- 60 years of Dedication to Wesley i

 

 

 

K. P. Ranis Appuhamy- 60 Years of Dedication to Wesley By Gordon Tytler

from the 125th Anniversary souvenir

 

When the Double Blue snapped in the breeze, and the College Bell pealed on the 2nd of March 1974, in celebration of the Centenary, there was one whom we missed and that was K. P.Ranis Appuhamy, who died on September 13th 1972 at the grand age of 88, and just two days less for sixty years at Wesley. Of more than average height for a Sinhalese, his dignified mien was emphasised by his ramrod straight carriage, stern visage, magnificent bristling walrus mustache, framing aristocratic high- boned checks.

A neat tight knot held his greying hair in position. Ranis belonged to that rare breed of men almost extinct today-who, without preaching, exemplified in their life and work the very highest of moral and ethical standards. His character became clear in the very first days of his service at Wesley. On September 15th 1912. He was engaged by the Rev. Henry Highfield as a "School servant" at a monthly salary of Rs. 8/-. On his first pay- day Ranis went up to Rev. Highfield and said that there had been an error in calculating his pay. "Error?" demanded Highfield. "You were taken on for Rs. 8/- a month and you have received Rs. 8/- not one cent less. Where is the error?" Ranis pointed out that, since he had worked for only half the month he was actually entitled to only half a month's pay Rs. 4/- instead of Rs. 8/-. Such a man was Ranis.

In fact so devoted to Wesley was he that in all his nearly 60 years of service, he was absent from his duties for only 60 days an average of one day's leave a year for well over half a century! That included the time he took off to get married! In 1962 Ranis celebrated his Golden Jubilee at Wesley. Or rather Wesley celebrated the event for, despite his proud and aristocratic bearing. Ranis was the most modest of men. . Wesley really outdid itself on that occasion. Ranis was feted as no "domestic servant" of a major educational institution has been before or since. A prominent article in the Ceylon Observer of October 15th 1962 recorded the event in banner headlines "RANIS OF WESLEY GOES ON." The "Observer' story noted that when Ranis Joined Wesley, among others on the teaching staff of the School were, O.E.G., S. J. V. Chelvanayakam. F. J. Labrooy and Lionel Fonseka. Among the thousands of small boys who scurried along the corridors of Wesley every morning in a desperate effort to beat the inexorable peal of Rani's bell.

Were the future physician, Dr. J. R. Wilson the future theologian, the Rev. Dr. D. T. Niles, M. H. Mohamed, a future Mayor of Colombo, and Sam Silva, Chairman Air Ceylon and Chairman Petrolium. The article added ; "Ranis was Guest of Honour at a garden party given by the Staff Guild of Wesley and friends and Old Boys. School closed half a day for the occasion, and Ranis was given a purse." Old Boys bringing their sons for admission to Wesley treated Ranis with the deference due more to a former teacher than to a school servant-with good reason.

There was always the fear that, if not handled with care, the old man with the phenomenal memory would spill the beans to the son about some embarrassing prank that the father would sooner forget! For what father could dismiss his son's pleas for more pocket money or criticise his table manners when reminded by Ranis of the day he ate 75 hoppers on a bet! The here of this particular gastronomic feat avouched for by Ranis-was an elastic-stomachache boy called Francis Jayawardena; and the incident took place some- where during the time of the First World War. Jayawardena went on to become one of Wesley's most outstanding sportsmen in the pre 1920 years. Many years ago, when I was a little boy in the College Hostel, about the year 1949 or 50 Ranis took me to the rear door of the boarders' dining hall and pointed to something carved on it. Puzzled, I bent down and read the crudely carved inscription "K. P. R. - 1912". Gordon Tytler


 

Marshall Perera - Sixty Eight Years of Dedication to Wesley Under 12 Principals by Dr. Nihal D Amerasekera

Kenneth De Silva, Nizar Cader with Marshall.

 

"The song is ended, but the melody lingers on..."
Irving Berlin

 

w1Marshall Perera is known to several generations of Wesleyites and like his colleague Ranis Appuhamy remained a school Icon. He joined Wesley in the 1930's soon after the Highfield era and the exact date of his arrival seems to be lost in the mist of time. At Wesley, he was the Man Friday, the character from Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. He was the personal assistant to the Bursar who was competent and fiercely loyal to the establishment. He worked the Gestetner Cyclostyle appliance and generated the paperwork that oiled the machine that ran the school. He was a close associate of Mr Eric De Silva, the Bursar, who was the backbone of the school for over 30 years. In addition to all his duties Marshall made the tea for the office staff to satisfy even the most discerning palate. He looked after school property as if it were his own.

Marshall served 12 Principals, a record that cannot be surpassed or even equalled. One can only guess at the totality of the events Marshall witnessed in his years at the school - the growing pains of a fledgling school, the challenges of World War II and independence from British rule. Three of the Principals he served, Lou Adhihetty NAB Fernando and MAP Fernando, were students during his time. He has seen boys join the kindergarten as kids and leave as adults in the 6th Form. Some students have proceeded to enter the professions and others went on to become responsible politicians. Some have even managed to be incarcerated in the institution in front of the school whilst others have joined that same organisation as officials to maintain law and order. During his years many Principals, Vice Principals and Headmasters have come and gone and also witnessed numerous teachers who have graced the school and retired. Sir OE Goonetilleke, the first Ceylonese Governor General and the Hon MH Mohammed the respected politician, both of whom were distinguished old boys respected Marshall for his loyalty and long service.

When I was in the boarding I saw much of what happened after school hours. In the evenings and at weekends the school went to sleep. Everyday after the final bell Marshall went to every classroom to shut the windows to prevent the rain from damaging the furniture. The so called "minor staff" remained in the premises and were available at all hours. At weekends I have often seen Marshall seated in a long wooden bench by the entrance to the school office engrossed in his own world and deep in thought. I had often wondered if he ever went home. The school was his second home. Although he knew the tittle tattle and the school gossip he rarely entered into prolonged conversations with students. He remained a man of few words. There was nothing that his large beady eyes didn't see. No one was allowed to damage school furniture or disfigure the walls . He sometimes threatened to report to the Principal but never did. There were times he put on a stern exterior but always remained a kind man. To him devotion to duty was paramount.

During the week he was busy ferrying documents from the office to the staff room and to the various teachers in their classrooms. He wore his characteristic toothy smile which never changed despite the passage of years. His light grey shirt and striped three quarter sarong was held together by an inelegant knot and a shabby black belt that has seen better days. This was his trade mark. He must have walked miles along those long corridors of the school, doing his duty. Marshall warned us if the Principal was about to appear to avoid any face to face contact. This was a sensible tactic in those days.

Marshall and Ranis were the peons of our days. The word peon is derived from Spanish. The English used the term colloquially to mean a person with little authority, often assigned unskilled or drudgerous tasks; an underling. But this was never the case with Ranis or Marshall. They weilded some power over the students and commanded much respect from the staff. Ranis and Marshall worked tirelessly for the school and many of their chores overlapped except the important function of tugging the rope to ring the school bell. For that there was a rhythm , a rate and a style unique to Ranis. When others rang it was never the same and he never gave those secrets away. When the bell rang it spoke to us and all Wesleyites received the message. It was indeed a remarkable and unique experience. This unlikely pair trudging daily across the school from Block to Block along the long corridors must surely be one of the enduring images of of our schooldays.

He conducted his many duties with dignity and honesty. Marshall is the last of a long line of dedicated workers who have provided such a fine service to the school over many decades. Ranis the Great, Chemistry Rodrigo, Physics Silva, Biology Harris and Marshall formed a quintet of dedication to the school. Their lives were closely interwoven with the fabric of the school. Their combined years of service would amount to an incredible 200 years. They were an integral part of the school community and will all be remembered for their dedication by the many generations of school boys who have passed through the gates of Wesley College.

Even in the twilight of his life Marshall never failed to accompany old boys on conducted tours of the school. He had a remarkable memory. His encyclopaedic knowledge of the school, staff and students past and present will be sorely missed by the returning hordes of OB's. When I returned to Wesley after nearly 15 years the gates were padlocked and the guard refused me in and it was after Marshall's intervention I was allowed into the premises. He will be hugely respected and mostly remembered for his unfailing loyalty to the school.

