19 November, 2019

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The Whited Thomian Sepulchres & The Pharisees Who Cheat

By Panini Edirisinhe

Panini Edirisinhe

Panini Edirisinhe

Here you will find what I said four weeks ago.

I write this because private mission schools have contributed immensely to whatever educational heritage we have in this country. The teachers of this country have borne an immense load in preparing our young to face lives on salaries that are quite inadequate. Partly for this reason there has been an institutional decline in the teaching profession, in the schools as well as in the universities. Similar problems have confronted especially the churches, which once had persons of high intellectual calibre in the priesthood as well as in the schools. I think that their fight to maintain high standards would ultimately benefit the country as a whole. Despite these pressures S. Thomas’ had held its place among the handful of leading schools in this country. This it owes largely to the fight put up by the Board of Governors of the S. Thomas’ group to maintain standards. Trinity College faces severe problems today because, having by far been the leading school in the hill country, the Board has been greatly devalued and its powers had been usurped by the officialdom of a bishop who has been censured. This is why I consider it important to fight for the integrity of appointments to the S. Thomas’ Board.

On the 15th of March 2016 at 2.00 p.m., there were elections to the Board of Governors of S. Thomas’ Colleges. The Romans called this day “the Ides of March”, and Julius Caesar was murdered on that day. Let us refer to them as “The Ides of March Elections.” The elections, chaired by Mr Rajan Asirwatham, Secretary, Board of Governors, were held at S. Thomas’ Preparatory School, Kollupitiya. At 3.00 p.m., two members were declared elected. They were Mr Prabhath Jayasundera as the OBA Representative, and Mr Mithra Edirisinhe as the Staff Representative. The elections were conducted according to these regulations, which you can find on the Internet, here.S. Thomas' Colleges, Gurutalawa

Some legal issues have been raised with regard to the election of Mr Prabhath Jayasundera; let lawyers argue those. Shortcomings have been caused by the carelessness of the different OBAs, but everybody is agreed that Mr Jayasundera is going to be the Member who is finally elected. There was no other candidate.

However, there are serious moral concerns regarding the election of Mr Mithra Edirisnhe (who happens to be my brother) as the Representative of the Staffs of the three “Branch Schoools.” Clearly, the Teachers and the Administrative Staffs of the three schools had to elect a person whom they wanted; the Headmasters, who are themselves paid employees, couldn’t arrogate to themselves such a right. The election had to be by secret ballot, among the staffs of the three schools meeting separately, a few days before the Ides of March. Only Gurutalawa conducted proper elections. That was during the first week of February 2016, because the Headmaster was going to Hawaii for 6 weeks; three Old Boys had declared themselves available: 1. Christo Gonawela 2. Chrishmal Warnasuriya, and 3. Panini Edirisinhe. Christo and Chrishmal had visited the school, I hadn’t, because I expected the ballot to be held later.

All three candidates are happy with how Rev. Nihal Fernando held the elections. It is my view that the other two Headmasters, at Bandarawela and Kollupitiya deliberately cheated, or were made to cheat, by dishonest members of the Board. I say so; they can sue me in a District Court if they want to. You can read here what I have said about the elections.

Read it and the 106 comments by readers. This update follows the Bandarawela-Gurutalawa cricket match on the Guru grounds on Saturday, the 9th of April. I congratulated the Guru Headmaster on the clean election that he had held. The Bandarawela Headmaster looked and sounded apologetic for what he had done; the poor man couldn’t directly condemn his own action, but will probably be happy if the Bishop orders a re-poll. The imperturbable B’wela Secretary, Mr Steven Tambimuttu, who performed the actual deed of cheating came up with a cock-and-bull story to explain his actions. He didn’t seem shaken when I told him that I didn’t believe a word of his story.

Fresh elections for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year is our demand; there can be any number of “declared candidates”. Who finally gets elected is immaterial.

There has been cheating at the Kollupitiya School, although I don’t know the full details: on the 29th of March, “Kollupitiya Kolla” has said:

“Most of the staff have no idea what is going on . . .”

My earlier article written hurriedly on the 17th of March 2016, has proved to be remarkably accurate. The rules written by the Board are bad. They must be changed. For now, we, the candidates do not have any legal standing, but I will fight through non-violent moral agitation. The teachers, have definite rights, but it is now clear that the dishonest cheating Headmasters could create problems for them. My policy will continue to be one of not divulging the names of those who have passed the details of the election to me.

But these happenings have wider significance for the country, and it would be best if they could be followed, and commented upon, on the Internet. However, I will not respond on this blog to any comments of a personal nature; instead I will place my responses to such comments at the end of the previous article. We need to focus on the simple issue of how the rights of the teachers to have representation on the Board is to be given meaning.


EDITOR’S NOTE: We received a response from Chrishmal Warnasuriya 4.00AM today. We publish below the response in full;

Re: S. Thomas’ Board Elections – CORRECTION OF MISINFORMATION

As my name has been mentioned in BOTH this article and the previous WITH INACCURATE FACTS I’d appreciate a CORRECTION please …

1. I have NEVER VISITED Guru (or any other school for that matter) for purposes of this election as the author suggests, I only VOLUNTEERED to stand for election and SERVE as I was told A VOICE was needed on behalf of the branch schools on the Board, upon the invitation of one Headmaster, which I was reasonably led to believe was endorsed by the other 2 as well.

