17 October, 2021

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Challenging Three Cheating Thomian Pharisees – And Not Doing It From Behind!

By Panini Edirisinhe

Panini Edirisinhe

This saga began twelve years ago in March 2008. The latest event took place at Kollupitiya, Colombo, on Wednesday, the 4th of March, 2020, at 2.00 p.m. Fifty-year-old Gihan Dias was elected by “an electoral college of six persons” as a Member of the Board of Governors of the four Colleges of S. Thomas. He is to represent the interests of about 400 Staff Members of the three S. Thomas’ Branch Schools at Kollupitiya, Bandarawela, and Gurutalawa.

If you want to understand this article in-depth, please study Sections 1.5.2 and 1.5.3 of these “Rules”:

To understand what is problematic about this, readers could glance at this 2016 article by me, and two other articles which you will be led to: (click here)

It would be sensible not to get lost in that history. Instead, please look at this article that warned, seven weeks ago, of elaborate preparations being made by some to manipulate yet again in 2020.

Those predictions have proved uncannily accurate, and constitute not just a gross violation of the rights of the teachers of all three schools, but explain why the aims of educating young children get violated all the time, throughout this country.

Together with fourteen others, the person declared elected will form “The Board of Governors of four S. Thomas’ Schools” for the next four years. The fourth school is S. Thomas’ College, Mt Lavinia. The term of office of this Board will commence on the 1st of April 2020.

The election on Wednesday, the 4th March 2020, was correctly and impartially presided over by the Secretary to the Board, Mr Rajan Asirwatham. He announced that only one person had been nominated for the position, and with the delegates from the Kollupitiya School concurring, Mr Gihan Dias was declared the winner of the election. Not even the name of this gentleman had been heard by the Gurutalawa delegates, Messers Dikkumbura and Naeem. I don’t know what the Bandarawela delegates, Messers Steevan Tambimuttu and Sunanda Ratnayake, knew. I can only tell you that they had no mandate from the rest of the staff in Bandarawela to represent them. Let me not mince my words: the two crooked Headmasters of the Uva schools, together with the dishonest Bishop of Colombo, Dhiloraj Canagasabey have again cheated, and it is upto Public Opinion to prevent this result from standing. If any reader queries why this cannot be resolved by Court action, I shall respond convincingly. Conversely, when I make such a clear statement about these three corrupt Pharisees why is it that they do not sue me?

At this point, may I provide you with a link which shows you what the outgoing Board of Governors looks like? The first link will provide you with thirteen names.

The Anglican Bishop of Colombo is the Chairperson of this Board and has directly chosen nine members. Five others are meant to have been democratically elected.

This year, for the new Board, three have already been elected by the stakeholders of the Mt Lavinia School through a rigorous process of election by secret ballot. The two OBA members elected are Mahinda Halangoda and Peter Jasinghe. They won uncontested on the14th of March, but in 2016 there was a keen contest among six candidates.

The staff of the Mt Lavinia school elect one BoG member for the same stint. It is a straightforward election, and is impossible to fix in the same way as what is highlighted in this article. I don’t yet know what has happened this year. Whilst it may be argued that it is the complicated system for Branch Schools that is to blame, what is appalling is that in spell after spell, it has turned out to be the Headmasters who do the fixing, and during the episcopate of Dhiloraj Canagasabey he has had priests heading all the schools. There can be no criticism whatsoever about the conduct of Rev. Dushantha Rodrigo who heads the school in Kollupitiya.

Unless overturned by huge public outcries, the two Uva Pharisees would have succeeded in scuttling the demands of democracy and transparency. Ruthlessly effective action was instituted to prevent me from getting my message across to the Staffs of those two schools. It was unsuccessful. The Staff know that they have been cheated. But they have also been terrorised. I have been man-handled. Debarred from entering the schools on public occasions (Sports Meets), I have made Police entries, which have been investigated. I specifically requested four teachers to nominate me. They said that they would definitely vote for me if there were a secure secret ballot, but they would not dare sign up as those initiating my election. Some of the claims were hilarious. My house and garden are notoriously neglected since only I usually live here (the family being almost permanently in Maharagama). One lady offered to sweep and clean my house – anything she said, except signing or seconding my nomination. Uproarious, this might sound, but their dread is real.

To me, who is elected is of little consequence; what matters is that the teachers are allowed to choose. At Gurutalawa, we had arduously constructed a system whereby the staff voted for the candidate of their choice among those Christian Old Boys who had declared their interest in helping the Staff. Little significance was attached to the selection of the two messengers. Last week the Headmaster, Rev. Philip Nesakumar, had indulged in an elaborate exercise of getting the academic staff to elect (by secret ballot, fairly conducted, let it be granted) Mr Dikkumbura as the “delegate”, and Mr Naeem to represent the administrative staff. In 2007 and 2008 I had actually been teaching in the Gurutalawa school with them, and, if they felt safe, they would have enthusiastically supported my candidature.

Rev. Christopher Balraj did not conduct any sort of poll. He sent the same two fixers as in 2016, Steevan Tambimuttu and Sunanda Ratnayake, to vote. “For anybody except Panini” he must have told his lackeys.

As for Kollupitiya, there is no sense of fear among the Staff, and I was asked to leave copies of my manifesto with the Headmaster’s Secretary. On Tuesday, the 3rd afternoon, I met the Colpetty Headmaster, Rev. Dushantha Rodrigo, for the third time in about three weeks. Total time “wasted” by him nothing more than fifteen minutes. How come? When both of us were honest and transparent there was no need for fencing. I will get nothing out of it all; I want fair-play established for a long time to come.

