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Light Millennium #15 Issue, May 2005

From a farm in Australia to underwater,
Scuba Diving, in Sri Lanka

A unique profile: Valerie FULLER-EKANAYAKE

Interviewed by Bircan ÜNVER
February 3, 2005, Colombos, Sri Lanka

Valerie Ekanayake was born in 1953 in Australia just after the depression. Australia was starting to enjoy life again. Mrs. Ekanayake expresses that she was fortunate and has never known hardship; she always had food, lived on a farm down near the Murray River in South Wales (about 40 miles from the Murray River), and went to a very small school four and a half miles away from the farm. She used to ride her bike or her horse to school. She went to boarding school 50 miles away from her farm, but she attended the village school until she was 11. She defines those days as, "I had a beautiful life. I learned more outside of school, on the way to school than I learned at school." I've met with Mrs. Ekanayake when I visited Sir Arthur C. Clarke in Colombo in December 2002. But then except for a brief meeting and condense conversation, I didn't know much about her until I watched a documentary at Sir Arthur's office in January 2005 titled, "Time Out of Mind" which profiles Sir Arthur C. Clarke and his book, "The Fountains of Paradise" which was produced right after His book won the Hugo and Nebula Awards in 1979. In the documentary, there was a scene where Sir Arthur, Hector and Valerie Ekanayake and their entire staff from Scuba Diving are getting ready to go to Trincomalee from Colombo. The narration of that chapter of the documentary informs the audience that Valerie Ekanayake is a high level scuba diving consultant. This information has led me to know more about her scuba diving experience, her background in Australia, as well as her unique life in Sri Lanka.


BU: How do you explain that you had learned outside of school more than at your school?

VK: For a farm child, you learn so much just in everyday life. You're so involved with the farm. There is sheep, there is cattle, there is wheat to be grown, there's oats, and now there's canola. Canola is an oil seed.Not corn oil, canola. When I was a child, it was just wheat, oats, and barley which were the staple foods of a western country. So, my father was fortunate that he inherited the farm. He was a volunteer in World War II. He went as a 24 year old farm boy, and fortunately he survived and wrote his memoirs.

BU: Were they published?

VE: No. no. He wrote them for the family because I asked him to. I didn't know what he'd done. And I went to Israel in 1973, but my father knew it as Palestine. After that I went back to Australia and followed his tracks. But I didn't go to New Guinea where he spent a lot of time. There was a lot of hardship there during the war. And I've always had an inquiring mind as to where my father was. My father was good to me; he was a silent man and never hurt me in any day that I can remember. He was a happy person, but my mother did tell me that there were times of difficulty, and I was the one who took out the lunch on ANZAC day. ANZAC day is the remembrance of the 2nd World War. ANZAC stands for Australian New Zealand Army Corps.

BU: What is your mom and dad's name?

VE: My mother's name is Lyla.

BU: Like Leyla? You might even be Turkish. She might be from Anatolia. Goodness knows?

VE: My dad's name is Wally, Walter.

BU: What is your maiden name?

VE: Fuller. In England Fullers were either brush makers or weavers I think. All I know is that one line in our family-the Walter family. There is a line, one descendent that lost a lot of money in the London underground. He was an architect, he had to go to Australia because he became broke and was in debt.

BU: Do you have brothers and sisters?

VE: I have a brother, and a sister.

BU: How old are they, and what are they doing?

VE: My brother must be heading up to be 50 something, maybe 52. They both live on a farm in Australia, my brother is still on the original farm where my grandfather worked. And my sister married another farmer about 12 miles away. She has raised 3 daughters and one son. And one is an architect, one is a teacher in a university, the other one is a Bioengineer, and the fourth boy, I'm sure will stay on the land. He is still too young yet.

BU: You were saying that when you were going back home from school that you enjoyed it so much because you were with your brother.

VE: I had a wonderful brother. I still have a wonderful brother. And I think that he was never mean to me. He always wanted to go home from school so that could sew the bags up on the wheat. But I always wanted to draw him on the sand on the way home and look at the birds and look at the cows on the way off. I used to play the games on big paddocks where they had sheep or cattle. I used to love to make the calls of the male bull to the female cow, so I could make the cow come to the end of the paddock. I was learning what I just wanted, I was very close to nature, I was very close to all of those animals around me. And I used to annoy my brother because he always wanted to go home and do these jobs on the farm with my father. I had to go to the house, and my mother would give me her jobs and I would become bored, so instead I played in the sand and made up some excuse.  Then, eventually I had to go home. On the days where we would play golf, we had so much fun; we would go all over the place. We would do whatever we wanted to do. That could include investigating some gold mines we had on the property-all the things that we weren't allowed to do when our parents were around.