2. I have NEVER ENGAGED in ANY CAMPAIGNING for this purpose prior to this purported “election” of 15th March , directly or indirectly although I’m aware BOTH OTHER candidates including the author have been canvassing with several teachers for several weeks

3. I have NEVER COMMENTED PUBLICLY on this issue YET, whether on CT site NOR ANY OTHER, under any pseudonym, as the author seems to suggest, although I have read both his and the other candidates comments on CT.

4. We have NEVER ACCEPTED EITHER ELECTION as being valid or lawful exercise of mandate in terms of the Rules and the Law, and therefore there is NO QUESTION OF ACCEPTING ANYONE AS ELECTED, however we remain confident of these issues being RESOLVED without the need for any further action.

I shall thank you to CORRECT THE ABOVE MISINFORMATION ASAP.

I will howver, let you have copies of my communications on this matter with the Lord Bishop & Board, if and when such public disclosure OR ANY FURTHER ACTION is neccessitated.

Subha aluth avuruddak weva!!!

Chrishmal Warnasuriya.

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Latest comments

  • 9
    0

    I know that this is not a nice thing to be doing, but knowing the damage caused to more than 5,000 students, makes me feel that I have no choice but to release this correspondence to the Public, albeit in a place where only a handful of readers probably will see it each day.

    The third article now becomes necessary.

    There was a meeting of the Kollupitiya Old Boys’ Union on Friday, the 29th, at 6.00 p.m. I have rung Chrishmal Warnasuriya, but he hasn’t had the time to provide me with any feedback. However, I have had reports of “huge crowds”, a description relative to normal attendance.

    As I have stressed many times, I have little direct knowledge of what’s happening at Kollupitiya, and a few comments from some who were there would be highly appreciated. My sincere thanks for the solid support that I have received from a number of you, above.

    Christo Gonawela is deeply disappointed; he says that he will be speaking out at the Bandarawela AGM on Saturday, the 13th August 2016. It is fifty years since his batch has left school, and that batch has reserved for themselves “The National Holiday Resort, Golf Links Road, Bandarawela”, which can accommodate 150 (some will be coming with familes). Some others have been asking me about where they can put up; I’m sure that the “Batch of 1966” will consent to accommodate some. However, it is the school itself that always provides the dormitories for the use of Old Boys. I think that dinesh Wijekannan, Vice President of the OBA (one of the few who haven’t resigned from the EXCO is the person to ask.

    By the way, S. Thomas’ Bandarawela, had had its Prize giving on Friday, the 29th July 2016. No details on it, probably held with NO Old Boys present. I knew of it only after the event, but it has, indeed, taken place.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    On 30 Jul 2016, at 18:28, Panini Edirisinhe wrote:

    Dear Bishop Dhilo,

    Many thanks for your mail. What I liked most about it was your acknowledgement that “the letters you have written were not up to my taste”! Had such frankness always prevailed we would not be in this mess we are in. However you may like this response even less!

    I’ve only just seen your e-mail; at this moment I am without a desk-top computer. No, I’m afraid that I cannot wait until well after the 6th to have this business settled. I know that we all have chores of all sorts to attend to, but surely the running of these dozen or so schools is the most important service that the Anglican Church renders at this point in history. Few realise it, but I have been wrestling with these issues for half a century! Since that may appear an extravagant claim, may I suggest that you ask Rev. Goodchild (The CDMA telephone that is always with him has the number 057 – 4925 994.) He is very old, and now a bit testy if you try to discuss what doesn’t immediately interest him. However, he is very happy to discuss anything relating to Gurutalawa. He showed amazing commitment there, until his body just couldn’t take any more. Please ask him what I’ve been up to since the 22nd of February 1965. I myself had forgotten the date, but he remembered it, and provided me the means to recall it so easily.

    As for your vivid knowledge of what I’ve been telling you about S. Thomas’, it must surely stretch back to 2007. A whole fifteen years before that you would have thought you knew all that was worth knowing about me. Also, as soon as you became “Bishop-elect” I warned you about the probability of cheating with regard to the election of BoG Members to represent the Branch Schools. Surely, the fact that I insisted on meeting you twice (in Bandarawela) and then told you that I had only this subject to talk about, ought to have registered in your mind – even if I seemed to you a lunatic! And then, when I met you in Haputale, on the 24th of January 2016, I had only one request to make of you: that you hold fair elections, with the result being immaterial. How you could have tolerated what happened on the “Ides of March 2016”, and how you accepted the result boggles my imagination. You must surely have been aware of these articles, and the comments on them. I know it’s too much for a busy man to read, but if you haven’t delegated somebody to read such damaging articles and provide you with summaries of what is going on, then I have to tell you that you haven’t organised yourself properly, considering all the resources at your disposal.

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-whited-thomian-sepulchres-the-pharisees-who-cheat/

    I know that you’ve never been up to anything as bad as Bishop Shantha Francis and his mother-in-law’s pension; but the fact his frauds are the only happening worse than this cheating at elections, among the things going wrong with the Anglican Church in Sri Lanka during the last decade, ought to worry us all. And yet you are too busy to meet me! I hope that you appreciate the fact that I’ve not been troubling you with direct phone calls. I think that you ought to call me at your convenience tomorrow; let’s see how it goes from there.

