My Fair Lady turns 95 – By Marie Pietersz: Melbourne


My Fair Lady turns 95: by Marie Pietersz

 Gwen Pietersz (nee Bertus), the matriach of the Pietersz family, celebrated her 95th milestone birthday recently, choosing a private party in Ringwood to share with her heritage of four generations of Pieterszs. Her cake was a tribute to her long life and relationship with her family, the message reading, Queen Gwen, 95 Years Loved.

 Gwendoline Amelia Bertus  was born in Colombo (Ceylon) on 27 October 1922 to parents Llewellyn (Lula) Bertus and Emma James. Gwen is the oldest sibling of a family of eight children, Pam Koch (dec), Cynthia Pereira (dec), Herbert Bertus (dec), Dickie Bertus (dec), Ron Bertus (dec), Dulcie Namasiyavan (dec) and Bernard Bertus.

 Growing up in Sri Lanka, Gwen attended St Matthew’s College, Baseline Road, Borella, and on completing her education worked as a stenographer in legal firms until this quiet, demure lady met and fell in love with Lloyd Pietersz, a dashing, swashbuckling young policeman, much to the surprise of her family. 

 They say opposites attract and after a whirlwind courtship they were married in 30 October 1943 at Holy Cross Church, Slave Island. Husband, Inspector Lloyd Pietersz, was stationed at the Kalutara Police Training School and the family lived in Kalutara where Gwen brought up her family of five boys and one girl, Randy, Cheryl, Tregartha, Desmond, Geoffrey and Glenn. 

In later years when Lloyd secured the prestigious job of Bodyguard to the former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike, the family moved to Colombo and lived in Police accommodation opposite Parliament House (where the Intercontinental Hotel now stands).

 Gwen and Lloyd migrated to Melbourne in 1974 and lived for many years in Bayswater in a staff bungalow when Lloyd found employment in security at Fibremakers Bayswater, and then moved to Ringwood when they purchased their home. 

While she didn’t work in the corporate world in Melbourne, Gwen had the reputation of being a gracious host, busy with house duties, keeping a nice home for her husband, unmarried sons and mother. She always had food on hand when family or friends dropped by and nobody left hungry without a taste of her delicious Sri Lankan home cooked meals or hidden treats for grandchildren. She would wake up early each morning before the household stirred to cook meals for “whoever may visit”, she used to say, and by the end of the day, that food had disappeared because she would have fed so many family members or friends who visited. 

 A pint-sized lady, she ruled her male dominated household with a firm but fair hand – a much-loved mother, mother-in-law, grandmother and later great–grandmother. In the tradition of old, one could always find her dressed immaculately – nothing casual with how she presented herself to the world, whether in the home or in public. Every occasion was an excuse to buy a new outfit, do her hair and paint her nails, and everybody knew this and indulged her, the end result being that there was always a beautiful ‘my fair lady’ at the parties she attended.

Even as she grew older and her family expanded, she maintained her position as matriarch and the pivotal point of contact for her family – one could always be sure to find a visitor at the meeting place, her home. Her family Christmases was, and still are, big and extra special events when furniture has to be moved  to make room for the new generations who do not want (or dare) to miss their mum/nana/gran-gran’s Christmas Eve family celebrations. 

 When the modern way appears to be to give combined presents or reduce present-giving at Christmastime, even at her ripe old age, she makes it a point to shop herself (in later years with the help of her daughter) for a present for each and every child, grandchild and great-grandchild, and even close friends who come to her home on 24th December. She loves Christmas and still keeps the traditions of old, giving everybody and her Australian-born family,  an insight into how Christmas was celebrated in Sri Lanka, or Ceylon, as she wants to remember it by.

 When she could no longer live in the family home on her own, Gwen moved to live with her daughter in Ringwood and now resides with a son in Wantirna, still sharp of mind, still able to laugh heartily at a jokes her sons make of her funny traditions, and still busy watching old western movies, completing crosswords (and winning) in magazines like That’s Life, buying Tattslotto without fail each week (and winning) and always playing the machines at the pokies (and winning). 