BU: How old were you then?

VE: Oh, I was taken to those mines probably very young. I don't know what age.I mean I can remember them from maybe 6 years old. It was crazy. I used to crawl down those mines. It was fun and interesting. We didn't know what was down there. We would just go.  I used to use a rifle to hunt foxes. I never shot kangaroo. I never went kangaroo shooting much because I used to thrown too hard against the cage that we all stood in on the back of a vehicle. The vehicles needed to go very fast over rough terrain to keep up with the kangaroos. It  became quite a rough ride. I would tan the kangaroo hides, not for profit, just to see if I could, something to do.

BU: About having your very first own business. Next, I really would like to hear the rabbit story.

VE: So as a farmer's daughter, I knew that you weren't allowed to have rabbits. My brother had used to track rabbits, so I used to track rabbits. I was brought up to kill rabbits; that's what you were supposed to do because they're illegal in Australia.

BU: Why?

VE: Because your father could go to jail for 6 months.

BU: Is it still like that?

VE: Yes.I think so. You can go to jail if you do not get rid of the rabbits on your property, because they threaten the existence of humans. You can't grow crops, and also kangaroos do the same thing. As a farmer, you're allowed to use a rifle. And you shoot the kangaroos when they are too many. There's a certain amount, any amount, for a property owner because otherwise you won't have a crop. I used to track rabbits or shoot them because they were considered harmful=they were eating everything.

BU: When you killed the rabbits, did you eat them?

VE: No, I didn't like the taste.

BU: I mean, as a custom.

VE: I used to sell them because there was a market for them. I used to bring them home, skin them, and sell them.

BU: What was your first job?

VE: My first job was a secretary at a real estate agent office.

BU: After high school?

VE: Yes. Straight from high school. And then I worked my way up there, studied a little bit, went to a technical college--like a night school, and eventually got a real estate agent license. They were very good to me and gave me opportunities. I had two nice bosses, it was a family business. And my very first job was in the village general store. It's a store where all the farmers buy their provisions.I worked there between the time of leaving school and going for a proper job. So my father set me up with this job in the village where I learned to write down what everybody's buying, how much, and then send the bill. Very boring. But I enjoyed it all the same because I knew all these people. And somehow I was looking at the papers, and I guess my parents must have directed me for a secretarial job. And I started up this job as the secretary of a real estate agent. I started saving up money, and I was fortunate enough to be able to save enough money to travel. Why? I don't know. Curiosity, I think. And also I always wanted to help people.

BU: You came from a farm. When you came here first (Sri Lanka), did you have any idea about diving?

VE: In Australia I wanted to learn diving, but I didn't have enough time, and it was cold in the place where I wanted to learn. So that's why I wanted to learn it here.

BU: When you came here you already knew that there was a Scuba Diving School here. So you came for a purpose?

VE: Actually, we just came to see Sri Lanka. I came with three girlfriends; and we were traveling all the way from Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, India, and Sri Lanka. And I stayed here.

BU: But you went back!

VE: Yes, I went back and then I came back again.

BU: How long later?

VE: I stayed here for some time and then I met up with the girls in London again.

BU: So, you were here for 13 months, then you re-met them and then you returned to Australia.

VE: After London, I came back here and I went to Australia after that. But I kept corresponding with my husband (Hector Ekanayake).

BU: How long did it take to make your decision to move permanently to Sri Lanka?

VE: We lived together for three years. It's very modern for that time! I know, I don't know how I survived because in those days it was not accepted, it's still not accepted. People accepted me. They used to call me Mrs. Ekanayake when I wasn't Mrs. Ekanayake. I suppose the diving field was very different anyway. In those days-in the late 70's, 1976, I was qualified as an instructor in 1978-79. In those days very few women were in diving, so I was different anyway. So I settled here no matter what.

BU: Hector was your instructor.

VE: Yes. That's how it happened.

BU: What did you find the most challenging when you were first learning Scuba Diving?