    Yours sincerely,

    (P.s. – on lighter note: explanation of my name which you have mis-spelled:
    : I have here picked one of many articles about this man of yore.

    http://www.kamat.com/jyotsna/blog/blog.php?BlogID=1311)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    On 1 August 2016 at 14:21, Bishop Dhiloraj Canagasabey wrote

    Dear Panani

    Thank you for your email. The delay to respond to your request was due to the fact that I was struggling to make adjustments to find a slot for us to meet up. Unfortunately due to my responsibilities in both dioceses I am under severe pressure with meetings back to back from morning till late evening. Though I really wanted to meet you and discuss the letters you have written which were not up to my taste I regret to inform you that I am unable to meet you this week.

    As I will be away from the country for a few weeks from the 6th you may have to wait for my return.

    + Dhilo

    Sent from my iPad

    On 30 Jul 2016, at 18:28, Panini Edirisinhe wrote:

    Dear Bishop Dhilo,

    I have been in Maharagama since Tuesday, sticking to a time-table that I had set myself when I sent you a text message on Monday. Friday, the 5th is when we are due to have an EXCO meeting of the Gurutalawa OBA, IN your office at 6.00 p.m. I’d like to have met you by the time of that meeting. Much more significant is likely to be the AGM of the Bandarawela OBA on the 13th of August, and I’d like to leave for the hills soon after the EXCO meeting, although knowing how busy your schedule is, I will stay on for a meeting with you if you inform me that an appointment has been granted me.

    I’ve been in government service for a very long time, and there we had to observe this regulation that all letters had to be responded to within a week. Would it be in order for me hope for a response by Monday, the 1st.of August, since that will be a week after my sms?. I’m sorry if that sounds rather argumentative, but there are other things to do in life!

    I sincerely pray that we can improve the present rather unsatisfactory atmosphere that, to me, appears to prevail in all the Branch Schools. I pray that whatever decision you arrive at in this regard may be the right one for us all.

    Yours sincerely,

    Panini

    • 4
      0

      Regarding the “Misinformation” that Chrishmal Warnasuriya complains about, please note that this is the third page of comments. I have apologised to Chrishmal in the 7th Comment on the first page, made on April 13, 2016 at 3:10 pm.

      This is an ongoing story and not all the facts are known yet. So, a few mistakes are inevitable; the best I can do is to correct them as soon as they get shown up.

  • 1
    7

    Panini,

    You are still washing dirty linen in public. This matter is over now.

    The Colpetty school OBA has decided to accept and endorse both the elections. This is after their AGM where all matters were put to an end after an apology by the Headmaster. All letters written on this matter have been withdrawn.

    What remains is the issue of the Bandarawela school OBA with the OBA Representative election matter and that too will come to an end with their AGM to happen shortly.

    It looks that you have nothing else to do and you keep yourself busy by writing here. Go on if you like but understand that nobody is interested in this any more.

  • 19
    0

    Panini

    As someone who attended the AGM at Kollupitiya last week I can tell you I have no idea what Viraj is talking about and think he is someone with vested interests. There was no apology or explanation given by the headmaster. IN fact the whole meeting was pretty pathetic in terms of how it shows what is to come. I am a bit busy now to do any detailed explaining but I will do later today or in the weekend – await this info. I had some interesting conversations with some senior staff who were present as well as a few old boys.

    There were also no ‘massive crowds’ who told you that? The crowd was the smallest i had seen having attended all recent AGMs and also EGMs that were held when obu was banned by cassie chetty. Entire thing seemed to be chaotic but seemed to be run on the headmasters agenda. The same morning I received an interesting email from the outgoing secretary Crishmal (who I didnt see at the meeting) with his letter of resignation outlining the cheating that had taken place and the disgraceful behaviour of certain parties.

    There was no apology were made by any headmaster and no letters were withdrawn. I dont know what Viraj is talking about. I will give more updates soon.

  • 8
    0

    Dear “An Prepite”,

    Many thanks for providing what I’m sure are accurate details of the AGM at Kollupitiya. I’m eagerly awaiting your further updates.

    The “massive crowds” remark was by a person who said that he had seen lots of cars while he was passing by; he had a lot to do with their running, but says he’s old, and can’t bother with highlighting their maladministration, but today at the Guru EXCO meeting I was told that Chrishmal hadn’t got many votes for whatever post he was contesting. This again may not have been very accurate reporting from a man who was urging me to help Guru more by writing its history from 1993 onward; he didn’t seem to realise that it would be so much easier to help Bandarawela – where the need is admittedly less. Finally it was agreed that a coffee-table book would be best since people read so little nowadays. Actually, that development was set off by my observation that although I’ve been writing about current and controversial developments, not everyone understands the details.

    What then transpired was that many have read (there were only thirteen present), but not very carefully – which doesn’t really surprise me. I’m glad that I haven’t developed the type of ego that demands that everybody hangs on my every word! However, as a teacher, I do worry about the fact that when we are faced with so much that seems necessary reading, we don’t concern ourselves with studying any problem in depth. Sad observation by me: Future generations may be easier to manipulate than our forebears.

