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Dr. Indra De Soysa takes over as 18th Warden of St. Thomas College, Mt. Lavinia

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Dr. Indra De Soysa

By Ishara Jayawardane

Like the serpent keen and wise,
Harmless as the dove……..
In the field of intellect
Many a prize we’ve won,

And upon the field of sport
Thomians yield to none
Be it work, or be it play,
We will do and dare
To the College therefore sing
For all we have and are

Established in 1851, S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia is one of the oldest and one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the country. Now the reins of control of this great institution have passed into the hands of its 18th Warden, Dr. Indra de Soysa,

“I think I had a pretty standard childhood. I grew up quite close to the school here on Hotel Road, so I always felt special living close to the school. It meant that I could always come for extra-curricular activities to the school. My friends could always gather at my house for meals sometimes and after school. It was special growing up next to college. My attachment to the school is quite strong from that aspect as well,” said the Warden.

Asked as to what memorable recollections of his college life he has, Warden de Soysa says that he had memories of watching some great cricketers play, not just Thomians but also from other schools. He recounted seeing the supreme wielder of the willow, Duleep Mendis, flourishing his bat along with Rajan Saravanamuttu.

“Memorable moments are always something either very bad that you can’t admit to, or something very good which were always good fun. The Thomian Fair belongs to the latter. I remember my first Thomian Fair which was an incredible event for me as a young boy and today it has got even bigger. Those kinds of events that college put on were certainly memorable and helped to build a kind of college spirit that led to the idea of the school, as something bigger than just the classroom that you are in,” stated the Warden.

School spirit

Warden de Soysa who has been living in the West observed that there is very little pride and school spirit in those countries. “I have lived in the West where children just go to school. School is school, and everything else is outside the school. They can be private clubs and other things so that sense of school pride and school spirit never really builds up like it does here.”

De Soysa, who was in school from 1971-1984, recounted the Royal Thomian match. “The Royal Thomian is a memorable event. And I can’t pick any particular Royal Thomian as being great, but certainly the hundredth Royal Thomian – the Centenary Royal Thomian – made an impression on me, in terms of what my school really meant to the world,” added the Warden.

Warden de Soysa did his A/Levels in the Arts stream, doing History, Political Science, Greek and Roman Civilization and English. Having an illustrious career in the academic field, Warden de Soysa said that after he left college he went straight to the USA for his studies. “I went on to study Political Science and History, but of course in the USA, the first degree is very general and then you specialize in the later years.”

Higher studies

Having entered the University of Alabama after his A/Levels, he studied for his Bachelors degree and went on to complete his M.A., as well as, Ph.D. “I did all of them at the University of Alabama largely because I had scholarships that I had to have; if not, I would not have been able to sustain myself financially.”

College life at Alabama was always fun. You are around people who are very smart and very well motivated. “That combination was a huge pull up factor for me. Our culture is a very laid back and “let’s do it tomorrow” sort of culture. I had to adjust myself to a culture where everything had to be done extremely well; if not you simply don’t survive. It was a learning experience – typing on computers, as well as, being meticulous about how you do your papers to the point of checking if every punctuation and full stop is in place.

Because you get marked down for the tiniest little thing. And the competitive spirit is such that pretty soon, you develop an attitude of taking on something and doing it precisely and perfectly on time and doing it well enough that you survive into the next semester,” elaborated the Warden.

He pursued his graduate studies in Political Science, and for his Ph.D., he specialized in a subject called Political Economy. He maintains that his interest was driven by his own experience as a Sri Lankan during the Civil War. “I wanted to understand the failure of governance; the failure to address the issues of the ethnic problem. So these are standard questions in Political Science: governance under conditions of pluralism and what kind of constitutional arrangements would best serve the country and under what conditions.”

Crowning glory

One may add that the crowning glory of his student life was winning of the best dissertation award after finishing his Ph.D. And he was the first Political Science student to do so. “Usually a subject like Political Science never gets it, because a dissertation in a subject like Physics or Chemistry has something very concrete which is easy to mark and evaluate. So I was very proud to be the first Political Scientist to get the best dissertation award. And almost immediately I was hired. While I was doing my Ph.D., I had a United Nations Scholarship to finish writing my dissertation at the United Nations University in Tokyo.

“It was a one year scholarship even though I finished it in eight months. And then I went back and even before I finished my Ph.D., I had a job offer from the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo”.

