16 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

  • 29
    0

    I happened to meet some Thomian friends yesterday and from what I gathered from them is more disturbing.

    The Headmaster has not only cheated the teachers but has cheated the OBA as well. On the same day the election for the Staff representative for the BOG was held, election for the OBA representative was also held. Two people from the OBA were supposed to go for the voting. However, the Headmaster has failed to inform the OBA of the elections and this has resulted in the STCB OBA representatives not being present at the elections.

    As Ramzeen has pointed out, this should be looked at deeply and have an inquiry and expose the wrong doers.

    It clearly looks that there had been a conspiracy here and from what I gather, it is Mithra Edirisinghe who has masterminded this operation. All the Banda Thomians have so much respect for this man. His father had done so much for the school and there is a dorm named after him at college. But one son is a crook and the other is a crack. (the author of this article). Surely Edirisinghe senior must be turning in his graves.

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

    • 16
      0

      Dear Nalindra,

      There have been times, during the last five months, when I, too, have got as mad as you and the last few contributors; but it is never sensible to corner even a rat too effectively – lest it turn on you, and bite you. One has to let it escape. Or kill it! Well, you can do that with a rat, but here we are dealing with human beings.

      Very seriously, though: neither Rev. Balraj nor Bishop Dhiloraj is evil; both have their good qualities; it is the system that must change – but make no mistake: In this instance, the opprobrium heaped on them is deserved. You must also excuse me on another score: on Sunday, the 17th, May 2016 (Palm Sunday), I accepted a luncheon invitation from Mr Merril Aluwihare, the retiring BoG Staff Representative for the Branch Schools. The other guest was my only brother. I arrived first and asked Merril what the ground rules were. He said that his intention was, as a Christian, to make peace between two brothers. Therefore, we should not discuss S. Thomas’. I agreed. Mithra and I spent three hours together; I haven’t met him since. Please note that from that point on, while I have stuck to facts, I have not been making personal comments about Mithra. However, FACTS and the TRUTH are sacred entities, and I will not resile from any matter that has been dealt with. It was only as a last resort that I went public on these issues.

      I wish somebody else would deal with these happenings at S. Thomas’. For many reasons I find it embarrassing to discuss them.

      To the best of my knowledge, neither of the Board members “elected” on the Ides of March has been invited to attend the forthcoming meeting of the BoG. There will be no problem with the election of Prabhath Jayasundera – and he will be a good BoG member. Some have anxiously told me that he is not willing to accept the position as member representing the OBAs. That is not true. I spoke to him about five days ago. During the past six weeks or so, he had lost, first his mother, and next his mother-in-law. In any case, he is a man of different temper from me. He will not fight.

      There is to be a BoG meeting on Wednesday, the 18th May 2016, in the morning. The same day, at 6.00 p.m., there is to be a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Gurutalawa OBA, and I plan to be there. It may be that the sole “Good” Headmaster, Rev. Nihal Fernando, will be able to give us the latest developments – AS HE KNOWS THEM. He won’t know everything. It is usually the case that even three or four of the Board Members are not given the full facts. You can be sure that Bishop Dhilo will take due cognizance of what you have said here. I hope that the lies spouted by “Viraj Kariawasam” are recognised to be the misrepresentations that they are.

      I am grateful to all those who have commented, except for Viraj Kariawasm and Amden. Yes, even to those who advised me not to wash dirty linen in public, and not to dye my hair. There are quite a few things that I have still to explain – e.g. about the “Rules of the BoG”. Shall do so, ASAP.

      The fact is that we all have other commitments: I’ve been to the airport today. My two grand-daughters left for Kuala Lumpur with their parents (on Malaysian Airlines!). They are great-grand-daughters of David Edirisinhe, after whom “Edirisinhe Dormitory”, Bandarawela, is named. On Friday, the 13th (two days ago), his first great-grand-son, already named as Eliot Mark Wraight (our family seems to specialise in unusual spellings of surnames!) was born in Sydney, Australia. And then, after my other daughter insisted that we receive Holy Communion at (the only?) Anglican High Church House of God (St Michael’s, Polwatte), I was given the sad news (by Arjuna Parakrama) that Professor Ashley Halpe had passed away this morning.

      Happier news with a Thomian connection:

      http://www.dailymirror.lk/109386/Two-Sri-Lankans-nearing-Everest-summit

      The connection is that the said Jayanthi is the daughter of the Mr Kuru Uthumpala who was the Guru OBA treasurer for a long time, and a Warden of the said St Michael’s Church.

      There’s so much that is happening around us, much of it trivial. I think that the cheating that has taken place at the Thomian BoG elections is cozening that has the utmost significance for all Sri Lankans, whether Thomians or not. I think that you should make your views known.

      And now, I must definitely stop. The downstairs of this house is getting flooded – so heavy is the rain.

      • 15
        0

        There is a significant difference between the S. Thomas’ College Ordinance of 1930 and the Rules of the Board of Governors which have been formulated there after. The former can only be altered by an act of Parliament. That is because it was passed in the Legislature Assembly.

        I hope that you can extrapolate from there. There is a problem with the cooling fan of my computer. It will be put right this evening. I am dictating this into a tablet. When one does that, the spelling usually turns out perfectly, but there are typos of a different sort that creep in. They have to be corrected manually.

        What is important to note is that the rules of the Board of Governors can be changed at will, provided that a majority of members agree on it. When saying that I have not checked the Rules. What’s the point? Reading the rules 100 times is still not going to change me into a Legal Eagle. Let us allow Chrishmal Warnasuriya to handle all that. Please do not rule out the possibility that the bishop may after all decide to amend the rules. And in doing so, it may be that he could allow greater representation for the branch schools. Does that answer the misgivings of Romeo, and also the observations made by somebody else on what Romeo said.

        I think that a person who takes the trouble to study this carefully, will now properly understand the situation.

        Now let me keep my fingers crossed about the minor repair to my computer. But I am sure that all right-thinking people keeping the fingers of both hands crossed about the outcome of tomorrow’s Board of Governors Meeting. The Christian thing to do now, is to pray to God.

  • 32
    0

    So, the Bishop himself has protected the wrong doers and has been very comfortable in doing it, is it? Probably he was the one who hatched the conspiracy.

