Category Archives: Information

Who Will Control Maldives Territory If Maldive Islands Sink In The Sea?

One of the most discussed topics in Sri Lanka today is the the unrest in our neighbourly Maldive islands with the democratically elected president Mr. Ibrahim Nasheed’s resignation. Many Sri Lankan websites and bloggers have been writing a lot about it. But these articles focus almost exclusively on current Maldivian politics and maybe some bits of Maldivian history. However among these I came across a rather different kind of blog post written in Sinhala language with a title saying something like, “What Should Be Sri Lanka’s Strategy on the Future of Maldives!” It’s a very thought provoking article because I don’t think many Sri Lankans have ever thought about the enormous geo-political and strategic advantage Sri Lanka has in possibly taking control of the Maldives territory when that country sinks into the Indian Ocean in the near future.

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Google Satellite map of Maldives and Sri Lanka

If you are not familiar with the Maldives you may wonder what all this talk about the country sinking is. Even though the country has 298 square kilometers of land and about 1200 islands, the highest point of the Maldives is said to be just 2 meters or 7 feet. The average ground level of the country is 1.5 meters or about 5 feet above sea level. This has made Maldives officially the lowest country in the world!

Now with global warming, the sea level is expected to rise a meter or two in the Indian Ocean by the end of the this 21st century. So sadly it is very likely we may witness a slow sinking or submerging of the majority of the Maldives within our lifetime. The Maldives may be the Atlantis lost to the sea in the 21st century.

What Will Maldivian People Do When The Maldives Sinks?

Maldives currently has a population of about 400,000. So when the country sink into the ocean what are these people going to do? Their only option will be to migrate to other countries. As climate refugess these people can get visa to most countries of the world. I heard sometime back that Australia and some other coutries had said they will grant citizenship to Maldivians when it sinks. But in recent years the Maldivian government has given serious attention to this issue. They say they don’t want to be climate refugees living on dole-out. So they have setup a special fund using money from their booming tourism industry to buy land in foreign countries like Australia, India and Sri Lanka. So one day when the country submerges Maldivian people will have their own land in foreign countries to move to.

Who Will Control Maldivian Territory Without Local People Or Visible Land?

If as predicted, the sea level rises a meter or two the majority of Maldives land will submerge and the local population will have to leave the country and become citizens in foreign countries. In that case even though the Maldivians may retain rights to the lands and territory they will not likely be able to function as an independent country with a government would.

Also though the country will become inhabitable for normal living, tourist resorts that are raised above sea level and built can will still function in even when Maldives goes underwater. So big question arises when their is no local population and government, who will control the current Maldivian territory?

My guess is it will be one of these following global or regional power houses. As it is situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean in one of the worlds busiest shipping lanes whoever controls Maldives territory will wield a lot of geo-political power.

1. The Indians

2. The USA (Another Diego Garcia for the US In the Indian Ocean?)

3.The Chinese

4. NATO

5. Britain with Europe

There is a slim chance for even Sri Lanka to take control of the Maldivian territories when the country submerges. That is if we our Government and private sector can build a strong partnership with Maldivians now like investing and consolidation on Maldivian tourism and other sectors and most importantly inviting them to settle in Sri Lanka and making sure the largest share of Maldivians who migrate settle in Sri Lanka.

sri lanka food restaurant

Sri Lankan Malay Food At Dehiwala Malay Restaurant

sri lanka food restaurant

A Special Malay Rice Dish Called “Nasi Goreng”

Have you tasted Sri Lankan Malay foods? Frankly, until recently I handn’t. So I went with a friend to have dinner at this place auspiciously called as the, “Malay Restaurant” in Dehiwala Hill Street.