On issues of ethnicity and civil war, he has challenged some of the established premises on violent conflicts. He has also published several papers together with some famous academics at the World Bank and the University of Oxford. COURTESY: DAILY NEWS

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30 Comments

  1. I know that DBSJ loves STC from deep within his heart.
    So do we all who claim to be Thomians.

    One of the striking issues about STC is that caste creed fame and wealth are dropped at the gates and all students are equal inside. This I believe leads to a more balanced human being.

    All classes will have Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese at roll call and thereafter they will move to different language classes and come together for English classes. Though being a Christian Education School run by the Church of Sri Lanka every grade has a prize for Hinduism, Budhism and Christianity of equal value.

    I am proud to be a second generation Thomian and my son who will complete his studies in a few years will be a third generation Thomian.

    Congradulations to Dr Indra de Soysa taking over as the 18th Warden. May God bless him and grant him courage to run this magnificiant educational institution.

  2. Aiyo St. Thomas is a parippu school.

    :))

    DBSJ RESPONDS:
    Dont under estimate the power of Parippu.Remember the Indian Parippu drp that led to the Indo-Lanka accord?

  3. DS Senanayake,Dudley Senanayake,SWRD Bandaranaike,CP de Silva, SJV CHelvanayakam,M.Tiruchelvam etc were all old Thomians too. But see the mess they created?

  4. Does the Professor have a website or a blog that you know of? I would like to access some of his writing. 🙂

  5. Yes I fully agree with the statement that race, caste and creed is dropped at the gates and all are equal at St. Thomas’. I am sorry to say that this is not so in my old school Royal. While three Tamils – Selvaratnam, Anandanayagam and Ponniah had been wardens of St. Thomas’ College, there had not been a single Tamil Principal at Royal College during 64 years after independence. Government cannot say that there were no suitable Tamil candidate for that post. I do not think there would have been a single Tamil Head Prefect since 1965. In May 1958, Godwin Daniels a Tamil was appointed and served as head prefect for 08 months, because WDM Abeysekera a Sinhalese who was the head prefect left school for higher studies at University. In September 1965, Ramachandran a Tamil was appointed and served as head prefect for only 04 months because Lakshman Chickera a Sinhalese who was head prefect left school for employment at Hayleys Ltd. This is despite the fact that in 1835 the then British Government endowed Royal College (Colombo Academy) for all communities alike.

  6. Old Thora,

    They did not create a mess. They were trail blazers. of course you can find something wrong with anybody. The greatest gift I got from STC was there were no Singhalese, Tamils, Burgers, Chinese or Muslims among us. we were all the same. All one family, one blood. That is the spirit we carried on for the rest of our lives. I am the 4th generation. My son, the 5th. I have the greatest regard for any Thomian. Not that those from the other schools are below the mark but STC gives a unique upbringing and a blend to a man’s character. DBS, my sincere thanks to you for putting on this article.

  7. Hey DBS,

    Its my old school which is famous for Parippu.

    Yours in known for kunu Thora’s.

    While parippu drops achieved great things, I doubt if Kunu thora’s achieved anything other than a big stink!

    Get it right man!

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Question:
    Why do Ladies College Kello prefer Thomians in far off Galkissa to the Maha vidyalaya kollo in the vicinity?

    Answer:

    Its the “parippu”stink stupid!!

  8. Excellent point “OLD THORA”

    Exactly as someone said somewhere USA wants “Indian not India”.

    Same statement is applicable to Srilanka or Srilankans too. Many Srilankans may be successful in their personal life. However collectively they failed as a civilized society and as a country. Every Srilankan mainly ruling party politicians (DSS, SJV, Srimavo, JRJ, Premadasa, MR) and academics (……GLP, Palitha, Dayan J) are to blame for the mess they create which leads the country to where it is now.

  9. “One of the striking issues about STC is that caste creed fame and wealth are dropped at the gates and all students are equal inside. This I believe leads to a more balanced human being”

    Maybe this is true. But you needed to belong to the English speaking elite to enter STC. If you come from a Sinhala/Tamil speaking family (which is around 95% of the population) you have no chance of getting through the gates. This is kind equivalent to some kind of caste system to me.

  10. Hey DBS,

    somewhat inconsistent old boy?

    One moment you are praising parippu, about drops are all and the next after a whiff of Kunu Thora, you are on to Ladies College girls and Parrippu stink??????

    Confused old chap……

    Its the kunu Thora’s that stink, especially from that Tsunami ravaged school by the beach, where little boys dare not bend over to pick up a coin.!!!!!!!!