His love for the school stood out. Even during the dark days of the 30 year decline and turmoil at Wesley College he remained largely optimistic of better times. When I asked him "will Wesley ever return to those Golden Years of the 1950's" he looked away. Although this period of uncertainty and hardship caused him much worry and despair, as an employee Marshall preferred to be an observer than a critic.

His long years of exemplary service came to a close when Marshall retired in 2002 after 68 years. At Wesley his void could never be filled. He went to live in his house in Kekirawa, built for him by grateful Old Boys. Most deservedly, he was sustained and well-looked after by the school and the past students.

He sadly passed away in September 2006. Marshall's years of dedication and service will be long remembered by the old boys. His shadow must still remain at school and his voice must echo in the ether around Karlsruhe Hill.

May he attain the Ultimate Bliss of Nirvana

Annicavata Sankhara , Uppada vaya Dhammino
Uppajjitva Nirujjhanti – tesam Vupasamo Sukko.
Transient alas are all Component things
Subject are they to birth – and then decay
Having gained birth to death, the life flux swings
Bliss dawns when unrest dies away

The Buddha

 

In Memoriam - Marshall Perera remembered by ND Amerasekera


 

A Journey back in Time By Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

transcribed from the 125th Anniversary souvenir

w5It was an idyllic time in the history of our island. The Second World War had ended and Independence from British rule has just begun. Tolerance, compassion and kindness were present in abundance. Terrorism, television, AIDS and computers were not in our vocabulary. As for the future we took it all for granted.

I remember as if it were yesterday walking up the hill between the tall Casuarina trees into the main building of Wesley College. The year was 1950 and I was 8 years old. My uncle, Neville Weerasekera , who was a sixth former showed me the classroom which was to be the centre of my universe for a year. The bespectacled M.T.Rajapaksa introduced me to the school rules and the rest of the " scallywags" of Std-2. There I met my friend Daya Perera and many others who were to play a major role in my school life. Daya was an excellent host when I Stayed with him in Los Angeles, where he is an Anaestherist. MT Rajapaksa subsequently left to join the Teachers training school Maharagama. I met him many years later when I was a doctor at Kurunegala and his nephew was admitted to my ward.

CJ Oorloff was the Principal and Kenneth de Lanerolle, the Vice-Principal. The Headmaster JLF De Mel was a kind and pious man. In the early 1970's he was admitted to my ward at the General Hospital, Colombo with a heart attack. Even when he had only hours to live JLF recognised me and asked, "aren't you an old Wesleyite". Life seemed an endless game of cricket before and after school and in the intervals. The matches were held in the "small park" a mainly gravel field with sparse patches of grass. It is now a large housing complex behind the school adjacent to Karlshrue gardens. Years seem to pass quickly and schoolwork was a mere nuisance and got in the way of the endless fun and laughter. Mr. Wilfred Wickremasinghe (padlock) was in charge of Std 4 and a fierce disciplinarian. I still remember the many times he had pinched my tummy black and blue for failing to remember the homework. Being an eligible bachelor he was courting a pretty music teacher. He never failed to escort us to the music lessons. Later the school choir sang at his wedding at the Maradana Methodist Church. I was saddened to hear he died in the 1980's.

Meanwhile in 1952 my father decided to send me to the school boarding. It was like a prison in those days confined to the College boundary. Our lives were orderly and regimented by the bell.The six years in the hostel were good and bad in parts. Ivor De Silva was the Senior Hostel master. He is now leading a happy retired life in the USA. The next was LA Fernando, a charismatic figure full of life. I have never:seen him at a loss for words. He was the cheer leader at the inter school cricket matches and sang the limericks and baila with fire and gusto. I owe him a great debt of gratitude for instilling in me the will to succeed in life. After being the Vice-Principal of the school his life and career sadly slipped away.

Then came Maxwell De Alwis who introduced an active choir to the school and was responsible for the Operetta "Alad -in-and -Out".The show was a sellout and a great success at school. It was staged at Kingswood College, Kandy to a large appreciative audience. I was deeply upset to hear he died in the early 1970's in the General Hospital, Colombo in a ward just next to the Blood Bank where I worked. I remember Rev.R.W.Pile, the Chaplain, with great affection. Once I was bitten by Mr.Eric Gunasekera's Bull Terrier while returning from a cricket match at Campbell Park. I felt a piece of my inner thigh disappear into its mouth. Rev.Pile took me in his arms and transported me to the casualty department at the General hospital. He has retired to live in rural England. In the boarding we were forever hungry. We stuck bubble gum on our bedposts at night to be chewed again the next day.

The hostel food was pretty appalling. The Tuck shop was our haven. It was a wooden shed with a tin roof next to the kitchen. Wijemanne and Jinadasa sold us the best fish buns in the world or so they seemed at the time. At the intervals there were the quick nibbles, orange barley and other goodies. The "achcharu" ladies with big bosoms at the back of the school and the Toffee man with a withered hand at the front gate provided tasty alternatives. They gave us instant credit to be returned when we received our pocket money on Friday. There was a man who sang a song to sell his delicious sweets " come on buy baby nice pineapple and pol toffee".

The Railway Houses at Mount Mary

Being deprived of female company the boarders were terribly sex starved. Girls were always in their dreams and conversations. Many thought they were deeply in love 'with girls from the Mount Mary Housing Estate without ever having spoken to them. Afterbeing taken to see the film "War and Peace" at the Savoy at least a dozen of us fell in love with Audrey Hepburn. Living in dormitories surrounded by friends was a wonderful experience. Mrs.Hindle our Matron was larger than life but kind and gentle. I finally left the boarding to enjoy my freedom once again in 1958.

Discipline at school was paramount. The teachers, Principal and the prefects maintained law and order and the school rules. Good manners and firm discipline are what holds society together and we had them taught and also firmly instilled in our souls. These stuck with us for life. The students are a cross section of society. There are saints and sinners. Unfortunately for all of us, good behaviour and fine manners come to be taken less seriously than they should be in the 21st Century. People feel they can say anything and cause any amount of pain or damage, with impunity. To be fair, many of the old boys whom I have met after many decades seem to have benefitted from the strict rules and discipline they have been taught at school.

No doubt we have one of the best assembly halls in the schools. The tall wooden ceiling, stained glass windows, semicircular stage and the balcony gave it the character it deserved. There were several creaky, wobbly, aging fans painted dark brown that hung from the ceiling. I often wondered what mayhem it would cause if one came off its moorings. Black and white portraits of past principals and teachers adorned the walls on both sides. I distinctly remember a bronze plaque at the back of the hall dedicated to an old boy who died in action in Syria. There was a panel full of names of past Principals hanging on the wall to one side of the stage opposite which stood the old piano.

CJ Oorloff always made a dramatic entry for assembly with all his black regalia and head gear. He never failed to read out loud and clear the names for Saturday detention. The prefects and sub- prefects stood to attention round the hall to stop the tittle- tattle and whispers. P.H.Nonis who took over from CJ Oorloff introduced his own relaxed style. With the end of the primary school, maths, history geography and science began to play a more important role in our lives. Edmund Dissanayake taught maths and several other subjects. He never raised his arm to punish students and seemed to have earned the respect of the class. Who can forget the Premawardenes Felix and Cyril? The former had a well-trimmed moustache, taught Sinhala and the latter had difficulty turning his neck and was called "bella". He taught Scripture. Lionel Jayasuriya affectionately called "Kabaraya" was our Class teacher in Form 2. He had a keen sense of smell and was eternally sending us out of the class for allegedly breaking wind with many of us protesting our innocence.

Fourth form divided our class of 30 into the Sciences, Arts and Commerce, friends were separated for the first time and gave us a taste of things to come. The Senior School Certificate was the first goal and it came upon us like a ton of bricks. I remember with affection Sethukavalar who taught us Physics. He made a characteristic hiss at the end of every sentence. Sethu left us to join Union College, Tellipalai. "Mishter" Dabrera took over physics and taught physics and rugby at the same time. We weren't sure whether to try or convert. DP George and Hensman were our Chemistry gurus and Yesudian the Biology tutor. NEH Fonseka wore the Ariya Sinhala dress taught Sinhala and NSJ Fonseka alias "Homba" taught scripture. We thought he wept when he related the story of the suffering of St Francis of Assisi. Fred Abeysekera was a fine teacher of English and helped us in essay writing and appreciating poetry. Being a distinguished old boy and having the right academic pedigree it defies logic why he did not become the Principal of the school. We met at Queens Hotel Kandy in 1970.1 was with some inebriated medics and was ducking and weaving to escape his attention when he tapped me on the shoulder. We chatted warmly about mutual friends. Later,I bade farewell and saw him disappear into the night.