When we went we saw they had several special Malay dishes I wanted to tryout like Malay Dum Buriyani, Mee Goreng Egg Noodles and Malay pickle mixed Arabic rice. In addition they also had other general Sri Lankan food like various kinds of mouth watering Buriyani, Pittu, Parata, Naan Rottis, Lamprais, Burgers and Sandwiches. These food looked good too. I think people generally like this restaurant if I were to go by the crowd of people stopping their vehicles and waiting for their take away food order in front of the Malay restaurant.

restaurants sri lanka

Because  we can’t taste all the dishes at once, my friend and I settled on a special Malay rice dish called “Nasi Goreng” mixed wit Sea Food. The top photo here shows the Malay rice dish we got (which I photographed before eating so that I may one day write about it here on Sri Lankan News Online) . I assure you this Nasi Goreng rice dish stuff tasted as good as it looked. It had a unique taste of its own. If you really want to know the taste like any food cousines its hard to describe but imagine something like what sea food like cuttle fish and buriyani rice mix dish taste like. They also had this Nasi Goreng rice dish with Chicken, Beef or Mutton to select but we went with the sea food.

Their menu card was surprisingly detailed about the special Malay foods they had on it. For instance this Nasi Goreng rice dish was describe as made out of basmathi rice, stir fried vegetables, pineapple stew, Chutney, egg Omelette and Chilli Paste.

While their dinner with this Malay spice rice stuff was excellent, I was disappointed and felt cheated out with what I got served for dessert. You see, for dessert on their menu we could select 1) Wattalappam, 2) Cream Caramel, 3) Ice Cream Topped Fruit and lastly 4) Fruit Triffle. The first three dessert are their in almost all Sri Lankan restaurants so my friend and I thought to go for Fruit Triffle. That was a bad idea. Their Fruit Triffle turned out to be nothing more than Custard Pudding topped with Jelly. Add insult to injury, it was premade and was a very small quantity in a small yoghourt cup like disposable plastic container. Not worth Rs. 50 let alone Rs. 150/= we were charged for the dessert.

sri lankan food

But despite the bad experience with that dessert I’d recommend this restaurant for their well made and special Sri Lankan food belonging to the small Malay community of this island. Its not every where you find authentic Malay food restaurants in Sri Lanka like this one. So if anyone wants to try out Malay food in Sri Lanka this will be a good place tryout.

Price wise this restaurant is a middle class Sri Lankan restaurant with food not very cheap nor very expensive. The one portion of asi Goreng rice dish we got was Rs. 380 and it was enough for two hungry 25 year old guys. The place caters to the middle to lower upper class citizens of Sri Lanka I think but it suitable to take even a foreign tourist guest you have. It is also a very busy place (specially on weekends) so you have to wait at least half an hour before they serve the food. Take away orders are not that delaying and they also seem to get lot of takeaway orders on small call center like reception area they got here. I must add a word about the the restaurant’s staff. They are not the most friendly or cooperative but that maybe because I caught them at the busy time.

Overall they do have some very tasty and special Malay food dishes with Malay sounding terms (they give a full glossary like menu leaflet, see in the photo below). So you might like to try out these Sri Lankan Malay food stuff sometime here.

sri lankan food menu

Update: This Malay food restaurant also has a good updated website with food prices, contact details etc. at www.malayrestaurant.lk . Their sites homepage says, the restaurant, located at the heart of Hill Street at No. 115, Hill Street, Dehiwela with a well equipped kitchen attached, which recently underwent expansion and the restaurant too underwent expansion to accommodate more dining guests, and will be very soon to accommodate four fold of our present capacity of dining guests.

Save Dehiwala Beach from Pollution And Health Hazards

Here are some photos of the Colombo Dehiwala beach. From faraway it still looks beautiful and picturesque. But when you go and walk around the beach all kinds of swear words will come to your mouth.