VE: I found the most challenging the European men that were so different from Australian, American, and colonial men. On a dive boat they didn't like to be told what to do. Because females were not in diving then, it was a male domain. But in Australia we had equal opportunities those days. I was brought up to be able to do whatever a man could do because I was brought up in a farm. So I didn't see why I couldn't do this. And then I realized, particularly in the British system that I wasn't really that welcomed.

Valerie FULLER-EKANAYAKE & Bircan ÜNVER
during the interview in Colomobos on February 3, 2005

BU: That is very interesting that you say that Asians or others beside the Australians, English, Americans were kind of open to accept your teaching them, but not the English.

VE: That is right, In those days, the English didn't want females in their world; they wanted diving to be a male domain. That's their area. In other words, they didn't feel that the women had the intelligence, or they could behave. And in those days, of course it was a bikini, that's what I wore to work. So maybe they didn't trust themselves. I don't know. And I remember in Penang in Malaysia, it was run by the Australian air force. Also, there were a lot of British people there too, and I was marked down on my appearance because I did not dress appropriately. Now for an Australian girl a bikini was appropriate. And males knew how to behave with a bikini, and I didn't feel self-conscious in a bikini. So I was very brave. I signed up and there were 40 men in this course. Only because I had two Australian males that were complete gentlemen and helped me also, my navigation wasn't good, and I had to study at night. But I did not have the pressure of the male, during the daytime I did, during the classes I had it because obviously I cannot carry things as heavy as they can. The equipment in those days were not designed for a woman, number one; it was all black, heavy, and they thought that all the equipment should be steel, like the tanks. That was the best to dive with a steel tank, then you didn't have to use a weight to dive. For me, an aluminum tank was just marvelous. Because it was light to carry, it was 25 pounds, that's all.

BU: How heavy was the steel one?

VE: The steel was at least 35 pounds, much heavier. I kind of remember because I never wanted to have one. I didn't feel comfortable with the steel, and I did not like the idea. If had I went down with the steel tank which contained my air how do I come up? With the aluminum one, you're brought to the surface. When it was empty, you come to the surface. My body was very positive, and I had positive buoyancy in the water, so I had to wear weights at the start of the dive so at the end I could take off my weight and I'd float. That's the way we dived in the old days. We didn't have buoyancy compensators like we do now; it was completely different. We used to use up our air and we put rocks in our pockets.

BU: This is getting much more interesting. You were the very first woman in scuba diving instruction in Sri Lanka.

VE: In Sri Lanka, yes, but not in Asia. There was Jenny Garmendia in Singapore; she was an American girl, and she was a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) then. She was quite a woman; she taught first aid, and I did too. She was married to a Philippino and was teaching diving. There was another girl named Mary Lyndeman; she was also American, and the three of us used to teach lots of people to dive in Singapore and Malayasia.

BU: How many did you teach in a year?

VE: Difficult to know; sometimes it was 30, sometimes 40, it depends.

BU: What did you find the most difficult in teaching-men or women?

VE: The most difficult people to teach were people who were forced to do it by their husbands usually. They were going against their own nature. Diving is a very relaxing sport. If they weren't doing it for the right reason, then of course it was difficult. If they're only doing it because their husbands wanted them to do, then it was difficult. And that would happen. So usually I would teach with the husband and wife apart and teach separately. Generally, most people enjoyed relaxing. Once you got a mask on, and you know how to use the mask, then you're happy because you can see what's under the water. Then you just have to occupy them.

BU: I assume that mostly your students were men, and was it any problem with Hector being Asian? There were so many men around you, admiring you. Wasn't it difficult as husband and wife being together at home and work?

VE: You see we were never on the same boat because he was an instructor and I was an instructor; he took care of the logistics of diving, the boats, the equipment and things like that; whereas I took care of the educational side of it. Where I kept up to date with the standards that you have to teach people and the way to do it. So I kept up with those standards. And I looked after our children, and if I had to be diving, he looked after the children. Even when I was pregnant, I was teaching. I almost had my first baby in the swimming pool. I broke my waters in the swimming pool.

BU: That's so unusual. Which one? Tamara?


