7 December, 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

  • 13
    4

    Esto Perpetua! the Thomian Falg!

    • 22
      2

      Panini Edirisinhe

      Happy Perpetual New Year. The Earth rotates on its own axis and goes around the Sun every tear, despite what the Church and Joshua claims.At least it has been perpetual for at least 4.6 billion years, claimed by some who seem to know.

      Esto Perpetua- (Latin “Let it be eternal”), is adopted by many who want it to be eternal. Was the world Created? Untreated? or Eternal?

      “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 the Perpetual-Eternal Trend. Keep the hegemony going. It is called self-interest.

      The Catholic Church did that too, even with child abuse. (Was there Child abuse as well at any of the St. Thomas Schools? )

    • 2
      0

      Re: The Whited Thomian Sepulchers & The Pharisees Who Cheat!

      First and foremost, I am of doubt if the title of the original article to the “Ceylon Telegraph” by Mr. Panini Erisinghe fits. The title itself addresses Sepulchers and Pharisees which by contemporary Norms is not applicable. Let me also extend this to Mr. Panini’s lifestyle who I believe is living a far more modern life than these words define.

      My second address is to Chrishmal W, whom I relive has NOT visited the two Thomian Schools outside of Colombo. I gather that Chrishmal himself has admitted to that fact.

      AS per the comments to the original article, Pushpam had responded on the 13th of April but judging by his comments I do not believe him to be a Thomian at all.

      Pushpam: You are at liberty to respond.

      Amarasiri: You’d challenged of any child abuses in any STC Schools. By this very statement, I judge you to be from a National School in a remote District, simply because you seem to be far from reality in life. As such I beg you to come down to earth ( if you have been a A/L student in any Sri Lankan School after 1976).

      Hegemony was never an issue @ STC colleges and I think that Amarasiri needs to crawl back to him/her own shell before commenting about STC colleges.

      I am penning this document on the go as I’m on a flight to Narita , Japan, thus I do not have time to correct my typing. Pls do pardon any typos in my writings.

      As Amarasiri had commented, oxidation without ignition is a thing of the past and modern ignition without full oxidation is a basic concept of Scientific experimentation.

      Pls respond with cc to personal e-mail address.

      Best Regards,

      Preethi Wanasinghe,
      B.Sc.(Eng) 1st Class Hons , M.Sc.(Eng, Japan),
      MBA (Merit), FP(Harvard), Ph.D. (Canada).
      Six Sigma Master Black Belt (Motorola University, USA),

    • 1
      0

      The Whited Thomian Sepulchers & The Pharisees Who Cheat! (Resent)

      First and foremost, I am of doubt if the title of the original article to the “Ceylon Telegraph” by Mr. Panini Edrisinghe fits. The title itself addresses Sepulchers and Pharisees which by contemporary norms is not applicable.

      Let me also extend this to Mr. Panini’s lifestyle who I believe is living a far more modern life than these words define.

      My second address is to Chrishmal W, whom I relive has NOT visited either of the two Thomian Schools outside of Colombo. I gather that Chrishmal himself has admitted to that fact. To contest to be a member of the Board of Governance without knowing what you intend to represent is being dishonest to the very roots of our beliefs.

      AS per the comments to the original article, Pushpam had responded on the 13th of April but judging by his comments I do not believe him to be a Thomian at all.

      Pushpam: You are at liberty to respond.

      Amarasiri: You’d challenged of any child abuses in any STC Schools. By this very statement, I judge you to be from a National School in a remote District, simply because you seem to be far from reality in life. As such I beg you to come down to earth ( if you have been a A/L student in any Sri Lankan School after 1976).

      Hegemony was never an issue @ STC colleges and I think that Amarasiri needs to crawl back to him/her own shell before commenting about STC colleges.

      I am penning this document on the go as I’m on a flight to Narita , Japan, thus I do not have time to correct my typing. Pls do pardon any typos in my writings.

      As Amarasiri had commented, oxidation without ignition is a thing of the past and modern ignition without full oxidation is a basic concept of Scientific experimentation.

      Pls respond with cc to personal e-mail address.

      Best Regards,

      Preethi Wanasinghe,
      B.Sc.(Eng) 1st Class Hons , M.Sc.(Eng, Japan),
      MBA (Merit), FP(Harvard), Ph.D. (Canada).
      Six Sigma Master Black Belt (Motorola University, USA),

  • 45
    1

    The contribution of Christian missions to our educational heritage, as the author points out, has been immense. That owes to the quality of moral integrity which came from the faith of several missionaries combined with their vision for education. Dr. R.L. Hayman (a doctor of Physics from Oxford), whom the author of the piece well knew, is a good example. How else could a man spend most of his inherited wealth in educating people in a distant land, which also benefited from swimming pools gifted by him? Every night he walked alone with his torch to pray in the chapel by himself. There used to be a belief that the Richard Attenborough film The Guinea Pig was made in Dr. Hayman’s old school. He and Canon A.J. Foster, himself a scholar, gave St. Thomas’ Gurutalawa its standing.

    This leads us to reflect on the state of some of our mission schools. The author has mentioned Trinity College. One might also add Jaffna College. In the 1930s it was perhaps the leading school in Asia. Under Rev. John Bicknell it made a lasting impact by contributing to the country’s liberal traditions in politics through the Youth Congress, its offspring – in particular the value of secularism. There are perhaps many reasons why these schools have failed to live up to their standards. Is the materialism and thirst for success in this arena which their pupils absorbed from a multitude of influences around them the cause of this decline? One of the problems besetting Jaffna College is the rapid decline and break up of the church to which it was tied, resulting partly from large scale emigration of the educated from Jaffna during the war years, leading to the total erosion of local democratic participation in the church and its institutions. This is a tendency present everywhere that the author warns us against.

  • 2
    41

    This is utter nonsense. The author hasn’t got the details right. Of the two elections held on the 15th of March, it is the election for the OBA representative which was not according to the rules.

    The board rules don’t define as to how a person to be nominated should be decided by the respective schools. Most certainly the secret ballot is applicable at the Board elections only on the day of the actual election where six members of the staff from the three schools vote according to what has been defined as Board Rules. Please read it proper and understand it before writing such nonsense. If you are not able to understand just ask a school student to explain it you.

    The author is making these claims still expecting a remote chance for him to get onto the Board. This is never going to happen as who will want such cracks on the Board which is primarily responsible for many the many thousands of students of the four schools.

    The problem the author has is that his brother (author’s main rival in life) got elected.

    My advice to the readers. Don’t get misled by this article. As I said before it’s nothing but nonsense. If anyone is to comment on this article please check the facts from proper people else you too will become a joke.

    • 31
      1

      Viraj Kariawasam

      “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.”

      There is smoke. You mean to say that there was no fire?

      Oxidation without ignition? Interesting phenomenon indeed!

  • 30
    1

    Dear Chrishmal Warnasuriya, [with a note to Viraj K.]

    Obatath subha aluth avuruddak weva!

    Yes, we had that brief telephone chat last evening when it became clear (despite the poor connection), that I had got a few facts regarding the amount of campaigning that you had done, mixed up. My profound and sincere apologies.

