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Video Attached! THE SHIP IS SPEWING AND THE YOUNG SPEAK OUT

UNITED NATIONS WORLD OCEANS DAY 2021- THE VOICE OF THE YOUNG

Hosted by: THE AMERICA SRI LANKA PHOTOGRAPHIC ART SOCIETY LOS ANGELES (ASPAS)

TOPICS AND YOUNG PANELISTS:

Rashmi Perera (USA) – Oceans and Marine Life

Tiara Ganegama (Sri Lanka) – Oceans and Biodiversity

Nischal perera (Canada) – Clean Oceans

Nehansa Vethakan (The UK) – Oceans and the world’s climate

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO WATCH THE VIDEO:

https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DHdMSRO4Mxek%26t%3D192s&data=04%7C01%7C%7C25b1607aa13f41fd376008d929e1a40c%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637586871351924432%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=q3CEEFtFqAO1fQv0cqIJbrREW8jTyRpBMGQZKyFJegg%3D&reserved=0

Sri Lanka Foundation Intl., USA meets with the global SL communities to present the plan for “Sri Lanka Day Expo & Parade”

The Sri Lanka Foundation International, USA on May 8th, 2021 met on a zoom meeting with the Sri Lankan global communities from many countries to present the plan of the “Sri Lanka Day Expo & Parade” virtual event.

After the detailed presentations conducted by the SLF staff, the attendees expressed their enthusiasm and encouraging words to the SLF for hosting a very worthy cause continued with a Q & A session.

Many applauded that the SLF was taking a big step to create a virtual platform to host this event with the objective of providing an opportunity for the Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs to promote their products to a global audience as well as promote the Sri Lankan culture by an extravagant Cultural Program and a Parade. The support of the global community was very evident from the ideas and suggestions that was shared during the meeting.

The SLF staff announced to the attendees that this was just the initial meeting and there will be many sub meetings as the event plan progresses to keep the communities informed and thanked everyone for attending.

Nursery Rhapsody by Rukshan Perera

Here’s a must-listen brilliant composition by Rukshan Perera – a creative adaptation of Bohemian Rhapsody with Sri Lankan nursery rhymes. The musical standard of this song is an A++ and caters to all – it will take all the Sri Lankan adults into a nostalgic tour into their childhood, it makes you feel like you’re listening to Bohemian Rhapsody, and it will teach the new generation of Sri Lankan children some old cultural Sri Lankan nursery rhymes with a fun video!

But most importantly, this is a well thought out creative composition by Rukshan that takes you back & forth to the famous Queen’s song Bohemian Rhapsody without using its tune but by only adapting the same 5 forms – starting with an acapella section with very creative harmonies, then a ballad-like song, then the guitar solo, then going into a frenzy with gallelio, and finally ending up with a slow moving lullaby.

Click on the link to watch the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxBvNfE-EVQ

Sponsored By:
Sri Lanka Foundation International, USA

Video Attached! Sri Lanka Foundation Academy of Performing Arts reaches the uttermost success in the celebration of the virtual ‘Avurudu’ event…

With the dawn of April month, we all are in the festive mood to celebrate one of the significant festivals in Sri Lanka; the Sinhala and Tamil New year. Annually, at SLF Academy of Performing Arts we; educate our students with rich traditions, customs, and rituals intertwined with our Sri Lankan culture and thereby promote togetherness. However, students of our academy, could not take part in the ‘Avurudu’ program and celebration in their usual countenance due to the prevailing pandemic situation.

  Yet, we premiered our virtual ‘Avurudu’ event on 14th April fabulously. This even bridged the Sri Lankan community in LA as well as the Sri Lankans in our home country miles away. The event reached its uttermost success due to the great efforts taken by the instructors and the brilliant participation of the students, and the enthusiasm grown in the hearts of the students of our academy for the celebration of the new year.