    WHOPS!

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Nopes! I dont like anyone to undermine the power of Parippu notwithstanding its association with Maha Vidyalayas having royal pretensions. It was particularly satisfying when the Indian Parippu drop taught that bunch of alumni from a goday school like JRJ,Lalith A&Ranil W etc a very good lesson.

    Now I’ve no grudge with Parippu.Why condemn Parippu when it induces emissions from gas bags that alienate all those damsels in the vicinity who yearn for the “sweet smell of success” that lingers forever in the school by the sea.

    By the way Thoras dont pick up coins. Thats thutu dekak for which they have no need

    Mmmmm!! as for Mt.Lavinia beach which is far beyond the reach of guys on the wrong side of Thummulla handiya do you remember that song “Galkisse Mude Werale…….. “lassana Gehenu Lamai” and all that?

    In that I remember the kids were afraid of the waves not anything else that your “wicked” mind insinuates
    “Chutti Babala Werala Paagalaa, Duwanawa bayai Kiya kiyaa”

    On that count I must refer to the “treat” enjoyed by the Reid Avenue ragamuffins when they go up to Asgiriya for the Bradby

    I hear you guys return as damaged goods at the hands of Trinitians in more ways than one

    The unkindest cut is that the bruises are all “blue black and blue”!

  11. From Ambalangoda says:

    But you needed to belong to the English speaking elite to enter STC.
    —————————————————
    This is not at all true. During my time, there were free scholars who were poor students but smart ones who got free education at STC. This I believe is even true right now. STC catered for rich, poor, Buddhist, Christian and Muslims. I can remember a member from the samarakkody family was told, his son may not get in in preference to a Christian boy and the father went wild and rattled off all his Buddhist family members who attended STC and his son gained entrance without any more discussion. Do you know in 1933 , the boxing captain was B. Darsin silva a native from ambalangoda? There was Dr W. Dahanayaka and his brother from Galle who created great controversy about their singhala Buddhist views, they got caned well and truly but STC still kept them in the fold! The Photo of Dr Dahanayaka now adorns the college hall!!

  12. “From Ambalangoda” is right in saying that it is only a certain class of person only who can gain admission to S. Thomas’. Given the intense competition for “good schools” what else can the College do? Being an Anglican school preference has to be given to them. Yet, it is good to have variety not only in ethnicity but also in religion. This would have been difficult to ensure had there been lots of Anglicans; there being only 35,000 in the entire island has enabled others to come in; and what can be done now, the pressure for admission to schools being what it is, but to insist that the”others” are those with Thomian parents?

    The alternatives: Limit the school to the Rich by increasing fees or open the doors to corruption. How then did the Rajapaksa progeny find their way in? I believe there is a way in which certain “desirable” parents are allowed in; they have to be sponsored by two members of the Board apart from the Warden approving. Obviously this is not a perfect system; social mobility seems possible only for those who have indulged in skulduggery. I’m not happy with this system, but it works tolerably well so long as The Board of Governors consists of people of absolute integrity. By and large those appointed by the Bishop of Colombo – the Chairman of the Board – are people of honour (there is one lady now, the Principal of Ladies’ College). But some elections have become quite unseemly. The Old Boys of Mt Lavinia elect two members, and the staff appoint one. Some campaigning descends to the same level as all “democratic elections”, but at least there is transparency. However, there are three “Branch Schools” and those elections are complicated – and regrettably quite corrupt. Yes, one’s got to face it. There’s a good deal of controversy at this very moment of writing, with a new Bishop doing his best to do the right thing, but there’s so much obfuscation that it is difficult to know what has really happened. It is not a straightforward election since the tree Branch Schools select one Old Boy representative and one Staff Representative. This time it looks as though one Branch School Headmaster has tried to manipulate both these Branch Representations, presumably to wangle an extension. You see how politicised the system can become!

    Since this has unwittingly become an explanation of The System, let me add that there is a firm understanding that Old Boys ought to be elected. More importantly, 12 of the 15 members MUST be “Church of Ceylon” i.e. Anglican. Any change can only be made by AN ACT OF PARLIAMENT, since the original ordinance was enacted by the State Council in 1930.