    So, yes, one can’t maintain interest at fever pitch for long, and at Guru they are concerned with getting on with other affairs, conscious of the fact that all went well there, leading up to the “Ïdes of March”. However, this is not true of Bandarawela – something that I had to tell the Guru lot. Of the thirteen present, I was the only one who had studied at Bandarawela. This is what makes it really important for the three Branch Schools to each have separate representation.

    What I have written here, today, is meant to be quiet, non-controversial reporting and reflection – something very important in Education. It is necessary to cultivate a fairly detached professional relationship when working together.

    I don’t think that we need bother with this Viraj Kariawasam fellow. Clearly, nobody is taking the guy seriously. I obviously analyse more carefully than any reader, and it is clear to me that he is a dishonest man; vested interests are common and to be expected, but surely we have a right to insist that people be truthful. We needn’t bring religions in to the argument to justify such a demand! I do very much look forward to getting more details from you. The third article must be written fairly soon – at least a few days before the Bandarawela AGM on the 13th. The next Guru EXCO meeting is on Tuesday, the 13th of September, and the next BoG meeting is to be on the 14th. Monday and Friday of that week are Public Holidays, Haj, and Poya respectively. Incidentally, Rev. Nihal Fernando is emphasising more and more the multi-cultural character of the school, which I think is wonderful.

    It is sad that the two Trilinguals (the Bishop and the Bandarawela Headmaster) have decided that truthfulness and fairplay are not necessary. I have sent text messages to both urging them to reduce contentious issues by discussing on the phone; to no avail.

    Incidentally, you will find Rev. Harold C. Goodchild’s phone number above (in my correspondence with the Bishop). Readers could try ringing him at a reasonable time; he’s now 93 years old and taught full time-tables of English up to the age of 86 or so. His boasts that children appreciated his work is more than justified; his methodology was not what I would approve, but, in the final analysis, that doesn’t really matter: commitment and consistency are what matter. And, oh, don’t ring him on a Sunday; he’s very serious about his prayer and Bible reading.

    Now, let me sleep, and hopefully wake up to find more useful information that I can include in the new article; it is unfortunately now inescapable that we have to place the haphazard management of these once splendid schools before our entire society.

    • 23
      0

      Panini

      The meeting was poorly organised and there seemed to be some chaos at the entrance. Normally we are given a detailed report book like an annual report but this year it was just some sheets of paper with a small write up of what has been done in the last year. looks like nothing much was done other than supporting a cheating headmaster. As mentioned there was a mail from Crishmal that morning stating what had happened and also that he wishes to withdraw from being nominated to be a vice president as there were apparantly more than three running (there are only three slots for vice presidents).

      He was not there at the meeting when it was brought up and one member said the election should go ahead as anyway a fifth old boy who was also running (a guy i have met before and seems pretty clueless but has been in the committee for a long time, was several years junior to me at school) refused to step down. The elections were a walkover with the confusion created by Crismals email (apparantly some people had not got it) and so very few voted for him as they were not sure whether he was still contesting. I blame him for not showing up at the meeting and explaining. Is this the time to stay away?

      The three who won the posts for vice president will definitely not be any challenge to the headmaster. one is the former headmaster JSL Fernandos son who will never challenge the headmaster. Another is known to all of us as a happy guy who doesnt get involved in these types of politics. The third is one who was named in the email as a supporter in the cheating saga and is of similar era to me in school. I was told by another old boy who was there that he was also campaigning openly for votes before the meeting. Therefore the headmaster has skilfully managed to put his supporters in the senior positions. I also found the new incoming secretary has a son in school which I think is disturbing and it is a conflict of interest. Any old boy of Prep will know what happened with the secretary who was there for more than 10 years under casies time who did nothing with the OBU because he was just there to ensure his son (in school) was successful. It is not fair to expect any senior OBU member to challenge the headmaster when their own son is in school – I will accept that I would be the same in that position. He also did not speak to explain his report and seemed content to let the headmaster run the show. I guess that’s how it will be and that’s what we old boys deserve for being so stupid. I also am told by people who know the crowd a bit better that the headmaster has brought other supporters into the team this time who will not challenge any move of his. The crowd at the meeting was less than before as was clear to me and those I know who attended. This year they did not inform the members by letter (only by email that I saw) and i wonder whether this was to make sure too many people did not show up and start asking questions.

      Now another interesting thing. There were number of members of staff present some who are known to me because they were there in my younger brother’s time in school or I have met them over the years at various events. Several of them have been asked to leave at the end of this year (althoug they are no where close to the retirement age) because the lower school head (Mallika who is mentioned in earlier comments) Bishops sister in law does not like them and has influenced the headmaster. I suggested they complain to the board or take the school to labour court but they are afraid to do it as they will lose any chance at the government pension. They also have no representative to speak to because the Headmaster has appointed an incompetent person as the senior school head (a man who has no qualification and cannot speak any english according to them) to do all his dirty work. They know that there is no chance the board will even bother to listen to them. They told me how the so called election happened, where the headmaster just came in and announced that Mallika and the unqualified upper school head would go and vote on behalf of the staff and no chance was given for objection. They also informed me that discipline at the school is at an all time low as the headmaster doesnt have any respect among the boys. My wife informs me that it is the same whenever she goes to school to pick up my son (she cannot meet the headmaster as he is forever in meetings with this Mallika) with boys just shouting in raw filth in sinhala. There are many other talks they had about robberies that take place in the office (not the headmaster who is clueless, but those around him are doing) and about staff who are just sitting without going to class. Headmaster is sleeping through all this.