  We initiated our program with the new year greetings from the founder of the Sri Lanka Foundation, Dr. Walter Jayasinha, the ambassador of SL for the USA,H.E Ravinatha Ariyasinha, the Consul General for LA Dr. Lalith Chandrasa and the president of SLF; Dr. Dishan Jayasinha, the Director of Operations of the academy: Achala Weerasinghe. The program was ended with a thank you note from the Vice President of the SLF; Aeshea Jayasinghe.

The program epitomized the beauty of the new year under different items showcased by the students as well as the instructors, Nirosha Wijegunasekare, Akila Palipana, Nalinda Dilupama, Lal Thilakarathna, Umendra Kahandawaarachchi and Kanishka Gomas.  

Students of PreK dance class – SLF Academy of performing Arts brilliantly performed for the song ‘Erabadu Mal pipila’ to show how nature beautifully gets dressed to celebrate the new year, the cry of the cuckoos and the ‘Erabadu’ trees draped in the crimson flowers. 

  Another vibrant item was showcased by our students mingling the sounds we hear during the ‘Avurudu’ season by compiling the folk singing and playing ‘Raban padha’. The items such as ‘Eluwan kaama’ and the dances showcased with the collaboration of the students of our academy from, the child, and intermediate classes, beginner and senior class, and the senior classes interpret the unity, togetherness and the strong bond shared between the students of our academy as much as the talent resided in them. The playing of the ‘Getabera’ and ‘Daula’ and the ‘Avurudu’ dance showcased by the instructors was heart-throbbing. 

The program was organized amidst so many difficulties such as in the preparation of the costumes, rehearsals conducted virtually, and many more. Thus, special gratitude should be paid to all our students who took part in the items, the instructors who guided them, and to all others who played different roles in making the event successful. 

Please click on the link below to watch the video:

https://youtu.be/w3jqkRfM1ys

Sinhala and Tamil New Year in Santa Barbara, California

Horanage family in Santa Barbara celebrated the Bakh Maha Sinhala and Tamil New year last week Honoring the Sri Lankan traditions that we usually carry out back home.

Aruni Boteju oldest of the Horanage family hosted and prepared the beautiful Avurudhu table with a variety of Sri Lankan food for the family and used all traditional Sri Lankan table decor with Go Green concept, followed by Aurudhu rituals and customs.

“We are immigrants and our children are the first generation who were born in the United States. It is our responsibility to teach and pass our culture and traditions to the next generation, so they can pass it on to theirs”. Said Aruni Boteju. She also said “we all have our preferences and the way we live our lives, but we must always remember who we are and where we came from”.

When we celebrate and honor our customs with pride, others join and enjoy and learn about our culture. This is the beauty of diversity.

“We must be proud of who we are”.

Embassy of Sri Lanka celebrates Sinhala & Tamil New Year Sunday 18 April 2021 from 1100 EST onwards

The Embassy of Sri Lanka, in collaboration with its ‘Overseas Sri Lankans (OSL) Network’ in the USA, will celebrate Sinhala and Tamil New Year on Sunday, April 18, 2021, from 11.00 am onwards. Modeled on the “Ratawata Aurudu” programmes done connecting main cities in Sri Lanka during the New Year, the celebrations conducted via zoom/facebook to allow connecting small gatherings consistent with COVID guidelines, will be joined by members of the Sri Lanka community and Friends of Sri Lanka from cities across the USA.

Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic and Christian religious blessings will precede the observance of New Year customs and rituals that will re-create the sense of festivity and provide an understanding of Sri Lankan traditions and culture, especially to children who have grown up in the US, as well as to the Americans who will be joining.

The Message for the New Year from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and greetings from Ambassador to the USA Ravinatha Arysinha, Permanent Representative to the UN in New York Ambassador Dr. Mohan Peiris and Consul General in Los Angeles Dr. Lalith Chandradasa will also be featured during the webcast.

The cultural programme that will follow will showcase 25 colorful dance/musical items from children, youth groups and adults from Washington D.C and over 15 States across the US – Maryland, California, Missouri, Texas, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Illinois, South Carolina, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Washington, Florida, and Hawaii.

