreneur,” he says. “This is also like cricket, it’s a team game, yes, I have the support of all the partners,” he says before hurrying off to greet Jeevan Mendis with the heartiest hug of the night.

“What sets Qbaa apart from many other fine-dining restaurants is that it has an indoor dining court, a rooftop lounge, wine cellar and pub all in one,” M. Mohan Raj, the General Manager at Qbaa told the Sunday Times. Having extensive knowledge in fine-dining having been at The Caviar House in Geneva, Sheraton Atlantic as well as 5 star hotels in Colombo, Mohan believes that he will continue the high standards at Qbaa. “We also pay special attention to the finer points – we even get our rock salt especially from Tasmania, and we make sure to serve the irresistibly juicy pink salmon on a black plate for contrast. These are the little details that go the distance in fine-dining.”

The cuisine at Qbaa is essentially continental and fusion, while there is a special grill set up each day of the week. “We serve the catch of the day which is brought down straight to us, while the meats and salmon are imported from Europe,” says Mohan. The main chefs manning the kitchen are Sous Chef Darrrel Smith and Kosala Silva. The dishes of the day are roast beef delicacies, with prawn souffl�, smoked salmon wrap and chicken liver mousse garnished with fresh herbs. “We also plan on serving caviar in the near future,” adds Mohan.

Meanwhile the cricketers have congregated at presumably the most enchanting area of the restaurant – the moonlit rooftop. Voluble chit-chat ensues, but they make sure to keep cricket out of it. Seems the stage is set for many more encounters off the field.

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SRI LANKA: The Dutch Hospital

Posted on 18 October 2012 by admin


Sri Lanka, known as Ceylon till 1972, is an island which was successively occupied by the Portuguese (1505-1656), the Dutch (1656-1796), and the British (1796-1948).

Dutch Hospital – This hospital was built by the Dutch during their period, but a definitive date is not available. A Dutch map drawn in 1732 shows the hospital on its present site, and a description by a German, Christopher Schweitzer, who was in Sri Lanka from 1676 to 1682 in the service of the Dutch, implies that it was already there in 1681. This was the country's leading hospital during the Dutch occupation. A canal which ran by one side of the building has long since disappeared, and its only memorial is the name of a narrow lane that passes one side of the building, Canal Row. The narrow lane that skirts the building is known as Hospital Street, and perhaps this is the only reminder of its past. It occupies about half a hectare of land, which is a relatively large area in terms of the size of the Fort. The building appears hardly to have changed during the last two centuries. The hospital was located close to the harbour because it was convenient to transport patients from the ships to the hospital. The intention of the Dutch in establishing a hospital in Colombo was to look after the health of the officers and other staff serving under the Dutch East India Company.

Paintings of the front and rear views of the hospital done in 1771 by a Dutch artist were found at the Royal Institute of Language, Country and Ethnology in Leiden by the writer of which the front view is reproduced here. Its design is simple: it has five wings, four of which are joined to form a square with a courtyard in the centre. The fifth wing constitutes the façade of the building and is situated in front of the square with a second courtyard intervening. The only part of the hospital with an upper floor is the front wing. However, this first floor is limited in extent, and appears like a compartment sitting atop the roof in the centre of the wing. A wooden staircase leads to this storey, which now has the appearance of a small hall. The flooring is made of wooden planks.

As with other Dutch buildings in Sri Lanka, the walls are over 50 cm. thick and the teak beams that bear the roof are massive both in girth and length. These features of solid construction have undoubtedly ensured the survival of the building. A long and wide open verandah runs along the length of each wing, another characteristic of old Dutch architecture in the tropics. The high walls, large windows, and spacious verandahs provide a comfortable environment within, in contrast to the humid heat outside. The ornamental shrubs that formed a prominent feature against the rear windows in 1771 are no longer present. The Dutch were adept at building canals in and near Colombo for transport. While some of these canals still exist outside Colombo, those within the Fort were filled up by the British soon after they took over the city, and some of them are now busy motorways.

Most of the medicines used in the hospital were imported from Europe and other countries, while the rest, such as spices, were obtained locally. A close check was kept on the medicines, which were kept locked up in special medicine boxes. These boxes were probably imported from Amsterdam at first, but later produced locally. Their keys were kept by the doctor, and without his presence no one was allowed access to them.The local drugs that were used were mainly spices, such as cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom.