    God save S.Thomas’ Colleges and the Anglican community.

    • 13
      0

      Amen, dear Kargi,

      I find this most distressing.
      What future can there be for either Church or College? I have a problem with my computer. I am dictating this into my tablet.

      The next article that I write will be brief. It will bring this matter to the notice of all stakeholders. I can do little more. I weep for the noble values that we were taught in these schools.

  • 23
    0

    How disgusting this is!!!!!

    The Bishop had all the chances to put this right. It is so unfortunate that, either he is back-boneless or is the main player in this conspiracy. I really feel sorry for all the S.Thomas’ Colleges.

    Many have told me that the Anglican Church is one of the most corrupted places in Sri Lanka and also some have said that the current Bishop is a big fraudster. It now looks so. Hope there are right thinking Anglicans that will rise up and put the house in order.

    Further, this man Prabath Jayasundara too has proven himself to be a selfish, greedy person like Mithra Edirisinghe, by accepting the appointment knowing very well that the way he was elected was wrong. Very sad to note that there are such Thomians in our midst. A real disgrace.

    Thankfully all those involved are of the older generation. I am glad that the younger generation Thomians are not of this caliber.

  • 5
    0

    Dear Nalindra,

    A new Logitech keyboard and mouse have solved my computer problems, and I have written to the Bishop. However, I am going to Bandarawela tomorrow, and it will take a day or two for me to start writing the next article – unless the Bishop responds.

    I’ll keep that article short, so that it is readers’ views that will matter more. I agree that this whole business has been shocking.

    On the other hand, I don’t want to keep repeating things over and over again, although anything that has been left unclear must be explained by me. What do you blame Prabhath Jayasundera for? Please

    I know that I am a “crack”, but so was my father – although he was an excellent teacher. The only “vehicle” he ever owned was a second-hand Raleigh ladies’ bicycle and he used to ride it in a white suit with topee hat. He also kept cows, and did most of the related work himself. Today, a man like him would be considered crazy – depends on one’s way of looking at life! It would help if you told me what I have left unexplained about Prabhath’s election. I don’t know him well myself, but he seems an excellent man.

    I know that it takes a long time to read all that is relevant, but if I start repeating myself everybody will get put off; that would be tragic because the issues are important.

    And they are important to everybody in Sri Lanka; some have not commented because they feel that when dealing with S. Thomas’ they are in unknown territory. This is also true of “religion”. ‘Allow “religious dignitaries” to do anything, since we should not interfere with other people’s faith’ is how a majority of decent people think. This should not always be our attitude.

    Nothing could be further from the truth; if a clear message is sent to the cheats at as prestigious a place as S. Thomas’, we will be performing an immense service for all Sri Lankans.

    Please ask such questions now, so that the new article does not get cluttered with trivialities. The link to these articles will be there, but few follow any links, and I’d like to see what articulate commenters like you have to say on my third article which may be entitled something like: “The S. Thomas’ Board Elections: the Charade Continues”.

  • 10
    0

    Panini Edirisinghe,

    I thought you were going to write an article about the charade continuing at the BOG. What happened? Have you been subdued or have you been offered something irresistible to keep quiet?

    Many whom I am in touch with are disgusted with the Reverend Headmaster of STCB and also I hear that many are disgusted with the Reverend Headmaster of STPS Colpetty as well. Both these Headmasters should by right resign immediately and go back to their respective churches, should they be interested in commanding some respect as religious dignitaries. The more and more this issue remain unresolved people are certainly going to hate these two Reverends and also all those people above and those in the Board.

    Panini, I think you should come out with more facts, such as the possible reasons for this cheating.

  • 6
    0

    Thanx, Nalindra.

    My apologies for the delay. I’m in a Colombo bound bus at Diyatalawa.
    There were some most interesting happenings on Monday, at the end of which I was tempted to send this sms to Fr Christopher, but I said, “Get thee behind me, Satan.”

    I wanted to write, “You are a good guy, but a bloody fool. Now you are going to be in even greater trouble.”

    Yes, he’s going to be in considerable trouble with the Ministry of Education. It will be in the article when it is finally written. But please bear with me. I’ll try to do some of it tomorrow. Already started a Google Document. However, on Friday I have to be present at a high-powered meeting at Isurupaya.

    On Saturday I have to go in my antique car to Pannala. Thence to Jetwing Lagoon Hotel, other side of the Negombo Lagoon. B’wela by the 8th, latest. Then, on the 10th at 4.00 a.m. the “gamay iskole mahattaya” is off to Yaalpanam with some of his erestwhile colleagues from Bandarawela M.M.V. Return to B’wela on the 12th. Gurutalawa OBA EXCO meeting on 13th evening. Prize Giving there on the 14th.

    I have given my Dialog mobile number – when “Viraj Kariyawasam” wanted it. Please find it and call me.

    Many thanks for your concened pereptive comments.

  • 7
    0

    Dear Nalindra,

    Having sat down at my desktop computer in Maharagama, it strikes me that there are a few things about this whole business that many people (Old Boys especially) have not properly understood.

    I am NOT interested in getting either the Bandarawela or the Colpetty Headmaster removed. Somebody has to run these schools, but I think that Monday’s horrible blunder by Rev. Christopher Balraj empasises one thing: he should NEVER have been made the Headmaster IN THIS WAY.

    He has wonderful personal qualities, and is a humble, decent man. But he was appointed because Bishop Dhilo imagined that he could solve all problems in the schools that he accidentally controls by appointing priests. The result of the manner of his appointment is that Balraj just doesn’t know what the position of a Government Recognised school is. Nor do many Old Boys understand that this school is part of a National Education system. And, if it becomes an issue, the rotten politicians will side with the “Religious Dignitaries”. It’s the safest thing for them to say and do. So, they will say that Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity are ALL wonderful religions. Judaism, Jainism, Sikhism, etc – oh, they just don’t exist – since there are no voters to avoid displeasing.