Isn’t this a Kafkaesque situation where those who have been designated to represent the 400 STC staff members of the three Branch Schools and have to elect by secret ballot the person to sit in their name on the Board of Governors for the next four years were never given even the list of the candidates which they have to choose from? Interestingly, Gurutalawa’s Nesakumar told me that I was too old, neglecting the fact that at least one of the earlier assumed candidates was a full five years older than me. He was the incumbent, but not even ten Staff of all the schools knew his name despite his eight years on the Board of Governors. He is known to have not spoken once in eight years at Board Meetings.

Some may argue that the timorous teachers get the Representative that they deserve, but having been a teacher all my life, I fear that such people are usually not known for pressing demands for their rights. Let me give it as my own carefully considered observation that the two Uva Headmasters and the Bishop use terror as their method of controlling what goes on in their schools. None has a background in school education. These schools which ought to be contributing much towards the building of values and of reconcilliation in our country instead function as institutions that offer their students a feeling of superiority owing to being fee-payers.

How do I regard the election of Mr Gihan Dias? It is impossible to tell by knowing only name, age and his own schooling. If this presages an era of democracy and respect for teachers, it would be fine. If, however, as I fear is likely, this gentleman is yet another CEO from the “corporate sector”, I see further deterioration of all state-recognised education. My clinching argument is that I heard the name of Gihan Dias only on Tuesday, the 3rd of March 2020. Mr Dias must explain to us how he presumes to have won the approval of more than 250 Uva Staff who hadn’t even heard his name. Please note that since I don’t know Mr Dias at all, I refrain from calling him a cheat.

Let readers judge how much possibility of good is lost owing to three selfish and arrogant men. It would be an amazing turn of events if there were convincing rebuttal of what has been stated here, or if court action is instituted against me for clearly calling this cheating.

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  • 8
    7

    Part I
    When, as Panini points out, the process of election to the Board of Governors was fraudulent, one should be wary of complimenting some of those involved in conducting it, unless they come forward and repudiate what was done. The game looks deeper than what Panini was allowed to see. Having known Panini since 1963, I could say that the schools disgraced themselves by the manner in which he was treated. Not only is he a scholar in English of enormous merit, by nature he is a man who has gone out of his way several times to help people and the school at Gurutalawa, besides having taught there. He would have been an eminent asset to the Board. Instead, two head masters had tried to shoo him away as a mangy dog at the gate. The others, it seems, approved. That shows the value they attach to education.
    Panini was definitely the star pupil in Oliver de Soyza’s English Literature class. I for one did not get much beyond ‘Beware the ides of March.’ It was not a school where scholarship came high in the hierarchy of attainments. Many played Rugby and Cricket and went into Planting. Panini was one of those marked out as a scholar and would have risen to greater heights had his father, a headmaster at the Bandarawela school, not passed away in 1963. One other marked out as a scholar was J.K.D. Thomas, who was knocked down by a train, while walking along the tracks along the beach at Mt. Lavinia with N.I.J. Jeyaratnam, in 1966. Thomas struck one as an absent minded professor. Our Chaplain Canon A.J. Foster, who had a sense of humour behind his sometimes daunting manner, had nicknamed Thomas, Bishop for having won the Divinity prize.

  • 8
    7

    Part II
    Oliver de Soyza may strike one as a strange person in that school. He talked on political issues quite freely. He felt our Press to be irresponsible and supported the Press Council Bill that was then contemplated, and later led to the collapse of Mrs. Bandaranaike’s Government. Looking back he was probably a supporter of one of the left parties. That is how an educational institution must be – it should celebrate diversity.
    I remember a tiny snatch of the poem Panini wrote for the school magazine (I think Mt. Lavinia and Gurutalawa had a common magazine then), upon the death on Canon Foster in December 1964. It had the sense, ‘Lies now mute in the Chapel the organ, upon whose keys his fingers had swayed.’ Oliver had taught him well. Owing to his personal circumstances, Panini went into school teaching and later joined Peradeniya University to do English Special. During the 1983 May attack on Tamil students in the University, Panini, out of his own sense of duty, went about with Arjuna Parakrama trying to help students under threat and calm the situation. He did very well in his degree and might have joined the university staff.

  • 8
    7

    Part III
    The school at Gurutalawa faced more than one crisis. In 1989, a very committed person, Bala Gunasegaram was persuaded to take over as head master. Both he and his wife were gunned down in October that year. In 2007, as I understand, when the Church was contemplating selling off the school as real estate, Panini worked with his friend Jacques Huyghebaert to put the school back on its feet. Anyone reading the article would see that Panini does not name individuals because of any personal grudge, but because they have caused injury to a public institution founded by the dedication of Dr. R.L. Hayman and Canon Foster, and has, properly run, much to offer the country.
    The Church by choosing the right people to run its schools, and with vision, can do much to revive scholarly traditions in this country that are tending to disappear. Instead, it tries to pack its boards and councils with those who ask no questions and will not rock the boat.

    • 0
      2

      PART ONE

      Many thanks, young Dr Rajan Hoole.
      .
      Yes, readers, Rajan is almost six weeks younger than me, sharing a birthday as he does with “old” Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven will be 250 years old this year – but the poor man never heard the music that is now playing. He was deaf by the time he wrote his 32nd sonata.
      .
      Rajan and I have both spent more time on Planet Earth than poor Ludwig did. Makes one muse on how we humans are living ever longer.
      .
      What a memory Rajan has! Yet the memories of all humans is selective. He remembers snatches of that “Elegy” I wrote after the 1964 demise. However, to put things right about 2007: it wasn’t as “real estate” that the BoG was trying to sell off the school. Gillespie of the British School came up to see it, as did Lalith Kotelawela and Grero of Lyceum.
      .
      For all that Nesakumar hates me so much (never mind the details) he seems to be genuinely working hard – in his way. He is an efficient administrator. I’ve discovered tonight that he’s got himself a Diploma in Education. Some of my daughter’s Gurutalawa classmates kept asking why we can’t accommodate 1,500 pupils the way we used to. Nesakumar swore it was impossible for there to have been more than 750 – where were the classrooms? I knew that the school peaked at 1247 in July 1983. Of that period, in the carefully written history of the school by Oliver de Soysa, he says in his Preface, page vii, “Mr. Panini Edirisinghe, an old boy, lightened my labours considerably by writing the chapter on Mr. Patrick Gunewardena”. True only in a sense. The explanations lie in details that nobody wants to hear.

