15 August, 2020

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Coming Out Of The Woodwork: The Re-Emergence Of Opportunism & Opportunists

By Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

One of the noticeable changes in the content of published material in the English-language media since the re-emergence of the Rajapaksas and their acolytes have been the mushrooms of opportunism popping out of the sodden turf of national publications. These range from ersatz “revolutionaries” to the “education mudalalis” who have made a financial killing in secondary education thanks to the wholesale privatization of a commodity the acquisition of which was NEVER meant to be determined by the size of one’s father’s bank balance and which must have someone like the late C. W. W. Kannangara turning in his grave. Their signatures are writ particularly large on the tired platitudes they mouth about the need for “non-interference” by foreign elements” in any investigation of alleged crimes against humanity and “disappearances” during the Rajapaksa hegemony. Their claim of Sri Lankan governments demonstrating an impeccable commitment to the even-handed dispensation of justice over years past, speak for themselves in the face of the hard facts that have emerged despite the violent efforts to destroy evidence and suppress dissent as evinced by the transfer, overnight, of a police officer with impeccable credentials out of a position where he was pursuing investigations into the torture and murder of a young rugby player and the execution of a dozen young people for non-payment of ransom demands, among other heinous crimes.  One prominent advocate, in the education sector, of this dogma of “non-interference lauded the Rajapaksa Regime when it was in full cry and then went silent over the last three years. It would be redundant to describe this conduct as the typically unprincipled behaviour of someone whose primary concern was the accumulation of wealth rather than the imparting of values to the young and impressionable. However, it perhaps needs repeating and emphasizing that people who display that kind of unmitigated self interest at the expense of principle have no business imparting such values to the impressionable youth of this country in a forum such as a secondary school. The absence of principle and the exercise of untrammeled greed is bad enough in any business, but when it is coupled with mandated authority to impart those values to young, impressionable Sri Lankan minds it is totally unacceptable.

Another voice that has been squawking recently is that of one whose command of the English language was such that the paper for which he wrote and which was then considered the only voice of opposition to the Rajapaksa regime was forced to dispense with his services because of his sub-par command of the English language, its grammar and syntax. It now transpires that that termination should have taken place on the grounds of his monumental lack of principle, not just for his execrable English because, simply put, his subsequent conduct has proven that he was little more than a fifth columnist at that paper. Now, he, sensing an impeding change, has begun delivering paeans of praise to the Rajapaksas, defining them as the epitome of sweetness and light in the matter of Sri Lanka’s governance. This man’s recent history in assisting that other self-styled purveyor of the “truth,” Victor Ivan, when the Ravaya newspaper’s finances were “re-organized’ leaving Mr. Ivan with a substantial financial “residue” served to confirm what I was warned against at the time my support was solicited in that endeavour to “democratize” an often interesting newspaper.

Let me pause in midstream here to make the observation that, with very little resembling investigative reporting in this country, the new storm-troopers seeking to take over our highest elected body, make the Bond scam-burglars look like a bunch of “pikers.” It does seem like the choice presented to us is between the bad and the worse. Or is it between the bad and the worst?

The real tragedy for us as a nation and as individuals without stashes of greenbacks in offshore accounts is that the nation that has the most authority over us – China – will not, as a matter of its demonstrated precedent and policy, times without number, in several developing countries, choose to accord this mountain of corrupt practice the attention it so desperately demands as long as its own narrow objectives are met. This is not some conclusion arrived at after time spent in front of a crystal ball.  It is simple statement of bald fact, an acknowledgment of the reality that what China has visited upon its client states, starting from Malaysia and extending into Central America, is on the cards for us in Sri Lanka. In fact, the plan of action had progressed during the Rajapaksa years to the point that the Sirisena/Wickremesinghe government was forced to “lease” to China some of our most strategic and valuable assets in order to apply such lease-income to the payment of the interest on loans that China had given us to construct those very facilities in the first place, thanks to rates of interest that were astronomical compared to those prevailing in the world at the time. Just think of that simple fact in the clear light of day, dear reader. Would you mortgage to your creditor what was left of your assets after having spent your capital on some hare-brained enterprise dictated by that very lender and meant to serve his interests?

