Sri Lankan Sinhalese Weekly Newspaper Used Citronella Infused Ink To Help Repel Mosquitos.
by Anura Guruge
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Sri Lankans, when they put their mind to something (and don’t have a bee in their bonnet like some of them currently do with this crazy Buddhist hatred nonsense), can be very creative. When I saw this, around 1 am this morning, when I checked “Market Watch” (as I am wont to do around that time) to see if there was anything of interest in the Asian markets, it made me smile.
Good for YOU Sri Lanka.
Given the tropical conditions mosquitos have always been a problem. When I was growing up the city, i.e., Colombo, had city-workers that went door-to-door spraying open rain drains and other places where water would gather with DDT! Yes, that DDT. You could even buy your DDT. I have sprayed DDT. I am sure that explains about 30% of my apparent craziness. Too much exposure to DDT. The sad thing. Two of my uncles, adopted as I may have been, would have been responsible for this well-intentioned, “we knew no better and the Americans said it was fine”, DDT spraying campaign which I think went on, non-stop, for years. One of my uncles was the Municipal Commissioner for Colombo (a permanent, appointed ‘mayor’ as such with a beautiful, fancy official house right in the middle of Colombo to befit his stature) and the other, a doctor, was the Director of Health for Ceylon. So between the two they must have had a hand in the DDT. The ‘Director of Health’ uncle, my fire-walking, load of fun uncle was definitely responsible for us being used as guinea pigs for the new polio vaccines. That was a gamble, THOUGH we didn’t know that! We thought we were special. They tested the vaccine, especially the oral, sugar-cube, vaccine on us. I took it. Remember it well. BIG DEAL. We were told to wear our ‘Sunday best’ — though I wore Sunday best, everyday. We stood in line — at school. There were speeches. We were told we were special. WE WERE. I never really encountered people with polio UNTIL I came to the U.S. I was shocked. The first person I met with a polio ravaged leg was the mother of a friend’s wife. They were hugely rich. I was shocked. I didn’t think polio was a disease in my lifetime because we got the vaccine.
This is the newspaper. It is in Sinhalese. I don’t think I am familiar with it. I don’t think it was one of the 12 newspapers, English, Sinhalese & Tamil, we had in Ceylon when my “Baby Lactogen” picture used to appear in every newspaper, every day. I am a bit bummed that I can no longer read Sinhalese. Seems strange. I read Sinhalese like fish. It was my mother tongue. In 1970 I took the British ‘Advanced-level’ [A-level] exam, from the University of London, in Sinhalese and got an ‘A’! I can’t even recognize all the letters! That is like saying that you can no longer tell your ‘A … B … Cs’. I recognize some letters and the ‘accents’. Not sure HOW I would go about trying to relearn Sinhalese. I know there is a ‘Learn Sinhalese’ book somewhere in this house. I am sure I can get some books. Not sure how long it will take. Time is very scarce and precious. Just a few minutes ago, got from Amazon, through USPS, two things: the famous Elsa doll from ‘Frozen‘ for Teischan for learning her ‘times tables’ and the original, Burton translation of the ‘Kama Sutra‘ for me. We have the ‘commercial’ versions of it, including an hilarious one called “Office Kama Sutra”, but this is the scholarly, original version. I plan to study it for what it is, first and foremost, a scholarly treatise supposedly written by a celibate monk. So … what is more important and interesting (for I) … re-learning Sinhalese or masting the Kama Sutra. These are the dilemmas that plague my life.