3 December, 2022

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St. John’s OBA President Dr. Gobyshanger: No One Shares Prof. Hoole’s Views

The following letter was received from the President of the St. John’s College OBA. Prof. Hoole’s response follows:

26 Sept. 2022.

The Editor,

Colombo Telegraph.

Sir,

Thank you for asking me to respond to this note by the President of the St. John’s College OBA, Dr. T. Gobyshanger. The matter was discussed at the Executive Committee of the OBA immediately after my article appeared. I agreed that I used the title Vice President to identify my association with the college and did not claim anywhere to write on behalf of the OBA. I further agreed that I would pass on such a letter to you from the OBA Secretary and encourage its publication.

Unfortunately, this letter has taken months to come and been sent directly to you by President Dr. Gobyshanger only this month. That is his right, and I encourage you to publish it as I committed myself to doing. It is a strong indictment on the school’s management and a measure of the help  and intervention it needs when President Gobyshanger’s letter was sent by Registered Post to “The Editor Chief, Colombo Telegraph, Colombo” on 12 Sept. 2022 and promptly returned by the Post Office.

As an OBA Vice President, acting for myself,  I dissociate myself on four points in order of growing importance to a school like St. John’s as it cataclysmically slips in the ranking of schools for the reasons given in my article and shown by how President Dr. Gobyshanger’s letter was addressed:

1. My article is datelined 11 April, 2022 – not the 10th. 

2. Grammar: The correct phrase is “contents … are,” not “contents … is.” Colombo Telegraph is the Publisher, not the Publishers. The phrase “absolute requirement” is vague.

3. It is not accurate to say, “We the Jaffna OBA do not endorse the said article.” As stated in the next point, there is no Jaffna OBA. As I told President Gobyshanger (but clearly have been unable to get through), the correct expression is “do not necessarily endorse.” To say we do not endorse requires a vote by the Executive Committee which was not done. Some members of the Executive Committee endorse my article. Others like the President do not. Without canvassing the views of members at a meeting, the expression “do not endorse” is not truthful. Alternatively, “we have not endorsed” would have been correct. It is also inaccurate when many agree with me, to say that the article is entirely my individual opinion. I hope Dr. Gobyshanger will take the time to think about the differences calmly and logically.

4. We are THE OBA. There is no Jaffna OBA as claimed by President Gobyshanger. As stated in the OBA constitution our name is “The St. John’s College, Jaffna, Old Boys’ Association.” The word Jaffna qualifies the College, not the OBA. That has confused Dr. Gobyshanger. The letterhead of the OBA he has used says it accurately. There is a separate OBA South Sri Lanka. In present times when “South Sri Lanka” is trying to take over everything, it is important to hold on to the few things over which we in Jaffna have authority without letting the South take us over by equating us to them.

Thank you.

S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

 

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Latest comments

  • 11
    2

    It is unethical to use one’s affiliation status when making statements that concern any organization.
    It is particularly bad if the views expressed do not reflect the views of the organization and the writer does not declare that the views expressed are entirely his/her own.
    It is up to the organization to take disciplinary action.
    *
    BTW
    What is wrong with ST John’s College education, if the OBA committee hasn’t a clue as to how to communicate with an Internet journal?

  • 11
    4

    It is unethical to use one’s affiliation status when making statements containing personal views concerning any organization.
    It is particularly bad if the views expressed do not reflect the views of the organization and the writer does not declare that the views expressed are entirely his/her own.
    It is up to the organization to take disciplinary action.
    *
    BTW
    What is wrong with ST John’s College education, if the OBA committee hasn’t a clue as to how to communicate with an Internet journal?

  • 6
    12

    When an MP writes MP after his name, it certainly does not mean that he is claiming Parliament’s endorsement. Nowhere did I claim the endorsement of the OBA for my views.

    It is good to ask if Sivasegaram follows the rule he thinks I am bound by. Never! In Colombo Telegraph (https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-cost-of-haste-in-engineering-education/) he has signed off as “Dr S Sivasegaram – Retired Professor of Mech. Eng., University of Peradeniya.” That description is accurate, but did Peradeniya’s Dept. of Mechanical Engineering endorse his controversial views there? Indeed No.

    He should not impose on me rules he himself does not follow. There are several examples where he has used his university titles, claiming even to be a Tamil scholar:

    1. SWAMI VIPULANTHAR MEMORIAL TALK-2012,Eastern University. He is described as Prof. S.Sivasekaram, Professor in Mechanical Engineering, Creative Writer and renouned [sic.] Tamil Scholar!

    2. Prof. S. Sivasegaram on the silencing of Kumar Ponnambalam (Sunday Observer, 20.022000) – https://tamilnation.org/hundredtamils/kumar.htm

    Sivasegaram is a fraud, down to lying to have been a Professor for 8 years to become Senior Professor at Peradeniya (after 15 years as postdoc in London). A man who should be jailed for fraudulently drawing a senior professor’s salary, wants me to face disciplinary action!

    • 8
      1

      Is declaring position in an organization like an MP calling himself an MP
      Everyone refers to an MP as as MP.
      Does it happen to a vice chairman of an OBA?
      *
      Reference to Sivasegaram as professor is wrong.
      It is unethical if he has called himself professor after retirement, in any context.
      Check whether the he ever signed as Professor since retirement.
      Was description of RH as Vice President involuntary?
      Such things have happened earlier as well and drawn attention to.

  • 2
    8

    As an old boy (alumnus) of our beloved St.John’s, Jaffna, it is painful to see such squabbles. I thought minor issues could have been discussed in inner councils.
    As regards this guy Sivasegaram (SJ), hitherto I thought he was only a congenital freak. -Karikalan.

    • 8
      2

      KSN
      You can be most unintentionally funny.
      Thanks for the amusement.

    • 8
      1

      To the less funny bit from KSN now: “I thought minor issues could have been discussed in inner councils.”
      What are minor issues?
      What are inner councils?
      *
      I ask this because in the good old days of the FP ‘minor matters’ like the Anti-Sri campaign, and printing of Thamizarasu stamps and stationery amid the Satyagraha were taken by an “inner council” which did not even consult ‘small fry’ like the MPs of the party.
      Have you come across NR Rajavariothiam’s memoirs titled “Panagoda Days”– interesting reading including comments on an “inner circle” that was functioning in the detention camp in 1961.
      BTW, Rajavarothiam was MP Trincomalee from 1952 until his death in 1963. He was also ‘President’ of the FP– which was pure tokenism I would say, because important decisions were taken by ‘inner circles’.

  • 10
    0

    The envelope is funny. They write “The Editor Chief, Colombo Telegraph, Colombo” and hope it gets there. And Postman Pat decides to try the Telecom department.

    • 7
      0

      SAV
      It is not just funny. It is pathetic.
      It is like addressing a letter to:
      God Almighty
      Haven Above
      Outer Space

  • 0
    0

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