 The family’s long-standing mirthful recollections which bring a hearty laugh from Gwen is when they remind her of her ability to forget her aches and pains and difficulty moving fast the minute she gets an offer from a son or friend to go to the pokies. Her speed automically picks up and she is virtually jumping into the car, with her departing laughing comment ” have car, will travel” and off to the pokies goes this winner to come back with a heavier handbag than the one she set off with.

 Gwen’s one desire it to reach the grand old age of one hundred, just so she can get a letter from the Queen (she is such a die-hard Royalist) and everyone wishes her this heart’s desire. The family laugh that the congratulatory letter might be from King Charles, to which Gwen smiles knowingly. We know she’s thinking “who cares” as long as it is from Royalty. 

 Family, friends and in-laws wish Gwen a happy and healthy life and her dream to be one hundred.  God bless this much loved lady!



Read More →

Andrew de Silva – home-grown icon: a review – By Marie Pietersz : Melbourne
Marie Pietersz

If you missed seeing Prince live on stage, the next best thing is to see Andrew de Silva 

(Fan at the Flying Saucer Club for Prince Tribute show)

  crowds are loving Andrew

Andrew de Silva and father Conrad
Andrew and Conrad perform together

November has been month in which Melbourne has serenaded young stars with Sri Lankan heritage, not least of all Australia’s very own home-grown icon, Andrew de Silva, doing a season of Prince tribute shows in Victoria following an interstate season.

 Andrew’s vocal versatility with his ability for voice layering and falsetto, has seen him picked to play lead roles in tribute shows, most recently Prince and Marvin Gaye with great touring Australian musicians. He is a much sought after artiste recently replacing an original member as lead singer in the Australian band Boom Crash Opera.

 Andrew has many musical strings to his bow with his ability to mix, arrange, compose, write, play guitar and sing in so many genres and able to transcend the music years from Motown to pop rock. He is the whole package, this uniqueness keeping him in demand with producers of stage shows and music gigs, next in line as guest artist doing soundtracks from the The Big Chill at the Arts Centre on 1 December.

 Andrew was born into a musical family, the son of Conrad and Carina (nee Brohier) de Silva. Father Conrad is a well-known singer in Sri Lanka and in Melbourne. It is therefore no surprise that Andrew was influenced to start his musical career at the young age of eight. He burst into the musical scene making his debut in professional music as front man and main song writer for the R&B band CDB, winning an Aria with the band for the highest selling single, Let’s Groove, and Platinum and Gold sales for the single and album.

 Andrew has overcome many set-backs, including health issues, on his way to living his musical dream of recording and touring today, but his spirituality and determination have helped him overcome them and his journey, he says, has made him the person he is today. 

 Wife Elle and daughters Yazmin and Jada were so proud of their father when he won the Australia’s Got Talent contest in 2012 performing his own composition Now that I Believe which is all about keeping the faith. A second chance at stardom, he has since produced albums and singles, won many musical awards and backed huge artists like Mariah Carey on tour. 

 To see him on stage at tribute shows to celebrate the lives of international musical icons, Andrew is able to transcend his packed audiences to the stage performances of these greats gone too soon with his soulful deliveries, mannerisms and costumes. A fan of Prince, his rendition of Purple Rain at a recent Prince tribute show, Purple Revolution, was stirring, with the crowds getting into the moment and giving it up for the moving experience.

 As a public figure, Andrew is constantly busy and in demand by big names in the Australian music industry for his abilities as an all-round musician, but in private he is a family man and is never too busy to perform within the Sri Lankan community of his heritage. Recently, during the launch of A Heritage of Song, Book 2, depicting the musical journeys of musicians with Sri Lankan roots, Andrew accepted an invitation to perform with his father and brought the house down with their rendition of the soul ballad When Something is Wrong with my Baby (Isaac Hayes/David Porter) bridging the gap of two generations of professional family singers.

 Public opinion is that Andrew deserves huge success in his musical career and, having penetrated the Australian stage as a song writer, live performer and session musician, the world stage beckons Andrew for a third opportunity of stardom. It is a chance for us to share one of our home-grown icons with the world, for which he is more than ready, “God willing”, he believes. 

 If you missed Andrew’s tribute show, there will always be others coming up to watch out for. Go get your fix – they are not to be missed!