    I was born an “Anglican”; the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths has certified that it was in the school that I was born – yes, in STPS; baptised as an Anglican with W.T. Keble, R.H. Moses, and Muriel Lowe as Godparents. I am very familiar with Christianity, but not with those other religions that I have named above, or, no doubt, with countless other “religions” that mean much to many people with whom I am not acquainted. To please my family, I actually have become a “Practising Anglican”, although I have no conviction that there is more truth in it than lots of other “faiths”. The group of Christians that I have found most acceptable to me are the Quakers:

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

    However, at this moment, there are none in Sri Lanka. Very few worldwide – they just don’t brainwash anybody – not even their own children. My feeling is that intelligent people find this approach to religion more appealing than most other dogmas. Why else would Barack Obama be schooling his daughters here?

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

    Just check on who else has had kids there.

    One of the problems now for me is that so many want me to carry out their agenda! No way! I’m 67 years old, and far too many have said that I’ve been “a miserable failure” for me to brush aside the realisation that “I haven’t done well in life”. I’m just not going to change myself to please anybody. When I have said such things, one of the few persons who has understood me is Christopher Balraj. For two years now I have donated a “Peace Prize” in memory of my mother’s grandfather, a person she was very proud of because he had taught for 49 years in one school. (Some other members of the family have been donating prizes in memory of my parents for many years now.)

    Although I have said those kind things about Rev. Balraj, his shocking conduct on Monday, the 30th of May 2016, proves one thing. Priests have been trained to obey their “Mahanayakes”. It must have something to do with the way our hierarchical Sri Lankan culture has interacted with Anglicanism. I was very fond of the former Archbishop of Canterbury (now lecturing at Oxford), Rowan Williams, as I got to know him on the Internet. I have now witnessed, and been touched by, the humanness with which Rt. Rev. Justin Welby has come to terms with the discovery of his real parentage – at the age of 60! Just imagine what would have happened in Sri Lanka, in such circumstances!!

    The last time that I met Rev. Balraj was at the “Big Match” at Gurutalawa. I have mentioned in a comment made soon after that he kept saying that we should be “friends”. How then am I to come to terms with what he did to me two days ago? I will meet him again at the Gurutalawa Prize Giving on the 14th of June. I now expect him to carry out the orders he has received from somewhere “above”. He must have been told to be as nasty to me as possible; something that he will find difficult to do because he is NOT by nature a nasty man. I feel that I am consistent, while “they” are not.

    Isn’t it significant that not one of this “Pharisaical Mafia” has yet made a statement or comment? Come on, the other side! Have you nothing to say? Even your hired agents, “Viraj Kariawasm” and “Amden” have fallen silent.

    Today (I mean Wednesday), I went along to the Education Office in Bandarawela to explain to the Zonal Director of Education what had happened on Monday. There I met Mrs Kannan, an English teacher. I reminded her that we had last met on Sunday, the 24th January 2016, at Haputale. She said that her son was one of those “confirmed” that day. That was also the day on which Bishop Dhilo seemed to agree with me that clean elections ought be held on the Ides of March.

    Why is it that he has not done so? Please ask him. Not me!

    Nalindra, you ask “have you been offered something irresistible to keep quiet?” Yes, Nalindra, I may be subdued and let you down – forgetting all the other issues that you, and others have raised, if one thing is offered me now: clean re-elections for Staff Representative.

    The EXCO of the Bandarawela OBA is now “against” Balraj, and he himself had not invited them to last Saturday’s Tamil Cultural Day. I had wanted to go, but had been held up by a meeting at the Bandarawela M.M.V. We can now only speculate what would have happened had I gone in Lounge Suit and College Tie. Incidentally, on Monday my tie was different; I so much wanted to get that done without unnecessary fall out. Later, on the phone there was a guy (actually he’s only one of many) who urged me to contest for Secretary of the OBA “since I want to get on the Board of Governors.”

    I don’t “WANT” to be there! If there is a re-election, I will stand again, and hope that I enjoy the trust of the staffs. But clamber on, whatever the cost? Certainly not!

    Nalindra, I can’t see the BoG changing anything now. So, you rightly appeal to all OBA members to be present on August 13th, but I would also like to see lots of others taking on membership.

    How confidently can we say it? Esto Perpetua!

  • 6
    0

    Panini Edirisinghe,

    What is this so called “Horrible blunder” by Rev. Balraj?

    Why don’t you elaborate more?

    • 3
      0

      From the Pannala Race Track (near the Wayamba University, Kuliyapitiya Electorate):

      There are so many things to do, but more than that, I cannot say anything that is inaccurate. Chrishmal Warnasuriya had said that there was some “misinformation” and I immeditely apologised and corrected myself. I think that it will be granted that the mistakes were no lies.

      I just should not speculate. Somethig of what I wrote has actually got erased.

  • 1
    18

    Panini.. Panini,

    I really feel sorry for you. Even at your age of 67 and claiming to be a well educated person, sadly, you still are barking up the wrong tree.

    As I have said many times before, it is the election of the OBA representative of the branch school, which is faulty and not that of the staff representative. Please read the board rules again and again and try to get many opinions, then you will understand.

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the election of the Staff Representative. It was done according to the prescribed rules. Even if you get the best lawyer to argue this case, one will not be able to overturn this.

    I strongly recommend that you focus on the OBA rep matter, if you are really keen in doing something to put things right in the board. I doubt very much that you will do this as your personal interest is in getting onto the board as a staff rep. Your selfishness is thus exposed.

    The election of Prabath Jayasundera is very wrong, as an election couldn’t have been held without the right formation of the electoral college. It’s quite unfortunate that Prabath accepted the appointment and have attended the last BOG meeting.

  • 8
    0

    I’m a little more relaxed dictating all this stuff to my tablet. In a sense we are now servants to technology. I have allowed the tablet to auto fill my contact details. Then my name and gravatar come out perfectly. The way this works, my gravatar will remain constant. The gravtar for Panini Edirisinhe has changed a couple of times. That must have been because I made a spelling mistake in entering my email address. Why this long preamble to my comment you might ask? Perhaps that Creeps in after my having been a Schoolmaster for so long. Anyway, all those comments were made by Me. Android has to blame for mistakes in capitalization.

    Why is it that Viraj has made a mistake in spelling his surname? Elementary, Dr. Watson. It is not his name at all. There is no need to answer a dishonest troll.

    Why I haven’t yet answered Nalindra”s query about what happened six days ago, is because a main article has to be carefully thought-out and written. It is difficult work. If I overlooked relevant details, and have to put them in later, it will become boring to the average reader, and confusing to the more concerned.