    I had never heard that you had actually visited either of the Uva Schools, although I was told that your visiting card was distributed at Gurutalawa, and that “a message” from you (of which I don’t know the contents) was read out before the “surprise poll”. When being summoned for a Staff Meeting the teachers had not known why they were being so summoned. So they had no time to discuss the candidates. However, what I understand is that the three candidates received the same treatment from the Headmaster, and that is why I accept that ballot as having been fair.

    During one of my brief conversations with you, I think that you did tell me that you made sure that the voters in the two schools knew that you, Chrishmal, were in the fray. In this article I have actually said that you had visited Gurutalawa. I am NOT certain of that, but had honestly come to believe it. Obviously (since you are too young to suffer from dementia!), it is you, and not I, who will know the truth about that. So, my apologies for that, too.

    I must confess that I was very surprised at having been beaten in to third place there, but I have throughout accepted that result.

    On the other hand, I had imagined that three responses (sympathetic to me) that came from a person using the pseudonym “Kargi” were from you – and I explicitly stated that in one place. My sincere apologies to you – and also thanks to you, and to CT, for the correction.

    Your Fourth point ties up with something said, above, by the person using the pseudonym: Viraj Karaiwasam. Neither election may be quite valid legally, but nobody is seriously CONCERNED about Prabhath Jayasundera being elected OBA Representative. I agree that it is the one that is easier to overturn in a court of law. If that happens, we all know for certain that there will be a re-poll and that Prabhath is 100% sure to be re-elected. Chrishmal, you say that you have read all the comments; Prabhath hasn’t read any. He sleeps soundly, while we worry about this!

    As for the Troll, Viraj Kariawasam: I’m sure that you studied in some of the S. Thomas’ Schools, but I feel that you are using a false name, and that you are being “employed” [for monetary or other consideration] by somebody who dislikes me. Will you please try not to put an “udalla” in to our family affairs. I’m sure that you can’t even be a distant relative. I will say no more on that score; perhaps, I will comment at the end of the older blog. Just clear out!

    Here, we want to focus on whether or not the teachers have a right to representation on the Board of Governors of S. Thomas’. Those rights have clearly been usurped by the “Administration”. THAT is the subject under discussion: please stick to it, and don’t insult the intelligence of readers by offering advice on how they should respond.

    All readers: please THINK! If you are “Thomians” you will be very concerned. If you are not Thomians, this is STILL important to you. Very few of the teachers at S. Thomas’ are Thomians; they usually secure for themselves more lucrative employment. We “hire” the products of Maha Vidyalayas (where I have taught), and treat them as “indentured labour”. This was the essence of a complaint by a man called Alahakoon quite early among the earlier responses to my first article.

    Oba samata subha aluth avuruddak weva!

    • 1
      37

      Panini Edirisinghe, please do not bring your personal agendas for discussion on a forum such as this, to denigrate a hallowed institution such as S.Thomas’ College.
      As Viraj K said, we do not want a crackpot like you on the Board of Governors.

      • 25
        2

        Amden, another troll!

        Chrishmal is not a troll!

        You too, are making ad hominem comments! What I mean by that is that you call me a crackpot, instead of countering my argument that the Staff Rep election was clearly hijacked.

        I sent Chrishmal (and the Editor – whose name I know) a personal e-mail more than an hour ago (@ 15.07 Sri Lanka time) dealing with the issues brought up by him. I also rang Chrishmal’s mobile phone and left a message for him, since he wasn’t available.

        Yes, Prabhath’s OBA Rep election may not be valid, but there was no hijacking. Even if overturned in some Court of Law, at worst there will be a re-poll and Prabhath will come through.

        With the Staff Rep election, it is different. The man who was elected was not even known to the teachers as a candidate. Study the Rules of the BoG of this “hallowed institution” – ” S.Thomas’ College”. You use the word “denigrate” – a word that 80% of the teachers of ALL FOUR S. Thomas’ institutions will not know. You know it, and I do. Is that a reason why these poor teachers should be robbed of their rights by the likes of you? The only agendum that I have is ensuring that the rights of the teachers are asserted: I need not be elected if the TEACHERS consider me a “crackpot”. You have no say. Please respect the rights of others. I respect your right to post any crazy comment that you may want to, but I’ve just about decided that I will not respond to any more ad hominems.

        However, I may not be able to necessarily abide by that noble resolution, since you guys may be able to filibuster and scare away those who want, genuinely, to comment.

        Identify yourself unambiguously, please!

        Tell me clearly: was there a fair election that was decided by at least a simple majority of the staff? I’m a guy who has spent most of my life insisting that even minorities have rights! And within Sri Lanka we are both privileged “minority guys” – more comfortable using English than our native tongues. Beware! There may be a revolution! For me that will be terrible; it may be that it’ll be worse for you!!

        Your sort of talk is going to result in the collapse of S. Thomas’. Tell me, in what profession are you (it seems clear to me that you have had some of your education at S. Thomas’)? Why not become a teacher at S. Thomas’?

        While I grant that you may have studied at S. Thomas’ and know some English, I have my doubts whether you know what an ad hominem argument is. Find out:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

        • 20
          4

          It is the lack of civility demonstrated by the two of you, both old boys of a College I was once part of, that nudges me to step in.

          I plead with you both to stop insulting each other in a public forum such as CT. You’d do well to take your fight to the theatres available to you within the confines of our great institution.

          • 14
            0

            Thanks, Nathan.

            Do you find me also “uncivil”. I’m certainly not relishing this!

            However, it may be that I come across to you as an irascible old man to you. I’m sorry.

      • 31
        0

        Amden

        “As Viraj K said, we do not want a crackpot like you on the Board of Governors.”

        Interesting. Crackpots cracking?

        Amarasiri got the feeling that the board of governors is all full of crackpots. Addition of a non-crackpot or even a crackpot will make no difference.

      • 0
        9

        Like it or lump it – I stand by my statement. Do not denigrate STC by writing about your personal grievances.

  • 22
    6

    The nation got a Royalist as Prime Minister to rescue the nation and he is doing a fine job so in a similar vein get an independent Royalist to intervene and solve the issue amicably.
    The present Warden’s father was an old Royalist so a Royal touch is always there at the school by the sea.And as the Royal College school song teaches Royalists to “Learn of Books and men” this is a conflict of men and a Royalist peacemaker would be the ideal.

    • 10
      0

      and that nation realised that neither the royalist nor the thomians had made a name outside in the field of engineering.
      So when the Queen pulled the chain at Mahaweli a concept of royalist and thomians it leaked.
      So the royalist JR begged of the very poor boy( he was angry because of the take over of his school which helped him in life) ANS Kulasinghe- Authority pre-stressed concrete New York State university to help sleeve the damage.

      Similarly the very best of India taken by MoD USA was not from any of the IIT’s .

  • 21
    4

    Dear Mr Edirisinghe,please grow up and act mature for your age dont be like a school boy fighting for the class monitor role!

    2 things I notice is that you mention your brother and also mention that you lost being elected,please do not wash laundry in public and drag the schools too

    You also mention the word ‘pharisees’ please can you refrain from using words found in the scripture for petty things

    As a very loyal and proud old boy of a branch school all I can say is there to more to life that being a Thomian or a Royalist for the Sri Lankan!

    btw,I saw your car at the British Car day it was a good one keep it up

  • 2
    23

    Panini Edirisinghe

    Just one simple question..

    Where has it been defined as to how the teachers of a particular branch school should decide on their nominee?

    • 8
      0

      What I read it seems the clenched fisted policy of the majority
      wins at your institution.