      Finally I spoke to the headmaster with a few others. I was one who was very happy when he took over because my son has many more years to go and I could see how bad things were with the previous headmaster there. I dont know what I was thinking at the time. I can now clearly see that the man is completely clueless about how to run a school and he knows even less about financial management. All he was interested in was how many people can come in and bring funds for the building. This is not a bad thing except that he doesnt have any plan to spend it on increasing staff salaries or hiring better quality staff. There is terrible teaching quality in school now as any parent will tell you. And the new headmaster has done nothing to improve it.He has absolutely no plan on how to do anything to bring up the status of the school (I am not talking about putting up buildings which is not what is meant by a good school). Its clear he has agendas to get himself a high position in the church and the only way he can do this is to put up new buildings by hook or by crook. As to how he decides to spend this money, who appoints the contractors (there was some work being done over the last few months) or what qualification he has to decide on the prices I dont know. These are questions the old boys should ask but now we know they will never ask because he has put all his cronies in to the committee. A number of old boys with me were laughing saying that we have gone back to the casie chetty era but it is even worse now because now old boys with their own interests have also joined for the ride. Ask anyone who was at mount when he was temporary warden there few years back. They will tell you what a disaster he was.

      Panini I do not have any hope for the school any more nor for the other thomian institutions. Not with these criminals in charge and in the board. There seems to be very little you or I can do because there are enough people who are willing to deny any problem until one of the buildings collapses or until the standard of teaching is worse than in a rural village school and the standard of students with it. Very sadly I will need to think about whether I can keep my son in school any more. Not until this bishop and these priests are completely removed from this school will there be any benefit. Earlier we thought the Mrs Nirmalie who was at Ladies college will do something as she is school manager. Now I realise that the current headmaster is her parish priest. See the problems these religious people and so called holy men are causing. There is no hope I can see unless you will accept that this is all because of this criminal bishop who will ruin all four schools as the Old Boys happily support their nonsense. I hope you can do something about it. If I decide I have to make sure my son is no longer there then I will join you.

      God bless S. Thomas schools destroyed by the church. Esto Perpetua!

  • 18
    0

    Panini

    If we are go by what “An Prepite” say about the way the Prep School at Colpetty is being run, it’s quite disturbing. If the school situated in Colombo has fallen to such dire straights, I can imagine the state of affairs in Bandarawela.

    We have been hearing a lot of negative things about STCB lately, and now with all these revelations it looks that the Reverend Headmasters, the Bishop and the Board of Governors have really messed up these schools.

    How can we put an end to this decline? Panini, I think people like you should get appointed to a responsible position in the hierarchy and it is only then then the management of these schools can be put right.

    Panini, how can we assist you to do this?

    • 7
      0

      Dear Nalindra,

      I didn’t see this while responding to those “disturbing” observations by “Än Prepite”.

      Please call me.

      You can assist me most obviously by being present at the AGM!

      More specifically, though, we need a few people like you to study the B’wela OBA Constitution thoroughly. Note the sweeping powers that the President has. What if he decides to use them? We must counter with a mass protest. I discussed this with Rev. Balraj about two years ago. He said that if he used them arbitrarily, he’s have to abide by the consequences.

      Liquor is a minor problem. I’m a teetotaller, but I don’t consider moderate drinking to be a vice. If ever I get a chance to take the matter up with the Bishop, I will protest against this sanctimonious policy of his to uphold some government regulation disallowing liquor consumption within a school compound even when no students are present. Until we successfully protest that, take care!

      However, here’s something that you may be able to work at. I’m not very adept at handling “Facebook”. Could you please get some people to educate younger people through it, and get them also to speak out. Incidentally, I may emphasise the need to welcome comments in Sinhala and Tamil, by using a few words of the former (I just don’t know Tamil).

      Yes, for now, use Facebook!

  • 8
    0

    Dear “Än Prepite”,

    Many thanks, but this is appalling! I hope that other readers also read this over about three times. This confirms my worst fears. Why don’t you call me on 077 2987 665, any time. And if you can, please give the number to the teachers who are going to be sacked. My desire was always to focus on Education, not Trade Unionism, and I will try, as far as possible to steer clear of the latter. But if teachers are treated as unfairly as they now seem to be, all options will have to be kept open. Clearly, the Establishment may take it out on your innocent son; you have given so many details that they will clearly know who you are. Although few will be reading this right now, when my third article comes out (a wee bit too late, by Tuesday, I’d say – I am travelling from Maharagama to Bandarawela tomorrow) there will be a link to this earlier article, and then many will look at what they have missed out on.

    A few details that I have got mixed-up. I knew the Bishop’s parents-in-law very well around 1970, when Harsi’s father, Rev. Harold Fernando was the Methodist Priest in Bandarawela, and her mother was a teacher at Bd/Ambegoda Sri Sangabodhi Vidyalaya, Bandarawela. I didn’t know how many children they had (they may have been little more than babies then); I didn’t know their names, either. Yes, Mallika is one of them – I was told that she had transferred to STPS from Bishop’s. You were right to expect a lot from Mrs Nirmali wickremasinghe. She was a good teacher, with experience in government schools as well. Such experience is useful because even at Colpetty I’m sure that half the teachers have studied in State Schools, and you have to be able to relate to them. However, I know that at Ladies’ she couldn’t really stem the rot. Teachers throve on “Private Tuition” – and knew how to work it out with teachers in other schools. I don’t want to let this spill over in to comments on the other Private Schools as well, so let’s just say that this is disappointing, and leave it at that.