    • 0
      1

      PART TWO
      .
      Patrick was in many ways an admirable man, and an honest one. However, he lacked self-discipline; corruption flourished at lower levels, and so Bala Gunasegaram paid the price. Bala and I met only once – but it was a long meeting. In August 1989; he had been appointed in January 1988, and was murdered on October 20th, 1989. Bala was a committed Christian and had only come to put the school right. He told me that it was still a dangerous job. He wanted me to take over as Headmaster, but his final assessment was that my children were too young for me to run the risks. He nevertheless presented my papers to the BoG in September, after I had got back to Oman.
      .
      That action of his led to my being interviewed by the BoG around August 1990, after I had recovered somewhat from Hepatitis. I’d been teaching in the little village of Morri, in the “Jebels” of Oman. They were most hospitable people benignly ruled by the gay Sultan Qaboos bin Said. But hygiene, sitting round that one huge salver? My Hepatitis had surfaced in Bandarawela; Nadi’s in Cairo, Egypt; Ahmed’s in Marrakech, Morocco.
      .
      Before the interview, I was coached by Warden Neville de Alwis, who wanted to hand over after having me as Sub-Warden for a year, and by Rajan Asirwatham. That Rajan’s younger brother, Balan, had been briefly my classmate at Mt Lavinia. After my father’s death, I contrived to lose all interest in Science, and so I became the “Literature Scholar” that Rajan remembers! I continued to fudge my Science in Mt Lavinia and joined all the libraries in Colombo. That was 1966 & 1967.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 48 3111 444V) aka Sinhala_Man

    • 0
      1

      PART THREE
      .
      Anyway, in 1990, Rajan Asirwatham and Neville de Alwis both very much wanted me to “take over” Mt Lavinia. It all went well until the formality question from Bishop Jabez Gnanapragasam about my baptism and confirmation. Having answered in the affirmative, pundit or amateur that I was, I said that I could hardly believe in a God who counted our every hair. One Board member (with whom I now have a sincere friendship) had been genuinely shocked that a man who had enjoyed the privilege of a “perfect” Christian upbringing should be so unorthodox. He systematically kept me out of all four S. Thomas’ schools. He suddenly decided on Sinhala New Year’s Day in 2012 that he had to put an end to this vendetta, and sent me a brief message to that effect. I’m not mentioning my friend’s name here (many know!) because this is the sort of thing that the Pharisees are adept at applying their casuistry. As for Rajan Asirwatham, although we’ve never been close friends, he has always treated me decently, and once gave me the realistic advice to look elsewhere than S. Thomas’ for my future.
      .
      The subsequent meeting that I had with the saintly Bishop Jabez Gnanapragasam is one that I well remember. I’m fuzzy about the date, but it was at “Walthamstow”, the vicarage in Bandarawela. He had come up for a confirmation service and was initially reluctant to meet me just before his retirement as Bishop. We discussed my dalliance with the Religious Society of Friends (the Quakers), with Leo Tolstoy’s interpretation of Christianity, World Unity and much else. It went on and on – at the end of which he said that I passed his assessment of Faith. Labels? I don’t know.

    • 0
      1

      PART FOUR
      .
      I speak only two languages and am definitely not an Englishman. To call myself a “Sri Lankan” without knowing any Tamil seems fraudulent. A denial that those speaking the oldest extant language in the World are full citizens of this land. Thus the “Sinhala_Man” pseudonym.
      .
      I hope that this outpouring of personal dilemmas is not considered out of place by Colombo Telegraph. I think of it as mirroring that “celebration of diversity” that is so necessary in the world today.
      .

      While browsing the web today I came across this:

      http://www.stcg62group.org/PDF/Articles/151_Thomiana_Newsletter_Jan_2018.pdf
      .
      It has much material for people to ponder on. In a comment on March 12th, I have called into question the ten-year-qualification of Philip Nesakumar to have been appointed “Principal” of the school in Gurutalawa. You will find there an article written by the previous Headmaster, Rev. Fr (he was a Catholic Priest earlier) Nihal Fernando designed to show that Nesakumar had about thirty years’ teaching experience. During those years he had merely been part-time Chaplain to various schools, while being Archdeacon etc. Casuistry if ever there was any!
      .
      For me the difference between the two men lies in this: Rev. Nihal Fernando conducted proper Secret Ballots in Gurutalawa in 2012 and 2016. Three candidates in 2016, held so early that the Bandarawela and Colpetty schools had to reckon with those results. A secret ballot held before I expected it. However, all reports are that it was held properly. I came third (i.e. last in a school that exists only because of Jacques Huyghebaert and me). I had no hesitation in accepting the result.
      .
      The farce that Ven. Nesakumar enacted has been dealt with adequately.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 48 3111 444V) aka Sinhala_Man

