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ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: The Lankan Roundup

It seems like every celebrity, athlete, politician and just about every Tom, Dick and Harry has been taking over the media for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis(ALS) rapidly weakens one due to muscle atrophy and eventually paralyses the victim, leading to death. The IBC is not just any gimmick, but a short-lived simulation; while you pour the ice water on your head, you experience a numbing sensation which makes you lose your muscle functions momentarily.

The idea is simple – pour a bucket of ice water over your head, challenging three other people to do it. If you fail you give $100 to The ALS Association.

Sri Lanka has not been left behind in this global fad and instead, it’s been picked up quite fast. All the big shots and and every other bugger has taken up the challenge and gone on to challenge others. But there are a few who have condemned it (read: politicians) and have gone as far as calling it a conspiracy.

Hip Hop star Iraj


Our famous Iraj Weeraratna got the ball rolling and challenged Otara Gunawardene, Malsha Kumaratunga, Thanuja Jeyawardena and Randi Vitharana.

ODEL owner Otara Gunawardene

Philanthropist and founder of ODEL, Otara Jeyawardene, took it up, only using sea water though, and challenged Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Malik Fernando and Sameera Reddy. She upped it one by not only donating to the ALS Foundation, but to Embark and The Chitra Lane School for Special Children too.

Cricket Heroes Mahela and Sanga


Cricketing duo Mahela and Sanga accepted the challenge from Otara, giving us a peek into their post-practice cooling tub, and nominated cricketers Angelo Mathews, Rahul Dravid and Michael Clark.

In the midst of all this muscle-numbing ice mess, a few challenges didn’t pour down too well. Western provincial council manager, Malsha Kumarathunga, took up the challenge but decided that since ‘ALS is not a disease in Sri Lanka’ (we really beg to differ) she would donate it towards a local charity instead. The recipients, however, refused her donation as the entire challenge had been initiated for a completely different cause.

On the other side of the coin are those who are juxtaposing the challenge with the ongoing droughts in many parts across the island. The reactions have ranged from serious opinion pieces, such as this eye-opener titled Wat(er) Irony to a series of hilarious memes.


Riding on this wave of challenges and charity a new tag challenge started trending on local platforms, titled  Kochi Miris Challenge. Equally famous local stars have taken to this in order to provide funds to serve cardiac patients in Jaffna, through the Oxonian Heart Foundation.

So what next?

With social media, you can never say. But for now, go on and eat that Kochi Miris.

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