    Correcting certain things in a school requires tact and care, but the whole point here is that the cheating that we have seen on the Ides of March has to be handled boldly and without compunction towards these humbugs in robes. There were those who were taken aback by my brash response to the Bishop, but your account makes me feel that I was justified. He was probably playing for time, and wanted me to be reticent at the Bandarawela OBA. It’s a strange situation there! The OBA was at loggerheads with me, because they didn’t understand that what I was saying made sense. Now they’ve suddenly abandoned the Headmaster whom I still regard as decent and gentle. Humility was another virtue that I had ascribed to him, but now I’m beginning to wonder about the entire training these people receive. I’m struggling to understand, but unfortunately I’m no theologian! However, I will be very surprised if the AGM there turns out to be as tame as yours has been. I will NOT be Rev. Balraj’s strongest critic, but the others may not speak out about teachers’ rights.

    A few of you have been faithfully bookmarking and following developments in the schools: this is unusual on Colombo Telegraph and testifies to the depth of your concern, especially because you are personally aware of how it affects the children. After this article disappeared from the “Home Page”of CT, we’ve been missing the comments of “Governor, Good Governor, Good Old Boy, trunket, Sriantha Perera, Parrot”, Wild Buffalo and Ramzeen(the only guy to whose name I can put a face to”. Let’s hope they come back with some observations on the next article. Then there’s Amarasiri – the scourge of the humbugs and racists. The other really important group are those wise old Thomians who have advocated caution and politeness: “Peace Lover, Spring Koha, George Kulasekera, etc: people’s whose identity I’m not sure of, and they withheld whole-hearted suppport. Rightly so!

    So, let’s not lose heart: Keble’s Second School “ïn the mountains” may sent a message to the one by the sea. And I AM his Godson, after all!

    • 11
      0

      Panini

      Thanks. I dont think the establishment will identify me because on all occasions (talking to headmaster and the teachers) i spoke with at least one or more other old boys beside me. I knew i will have to reveal some of this and thats why I made sure. Some of them have sons there as well. And if by chance they suspect all of us and take it out on all our sons then I wont just stand by and take it. I will first remove my son from school and then go public with this. I await your next article. You should also try and talk to the former secretary Crishmal and find out why he decided not to contest the election but then not come for the meeting because I think people will take advantage of that fact and many did do that. Hence we are left with this nonsense.

      • 9
        0

        Dear An Prepite,

        I tried to phone Crishmal but without success. I did have long chats (each more than 20 minutes) with 4 EXCO members of the Bandarawela Old Boys’ Association. I had typed in quite a bit of advice to you and to Nalindra when the power failed. That was when I realized that my UPS needs a new battery. This comment I’m dictating into the tablet. By the way, I was asked today whether I could stay back until Tuesday for a meeting of that bilingual program third-party validation. That is Education Ministry work.

        I don’t think that legal remedies are going to work. Prabhath wouldn’t mind being unseated one bit. He was never dying to get on the Board of Governors. That will have to be the election, which Prabhath will win hands down. I will keep fighting not because I’m desperate to get onto the Board; if there is an election and somebody else is elected I will be able to take that result. Of course, I’ll be mildly disappointed if I don’t win! Some guys have been insulting me by saying that I’m unemployed; you know that is more or less true. In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, there is a song which used to be sung as a hymn. It said, “he that is down need fear no fall”.

        However, my attitude is not as Cavalier as all that; I must show sufficient concern for social issues to make sure that what we do has more positive than negative fallout. I know that this imbroglio is not doing the reputation of our schools any good. But my conscience is clear. I have given the three Pharisees more than enough chance to repent. Without such repentance there can be no forgiveness.

        Nalindra, what you have to do is to study the constitution of the Bandarawela Old Boys’ Association. If you find the most dreadful lacunae there, you can be sure that you have read carefully and accurately. I had given you quotes from the Constitution before the power failure. I’m pretty sure that you will be able to read through that not very long document, and realize where we could exploit some features of it, and more importantly where we will find snags.

        Power failures are not all that common in this place, and I will get down to using the desktop tomorrow. But I will do it first as a Word document, and then paste it on. Now, goodnight!

  • 0
    13

    Panini,

    Wish you all the very best.. Ha..Ha…Ha…Ha..

    Same goes to the other stupids such as “An Prepite” and “Nalindra”…

    Nothing is going to change at the Board or at the Schools, how much ever you guys screem… All at the Board and the Schools must be having a hearty laugh at you guys… You guys are a real joke to the teachers and the students of these schools.. Ha.. Ha.. ha..

    Go ahead, keep entertaining us… Ha ..Ha…Ha…

  • 19
    0

    Panini,

    I talked to a few friends in our batch and they too are very much concerned about these disturbing developments. About ten of us are planning to attend the AGM next Saturday. It will be good if you can let us know what we need to do at the AGM. Will try to get in touch with you before that.