    • 0
      1

      PART FIVE
      .
      Colpetty?
      Rev. Dushantha Rodrigo has a sharp and honest mind of his own. He was new in the Colpetty school when Board elections were held in 2016. I attended the December 2015 Carol Service in Colpetty, carrying that year’s “manifesto”. I asked Dushantha if I could distribute them after the service. He said “no” – politely, quietly and firmly. “The teachers know nothing of this Staff Representation”. “That”, I observed, “is why they should be educated.” My argument cut no ice with him, and I accepted his position. My three articles and lengthy discussions are still on Colombo Telegraph. Please see them. I did blame Dushantha, but didn’t go to town the way I have twice now with Balraj and once with Nesakumar. With Dushantha, even in 2016, I never got the feeling that the election was rigged against me.
      .
      For the 2020 election, I asked Dushantha in late 2019 about the Staff Representative Election. He asked me how three schools should elect one person. The “manifesto” I prepared was designed to answer precisely that question. He acted according to it. It may be that Board Secretary, Rajan Asirwatham, could have done more, but I feel that the villain here was Bishop Canagasabey, who refused to meet me, although he cunningly bought time when I reported “man-handling” by Balraj. He repeatedly refused to answer the many calls that I made to his mobile phone. He finally rang me himself only when he found that I had been to the Police over Balraj’s refusal to allow me admittance to the school for the Senior Sports Meet. According to Dhilo, the distribution of my “manifesto” without permission was “a grave violation Education Ministry Regulations.” Does this Bishop get guidance from the Education Ministry or from God?

    • 0
      1

      LAST WORDS?

      The time is a quarter past noon, and I fear that I will get cut off by the time to halt the submission of comments.
      .
      Readers will do well to look at the comments on this article. There are serious allegations here about the way the Church runs other schools:
      .

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/st-johns-college-new-principal-unity-only-in-diversity/
      .
      No explanations are forthcoming.
      .
      However, we can be happy about the excellent appointment made to Trinity College, Kandy:

      .
      https://www.trinitycollege.lk/
      .
      The composition of the Board of Governors there is different. I think that it is partly because it is CMS (Christian Missionary Society) School.
      .
      All pretty complicated. However, let’s hope that the schools get run in such a way that they serve as a beacon to all the other ten thousand schools in the country.

  • 5
    9

    Mr Edirisinghe,

    You probably are wasting your time on talking about ‘corruption’ at this institution by the beach.
    /
    You must remember that it was a corrupt organisation founded by the British coloniser Jews to educate their children and those of colonial lackeys who betrayed our nation. Is history has always been Blue and Black. Hasn’t it?
    /
    They founded it on the so-called Anglican Church which is not a church at all, but a cult formed by Henry VIII, a vile murderer (who killed four wives), engaged in incest, and died of Syphilis. The STC traditions are founded on such a dishonorable value system, continued by British and local Anglican ‘Rectors’.
    /
    Efforts to create a veneer of decency to cover the ugliness of such a fundamentally corrupt institution is not going to succeed, no matter how much assistance you might get from the ‘old boys’. The solution is in escaping this colonial trap.
    /
    Rename the place ‘Galkissa Madya Maha Vidyalaya’ and request the government to include it in the the national school system.
    /
    Good luck.

    • 6
      5

      Dear Disce author Discede,
      .
      S.Thomas’ also has to abide by the current needs of the country, and has to abide by certain guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Education. I suggest that we set aside the egg and chicken question made famous by Samuel Beckett’s play, “Waiting for Godot.” Beckett was an Irishman who must have learnt English as first language. Unless Gaelic was taken seriously by his family.
      .
      He wrote this play first in French, then translated it into English. It was also staged in Sinhalese as “Godot snaking.” Obviously in Tamil, too, although I’m not sure.
      .
      I’m in Gurutalawa. The two schools were playing their “big match”. It was a thrilling match, I know- I wasn’t much bothered about the outcome. Now I must to the Bogahakumbura Police. Will tell you later.
      .
      I’d like you to know that I did 6 weeks of Teaching Practice in Royal in 1970. Good school but a lot of money was being spent on rich children. Multifaceted problems, aren’t these?

      • 9
        0

        Dear Mr Edirisinghe,
        .
        People at large would treat it always with indifference. The society is made for the politics of highly abusive leaders such as incumbent PM Mahinda Rajapakshe.
        :
        Just returning from country, I feel, even if their wives would have been raped on broadday light, people in that stupid country would open their mouth again Rajaakshes.
        I really dont know why – may be PEOPLE are scared of RAJAPAKSHE-Barbarism.
        ^

        • 1
          1

          You’re right, Leelagemalli. Nobody (almost!) protests. I shall!
          .
          “Even a dog’s obeyed in office.”
          .
          Wasn’t it King Lear who finally came to realise that?
          .
          Finally? No way! Well, I’m staying put in Sri Lanka. A poor man who’s never ventured out of Asia. I remain defiant. I have nothing to lose.
          .
          Panini Edirisinhe aka Sinhala_Man

    • 9
      0

      Disce aut Discede, How does giving the college a different name cleanse it? What have you got against the College? What is your agenda? Spill it!

    • 10
      3

      Dear Disce aut Discede / March 7, 2020 .

      I dont think he has been wasting his precious time. The kind of attitude should be changed – if not senior personalities of his nature, who would see it right ?

      I think we should be proud of the personalities of Mr SINHALA man nature. He has been continuing his struggle against corruption for such a long time. He could also enjoy his retirement as many of you would do in SL – i think over 99% of lanken teachers or other professionals have no guts to challenge the way Mr SM has been. I respect him and hat off to Mr SINHALA man. You are very unique to your nature.

      May the nation be blessed MORE of Sinhala Man nature senior professionals.

      People regardless of their edcuational backgrounds are made to be very passive in our country.

      I wish you all the very best Mr SM – pray for your well being whereever I am going to be … I am a srilanken living in Europe, but travelling for my job across the globe.4

      • 1
        1

        Thanks, Desperate Sinhalaya.
        .
        There’s no time to say more.

    • 10
      2

      Stop using that great motto to come out with your trash. If you want to make a comment do not be a coward and do it in your name. There were many failed attempts in the past by Sinhala racists like you to take over the school. I can infer from this that you have an agenda to convert a Christian multi-ethnic school to a Sinhala Buddhist one. Please remember that if there is no St. Thomas’ then there will be no Royal and vice versa. It is the view of majority at Royal that St. Thomas remains as it is.