 (Pics: AndrewdeSilvaOfficial)


Read More →

“GAMBLE RESPONSIBLY” by Desmond Kelly ‘the Star of eLanka’

Except for Politicians, Mining Magnates, C.E.Os, Bank Managers, Casino-Owners, Plumbers & Electricians, most “ordinary Australians” pay their taxes, work long, tiring shifts & still find it difficult to ” manage” comfortably. Nearly everyone though, has a television set, watched whenever possible. Most Aussies & Lankan/Aussies who I know, are gamblers anyway. Watching television nowadays (especially), hardly a few minutes pass, when the above advice comes into view, after the rest of the narrative tells you how much & how easily you could win big money.

     Every day of the week, you can win big money at the Casinos. Every day of the week, there would be a horse-race somewhere & provided the jockey was “light” enough and the horse “fast” enough, again, you could win big money. I don’t gamble too much, but the last horse I had a bet on, at 20-1, came in, at a quarter past 4. Then, forget about the horses, there are always the “grey-hound” racing tracks where, sometimes, “live bait” is used for the hounds to tear up, & if the horses or dogs is not your game, there are “chook-fights” where live roosters tear each other up with their sharp claws, or, unless you wish to go to Spain to watch the bull-fights, where brave matadors stab most bulls to death, maybe one of them (matadors) gets a horn up his arse & is tossed out of the ring, if you are not into any of this, there are always crab or cockroach races where you can win big money, betting on the winner.

     I do feel that someone ought to advertise relevant advice on HOW to gamble responsibly. I am willing to BET that no-one has enough money to “advertise extensively” so I will take it upon myself to advise my readers & Lankan/Aussies everywhere the BEST way they can SAVE MONEY in gambling.
1. Use your bloody WILL-power & say I WON’T gamble. This will be easy enough to do AFTER you’ve LOST money you can ill-afford. Make up your mind to keep $10o r 20 (maximum) per week, from your pay, the pension or dole, for small, affordable bets. If you lose that amount, leave it AT THAT.

  1. If you win something, leave that money in a separate account & use that money ONLY for gambling. DO NOT exceed $20,EVER per week no matter how much your winnings are.

     Chances are that you will not be a “winner” short or long term, but, at least, you will not have to borrow money to feed your family. If you are a “winner”, you will still have some money to indulge in your passion for gambling. This said, I still feel that the Government, thru the department authorised, to veto exaggerated “gambling advertising” on television. It certainly does not enhance the lives of the people involved and if anything, tempts weak-minded folk into still another bad habit. 

     Just in case any reader wants to tell me, “o.k., o.k., practise what you preach, Des., I will tell you this.

Yes, folks, I did it all, BUT, as a much younger bloke. 

I started “smoking” at about fifteen, no money to buy the “fags”, but happily joined my good friend David Swan, smoking expensive Ardath, Black & White & Capstan Navy Cut cigarettes that David pinched from the “tins” belonging to his dad, Judge St.Claire Swan. Started there, & continued this rotten habit for many many years. 

Started another bad habit of “drinking” & drinking hard, after joining the Royal Ceylon Navy. Started “chasing” PRETTY wild women” also quite early in life & GAMBLING, whenever I had a bit of spare money from the “drinking” simply to buy a few “presents” for one or two wild women I was dating at the time, until I met my “wife”, after which I had to STOP two bad habits (gambling & chasing), in one hit. I kept smoking & drinking even after arriving in Australia in 1962 but DID use my will-power and stopped both drinking & smoking overnight, nearly 30 years ago. I don’t touch either, now, don’t gamble because I cannot afford to, & cannot chase ANY WOMEN now, because at 81, I couldn’t do it, even if I wanted to. So, there you are folks, the bad, ugly & good, in my case, and if I could do it, I guess anyone CAN.

Desmond Kelly
Star of eLanka.