VE: Cherene. Even Tamara. I swam all the way with all of them till the very last day. If I wasn't teaching diving, I'd be doing twenty, thirty meter lengths in the swimming pool every day. I get up in the morning and go because I was always active, so even when I became pregnant I had to continue. I continued to teach my diving classes in the pool, then I'd get someone else to take them for their sea dives because sea diving is dangerous for pregnant women. But in the old days that was not known; they only did research on female sheep. In 1979, they were just starting to get a female group to do research on female divers, and that Genny was one of the people in Asia who was gathering information. She was part of the Jacques Cousteau society, and was very involved in that as was Mary Lyndeman. May was a pioneer in bringing proper tuition for recreational diving
Before it was a male domain. With Mary and Genny I taught in Singapore and Malaysia, Penang.

BU: How many months a year did you teach?

VE: In Sri Lanka, I taught all year around almost and took a month off between seasons. But generally I was teaching most of the time and then into the water.

BU: What about your children? Did anyone like diving?
VK: Cherene used to carry my camera when I used to do a lot of photography. She used to carry my camera and sleep in the bottom of the boat. She is a beautiful swimmer. She has absolutely a beautiful style. She could've have been a national swimmer, but she realized when she was about 14-15 years-old that she was just not good enough and stopped trying to be the best and concentrated on her studies. She got her bachelor of science in psychology. And she was always a very sporty type of person: basketball and all that sort of things. She used to swim between the boats and to and from Mommy & Daddy.
She would go out on the boats at night and sleep on the bottom of the boats sometimes. And the second daughter , she also learned diving, she loves diving and almost made it her career. She started to study dive resort management in Australia, but she got bored with it about the fourth month. She wasn't learning enough; I guess she'd done so much here. It was boring and she didn't continue. She still hasn't decided what she wants to do; she still has the camera and takes photographs; she's sort of doing office type jobs but she doesn't know what she wants to do.

BU: How old is she?

VE: She is 21 now. She has time. And the third daughter, she learned to dive. It was the first time that I ever handed over one of my children to an instructor and during her second dive, she got frightened. And I was there fortunately and she made-this has never happened in any time that I've taught a student because I always stay very close to my students within eye contact. She got frightened and tried to go to the surface. Fortunately, I was there, grabbed her leg, kept a regulator in her mouth, and I in fact rescued her. The reason why I gave her to an instructor was I thought now mother dear, you're getting already on age, hand your student over to another instructor. But he was not looking, and he had not assisted my daughter Melinda and didn't have his eyes on her. She could have an air embolism, and she could be dead today.

SCUBA DIVING profile in Sri Lanka. The development, the interests, the new generation.


BU: How many women scuba diving instructors are there in the business? Is it an interesting business for local people?

VE: Actually there isn't a lot of female diving instructors, I don't think so. Still, because it's considered a very low class job. Women really don't seek to go into this world or they might seek to go into it just as a hobby but not to study it. It's just not given the status. Even for males- there are very few males going into scuba diving. There is no status in diving here. People strive to do better things than diving. Diving is not considered a good career. And those who have been educated in going to the diving field have done very well. And there are scientists who learn diving, but not to teach diving. There are very few people here who are diving instructors who are Sri Lankans. Also, they don't take it seriously.

Valerie FULLER-EKANAYAKE
High level scuba diving consultant

Being a diving instructor, there's lots of opportunities to accomplish. There's a few male scuba divers around Sri Lanka now, but for a long time there's a lot of cowboys, and there's still cowboys meaning people who have more of a macho attitude. I can teach everybody this all that, but they really did not study how to train people and why everything is done and kept up with the diving industry. So that's what I always did, and I always was criticized for it, too. As diving developed, there was different systems, like there was the decompression sickness, US navy dive tables. Then there were British navy time tables that you had the limits of time that you could stay under water so that you didn't get the decompression sickness. And a lot of the divers here never used these tables and yet they were still able to dive until one time they had an accident. But they never sort of worried about that.
As I was teaching recreational diving, which means that you don't take risks.

You go out, dive to enjoy it, and you come back and you're still unharmed. You go for the enjoyment and you expect to come back alive, happy, have had a lovely experience under water, and learn about the underwater environment. You see that attitude has not always been here when you had people who were trying to make so much money out of diving, because the equipment is expensive. So you didn't have the right atmosphere for diving to start. Hector was fortunate because he is a man, and started years and years ago back when diving really was known as "self-contained underwater breathing apparatus " (SCUBA is the abbreviation, but is now a noun )They were the pioneering days and Hector actually went to Jacques Cousteau's diving school in America.