The school had the most beautiful gardens. When the many flamboyant trees were in full bloom in April with their deep red colour it seemed as if the trees were on fire. On chilly December mornings at sunrise we could see the silhouette of Adam's Peak and its mountain range against an orange background. This was a breathtaking sight indeed. The tall tamarind tree in front of the school provided the hungry boarders with some sustenance. Raman, the gardener from Cochin looked after the estate with great care. Ringing the school bell was an art and only Ranis knew how. It had its own characteristic rhythm. Ranis with his long hair tied at the back and a grey bushy moustache was even at the time a man from a different era. Rodrigo cared for the Chemistry lab and knew many tricks with chemicals, which surprised and amused us all. Silva with a short temper and a strange gait walked as if he had a football between his legs. He had thick rimmed spectacles and was in charge of the Physics lab. No story is complete without Wilbert with a foul temper who was our chief groundsman at Campbell Park. Marshall was the peon and when I saw him last, 4 years ago, it was as if time had stood still for him. His toothy smile remained unchanged in 40 years.

The dreaded school report never failed to arrive at the end of term. They are masterpieces of laconic English, a true record of ones performance and admonitions where necessary. "Could do better" or "there is room for improvement" were common "complaints". I did not like some of the comments but all in all felt no animosity.

No memoir of school is complete without mention of matrons. Mrs. Ruth Hindle was a large lady and loved the boarders. She was a mother figure to us all. Cared for us when we were sick, rubbed Vicks on our chests , cleaned our wounds and berated us when we misbehaved. Her son Waldo was a fellow boarder with us. She broke down and cried on her last day at school. Everybody felt sad and embarassed. Without her the boarding was never the same. Mrs.Gomes took over from her.

The Welikada prison opposite the school reminded us of the big bad world outside. There were punishments within the school too. They often didn't match the crime and excesses were rare. We were made to standup in class for the minor offences and to standup on the form for repeated minor offences. For slightly more serious misdemeanor we were sent out of class. On the spur of the moment punishment was a thundering slap which often left the finger marks. Various implements were used too. The ruler was used with its sharp edge or the flat side depending on the severity of the crime. The cane was the ultimate punishment in class. After school or Saturday detention was mostly for homework related crime. For crimes akin to murder we were sent to CJ Oorloff, R.A.Honter or Lanerolle which always ended in floods of tears and six of the best. The ultimate punishment was suspension or expulsion. Very few were bad enough for this. Smoking received such harsh punishments those days. A brave student would have quick puff during an interval in the dark alleys of Mount Mary and chew a mint to get rid of the smell.

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet. - Aristotle.

In the sixth form we had come to the top of the ladder. We could go in and out of the school at will. Some of us became prefects. This gave added freedom though it alienated us from the school proletariat. Yesudian continued teaching Zoology. An excellent Zoologist, he had a genuine interest in our welfare. He left to retire in his hometown in Cape Cormarin, South India. Suntharalingam was a dedicated teacher too and taught Botany. His mispronunciations provided endless ammunition for jokes and laughter in class. "Laffa" taught us Chemistry. Chandrasekeran, a quaint, gaunt, saint, was the Physics teacher par excellence. Mr. Chandrasekaran went to Canada from Africa and was a very popular teacher in a Scarborough High School in Toronto. There was a great write-up in the Toronto Star after his untimely death. He was a soft spoken and an outstanding physics/applied maths teacher. Daya Perera, Lucky Jayasinghe, Sarath Ranasinghe and yours truly entered the Medical Faculty. Many others found places in Engineering- Y Sathyanathan and Gnanakrishnan, Biological Sciences and Agriculture- Sarath Wickramaratne and Harold De Alwis Jayasinghe.

The results were the best in the school for many years thanks to the dedication of our teachers. Jayasinghe is now a Consultant Radiologist in Brisbane, Australia. I met Ranasinghe briefly in 1973 when he returned from the UK after qualifying as a Paediatrician. By March 1962 the University Entrance results were made public I finalized my plans to leave school with mixed emotions. The last day at school was for me the saddest day of my life. It was as if my life had suddenly caved in. As I moved from room to room to say goodbye to my teachers, it dawned on me that I would never see some of my school friends ever again. Shaking their bands to say good-bye was the hardest act of all. When I left the school gates for the last time it left a void which has never been filled. The last image of the school as I looked back from Baseline Road has remained with me since. Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten. "Go West young man" said Rudyard Kipling and I took his advice and came over to London in the summer of 1974. Dr.C.S.Chen, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, who was an old Wesleyite gave me the encouragement to climb the ladder, when I needed it most. Sadly, he died 3 years ago.

After burning the midnight oil for further examinations I finally settled in semi-rural Hertfordshire about 50 miles North of London. On long summer evenings as I sit in my garden my mind often wander to those carefree days at Wesley College. Internet edition of the Ceylon Daily news is my only source of home news. It depresses me to read in the obituary column the names of school friends. I still remember them, as I saw them last, with their young impish faces and mischievous smiles. They are gone forever. Man is a history-making creature who can neither repeat his past nor leave it behind

I dedicate these memoirs firstly to my parents, who provided the encouragement and paid the bills, secondly to my teachers who educated me beyond the call of duty and thirdly to my schoolmates who by their friendship enriched my life. May God bless them all.


 

My life as a boarder (1952-58) by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way ..........
 Charles Dickens -  A Tale of Two Cities
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Memories of school are ever present. Certainly, dwelling on happier former days is synonymous with getting older.

There was peace in our country although the dark storm clouds of discontent were gathering in the horizon. My father was in Government Service and had to move from town to town every 3 years, what was then euphemistically called "transfers". In their wisdom my parents decided to send me to the hostel, at great cost to themselves. It was to give me a stable life and teach me the social skills and discipline. I achieved their goals only to lose them in the rough and tumble of University life. By the time I left, however, the famous Old Wesley College smoothness had rubbed off. The most important thing I learnt was ... just to be more confident about being myself. My social skills blossomed too, to everyones surprise!!

I wish to include some words of wisdom by an old Trinitian and a Wesleyite- Sharm De Alwis: As we grew in limb and stature we learned that boarders owned the College. Day scholars were only visitors. It has been said of boarders that the "school was their school, their home, their club and their family. The close bond that existed between boarders was impossible to break. This has been the cornerstone of any brotherhood of boarding life. How very true as I look back with nostalgia.

Memories of life in the boarding can fill a book. I will only select a few that stand out and I can recall with clarity. I was lucky to belong to a generation inspired contemporaneously by great teachers and principals. They gave us lofty ideas, great inspiration, self respect , firm discipline and anchorage. It was a sublime experience.

Overnight we had gone from the luxury of homelife to almost total captivity. The first day at the boarding was full of tears specially when wishing the misty eyed parents good-bye. For many families, if childhood has a final moment, this is it. As the car doors close parents and children go their separate ways. We then emerge from school as adults.

I was ten years old and was virtually just off nappies. Nothing could have prepared me adequately for this trauma. It was the large frame of Mrs. Hindle, the Matron, who welcomed us. The first night is the stuff of myth. The early weeks were tricky. The loneliness and bewilderment was overpowering at times. There were times I wanted to run away to my aunt in Dematagoda. All our worldly possessions were crammed into a large metal trunk and the clothes had our name tags. In the first term they all called me "new boy", a strict reminder of the pecking order. In the beginning we all had to endure an arduous time. In such 'incarceration' some behaved well, others less so. We saw the best and worst of human nature. Humour was invaluable in the darker moments. As a group the boarders were self reliant, resourceful and developed amazing skills of leadership and survival.

The Matron was the Queen of the boarding. She was a fair skinned woman with a big bosom, called Mrs. Ruth Hindle. She lived in a room by the Junior Dorm with her son Waldo who was my age. Mrs. Hindle ruled supreme in the Junior section and occasionally would call out- WHO DID THIS? But She was a kindly lady and looked after us well. She was a good pianist and played the music for the Choir and also at special occasions at Assembly.

