Books, Lit Fests, News, Movies, Art, Fashion and TV of course... "I must say that I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a book." - GROUCHO MARX

My Photo

I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Thank you all for your warm words about Captain Elmo's tribute to Nihal de Silva. Thanks also for taking a moment to pause and reflect.

For those of you who asked why there were no new posts last week. Yes, it was deliberate. I wanted you to read about Nihal and his death. Often as it happens with a lot of the online stuff, the minute there is another update, what came before it is soon forgotten.

There have a lot of questions about the post though. Some of you wanted to know how it all happened, others asked Nihal's work and still others about the rather mysterious sounding Captain Elmo. To answer one of the mails that asked me - "Is he for real?" Read on to figure that out for yourself. But first, I'll give you the details about the incident and Nihal's work:

Nihal De Silva, was among eight people killed in a landmine explosion in the Wilpattu National Park in Sri Lanka (May 2006). They were tracking wild elephants in the park.

The location of the explosion, about 50 kilometres from the main gates to the Park, is close to the northern border of the park, the geographical beginning of rebel Tigers held stronghold of Vanni. The area saw intense fighting before the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement.

While officials say the Tamil Tigers laid the landmines, the rebels have denied any hand in the incident.

The Director General of Sri Lanka's Wildlife Department believes the mines were newly laid, because they were on a main
road through the park that has been used regularly since it re-opened in 2003.

He is the author of 'The Road From Elephant Pass', 'The Far Spent Day' and 'The Ginirella Conspiracy'.

'The Road From Elephant Pass' which won De Silva the Gratiaen award in 2003, is largely about the Wilpattu National Park. The book tracks the journey of Captain Wasantha Ratnayake of the Sri Lanka Army and female LTTE cadre Kamala Velaithan from the Elephant Pass to Colombo. The LTTE's 1999/2000 attack on the Elephant Pass base forces the two to make their journey on foot across the National Park.

This one should hopefully address all those curious mails about the author of that moving tribute.

If you happen to be in Singapore, the man needs no introduction. He has been in and out of the news and on our show, first talking about his remarkable award-winning book 'Sam's Story'. The book was awarded the prestigious Gratiaen Award in 2001 for the best literary work in English in Sri Lanka. This award is given by a Trust, set up on the initiative of the Booker Prize winning author Michael Ondaatje to promote writing in Sri Lanka.

Then when the tsunami struck, he took a break of sorts from his full-time Singapore Airlines job to turn to his other mission in life. That of running his charity - The Association for Lighting a Candle or AFLAC in Sri Lanka.

Lending his able shoulders to the cause was his son Mevan, who took a year off from his full time job to simultaneously work on several projects - all of which have borne fruit. Take a look at their web-page - for details.

While Captain spends a lot of time in what he calls his 'blue skies', his true mission in life seems him grounded in Sri Lanka when he is not flying inter-continental jets or flying.

The picture posted above represents one of the many projects that AFLAC is currently running in Sri Lanka.