      • 6
        1

        My utmost respect to Dr Gnana. I doubt this fella calling himself Disce aut Discede is Royalist. Royalists I know are great human beings and accomplished men. This fella sounds like a disgruntled Godaya. A failure in life so to speak.

        • 4
          2

          RLRSP,
          I have met royalists of various nature. But most of them are suffering from superiority complex as you sound to be. No matter they dont earn a basic degree, just because their alma mater was Royal college, they become that swollen. Today, if you would please look atany professionals in medicine, science or any other areas, many of them have come from rural schools. So why on earth you guys to stay calling them by the popular school names ?Gone were the days those school provided good schooling. Today many go to those schools end up being drug addicts and any kind of losers to be honest.
          I am not from COlombo, nor am I a godaya, but my wish is that those royalists and others coming from so called popular schools be normalized.

        • 0
          1

          Even when I saw this comment which seems to support “my side” in this debate, I was in two minds.
          .
          RLRSP has never come up with his own writing in an article, and sure enough, he lapses into the nastiness that is his hallmark on this website.
          .
          No to racism; no to sexploitation.
          .
          Panini Edirisinhe aka Sinhala_Man

    • 4
      1

      Disce aut Discede

      If you are a Royalist sir, Shame on you for such a comment!.

      You bring your school into disrepute by your clearly displayed religious and ethnic bigotry and show up your remarkable ignorance of the origins of your own school !

    • 4
      1

      You ain’t no Royalist. You are some Madhya Maha vidyala godaya. Why do you care about how Henry the 8th died from Syphilis when our own King Kasyapa Killed his own Pater, then his brother and then lived a play boy life at Sigiriya?

      You know what we do to fellas like you back at STC? We’d take you to the nearest Lavos and feed you a meat pie you have never tasted before.

      • 2
        3

        Couldn’t expect more from an idiot like you who has displayed your low IQ on other discussions in this forum
        /
        Excreta Perpetua. (find out meaning with the help of a Latim dictionary, you imbecile.)

        • 2
          3

          Perpetual shit?

          That is a good one Guru!!

          Hope meat pie Shamal will learn a lesson.

  • 10
    3

    Dear Panini a.k.a. Sinhala Man,
    .
    It was somewhat amusing, a tragically unpleasant one at that, to read about this honored institution. My amusement is that your article would elicit a reader/alumni comment “Its history has always been Blue and Black. Hasn’t it?” for an institution I confess to have had a healthy respect for, despite my golden alliance rather than to the black (dark) side, never mind the feigned enmity at the pitch.
    .
    As for your plea “Unless overturned by huge public outcries, the two Uva Pharisees would have succeeded in scuttling the demands of democracy and transparency” it jogged some distant memory, neither in condemnation of you nor in support of Uva staff or the Bishop – but merely in appreciation of our shared moments!
    .
    A year or more ago, as desperate Tamils appealed for information on husbands, fathers, sons and siblings gone missing after being dutifully surrendered, and in view of your proliferous submissions championing equity, democracy and transparency, I pleaded, convinced you would help if not lead in harnessing “huge public outcries” of the nation as a whole, undeterred by racial and ethnic divide. The disappointing if not heartbreaking response from you was that it is solely up to the affected desperate widows, mothers, orphaned daughters and siblings to take to the streets on their own – implying you saw no role for you in that “fairness” fight! To repeat, “merely in appreciation of shared moments” – me then and you now.
    .
    Rajan’s lengthy discourse was disappointing, reading more as backing your candidature rather than supporting your objection to the process as irregular, roguish or even illegitimate. Given your regular objective-free empty assertions of the brothers, such as good men, honest men, etc. Rajan’s accolades here risks being mistaken for “you scratch mine, I scratch yours”!

  • 7
    9

    Come off it, Panini. It is clear now that you are a power hungry and bitter chap who made one last desperate bid to get on the Board where it is quite evident you are not wanted and where you would achieve nothing.

    As an old boy of STPS Colpetty I know that both elections (for OBU and Staff rep) were conducted with the utmost transparency. I was also told by many staff there that you tried to influence a few younger teachers into illegally distributing your ‘manifesto’ (perhaps your English degree didn’t teach you the origins of that word) – fortunately, they were sharper than you thought and didn’t fall for your wiles. Why these underhand tactics?

    They also told me the staff election in Colpetty was carried out very transparently, with the Headmaster explaining both candidate’s positions and not promoting one over the other by any means. Unfortunately for you, you garnered only ONE solitary vote from among the staff- it is clear to everyone who that was and who has been badmouthing the institution to you now, one of your frustrated former pupils on the staff.

    It was the Colpetty school’s turn to nominate both a staff and Old Boy’s rep, which they did from ‘younger’ blood from individuals who have a track record of delivery and understand administration far better than you. Please give up your mad desire for power at least in your old age and retire with some dignity.

    • 14
      6

      Dodgeral Bard / March 8, 2020

      What a stupid person you to call him being greedy at power. I think if SM wanted power, he could join lanken politics long ago right ? Please focus yourself on the real issues and get back to us with constructive arguments.
      :
      Please also study them properly, I am not living in SL, but I have no doubt, if it is not unfair, Mr SM would not utter a single word against it. There he has nothing to gain. He is a person who is in his retirement. From what we read from the gentleman, on CT or any other forums where he is, we understand that he is vehemently against corruption of any nature.

      • 6
        7

        Simon De Silva,

        It seems then that SM Panini has fooled you now, as he fooled all of us some time back (but no more). He has done right to expose the corrupt current Bishop. Yet he continues to whitewash the stained robes of the Bishop-in-waiting- the ineffective and overhyped Billimoria.