      Only the Spirit of Reasonableness brings about the Age of Peace.

      The fact that island has gone from MR1 to MR2 is the obvious disgrace.

      When you cant make your own neighbour happy how can you be happy??

    • 27
      0

      Viraj K

      Please read the Board Ordinance that Panini has linked to more than once. It clearly lays out the procedure to be followed for the staff elections and OBA elections at Branch Schools. Earlier I thought you had some sense. Now I wonder whether you are not one of those Board members who messed it up in the first place.

    • 30
      0

      Viraj K – Please read the Board rules that are available freely on the internet (Panini has posted the link previously and im including that again) without showing your ignorance here. For your information on staff rep it says:

      1.5.2 One person elected by an electoral college under the Chairmanship of the Hony. Secretary of the Board of Governors consisting of representatives of the Staff made up as follows:

      Two from the tutorial and administrative staffs of each of the Branch schools at Gurutalawa, Bandarawela and Kollupitiya

      1.5.3 The following conditions shall be applicable to the aforesaid elections referred to in 1.5.1 and 1.5.2.

      (a) The election shall be by secret ballot
      (b) The persons nominated for election shall be members of the respective
      Old Boys’ Associations.
      (c) The members of the staffs of the four schools shall not be eligible for
      nomination or election.
      (d) The candidates for election shall be members of the Church of Ceylon or of a Church in communion with that church.

      question for you:

      Was there a secret ballot at Bandarawela or Kollupitiya and is any teacher there willing to be branded a liar by claiming that there was? How were the representatives chosen and were staff allowed to nominate the representatives?

      As the college is supposed to be constituted by the secretary of the board and he hasnt followed these rules it seems hes acted on his own accord and is thus not fit to hold that position.

      Please read the rules or before trying to argue

      http://www.stcg62group.org/PDF/College/05_Rules_of_STC_Board_of_Governors.pdf

      You might find (if you are so capable) a few more things in that which shows that this appointment of mithra (who i understand has done nothing for any of the schools in the years hes already been on the board) is illegal. I wish teachers will protest but most are more worried about their jobs and the fact that some of them claimed to you that they are perfectly happy with this shows that they are either clueless, not interested in their own welfare as a group (selfishness) or afraid.

      Are you a paid agent by the board secretary or one of the heads of school? or are you a board member yourself i wonder? You seem mighty keen to justify wrong doing. shame on a so called Thomian.

      • 1
        18

        Dear Good Old Boy

        I suppose you are not a very very old boy, I mean having gone past the seventies and having problems in understanding things proper.

        I suggest you read the Board rules regarding the nomination of staff representative after considering a very simple fact.

        Panini has mentioned that it was only Gurutalawa that conducted clean elections and three so called candidates are very happy with it.

        Let’s look at clause 1.5.1 – One person elected by an electoral college under the Chairmanship of the Hony. Secretary of the Board of Governors consisting of representatives of the staff made up as follows……

        My question here is : If you are citing this clause together with 1.5.2 & 1.5.3, was the election held at Gurutalawa under the Chairmanship of the Hony. Secretary of the BOG? Doesn’t this clearly show that the specified clause in the rules of the BOG is applicable only at the election where one person will be elected by an electoral college consisting of representatives made up by 2 members of the staff each from the 3 branch schools? Isn’t it clear to you now that this clause cannot be cited for what is being argued.

        How the two representatives and the nominee are selected at the branch school level is totally different and is not defined anywhere under the Board rules. This is not an issue for the Board but the respective schools should develop a mechanism to handle this. This is what we should work towards and by trying to cite an irrelevant rule of the board the whole exercise becomes meaningless.

        I trust you understand now.

  • 3
    25

    Here is an interesting update.

    I am in Bandarawela at the moment on holidays and I happened to meet a teacher of the Bandarawela School last evening, who was introduced to me by somebody quite well known to me in Bandarawela. During the course of the conversation I touched on the BOG matters and queried from her as to what she knew about these elections.

    She told me that a staff meeting was convened and this election was detailed to them. Hardly any staff member had shown any interest. However it was made clear to them that they had to nominate someone as per the rules of the BOG. They were told that Guru was nominating Christopher Gonawela and consent was sought but there was a huge NO. Then two others names (Panini Edirisinghe & Chrismal Warnasuriya) were mentioned and here again it was a huge NO. Then someone had proposed Mithra Edirisinghe and no body opposed. Hence the decision to nominate Mithra was made.

    The scenario being thus I fail to understand what problem Panini has about this election. He is simply trying to mislead everybody.

    • 24
      1

      Dear Viraj,

      Your slip is beginning to show, probably as a paid servant to any of the beneficiaries or even as a front of the wrong doers.

      Regretfully your unethical attempt to falsify proceedings at staff meetings is a very sorry state of affairs bordering on bankruptcy of further constructive comments.

      As Panini has suggested I think you should meet him up with your so called informant and I am sure there will be so many other staff members at Bandarawela who will counter your agreement.

      Let’s not treat this as child’s play and focus our attention on good governance and on morality which is the need of the day.

      The number of thumbs down given for your post clearly shows that many would not be fooled by your false comments.

  • 20
    1

    Dear Viraj Kariawasam,

    Glad to know that you are in Bandarawela; so am I!

    I am at home, and intend being at home all day. Why don’t you come home and meet me? You obviously know my home – it is very near the school. In any case it was one of the two houses that my father built on an acre of land. When you were in the school, my brother, Mithra, used to live in the next house – and he’s expected there on the 20th. Mithra and I will meet and talk, but we have both promised not to talk about school affairs.

    If that is NOT possible, I have a motor bike here, I will come wherever in Bandarawela you are. Please give me even a missed call on 077 2987 665. I am very keen on meeting you; I will call you back.

    Thank you for your account of the Staff Meeting at STC, Bandarawela. You haven’t divulged the name of the teacher who gave you this account. I was given a very different account of this staff meeting by six teachers. I also “confronted” the Headmaster on Sunday, the 3rd of April 2016, after the Easter Carol Service in the Church of the Ascension. He did not deny that he had arbitrarily decided to send down Steevan Tambimuttu (paid Secretary to the school, who runs the school office) and Sunanda Ratnayake as delegates. I also have a 6 page e-mail which had been sent by Rev. Balraj to the Secretary of the OBA, Iranga Amilana. I will show it to you.

    I again met Rev. Balraj at Guru at the local “Big Match” on the 9th of April. That was a more cordial meeting because Fr Christopher kept telling me that he and I must always be friends. No problem with that! He is an extremely nice man; the problem is the casuistry that has been imposed upon him. Mr Steevan Tambimuttu also gave me his justification of what he did. I told Steevan that I didn’t believe one word of what he told me; however, what he told me is, significantly, different from what you’ve just posted.

    Given these versions, somebody is lying! The versions that the six teachers AND Rev. Balraj have given me are consistent with each other. The versions that the Secretary and you give me are contradictory in certain details!

    The TRUTH is one! What I am telling you is that both, you, Viraj and Steevan Tambimuttu are LIARS!

    Can we please meet? I promise not to be abusive. You may have witnesses to ensure that, or we can have a one to one chat.

    Thank you; I look forward to meeting you during the next few days – hopefully today!

    • 2
      18

      Panini Edirisinghe, you are indeed a sanctimonious humbug.