The tragedy that awaits us is without precedent and it will take something akin to a miracle to save this land from the truly terrible fate from which those who have stashed huge amounts of dollars offshore will be spared and a fate being encouraged by the unmentionables that are coming out of our national woodwork. Yes, Chicken Little, the sky IS falling!

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  • 4
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    Emil you boy after a long silence you landed a real bombshell! I have already read the piece thrice and reading the 4th time.

  • 3
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    Emil my favourite writer has come back

  • 6
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    Dear Emil van der Poorten,

    This country was given on a platter by Britain in 1948 to the Sinhalese leaders to govern it as a true democracy: What did the “father of the nation” do first in promoting democracy?

    He removed the voting rights of a significant section of the society: As if this wasn’t enough he started colonizing Amparai district using Gal Oya scheme, and Padavia where he proclaimed that the final war will be fought? War with whom? Tamils of course.

    SWRD wouldn’t be second to DSS and promptly introduced the slogan” Sinhala Only” to reduce Tamils to further second class status.

    Sinhala leaders removed the clause Britain put in the original constitution to protect the minorities, so that they can advance their majoritarian regime in earnest..

    The leaders to follow continued the their predecessors’ tradition of bashing Tamils to come to power and stay in power. This phenomenon is alive and well and will be used at the earliest opportunity.

    So much so for the “oldest democracy” in Sri Lanka! It is more apt to be called the oldest majoritarian regime in Asia.

    Anti-Tamil ACTIONS, and opportunism go hand in hand. Why not fill the pockets of the Sinhala Leaders in the process?

    In conclusion, Sinhala leaders since independence never had/have the integrity or dedication to create a united truly democratic country.

    Is it the final stage of the decadence of the 25000 year civilization they brag about? Must not forget that civilizations finally fall with folly and madness!

    • 5
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      Well Thiru, take it to your thick skull that this country was the property of Sinhala Buddhists for 2500 years before the European heathen invasions started, and they didn’t have to return the country to us ‘on a platter.

      Also take it to your thick skull that the 500 years of vandalism has not been enough to destroy our strong roots of a Sinhala-Buddhist civilisation and we have just started recapturing our lost glory under PM Mahinda Rajapakse, who is a born again Dutugemunu.

      If you don’t like the developments here, suggest Alberta or Toronto would be a better option for you, with or without Arle!

      How’s that?

      • 7
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        Swadesi

        It’s misguided racist ‘patriots’ like you who have brought this country down. If you are still thinking of glory days under a blatantly corrupt politician like MR, you are in denial, living in a pipe dream. Wake up & get a life instead of hero worshipping smooth talking yobs.

        You don’t have to look far to learn about Singapore, a prosperous country smaller than SL with no natural resources. Although Singapore can be considered a part of Malaysia, a Singaporean is a mix of Malays, Indians & Chinese, & collectively, they have made Singapore great. It’s people like the ones you consider as heroes who are stopping SL being the same

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        Swadesi:
        Just wondered how long it would take for another of the vermin to come out of the woodwork with yet another pseudonym!
        Seems like the Koheda Yanney Malle Pol brigade has several vying for its leadership, inclusive of NCO’s promoted to Retarded Lts.

      • 4
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        Swadesi

        “Well Thiru, take it to your thick skull that this country was the property of Sinhala Buddhists for 2500 years before the European heathen invasions started, and they didn’t have to return the country to us ‘on a platter.”

        This is a news to me.
        Do you know the date on which this country’s ownership was transferred to Singhala/Buddhists?

        When did the people become Sinhala/Buddhist and on what basis this country was pronounced as “the property of Sinhala Buddhists for 2500 years”?

        “If you don’t like the developments here, suggest Alberta or Toronto would be a better option for you, with or without Arle!”

        It a good idea.
        However when are you leaving with your fellow descendants of Kallathonies?