    I was told that we can’t discuss matters related to teachers at the OBA AGM. What you are talking of is the rights of the teachers, if I am correct.. Our concern is, can we raise the issue of the teachers at an OBA AGM? Will we be allowed?

  • 13
    0

    Viraj Kariyawasam,

    Why are you so against Panini’s well meant efforts to address wrong doing at these schools? I think he is genuinely making an effort to put things right.

    You should support him fully, unless of course you have a different motive and belong to the group involved in doing all these wrong things to the S. Thomas’ Schools.

    • 8
      1

      Nalindra, I think we should consider this guy to be beneath our notice.

  • 0
    16

    Nalindra,

    Ok. Ok. Good luck to you then. Keep flirting with this lunatic until you realize that this is not an attempt to put things right but one that’s focused on a personal agenda. He is taking you for a good ride. He tried this with others but it’s only “An Prepite” and you that have got trapped. Are there anyone else supporting his views now? Just think…

    In any case there’s nothing seriously wrong with any of these schools now and all are performing quite well. Talk to the right people and you will know. The BOG election matter is a very minor one and it’s over now and has no impact on the day to day running and the progress of these schools.

    “An Prepite”. I think has a personal grievance which many parents in many schools have and the school system has noting to do with it.

  • 18
    0

    Viraj Kariyawasam,

    I am now fully convinced that you are a person who has some involvement with this cheating fiasco. You and your clan are getting jittery with many things being exposed, which is why you are making every possible attempt to discourage us.

    I am sure Panini’s third article will be more damning and will for sure expose more people involved in this disgusting happening.

    All these years no body protested and it can’t go on for ever. There will come a time when things turn and I feel this is the moment. Wait for the out come of the agm of Bandarawela. The manipulators will see stars.

  • 0
    7

    Nalindra,

    What more can I say… You learn your folly on your own…

    Good luck to you.

    Viraj

    • 10
      0

      Panini-

      I haven’t been very far away but have managed to catch up on the comments only now. Very disturbing. What an idiotic generalization by this tool Viraj. I sure hope you’re not a Thomian, because your ‘critical thinking’ skills are an insult to all the rest of us!

      It’s quite clear that you’re operating hand in glove with the cheats, if everything that has been said here is true. Having spoken to several other parents in the Colpetty institution, I have no reason to believe that any of it is a lie. In fact, there are worse things they told me than what has been stated here. How about that article that was going around from the Saturday Lankadeepa a couple of months ago where the Colpetty school had been named in a case of discrimination against the student due to the pure inefficiency of the headmaster? I heard the father went to every authority he possibly could but the Bishop did his best to sweep everything under the carpet. Now there is an investigation by the education department. Goes to show the level of destruction that can be committed so long as you’re hiding in robes.

      I also here the school is on the verge of bankruptcy as the headmaster is spending without any concern for sustainable income. He is now appealing to corporates to fund him by making old boys feel guilty. Hope they don’t fall for it unless they have some control over where their money goes.Wonder whether Viraj is a pilferer who gets a cut on any expenditure in the schools? Or perhaps he’s a board member who’s supporting of these crackpots in white.

      Esto Perpetua indeed, for the sad plight of these institutions from which there appears to be no return. Hope Panini will be the leader that is now needed.

  • 7
    0

    Thanks, An Prepite, Nalindra, and Wild Buffalo,

    I’ve just sent off my third article.

    My Brisbane sister, Devika Collins, is coming for the 13th Saturday get together; so will many others who left with her in 1966 – fifty years ago. I fear that they may keep away from the AGM – so many opt for the easy way out. However, we should try to ensure that there is no organised boycott of the AGM.

    Nalindra, these are the things that you have to attend to, if possible. Thank God you are going to be around!

  • 4
    0

    Just to give you an update.

    Colombo Telegraph operates from London. I have never met Uvindu Kulukularatne (I hope I’ve got his surname right) but I do have his email address, and another general address for the website. They usually seem to put new comments on in the early hours of the morning, but I may have been a bit late sending my article in about 2.15 a.m. l’m sure it must take them about an hour to get it in order.

    There isn’t much new in what I have said, but when it appears the General Public will see it and respond. What you could do is to save what you have to say as a Word Document and put it on when my article appears. But let’s expect the first trollin response to be from Viraj K!

    I’m seated comfotably in a crowded Badulla bus which will get me to B’wela by 2.00 p.m. Got to collect food first. I’ve already phoned an honest guy who provdes lunch packets @ Rs 120/= each. Then buy fruit and take a tuk tuk home. Can live on avocados for afew days! But no transport till Friday morning, I guess. I’m carrying a lot of parts for my bike – which was running OK up to the time I handed it over to my trustworthy mechanic. Can’t risk breakdowns at my age.

    Departure from M’gama delayed owing to my 1963 Japanese Hillman. Handed over to a garage on Friday morning, but one of the hands managed to burn out the coil of the starter motor, so a friend will take it back to my home when it’s done. It is good to have people whom you can trust around you! That delay wasn’t such a setback cos of an important bilingual Education meeting yesterday morning.

    So, although not all can be predicted, life’s OK!

  • 3
    0

    Panini,

    What’s happening to your third article? You have mentioned above that you have sent to CT. but it’s not on the wall yet?