Read More →

“TOO MUCH OF ANYTHING” by Desmond Kelly ‘the Star of eLanka’

English phrases that are rapidly becoming extinct, because of this very reason. Too much of this new-fangled “Internet”. Too much of “Cyber-Commotion”, too much of iphones, earphones, headphones, tele-phones which are no more, now, of course. Too much concentration on tiny internet computers”, where once, there were humoungous “machines”lining walls of “offices” everywhere,
that kept us in touch with the World (and THAT wasn’t too long ago), too many CHILDREN nowadays, depending far too much on little “contraptions” that they carry around with them, everywhere. These children are going to be the “ADULTS” in a World that seems to be regressing, rather than progressing, simply because WE, present adults, cannot seem to understand how to point them in the right direction. Too much of giving-in to their “whims & fancies”, with far too little discipline, BECAUSE, too much of anything
STARTS with the young people of today.

Schools, Colleges, Universities & facilities such as these CANNOT be expected to do EVERYTHING. Teachers & Professors will do their best to impart whatever knowledge might be necessary for their students, but the LEARNING starts AT HOME. Unfortunately, nowadays, both parents have to “work”to keep the “food on the table” & because of this, time spent with their children is at a minimum. However, whatever time IS available should be spent by parents, heterosexual or homosexual, using the necessary discipline (stop them using their iphones when talking with you,for example), to TEACH them the facts of life.

By that, I don’t mean facts of life sexually. Today’s children seem to be able to teach their parents about the “birds & bees”. What I mean is, let them learn their Maths, Algebra, Geometry, Science, all that stuff, at School. Teach them how to live a good, honest LIFE, at “HOME”. This is where they start out. THIS is where the discipline MUST start. OUTSIDE HOME, IS YOUR LIFE. Learn to “do unto others as you would, they do unto you”. Children don’t ask to be born. YOU, the parents are responsible for them & don’t ever forget it.
Wherever possible, I endeavour to “prove my point” with a song, so here goes, as far as the above are concerned. ” Don’t take your guns to town”, talks about a mother telling her young son Bill to leave his guns at home. “Don’t take your guns to town Bill, leave your guns at home, son, don’t take your guns to town”.
So what does young Bill do? , he laughs at her, tells her that he is old enough & can shoot as fast & as straight as anyone, goes out to a bar & dies in a gunfight with an older, more experienced gunfighter.
As he lies dying on the floor, his mother’s final words to him, come to mind. “Don’t take your guns to town”.
As another shining example, ABE was no MUG. However, 37 years at the helm of his “boat” was certainly “too much of anything”, there was not much left to “take” , so, just like the guy who let everything slip under the “watergate”, he decided to slip impeachment proceedings and resigned. As I said, ABE was no MUG, He was the “Alligator” who has handed over to the “Crocodile”. What a bunch of reptiles.!
If you “have enough”, “don’t huff & don’t puff”
Just leave some of your “extras” at bay
The “saying’s” not new, everyone, me & you
Has to “cark” it quite soon, anyway
I am not being bold, though I’m now getting old
This advice I give freely, is something
Too much of whatever you’ve got, or will have
Is certainly “TOO GOOD FOR NOTHING”!

Read More →

Are you taking a low dose Aspirin, daily? – Good advice by Dr.Harold

Your doctor will recommend you to take a low dose of aspirin after the age of forty. Most people do not take it seriously until they are about 60 years and over.

Why does your doctor does want you to take aspirin, daily? The reason is that a low dose of aspirin daily lowers your risk of getting a heart attack or stroke, by thinning your blood. Normally, clotting of blood occurs by clumping of platelets in your blood stream. At times of a bleed from an artery chemicals are produced to make platelets paste to each other and form a bung. Aspirin tend to delay this process. Further, if you happen to get chest pain (angina) whilst driving, you might escape a severe attack by taking one or two aspirins immediately, which may help to dissolve a clot, if you are on your daily dose.

Recent studies have shown published in The Lancet, that aspirin also prevents cancer. In those studies, Professor Peter Rothwell of Oxford University in the UK, a world expert on aspirin studies confirms that for people in middle age, a daily dose of aspirin can reduce the risk of developing several cancers. Furthermore, the studies have shown that the spread of cancer can be reduced by taking aspirin, daily.

Aspirin may double the chance of survival for patients with gastro-intestinal cancers according to the results of a new study presented at the 2015 European Cancer Congress in Vienna, Austria.