The local drugs that were used were mainly spices, such as cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. It may be mentioned that one of the major attractions that induced the Dutch to conquer Sri Lanka was the availability of spices there. Cinnamon, for example, was grown only in Sri Lanka. Coriander, well known as a diaphoretic in ayurvedic medicine, was another item that figured in the Dutch pharmacopoeia. Towards the latter part of their rule, the Dutch began to appreciate and make use of the superior knowledge of herbal medicines possessed by the local ayurvedic physicians.

The preamble to the instructions issued to the steward of the hospital states that ‘it has been considered that it is a duty of the Company to restore the health of its officers who are on board ships as well as in the out posts’. A memorandum submitted to the Political Council records that ‘its (the Company’s) invalid officers could be brought back to their former state of health with the blessings of the God only by way of good care and attention…’. With this objective the Company established the considerably large hospital in Colombo especially to provide medical facilities to the Dutch local and floating population as they were subjected to tropical diseases and the sickness that are rife during long sea voyages. The medical staff of the Colombo hospital at the end of the Dutch occupation consisted of a chief surgeon, a surgeon, three junior surgeons, three third surgeons and five interns. The higher grade surgeons were generally graduates from Amsterdam, Utrecht or Leiden. It was uncommon for ships’ surgeons to be appointed to the hospital and there was no strict rule that only qualified graduates could be appointed as surgeons.

The surgeon with the longest service at Colombo hospital was Barend Alleman. He served the hospital for nearly a third of the period of the Dutch occupation (1756-1790). The most famous of all the surgeons who worked in the Colombo hospital was Paul Hermann, who has been described as the father of botany in Sri Lanka. He was attached to the Colombo hospital from 1672 to 1679. His main interest was botany, and except for three plants, all the others he saw in Sri Lanka were new to him. While in Sri Lanka Hermann was offered the chair of botany at Leiden, which he took up in 1680. Although he was acknowledged as a distinguished botanist, he was most unpopular with his patients and subordinates. Schweitzer wrote: “The Chief Inspector that had the care of it [hospital] in my time was Dr. Hermannus, now Professor of Medicine [sic] at Leiden. He took no good praise away with him from the soldiers and seamen that came under his hands. “He was a true tyrant over his slaves, with blows and whippings; he was also accused of killing a female slave whom he let bury [sic] in the garden behind his house, and was for some days under arrest in his house, but was after set free.”

Another botanist of repute who worked as a surgeon in Colombo was Nicholas Grimm, a Swedish doctor, who came to Sri Lanka in 1674 and worked under Hermann. He too wrote a book on Sri Lankan plants. The chief surgeon of the hospital came fairly high in the order of precedence observed at official functions. The duty of the surgeons was mainly to visit the hospital twice a day, but they were obliged to call on patients in their homes on request, provided these visits did not interfere with their hospital routine. A visit of this nature was recorded by the Englishman Robert Knox, who was held captive by the king of Kandy for twenty years. In 1679, he, along with his fellow prisoners, managed to reach Dutch territory. On their arrival in Colombo, the companion developed fever (probably malaria) Knox wrote, ‘My consort’s ague increased and grew very bad; but the chief surgeon by order daily came to see him, and gave him such potions of physic, that by God’s blessing he soon after recovered.

The Colombo hospital was served by a considerable non-medical staff including a steward, cook, porter, laundryman and several slaves. Slaves attended to the duties that present day labourers handle. There is no indication that the hospital was served by nurses, male or female. The hospital could accommodate approximately 180 patients who were admitted on a first come first served basis. The patients had to pay a levy which was deducted from their monthly salaries. This hospital served a large military and sea-faring population in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially for diseases such as dropsy, epilepsy, colds, diarrhoea, fever, scabies and venereal ailments. The leech, which abounded in the Kandyan areas was an enemy of the foreign soldier on the march and an ally of the defending Kandyans. Leech-bites sometimes developed into maggot-infested ulcers, which resulted in loss of limb or life. Malaria was a problem outside Colombo.

The increase of leprosy drew the attention of the Dutch to construct a separate hospital in 1708 in a location in Hendala, a few kilometres away from Colombo by the side of the Kelani river, which could be seen even today. Several European visitors to Colombo during the Dutch occupation have commended the hospital and its management. Among them, Johan Wolfgang Heydt, a German who under the Dutch East India Company was in Sri Lanka from 1734 to 1737 records in his work that the Colombo hospital had a good reputation.