    • 1
      0

      I know. I’ve sent a simpler version than the original. Written to the editor, find Skype, even sent a voice message. I haven’t got your contact details, else I would have asked you for some advice.

  • 0
    4

    Ha..Ha.. Ha….

    Colombo Telegraph has realized that publishing this type of nonsense will only ruin their reputation. That may be why this so called third article by this lunatic is not being published.. Ha .. Ha… Ha….

    Good judgement, editors at CT.. maintain your reputation..

  • 1
    0

    Panini,

    Could you please mail the article to “nalindradissanayake@gmail.com” and I will circulate it among my friends.

  • 1
    0

    Well, this is the simple article. I’m sure it’ll come on soon:

    The Thomian Pharisees are Unrepentant:
    Why This Matters to All Sri Lankans

    by Panini Edirisinhe

    This is the third article on this subject published in five months on this Public Forum. The two earlier articles have drawn 230 comments. Quite a few are admittedly explanations by the author, but taken as a body, the comments clearly indicate that those who have learnt about the sad situation in these schools are very concerned.

    The quality and balance of the comments is testimony to the fact that these schools still have a role to play in the future of our country. They are among the few that truly educate together a cross-section of the groups that make up the Sri Lankan community. Those who have commented are willing to learn; they are willing to listen, and to correct their faults. The charge most commonly held out against Thomians is that they are snobs, and elitist. There may be some truth in this, and we are not perfect, but the comments made here (https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-whited-thomian-sepulchres-the-pharisees-who-cheat/) witness to our trying to do what we feel is right.

    These schools have built for ourselves a great reputation for character formation and integrity and what has shocked readers is the fact that the Thomian Establishment is revealed as rotten. It is the system of administration and vested interests rather than individuals who are to blame, but the three guilty Pharisees deserve the flack that they are receiving. When people don’t respond to criticism is it not our duty to show that we will not allow these people to ruin the future of the younger generations of our country?

    The earlier articles have set forth quite enough facts regarding the cheating that has taken place in the S. Thomas’ Schools in Bandarawela and Kollupitiya. The comments have brought in more facts. The correspondence with the Bishop had to be released because it was clear that he was merely playing for time, to later claim that it was too late to set things right.

    Gratitude is owed to the many readers who have already stuck their necks out for the sake of Justice. Now, with the Annual General Meeting of the Bandrawela OBA due on Saturday, the 13th, August 2016, it is necessary for readers of Colombo Telegraph, whether Thomians or not, to demand that Educational Institutions be run transparently. It is our duty to transform this land for future generations.

  • 2
    0

    Panini,

    I am very sorry that I had to change plans at the last moment due to an emergency and cancel my trip to college for the AGM. I was really looking forward to be there but couldn’t.

    Anyway what happened at the AGM? Were the issues solved? Appreciate if you could please give a detailed update.

    Once again so sorry to have missed this event.

    • 1
      0

      Thanks, Nalindra,

      Your support was great. I wonder whether you haven’t noticed that my third article has come on. I have there given a full account of the way the meeting went, and perhaps made a few too many other comments!

      I have sent you a personal email to this address:

      nalindradissanayake@gmail.com

      plus I have forwarded a couple of things to you as well. I hope you’ve got them. If not, please call me on 077 2987 665. I pay monthly for generous Dialog and Mobitel connections, so I can call you back from this end.

      This is the third article:

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-thomian-pharisees-are-unrepentant-why-this-matters-to-all-sri-lankans/

      I had earlier planned to say much more in my main article, but really it would be much more effective if OTHERS made their views known. I don’t hink it a good idea for us to be exchanging personal messages (such as this one!) on a public forum; so please establish direct contact.

      One thing I haven’t put in comments on the third article: according to three reliable reports the brand new Secretary, Dr Preethi Wanasinghe had resigned on Saturday night (I didn’t go for the hotel dinner – partly because I want everything done in school (but I’m not insisting on my views being accepted on such trivial matters) – and also I was tired. A strange EXCO it is; we may not even be able to meet the quorum requirement of seven. Let’s not bother too much about that, for now. But really, in our battle with the Establishment we must not allow the school to suffer!

      A Treasurer was also elected at the AGM: Sunanda Ratnayake, the Maths teacher whom Balraj sent down to vote on the Ides of March. {As for Balraj, I’m thinking of permanently dropping the “Rev.” from a man who can no longer be “revered”. However, I must hasten to add that in his field (as a priest) – he’s brilliant – as the conductor of services, Bible Studies etc. But what’s the use of such skills without integrity?}

      I certainly missed you, but we must all do only what we can without neglecting other obligations!

  • 1
    0

    Hey you cronies of the bishop.
    Did you know that Dhilo Canagasabey grabbed his position by sending a letter to all the other priests telling them not to apply for the post of bishop because he was contesting? It was contrary to all principles. He was also wanting to flee the country if he was not elected. Ask why the older wiser experienced staff left the diocesan office – malpractice by the bishop. Ask him why he is not appointing a successor to be the bishop of Kurunegala – wanting to be the archbishop!! With all these to his credit what would you expect of the institutions that he is in charge of and also the cronies around him?? So Panini, carry on the good work to uproot this evil. We are upholding you in prayer!!

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