    I can tell you this much. I spent the whole of Friday at the Ministry of Education. To start with, there was another formal session on bilingual education. After that, many people had to waste a lot of time because of these cheating Pharisees. The Gurutalawa Headmaster must be Exempted from such criticism. As for the Ministry of Education, the Director in charge of private schools, has to check on all the facts before he launches an inquiry.

    This is all very sad. So much time and energy that can be channeled into teaching the younger generation has to be frittered away because of these dishonest people who run these once-glorious schools.

    Please excuse me now. I must relax my system by swimming a hundred meters. It is not every day that I have a wonderful swimming pool at my disposal. Then after a Sumptuous breakfast, I have to drive the ancient car back to Maharagama.

  • 14
    0

    The Whited Thomian Sepulchres & The Pharisees Who Cheat
    A response: Preethi Wanasinghe, B.Sc.(Eng) 1st class, M.Sc. (Eng) Japan, MBA ( UoC) Merit, Six Sigma master black Belt (Motorola U) Ph.D.(Calgary)
    _________________________________________________________________
    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.
    I am also an ardent believer of private schools contributing to the education in Sri Lanka. However, what I am not sure of whether the teachers of the missionary schools do contribute to the Education system @ present. My argument is purely based on the caliber of teachers being recruited to missionary schools (in my example STC group).
    Many of the STC group of Schools has been found to have recruited teachers with a little or mere understanding of English, let along how to develop budding Thomians.
    I do remember my last years @ STC when Mr. Herathge was the Headmaster (a Trinitian and well versed in English) and how the other Masters struggled to speak in the Imperial language. I was so embarrassed, that when I went back to STC, Bandarawela as a Master during my University years ( in 1989-1990) that I used to go for Lunch to the staff table after the “last bell” since no staff member used to call for “grace” and without any remix. I was truly shocked of the decay of values within the five years since I left College.
    It is sound proof of institutional decline in the teaching profession, in the schools as well as in the universities. Similar mesorzoic problems have been confronted, which once had persons of high intellectual caliber in the priesthood as well as chaplains in 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.
    Referring to Mr. P. Edirisinghe’s comments, I quote “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.”

    Whilst I oppose to agree, I see a common ground in that the argument that “many prestige private schools have been impacted due to officialdom.
    The use of the phrase “Ides of March” which became notorious as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC is out of touch and totally not in line. The reference of the election date to “The Ides of March 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 is also out of line thus needs retraction.
    Any carelessness of work processes of the different OBAs need to be considered in perspective, and if it is agreed that Mr. Jayasundera is the Member who is finally elected since there were none other, then that has to adopted as legal.
    The arguments that Mr. Panini E brings forth against Mr. Mithra Edirisinghe (who also happens to one of my Masters @ STC) are:
    I. The serious moral concerns regarding the election of Mr. Mithra Edirisinghe
    II. 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.
    III. The two Headmasters, at Bandarawela and Kollupitiya deliberately cheated, or were made to cheat, by dishonest members of the Board.
    I shall leave bare any arguments to and fro for this issue for the other contributors of this article to establish.

  • 10
    0

    Panini Edirisinghe

    I heard that many members of the Ex-Co of STCB OBA have resigned in protest.Do you know anything about this? What’s going to happen to our OBA?

    Can you please tell us more on this.

  • 24
    0

    Many teachers also are saying that there is a lot of trouble in the OBA. Panini Edirisinghe was in Colombo for a week, but I saw him in Bandarawela town today.

    He is sure to know a lot about this. I think that he went to the school about ten days ago, but there had been some problem.

    I agree that we are all worrying about this. It is good if he writes his third article today.

  • 18
    0

    Romeo,

    Many old boys are also very concerned. What puzzles everybody is, why this Headmaster, who himself is an old boy of the college is working towards destroying the OBA? I know very well that the OBA in the recent times have done a lot of work to the college and I am sure they would do a lot in the future.

    This Headmaster is really crazy to try to destroy the OBA. I hope something good will happen soon. Many people are saying that the teachers and the students of the college hate him now. I think he should be replaced soon.

  • 11
    0

    “Many people are saying that the teachers and the students of the college hate (this Headmaster) now. I think he should be replaced soon.”

    Sad, but very true. The fact is that Rev. Christopher Balraj is a really nice and kindly man. He probably feels that he’s under siege right now. The question is, will he allow me to break that barricade when we will almost definitely meet at the Gurutalwa Prize Giving on Tuesday, the 14th morning? We will partake of the buffet lunch that is usually served afterwards.

    The poor man now seems incapable of acting rationally. I had been asked to make a cursory but formal appraisal of how the World Bank funded “Bilingual Programme” was working, and STC Bandarawela was one of ten schools in Uva that was suggested this year. Balraj knew that I had been doing this work in 2014 and 2015, and I had shared with him some of my insights in this area before the “Ides of March Fiasco”. That Fiasco was shameful, and he must take responsibility for his role in it, and seek forgiveness.

    I was extra careful in handling this school. The floods delayed the “Letter of Permission” that the Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Education sent all the appraisers. We have all heard of the road TO Dompe. Well, the Additional Secretary had found his way there, but couldn’t get BACK to Colombo owing to the floods.

    Anyway, as soon as I was able to, on Wednesday, the 25th of May 2016, I emailed the attachment, and a polite covering letter to “The Headmaster”, suggesting that I visit the school on the Friday. When I spoke to him on Thursday, he requested me to come on Monday, the 30th instead.

    Then on Monday, the 30th, I was apologetically stopped at the gate by the three Security guys who said that their orders were to prevent ME from entering. The details, the times, messages etc. will appear in my much requested “Third Article”. Let’s hope that Balraj sees this comment and decides “to be friends” again. After all, the last time we met, at the Guru-Bandarawela “Cricket Big Match” that was the plea he made of me.

    “Peace and Constructive Work” – yes, we all long for it. But the Pharisees must necessarily repent of what they did.