        His desperate bid for power was also visible in his attemptS to grab power when it was the Colpetty school’s turn to send in their candidate- which he did through slander and gossip. Colpetty being the one school he himself has admitted he knows little about.

        If he really wanted to achieve things for the schools there are far better ways to go about it than tarnishing reputations via internet articles, making loose/false allegations on these forums about specific individuals (perhaps in another country Mr Gehan Dias could have sued him for libel by association) and generally behaving like those loony old LSSP types who really thought their failed brand of politics would work.

        • 7
          2

          Dear DB,

          You should have got it fully wrong. I dont think anyone could easily cheat me. Nor am I living in the country for the last few decades.
          .
          I dont agree with you. We have been commenting on CT for such a long time. I have never had the feeling that Mr SM would be powergreedy. He is a well red and knolwedge retired teacher. His efforts towards the improvement of awareness of rural people shortly before last PE was one of the great efforts he fearlessly made.
          Please if you have any personal vendetta with him , it is not the place you to exchange on that matters.
          :
          As one who would not commend anyone with corruption handlings, my trust already kept on Mr SM would not change at all. It is just not being able to have much time to focus on the specific issue, I dont and cant add more about repeated corruption handlings that the aforementioned school.

          I have to wait until Mr SM would respond to you.
          :
          Greetings from Berlin to you Mr SM – fair people will always back you no worries.

  • 11
    2

    Disce aut Discede,
    Although you try to paint STC black in line with your perverted mind STC will always shine as the Sun and the moon.

    All other schools that claim elite status are still trying to catchup with STC.

    I don’t want to wash dirty linen of self righteous empty vessles like you because that is not the Thomian Way.

    Esto Perpetua
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esto-perpetua

    • 6
      1

      Christopher,

      As Thomians we don’t need to give this scum bag a black eye. The Royalists themselves have come out and stood up for us. We salute the Royalists for that.

      Esto Perpetua.

      • 4
        0

        No need to talk much- look at Malcom Ranjith yet today is after BP Mahinda and his men.
        With surfacing the facts and truths about easter sunday bombing today, he is changing his tone ” yes even current leaders should be responsible for the human losses costed the country on that day”.
        I think not just so called sinhala buddhists but almost many in lanka are pro-corruption than anti corruption. May be they dont know what it is like to be anti-corrupt.
        See how they behave in parking yards in colombo near to some hospitals. How some react when traffic police make every efforts to explain them the failures the drivers and motorists may have made…. people simply dont respect “law and order”.
        They should rather learn it from road side bitches or pingonas in colombo suburbs.

      • 3
        1

        SHEMALE RLRSP@
        .
        You as always come with high statments about your thomians or royalists, but you yourself dont know how to behave well – how much of crimes you yourself have committed sofar in your life ? I have no doubt, if you were in SL, not in TORONTO, you would have been continuing them in god punished srilanka.
        It is more or less like – searching uncorrupted officials in SL today is almost similar to කිසිවෙකු මිය නොමැති නිවසකින් අබ ඇට සෙවීම. searching for mustards from a house where none is dead – … I think ours had been much better few decades ago. Now it has worsened to a manner nothing could easily help out making it corruption less country. I too give some bucks to the poor be them in BIA or anywhere i saw them, but not as ” bribes” but as tips because i feel people suffer today lot more than in the past.

      • 1
        0

        Thank you Lt. for that very eloquent response, spoken like a true Thomian.

  • 12
    0

    Panini.

    After reading your essay, I fear that the Board of Governors of S.T.C. run the risk of ending up like the Board of Directors appointed to Govt:Institutions like Corporations,Boards and Authorities appointed by the Minister[ Lay! ] in charge of the relevant Ministry!
    In that sense, I admire your forthrightness to expose practices that are not Transparent let alone Democratic.
    Even Caesars wife should be above suspicion.

    As for the comment of Disce aut discede, I hasten to say that STC WILL NEVER EVER be another Madya Maha Vidyalaya.
    Learn or Depart!

  • 8
    2

    Mr. Edirisinghe,

    I Agree with your statement. Because you have brave heart to reveal kind of illegal works that happening in the school. So committee members have to appoint proper people overcome this matter.

    • 6
      0

      SPD,
      but for some reasons, not even CT commenters I thought would be normal respect him. Why is that ?
      SPD, the thing is almsot over 95% are highly corrupted in this country. So not many would be able to distinquish good from the bad.
      I think lanken corruption would never be easy to settle.
      I myself happened to pay a police traffic officer with bribe, since my driver was forced to go to an office, nearby so that we would not be able to continue our trip on that day. So, people like me too are forced to bless them be with bribes, since it is part and parcel of srilanken systems.
      Bp Rajakshes should be offered the doctorates to have created highly corrupted systems in my home country. If I were in the executive bodies, i would first get Rajapakshes beheaded by the law prevailing inthe country, and see it further for the betterment of the nation.

  • 6
    1

    We have had despots in this country before. It looks like others are raising their heads again. As a peace loving person I vehemently rebuke tyrannical power and unjust and unrighteous manipulation of persons that is not fair. Although teachers need an honest representation that has their best interests at heart they have been denied this basic right. Fie pharisees – shame on you! As Christians you should be meek, compassionate and accommodating. What are the schools coming to – O tempora! O mores!

  • 10
    1

    Dear Mr.Edirisinghe,
    As an Old boy, a member of the first OBA exec committee, and later as secretary of the STCB OBA, I got to understand one fact ie. each of the headmasters including Mr. SLA R had their own agendas.

    Mr. SLA made sure that it was virtually impossible to change the constitution by adding the clause 8. C, titled Amendment which reads as below:
    “c) Amendment
    The Constitution of the Association shall not be altered, amended, repealed, or added to except at the Annual General Meeting with thirty (30) day’s written notice of any proposal affecting the Constitution is given to the Honorary Secretary prior to the date of such Meeting.”