        • 0
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          Dear Native,
          Why do you keep harping about this Kallothony Theory of yours..
          You told me the other day that our Inhabitnats have small willys .. Didn’t you.
          I studied this on the Net .
          You are absolutely wrong mate,

          I studied many regions like Kerala, Thamil nadu, Bangalore even Bihar and Bangal through the Desi Tube.
          There is no Anatomical evidence what so ever to prove your Study….
          There you go….

      • 2
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        Swadesi

        Impressive for a bulath hapaya like you to voice your protestations.

        2500 years and we still have unreconstructed yakko’s like you holding us back.

        Now you know what the Vedda’s had to put up with when the mongrel hordes of Mother India drifted southwards.

        Thanks to the likes of you, some of our finest have been driven to live their lives in alien climes.

        Still, we have to honour free speech and let you regale us with your tripe.

  • 4
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    CT, allow me to raise several issues relating to the matters raised in this item, expressed in ‘gobbledygook’ rather than comprehensible English. The writer obviously has not got balls to name people he has a gripe against, but alludes to them in a cowardly, unspecific way.
    =
    1.. Firstly, the length of sentences and paragraphs in the article makes comments of this man about the English language skills of other people (whom he seems to be scared to name!) worse than laughable. I invite the reader to look at the first sentence and make sense if he/she can! There goes his claim to English language expertise that simply is excreta..
    =
    2. Secondly, his claims to erudition in general. Would he be honest enough to tell the reader if he claims any university degree or diploma that would have given him some writing skills, and if he ever attended any university anywhere in the world that allowed him to comment on other peoples’ academic and other skills. Has he ever seen the colour of the walls of any university?
    =
    3. Thirdly, as a person with insights in to his international sources of information on honest operators against conspiracies he is part of, the nature of such information, his ‘analysis’ of such information and the invariably wrong conclusions he always arrives at, this writer can tell the CT readership the man has no grey matter between his ears.
    =
    Lastly, as an unedified man motivated only by unethical vested interests, his concerns that the ‘sky is falling’ are going to come true.

    The land will be returned to original owners by mid next year.

    • 3
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      Herbert Randeniya or whoever you really are:
      I can see Yakdessagala from where I sit, towering over Kuveni’s original home. Don’t know of any Yakas or Veddhas in that or any other neighbourhood to whom this land should be returned, though.
      Would suggest getting a primer in the matter of English expression before you journey out on another expedition is search of goodness knows what!
      That said, the gobbledegook has a familiar ring to it. Couldn’t belong to someone that Frederica Jansz turfed from the old Sunday Leader for incompetence, could it?

    • 0
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      Herbert Randeniya

      Clear as mud that you wouldn’t know if a little gobbledygook sidled up and pecked your furry little nut-sacks.

      As for ‘returning this land to original ‘owners’ ‘ you are of course thinking of the thick-skulled Balangoda man who with hindsight proved to be a better steward of this bejewelled island than the mongrel hordes that were kicked out of Mother Hindia.

    • 0
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  • 2
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    Thank you Dulcie AAchnchi. I still thin Grusha is the best and Emil 2nd. The rest – far in the distance.

  • 0
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    For Mr. Pooten, the burning problems in Sri Lanka Rajapakse regime. I also feel sad for the Failed common Candidate Project. PAW DA. MAhinda Rajapakse says, they tried it since 1989. Anyway, the Samanala party – Elite are well acknowledged as the Bond Scammers and as Babk thieves. They should not be jailed.

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    [edited out]

    What I could gather from those long winded sentences is that Mr Poorten is pissed off with some English Media Blokes who normally barrack for Dr Ranil have now changed their”Teams.”
    I don’t think it is big deal…
    Every one Likes the Dosh in Srilanka ,especially if they can get it for nothing , And in disgusting quantities.

    Even the so called Elite tribes are good at that.
    Look at the Young Turks in Dr Ranil’s Srikotha, who took Millions from the loot of our EPF.
    to sing Hosannas to Aloysious and his FIL.

    Mr Poorten I don’t think did that sort of thing.
    In fact I remember Mr Poorten putting up with the Dalits in a Public Ward when he needed some sort of Surgery.