I’m sad to say, Dehiwela beach is on the fast track to become another polluted and garbage filled stretch of city beach, like you find in so many 3rd world developing countries. That’s really sad because this is a prime asset for a developing country like Sri Lanka.

sri lanka beach pictures

This first picture shows a photo of the Dehiwela beach I took about two years ago (somewhere in 2009). The beach was even then  polluted and not taken care by local government or any other organization. However it was not as polluted as now it is today. Just compare it with the next picture which is a recent picture of the Dehiwela beach stretch taken from almost the exact same spot.

colombo beach picture This prime sandy beach on closer inspection is always littered with garbage and dirt. Walking on the beach can sometimes be like waking on a minefield because of broken pieces of glass, rusted tins and bottles left by beach party goers, beach side restaurants and visitors.

Here are a few more  recent pictures I took for Sri Lanka News Online, that shows an entirely different aspect of the beach you might miss or overlook when you go there.

dehiwela beach sri lanka

The above picture is a place where a large dirty water drain that brings the dirt water from all houses and buildings of Dehiwela town flow into the Indian ocean. These are local government maintained constructed water drains that leave the dirty water to flow without any filtering and polute the ocean. When these drains near the sea they become almost small canal and don’t have any concrete walls or bunds in the side of drains. About 50 meters from the sea the constructed drains stop. There after the poluted dirty water of the drains are left to find its own way to the sea.

As you can see in the pictures here this results in small poluted and stanant water ponds forming near the beach. You can imagine what kind of mosquito’s and health hazards might be breeding in these filthy ponds. The stench near this drains are also sometimes unbearable.
dehiwela beach garbage

There are several large public drains like this one that stop short of flowing into the sea their dirty water and instead form dirty water and garbage filled ponds like this on the Dehiwela beach.

rain water drain system

I hope some Local MPs and Government officers of the Dehiwela and Mount Lavinia Municipal Council into this matter and save beach.

Update: Just after finishing writing this I foundout that another Sri Lankan blogger had also been blogging about same topic at the same time. Check his post called – Drains And Canals.

colombo port construction

Colombo Port Set To Enter Top 10 Busiest Ports in the World!

Even though Sri Lanka is a small and developing country, it currently has one of the busiest container port and largest harbour in the world. The Colombo port in Sri Lanka which is currently ranked as the 29th busiest port in the world in Wikipedia’s list of world’s busiest container ports.

new colombo port

Above Pic: A New 1.5km long container quay of Colombo Port, spreading out to the Indian Ocean from the shores of Colombo.

However as you can see in the photos here which I took recently, a mega expansion project is going on at the Colombo port. This Colombo port expansion project is going to it 3 times as big as it is now!  That means when this port expansion project is over (within 2 years), Colombo port will be set to become one of the 10 largest and busiest ports in the world!

According to the previously mentioned Wikipedia world’s busiest port list, Colombo port handled about 4 million TEUs (or Twenty-foot equivalent units of containers) in 2010. That made it the 29th busiest port in the world. This itself is a impressive record for a country like small Sri Lanka, considering that world famous and busy ports like New York City (ranked world’s 19th) handled only 5.3 million TEUs in 2010.

When the Colombo Port expansion project (called the Colombo South Port) is  complete the Colombo Port will have the ability to handle more then 12 million TEUs annually. According to current world port statistic that will make Colombo Port able to claim the 9th or 10th place among the top 10 busiest ports in the world.

colombo port construction

Above Pic Shows construction work going on 24/7 at Colombo Port expansion project. The strange shaped objects in the foreground are the giant concrete boulders that are used to fill the sea, reclaim land and build the new quays of the port.

S0 look forward very soon for the day our port will beat world famous ports like Rotterdam  (11.1 million TEUs, Busiest Port in Europe) and Los Angeles Port  (6.5 million TEUs, busiest port in North America). Not bad for a small 3rd world country no?

nolimit sri lanka

NOLIMIT: Sri Lanka’s Biggest Fashion Store Chain & Best Place For Shopping Clothes

What is the best place to buy clothes in Sri Lanka?