    Dear “Nalindra” and “Romeo”, it is also true that the following have resigned from the EXCO:

    Mr. Iranga Amilana – Secretary
    Mr. Jeevaka Muthukuda – Vice President
    Mr. Vudyananda Sellahewa – Vice President
    Mr. Akila Ellawala – Vice President
    Mr. Vino Vigneshahar – Hony. Asst. Secretary
    Mr. Rumi Reyal – Hony. Treasurer
    Mr. Venura Dissanayake – Hony. Asst. Treasurer
    Ms. Angela Seneviratne – Social Secretary
    Mr. Achintha Hewanayake – Committee Member
    Mr. Shridharan Suppiah – Committee Member

    That becomes virtually the entire Executive Committee. The others may not have been contactable. I salute them for taking the proper decision. Their action is based mainly on the negligence of Balraj in the election of the OBA Representative, which to me seems a less serious offence than the Staff Rep cheating.

    The ball is in the court of the Pharisees. Nobody else contributed to this mess. Dear Old Boys, Teachers, and Parents, don’t you think that we should ALL forgive them, AFTER they REPENT.

    A bit strange that we should have to say that to priests!

  • 6
    0

    Panini Edirisinghe,

    Things what I’ve heard are somewhat different to what you say.

    What has happened to the OBA is not mere negligence but a big conspiracy where many are involved. Rev. Balraj is one of them who played a key role in this whole drama. I am sure if it was due to mere negligence those gentlemen in the OBA wouldn’t have gone to the extent of resigning. Rev. Balraj’s action was deliberate and repenting it cannot be accepted and excused. HE MUST GO.

    If as you say, the staff representative matter is much more serious, then why haven’t any staff member protested so far? Surely they will have some courage to voice their concern collectively. Their silence could also mean that they have accepted whoever was elected as their representative.

  • 8
    0

    Dear Nalindra,

    At this moment I am in Jaffna, seemingly with time on my hands; but this particular place is a Bedlam. Fortunately, that has not been the case for most of the two days spent in Yaalpanam.

    It is good to have an honest guy like you disagreeing with some of the things said by me. However, the differences are only those of empasis, and my point of view remains much the same as ,it was before reading whatyou had written.

    I have to reiterate that there isn’t a great deal to discuss in the election relating to the OBA representative. There are many reasons why the real reasons are being skirted round by those who have commented; it may be that even I have been doing that.

    Have to contnue later.

  • 15
    0

    Dear all Stakeholders in the Colleges of S. Thomas,

    The climacteric day in the lives of the Branch Schools is upon us; It is certain that today I will meet face to face with Rev. Christopher Balraj; it will again be at beautiful Gurutalawa – the day of the Prize Giving – in the heart of the school. The last time we met was about two months ago, on the playground of the same school, half a mile away, when we applauded the performances of the Uva Thomian boys on the cricket grounds in a game played in the best spirit possible.

    Rev. Balraj and I met and shook hands warmly with what I am convinced were sincere smiles. Since then, unfortunately, events have been erratic.

    I feel refreshed by six hours of sleep, but I know that by the end of today, whatever be the outcome of this momentous day, I will feel exhausted. It is my great hope that I can hit the pillow tonight happy that peace prevails:

    “Avoiding conflict isn’t peacemaking. Avoiding conflict means running away from the mess while peacemaking means running into the middle of it.
    Peacemaking means addressing those issues that caused conflict in the first place.

    Peacemaking can never be separated from doing justice. They go hand in hand. Peacemaking means having to stir the waters on the way to peace.

    Peacemaking means speaking the truth in love, but speaking the truth nonetheless.”

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

    I owe this prayer to:

    Peggy Haymes, Strugglers, Stragglers and Seekers: daily devotions for the rest of us

  • 0
    11

    So, Panini Edirisinghe,

    No show by Rev. Fr. Christopher Balraj at the Gurutalawa Prize Giving!!!

    All your hope in re-establishing friendship has gone with the wind, is it?

    As Nalindra has quite rightly pointed out, that teachers not protesting could mean that they have accepted whoever has been declared elected.

    All what you are doing is with a single motive of finding your way into the Board of Governors. Keep trying. Good luck to you.

    • 4
      0

      Viraj,

      I consider you a really nasty bit of works. Why don’t you sit back and read what each of us has written with senses alive to tone?

      What you have written is cynical, legalistic and smug. I have tried to be humble,concilliatory,forgiving and pragmatic. It looks as though you are incapable of understanding the approach that I advocate.

      As for getting on to the Board of Governors; I don’t hanker for it. If the teachers of the Branch Schools desire it, so be it. On many occasions during the past fifty five years I have refused to say what was politically correct and expedient. I’m not going to start being a sycophant now.

      Nalindra,acceptance of status quo can logically be one reason for lack of protest. But it isn’t! I have a good deal of contact with these teachers. The reason has more to do with fear of reprisal.

    • 5
      0

      No electricity in my B’wela house for 20 hours now. I’m putting this on with my “dying” Note book computer, which i hate using – the more primitive Desk top is easier to use. Phone dead, also the Tablet, whose charger I have left behind in Jaffna. Keeping to such a hectic pace at my age means such losses are inevitable. An umbrella forgotten in bus to Welimada on Monday -why the hell did I take it?

      I meant to say, above, not “status quo”, but “fait accompli”. I hope that you understand what I mean.

      I have promised to be at Gurutalawa Muslim M.M.V. by 10 a.m. to get the forms filled (for the World Bank), by the Principal and by the admirable Kamil. Then to meet the equally admirable new Deputy Head at S. Thomas’, Samantha Perera, whose father, Cyril, actually taught me in the Lower sixth and Upper Sixth (Grades 9 and 10 in “Normal Sri Lankan English”.

      The Headmaster will not be there. All anglican clergy are at Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7, for a clergy conference. “While the cat is away, the mice are at play!”

      When I get back in the evening, hopefully, the electricity power would have been resstored.

      We need more people commenting, but please wait for the thrid article on this subject which I will write soon, but unlikely to be before about Tuesday next week. To find it, click on my name at the top of this page,in blue, i think it is. Then you will see all the articles that I hav writen for CT. (Only two yet). There are other ways of searching for titles of older articles – e.g. through “Archives”.

  • 8
    1

    I know that I have taken a much longer time to respond than I had anticipated.