The Embassy invites Sri Lankans and Friends of Sri Lanka living across the US to join in these festivities organized as part of the Embassy’s outreach programme through the recently established ‘OSL Network’, which now spans all 50 States and contributes to advancing Sri Lanka’s interests through political advocacy, economic empowerment, socio-cultural engagement and several other cross cutting areas.

See Program Details:

Embassy of Sri Lanka – Washington DC
Sinhala & Tamil New Year Celebration on Sunday 18th April 2021 at 11.00 EST
onwards.

Programme:

Hoisting of the National Flag followed by the National Anthem

Lighting of the Oil Lamp

1)The most Venerable KatagasthotaUparatana NayakaThero 2)Swami Ragubathi Kurukkal 3)Mr. Seyed Rizwan Mowlana 4)Reverend Father Dilantha Arachchilage 5)H.E. the Ambassador 6)Deputy Head of Mission

Welcome Speech by H.E. the Ambassador

Religious Observances
Buddhist – by most Venerable Katagasthota Uparatana Nayaka, chief Islamic – by Seyed Rizwan Mowlana
Christian – by Rev. Father Dilantha Arachchilage
Reading the New Year Message of H.E. the President
Remarks by PRUN/ NY 

Remarks by Consul General , Los Angeles
Sinhala & Tamil New Year – Customs & Rituals
Lighting the hearth & Boiling milk
Commencement of work/ Ganu Denu
Partaking of traditional Sri Lankan sweet meats
Offering betel leaves to parents/ elders
Anointing oil

Cultural Performances

Traditional Drums performance – Maryland
Traditional Dance ‘Mangalam’ – California
Tamil Classical Dance ‘Bharathanatyam’ – Texas
Recital in English (Solo) – Maryland
New Year Celebration- Missouri
Avurudu Dance ‘Ama wilata basa’– Texas
‘Sinhala Awurudda Awilla’ – Ohio
Dancing Performance ‘Game Suwanda’ – Texas
Sri Lankan Folk Song – Georgia
Dancing Item ‘Thuranga Wannama’-Maryland
Bharatha Dance – Maryland
‘Erabadu mal pipila dakkama hari asayi’– New Jersey
Greetings – Washington DC
Dancing item ‘Sirilaka piri Awurudu Sihine’ –California
Kandyan Dance -Maryland
Sinhala Song – Massachusetts
Dancing Item ‘Sirilaka Piri Awurudu Sihine’- Illinois
Dancing item ‘Lande ukula uda’ – South Carolina
Children Item – Hawaii
Dancing Item ‘deega nogiya punchi nano’& Tamil dance – New Mexico
Avurudu Dance item – Washington
‘Kiri Ithirewa Nawa Wasare’– Maryland
Drum Performance –Maryland
Kotta Pora – Florida
Kana mutti bindeema – New York

Traditional Avurudu Games

Playing the Rabana
Pancha Keliya
Tug-of-war
Scraping Coconut
Dice Game

Conclusion.

ZOOM ID- 872 0135 2083
PASSCODE- 742949

BEYOND THE SCREEN: I felt like I just can’t sing – Adithya Weliwatta

In just one night, sixteen-year-old Adithya Weliwatta stole the hearts of a nation with her performance for the blind auditions of Voice Teens, a reality TV show that kicked off in the thick of the pandemic in 2020. Adithya has a powerful and soulful voice, which drove the four judges on the show to fight for her. At the end of her audition, while coaches Sanuka, Raini, Ashanthi and Dumal attempted to persuade the young singer to join their respective teams, one coach took the young lady off the stage to seat her along with the judges. Adithya was surrounded by four powerhouse musicians, each asking her to join their team, but Adithya chose to join Dumal Warnakulasooriya’s team.

Perhaps this was, the moment that didn’t sit well with some viewers of the show. Around the world, the Voice franchise is known for its theatrics. The camaraderie among coaches, fighting over contestants provides a slew of fun and entertainment, which continue to attract millions of audiences worldwide. But at the time, it was a relatively new format of reality TV for Sri Lankan viewers. For Adithya this would be a moment she would never forget. Along with her overnight success, came an outpouring of hatred. Social media was soon flooded with posts critical of the young girl. From her outfit to her outspoken ways, everything was judged, with only a few encouraging posts in-between.