I get queried often about the fashion stores in Sri Lanka, shopping in Colombo and about Colombo cloth shops. So I made the below list of the what I think are the Top 10 Fashion Stores in Sri Lanka.

nolimit sri lankaNolimit Fashion Store in Wellawatte, Colombo 6

This list of top 10 fashion and cloth shops in Sri Lanka is based on my experience and observation. Such a top 10 list is always a judgmental call and I’m sure not everyone will agree with it. I’d love to see you come up with your own list of top 10 clothing stores in Sri Lanka. You can leave  your list in the comments below or post in your blog and let me know so that I’ll link to your post from SriLankaNewsOnline.com)

My Top 10 Fashion Stores in Sri Lanka

1. Nolimit Sri Lanka
2. Odel Sri Lanka
3. Fashion Bug Sri Lanka
4. House of Fashion Sri Lanka
5. Hameedia’s (Menswear specialist)
6. Ranjanas (Pettah, Colombo 11)
7. Kandy Fashion Store (Kiribathgoda)
8. Ranjanas (Pettah, Colombo 11)
9. Bavery Street Sri Lanka
10. Romafour (Bambalapitiya, Colombo 4)

I may eventually get around to write in detail about each of these leading fashion stores in Sri Lanka. In the meantime out of these top 10 fashion stores, here are some details and my experience and opinion of the best and largest fashion store, NOLIMIT Sri Lanka.

 

The Nolimit Sri Lanka Fashion Chain

What makes me say Nolimit is the top fashion store in the Sri Lanka are their 20 or so showrooms located throughout the country. In addition they also sell cloths at reasonable prices, have a large selection of clothing available in their stores. The cloths are also of acceptable quality and the staff are quite helpful when you ask their assistance. Nolimit showrooms are also very modern and look like any international fashion chain stores such as Addidas or Levi’s showrooms in Colombo.

As for the products they sell, Nolimit offers all kinds of clothes and accessories for men, women and children. Their cloth prices are reasonable and within reach of average Sri Lankan citizens buying ability. Nolimit showrooms also have the biggest collection and selection of clothing types and designs I have seen anywhere in Sri Lanka. So personally, I’m a big fan of Nolimit even though their cloths are not of the high quality I expect for the money I pay.

Below is a snapshot of some shirts and a t-shirt I bought from Nolimit and their sister store,Glitz recently. They are not designer cloths or the of the best quality nor were they the cheapest in the market but overall I’m happy with them becausse they look good and they are comfortable to wear. My more fashion conscious cousins and friends have also said they look good  and are made of good mixed cotton and polyester materials.nolimit srilanka fashion store

Nolimit Sri Lanka is also the unmatched leader in this fashion store business in the country with around 20 showrooms so far which are located in strategic towns and cities across the country such as Colombo, Kandy, Dehiwela, Mount Lavinia, Rathnapura, Negambo among others. No other fashion store or clothing shop in Sri Lanka has so many outlets. So NOLIMIT in their advertisements claim they are biggest fashion chain in Sri Lanka. They are also opening more clothing showrooms all over the island. In fact, their popularity is such that in recent years they have also garnered fear and hate attacks from certain extremist groups in the country because the owners of this store is from the a minority community.

In the last year or two, the owner of Nolimit seems to have split his single flag-ship fashion chain into 3 fashion chains named Nolimit, Glitz and Pallu respectively. So in addition to Nolimit clothing showroom, they have opened several large specialized fashion & clothing stores in Colombo called Glitz and Pallu. The Pallu chain of showrooms specialize in traditional and eastern clothing such as expensive Indian Saris, Panjabis, Shalwar Kameez, etc while in Glitz chain seems to be aiming to become a high class fashion store with expensive and designer clothing.