BU: Really? When?

VE: In 1954. He has a certificate in his office. He did maintenance of U.S. Divers Co. equipment; he learned maintenance and all that; it was totally boring to me. Operating the compressor and pulling the regulator to pieces was very, very boring. That was not what I was interested in. That was the hardest for me to learn, but I enjoyed people, teaching people, and introducing them to underwater. I liked to learn about the body, the muscles, the anatomy, and the nature part. Even today there's so many things about the underwater that many people don't even know. It's such a complex ecology.

BU: Is there any limits or restrictions that who can or cannot learn diving?
VE: There's no restrictions. Restrictions come within that person. Within the person who wants to dive or doesn't want to dive. So you make your own restrictions, and that's what it's all about. You can't push anybody. When you teach someone to dive, they must want to do it and that's why you tell them how to do it, and we're going to do it, but you don't have to do it.

BU: Isn't there any age or weight limits?

VE: There are now age limits. In the old days, there were no age limits; you have to be 12 years old to learn now, which is very young. There is no maximum. No weight restrictions. Parents should beware if they send their 12 year old child for diving because they should have a responsible adult with them. When you're giving them a license to go out and dive independently that license can be a little shaky because you have a child of 12 who still has a lot of learning to do and character building. So at 12 years old, the feeling you get underwater, if it goes to their head, then they can get into trouble. As long as they go with responsible people, that is fine.

BU: Is there a university on scuba diving in Sri Lanka?

VE: No, but the courses that you can convert, you can learn diving as you go along, gathering your experience, you can accumulate courses, and then you can go to university. And even the course-I don't teach anymore for the last four years.

BU: Really? But you've been always part of it.

VE: Yes, I am always part of it. But why should I work so hard? I'm 52 years old and I have to keep eating like an athlete, drinking like an athlete, and sleeping like an athlete. It's very rigorous; you have to be very well organized with your meals, with your food, everything. And you have to have checklists for this and checklists for that. I used to even have a checklist for my children. You have to plan so far ahead. And I was really doing all sorts of different divings, so you have to plan other people's dives and have to teach that also.

BU: The last four years what have you been doing?


VE: During some of my diving experiences, I used to be always coming across poor people who were being used by more affluent people as divers, and they were never given the knowledge of how to dive. So, in the end they would end up paralyzed or half paralyzed which is called decompression sickness. Because of that and always the thought of I didn't have an accident, I started to get interested in people with disabilities. So I started studying disabled people who were divers. I used to take Arthur* when he had no power in his legs, so I would be his legs.

BU: How?

VE: When he was younger, he was still able to go diving. The last time with him I think it was in 1991 and at that stage he still could walk, but he had weakness in his legs with post-polio syndrome. He slowly lost the strength in his legs and in all his muscles. He had still strength in his arms then, so when you go underwater, you don't actually need your legs. Someone else could pull you along, and you have a buoyancy compensator, and you can use your arms. You can maneuver yourself around like a little bubble. Arthur was used to the old equipment. I used to adjust his BCD (buoyancy compensator) because he hadn't used that in the old days. He wasn't that happy using it underwater, and I wasn't happy because I knew he'd put too much air in it and send himself to the surface. I used to control his BCD and would hold him as he would go down. I would adjust his buoyancy and he 'd swim a little bit because it's very easy to swim when you're weightless. Then, I controlled the whole dive. Afterwards, I take him back to the anchor and take him up slowly. When we got to the surface, I had the boys there to help me when he was heaviest. The biggest problem was taking him from the ladder up onto the boat. That was very difficult because we had to push him up physically because we didn't have a hoist.

BU: I think Hector designed one for him?

VE: He designed one for the swimming pool here to pull him out. For the boat it was very difficult. Disabled divers were really enjoy going back into the water. Arthur had wonderful legs. I used to go cycling with him. He was a very fit man. And probably that's why he's still able to be... He got polio in his 30's; that's why he has post-polio syndrome. He got polio as an adult, not as a child. He was paralyzed for one year.

BU: What causes that?

VE: Polio comes like a cold-like symptoms, and it gives huge pain all throughout your body. It's transferred through water and body fluids. It has a paralyzing effect and becomes epidemic in certain areas of the world. During that time, they were just developing immunization for polio. But in swimming pools, and that sort of thing it was thought you could get polio.