    Obviously,many things have happened during this period. There are some people trying to ensure that this does not become a full-blown public controversy. If this is possible, it would be most desirable. We are concerned with education. The last thing that we should encourage is public quarrelling and squabbling.

    There was an important family gathering. I met my brother and three of my younger sister on Sunday. We did not discuss school affairs. My father was a truly great teacher. This is truly appalling when seen in that context. However, I consider it my duty to do what I can to ensure that these schools run according to the highest principles. Of course, we fall short all the time.

    On Friday this week, there is Guru Day at S. Thomas’ Mount Lavinia. Meeting of the executive committee of the Gurutalawa Old Boys’ Association has now been rescheduled for Friday morning. As for the Bandarawela Old Boys’ Association, I have contacted many of the executive committee who was elected last year. It looks as though nobody will contest the positions on the old boys Association. However, they have agreed that I want to contest as a Vice President. All of us have much to contribute towards the education of the younger generation. Fundraising has been the concern of most of the members of the old boys Association. That is not something that I will ever be able to do successfully. But on the other hand, despite all my faults, I feel that I can contribute something towards Education. I also feel that I am one of the very few who understand the Sri Lankan education system.

    As for the teachers in the school, please do not embarrass us all by expecting them to play a proactive role. There are various ways in which the management exercises control over them, and plays one lot against the other. Many of you may not know that after the retirement of these teachers, some of them will be paid government pensions. From personal experience I can tell you that that is a great solace in old age. It is the Headmasters of the schools who decide which teachers to nominate for this privilege. This is just one example.

    It is very likely that I will be able to speak a few words to the bishop when the swimming pool at Gurutalawa is declared open. If there is no way out, I will have to make further explosions. But I pray to God that this bitter cup be taken away from me. But the issues are extremely serious, and one way or another they must be addressed.

  • 2
    0

    These comments are being made on the tablet. Some distortions I’m afraid have crept in. I did not say anything about the explosions, but that’s the word that has got in!

  • 21
    0

    This is a very important update. At last yesterday I met an STC Bandarawela TEACHER who said that there had been NO cheating in relation to the Teacher Representative Election. I shall relate our brief but very pregnant conversation and ask you for “Your Verdict?”

    It was about 1.43 p.m. on Sunday, the 10th of July 2016. The place: Main Street, Bandrawela, a little below the steps leading to the Catholic Church. The man I met: Mr Sunanda Ratnayake, one of the few Old Boys on the staff of the school.

    Apart from teaching Maths in the school, Sunanda operates “Su Printers” on the “other (new)” road, Dharmavijaya Mawatha. Having grown around the railway station which was constructed in the middle of nowhere in 1894, there just isn’t any way that you can spread the town out like, say, Balangoda. Foreign Tourists? Some bus-loads transit in two hotels, but those who want to explore now stay in Ella.

    Sunanda Ratnayake was the “tutorial guy” who accompanied the “Administrative Secretary” (“Deveni Mahattaya” in a school which will never have a Deputy Head) Steven Tambimuttu, as “Bandarawela Delegates” to the famous Ides of March Elections in Colpetty. I’ve always been quite affable with him, and yesterday, having shaken hands, I held on to him for a full four minutes at least.

    I said that I was sooooo glad to meet him, because I’d been wanting to know from him whether there had been any cheating on the Ides. No, he said, there was no cheating. There’d been this meeting and since none of the senior staff was willing to go down, he’d agreed to go. I said that the meeting was on the Thursday, with the Ides being the following Tuesday, so how much discussion was there?

    “There was no real need of discussion since the teachers were NOT interested in the elections,” he said.

    “Wasn’t the meeting early morning, and didn’t you have to teach immediately it was over,” I asked.

    “Yes,” was the answer to that.

    “Weren’t the Primary teachers absent?” I asked next.

    “That didn’t really matter,” he said. “There are only about thirty teachers there. We had a good sixty at the meeting, and none of them wanted an election.”

    “But how could an election possibly have been conducted since the meeting was one that was routinely held weekly for ten minutes, with time-tabled teaching to follow,” I persisted.

    “For elections to be held, teachers ought to have nominated candidates, and that had not been done, so how could elections be held if nobody was wanting them,” was his rejoineder.

    “Well, the Headmaster, ought to have informed them that there were to be elections. I wrote to him in late November asking that the Staff be informed of pending elections before the Christmas vacation,” I argued.

    “No, that must have been too early,” he said. “But really, nobody wanted any elections.”

    “O.K. But what was said at the meeting was that you would be backing the proposals of the other schools; however, in Colpetty Steven actually proposed the name. Who seconded it?”

    “A lady from Colpetty,” he said.

    I asked Sunanda for her name, but he didn’t know it. I asked him how they knew that it was a teacher from that school. Oh, there was no doubt about that, I was told, “the Father [he meant Rev. Dushantha Rodrigo] came with them, and introduced them.”

    He sounded so respectful of the “Father” (this was mostly in Sinhalese) that I exploded, “Do you trust these priests? They obviously tell more lies than us laymen.”

    That was obviously as much as I could get from Sunanda, so I think I said something about it not being so much him to blame, and let him go his way; my watch siad. As I have already noted above, I had met Steven Tambimuttu at the “Big Match” in Gurutalawa in early April, but made no attempt to get him to divulge information; I just wouldn’t have succeeded – he’s too wily a character.

    I was grateful to Mr Sunanda Ratnayake for telling me so much. Incidentally, the names of the Gurutalawa delegates: Mr S. Kaviharan and Mr. V. W. Dikkumbura.

    Regarding that late November letter, it was a carefully worked out and respectful composition dated 23rd November 2015. It became my main campaign statement, and I photocopied it on about four different occasions – about 200 copies in all. I distributed it at the Bandarawela Sports Meet, with Rev. Balraj looking on in apparent support of the process. At Gurutalawa, I was only able distribute it only AFTER the premature elections there. As for Colpetty, you will find no names of teachers anywhere on the Internet. However, there was a Kollupitiya Facebook account of a felicitation for some senior teachers – and the names of 24 of them. To those names, I posted envelopes to the school, with just three copies of this letter.

    Colpetty is almost a fortress; that’s how JSLF and Cassie Chetty ran it. In all fairness, I must report that I have had many accounts of almost a transformation of the school in to a happier place after the advent of Rev. Rodrigo.