There is no place like the boarding to get to know the fellow students. There are people you meet and then spend rest of the years avoiding them. There are others you meet on a corridor and then become friends for the rest of your life. The Saints, sinners and the scholars reveal themselves in the fullness of time and there is no better preparation for the life outside. The teachers fall into those categories too. Overall the sinners were very few like the Saints. The majority belong to some category in between.

Our lives were controlled by the the large golden bell rung by "Tarzan" or Thasan who certainly looked liked the real thing. In the boarding we were confined to the school boundary. I was in the junior dorm which had a small wooden cubicle for the prefect in charge (Herbert Gunaratne and later L.C.Rodrigo). Then there was the Intermediate dorms A and B and the Senior dormitory. In the dorms there were two rows of beds covered with the double blue bedspreads which was our trade mark. I clearly recall we were not allowed to sit on the bedspread. Life began at 6am with the bell. Wash and ablutions were done in the communal bathrooms where Kolynos chlorophyll toothpaste and purple Lifebuoy soap comes to mind instantly. Chlorophyll was said to remove the odour from the mouth. Interestingly, some years late I recall seeing in a journal:

"The goat that stinks on yonder hill. Grazes all day on chlorophyll". (Chlorophyll, as you know is the green pigment found in leaves of plants)

There was a large concrete tub full of water where some brave lads had an early morning bath. We had PE at 5.45 am taken by a monitor (usually a masochist) for about 10 minutes. Prep started at 6.45 finishing at 7.35 when we all assembled in the dining room for breakfast. Bread jam and tea was served sometimes hoppers like flying saucers and string hoppers hard enough to kill a man. These were served with mouth watering seeni sambol packed with a stick of dynamite.

The school bell rang at 8.15am. From 4 -6pm all boarders were expected to indulge in sports which most of us enjoyed. Prep was done in 2 prep rooms on either side of the common room. We had our own desks securely padlocked. Many of those padlocks were called "Master" made in Milwaukee USA. The desks had broad sloping tops that opened. We kept our books pens and pencils in those and also a few of our priceless possessions.

There was a hostel master or a prefect on "guard" to make sure there was no chit chat during prep. It was a serious business and no nonsense was tolerated. After doing our homework we prepared for tests and examinations. Reading story books was strictly forbidden. I have received the regulation slap from EL Rodrigo for breaking the rules at prep. 6.30pm prep began until 7.45 when we met in a small room called the chapel- with a well polished wooden floor where we had prayers taken by a teacher. We sat or squatted on the floor. On one wall was a famous painting of the 'Praying Hands' by Albrecht Durer. There was a tall pulpit for the short sermon. I remember singing those famous hymns and praying leaning against a wall.

Dinner was served at 8pm and prep started again at 8.30 until 9.15. We retired to bed at 9.30pm when it was "lights out". Two large buckets were kept at either end of the long corridor upstairs for us to empty our bladders at night. Being semi awake some missed the target making a mess on the floor. I recall someone saying "Don't flatter yourself"- stand nearer. The barber came every Wednesday, being a half day. Cutting was done in the open air in front of the primary block. I often feared that flying crows will provide the Brylcreem. We wrote our names in the barber's book and that was the "batting order". We had to be motionless during the procedure to avoid cutting the ears.

The clothes washing was done by a "dhoby" who visited the hostel once a fortnight in his bullock cart. He was called "mynah" as his long hair was knotted at the back. We had a "dhoby" book and this was filled in duplicate and a copy was placed in the bundle of dirty clothes. "Thou shalt not steal" said the rule book but petty stealing was rampant and difficult to eradicate. Any food or money left unattended, just disappeared. Some developed ingenious techniques of opening padlocks with master keys etc. There was a hard core of small time crooks who were on the lookout for goodies. They were mainly in search of food. Some broke into trunks and others into desks. We owned so little that anything stolen did not amount to much.

LA Fernando was the Senior Hostel Master and there was Yesudian, Vethanayagam (balli) and EL Rodrigo (Peththa) who helped to maintain law and order. Subsequently Ivor De Silva, Maxwell De Alwis, Ben Jayasighe, Henry Rajapakse and DB Welikala joined the staff. Thursday dinner was special called ,"State dinner". Mr. and Mrs. Oorloff joined us and the food was marginally better than usual with a dessert. The Principal always said Grace in Latin. Saturdays we played sports the whole day and in the evening there was a film show. The 16mm films borrowed from the embassies showed life in other countries and items of "Pathe" news.

Needless to say there was no television, no computers, and no mobile phones. We made our own entertainment and amused ourselves. Mr. LA Fernando took large groups of us to see films at the big Cinema halls. I remember seeing Demitrius and the Gladiators, The Robe and Samson and Delilah. During the marble season we were all at it playing "bunkings". Hector Bernard Dareeju was the uncrowned king of marbles and I have lost many a round to his wily ways. Indoor games like carrom and table tennis were popular too. These were played in the Common Room which had a Rediffusion set to listen to BBC News, Elvis Presley Or Bill Haley.

There was also a game called " Thachchi" which was played in the Badminton courts in the front of the school. "I spy" and "hide and seek" were popular too. In the hostel we had 3 houses Yodhayas, Vikings and Spartans. There was great rivalry between them. The matches were keenly contested and took place in the "small park". The small park was a patch of gravel. Trips and falls here resulted in numerous grazes and peeled skin. All these running repairs were done by Mrs. Hindle with iodine and spirits sending us skipping in pain. We wore tennis shoes for games. As we never bothered to keep our feet clean constant usage created "toe jam" (An offensive paste of dirt and sweat). We all had our heads full of lice or dandruff and faces full of pimples giving us a Dickensian look.

Maradana Methodist Church

On Sundays there was no salvation for the Christians and the non-Christians had it easy. The rest had to walk to the Maradana Methodist church in the morning for Sunday school and in the evening for Evensong. It was a long trudge on narrow roads with trams, cyclists and motorists whizzing past our toes. Certainly the path to heaven wasn't easy! We all hated the journey and wished we were non-Christians.

It is perhaps this forced religion that made me drift away from Christianity. The highlight of the evening service was the singing of the octogenarian Mr.Blacker, an old boy of Wesley, who was very deaf and sang a different hymn to the rest of us. On the Sabbath Christians were not allowed to play any sports. We tried hard to reconcile the strictures of our faith with our youthful exuberance and love of cricket.

There was intense loyalty to the hostel. All the Hostellers were in Moscrop House which brought a great degree of unity amongst the boarders. These surfaced at interschool matches. There were little groups or gangs who stuck together and occasionally violence erupted ending up with "Laffa" who applied the wisdom of Solomon. The victim, assailant, witnesses and bystanders were all caned. Those who "sneaked" got punished by the peer group as well. There were times when I raged at the injustice of punishments. In the main the boarders were a united bunch. The friendships were strong and lasting and the day scholars feared the camaraderie that existed.

The Muslims, Tamils, Sinhalese and Burghers formed one large brotherhood which we carried to the wider world in later years. Most boarders had nicknames depending on their infirmities, habits and names. Like "Homba" for a protruding jaw and "Kabaraya" for scaly skin, "Goofy" for protruding teeth and Nabiya for NAB. A chap with a goitre became "gedi Vetha" There were two blind students in the senior dorm who were greatly liked by us all. One of them , Cornelius, was an excellent pianist and the other was William (thanks to BCRN (Ranjit) Fernando for jogging my memory) I met William many years later when he was in charge of a School for the Blind in Seeduwa. He didn't recognise my voice but recalled my name and the connections instantly. He spoke most warmly of LA Fernando for his help and kindness.

For many years we had bed bugs in the hostel. The white sheets were covered with blood stains. It kept some of us awake at night when the infestation was at its peak. There were debugging sessions on Saturdays which the boarders undertook without any input from the management. Some used lighted candles to burn the bugs from the iron beds. How we didn't set fire to the coir mattresses and to the wooden floor remains a mystery. Perhaps going to church on Sundays had its benefits after all. The more affluent ones used various kinds of insecticide sprays.

Finally it dawned on the Hostel masters that something had to be done for the whole hostel to prevent re- infestation and hired a company to do the work. That was the end of the problem. When sickness struck we were put in a small house by the rear entrance of the school called the Sick room. It was mostly the 'flu but occasionally the childhood infections like chicken pox and measles. It had a toilet and a single large room. Mr.Eric De Silva who lived in the same building visited us to give advice about matters medical and spiritual. Sickness often resulted in a visit to Dr.Lucien Gunasekera in Borella who was an old boy and also the hostel doctor. He spoke little but with authority and always prescribed a pink liquid and a bottle full of tablets. In those days we knew our place and asked no questions. The matron visited us twice a day and the food was sent to us.