In the meantime the normal Nolimit shops you find all types of clothing from really cheap ones to expensive items. They also have some discount cloth shops called NOLIMIT Discount Store. I have visited one of their discount shops in Dehiwela Hill street and found it had some decent cloths for dirt cheap prices. You can find more about Nolimit through their website at www.nolimit.lk

So what’s your experience with Nolimit and other Fashion Stores in Sri Lanka? Feel free to share them below.

pinnawela elephant orphanage

Tourist Hotels in Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage Area

pinnawela elephant orphanageAn elephant walks in front of the Elephant Park hotel after a bath in MaOya river – (Photo was taken by my cousin in a recent visit to Pinnawela

If you want to get the most of a visit to see wild Asian elephants at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka then you have to be ready to spend sometime there. However many tourist both local and foreign visit the Pinnawala elephant sanctuary as a drop visit of few hours. I think thats because they are unaware of hotel and lodging facilities available near this orphanage which also happens to have the largest herd of captive elephants in the world.

Now thanks to the elephant orphanage in Pinnawela area some small but good tourist hotels have come up. So if you are hoping to visit Pinnawala, you can spend more than a few hours, perhaps stay a day or two and watch the elephants without traveling a hour or so to big hotels located 25km away near Kandy city. The hotels in Pinnawala area are as follows;
1) Hotel Elephant Bay, Pinnawala – This is a 19 room hotel just opposite the elephant orphanage at Pinnawala. It has rooms with large private balconies and spectacular views over Ma Oya River where the Pinnawela elephants bath and soak in water for hours. The hotel also offers bicycle rental facilities for guests’ convenience which allows you to ride and experience the surrounding tropical countryside. They also have activities like hiking and fishing available.

2) Hotel Elephant View, Pinnawala – This is another small tourist hotel located right next to the Pinnawala orphanage. It has 16 rooms and all the other amenities of a small hotel.

3) Pinnawala Hotel Champis – Located at a 5-minute walk from the Pinnawala elephant orphanage is the 10 room  Hotel Champis of Pinnawela.

4) Pinnawala Elephant Park Hotel – This is a 6 room hotel located a five minute walk from the Elephant Orphanage. Guests at Hotel Elephant Park can watch elephants directly from their rooms.

All these hotels at Pinnawela have restaurants which provide an international menu and Western-style guest rooms with a private bathroom and toiletries and shower facilities. They also have room services including laundry and ironing and satellite TVs. You can make booking and also get lot more information about these hotels through the Pinnawela Hotels page in Bookings.com

 

Govt Wants Websites Publishing Sri Lanka News To Register With Media Ministry!

I just received the following SMS message on my mobile phone from Dialog Adaderana News Alerts.

“All websites that publish news on Sri Lanka or its people from here or elsewhere requested to register with the Media Ministry-Govt Info dept- adaderana.lk – SMS Time: 05/11/2011 17:07:21”

As a average middle class citizen of Sri Lanka who does a bit of blogging about my country through this website, I’m very concerned about this new development. I would very much like to hear what you think about this issue?

Particularly about things like…

Is this move legal? Doesn’t it smack on smell like a move by the Government to curtain free speech?
Does this mean if someone has or wants to start even a blog using a free blogging platform in some remote corner of Sri Lanka they needs to register with the Media Ministry of Sri Lanka?
What will be the consequences if some website, blog or webpages with news feeds like a MySpace page or Facebook page doesn’t register with the media ministry? (Can the government block those sites or arrest the website owners and bloggers?)

Old Town of Madampe & Voice of America Shortwave Relay Station

This photo shows the Old Town of Madampe. Though you see only a few shops along a highway this place and surrounding areas seem to have a lot of character, history and secret missions going on.  I’ll share here what I heard about this area. I hope those from the Madampe area or know more about this area will come forward to add details about this town in the comments below.

old town madampe

Today this original Madampe town is overshadowed by the newer town known in Madampe area as the “Silver Town” which is located to the north of this old town. I heard the, “Silver Town” or the present Madampe town developed only recently as a result of banks and other important institutions opening up near the Madampe railway station which was a little away from the Madampe Old Town.