    • 1
      20

      Panini Edirisinghe

      I am on holiday here and will be leaving Bandarawela this evening. We still have a few places to visit to complete our holiday plans.Hence, I am not in a position to spare any time for you. However since I am now convinced that both the Bandarawela & the Kollupitiya schools have done the right thing I don’t have further interests in this matter.

      You may have a grievance since you failed as usual. That’s how it goes. Generally one tends to think that they are the best but when it comes to things like elections what matters is what the voters think. I am clear, if for some reason, should there be a re-election the result is going to be the same. The impression I got was that the majority of the teachers of both the schools are quite comfortable with Mithra Edirisinghe.

      As far as I am concerned the matter ends here for me and hence this is my last comment on this. Anyway I admire your fighting spirit. Though you have miserably failed in the last forty years to gain some position at STC you are still fighting to get there. People might have some sympathy for you sometime. Who knows? Wish you all the best and Good Bye.

      • 41
        1

        As an old boy and parent at the Kollupitiya school, I can assure you that you couldn’t be further wrong. None of the teachers even know who Mithra Edirisinghe is, and it is clear the election was NOT held by secret ballot as per the law and the appointment is illegal anyway as the chap already had a seat on the board at the time of election.

        Which raises the question: what has Mithra Edirisinghe EVER done to improve the lot of the branch schools staff?

        Why are you so keen to defend the one or two crooks on the board behind this? Are you one of them?

        And how about you read the Board rules first? Perhaps with the help of a lawyer as you seem unable to interpret plain english.

  • 24
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    Such a public outpouring of what is essentially a private matter.

    It is well known that every barrel will harbour a few rotten apples.

    We must not intrude on private grief.

    Father forgive them, they know not what they do.

    • 19
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      Ideally he should organise an arbitration and the arbitrator should be a person who has become a Christian by Conviction.
      Then these stupid `trade union` minds who think their school is the best on earth would be silenced.

  • 1
    17

    Panini Edirisinghe

    Now that there are many different opinions, I feel there is one way where this could be put to rest. You say that you are in contact with both the elected candidates. Hence why don’t you explain your opinion and try to persuade both of them to decline accepting the BOG positions? This way the Board will be forced to have another election. I trust you could do this easily unless of course you have other motives.

    • 23
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      Viraj Kariawasam ,

      “”Hence why don’t you explain your opinion and try to persuade both of them to decline accepting the BOG positions?””

      That is crude style of doing things.
      Think of anything better that a mission school should adopt if it is not guilty of failing to see??
      You would find it on this thread.

  • 17
    1

    Idiot,

    This is what you have said, above – and the time is indicated below:

    Viraj Kariawasam April 16, 2016 at 11:14

    “As far as I am concerned the matter ends here for me and hence this is my last comment on this.”

    Now you have something else also to say!

    Have you not been told in plain English that of the two “elected” on the Ides of March, Prabath Jayasundera doesn’t know what is happening – and doesn’t want details? I spoke to him yesterday, at 8.46 a.m. for 8′ 37″. His mother had died a fortnight ago, funeral in Rakwana. “It’s a long time since he opened his e-mail address” is what he told me; by which I understand that he may have glanced, but had ignored everything other than what was vital for his professional activities, and his family matters.

    The other BoG member supposedly elected on the Ides of March: I expect to meet him around the 20th when he will be in the next house to mine in Bandarawela. This you’ve already been told: WE WILL NOT DISCUSS any affairs connected with S. Thomas’.

    In effect Prabhath has declined to accept the Ides of March result; he’ll be very happy see a re-poll, I guess – but his thinking hasn’t gone even that far! This election has become an obsession with you! Why? What is your real name? Who is paying you? Why didn’t you meet me in Bandarawela, or at least phone me? Even now, why haven’t you telephoned me when my number has been displayed above?

    You have said above: (Viraj Kariawasam April 17, 2016 at 11:12)

    [a “secret ballot is necessary] only at the election where one person will be elected by an electoral college consisting of representatives made up by 2 members of the staff each from the 3 branch schools”.

    Taken in its proper context, the delegates at the Ides of March elections ought to have been only messenger boys faithfully bringing the statistics of the voting in the three schools. If there wasn’t a clear winner, then they’d have to look at who was second etc.

    You think that there should be a “secret ballot” at that point, in the presence of Rajan Asirwatham? Of the six delegates, four could become VERY RICH by accepting BRIBES!

    What do the RULES say? The intention is clear to all except you, but the wording is not great. That is why a legal challenge may not work. However, it is hoped that caring Old Boys and Parents will protest to the Bishop. The guys who have been robbed are the teachers, but they dare not say anything; as “Good Old Boy” has said they are afraid. I can assure you that the majority of them know, and have lost faith in the system.

    I called Rev. Nihal Fernando, Headmaster of Guru at 2.44 p.m. The call has lasted 1 hour 02′ 15″, and Rev. Christopher Balraj @ 5.49 p.m. With Rev. Balraj, it was banter, in Sinhala mostly, for 22′ 09″. We were playfully trying to ascertain whose Sinhala was better. You could go with a court order to Dialog (Dr Hans Wijesuriya was for some time on the BoG of S. Thomas’ for some time) and get the details. After all, all these conversations were just yesterday – so it won’t present all the problems that the Thajudeen murder presents – but the issue is important: it represents the murder of the S. Thomas’ schools where about 7,000 young children study.

    By the way, thanks to many OTHERS who have commented. I agree that some of this is unsavoury, and that “S. Thomas” is not the most important thing in this Universe!

  • 12
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    common folks stop this childish barbs and act like grown men,there is more to life in sri lanka than being a royalist or thormian,(btw im a an old boy)

    Stop acting like the house by the Diyawana Oya!

  • 1
    17

    First and foremost my deepest sympathies to Prabath on the loss of his beloved mother.

    I salute Prabath Jayasundara for being a true THOMIAN gentleman. He is refusing to accept his appointment and that’s the most right thing to do. Bravo Prabath.

    As for the Staff representative I firmly stand by my opinion that is there is nothing wrong in the way the election was conducted. Panini’s opinion on the schools not doing the right this has no validity at all.

    However, the Staff Representative election can be invalidated on the grounds of a sitting member being elected. Again here, like Prabath the elected staff representative too can be a true Thomian Gentleman by declining to accept the appointment. But knowing the people I doubt this will happen. Let’s wait and see what happens.

    • 6
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      What sort of humbug are you?

      You know nothing of Prabhath but send your “deepest sympathies” on the death of his mother.

      By today, (Monday, the 25th) you have decided that he should NOT even be elected if there is to be a re-poll. Reason, please.

      You are not bound to give me your reasons, but what worries me is that you don’t have sufficient brains in your head to have even a “hidden reason”. Are these the Thomians that we have been producing – and after charging school fees?

  • 31
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    I am compelled to make further corrections to the captioned note being an elected nominee from STCG for the election of staff representative 2016.

    At no time have I campaigned for this position as I have been and I am still a strong believer that the election of staff representative is purely an internal matter of the relevant staff of the three schools and that no room should be left for outside interference in this process.

    I also very categorically state that I have at no time campaigned for position at these elections and only provided my consent to one school head and also informed another school head that I had consented to be considered as a nominee for the relevant election. Any statements I have made subsequent to this election was on the basis that I have already being nominated by election as a candidate from STCG for election of the position of staff rep. and therefore highlighting the need for the other schools making up the electoral college to practice accepted good governance norms in the conducting of such elections in the spirit of Board of Governors laws.