It would be fair to say I enjoyed the mealtimes more than the meals. As I recall the hostel food was appalling and we were eternally hungry. Wijemanne's Tuck shop was our only hope for sustenance and was the centre of our lives. Without it there would have been little to live for. But it had a drawback - we had to pay money, something which we never had enough. Trips from folks at home brought food and extra money. There were times when I was flat broke.

Friday was the day we got our pocket money. Often the rupee we got was used to pay our debts to Wijemanne, the achcharu ladies or the Toffee man. When the money ran out some ate toothpaste Marmite, Bovril and Horlicks and others used their ingenuity to make "invisible" hooks to pluck papaws from the neighbours. The large Tamarind tree provided a sour mouthful when the hunger was pretty desperate.

The small park was surrounded by "andara" trees which had green pods with the seeds covered by some edible white stuff. We just ate that too. Being cheap, tasty and filling a "thosai feed" was the ultimate luxury we dreamed of. Raman the gardener brought the stuff from Purasanda Café next door. I vaguely recall the boarders going on strike because of the poor quality of food in the hostel. I would be grateful if someone can expand on this incident.

I joined the boarding as a child and left as an adult. In that process I noticed my voice go husky and the hairs appearing in my body. The Mount Mary girls whom I have ignored for many years became attractive and even sensuous and beautiful.. I went to Church and Sunday school to to see the girls and speak to them. It was a phase that remained well into our teens and beyond. A time in our youth when we saw the world in vivid technicolor. Youth is a blunder, Manhood a struggle, old age a regret said Benjamin Disraeli. We often used the road through Karlshrue gardens to go to Campbell park for sports. This was the road used by the Mount Mary girls which gave us a lot of pleasure. Mr.Eric Gunasekera used to stand at the gate of his house to ask us the cricket scores on Fridays and Saturdays. He was blind then but his love for the school remained strong. The famous Nalanda cricketer Sarath Silva used to live down that road too and of course Ajitha Wijesinghe (old boy) at the top of the road and Dr.Jayasundera and his daughters next to the "small park".

The school cricket season made the hardships all worthwhile. Fridays and Saturdays all the boarders were at Campbell Park. Mr.LA Fernando led the cheering and the bailas. Even the College song was given a swing. Wesley had many unbeaten teams in the early fifties. The Claessens, Adihettys and the Fuards dominated the game from start to finish. There was good support for the away matches in Colombo as we were taken by a teacher or a senior boy. Having Neil Gallagher, and A.R.Chapman in the team both being boarders the support was intense and very worthwhile. I still believe 1952-53 were the finest years of cricket at Wesley. We were allowed out of the boarding one weekend a month, in the mid term and in the holidays. The process of getting off for these weekend breaks needed careful planning like obtaining a visa. We had a little blue book called the "Exeat" which had to be duly signed by a teacher.

There were annual hostel trips which took place in the mid term holidays or on a long weekend. Often they stayed in the homes of old boys or present boarders who lived in the upcountry. We often stayed at the d'with Barbuts (Cecil and Arthur) in the Survey Camp at Diyatalawa. End of term exams were a serious business and a many of us worked extra to get the good grades. We helped each other a great deal to achieve our goals. On the last day of school the leavers said their goodbyes and those who had the courage made a short speech after dinner. Let the truth be told, life in the boarding was never a bed of roses. The years between the ages of 10 and 13 were the worst. As we became more senior life was tolerable. Often I felt the teachers could have been a bit more kind to the boys who were far from home and at the mercy of those in charge. In those days values were different and the belief was that the boys had to be toughened up in preparation for the rigors of life ahead. Perhaps there is some truth in that too.

I think we had a premonition of the mass dispersal that would take place as we finished schooling. Many of us maintained autograph books, little rectangular books of about a hundred pages where we got our close friends to write a short note. The contents varied from canny limericks to Shakespeare. At the end of our stay in the hostel it became a vast collection of memories which I guarded with my life only to be a casualty of time and lack of space later on. Prof.R.Somanathan who now lives in San Diego, found his book recently and read out a verse I had written. I was embarrassed by my trivial trash nevertheless it remains a frozen frame from the film of life. S.R.N.Perera from Panadura wrote thus in my book:


Life is like a journey and the roadway twists and bends
We meet strange companions and unexpected friends
Who walk with us a little way and move out of our sight
Then find some fellow traveller whom you can love and trust

A poignant story of the life ahead. He is now Fr. Ranjit Perera who looks after his flock in Padukka.

I was an only child and relished the “friends on tap” atmosphere at school. Despite the hustle and bustle of life and the regimentation we had time to put our arms round our pals and share in their joys and sorrows. We shared our secrets and exchanged stories about our parents, brothers and sisters. There was a certain closeness which was rarely seen in friendships later on in life. We talked about our dreams and aspirations for the future and assumed we will always be friends. It fills my heart with sadness to think many of us will never meet again. It is a horrible reminder of your own mortality when you read or hear of the death of boarders who played, laughed, sang and fought with us all those years ago. For me they will always remain fifteen, healthy and smiling. It is hard to believe they will not be playing those elegant cover drives ever again or be ready for a pillow fight. Boarding school was a happy and rewarding environment.

Where would they be now?

Nimal Sureweere-Vancouver, R.Somanathan-San Diego USA,Chandra Weeraratne-SL,Kenneth De Silva -SL, I .Muttu-UK, The strong contingent from Sammanathurai MAM Razak-Mohideen, Amir Ismail-SL and Hakeem Ismail-UK. Then there was HCU Peiris? NAB Fernando - deceased,BCRN Fernando-Holland, BGR Fernando-SL, A.R.Fernando who went on a scholarship to study medicine in Japan lives in London and I met him in a bookshop in London. His brothers NGA and Cecil-deceased , Brian (deceased) his brother Damien Gunetilleke? Asoka Rodrigo? There is a strong group in Australia-Cecil and Arthur Barbut, MNG(deceased) and Upali Perera-Melbourne, Kenneth Anthonisz-Sydney,Michael Christoffelsz-Sydney, S.D.Fallil alias Sheran De Alwis- Planter in East Malaysia, Harold Juriansz-Australia, Goofy Wright (Perth) . Milroy Bulner- deceased, Boris Schrader -deceased, Schranguivel, S.Soundravel, R.Ratnavel-deceased, Crutchley, Upali Siriwardene-SL, HAL Kumarasiri deceased ,AC Wijetilleke- deceased, Mynah Wickramaratne-Deceased, H.B.Dareeju, Henry Rajapakse, Lionel Rajapakse-deceased, Ronald Asirwatham-Kandy SL, Dr.Lakshman Gunaratne-SL, Weeraperumal- Brian., Maurice Weeraperumal deceased Kenneth De Silva-Prefect of Games at Wesley and his brother Geoffrey. Asoka and Shirley Ranasighe- both deceased

By 1958 my father had moved to Colombo and it was time to leave the boarding. I left with mixed feelings. Sad to leave my friends with whom I shared six long years but glad to regain my independence and some good food of my own choice. I maintained strong links with the hostel and with my numerous friends in the boarding until I left school in 1962.

I often look back to the days in the boarding. The sands of time have moved on as I have progressed from youth to middle age. After many years, I visited the hostel in 1998 and walked the long corridors once again. The nostalgia was overwhelming but the magic of the place had gone without the friends who made it so special. Fifty years on Wesley continues to make immense contributions to education but the Boarding has been scaled down. A sign of the times.

I dedicate these memoirs to my classmates, Dayaprasad Peiris and C. Amaradasa Fernando, who endured the pain and pleasures of boarding life with me. They were sons of Methodist Clergymen. Daya, I remember him as a chorister singing "Once in Royal David City" and CAF as a chap with a gravel voice and a poker face. Daya became a Journalist and CAF, a Superintendent of Police. They served society and their communities with distinction. Both lost their battle for life in their early fifties. May their Souls Rest in Peace.

I feel incredibly lucky to have enjoyed such an excellent education.

Ah ! those were the days. How time flies.