    I hope this rather lengthy explanation makes clear the way S. Thomas’ has got hedged in. However, certain changes can, and MUST be made. Allowing six representatives for the three schools will lead to less chance of manipulation although, as stated above, the appointed members are the better ones. And there MUST be parent representation. Many Mt Lavinia and Kollupitiya Board Members are parents or past parents. However, few students in the Uva schools are the children of Old Boys. Yes, Thomians, wake up! The dictatorial Headmasters (please don’t get confused by the title, they are quite different from the unassuming Headmasters in the parent school) of the Branch Schools could well derail our beloved College.

  13. Remember the famous words of Warden Ponniah, “There’s no STC without Royal, and no Royal without STC.”

    @RAJA, when I entered Royal College from RJS, in 1978, Head Prefect was one Sashidharan, who eliminated our then Cricket Captain Ranjan Madugalle. Also, there was a bigger demand to be Cricket or Rugby Captain than Head Prefect then. And during My last year Hiran Muttiah, Captained Rugby, and Sivaharan Nithyanandan, who Captained every Cricket Team from U 12 had to make way for Sumithra Warnakulasuriya on a technicality. One has to give Sumithra a chance to Captain two years after his record breaking innings which still stands after 3 decades. Your wrong about RC discriminating Tamil students.

  14. Maybe STC should admit some percentage (significant percentage – say 25%) of poor Sinhalese/Tamil speaking students with Scholarships. I am sure the old boys around the world enough money to fund it. Then these kids can be exposed to this culture where caste creed fame and wealth are dropped at the gates and all students are equal inside. This way STC will be doing a great service to the whole of Sri Lanka instead of propagating an elitist culture. Ivy league schools in US give a lot of Scholarships to poor students. Take a leaf from them.

  15. Dear “From Ambalangoda”,

    I whole-heartedly endorse what you say. Yes, we Thomians do have a culture which ought to positively influence the rest of society. It’ll also do the school a lot of good, in many ways. Two of the few things that some Thomians are guilty of are snobbery and self-righteousness. They sometimes forget that they are part of the larger Sri Lankan scene. At other times they get xenophobic; see some of the comments made about Rev. Puddefoot who tried to bring the school into the twenty-first Century. Let’s work towards your laudable goal.

    Meanwhile, let me emphasise the need to re-vamp the BoG. Do we allow these Branch School Headmasters to get away with the sort of cheating that ought to land them in jail? When are parents and teachers in these schools going to be treated with respect?

    The problems are with the three branch schools. I know what I’m talking about. Extend support to the Bishop!

  16. Dear “From Ambalangoda”,

    Let’s be practical about this. Scholarships for poor CHRISTIAN children have been discussed. If you admit 25% poor students it will totally alter the character of the school and, besides, philanthropists are rarely as altruistic as that. I do get your point about ‘significant percentage, and I respect your idealism.

    The Branch School at Gurutalawa is well run and needs more students. Right now they have no A. Level classes and students proceed to Mt. Lavinia after O. Levels. Now, that school was rescued by one of those dream philanthropists, a Belgian Jew! He spent money, but more importantly he had been a World Bank Finance Consultant and he made sure that the school became viable through the full-time honorary work he did for two years. He is currently on a long-term professional assignment in the Maldives, but has a home in Bandarawela. In case you don’t know, the Gurutalawa school holds out endless possibilities: 50 acres of land in idyllic surroundings for a Boarding School.

    Rev. Puddefoot wanted to increase fees and pay the teachers better; that way there would have been persons of higher calibre joining the profession. Actually, I feel that even now teachers are being maligned unfairly. Treat them with more dignity and you will find that they work with greater dedication. Note that I have focused on what two Europeans have done recently, but I’m proud to have read above about a fine Sri Lankan academic who heads our Flagship School. However, it is not the Heads alone who matter; think of the teachers – and other employees as well.

    The new Bishop knows the Provinces intimately and wants to have a better Board of Governors; let us support him in this.

  17. Dear from Ambalangoda.

    You are so wrong to think that to enter STC you need to be English speaking elite.
    My father was a govt servant and my mother a teacher. I had holes in my banians and socks going to school.

    There were students who were also from wealthy parents. Wealth is never a part of STC. you dont find friends because of wealth of fall into a clique.

    Every grade has a vacancy for a student with disability and even not of sound mind or slow learning skills. These students enter adulthood much better off and we who look after them like one of us learn the humilty of the not so fortunate.

    There are enough scholarships to go around when needed.

    I remember even after I left school, perhaps 10 years I found my old master Leo de Silva and chaplain near our home looking for parents of a child to counsel.
    Any kid with financial problems WILL find a thomian who will help them through. headmasters will find a way for talented students to stay.