    But do YOU think that there were fair elections?

  • 8
    2

    Panini,

    I saw somewhere else that you are trying to write another article should nothing happen at Gurutalawa on Tuesday the 12th of July, where the Bishop himself is expected to be in attendance along with the BOG members.

    The scenario would be different if these people really had the willingness to do and stand by doing the right thing. Sadly, nothing is going to change now. Tuesday’s board meeting is the third after the new elected members got on to the board, am I right? If, the Bishop and the Board have not looked into correcting the wrong doing so far, do you think they will do it now? They’ve achieved what they wanted and now they are simply not bothered.

    Unless you can come out with real facts and exposures I am afraid you are not going to head anywhere.It’s “FAIT ACCOMPLI” as you yourself had said somewhere.

    Any way good luck.

    • 25
      0

      I have given you lots of real facts.

      What more do you want?

      So, you want to abandon all the doping to me, do you?

      Shame on you!

      • 2
        0

        Sorry . . . typo: “doing” NOT “doping”!

        Also, perhaps I’ve been harsh on you: it is clear that you, too, would like to see honesty and decency prevail.

        Now, “Good Night!”

  • 0
    8

    Panini,

    In the opinion of the teachers, there had been no cheating on the Staff Representative election. In the opinion of people like you, there had been no cheating in the election of the OBA representative.

    In the opinion of the BOG there had been no cheating in either of the elections.

    Do you have anything more to say?

    • 12
      0

      Dear Kargi,

      I am not either omniscient or omnipotent.

      I fear that there was such outrageous cheating, that if people are unconcerned, the very basics of morality would be so much undermined that we should stop talking in terms of human civilization. I hope that that is a quite unambiguous statement of what I feel.

      The teachers too are totally disillusioned with the way in which the Church runs these schools. I have already explained why teachers will not openly rebel. Please read carefully what I wrote last night. It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, and there is sarcasm. However, I also honestly wanted readers to work things out for themselves. The teacher whom I met yesterday, was the quisling who went down to Colombo to participate in the farce. It may be that he is already being rewarded.

      The other guy who went down, and actually proposed the name of the man who had never been a candidate, when he was not expected to, given the particular strategy for cheating that The Headmaster had outlined, had never been a teacher. But he is “Staff”. He had being a non-commissioned officer in the Air Force, who was brought in by the then manager of the school, Ajith Jayasekera, himself an Air Force officer, to keep an eye on the doings of then Headmaster, Mr Chandrasekera. Please do not accuse me of washing dirty linen; it is you who have brought in all these extraneous issues into a simple need to reverse cheating.

      I don’t know what the BoG is thinking. To imagine that there isn’t even one honest person among them is depressing. I have done what I can. I leave it to the rest of the Thomian fraternity to decide where we are to be heading. I wish to see the schools doing extremely well.

      If all of you decide that there has been a fait accompli, my mind boggles as to what may follow. Perhaps, the title that I gave this second article was all too apt.

      May God look down and bless any honest human beings whom he finds on this planet. Amen.

      • 28
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        Panini

        Keep doing what you are doing. It is interesting that you mention that the Rev Dushantha Rodrigo has transformed Prep school. My son is a student there and I am an old boy who was under JSL Fernando. No doubt there is a transformation and the place is happier, but in a rudderless kind of sense. The poor reverend has no clue about how to run a school, and is ruled (almost inappropriately) by the bishop’s sister in law, who was removed from bishop’s college and brought to Prep school by Casie Chetty as a token gesture (she proceeded to backstab him and ensure his removal). She has now become the bane of all teachers and parents there as she is out of touch with reality and the headmaster has taken leave of his senses as he listens only to her. There are numerous abuses of power happening there, which seem to be disguised by the headmaster’s sunny disposition. However he is more shrewd than most people think as he is now going out of his way to be in the bishop’s good books by favouring her.

        I have seen others write elsewhere and here that the bishop is the root cause of this problem and is corrupt. I agree with this view. Yet you seem keen on defending him. Until you admit to the root cause of this problem there will never be a solution. Priests and religious men out of touch with the modern world have no place running these fine institutions. I fear a very bleak future for all of them. Please ensure my comment gets across to all decision makers if you can.

        • 9
          0

          Dear “An Prepite”,

          Many thanks for these insights! They will allow me to make a few pointed inquiries, although it’s not the sort of “espionage” that I’m good at. I’m a teacher whose natural inclination is to be straightforward.

          “The Bishop’s sister-in-law” says you; I knew his parents-in-law quite well; his aged mother-in-law is still part of the Bishop’s household. She was a very conscientious, humble English teacher who was an asset when she was teaching at Ambegoda M.V., Welimada Road, Bandarawela. An asset because she was quiet and unassuming. I thought that their only daughter was Harshini Canagasabey who conducts herself with decorum.

          Well, this could be Bishop Dhilo’s brother’s wife, I guess.

          I was present for Bishop Dhilo’s first address to the Diocesan Council. He promised to be a “listening Bishop”. He’s anything but that now! I’ve been making personal appeals for an “audience” with him – yes, I’ve even been adjusting my vocabulary to show added respect, but all to no avail. I’ll see him today at the opening of the Guru Pool. My body language will be positive; will he respond by condescending to talk to me?

          My personal view is that these clergy are there to serve us, not vice versa.

          Your final request: if there isn’t somebody on the Board monitoring the responsible comments we are making, we will have to take more radical steps!

          • 25
            0

            Panini

            The board hasnt done anything even after the bandarawela old boys resigned. Why do you think theyre even are aware this article is here? You should at least send them the link to read the comments. If they care at all about the schools.

            As for the self appointed headmaster she is the sister of the wife I believe. Nothing to do with the family but very soon will have complete control. Last week my wife had to spend some time in school to take my son out early. The self appointed headmaster and the real headmaster were in a meeting for approximately 3 hours during which she tried to meet and failed. A member of the office staff had told her that this is a normal case and sometimes goes on a whole day.

            Seems like the headmaster doesnt know how to conduct a meeting though what he has to talk with a woman for hours on end I dont know. How does a school get governed with this sort of behaviours?

  • 2
    1

    Panini,

    Were you able to meet up with Bishop yesterday at Gurutalawa and convince him to re-hold the elections?