    Anyway as I understand Dr Ranil’s days are numbered.
    Will Dr Ranil have his usual Roast Turkey Feed at the TT with his Elite mates this XMas ?…

    That young Gun MP of the UNP , Digital Harin’s statement to Colombo Media has done what Sira and his Pohottuwa have been trying to do since October 26.
    Digital Harin told Dr Ranil to leave the TT gracefully and install Keselwatta Kid as the PM .
    Because the great majority of the Inhabitants adore the ” KID”
    And the same great majority do not want Old Farts to rule them ..

    Will Dr Ranil heed Digital Harin’s Demand?.
    Will the Elite Anglican and the Vellala Faction who were running our Motherland as their Family Trust for the last 4 years accept Keselwatta Kid as their Leader le alone the PM?

    Hope Mr Poorten will do a piece on this so we can hear it from the horse’s mouth because Mr Poorten is the epitome of the old Elite Anglican establishment …..

    • 2
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      KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera


      “Every one Likes the Dosh in Srilanka ,especially if they can get it for nothing , And in disgusting quantities.”.

      Aren’t you incriminating yourself with your confession?

    • 1
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      K.A. Sumanasekera:
      When oh when will CT decide not to publish village idiots? But then, we will be deprived of the “entertainment” of those seeking to “entertain,” I suppose.
      By the way, isn’t being Jewish incompatible with being Anglican? Can’t tell the difference? Doesn’t matter when one is directing that kind of crap at people who aren’t either. Aiyyo, what to do, men, born a godaya and can’t get out from under that fact, no!

      • 0
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        Mr Poorten,
        You lot hired Sira to muzzle the Village Idiots .
        And help Dr Ranil to buy Sira followers to make up the 2/3 in Kotte, to get Dr Ranil’s Partition Constitution past the Post.
        And by pass the great inhabitant Majority, who have only Lankawe to live and procreate and keep the Mahavamsa legacy alive….

        Now you are so frightened to face the Inhabitants through even an Election let alone go to a Referendum..
        And singing Hosannas to the Dudes who robbed the Day light out of our Nation hoping Dr Ranil can do a Lazarus..

        I saw Dr Ranil taking Atapirikara to Malwatte the other day.
        Wonder whether you are holding Novinas as well , although Dr Ranil’ darling Boy Digital Harin has read the Riot Act to the old boss.

        Digital now demands that Dr Ranil give the UNP Leader Gig to that Keselwatta Kid .
        We know Kelwatta Kid has been helping Dr Ranil for two decades, by handing out Green Shirts to Village Idiots and transporting them to Colombo the show that the UNP is the real deal to look after the Dalits..

        May be you lot want Victor Ivan to sing Husannas to Keselwatta Kid….

    • 1
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      K. A. Whatever:
      ANOTHER piece of you-know-what??!

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    Why bother about English. Here is a simple task. Sumane can you write a comment with out mentioning Vellala/ Dalit ( dude you seems to be struggling with very low or no self esteem and inferiority ) for a week and then to you JD, write comments for a week without being edited out. It is hilarious to see JD starting out pretty decent but soon after getting lost in tangential thinking and looseness of association.

    • 0
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      Mate, your Daddy may have sent you to a Finishing School in London.
      But it does not count much in this Cyber Age.
      I have friends who have earned Millions in Dollars , but they never went to a finishing School even in Colombo let alone London.

      Sadly this Yahapalanaya has created this misconception that Elitism and English is the be all and end all .
      Dr Ranil the Yahapalana messiah even go to bed in his English Suit.
      And did every thing for the Elite , Anglicans and the Vellalas, when our great majority of the Inhabitant population are Dalits..

      After hibernating for twenty years while his mate Mr Pirahaparan was around ,Dr Ranil came out with a vengeance, jailing Buddhist Monks and putting Taxes even on Coconuts.

      But ,Gave Million Ruppiah Santhosams in Car Permits and Billion Dollar Commissions to his mates through Bond Rorts….
      Still the Yahapalana suckers are praising Dr Ranil as if he is the next thing to sliced bread.

