Sri Lanka.....{short description of image}....Another elephant story....true, I believe...I have no first hand experience of this one...HOME

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1.ELEPHANT STRUCK BY LIGHTNING
"Shocking! Positively shocking!"
Sean Connery in the film "From Russia With Love"
2.Woman struck by ditto.... in a separate incident

Link to the top of story 2{short description of image}

3. Man falls from coconut tree.
Link to the top of story 3 {short description of image}
4.Political Jungle

These stories(1, 2 & 3) appeared in a free weekly English language tabloid called "NEWSLANKA" published in London. (Editor: Reggie Fernando)..... they would have been funnier if they weren't tragic.

The unfortunate victim of the first story was no ordinary elephant either!

The story had the by-line attributing it to one L.B. Wijayasiri reporting from Kandy.(NEWSLANKA April 19th 2001) The report reads thus:

The she elephant "Seetha Menike" belonging to the Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy was killed by a lightning ("A lightning" sic!) on Saturday April 14 at Mawanella......

(She was no ordinary elephant. See bottom of story as to her importance)

Apparently, the unfortunate "Seetha Menike" who was only thirty years old, had been tied to a tree (or should that read married to a tree! Ha! Ha!). Unfortunately, a chain had been used for this purpose which obviously provided the ideal conductor. There was a typical Srilankan style electrical storm with accompanying heavy rain of course.

She apparently died "on the spot". It is not easy to give cardiac massage to elephants....(Not that I have tried it but I have tried it on a few humans. Not easy.)

Any news of the chain?, I hear you ask! The chain had apparently "broken into pieces".

The report further adds that a post-mortem was to be held by a member of the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences of the University of Peradeniya.

Incidentally, Saturday the 14th of April was the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

Poor Seetha Menike! Hopefully, they didn't use petrol to cremate her!

MORAL:

1. If you have expensive equipment, invest in a surge protector!

2. Even the big guys (and gals) get it in the end!

3. Never shelter under the tree of religion during bad moments in life!

For the benefit of non-Srilankan readers: The Dalada Maligawa is the famous "Temple of the Tooth" in Kandy and is one of the sites sacred to Buddhists. It is said to house a relic of Buddha consisting of a tooth. Temple elephants are sacred...more so if it is The Temple Of The Tooth..

Incident 2

Woman struck by lightning as well!

This is a separate incident (date not known)

The references are the same as for the story above. There is no by-line except to say that it is from the Mundel correspondent. To appreciate this story you need to read some parts verbatim. Comments within brackets are mine! I have retained the original punctuation! Here we go:

A remarkable incident where an elderly woman (she was only 47!) who narrowly escaped death from being bitten by a venomous viper, suffered death instantly, on the spot after being hit by lightning, just three hours later is reported from ...Mundel.
(have you ever come across a non-venomous viper?!)

There are then some boring bits about a coroner and an inquest and the fact that the deceased had three children...none of which are funny. Then......

...it was stated that this woman at about 11.00a.m. on this day had let loose her cattle as usual, and had led one of the animals by rope to be tethered on to a coconut tree when she had spotted this viper coiling itself to attack her on the leg which was very close to the viper.
(I never thought that vipers were that fussy about which leg...or for for that matter, which part of the human anatomy, that they sank their fangs into! I always thought that they went for the nearest leg)
She had jumped aside instinctively and raised cries. Several people who intervened have killed the viper and all were astonished at her narrow escape.
On the same day at about 2 p.m she had been struck dead by lightning while she was standing in the verandah of the house.

Moral:

1. When your number's up, your number's up!

2. Never bother killing a viper. Other snakes will do that for you!

3. Wear steel toe capped boots when amongst vipers! You could kick them in the balls!

4. A woman's place is in the kitchen not in the verandah!

Bet I will get a lot of flak for that last one!

INCIDENT 3

MAN FALLS FROM COCONUT TREE

This one is from NEWSLANKA of the 5th of April 2001 and apparently worthy of notice by REUTERS. It had a Reuters by-line.

This guy, a 45 year-old farmer by the name of Amarasinghe from Padaviya (North East Srilanka) had been captured by The Tigers. Whilst in captivity he made a vow to various (unnamed) gods that if he was ever freed he will offer them KIRIBUTH (milk rice). After 15 months of captivity The Tigers released him and three others.

So far so good. He set about preparing Kiributh, realised he was out of coconuts and climbed a tree to pluck one! He fell. Dead on arrival.

The other three are believed to have made similar vows. It is to be hoped that they will learn something from what happened to their late associate and fellow captive.

Moral:

1. Kiributh is not posh! Modern Srilankan Gods prefer McDonald's.

2. Employ monkeys to do the dangerous jobs.

3. Religious beliefs can be dangerous to your health.

INCIDENT 4

Political Jungle From a snippet in the Srilankan Times...date not known

A group of school kids went on a school trip to the zoo at Dehiwela. The zoo was closed so they were taken to the parliament instead. The members were fighting...literally! The kids thought it was better than the zoo!

Another group of kids were taken to the parliament on an "educational" trip. On this day two MPs decided not only to throw insults at each other but their shoes as well! Kids panicked, started crying (Aney! Yamu Yamu!) and ran to the gangways to abandon ship. Police guarding the parliament panicked to see crying kids rushing out.

Could have been a nasty incident...The police are armed and can be trigger-happy.

Moral: The best place to observe animals is in their natural environment. Not the zoo!

Gyan C.A. Fernando 2001 First written on the 20th April 2001

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