 

When I look back ................... By Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

  

Well, doesn't time fly !!!! It was with a mixture of awe and pride that I passed through the gates of Wesley College for the first time in 1950. It seems like only yesterday that I was walking up the school driveway on that eventful first morning. The place was imposing to say the least. Now, here I am retired after an enormously satisfying 40 year career in Medicine. All those years have gone swiftly as the blink of an eye. There are a few advantages to getting old - still people tend to give you some respect. The perks outnumber the downsides. But the main problem is that your body never allows you to forget the passage of years.

Much has changed in the world around us since those halcyon days. Good manners are on the decline. Political leaders are cynical, careless and blinded to the realities of the outside world. To some there has been a moral decline. The digital revolution has taken over our lives.

I was at Wesley from 1950-62 and was in the boarding from 1952-58. They were very happy times indeed. Those who recognise me from the old days will note the changes due to the ravages of time. I owe so much to so many in the school, Students teachers and Principals. This is my thank you to them all and Wesley. I would be delighted to hear from you.

My father Douglas Bertram Amerasekera was a student at Wesley and remembered teachers Eric Gunasekera Percy T Cash C.M. Fonseka and HJVI Ekanayake and students O.E Goonetilleke and PH Nonis. He was at Richmond College Galle during the Principalship of Rev. WJT Small, much loved and great Principal of that school.

Since our Independence from Britain there have been rapid changes to the policy on education. With the benefit of hindsight some of it has been detrimental to education, schools and the country. Successive Principals had to steer the school through difficult times. The Old Boys Union and the Methodist Church rallied valiantly to keep the school afloat and maintain financial viability. Without the help of those organisations Wesley would not have survived in its present form. The OBU has always been a tower of strength to the school. We must specially remember some of the old boys for their selfless service to the school over many years. Their names are too numerous to mention but special mention has to be made of Sir O.E.Goonetilleke, Hon., M.H. Mohammed and Terence De Zylva for their outstanding contribution over many decades. If anyone feels that other names need to be mentioned, here is your chance. You are free to write about those old boys, teachers or Principals to this website. Many old boys have donated prizes in memory of the staff and students which is a most generous gesture to remember them every year on Prize Giving day.

When I was a kid, children had no rights at home and none at school. We were only to be seen and not heard. At Wesley in my day life was not a bed of roses. It was worst in the Primary school where there was an aura of fear that pervaded the classrooms and the corridors. Discipline was administered with an iron fist and the school rules were to be respected at all times and at any cost. This climate of fear eased as we moved into the middle school. In the sixth form we were treated as adults and given responsibilities as Prefects to uphold the rule of law and discipline. On looking back I cannot find fault with the manner in which discipline was administered and the school was run. Those who were in school with me have turned out to be useful and respected citizens of this world. The old boys too form a cross section of society with its complement of saints and sinners. Whilst some became politicians, lawyers and doctors, a few may not have kept to the straight and narrow.

I have a head full of memories of things that happened at school. They must have made a tremendous impression on my young mind. Some of these recollections are happy ones but a few are unpleasant, even painful. There were times I hated school.. There was too much home work and too many rules and punishments. But somehow good times finally shone through.

It amazes me still how the school managed to balance the demands of high academic standards with the time demands of extra activities like sports, art, music and drama. The balance was achieved satisfactorily and without undue pressure. For this we have to thank the skill of the teachers and the Principal. Situation has changed since my time as my article shows - Growing up in the 21st Century

 

We owe a great debt to our schoolmasters. One measure of a school is the way teachers and students interact. We remember with much gratitude the interest they took in our develoment and welfare. The teachers at Wesley, what great characters some of them were! I hope they still are. My memory of them extend to their physical features, their anger, smile and even the smell. Some had tempers that would terrify even the boldest. What distinguished them all, large or small in stature was their apparent venerability. They seem to belong to the school like its own furniture and walls. None seemed more than 50 but so much a part of Wesley. These characters seemed indestructible. Even now after 50+ years it gives me a shock and a pang to read of the death of an old master. The teachers at Wesley seem permanent and the majority stayed on until retirement. Many had served for well over 25 years. Although their salaries were probably just adequate, they had a loyalty to the school, and did not use a teaching post as an ambitious transient stepping stone to a bigger and a better paid teaching job elsewhere, as many young teachers do now. I often feel that many of our older teachers, some of them though eccentric, may turn in their graves at the disloyalty and opportunism of our modern teachers. For them, the joy of knowing of the success of their students was payment enough.

When I now look at some of the old school photos and even see the names of those masters, their faces, mannerisms and voices come easily to mind. Mr. N.E.H.Fonseka who chewed betel always spat from an upstairs window without looking to avoid passers by below. On many occasions I have prayed the spray would fall on the Principal but had no such luck. C.E.De Pinto, Eric Gunasekera, W.E.Mack, C.P.Dias, C.V.Honter before my time and LA Fernando, JLF De Mel, CJT Thamotheram, Iris Blacker, Joyce Leembrugen, Wilfred Wickramasinghe, Lionel Jayasuriya, Charles Yesudian , Raju Hensman and EL Rodrigo during my time were an integral part of the institution that moulded our lives. I fear, I give the impression that these teachers were virtuous and without fault. They were human and in one way or another difficult, egotistical, strong minded and demanding. They loved the school and their profession. They made good friends. I wouldn't want them as enemies. Having said this I have the greatest respect for many of them. I still feel guilty to this day for not going round the school from the primary school upwards to say goodbye to every teacher many of whom I never saw again.

Wesley College attracted pupils from all over Ceylon. During my years there were many from Jaffna, Batticaloa, Puttalam, Nuwara Eliya, Kandy, Amparai, Sammanthurai, Galle, Matara and Hambantota to mention but a few. The school had the busy and bustling town of Borella to the south, the distinctly middle class Dematagoda to the north, the grinding poverty of Wanathamulla to the east and the opulence of Cinnamon Gardens to the west.

Thus amidst the rich and affluent there were many poor students from all classes and backgrounds. This enriched us all. Historically Wesley competed with Zahira College to attract many Muslims. They have played a key role both as students and generous old boys. Being a Christian school it catered for all religions and there were more Buddhists than Christians . With a thriving Tamil stream the Hindu religion was well represented too. Many from the Mount Mary Railway community sent their kids to Wesley College. The Burghers brought a fourth dimension to our lives at school by there excellence in sports and their easy going attitude to life. Those who took their school work seriously went on to represent the foreign service, the medical and legal professions. The Chinese community was well represented too with the likes of C.S.Chen who became a leading Orthopaedic Surgeon in London. There were two blind students in the boarding during my years at school. They showed us how talented and bright they were despite their disability. During my 12 years at school I do not recall any unsavoury incidents of a racial, ethnic or religious kind. Rev.Highfield and the many Principals who followed him by their dynamism and integrity have succeeded in providing an all round education to Wesleyites to disregard all these artificial barriers which have become a hindrance to peace in our country. The dedicated teachers over the years and the OBU's have provided the glue that have bonded all Wesleyites together wherever they may be.

The image I carry with me of the school is still the view of Wesley College I saw on my first day in January 1950. I was mesmerised by the elegant sweep of the majestic buildings. Now as I reflect it is impossible to forget its history and the sacrifice of those who founded the school. I can picture Rev Highfield, looking vigorous and fit, pacing the Great Hall and the endless corridors as his dream of a new school in Karlsruhe Gardens was fulfilled. Time has not diminished its splendour. The family of 1200 students and teachers have made me what I am today. Growing up in such surroundings was a privilege. What I learnt on and off the classrooms has helped me in my long and tortuous journey through life. Despite its ups and down Wesley remains, at least in my thoughts, as one of the finest schools in the country.

In this fractured and troubled world, what we seek more than anything is a sense of belonging, a feeling that we are part of a community of like-minded souls. Despite this it is ironic how many of the rising generation of students after having received a fine education at Wesley leave the school never to set foot on those hallowed grounds ever again. It amazes me that even those old boys who live in Sri Lanka and some of them living in Colombo have never been to the school premises as past students. Does that seem fair, to you? In the endless whirr of 24/7 life of the 21st Century it is perhaps easy to forget our formative years. Some must have good reasons to do so. I am sure they can find in some corner of their hearts forgiveness and to realise no institution is perfect. It warms my heart that some of the old boys in Sri Lanka and also those who live abroad still have the passion to visit the school. If you want to steal a bit of your old life back, OWSC is the place to wine and dine and also to meet and greet old Wesleyites.