    I’m also hopeful that the board would give ear to the various criticisms / short comings exposed at this elections and take appropriate steps to rectify same where ever necessary.

  • 4
    15

    Washing all this dirty linen on what is basically a personal agenda, written under a misleading and inappropriate headline, is disgusting to say the least. Grow up Panini or go jump in the sea – Paninna Edirisinghe.

  • 1
    18

    Going by comments above and the comments of the previous article in my view the best suited persons to be on the Board are Christo & Chrishmal.

    I hope all those involved, should there be a re-election, will seriously consider this and elect these two gentlemen as the Staff Representative & the OBA representative. I am now convinced that the branch schools will benefit immensely by electing these two gentlemen. Staff of the three branch schools and the OBA decision makers – Hope you will think right and come out with the best option for the benefit of the thousands of students. Thank you.

    • 29
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      Classic Cart before the Horse. Is that the coaching you received??

  • 36
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    What a horrible story this is! These old fellows, Bishop, BoG, Headmasters, and the candidates, all seem to be old men who refuse to let go of the fate that awaits our children.

    Yes they are all old codgers, including the author – notice that little bit of white in his sideburns – guy dyes his hair! And it’s his ELDER brother who’s decided to represent the young teachers of the school. Well, at least we know that Chrishmal Warnasuriy is not all that old.

    But it can’t be as simple as selecting Chris as Viraj Kariawasam wants. Yes it is for the TEACHERS to decide!

    When, oh when, will Old Men and the Powers that be stop acting like Abraham in this Wilfred Owen poem?

    The Parable of the Old Man and the Young

    So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
    And took the fire with him, and a knife.
    And as they sojourned both of them together,
    Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
    Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
    But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
    Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
    And builded parapets and trenches there,
    And stretched forth the knife to slay his son.
    When lo! an Angel called him out of heaven,
    Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
    Neither do anything to him, thy son.
    Behold! Caught in a thicket by its horns,
    A Ram. Offer the Ram of Pride instead.

    But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
    And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

    https://thewildpeak.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/the-parable-of-the-old-man-and-the-young/

    How horrible and sanctimonious these Pharisees are when you meet them, though!

    Can’t even the Education Department come in and force these Board fellows to conduct proper elections? As someone has said above, what bright young person will think of becoming a teacher, if this is how they are treated? Clearly this is of significance to the entire country!

  • 3
    2

    Dear Parrot,

    In fact, when I met this teacher of the Bandarawela school, I did discuss the type of people who should ideally be on the board. One criteria was certainly the age. When I told her about the ages of those who are currently serving on the board she was shocked. I strongly advised her to discuss these with the other teachers should there be a re-election. She understood well and have promised to discuss with others. She called me a couple of days ago and said that she has discussed with a few and all are in agreement.

    Ideally the Board should have people between the ages of 50-65. I have now got some contacts in the Colpetty and the Gurutalawa school as well and will discuss this. I was not very keen of these at the beginning but as a Thomian I now feel I should do something about this and I will.

    • 8
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      Dear Viraj,

      Unlike your earlier posts, this one appears to be very constructive and helpful (provided you are serious and sincere).

      Yes formulating criteria for BoG membership will be helpful but this can only have the function of “educating the staffs”! We can formulate a set of criteria that is descriptive, but certainly not prescriptive. At this moment there appear to be FIVE candidates, all of them worthy of consideration, but the ultimate choice will have to depend on a secret ballot by staff.

      I think that the criteria should be classified in to three classes: Essential, Desirable, and Irrelevant

      Essential: 1. Membership of an OBA of one of the schools
      2. No criminal record (Common sense should apply here – we don’t insist on Police Records, and Grama Sevaka certificates etc. but if someone other than the candidate provides evidence of conviction for a crime that should be publicised so that all teachers know about it, when voting.
      3. Prospective BoG members should pledge to attend at least 25% of Board Meetings.
      4. Should be a Protestant Christian (I wish this could be got rid of totally, but that is tied up with a requirement imposed by parliament; changing this will require an Act of Parliament, but there is a loophole.
      5. Current students or staff cannot be BoG members.

      Desirable, but by no means essential:
      1. Having been a student or teacher of any S. Thomas’ in the past for a minimum of two years.
      2. Age: Minimum: 25 years, Maximum 90 years – this should not be too rigid. (Obviously best would be 40 to 65 years)
      3. Residence in Sri Lanka for at least 2 years – at any stage of life
      4. G.C.E. (A. Levels) Pass in at least three subjects

      Irrelevant: 1. Knowledge of English
      2. Gender
      3. Citizenship
      4. Dying of hair
      5. Membership of Political Party

      Your observations, please. Since the teachers know so little of has been happening such guidelines may be necessary, but there should be no bribery or corruption. The staff, and only the staff decide. The Headmaster of each school shall have, in addition to his normal vote as an employee, a casting vote.

      Your observations, please.

      • 4
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        Dear Panini Edirisinghe,

        Your opinions on the criteria are fine but as to how this should be made as the rules at the future elections is a different thing altogether. The staff should also be able to propose someone of their choice even if he has not made known his interest before the election day.

        However, re-election of the staff representative is not being considered at by the board as I understand from very reliable sources. Let’s wait and see what happens.

        Having discussed the credentials of the known candidates with some teachers of all three schools, they now seem to have understood the type of person they should vote for should there be a re-election.

  • 12
    1

    Viraj,

    ” I now feel I should do something about this and I will.”

    Ah, so realisation has now dawned on you, has it? I agree, absolutely with what this young lady has said, but let HER and others of her ilk decide! Yes, find a younger person, why not you?

    But first, you must civilise yourself. For starters, why can’t you tell us who you are. You can’t get on to the Board if you keep giving false names. That is why I asked you to write your own article, displaying name and recent photograph. Yes. Parrot, I am old and dye my hair; if you think that dishonest, I shall desist! What more do you guys want me to do? About the time Protestantism reformed Christianity (even the Roman Church was thereby forced to reform), some pious guys went about naked to show that they had nothing to hide. I’m NOT talking about the 1960s, but the period around 400 years ago. (By Jove, tomorrow is the 400th Death Anniversary of William Shakespeare AND of Miguel de Cervantes (who wrote Don Quixote). My neighbour has read

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Quixote

    it in the original Spanish and keeps insulting me by comparing me to the Don. I hereby invite you to be my “Sancho Panza”. At the appropriate time you can “purge” me, and take over. How many people who started something are murdered soon after some reform is ushered in, and some Stalin-like fellow then takes over – and becomes a worse tyrant.

    But coward that you are, you refuse to divulge your name. I have given you my mobile phone, but you have not rung me. Are you the guy who is going to liberate these teachers who are held in bondage?

    Well, let me not get carried away by my own rhetoric; we are talking here only about the need to hold a simple ballot in three schools with Viraj and Mithra (and a host of others?) in the running.

    Incidentally, Mithra is in Bandarawela; also, I don’t blame the young teachers for not opening their mouths. Imagine how bad their plight must be if they have to resort to YOU as their saviour. It may indeed be that they are trapped in a sepulchre with Old Farts!