Another German Christopher Schweitzer states “There is a well built hospital in which the sick Dutchmen are laid and well served by surgeons and slaves with medicants and plaisters’. Captain Robert Percival, an Englishman who stayed in Colombo at the very early days of the British occupation also praised the Dutch hospital in his work ‘An Account of the Island of Ceylon’ published in 1803.

The Times of Sri Lanka wishes to thank Victor Melder of Australia for sending this historic article for posting!

























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Being Different: Six steps for small business to learn from corporate branding

Posted on 18 October 2012 by admin

Small business owners often think they’re too small to worry about branding. They’re both wrong and right.

They’re right because branding is an overused term. I’ve tossed it around for 25 years, helping companies like Kraft and Coca Cola define themselves and their product. These days I try not to use the term “branding” when speaking to small businesses.

They’re wrong, because like multinationals, how any business defines not just itself, but its customers as well, is critical. That’s where taking a cue from global corporations can really boost the bottom line.

That’s terminology every small business owner understands.

Multinationals spend millions every year before they make a move in the marketplace, but better branding really comes down to six simple steps to achieve clarity of vision:

1) Know why you are in business and where you want to go

Ask yourself, beyond making money, why are you in business? Where do you want to be in three years?

The question usually elicits “passion” as a response — it allows people to unleash their dreams. That’s an advantage. Big companies don’t have that passion and rely on market research and analytics to drive them forward.

But you have to be realistic too — what are the barriers blocking that vision? Often, it’s you, because you can’t do everything yourself. Reaching those goals may require either outsourcing or delegating.

Mapping things out can be as simple as keeping a journal of thoughts and then condensing your vision into a single, clear statement.

2) Get a clear picture of your revenue model.

How does your cash flow, who are your most profitable customers and who are your least profitable? What is your financial goal and are you set up to meet it?

I had a client who catered 18 weddings one summer but didn’t make a profit. She was burned out. Why? She wasn’t charging enough because she lacked the confidence in her own expertise. You are the expert, and you should price accordingly. Multinationals don’t flinch at pricing, neither should you.

3) Is your message loud and clear?

Don’t assume your customers know why you’re the go-to solution for their needs. Remind them of the value proposition at every opportunity directly or indirectly. Large corporations ensure their brand communications are consistent in message and appoint managers to be responsible. Someone should be in charge of your communications, even if it’s not their full time role.

4) Get clear on your content

I often see content in brochures differ from that on company websites. This sends an awful message. If you aren’t comfortable developing creative content, outsource it. You don’t have to hire an agency. Good writers are easy to find and surprisingly affordable

5) Get clear on your design

They say dress for success — I say design for success. There’s so much noise in marketplace, good design drives your message through the clutter and makes it memorable. What do you think when I say, Ikea? Blue and yellow. What’s an upside down red triangle? Canadian Tire. Logos are important, but choosing your colours and integrating them in your overall design will make your message sing.

6) Get clear on your marketing

This is where people make their biggest mistake. They go from an idea to step six, skipping the other five steps and stacking the odds against success.

You may have a great idea, but until you determine what you’re about, where you want to be, what your message is, what your image is and what channels are right for you, how can you put the right value proposition in front of the right prospective customer, at the right time?

Big businesses may not be as nimble as small operators, but they fastidiously complete these steps before any launch. Otherwise, they risk catastrophic failure, which given the size and scope of their endeavors, costs millions. They’re not immune, however. Remember New Coke?

Written by Rhonda Page in The Toronto Star of October 18, 2012 – Rhonda Page gives clarity and voice to small businesses to help them grow. For more see her website at


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The Boulevard – trendy restaurant in the right place at the right time

Posted on 17 October 2012 by admin

The Boulevard, the latest restaurant venture by "TASTY CATERERS", has Broadway setting and scrumptious food at heart. So stroll into the restaurant and step back in time, as you bask in the nostalgia and indulge your theatrical side. Indulge to your heart content on a selection of food delights that inspire and soar above the rest. Kanthi Jayamaha, is the owner and live wire behind this new Broadway themed restaurant, which is all set to make Colombo’s foodies dizzy with ecstasy. The Boulevard is located at 33, Queens Road, Colombo 03.

The Boulevard, is the 'new' place in town to enjoy freshly prepared Sri Lankan cuisine and bakery foods. Sri Lankan expatriates visiting home for the festive season should make The Boulevard, a definite must see food adventure. Other initiatives that are currently managed by the owner are 'Cafe on the 5th' and 'La Rambla'.