When old boys come together they move into recollection mode recalling those beautiful, quirky moments of their youth. There is never a dull moment. Voices will be imitated, mannerism mimicked, idiosyncracies enhanced and long since dormant episodes of school life will suddenly spring to mind bringing hilarity, sadness, affection or even a wry smile. As the wine and conversation flows we get transported back many decades. There will be a glow and a shared warm feeling of times past. The last to leave often provide a lusty rendition of the old school song.

Saying goodbye to Wesley which was my home for over a decade was one of the hardest things I have had to do. I still think about it. Late at night and at quiet moments in the day, those memories makes me proud of being part of Wesley. Sometimes this deep sense of longing can be overwhelming. The friends I made have remained friends for life even though I never saw many of them again. We lived our lives in the Wesley Village in Karlsruhe Gardens. It is impossible to recreate that life again. The Old Boys Unions are just a poor substitute but an essential one to keep in touch. I hope very much the readers of this website will be transported back to their schooldays. I wish this journey will encourage them to contribute to this website to keep those memories alive.

The bee-like buzzing of a thousand schoolboys that was ever present throughout my stay at school, went silent as I stepped on to Baseline Road for the last time in April 1962. And of course, I had left behind a part of myself at Wesley that was my home for so many years. Life was never the same ever again. As the sunset on my schooldays there was a new dawn of a career in medicine.

But I shall forever cherish my time at Wesley.

 

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
May the rain fall soft upon your field
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand
( A celtic blessing )

Ora et Labora

Dr Nihal D Amerasekera MBBS, FRCP(UK), FRCR(London)


Growing up at Wesley in the 1950's - Abridged - by Alfred K David

a3The Old Boys of Wesley College from many generations join those of the present generation in celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the founding of our great school. We do so with great joy and justifiable pride. Wesley has been one of the leading educational institutions in Sri Lanka and proudly takes it place along with other leading Boys schools such as St. Thomas Royal, Trinity, St Joseph's, Ananda, Zahira and St. John's (Jaffna) Those responsible for the publication of this 125th Anniversary Souvenir are providing an opportunity to the present generation of Wesleyites, to understand why Wesley has such a remarkable hold on the thoughts and affections of those who have been fortunate to pass through its portals. It is my intention to share my reminiscences of our beloved school with Wesleyites, both past and present.

It is my humble offering to thank my Alma Mater Wesley for what it has done for me and my three younger brothers Joseph, Paul, Charles. Each one of us owes Wesley a debt that can never be repaid. Many '": of my contemporaries will endorse these -sentiments. My association with Wesley began in January 1952, when I entered Form I A of the school as an 11 year old. My father, decided to send me to Wesley despite his being an Anglican and an old Josephian. It was perhaps due to my mother being a Methodist. The Principal was the retired civil servant Mr. C. J. Oorloff. The teachers who thought me in form IA and helped me to adjust to my new environment included Mrs. Rachel Lembruggen, Mr. Lional Jayasuriya, Mr. Gunaratnam (Bullet) Mr. Edmund Dissanayake and Mr. Derrick Mack.

Chief peon Ranis was held in great awe and respect by all the students. Marshall Perera, who still serves the school, was also among the minor staff. He is indeed a link with the Wesley of the Fifties. My entry in to Wesley coincided with the early years of Sri Lanka's Independence from British colonial rule. It was a period which former Prime Minister S.W. R. D. Bandaranayake described as "a period of transition". The changes in our national life also meant that Wesley which was an "assisted school" in the early Fifties became a non-fee levying private school in the Sixties. This status still continues and has perhaps changed the egalitarian character of the school in the fifties.The Wesley of the Fifties produced "men of grit and industry" from all communities who served independent Sri Lanka in different capacities. There wore also Wesleyites of a earlier generation who were prominent national leaders like Sir Baron Jayatilleke, Sir Oliver Goonetileke.

The first diplomatic envoys sent out by the newly Independent country included Wesleyites. The public service and other professions at the time of Independence had many Wesleyites who were Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and Burgher. It is important to remember that Wesley was founded by the Methodist Church in colonial Ceylon as a Christian school. Highly dedicated Methodist missionaries like Rev. Henry Highfield, who were its Principals until the early Fifties, were Missionaries who practiced what they preached. It was a Methodist minister Rev.Gogerly who in the mid 19th century, first proposed the idea of education in the Swabasha medium, long before our national leaders thought of it Wesley continues to provide an education based on Christian values and today it has adapted to changing national needs and priorities.

Wesley also continues to be a school which caters to Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus in addition to the Sinhala and Tamil Christians. In our time in the Fifties, there was no chapel and morning prayers were held in the school hall. Today, Wesley has its own chapel within the school premises, largely due to the efforts of Old Boys like Lou Adhihetty and Lasantha Fernando During my student days, Wesley succeeded in inculcating in me and most of my contemporaries, the concept of "Mens Sana in Corpore Sano" while we also adhered to the college motto "ora et labora". For someone who entered the school as a mere II year old, one of Wesley's particular attractions was the sports facilities. I remember playing cricket (without protective gear) in the "Small Park" in Karlsrhue Gardens during my Form I and Form 2 days. Mr. A. D. Dabrera (our general science teacher) regularly admonished us and warned us of the danger of getting "sun stoke" while playing in the hot sun. Ironically, "Dabbie" became the rugger master when Wesley started playing rugger in 1955 and it was his incessant persuasion that was responsible for me finally playing rugger for the school in 1958. By a strange coincidence, I took over his duties in 1963, when I began teaching at Wesley.

Apart from indulging ourselves in sports, we were even more enthusiastic spectators when Wesley played cricket matches. We had cheering squads led by persons like B. C. R. N. Femando (the Principal N. A. B. Fernando's younger brother). We used to cheer Wesley with mighty shouts of "Zam zam zaki, zam zam zhay.." Our cheering was a great source of strength to our cricketing stalwarts like Brian Claessen, M. N. Samsudeen, Lou Adihetty, Abu Fuard and Herman Claessen. It certainly helped them to win matches regularly. Another feature of those days was the friendly camaraderie among rival cheering squads. We used to get on particularly well with the Josephian cheering squad, both at Campbell Park and at Darley Road. This brief report on Wesley in the Fifties would not be complete if there is no reference to the religious activities in the school during my time. Like the Wesley College boarders, I attended the Maradana Methodist Sunday School since my father was concerned about my religious education. It was my connection with the Student Christian Movement (SCM) at Wesley and not any church influence, that led to my becoming a committed Christian. For this, I must thank Lou Adihetty who was then President of the SCM in addition to being the Senior prefect and cricket captain.

God certainly moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform. My association with the SCM at Wesley, helped to enrich my life as an undergraduate at the University of Ceylon in Peradeniya. There I came under the influence of the Campus Chaplain Rev. Lakshman Wickremasinghe, who later became the Bishop of Kurunegala. I remember that prominent old Wesleyite and Wesley teacher Mr. Maxwell de Alwis (later an Anglican priest), who was the General Secretary of the SCM in 1959, commending me to Rev. Wickremasinghe as a "useful" SCM, man prior to my arrival in Peradeniya. Among the prominent SCM personalities that Wesley produced in my time, apart from Rev. Maxwell de Alwis, Mr. C. S Ponnudurai and my wife's uncle Dr. Archie Singham. In later years my student Mr. Marshall Fernando went on to become the President of the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) based in Geneva.

I recall persuading Marshall to participate in a WSCF consultative Meeting at Jaffna College in December 1965. I was then the Acting General Secretary of the National SCM. Soon after I joined the Sri Lanka Overseas Service. Returning to sports activities in school, I captained the school athletics team and participated in some of the events in the Public School Athletics Championships in 1958. I also played in the rugger team as left wing three quarter and contributed towards some of the victories. It appears that at present, there is less interest in sports among die current generation of Wesleyites, particularly those who pursue higher studies. As I mentioned before, the early Fifties was the "golden era" of Wesley's cricket. It produced two outstanding National players, Brian Claessen and Abu Fuard, both top class spin bowlers. Among the . great victories achieved by Wesley was against St. Joseph's in 1952, St. Thomas in 1953 and St. Peter's in 1954. The win against St. Thomas was largely due to the last wicket partnership of 19 runs between Vincent Adhihetty and Herman Claessen, despite the brilliant bowling of Zaki Cader. M. N. Samsudeen was largely responsible for the other two victories.