    Dont get me wrong STC has more poor students than rich. When you are middle class you are more poor than the poor itself.

    STC fees are well below the International schools.

    Once leaving STC you are a well balanced gentleman for life ( except a few )

  18. When I read what “Elderly Thomian” is writing, I want to laugh. Dr. de Soysa is the 18th Warden of S. Thomas’ Mt Lavinia, since 1852! These schools are good because they have traditions, not like Government Schools that have twenty Principals in fifty years.

    S. Thomas’ School in Kollupitiya is also like that. From Mr. Keble in 1938 till Mr. N.Y. Casie Chetty who is the present Head there have been only Abeyenayeke, Perimpnayagam and J.S.L. Fernando: five leaders in 74 years. Average: 15 years. S. Thomas’ College, Bandarawela is 70 years old now and there have been 6 Headmasters. There are enough children in these schools and they are producing very good students and sportsmen.

    So what we want is continuity to have a good school with strong traditions. So the branch schools have selected a former Vice-Principal as one Board Member and a gentleman of the Hayman-de Saram era with 20 years’ experience on the Board as the other Member. All this was done after consulting all the relevant people. In the case of Mr. Mithra Edirisinghe, he was a teacher in the school for 23 years, and his father was Senior Masdter and adviser to the Head Master from 1942 till 1963. That is what we mean by continuity and tradition.

    We all want to help the College in Gurutalawa. They started well. Dr. R.L. Hayman was the Headmaster for more than twenty years. However, from 1963 till now, in 49 years they have had 13 other Headmasters and about ten acting Headmasters. The school was good when Mr. Chandrasekera was there but after he became the Headmaster of the Bandarawela school, the number of students fell to about one hundred. It is true that in the last five years it has become about 500 students, but that is after they have done dangerous things like having girls as boarders and taking Middle-East housemaids’ children.

    It is true that 2 new Board of Governors had to be elected. Gurutalawa Old Boys had Board representatives in 1996 and 2004. Colpetty had Mr. Suren Gunawardena in 2012. So now Bandarawela has nominated Mr. Mithra Edirisinghe who has studied in Bandarawela, Gurutalawa and Mount Lavinia. He is the best choice. He was in charge of Badminton when the school produced All-Ceylon players, and he was the Senior Hostel Master. He was always with the students and we all love him. Nr. Christopher Gonawela was the Staff Representative from 2004 to 2008. He wanted to be the Staff Representative again in 2008 but he received only one vote (out of two) from Gurutalawa. So it is clear that Staff Representatives can be for more than one term. Mr. Aluwihare is the best choice and he was elected uncontested. We need continuity on the Board. Professor G.L. Peiris has been a member of the Board for thirty years and we are very proud of him.

    It is very clear that “Elderly Thomian only knows to type. He does not know what we all know about the three Branch Schools. He is criticising the devoted Headmasters of the two successful schools, and he says that the school without enough pupils is “well run”. Go get your head examined!

  19. “The old order changeth yielding place to new, And God fulfills himself in many ways, Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.”
    ― Alfred Tennyson

    Dear “Bandarawela Boy”,

    Your comment made painful reading. “Painful” because it emphasises how difficult it is going to be for our society to be pulled out of the mire. You just don’t realise the complexity of running a school, and I cannot comprehend your system of values. Your theme is “continuity”. Do you mean the sort of continuity seen in Gaddafi’s Libya or Mugabe’s Zimbabwe? I will try to unscramble your comments on Mr. Mithra Edirisinghe in a moment, but by “family succession” do you mean something like what we are seeing in Syria? First try to get your FACTS right. I found these two recent postings on the web. They relate to the early days of the Bandarawela school which you claim to know well.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S._Thomas%27_College,_Bandarawela

    This looks accurate, except for a little thing like suggesting that in 1985 Mr Welikala was appointed after Mr. S.L.A. Ratnayake died. In fact Mr. Ratnayake retired while still in good health, and then died. I am not sure of the exact date when Mr. Welikala assumed office, though. In reading these histories, please note that this detail is euphemistic:
    − − 2000

    − − Mr. R.R.R. Herathge retired from the post of Headmaster. Mr. L.A.M. Chandarasekara was appointed as Headmaster.