    • 45
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      Does Sinhala Man Panini Edirisinghe know the appalling standards of English that now prevail at staff and student level at all four Thomian schools, given that it is his pet subject? I urge you to make inquiries, especially of the two Colombo schools and see whether there are even two or three teachers holding valid qualification or skill to teach English, let alone other subjects in English as is now being done.

      Contrast it to the essay in the first magazine of STC, long lost until revealed here, which even Sinhala Man Panini may not have known:

      https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/how-royal-helped-spawn-s-thomas-college/

      Note that it was said of 15 year olds then that they were at the level of a second year Oxbridge student.

      Where has this all gone now? How many Thomian students today even enter academia? I don’t mean pseudo-doctor Preethi Wanasinghe with his narcisistic personality disorder who keeps spewing his unaccredited qualifications all over (except for the Harvard qualification that is a weekend course that anyone can pay and do- thus not entitling him to use the term alumn of Harvard) and has not achieved anything of any known merit or published a single article in a peer reviewed journal other than having good PR? When will we turn out anything to be proud of ever again due to the drop in standards as Rajan Asirwathan and his dead bodies on the board slept the past few years?

      Esto Perpetua?

  • 4
    2

    Re: The Whited Thomian Sepulchers & The Pharisees Who Cheat!

    First and foremost, I am of doubt if the title of the original article to the “Ceylon Telegraph” by Mr. Panini Edrisinghe fits. The title itself addresses Sepulchers and Pharisees which by contemporary Norms is not applicable. Let me also extend this to Mr. Panini’s lifestyle who I believe is living a far more modern life than these words define.

    My second address is to Chrishmal W, whom I relive has NOT visited the two Thomian Schools outside of Colombo. I gather that Chrishmal himself has admitted to that fact. As such your eligibility to represent the two STC schools outside of Colombo needs to be queried.

    AS per the comments to the original article, Pushpam had responded on the 13th of April but judging by his comments I do not believe him to be a Thomian at all.

    Pushpam: You are at liberty to respond.

    Amarasiri: You’d challenged of any child abuses in any STC Schools. By this very statement, I judge you to be from a National School in a remote District, simply because you seem to be far from reality in life. As such I beg you to come down to earth ( if you have been a A/L student in any Sri Lankan School after 1976).

    Hegemony was never an issue @ STC colleges and I think that Amarasiri needs to crawl back to him/her own shell before commenting about STC colleges.

    I am penning this document on the go as I’m on a flight to Narita , Japan, thus I do not have time to correct my typing. Pls do pardon any typos in my writings.

    As Amarasiri had commented, oxidation without ignition is a thing of the past and modern ignition without full oxidation is a basic concept of Scientific experimentation.

    Pls respond with cc to personal e-mail address.

    Best Regards,

    Preethi Wanasinghe,
    B.Sc.(Eng) 1st Class Hons , M.Sc.(Eng, Japan),
    MBA (Merit), FP(Harvard), Ph.D. (Canada).
    Six Sigma Master Black Belt (Motorola University, USA),

  • 32
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    First of all let me confirm that I am an old Thomian from B’Wela 1993 Batch. Just to make sure that my comments are due to legitimate concern rather than Trolling.

    To be honest , I do not know the ins and outs of the legality of the election process however I fail to fathom what outcome can be achieved by this discussion on a PUBLIC forum ?

    If there are discrepancies in the election process , why can’t Panini + others who are concerned take it up with the board it self or the Church? or even go down the legal route?

    Regards
    Sriantha

    • 9
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      Thanks, Sriantha Perera,

      A truly decent comment.

      Thanks, Wild Buffalo, you realise just how difficult this is, and you have given me the view from the metropolis.

      Thanks Parrot, and Preethi Wanasinghe, for indicating that this is absolutely beyond my capacity to solve.

      My brother, Mithra, with whom I lunched on Palm Sunday, has been next door at my sister’s in Bandarawela for the past three days, and has been wanting to contact honest Guneris, my carpenter, but he seems to disappear each day without contacting us. I’m getting my roof repaired and have been staying put in my house.

      Tell me what more I can do?

      Sriantha, my lawyer told me, clearly, two months ago, that the Rules are so badly worded (deliberately, and only for the “goday teachers?) that a legal challenge is difficult.

      Taking it up with the Bishop? I had told him that this was going to be a problem, at about three meetings in Bandarawela, AFTER he was elected, BEFORE he was inducted. Thereafter, I have met him about twice and given my views to him in writing that the entire administration of the schools should be re-vamped. Detailed suggestions were once given; he and I sat together for half an hour and he read the five pages or so, aloud, and he asked me for clarifications (I had a copy in my hand).

      I am sure that he wanted to do the right thing, but he’s proved himself weak.

      Then came LAM Chandrasekera’s disgusting cheating over the OBA Rep election in January 2012. The Bandarawela OBA initially backed him. About a month ago, it became clear that they, too, have got fed up with the cheating. EXCO Members have been ringing me. Some said that the excellent former Hony Secretary had resigned because of me, but it was OK, I was the Honest Edirisinhe. I rang the Able-Former-Hony-Secretary; no response that evening. Next morning when I turned on my phone, I found six missed calls from him. I rang him. He was in a hospital because his son was sick. He said that he hadn’t left the EXCO because of the Honest Brother; it was the obverse!

      To get back to the Bishop and the Board; long before the Ides of March, on Sunday, the 24th of January 2016, there was a confirmation service at St Andrew’s Church, Haputale. The Bishop and I circled each other for long, then smiled with nobody else to intervene (this ceremony was from 8.00 a.m. till 2.00 p.m. – lunch thrown in). I said, “There’s only one thing that I have to ask of you; conduct a clean election. It doesn’t matter who wins.” He smiled back in seeming understanding.

      At the service, the Bishop’s main sermon had been in Tamil. The lovely little church in Haputale, where W.S. Senior lies buried, operates mainly in Tamil. The Bishop’s sermon had been translated in to Sinhala by the Headmaster, Rev. Christopher Balraj. That was when I realised just how good his Sinhala was. The Bishop then summarised his sermon in English; the little story he told was about Nicola Paganini and his violin. No, not that one about using a cheap violin and smashing it, but a less dramatic one about his having forgotten his Stradivarius.

      I joked with Rev. Balraj about how some Englishman had got in to the habit of calling me Paganini. What I’m trying to say is that I had done all that I could to get a relaxed atmosphere for the elections – and I didn’t worry too much about having fallen behind in the Gurutalawa poll – which was held about ten days after the St Andrew’s Confirmation Service. I had imagined that Rev. Nihal Fernando (Guru Headmaster) would have been there at Haputale, and that I could discuss the election with him. But there’s no problem with that poll. It was properly conducted.

      You ask why cannot Panini + others . . . ? I had done as much as I could I felt, and when the reports came in (I was in Maharagama – with only one photograph to be found on the HDD there – but what could be done? The Good Lord has not made me either handsome or likable!). I wrote:

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/belief-in-the-worth-of-teachers-at-s-thomas-colleges/#comments

      There have been lots of teachers giving me their views, from all three schools (not much from Kollupitiya), but none of them will dare write to the Bishop.

      I wrote a very early letter of outrage to Rev. Balraj, copied to the other important players. Actually, the mail to Rev. Balraj bounced – SLT bills not paid! About four weeks ago I wrote to the Bishop. Chrishmal too has written. Christo Gonawela’s views are to be seen on this blog. He’s been to Teheran (Persia) and has been writing his letter of protest for the past three weeks.