Long term aspirin usage reduces the risk of ovarian cancer in women, and colon, stomach, oesophageal and liver cancers in both sexes.
Those suffering from stomach ulcers (peptic ulcers) should not take aspirin. Aspirin also may give stomach ulcers. Those suffering from age related muscular degeneration (AMD) should avoid taking aspirin daily.

So, for that question in your mind, “Should I take aspirin, daily? –the answer is yes, better start tonight if you are not on it, after discussing with your doctor.

One important side effect of taking aspirin on a daily dose may lead to bleeding in your gut. In most situations, you wouldn’t know whether you are bleeding, as it is so microscopic and goes undetected. If ever you detect dark tarry stools you need to suspect upper abdominal gut bleeding. The stomach acid changes the colour of stools to black. If you detect brown colour stools, the bleeding could be in the large bowel, and detecting fresh bleed is from an anal region as from piles (haemorrhoids).

In most situations bleeding due to taking aspirin stops with time.

You should not take aspirin daily without the guidance and supervision of your doctor.

Some schools of thought are that there is no necessity to take daily aspirin among healthy people having no history of cardiovascular or cancer history in the family.

Some authorities believe that taking aspirin will worsen the situation of bleeding from plaques in the arteries. The platelets under normal conditions form clots in vascular plaques, and may prevent bleeding through ulcerations of the plaques… Taking aspirin may hinder the clotting process and lead to further bleeding and cause heart attacks and stroke. This is the opinion among some doctors.

On the same token, aspirin reduces the ability of platelets clumping together thereby lowering the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. So, your thoughts would be between the Devil and the deep blue sea, as far as deciding to take this life-long medication, or not. Listen to your doctor, and he will guide you on the right direction, whether you should be on aspirin or not.

The risks of bleeding among people who take low doses of aspirin are higher for those who eat fruits daily, eating veggies like the crucifers and spinach, on certain medications like ibuprofen, cortisone preparations and supplements like fish oil. If you suffer from asthma you should avoid taking aspirin. Kids under one year should never be given any paediatric aspirin preparation.

Some people may, as a side effect get nausea and indigestion on taking aspirin. Never take aspirin on an empty stomach.
Some may experience heart burn after taking aspirin. In such an event drink some cold milk and eat a few slices of cooled cut cucumber straight from the fridge to bring immediate relief.

Women who take aspirin daily may increase the chance of pregnancy, especially those having a history of miscarriage.
The main use of aspirin or salicylate is to reduce fever and relieve mild to moderate muscular pains. For the same reason it is used in conditions such as arthritis. It works by blocking certain natural inflammatory chemicals in your body to reduce pain and swelling. Children under 12 should not be treated with salicylates.

Aspirin was the only treatment available for rheumatic fever in the old days. Much larger doses such as three tablets a day, or the Salicylate mixture, was the standard treatment for such diseases. Low dosage aspirin is used only to prevent clotting of blood.
Conclusions: Aspirin is a ‘magic drug’ taken daily by millions of people in various countries, and is the most widely used drug in medicine. Aspirin is also one of the oldest drugs in use, with a history dating back to the period of Hippocrates and Galen. It was then obtained from the bark of the willow tree. The incidence of side effects is minimal compared to the numbers taking this medication right through the ages.

So do not hesitate, to talk with your doctor and take low dosage of aspirin daily. There are similar other medications (antiplatelet agents), that thins the blood, such as Clopidogrel, Dipyridamole, Prasugel and so on. These latter agents are prescribed after heart attacks. Your doctor will decide what’s best for you.

Read More →

First Ever Rugby Team of St. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia 1955 1st XV

Standing Left to Right: L.W Abeywardana (Master in Charge), Rohantha De Silva, D.M.Seneviratne, Asoka Wickramanayake, Rodney Ingleton, Michael Tissera, T.Gray, R.Kandiah, Thissa Molligoda.

Seated Left to Right: P.B. Jayasekara, L.Hewawasam, Lester Shockman, K.S.Ananthan(C), WARDEN R.S. DE SARAM, S.B.L.Perera, Ifthikar Cader, Errol Jocotine, Dan Piachaud, Sudath Weerasuriya

On the Ground: VanCulenburg and Mack

Absent: Coach Mahesh Rodrigo



Read More →