    The fact is that Mr. Herathge (who, one has to grant, was quite an able man) had to be forced out of office. I hope you know how to read between the lines! How much of corruption must we tolerate for the sake of your much vaunted “tradition and continuity”? Heads of schools must not be allowed to build little empires for themselves; you will note, I hope, from the Wikipedia link, that the present Bishop was Acting Headmaster for about three months in 1989, so that he knows the school well. Also, his son schooled there. He obviously understood how unhealthy it was to keep “Mr. Chandrasekera’s man” as Manager of the school. Mr. Merril Aluwihare is now manager of the Gurutalawa school (where there is an absolutely honest Rev. Nihal Fernando as Headmaster) and Mr. Kavinda Dias-Abeysinghe, a relatively young Colombo-based lawyer, is Mr. Chandrasekera’s manager. A quietly good move, but too cautious. Mr. Aluwihare was the uncontested Staff Representative at Mt. Lavinia until Mr. Mohan Abeynaike, son of that illustrious, though unassuming, teacher, Mr. Orville Abeynaike, contested Mr. Aluwihare. So now, Mr Aluwihare has twice persuaded Mr. Chandrasekera and Mr. Casie Chetty to appoint him as “Staff Representative”. This sort of cheating is just not possible at Mt. Lavinia. Mr. Chandrasekera now claims that Mr. Aluwihare was elected “unanmously”. The fact is that he was contested by Mr. Panini Edirisinhghe, the younger son of Mr. David Edirisinghe, who is a true teaching professional and who had contributed much to the revival of Gurutalawa; I suggest that you consult Rev. Marc Billimoria, the current Sub Warden at Mt. Lavinia about all this.

    Now for the other point about “tradition”, please read this very recent article in “The Island”:

    http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=49255

    I hope that you understand what a world of difference there is in the QUALITY of Education between Mr. Keble’s time and the tyrannical rule by the Headmasters of the two schools founded by him. Mr. Keble actually OWNED the two schools; they were not Governed by “The Board” at that time. But teachers were treated with dignity, and Mr. D.N. Edirisinghe was indeed one of the best. Mr. Keble used to shuffle his teachers, which contributed much to their professional development. So, Mr. J.S.L. Fernando taught at Bandarawela, and then was a fine Headmaster at Colpetty. Incidentally, the editor of this recent book, Mrs. Kanthika Abeyesundere, is a daughter of Mr. D.N. Edirisinghe.

    Yes, the Colpetty school is well run, as you say, but in an antediluvian sort of way. I won’t say that Mr. Casie Chetty lives in the “Stone Age” since that expression will connote to many Thomians the Golden Age of S. Thomas’ under Warden Stone (1901 to 1924) who moved the College from Mutwal to Mt. Lavinia in 1918! How long, though, can we tolerate a Headmaster, however well he may know his students as individuals, and however cosy he may make the school, when he imagines that in the year 2012 computing has no place in the school curriculum?

    And now, “Bandarawela Boy”, may I be permitted to make a snide remark or two of my own. “To generalize is to be an idiot. To particularize is the alone distinction of merit. General knowledge are those knowledge that idiots possess.” Those words actually come from William Blake.

    So please try to understand that you must know exactly what happened at these elections. Mr. PANINI Edirisinghe, a well qualified retired teacher, contested the Staff Elections. Gurutalawa asked both candidates to let them know what each had to offer. Neither candidate visited the school but Mr. Edirisinghe responded at length and was favoured by the majority on the staff. Mr. Aluwihare did nothing, but the Gurutalwa staff, knowing that there was no semblance of democracy in either Bandarawela or Colpetty, decided that they should not antagonise the potentially vengeful Aluwihare. Mr. Edirisinghe visited both the Bandarawela and Colpetty schools, but was ordered out by both Headmasters. This was, therefore, a non-election, and ought to be declared null and void.

    I have no doubt that you greatly love Mr. MITHRA Edirisinghe, who did indeed work for 23 years in the Bandarawela school. But he was NEVER a teacher. Please find me ONE boy who was taught by him. And he was NOT at any time a student in Mt. Lavinia. I will say no more, but you would do well to do some re-thinking about fallible boyhood memories which have not been subjected to mature reflection.