I believe that freedom of speech, freedom of expression is everyone’s basic human right. But you have no right to peep into someone else’s personal life and attempt to breakdown someone else’s dignity. Because everyone is unique, nobody’s perfect. Of course I do have faults. I’m still 16 years old.

“It’s a great thing. But suddenly things turned out to be different. Plans changed. Because I’m still schooling and I’m still doing my O/Ls, it was not easy. One night, that’s all it took. Things changed and I still can’t believe that,” Adithya recalled.

With two loving parents and two siblings —one of whom she calls a notorious one — Adithya has braved a storm of hatred online. With her to face this storm is her family, she said. “It’s the source of strength I have. They’re always beside me through thick and thin. Even under the current circumstances they are the only people there for me,” Adithya said.



“I’m still a child,” she exclaims when asked to describe growing up with her family. And she clearly is. She shares with delight about her love for Kandyan dancing and her dreams of learning hip-hop dance. “I was actually a popular dancer, not a singer. Dancing was what I was known for. Oh and I also love skating. I love it a lot. But I couldn’t do it for the past few months,” she adds.

From an average teenager, Adithya has gone on to become a social media personality owing to her success on Voice Teens. “I don’t feel like that this is reality now. In just one day people got to know me. The comments that I got back, was a bit harsh sometimes. But sometimes good,” Adithya said. “I’m just a girl. I want to keep my family happy and be happy. That’s what matters at the end of the day. I only have them.”

Adithya clearly draws strength from her doting family. But at such a young age, her experiences can lead to mounting pressure. “My mom wanted me to do everything. In the sense, she wanted me to balance everything and be an all-rounder. She wanted me to do my studies, my curriculum and sports.

So my mind was blank when I was going for Voice Teens. It’s just that I was passionate about singing. I sang, it reached millions of people but I never thought such a thing would happen,” the teenager recalled. Going in for the Voice Teens audition was just meant to satisfy herself and her family, she said “That was it. Getting a reward for my mom is a huge thing for me because she never compliments just like that. She’d never be like — Oh, my god you sang well. When it comes to work, my mom is a bit tough because she wants the best out of me.”

From an average teenager, Adithya has gone on to become a social media personality owing to her success on Voice Teens. “I don’t feel like that this is reality now. In just one day people got to know me. The comments that I got back, was a bit harsh sometimes. But sometimes good,” Adithya said. “I’m just a girl. I want to keep my family happy and be happy. That’s what matters at the end of the day. I only have them.”

Adithya clearly draws strength from her doting family. But at such a young age, her experiences can lead to mounting pressure. “My mom wanted me to do everything. In the sense, she wanted me to balance everything and be an all-rounder. She wanted me to do my studies, my curriculum and sports.

So my mind was blank when I was going for Voice Teens. It’s just that I was passionate about singing. I sang, it reached millions of people but I never thought such a thing would happen,” the teenager recalled. Going in for the Voice Teens audition was just meant to satisfy herself and her family, she said “That was it. Getting a reward for my mom is a huge thing for me because she never compliments just like that. She’d never be like — Oh, my god you sang well. When it comes to work, my mom is a bit tough because she wants the best out of me.”

Adithya says her family chose tough love. Even though they’re not a musical or artistic family, her siblings help her out when she doesn’t get it right. “My sister guides me through everything. She’d tell me when I didn’t get a part of a song right. She’s critical. But my brother doesn’t like my songs. He’s more into other forms of music and I have no idea what that is,” Adithya laughed.

Not every step in her journey to becoming a musician has been pleasant. While attempting to launch a musical career, Adithya is also a student who felt a lot of pressure. “In the beginning it was not so. But later, with the stuff that I got, there were days I would cry so much and felt like I just can’t sing!”