    I was informed in late 2019, that the then STCB OBA Exec committee did amend this clause , but I’m unaware of the details as to how it was done.

    Whist short circuiting many a tale wound around the STCB OBA, I can express some things about the STCB OBA ‘profecto’.
    1. The Head Master of STCB is Biased and corrupt wherein he only safeguards his own ( and his family) interests.
    2.That the Board of Governors of the STC Schools, have been turning a blind eye to corruption and malpractice ( as raised by Mr. Panini E) over the years.
    3. One check of point 2 . above is how Mr Mitra Edirisinghe , who is a financial defaulter, a fraudulent Burser of STCB ( who was found fault of financial pilferage) got selected to the BoG of STC.
    4. The head master of STCB is a back channel negotiator who has so many covert dealings with many of the stakeholders, including teachers, parents, suppliers , and even vendors.

  • 2
    1

    Dear Priynth W,
    .
    I’m pretty sure that we know each other, although not really well. Your comment is spot on is what a number of people feel (telephone conversations about it, mostly). About 24 hours after your honest comment appeared it looks as though it’s been a conversation stopper. Not really. This happens to all articles on this website. When no longer visible on the opening display, many are unaware of how to even navigate to it. There are many options.
    .
    We have problems of our own. Many don’t want to make public comments because many of us Thomians don’t want to be seen washing dirty linen. I don’t, either, but I feel that I have no choice. I see this as my responsibility – once candidacy is announced, one cannot chicken out. On the other hand, I have to work out the nuances of my response. It’s not easy. Even a few compromises behind closed doors – yes, but not, I promise you, on fundamentals.
    .
    You will not find it difficult to get my contact details – they are scattered all over the web, and elsewhere. The minutes of the five hour AGM, which allowed some changes to be made are on my HDD. How do I send about 15 pages to you? You probably want to study them in detail? Yes, the details are necessary, although not all will be wanting to study as thoroughly.
    .
    Simon de Silva: Yes, there will be a lot of explanation coming.

  • 2
    1

    PART TWO
    .
    Now I must sleep. 10.00 am today, the Bogahakumbura Police want to see Nesakumar and me to report there to investigate my complaint that I was harassed when I turned up at the “Uva-Thomian Big Match” last Saturday at Gurutalawa. I distributed a post-electoral hand-out, a summary of the present article. In it, I described Nesa as the legally appointed Headmaster of Guru. It struck me three days ago, that the appointment is illegal.
    .

    https://www.lawnet.gov.lk/2000/12/31/eksith-fernando-v-manawadu-and-others-st-thomas-college-cases/
    .
    Nesakumar’s experiences cannot possibly include ten years’ full-time work in education.
    .
    Minor computer-table-accident when I fell asleep just now! I’m just too old for all this. Parents and other Old Boys, please take over!
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 48 3111 444V) aka Sinhala_Man

  • 6
    1

    On Saturday my son brought me a paper. It was about this article. So, I read this whole article on Sunday. Then there were three comments – all by Rajan Hoole. Now there are 30. I must tell that Headmaster, Rev. Nesakumar is good for discipline. He is very strict and working hard.
    *
    This article about other things. I am learning a lot, very slowly. Yes, teachers must be very strit. They are fright of Headmaster. That, not always good. The place I work there are Trade Unions. Good and not good. But if teachers have Board Member they must select by teachers. Otherwse teachers not happy. Good teachers will not stay many years. I am unhappy about this election. The teachers have not voting Panini Edirisinghe or Gihan Dias. We do not know this Mr Dias. I asked three teachers. They don’t know. They thing that this is a Colombo Man. Colombo people don’t know village problems. This is very unfair. There should be vote like Kollupitiya. Then Dias one vote, Edirisinghe fifty votes. Same result Bandarawela. Then we have somebody in Governor’s Board from Uva.
    *
    My son told Edirisinghe a polite man. Why there is this cheating? There must be another election. Dikumbura and Naim are good to carry results. They have been working in the school more than 20 years. But election: Panini Edirisinghe vs Gihan Dias. Who is Mitra Edirisinghe? Please have new election with three, four or five candidates. Then all will be happy.
    *
    New Election will not be expensive, it will be good for our children.

  • 1
    1

    I have been thoughtfully and critically following events since the Bandarawela-Guruthalawa cricket match at Guruthalawa, Like Guruthalawa Boy, I, too, received a copy of the A4 sheet on Saturday, the 7th March. It looks as though tens of thousands of that sheet have been printed and distributed very efficiently. It was even being unobtrusively distributed at the Royal-Thomian cricket match. Examining that sheet, it first says that the article has not appeared: then it gives exact instructions to find it. Clearly comments on this site will cease at noon on Tuesday, the 17th. I won’t be surprised to learn that a group of intellectuals have set aside a modest budget for this purpose.
    *
    Mr. Edirisinghe and his Belgian neighbour are the resident intellectuals of Bandarawela, and, like everybody else in the town, I have met him. However, although Mr. Edirisinghe readily greets everybody on the street, it is difficult for people like me to get to know him well. On the other hand, it is a known fact that most teachers in the Badulla District consult him on matters pertaining to the teaching of English. He knows every school in the Badulla District – be they village or estate. Old Boys find him strange. They say that he had made a Police Complaint against one of them for sending Islamophobic WhatsApp messages in the middle of last year. That particular Old Boy has since begun to understand that Mr. Edirisinghe has few personal considerations when he acts. He would be the ideal person to counter corruption of all sorts in these schools. Many are said to e-mail him, and he dispenses advice free, but when visited, he is found listening to the music of the three Bs – Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms.
    *
    To be continued.