      How can you read that and respond without mentioning the word Dalits..
      When I mention the word Dalits it covers all ethnics who do not have the Dosh to lead Dr Ranil’s Yahapalana Rainbow life.

      Vellalas get mentioned automatically because they are all the way always with Dr Ranil and his Elite Anglican mates.

      I am not interested if there are other connotations in Vellala and Dalit words / terms…….

  • 2
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    Emil,
    You say that the education we are able to impart to our children ‘was NEVER meant to be determined by the size of one’s father’s bank balance’. Most of us dearly wish that Kannangara’s noble intention holds true today. It is true that the Government spends enormous amounts of public money in this endeavour. Unfortunately, the corrupting influence of ethno-religious nationalism and the propensity for corruption, where standards are sacrificed to safeguard mediocrity and power, has overtaken our education, both school and university, as it has much else. If we are to revive an intellectual culture and scholarship, I do not see this coming from the public sector in education.
    In Jaffna, I do not see an alternative to something along the lines of what the American Missionaries accomplished in the nineteenth Century.

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      Kannangara’s noble intentions would have held good if successive governments over the last 70 years had not chosen to play fast and loose with budgets and standards. For sometime now, students from every state school wishing to succeed in exams, have trooped out their school gates and headed straight to a rapacious tuition centre to make up for the slack teaching in school. Damnation of the free education claims that ministers are so fond of claiming.

      I started my studies in a Missionary School, and I can vouch first-hand for an education was delivered fit-for-purpose by none other than teachers dedicated to their calling.

      When will parents see the nonsense that they are fobbed-off with by incompetent administrations led by time-serving ministers.

    • 0
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      Rajan Hoole;
      Thank you for that thought-provoking contribution. What the Jaffna “missionary schools” lacked the murderous exceptions of some such as Trinity, my alma mater. for which the people of the North need to be grateful! However, I still believe, at bottom, that it is a lack of will that prevents significant reformation in the educational “reality” that faces the young of this country. We can and must turn this around and I’m afraid that setting up good quality “mission-type schools” can’t provide the long-term answer.
      But then, a return to governance encompassing principle, ethics and morality is a sine qua non for this nation to return to civilised conduct, isn’t it?
      Thanks again, and thanks for the very valuable work you continue to do under awful odds!

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    Sumane I win and you lose. I guess English Dictionary does not have meaning for Vellala . Your contribution to CT over the years is nothing but Vellala , Dalits and Elite Anglicans. Grow up dude. For a change try to see the world without your shades.

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    PART ONE

    There’s Education and there’s the Passing of Exams. They have become two quite different things. The schools that will always provide the best education are those of “manageable size”. That size was possibly always around 500 students arranged in two schools each; one a primary and lower secondary; the other an upper secondary going up to Advanced level. Something like that; one can’t really generalise – it would depend on where the school is, and various other considerations relating to the environment.
    .
    When Rajan Hoole longs for the return of the missionary type school, what he means is that these schools should impart “intellectual culture and scholarship”. Such ideals are certainly incompatible with the way public sector education is run today. Actually it is absent from nearly all privately run schools as well, and that will continue to be the case so long as many factors in society encourage examination success, which almost always excludes educating the heart, and teaching practical skills. Rajan looks back nostalgically to the commitment and values that prevailed fifty years ago when we were in the schools we knew. Even the humbler vernacular schools then provided what the pupils attending them wanted. Today, all students aspire to reach the highest rungs; parents imagine that getting to the top only requires getting good exam results; it is mastering some subjects that matters, and cramming up in others to somehow get good passes in the balance subjects. Testing is both corrupt and predictable, leading to tuition which leaves little time for childhood to be savoured, and for learning co-cooperatively through meaningful activity.
    .
    I thought I had to say something worthwhile on this subject, but the inspiration isn’t coming. But let me continue to make what I feel are some valid observations.