But this young musician believes in the power of positivity. “In a way sometimes I believe that it’s good that it all happened because I’m much stronger now. I really have cool parents and siblings and a few cool friends who stick around me. I don’t think I need much more than that,” she said smiling.

Apart from the online hate posts, as the competition progressed, Adithya was seen pitted against another contestant from the Voice. Comparisons began to surface, with Adithya being the one to amass hate from trolls. The first thing that struck Adithya was that people are not happy for others. Do you remember the first post that really affected you, I ask. She has no memory of a single post, she said. “I actually don’t remember. Because it was that many,” she said.

“You see, it’s so easy for people to do cyber bullying. In my perspective, I believe that freedom of speech, freedom of expression is everyone’s basic human right. But you have no right to peep into someone else’s personal life and attempt to breakdown someone else’s dignity. Because everyone is unique, nobody’s perfect. Of course I do have faults. I’m still 16 years old, I’m still learning. I know till my last breath I have a lot of things to learn. But if we take the time we spend on criticism, to destroy other people’s beauty? Why always complain about what’s going on? Why don’t we try to see what’s beautiful instead,” Adithya asked. But it can be exhausting, she added.

“Sometimes I feel there’s no point because people are not civilized. If we as a society think about the other, we need to be happy for the other. That’s what I know because humanity is the most important thing. But if all of us think twice as a nation, we can actually get rid of this. I might be famous or whatever, but I just feel normal. What I want to see in people is to see their good,” she stressed.

Most of the time I cried. Throughout the Voice teens competition, for about six months, maybe… Throughout I did cry! After all this cyber bullying and everything, people started to show me sympathy. I didn’t want that. I just wanted to be me. People would blame me for being me.

Adithya is still followed by trolls who exploit her fame for cheap gains. Months have lapsed since the end of the reality show, but the negative attention she continues to receive hasn’t receded. While Adithya continues to see the good in people, her critics chose to see something else. The latest malicious posts associated with this teenager are suggestive of intimate videos, posted with doctored photos of Adithya, tagged with coarse headlines used as clickbait.

“I don’t know why they get such pleasure doing that. They do have sisters, they do have children. We need to equally respect and protect children and women because they’re precious. There’s no equality sometimes. Some people feel so much easier to take it out easier on us. The worst they can put us through is cyber-bullying. There are so many people who go through suicidal moments. We as a nation, if we rise up of course we can move forward. Everyone’s beautiful the way they are. Everyone has a unique talent. For whatever that is we need to respect everyone the same,” she commented.

Despite all the negativity, Adithya finds fuel in music. “Sometimes I feel like a tsunami is behind me. But when I get on the stage I don’t feel those negative vibes from people. I feel so free and I feel so alive. My favourite part is when people use to sing along with me. That feeling I don’t know how to explain it. I feel that,” she exclaimed with joy.

She was never angry, she explains. “Actually people are not bad. They’re good. It’s just with the influences that they have got, they have become so stubborn. Something got into their head,” Adithya shrugged. But it wasn’t always easy for her to deal with the negative attention her family got. “I felt that because of me, they’re getting a dark spot on their name. I didn’t want to embarrass my family. Of course they were sad, they never showed me that. I know they might have cried a lot because of me. But they never showed me any of that.”

Adithya’s family never discussed the slew of online hate and malicious posts. The young artist is confident that her family’s trust is all she needs. “Others’ perceptions don’t matter to me. If my mom, father and siblings know I’m doing the right thing. I don’t think I need to prove myself to anybody else. I don’t need justice from people who don’t know me.”

When things felt overwhelming, did you cry, I ask. “Most of the time I cried. Throughout the Voice Teens competition, for about six months, maybe. Throughout I did cry! After all this cyber-bullying and everything, people started to show me sympathy. I didn’t want that. I just wanted to be me. People would blame me for being me. People would be like, your Sinhala is not good. But I thought I know how to communicate and that’s what matters. There were days I cried like hell. But I got up. I took every negativity I got, as an opportunity.”