    Lastly, I am forced by your comments to also say this about the two “Keble Schools”. Mr. Keble wanted little children (there WERE many girls then) to happily play with mud and water, untroubled by the scorn of adolescents. Colpetty has progressed to O. Levels, but has retained the Keble crest, motto and School Song. Bandarawela has changed completely. Mr. S.L.A. Ratnnayake was a rare man. Totally honest, dedicated and devoted to the school which was quite literally his life. The moment he left, there was no more purpose and he died. But there IS another way at looking at his role. He had been the Principal of large Central Schools (yes, the Government ones that you seem to scorn) and seized every opportunity to expand the school. This expansion it was that almost doomed Gurutalawa, which was dependent upon the feeder school. Mr. Ratnayake was also a dictator, albeit a benevolent one. His own children were well set in life, he had simple tastes, and so he ran his little fiefdom. His management of the abodes of Mr. Keble and Miss Blanchard was foolish and short-sighted.

    I have said enough to counter your comments. Analysis of Gurutalawa, including the yet unexplained murders of the dedicated Head, Bala Gunasekaram, and his wife, will take too long. Remember, though, that your “devoted Headmaster”, Mr Chandrasekera got to where he is because there was never a dictator at Gurutalawa; up to now all Headmasters there were relatively weak; Bala was the exception, and he was murdered by hired assassins.

    The Board has NEVER tried to co-ordinate the functioning of the four schools. The new Bishop MUST change all that. We have to support him.

  20. Excuse me everyone, this is message for all of those non Thomians who posted negative comments regarding our college ‘STC’. Thank for posting these wonderful negative comments regarding our college, because it’s my understanding that you people have posted negative comments because you people are simply jealous, in other words jealous means a person understanding that someone/something is actually better than himself or his, in this case your colleges…Thank you.

    Prof De Soysa, We Thomians including myself consider it’s a privileged to get a superb warden like you..hope you’ll stay with us for sometime……god bless you sir! you are an awesome person!!!!

  21. Dear DBSJ

    Please give some articles on St.Bridgets too instead of only ones on Ananda,St.Thomas and now recently royal.Whose interested in these kollas schools.Anyway they are all rowdies.If you don’t write something on ST.Bridgets we gals will think you are a male chauvinist.Whenever i see all these rowdy school articles and not one single one on the refined roses among the thorns i get so angry i can i can grrr grrr.

    Ps.DBSJ,when you castrated the comments section,i noticed that you had not given any reasons for it,so i can’t offer any solutions.Why don’t you once in a way have comments on instead of off,then when people open your blog they will get a pleasant surprise and put their two cents worth.This will be like opening the buriyani packet and seeing a egg on top or that green colour paste,which is sadly lacking in the buriyani in these western countries.So every day when we open your blog we will be thinking whether we will get the egg/grren paste,and when we get neither,it is okay,but we have had our thrill.Even though we are over the hill we need some thrill,not that we are too old now not to give some thrills too.

    If you have time constraints you could limit it to 100 words.You might get some useful feed back on some articles where you think some feedback from the readers are necessary.

  22. Just a few points for the elderly Thomian,the presidents 3 sons were eligible in a way as their grandfather Mr Wickremasinghe who was a Naval officer, and his two sons attended STC Mt Lavinia.One regret I have is that my 3 sons who would have been 4th generation could not accomplish that privilege due to the terrorism that prevailed and my being away in California.

  23. I cannot believe that we live in a highly inter-connected world and still argue about the supremacy of the schools we attended. People who were lucky enough to be educated in good SL schools can be (and should be)proud of that, but gloating about it is nothing but disgusting. “I come from an elite school in Sri Lanka, therefore I am superior than the average Sri Lankan”.Say that to person in a developed country and brag. You will be considered as nothing but a pompous and arrogant idiot. When will we judge people for who they are and not what they are? When we (or lets say if we ever) develop socially and economically as a country, we all can brag about it. Lets not waste our lives on trivial things. It is short and unpredictable.That’s my two cents.

    P.S Best wishes for the new warden at STC and many thanks for DBSJ for his contribution as a journalist.

  24. Last Week I met an Old Thomian who had been a student at Bandarawela/Kollupitya/Guruthalawa and Mount Lavinia. He now lives in Miami Florida as I do. My Own Years at School were Kollupitiya ’47/48 and Mt Lavinia 49/60
    Does anyone know of another Thomian who attended all 4 schools?
    Thanks for a response

  25. Dear DBSJ
    Luv u gud comments and a mastership at investigative journalism. i studied at TCK its upto ur journalism where i studied at? I read all ur articles never miss one of dem especially ur article about vishvaroopam n Jayalaitha
    Hey buddy i waz wondering if u cud help n support me 2 some investigative journalism

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