BU: So He got it from diving?
VE: He doesn't know; I don't think so.

BU: Does it take long to develop?

VE: It's just like a cold. In the 18th century, children died like flies from polio; terrible deaths.

BU: After the Tsunami, how will you activate? What are you planning? What is your damage?

VE: Now that tsunami has arrived, it's like nature has reclaimed its own. Sri Lanka had done coral mining for over a hundred years. Coral mining is where they burn the coral in kilns and the by produce lime which they use for paint here. They do it along the coast. So these coastal areas received a lot of impact and now a lot of the tourist industry has gone, including our business. Thousands and thousands of lives that could've been saved. If they would have had education in those areas on what to expect, it would have been different. As very few people understand the ocean here. They are not informed of earthquakes or tsunami arrivals. They aren't educated in what to do and no emergency procedures are practiced here, even fire drills, let alone tsunamis. Many safety features in Sri Lanka are neglected. So expecting Sri Lanka to have an emergency procedure for the tsunami, well it didn't. It used to have bomb drills for when they were putting bombs in Colombo during the war and suicide bombers. They taught what to do if someone stops you with a bomb-you have to move away from the bomb. In this case, everybody went to look at the tsunami, and those who went to look died. A lot of people didn't even know what would happen to them. Anyway, it's a very, very sad situation and we're all trying to develop programs that would be environmentally good for Sri Lanka and for the world. And hopefully Sri Lankans would be wise with the aid that is given to them because it's being given from the heart from every country in the world. Very deep in their heart and they're hoping that the Sri Lankan people will not throw away the money and use it wisely to allow their minds to expand to take in advice on how to use the money to protect their island. They must look after the ocean too because they have never ever thought about that. They have always fished from the ocean, but they never farmed the ocean or managed the ocean; and that is what I would like to see. I've always said that I want to see them farming the ocean and putting back to the ocean more than what they take out.

BU: For scuba diving, for Hector, for existing company, what is the alternatives or plans to revise?

VE: We have to get back to diving again and hopefully it'll be including more nature diving, more teaching-not just training of divers, but teaching people more about the underwater. I've always wanted to see snorkeling parks, areas where they have signs that tell people so we don't have to tell people what they're looking at. A lot of people don't realize what they are looking at when they are diving, so I always wanted to see an area put aside so that you can have a snorkeling trail underwater. You teach people to snorkel, then you teach them to go down, and then you mark underwater a little trail that indicates what these things are, and who lives where. So what that they can see there is an octopus here or there is fish.

BU: Underwater photography.

VE: I've done still photography and I have done video. I started with the small Super-8 camera, and we went out for videos from there. Those days you had to edit it yourself on a reel by hand. I used to have 3 minutes. Then, it developed into hours. You can have hours and hours underwater, it's such pleasure.

BU: What have you done with them?

VE: I just stacked them away. I never turned professional because I was always teaching. I taught people to use cameras, I sold a few things, and I gave a lot photographs away in Sri Lanka. They've never considered the underwater as wild life. I always considered it as wild life. I was very happy when in 1990 they asked me to put a photograph on the cover of the wildlife magazine in the year of the ocean. That was something I was very happy about. Although they write about sharks in the wildlife magazine, the ocean and its inhabitates don't have the same prominence as the terrain animals. In fact, the ocean is more important because it gives us every bit of air to breathe, water, and it covers the majority of the planet. So I was very pleased that Sri Lanka started to focus a little bit on their oceans, but they've only thought of fishing and exploiting their ocean. Sri Lankan have not thought about really putting back into the ocean and the majority of the population don't behave as being responsible to nature on land or in water (fresh or salt). The waterways of Sri Lanka are still considered the garbage dumps. Nurturing nature makes things go around in balance.

BU: Do you still have videos, photographs? You didn't use them?
VE: Maybe they're full of fungus now, I don't know. I wasn't careful enough in keeping them.


Transcribed by Figen Bingül
Edited by Ayça Bahçe


- . -

* Sir Arthur C. Clarke, 87, has lived in Sri Lanka since 1956 and became the first Resident Guest in 1975. Now completely wheel-chaired by Post Polio, he has no plans to leave Sri Lanka again.


Light Millennium #15 Issue, May 2005
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#13th Issue, New Year-2004.
Publishing Date: December 2003, New York
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