      Wild Buffalo, I put my phone number on for the Troll, Viraj, on April 15, 2016 at 1:39 pm.

      Your comment, and the link to Michael Roberts (he’s lectured me at Pera – just one or two sessions) was most interesting. A bit difficult to deal with all those issues that you raise, and I’m only a “game iskole mahattaya!

      But basically you are right. The schools have a mascot or two performing in English. But on the other hand, English is not the most important thing here! It’s honesty and decency that are our primary concern. Why not call me? This is difficult to deal with in a public forum. However, for English, Rev. Marc Billimoria can hardly be bettered, but the issues are more than that.

      Thanks. I repeat, somebody else must take this up, or at least help me the way that these gentlemen have. And my computer’s playing tricks. Oh well, it’s not that; I’m old and dye my hair! The Bishop doesn’t, by the way, lucky guy!

  • 4
    0

    Viraj Kariawasam,

    I don’t know how serious you have been in making your comments, such as the one on April 25, 2016 at 1:40 pm. Let me give you the benefit of the doubt.

    Sriantha Perera, above, has clearly identified himself. That is what you must necessarily do if you want to be taken seriously.

    It could well be that once you got down to studying what the problem is, you’d have realised how horrendous this situation is. However, you are still play-acting. Until you state that there wasn’t any proper election at Bandarawela, you will not be taken seriously.

    I also hope that you’re beginning to realise that for me this is NOT just about getting myself in to a supposedly prestigious position. What our society desperately needs is simple honesty and truthfulness in public affairs. And for me, education is a serious public business. To reform something like this, it will require lots of patience, and working within the system.

    Sriantha Perera has asked what can be achieved by bringing it to a public forum. Well, for one thing, I’d like serious discussion of the central issues here. As far as I know, the two Branch School reps have not yet received their invitations to attend BoG meetings. I won’t rule out the possibility of Bishop Dhilo deciding that having clean fresh elections is better than having everybody knowing that there isn’t fair play in the schools.

    It is desperately necessary to attract young people of the highest calibre in to the teaching profession. Another thing that they must do is to have Deputy Headmasters in these schools, so that there is a pool of qualified people available the next time there is a vacancy in one of the other schools.

    Well, let’s hope we get somewhere after all this hubbub.

  • 27
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    Having made the first brief comment on this article on New Year’s Eve, I have now returned to it, and find that many interesting things have been said about what has really happened in relation to these schools of which I know little. What all this skulduggery points up is the wisdom behind the saying “Appearances can be deceiving” – all these so-called elite colleges are not what they appear to be, anymore!

    Having made the first brief comment on this article on New Year’s Eve, I have now returned to the article, and find that many interesting things have been said about what has happened in relation to these schools of which I know little.

    It looks as though the situation at STC is outrageous, and it certainly seems as though Panini Edirisinghe has given an honest account of the whole scenario. Obviously, he may not know everything and some people might have corrected him on details. One such is Viraj Kariawasm. It is unlikely that his real name is the one he is using. I am using my real name, and so, probably, is Sriantha Perera, who appears to be sincerely concerned at the tarnishing of the reputation of these once famous schools.

    But how is it that there has been no explanation from His Lordship, the Bishop of Colombo, Rt. Rev. Dhiloraj Rajith Canagasabey? What a mouthful that name of his is. Why can’t he open his own mouth; or rather why can’t he get one of his private secretaries to send an explanation to Colombo Telegraph? And what about the Hony Secretary to the Board of Governors, Rajan Asirwatham, who appears to have messed up this election in style? What has he to say? And then, there’s Mithra Edirisinhghe, allegedly without even a G.C.E. (O. Level) qualification? What do these pharisees have to say for themselves?

    Is this the way the Anglican Church ensures that these schools are run for the thousands of non-Anglican students whose enrolment allows these schools to run? Lastly, what are Civil Rights Groups, the Education Ministry, and the Ministry of Labour, doing about the rights of the teachers in the schools at Kollupitiya, Bandarawela and Gurutalawa.

    This is a matter of concern to the entire Sri Lankan community, and not just for “Thomians”. As for the Pharisees – well, I guess Jesus Christ himself said enough about them:

    “27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”

    Matthew 23:27; see:

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23%3A27&version=KJV

    What has the Lord Bishop of Colombo to say about all of this?”

    It looks as though the situation is outrageous, and it certainly seems as though Panini Edirisinghe has been as truthful as he knows to be, about what has happened. Obviously, he may not know everything and some people have corrected him on details. One such is Viraj Kariawasm. It is unlikely that his real name is the one he is using. I am using my real name, and so, probably, is Sriantha Perera, who appears to be sincerely concerned at the tarnishing of the reputation of these once famous schools.

    But how is it that there has been no explanation from His Lordship, the Bishop of Colombo, Rt. Rev. Dhiloraj Rajith Canagasabey? What a mouthful that name of his is. Why can’t he open his own mouth; or rather why can’t he get one of his private secretaries to send an explanation to Colombo Telegraph? And what about the Hony. Secretary to the Board of Governors, Rajan Asirwatham, who appears to have messed up this election in style? What has he to say? And then, there’s Mithra Edirisinhghe, allegedly without even a G.C.E. (O. Level) qualification? What do these pharisees have to say for themselves?

    Is this the way the Anglican Church ensures that these schools are run for the thousands of non-Anglican students whose enrollment allows these schools to run? Lastly, what are Civil Rights Groups, the Education Ministry, and the Ministry of Labour, doing about the rights of the teachers in the schools at Kollupitiya, Bandarawela and Gurutalawa.

    This is a matter of concern to the entire Sri Lankan community, and not just for “Thomians”. As for the Pharisees – well, I guess Jesus Christ himself said enough about them:

    “27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”

    Matthew 23:27; see:

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23%3A27&version=KJV

    What has the Lord Bishop of Colombo to say about all of this?”

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    Panini Edirisinghe,

    Let me first congratulate you for having the courage to expose the truth about S.Thomas’ Colleges. For many long years all these so called S. Thomas’ Colleges have been behaving as if there’s no one beyond. Thanks to you Panini, being a Thomian yourself, you have had the courage to expose matters.

    I am not from any of these S. Thomas’ Colleges but I do associate with a few that have attended these schools.

    Though I don’t have any major concern about the exposed issue by itself, the high impression I had about these schools is certainly diminishing. I am certain that all Thomians will be very ashamed of these turn of events.

    There generally is a belief that Anglican schools are one the best managed in the island but it seems otherwise now. I’ve heard about the issues at Trinity College as well.

    Panini, I think the real problem is at the Anglican Church itself and I strongly feel that you should also look at exposing the malpractices there.

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    Teachers by profession should not be demoralized by any means. Their dignity should always be recognized properly An old boy.

  • 31
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    I am an Old Boy of S. Thomas’ College, Bandarawela. I left school quite recently. I live close to the school. I meet many of my teachers very often.

    A teacher told me about the problem that they have. They were not allowed to select a Board Of Governors member. They told me about this article, and I read it about two weeks ago. I have read it, and all the comments on the two articles. It took many hours and now I understand the problems of our school very well.