The world famous Voice of America Shortwave radio station’s Asia relay station is also located quite closeby to Madampe old town in the place called Iranawila. I was able to see the tall relay towers of the Voice of America Shortwave Radio from the paddy fields you see in the photograph below. There were a dozen or so towers and they were much taller than the telephone towers. Because I took these photos from my phone camera I couldn’t capture the towers clearly because they were very far in the horizon. I heard from Madampe people that the towers are lit at night and is a very beautiful sight to behold. According to wikimapia.org US propaganda radio stations that function under Voice of America such as Radio Ashna, Radio Azadi, Radio Farda, Radio Free Afghanistan, Radio Free Asia, Radio Liberty and Radio Sawa are aired into Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia and India from this relay station in Sri Lanka.

paddy field srilanka

For those unfamiliar with the location of Madampe, it is situated in Puttalam District in the North Western Province of Sri Lanka. The people of the area constitute of poor and middle class Muslims and Buddhist and Christian Sinhalese.

 

Rotary Club Requests Fatal Road Accident Photos For Large Hoardings

Here is a chance for you to contribute to our country in a big way with a small gesture.

The Rotary Club of Sri Lanka is going to launch a Community Awareness Project for Accident Prevention in Sri Lanka. As part of this project they are going to print fatal accident photos in large hoardings and display by the road side appealing to Drivers to drive safely. For this purpose they are in need of photos of fatal accidents in Sri Lanka you might have.

If you got any such photographs or images please contact Mr. Wijaya Undupitiya, the President of Rotary Club of Sri Lanka through his mobile number: 0777-661738

Thank you.

bambalapitiya colombo 4

View Colombo City From Top Deck Of A Double Decker Bus

I was very trilled yesterday when I got the opportunity to travel on the top deck or should I say the second floor, of a double Decker bus in Colombo yesterday. As far as I’m aware there are only three such double decker buses are currently operating in Sri Lanka. Due to this situation very few people have traveled and enjoyed this mode of transport. So I took the below photos to share with you through Sri Lanka News Online website. I hope you enjoy them and leave your comments.

double decker bus

This snapshot showed the double decker bus I traveled in and took the below pictures of the Colombo And Dehiwela Cities. I took the above photo after getting down from the bus at a bus halt in Kollupity, Colombo 3. It’s a Government Public transport bus and plies the bus route No. -100 which is to & from Colombo 11 Pettah central bus stand to Panadura town bus stand.

The bus runs in the Colombo Galle road every few hours each day, so if you are in Colombo, you can see and even hop in for a ride on this rare Double Decker bus and view Colombo from a unique perspective. These kind of Double Decker buses were very popular and more prominent feature of Colombo city a few decades back. Unfortunately as far as I know there are only two other double decker buses currently in operation in Sri Lanka. One of them can be seen around Colombo with the hood of the top deck removed and with advertisements on it saying “Colombo City Tours”.  The third Double Decker bus I know plies the Kandy City to Pilimathalawa Town Bus route in central province.

galle road dehiwela

I got into this Double Decker at a Galle Road bus halt in Dehiwela. I immediately climbed to the top deck of the bus and took this photo.  As you can see you from the Bus’es top deck viewing the front traffic is like looking down upon vehicle, even those big  Tata Buses!

You can see the Dehiwela Galle Road traffic in this picture. In the top right corner you see the Dehiwela Municipal Council Building roof.

bambalapitiya colombo 4

This photo was taken in Bambalapitiya, Colombo 4. In this picture you can see the hood of the front big 60 seater Indian Tata bus. So you can imagine how it feels like to travel on such an elevation. I should think its probably about 10 to 12 feet above ground at the top deck.

wellawatte colombo 6

Another photograph I took from the top deck. This one shows Galle Road traffic on a typical Saturday morning in Wellawatte, Colombo 6. I was sitting in the front first seat of the top deck, right above the Double Decker Bus drivers seat, which was on the below floor. From my elevation the car and vans seems so small and low.  Do you think Giraffe’s maybe looking at us like this?

galle road wellawatte

Another splendid view of Galle Road in Wellawatte, Colombo 06 I was able to capture on camera from the Top deck of the Double Decker. Children and tourist should love such a way of traveling and viewing Colombo City!