    I bet even if you had met him he wouldn’t have taken any notice of you, leave alone listening to you.

    Any way as I said before, you can keep trying, Good luck.

  • 8
    0

    The weather yesterday was just what people wish for when there is a “function”. Dry, and pleasant – not too warm. And the day went off well. There was no purpose in my getting to the Gurutalawa school while the BoG meeting was on. I cannot possibly be privy to what goes on at such a meeting, but I’ve heard nothing which causes me any bother. There were at least eight BoG Members; Mithra Edirisinhe among them. I spoke to them all – about the weather!

    The Bishop and I met, yes. We were polite to each other. Whether he will hold another election – my guess is that even he doesn’t know; he’s probably steering blind now. Only time will tell. I am hopeful that truth will prevail, but I’m going to hibernate for some time. I’m satisfied with progress made, yet unhappy that schools educating thousands of children are drifting rudderless. Now I’m preparing for the next big event, which is the AGM of the Bandarawela OBA, exactly a month away. I’m very conscious of being more comfortably placed than the other players in this charade. I shook hands with Rev. Christopher Balraj, and with Rev. Dushantha Rodrigo, assuring them that I had no personal quarrel with either, although they appear incapable of acting with the same objectivity. This is not the way a group of schools ought to be run, but I have done nothing, really, to bring about this invidious situation; in fact this has happened because my warnings went unheeded.

    All our expectations are subjective. Farmers, and even permanent residents, wish for more rain during these months. Weather in Bandarawela and Gurutalawa are more or less the same:
    https://www.meteoblue.com/en/weather/forecast/week/guruthalawa_sri-lanka_1245190?day=2
    Another way of showing the expected precipitation is this:
    https://www.meteoblue.com/en/weather/forecast/14-days/guruthalawa_sri-lanka_1245190
    Of course in the case of both links what you see may depend on when you click, and may be quite different from when I put it on!

    So, my advice to all readers is to be patient: hibernate! Do check for updates to “Whited Thomian Sepulchres” but not too often! I’ll be checking just once a day from now on; I suggest that you check less frequently. I’m pretty sure that this will work out well.

  • 0
    9

    Panini,

    It’s good that you say you are hibernating for a while. I suggest that you hibernate on this issue for ever as the matter is dead now.

    I have spoken to many and some who have links to the board as well. The noise from some quarters was expected and also they were pretty sure that it will die down after a while. It has happened so, as many who were keen in this matter have now lost interest.

    It’s up to you to continue should you wish but don’t expect any support as nobody is interested in this matter any more.

  • 16
    0

    Kargi,

    I’m grateful that you are commenting, but I’m not comfortable with the fact that you alternate between stating that there was cheating and then being cynical about my success – when you probably realise that I am fully committed to seeing justice being done, and working hard at it.

    I’m pretty sure that you are a Thomian; by stating THAT I’m NOT saying that I expect especially high standards from you. No; have the decency either to do what you can to help, or desist from TAUNTING me – because that’s what you most seem to like doing.

    I’m trying hard not to be vengeful. I may not be the best judge of that, because I’ve got so involved in this. Oh, well, never mind the introspection:

    I’m not as pessimistic as you appear to be. I was never the favourite of any OBA types: they are mostly good guys and have done a lot – IN THEIR OWN WAY. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be ale to realise that what is more important than all the impressive physical structures that they have put up (in simple English, all the buildings) is the fact that these schools exist for the sake of the present students, and that at the end of the day, these Thomian schools perform essentially the same functions as any Maha Vidyalaya in this country.

    I can’t influence the entire education system in the country, but the Bandarawela school is one that my father toiled to build. I live within sight of it. For Gurutalawa I always had a special love – that is natural because my most consciously formative years were spent there. Psychologists may say that the early years are even more important – but we are not conscious of it. The proof of it is that so few of the students who were here only up to age eleven turn up at OBA get togethers here, but they come to Guru. So, in Guru I have taught – two spells at very different stages of my life. Forget my work there as a nineteen year old; I don’t know how much I contributed. But when I went in there in 2007, I was doing what few others would have done. I forgot the shameful treatment that I had received from so many for so long; there would be no school there but for Jacques Huyghebaert and me going in there. You may not even know that: so keen have others been to take the credit – and they’ve taken it so effectively!

    Never mind! I’ve also been a parent there. So, I know what all this means. Please respect at least that!

    I don’t know whether I do right to get drawn in to responding to what you said – which I saw more than 24 hours ago. I tell you again, it’s not very pleasant what you are doing. But even that doesn’t make you the worst of people; only it’s disappointing. Some guys are really evil, and are against me for that reason. However, let me end by contradicting you: the OBAs of both schools are now with me.

    Colpetty? You see what “An Prepite” says above. My meeting with Rev Dushantha Rodrigo last Tuesday was quite cordial. Not that either of us was hypocritical; I took the initiative by telling him that I’ve been saying all sorts of nasty things about him, but it’s not personal. Rev. Dushy? I don’t know what pressures there have been on him. But then, he did cheat!

    Mt Lavinia: I was there for just two years – a little less actually. I think that Marc is doing O.K. there. But he wasn’t the man for Guru. At least he’s now doing what he can for the school that he used as a stepping stone – and I’m grateful for that.

    I just want a properly conducted election; even if it is one that I lose! How else can confidence in the system be restored? And without that, where will future generations be headed?

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    Pannini Edirisinghe,

    Based on what I gathered by talking to various people about this issue, I understand that those on the board didn’t like two of the known candidates being elected. You are not one of the two.

    What ever you have revealed about you, if true, you seem to be the right person who can contribute a lot to these schools should you be given the opportunity to serve in something like the board of governors.

    Why do you think they didn’t consider you and elected your brother who basically has done nothing worthy to the schools since he got on to the board?

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    At last a response from the Chairman of the BoG, Rt Rev. Dhiloraj Ranjit Canagasabai.

    I have begun my response like this:

    ‘Many thanks for you mail. What I liked most about it was your acknowledgement that “the letters (I) 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 trust that ALL readers will appreciate that it is in the interest of everyone to handle this quietly and gently. If such an approach appears inadequate, mode of action will change!

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