Boulevard’s proprietor Kanthi Jayamaha, said that the most special feature of this restaurant was its atmosphere and ambience, completed with original theoritical posters adorning the walls, while Broadway musicals could be heard throughout the restaurant. Kanthi Jayamaha, said that she was also maintaining 3 restaurants, where nearly 100 guests could be accommodated.

The Boulevard is open for both young and the old with no age barrier. The restaurant had been designed with comfort and elegance in mind, while the special favourites on the dessert menu are crunchy churros, rich red velvet, heavenly chocolate fudge pies and perfectly balanced tiramisu. The restaurant is as exceptional as the food they serve.

Inspired by the centerpiece of New York culture, the Broadway, captures the blend of the unique dinning experience that is found in abundance in this multicultural city. Over the years, the tasty caterers have remained true to their name, delivering exceptional food to Sri Lankan customers and with the opening of the latest restaurant – the Boulevard at No. 33, Queen’s road, Colombo 03, the legacy continues.


The local (Sri Lanka) media interviewed owner/operator Kanthi Jayamaha who explained her views below of the new venture.

Q: Why did you choose the Broadway concept for your restaurant?

“I really wanted to create something different, so I decided to have the Broadway concept, because it’s not a concept you find here in Sri Lanka. Besides that, both the young and old both enjoy the Broadway concept. I wanted to promote Broadway music, and hope to have Broadway movies running everyday Friday.”

Q: What kind of cuisine is served at The Boulevard?

“For the cuisine I have a mix of fusion, from Mediterranean, Far East Asian to Italian. We have a separate café menu where prices range from 400 to 7oo. The café has an array of usual favourites like submarines, club sandwiches and also serves a signature dish which is Churros with melted chocolate and whipped cream.

Crème’ Brule parcels with ice cream is also something to look forward to. Potato Madness is yet another signature dish, one of my own creations, which is a dish of deep fried potato fingers with meat sauce, guacamole, tomato salsa with sour cream. We also have Potato Well, which is mashed potato with meat and cheese sauce.”

Q: How about the selection of beverages?

“We serve a selection of coffees, lattes, juices and mocktails. The menu also has a variety of healthy blends such as Heart Helper, Clean Machine and Flu Fighter. Specialty drinks including Oreo whip shake, peanut Butter shake, Double Chocolate Malted and Pomegranate Spritzer among the many beverages available.”

Q: The interior of the restaurant not only wows you the minute you walk in, it brings back a lot of good memories. Tell us about your choice of furnishings.

“For the interior I picked furniture that was old fashioned yet had a contemporary touch. The walls are decorated with framed posters of famous Broadway musicals like Jersey Boys, Lion King, Hairspray, Mamma Mia and The Sound of Music and popular celebrities.

In the courtyard I have outdoor furniture that comes with hot orange cushions. The café has read glass top tables with black and white chairs.’


The café at The Boulevard opens from 10.30am to 6pm everyday, while the indoor dining restaurant is in operation from 10.30am onwards till 11.30pm. A Tasty Caterers snack and meal counter is also situated at The Boulevard offering customers a variety of sandwiches, Chinese Rolls, Pastries, Pizzas, Hot Dogs, Burgers, Doughnuts, Cakes , Chocolate Éclairs and other desserts.





SRI LANKA – Well known names in the food industry in Sri Lanka shown below:

  • Upul Alagiyawanna, Ranweli Holiday Village, Eco Hotel
  • Paolo Collavini, Cinnamon Restaurant, Grand Colombo
  • Deepal De Alwis, Eden Resort and Spa
  • Harpo Goonaratne, The Bay Leaf Colombo Italian Restaurant
  • Kanthi Jayamaha, La Rambla Italian Restaurant & The Boulevard
  • Senaka Jayasinghe, Benthota Beach Hotel
  • Ranjith Morugama, Echo Italian Restaurant, Cinnamon Grand Hotel
  • Nihal Nandasiri, The Blue Water
  • K. Pradeep, Club Hotel Dolphin
  • Imroze Salih, Hotel Galadari
  • Nihal Senanayake, Jetwing LightHouse
  • Priyantha Weerasinghe, Jetwing Beach
  • Chandana Wijeratne, Taj Airport Garden Hotel, Seeduwa

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