    I have talked with many teachers in the school. They teach in many sections of the school. I have also talked with the staff in the office. What this viraj Kariawasam tells is not true. There was no election. The Head Master told at a Meeting for the teachers of the Senior school that they had to select one teacher. He had to go to Kollupitiya school and vote for a Board Member for the Staff. He said that the office staff also will send one person. This time it was not Bandarawela turn he said. Guruthalawa elections held. Bandarawela supporting Guruthalawa.

    It was only short meeting. There were about 60 teachers. Mr. Bandara (Senior Supervisor) was asked to go. He said he can’t go because it is a big joke. Some other senior teachers, Mr. Nellihela, Mr. Tilak etc. also supported telling don’t go. Meeting finished nobody selected.

    Now everybody in Bandarawela knows. Our school has become a big joke. Mr Sunanda Ratnayake and Mr Steeve Tambimuttu (Office boss) went to Colombo and voted for Mr. Mithra Edirisinghe. Nobody in the school knows Mr. Mithra. We only know he is brother of this author, Mr. Panini Edirisinghe. Their father was the first teacher in this school with Mr. Keble. That is why there is “Edirisinghe Dormatry” in the school. All teachers are telling Mr. Panini best to talk teachers problems in the Board Meetings. But some are sometimes telling good to have Colombo person for the Board. But I know Mr. Panini is going to Colombo for many days every month. Mr. Panini is best English man in Uva Province. Joke in Bandarawela is that he is laughing also in English.

    Now the standard of English in this school is very low, but in every class there are some boys who are very good in English. I was the best in English in my class but not like Mr. Panini. English teachers in the school are good in English. Mr. Shannon, Miss Banagoda, Miss Kavitha, Mr. Ralph, Mr. Noel Narangoda and etc are good English teachers. Other teachers do not know English, but I know that is O.K. They must know their subject. Headmaster is a very good Father, but what I have read in the comments is that he is not strong enough. Yes, Mr Panini is correct. This is cheating elections. Teachers do not respect Father Balraj now. Some teachers told me to tell this article comments. Many teachers don’t understand English. Other teachers frightened to write.

    I am proud that I studied in old Private School, but I know that government schools are better. Why? Teachers know Education Directos and Principals are qualified bosses. Most of them. Here no bosses, and no Vice Principal. Tambimuttu is “deveni mahattaya”. Board of governors big joke. This is not the way to run our alma mater. We do not know Kollupitiya and Guruthalawa. Why we have to share Board Member with them? Sure result is cheating!

    Dear Bishop, Diloraj Rantith, I know you. Please do something. Have new elections.

  • 20
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    Romeo

    It’s good that you made a clarification on what happened at the Bandarawela school. I too have heard something similar from my sources.

    What I don’t agree with you is your question on, as to why we should share the Board member with Kollupitiya and Gurutalawa?

    You should understand that all these three schools, which are called Branch schools have only one person representing them at the board every four years. So, it is only correct for the three schools to share a twelve year cycle taking four years each.

    In the year 2012, it was the turn of Bandarawela and a person was nominated accordingly. So this time it has to be either Gurutalawa or Kollupitiya.

    I sincerely hope that the Bandarawela school will follow this ethic and not get trapped to selfish motives of individuals, should there be a re-elections.

    • 7
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      Dear “kargi”,

      I really do hope that I don’t have to write a third article on this subject. That depends on what the Board decides in about ten hours. Your comments proved invaluable because we know so little about what goes on in Colpetty.

      Thanks for explaining the turn taking. However, it was not God who decreed the number of members of the Board of Governors, or whom they should represent. The current Arrangement dates probably from around 1963. It looks grossly unfair that Mount Lavinia should have three Representatives. The three branch schools have only two Representatives. Let’s grant that Mount Lavinia deserves more because it is the parent School. The three branch schools should be given three Representatives.

      For a start, I suggest one of these two ways.

      One would be to allow the teachers and the old boys of each school to get together and elect one individual as the representative of that school.

      There is another way to look at this question. Colpetty is in effect an elite Colombo school. Let them select one member as I have already suggested.

      If there were one member representing the staffs of Gurutalawa and Bandarawela, then we could hope that the when the representatives of the two of the Uva office will be friends. The schools will cooperate instead of competing. Similarly the old boys Associations of the two schools will have to get together in the spirit of friendship.

      I hope I’m dictating sense into this tablet. I am tired.

    • 12
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      My optimism appears to have been misplaced. Last night I wrote:

      “I really do hope that I don’t have to write a third article on this subject. That depends on what the Board decides in about ten hours.”

      It rather looks as though I WILL have to write my third article, tomorrow. The BoG meeting was, in fact this evening – must have begun at 5.00 p.m. Both the Members “elected” on the Ides of March had been present. We welcomed Prabhath Jayasundera to the Gurutalawa OBA EXCO meeting held on the same Cathedral Premises in Bhauddahloka Mawatha at 6.00 p.m., when he turned up, with another Board Member, Mr Senaka de Fonseka, around 7.30 p.m. I’m glad that the legalities have been brushed aside, after, no doubt, troubling the Headmasters of the three schools for past two months. All that they erred in with respect to the OBA Rep election was, not cheating, but merely negligence.

      However, I cannot regard “the election of the Staff Representative” with the same equanimity. That was outright and audacious cheating.

      “Nalindra” May 15, 2016 at 1:57 had said”

      “The STCB OBA AGM is in August I think. As old boys we should go for that in numbers and question the Headmaster.”

      But first, let me write to the Bishop – tonight!

      I wonder whether these guys can’t understand that they are wrecking FOUR schools that have been built with immense dedication and commitment by great men who made tremendous sacrifices. Apparently some BoG Members had spoken out, but the majority have proved to be either crooks or craven cowards.

  • 20
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    Romeo,

    I am also an boy of STCB and I left college in the nineties.

    As per what you say, the Headmaster Fr. Balraj has cheated the teachers in style. He has given an impression to the teachers that STCB will support the candidate from STCG and have sent two staff members to vote accordingly. But at the elections they have got together with STPS and have proposed Mithra Edirisinghe and have got him elected. This couldn’t have happened at the last moment. This was all well planned. Further, as Panini had mentioned, Mithra has never sat a public exam. So, an uneducated man has been appointed to represent the teachers who are well educated and qualified. What a sorry state of affairs.

    This is very unethical and sheer cheating. It’s surprising that even Reverends stoop down to such low levels of cheating. Do you think he was bribed by Mithra Edirisinghe?

    Teachers not respecting Fr. Balaraj is not surprising at all after this third graded behaviour. He doesn’t deserve to head the school any longer. The teachers should get together and throw him out of the school. I understand he is an old boy of the school. A real shame being an old boy and on top of that a Reverend to behave in such a third graded manner.

    Is this the type of Reverends the Anglican church is providing the community? No wonder the Anglican community is in such a peril in Sri Lanka.

    Romeo, you are really foolish to appeal to the Bishop expecting him to do the right thing. He won’t do anything. He is more concerned to protect the massive corruption taking place in the church. These buggers are bigger thieves and rogues than the MR clan.

  • 20
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    In view of all this it’s about time that STC stalwarts dig deep into this matter. An inquiry may settle the matter and will also be beneficial in the future. Simply bickering ad nauseam will achieve naught.
    I happen to be an old boy of STCB when it was Prep,and a classmate of Panini’s during the Keble era.
    Nevertheless it’s heartening to see you guys being so passionate about STC and its future – do keep that in mind.

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