  • 3
    1

    Continuing
    *
    “Priynth” has got it right about the present Headmaster,
    who is a shrewd Old Boy but suffers from an inferiority complex. His father was the Factory Officer in Newburgh Estate, Ella, on the Passara Road. He and his younger brother are not “paid-up members” of the OBA. We, as non-Christians, are afraid of the Church and “Fathers”, and don’t want Sinhala-Buddhist domination. That had been the only batch that had boys sitting A. Level English from the school. Only two boys sat: Tissa Liyanage, now a lawyer in Bandarawela, and another boy who is not in Sri Lanka. The duo had visited Mr. Panini Edirisinghe, who was never a teacher in the Bandarawela school, at home in the evenings. On the other hand, there are many State Schools in the District from where a few students sit A. Level English and go on to read English in the Universities. At S. Thomas’ they know only General English.
    *
    Unqualified Mitra Edirisinghe is never seen in Bandarawela; strange brother of Panini. He had been the “Steven Thambimuttu” of the school for many years. He is a rich Colombo Man now. They all became rich: Herathge, Chandrasekera, and now Balraj, but not SLA, personally, they say. He trusted Mitra. “Priynth” seems to know what he is talking about. Revelations to me.
    *
    As for me, I will not reveal my identity because it is vengeful people whom Panini is talking about. My son has to be protected. After the first day of the predictably boring Roy-Tho, I returned to Uva. I had found myself instinctively shaking hands with too many people at the match. Should that match have been played at all?
    *
    I endorse Guruthalawa Boy’s call for fresh elections. Are there any sane people on the Board?

    • 2
      0

      Dear Bandarawela Parent,
      .
      Wow!
      What a lot of careful observation, collation, and analysis your two comments represent. How one wishes that all parents were so concerned and conscientious. You are right to be wary of revealing any more of your identity. It is your son who will be made to suffer.
      .
      I don’t think that Balraj had ever visited this Bandarawela school after he left as a student in 1981. He had been in the same batch as Tissa Liyanage whom I meet regularly. I taught Tissa and Roshan Miskin and got them through A. Level English. Oh, I see you know even that. Roshan’s in Canada – now his FB is full of stuff on Buddhism.
      .
      Back to this incarnation of evil – Balraj. I may have been the first Old Boy to “meet” the guy. About six years ago, he turned up to conduct a January 20th Founder’s Day Service. I’m a really bad judge of people. I liked him that day, established FB contact with him – something rare for me. I asked him if he was the new Headmaster who had come for a look-see. His vehement denial of it was understandable. The inexcusable dishonesty that he now displays is of a different order.
      .
      Thanks for the many nice things you say about me. I do listen sometimes to Bach and Brahms, but I’d say that Schubert and Mozart are my favourites. Seeing your reference, I’ve got Beethoven videos, downloaded from Youtube, playing on an old computer in the silence of the night at 4.00 a.m. Yes, Beethoven is an obsession – doesn’t go well with the “gambada iskole mahattaya” image that I cultivate in Uva!
      .
      Your punch-line is perfect.

  • 3
    1

    Yes, all you parents. That is what I also said on ( SPD / March 9, 2020 ) six days ago – on 6 March 2020. Mr. Edirisinghe has the heart of a lion and his honesty is total.

    There must be some honest Board Members. There are fifteen in all. Some must be honest. They must visit the three schools on Election Day (good if all on same day). That is to be sure that all 400 Staff are allowed to vote. Let the Managers come, that is their jobs.

    That earlier election was a disgrace! We must not say that all Christian priests are bad. Colpetty (Dushantha Rodrigo) and Mt Lavinia priests (Billimora) have been honest when we compare with two others.

    Dear babalath appu: thank you for your reply to my earlier comment. In our corrupt society we are sometimes forced to give bribes, but we can be without taking.

    I agree with those who say that the Royal-Thomian should have been cancelled. They played even Saturday. They think that they can ignore normal laws. Sri Lanka must have same laws for rich and poor.

    • 2
      1

      Dear SPD,
      .
      I’d like to thank every person who visited this blog, whether they commented or not. You have made two comments. I’m trying to add (during the last few hours when comments are accepted) what little I know. Whatever one says is always inadequate! – that is part of the human condition.
      .
      I’ve just copied these words from a news item. I’ll give the link below, just in case when somebody looks fifty years later, he really is able to see all that I have seen two minutes ago. I doubt it. So much that we see is ephemeral. It just must be forgotten – else there’ll be so many bits of knowledge around that it’ll amount to total chaos.
      .
      Right now one sees the large colour photograph of a Sri Lankan Airlines plane in flight, against the background of a sky with wisps of cloud. I’m sure that the photograph will soon disappear. What sort of cloud? cirrocumulus, cirrus, cirrostratus, altocumulus, altostratus, nimbostratus, stratus, cumulonimbus, OR stratocumulus. I’m sure that there are many other types. Only a lunatic will try to tell! What make and model of plane? The same observation will apply. It’s a two-engined jet. That’s enough for me. Here are all the words copy/pasted:
      .
      SriLankan Airlines 01st Officer with COVID-19 was at Roy-Tho Big Match
      .
      Written by Zulfick Farzan 16 Mar, 2020 | 9:31 pm

      .
      The Task Force to Combat COVID-19 confirmed, the SriLankan Airlines First Officer who tested positive to COVID-19 had attended the Battle of the Blues – Royal Thomian Cricket Encounter in Colombo during the weekend.
      .
      The link:
      .
      https://www.newsfirst.lk/2020/03/16/srilankan-airlines-01st-officer-with-covid-19-was-at-roy-tho-big-match/
      .
      The story justifies your last paragraph, doesn’t it? And justifies “Bandarawela Parent’s” running away after the First Day of the match.

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