Adithya draws inspiration from Charlie Chaplin and Rowan Atkinson, determined to be herself and use every opportunity for growth. “Sometimes I was not myself then. I was scared of the public. I didn’t want to face the public. I started making changes on myself. I tried to be more of how the world wanted me to be. But then I realised, why would I do that?”

“Everything teaches you a lesson. I smile everywhere I go. Nobody cares if you’re sad. Nobody does, except your family. Chill around people and be happy. Even if you’re faking a smile people won’t know it. You can have an opinion about me, I can have an opinion about you. But that doesn’t have to be the truth.”

Adithya Weliwatta has her entire future ahead of her. But with so much to deal with, in such little time, did she ever feel afraid of her future, I ask. “Sometimes it did. I’m a normal human being. I was scared to reach my targets. I had second thoughts about what would people say. Now I don’t.”

Adithya also has some advice for her critics and those who may be struggling themselves. “Be yourself. Stop complaining. Adore everyone, love immensely. If you want to achieve something, just keep climbing. Have faith in God. At the end of the day, we all die. Just like when we go home, we just want a good nap. Life is too short, so we just got to cherish the moments. Give more, love more. If you don’t have love, just spread love. And remember that you are beautiful the way you are.”

For more information go to:http://dailymirror.lk

Video Attached! Congratulations to SLF Academy of Performing Arts Students, Welcome to the New School Year 2021!

On Sunday, January 24th the Sri Lanka Foundation Academy of Performing Arts hosted another successful webinar to preset the certificates to the students who completed the Dance & Drumming classes in 2020, and after they enrolled for the New School Year to continue the virtual lessons.

Achala Weerasinghe, the Director of Operations welcomed everyone with a brief description of the school’s future goals to expand globally on virtual classroom sessions. Shirani Stanislaus,Chief Operating Officer introduced the new lectures, Nirosha Gunasekera from the Visual and Performing Arts University in Colombo, Akila Palipana, from the University of Kelaniya in Sri Lanka and the new instructors, Nalinda Dilupana, from the Behri Foundation Drums & Dance and Kanishka Gomas, the founding member and dance instructor at Behri Foundation of Dance & Drums.

The program continued with speeches from the current Academy of Performing instructors, Lal Thilakaratna and Umendra Khandawarachchi, who talked about the success of the virtual sessions and showed video clips of the students performances in 2020.

The new lecturers and the two new teachers also had the opportunity to present video’s of their experience and knowledge as well as addressed the audience to say how excited they are to be a part of the Academy.

Sri Lanka Foundation Vice President, Aeshea Jayasinghe inspired everyone from her speech by highlighting areas of importance of working together as a team to achieve success. Keshini Wijegoonaratna, the Director of Project Management & Public Relations, updated the Accreditation Self Study process and explained the credibility of the ACS WASC accrediting agency.

The founder of SLF, Dr Walter Jayasinghe thanked the SLF and the Academy staff for working diligently to bring the foundation to this level and addressed areas for expansion for the future.

The program ended with Achala Weerasinghe, the Director of Operations of the Academy, with a vote of special thanks to the SLF Media Director, Chamodh Amarasinghe for all his hard work by creating the graduation ceremony on a virtual platform, and also thanked everyone for attending.

See attached link to watch the video:

https://youtu.be/ZspOsYI95-s

Video Attached! SLAASC Committee prepares to Present 73rd Independence Day Celebrations!

SLF Interviews SLAASC Committee:

https://youtu.be/LxqK2Gzer40

This is to inform you that the recorded SLAASC 73rd Sri Lanka Independence Day Anniversary Celebration will be live on Facebook and YouTube on Friday, February 19 and Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 7 pm Pacific Time.
Please watch it!
For more information contact:
Shanmuganathan Vaithilingam [Shan]
Secretary
Sri Lanka America Association of Southern California.
Cell: [213] 399 8964
Email: pa2slcg.la@gmail.com
Website: https://www.slaasc.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/slaasc

See link below to watch the video:

https://youtu.be/LxqK2Gzer40