Chandra focused his talk on his experiences growing up in Sri Lanka.
He told the story behind the country’s flag: The four leaves refer to the four Buddhist virtues of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity; the sword held by the lion reflects the sovereignty of the nation; the green stripe is support for Muslims and the orange for the Tamils (during the long war in Sri Lanka against the Tamil tigers, each tiger wore a cyanide capsule around his/her neck).
The National bird is the Rooster and the Water Lily is the National flower.
Chandra told of the age-old custom of preserving meat in honey; the meat is first dried and then immersed in honey.
The Cabinet of the governing party in Sri Lanka has been a “family affair”, he said.
[Just a few hours after Chandra told us this, the Sri Lanka cabinet resigned in recognition of escalating popular demonstrations against the government. “Only the president’s brother, Prime Minister Mahinda, stayed on as the government grapples with a major economic crisis. Earlier, the President, Mr Rajapaksa, invited opposition parties to join the cabinet.” https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-60975941 ]
At right, Chandra is seen in national dress, with Pres. Themba in his usual winter jacket
Chandra showed us a picture of a huge castle built in the 5th Century on top of a massive rock. “Nobody knows how it was done.”
To reach his secondary school, Chandra had to climb 145 steps each day.
Chandra showed us images of objects he created during his school years. One such object was a tower, similar to the Eiffel Tower, made from finely cut match-sticks – he would split one matchstick into 64 smaller sticks and the tower comprised 25,000 small sticks. If he sneezed, he would have to begin again!