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    PART TWO
    .
    Education today certainly isn’t satisfactory, but that is not because we’re not spending sufficient money on it. In real terms we must add certain other expenditures to what the Education Ministry allocates. School activities should be closely related the environment of the home. Instead, huge resources are gobbled up because almost every parent has begun equating good education with belonging to a “prestigious school”. Those schools are huge, and are located in urban centres. Not only do students spend long hours in tuition classes, but many also spend long incredible time in our various modes of transport. For the average student this transport is subsidised by the government, and the amount society squanders on unnecessary transport is staggering.
    .
    Some parents voluntarily spend a great deal of their resources on educating their children in what are not the closest schools. Many of us probably belong to that category! However, it is not for that reason that I feel that those who demand not equality of opportunity but equality of indifference and backwardness are harming what is available society as a whole. it is to be hoped that such parents, too, are able to free themselves from that desire to compete that appears to prevail everywhere. Much of education is an affair of quiet, interested attention being devoted to children; if such concern and values are said to be elitist, may elitism flourish everywhere.
    .
    That desire for genuine quality must be extend to as many as possible; one wishes it could encompass all in society.

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    PART THREE
    .
    Given all the resources (in real terms) that we set apart for Education, the State ought to be able to provide “private-like” education to almost all our children. Parents must be realistic about what can be expected fro their progeny. Few seem to understand that in a class of thirty children, every one cannot possibly be first. But this is a greater obsession than many realise. And it’s so absurd.
    .
    Few of us expect the thinking of all in society to get transformed. But really its easier than all the cheating, scheming, fearful rivalry, and hurtful failure that abounds at levels of society. We have to let children just grow up – something that happens naturally! However, it is also necessary that there should be clean and honest administration – not something really difficult if we start on it.
    .
    And don’t let’s imagine that everything in “Missionary Education” was wonderful. Rajan Hoole is not naive in that respect. There were respects in which some aspects of those schools did not reach the highest levels. However there also were a number of dedicated teachers; now there seem to be almost none. “Almost”, I said. Little miracles you’ll always find – and we get to know them, let’s hope. However, I’m convinced that in some quiet little schools there’s useful work going on – unknown to the wider world. But definitely, too few.

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      Sorry. Neutralising bold.

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    PART FIVE
    .
    I know that there always were many things that were not perfect with the whole notion of “Missionary Schools”. I found this a few days ago:
    .
    ” Ananda College was known to be among the elite of schools in Colombo. Royal, S. Thomas’, St. Peter’s and St. Joseph’s were presumed to be ranked much higher than Ananda in the category of ‘English-speaking’ schools. With arrogance, condescending demeanour and sheer disregard for anything steeped in Sinhalese-Buddhist traditions, they honestly believed, that their schools were a shade above the rest of the country. These derelicts of a colonial era yet endured a delusional fantasy of ‘pukka sahibs’ and continued on their delusional journey of ‘colonial superiority’ without trying to cause any change from a colonial time to time of ‘Independence. But Ananda, Nalanda, Dharmaraja in Kandy, Mahinda in Galle and the rest of the country chose to flow with the cascade of change. The irony is we didn’t realize it at the time. Maybe we weren’t intellectually ripened enough to understand the nuances of these exclusively discriminatory notions of elitism and non-elitism.”
    .
    That was an excerpt from here:
    .
    http://mobile.dailymirror.lk/article/Best-friend-and-a-great-personality-157727.html
    .
    An article by Palitha Pelpola. I met him when he was running Maithripala Sirisena’s campaign office, in December 2014. What his politics now are, I don’t know.
    .

    Yes, there are reasons why these schools are looked upon with hatred. Few who were educated in them will ever hear that resentment voiced, mostly since even if heard such resentment is quickly brushed aside. The Old Boy network, the use of school ties and influence where they are all wrong is not acknowledged. Well, Royal College has recently become more symbolic of such vices than the obviously denominational schools!
    .
    All this irritating smoke that is pushed into our eyes, about the way “corrupt Anglicans (including the Buddhist, Ranil Wickremasinghe!), it must emanate from some fire somewhere!

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    My darling Emil

    It is so nice you have written an article followed up with good comments. We sadly missed you for a while and wondered you were sick or something., Putha, take good care of yourself.

    Yours

    D Aachchi

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