Wesley also maintained a fairly high standard in hockey during my time, due to the support of the Old Wesleyites led by Mr. Walter Jayasuriya. Wesley also produced National champions in table tennis and badminton. My wife's cousin Rishi Singham was the National Men's champion. The irony was that the school did not award colours for Badminton at that time despite the presence of reputed National players in the school. When I carried the Wesley College flag, as the Captain during the march past at the Public School Athletics Meet of 1958. I had lo wear an ordinary blue blazer and not the College blazer. The "golden era" of athletics was in the late Forties and early Fifties, prior to my entry to Wesley when there were athletes of the calibre of M. A. M. Sheriff and T. Van Rooyen. They were National Champions while in school. Sheriff proceeded to the USA along with my wife's uncle Archie Singham and won a Harvard blue in athletics. He later joined the Sri Lanka Overseas Service and served for a few years as a Diplomat. He was the first Wesleyite who was a Diplomat. He was the first Wesleyite who was a career diplomat. Despite a keen interest in sports, our generation of students did not neglect our studies. In 1958 we had very good University entrance results. Six out of the twelve students who sat for the examination, gained entry to the Arts Faculty of the University.

We also had good results that year among the Science students with Douglas Raymond, winning the coveted Hill medal that year and beating me in the process. I had to be satisfied with the Moscrop Award for the best all-rounder in the school. My younger brother Paul David won the Hill Medal in 1962. I won the Mary Highfield Essay Prize twice, first as a Fifth former in 1956 and later when I in the Upper Sixth in 1958. The essay written in 1958 was perhaps the best piece of writing I have ever produced in my life.- "The Brotherhood of man" my life.- "The Brotherhood of man" One of my regrets when I look back on my school life, was that I did not participate in the drama and activities in the school, except in the inter-house competitions. In the First half of the Fifties, Wesley e a reputation for producing good operettas like "Alad-in- and out". I remember Ronald Asirwatham, who turned out to be a good athlete performing in the role of a beautiful and coy bride. During those years Wesley also very good choir that was trained by Mr. Ivor de and our Annual Carol Services matched those Thomas' College and Trinity College.

The standards in Drama and Music at Wesley improved further in the Sixties under the guidance of Mr. Haig Karunaratne, when he introduced certain innovations of an indigenous nature. In this brief survey of the time that I spent at Wesley in the Fifties, I also wish to touch on the lessons the school taught me. It was not just the English, History and the other subjects that I learnt which turned out to be useful, I can honestly say that Wesley helped me to cope with the whole business of important questions in life such as the following:- Who am I and what am I doing on this universe ? How do I relate to other people ? What is my destiny and where am I going? The fact that I became a committed Christian in school, due to the influence of the SCM, helped me to find some answers to these questions.

In this context, I cannot help recalling that the Vice - Principal Mr. L. A. Fernando ("LAFA") chose the book "Why I am not a Christian ?" by Bertrand Russell as my 6th Form Christianity Prize. The teachers at Wesley in my time were very broad - minded persons. Wesley also helped me to develop and assert my individuality, while ensuring that due respect was shown to other persons. Wesley also taught me and my contemporaries how to cope with the competitive world to set one's own goals. Wesley in the Fifties reflected communal harmony at its best, something which is sadly lacking in our country today. Another lesson that Wesley taught us, was our responsibility to the community around us, particularly the under privileged ones. Those who passed through the portals of Wesley during the past 125 years have been regularly, made conscious of what they have to do for their poor and needy neighbours.

It is now time for me to pay tribute to the staff of Wesley all of whom were responsible for the school maintaining such high standard. I wish to single out one person who made a tremendous contribution to the school in my time. I refer to Mr. L. A. Fernando, whom we affectionately referred to as "LAFA". He was a father to most of the students of my generation. Apart from this time he spent in the classroom, he spent many hours on the playing field encouraging Cricketers, Athletes and Hockey players. The year I spent in form 3A during 1954 with Mr, Felix Premawardena, as class master, was the happiest one during my school life. The students in the class learnt a lot but not just from text books. We had our own class Parliament, a Weekly Newspaper, and also produced a class magazine at the end of the year. Most of my contemporaries like Upali Samararatne, developed certain skills during that memorable year.

Then again we had our school boy pranks. I recall getting six cuts form Mr. C. J. Oorloff for plucking mangoes as I did not reveal the names of the other culprits ! Years later when I narrated this, Mr. Oorloff responded by saying that be knew that I was a gentlemen who was protecting his friends ! Teachers at Wesley in the Fifties were not only devoted to the school but also had a consuming passion for its welfare. Wesley is what it is today, due to their dedicated and loyal service. The present generation of teachers and students have the responsibility of carrying on their good work. May God bless our school and all those associated with it. I am confident that Wesley will in spirit of "Ora et Labora' face the challenges of the new Millennium, in the same way that it coped with those of the 20th century. Let us all wave our for colours high and free and take Wesley to the fore steadily.

The History of Wesley College (1874 to 2007) by Alfred K. David

Alfred was a brilliant student at Wesley College and a talented all round sportsman during the 1950's. My sincere thanks go to Alfred David for this most comprehensive and complete account of the history of the school written with such great accuracy, panache and style. When it comes to writing about the school no one does it better than Alfred. On behalf of the brotherhood of Wesleyites spread all over the world I wish him a long and happy retirement. God Bless - Dr Nihal D Amerasekera (Editor Double Blue International.)


 

Reminiscences of a former College Chaplain by Revd J S B Manakulasuriya- Moratawa. 1998

My reminiscences go as far back as 1920, when my father, a Methodist Minister, - attached to the Colombo City Mission took me to the Principal, the Revd. Henry Highfield who personally knew my father. Earlier he had baptised a sister of mine on Christmas Day at the Methodist Church, Maradana. After admission I was handed over to the master-in-charge of the Hostel , Mr.P.Harold Nonis.I enjoyed my days at Wesley and was a frequent visitor to the Principal's Bungalow to see Mrs. Highfield who had endeared herself to us small boys. On Sunday afternoon she used to tell us stories from the Bible and elsewhere, to teach us how to pray, and above all she would sing the lovely Hymns , some of which like " Tell me the Old, Old Story..", " Jesus friend of little Children', she used to teach us. We found the Principal and his wife truly helpful and kind to children.

Incident at the Classroom upstairs: One afternoon the Principal clad as usual in his clerical garb, cum gown and cap, walks towards the Class Room upstairs. I follow him and by the time I reached him I heard a CRASH. He kicked at the closed door to open it. But alas! His foot goes right into the glass pane of the door. He pulled his foot back and it comes out bleeding. The door is opened from within . I peep into the classroon and I see one of the students, I think it was Walter......' escape through the window and down the drain pipe to the outside. The students became panicky. I ran back, crying to the Principal's Bungalow and told Mrs.Highfield that the Principal's foot is bleeding. Then a few students entered carrying the Principal in an armchair. I ran back to the hostel to tell the boys what I had seen. Still I remember this and incident as though it had happened only yesterday!

Back at Wesley in 1950 as its resident Chaplain, Mr. C J Oorloff was the new Principal, Messrs K M de Lanerolle and Fred De Mel, the new Vice Principal and new Head Master, respectively, and Mr Shelton Peiris the Master- in - Charge of the Hostel The college S.C.M. was flourishing , with the late Maxwell de Alwis who later joined the Anglican Ministry and Others. A room adjoining the Hostel Dormitory was the Hostel and Staff Prayer Room. After daily morning devotions, a Prayer cell was used to meet regularly and among the boys who joined I remember Herbert Gunaratne, (and his brother) The late Hugh De Silva, Robert Coburn, Ranjith Fernando and N.A.B.[Fernando] - the present Principal. A few senior Hostellers and members of Staff, Henry Rajapakse, D. W. Wilfred and Eric De Silva were the nucleus of a new Wesley Guild formed at Maradana with Ronald Gomes, an old Wesleyite, as general Secretary. The monthly Epilogue over Radio Ceylon continued with the cooperation of a few Senior Hostellers and members .of staff viz. Ivor de Silva and LA Fernando, with Hostel patron Mrs. Hindle, at the Piano. Ranis, if I remember right, was a young man employee of the College even when I was a child in the Hostel. He was a kind sort of person. I found him so , even when I met him in 1950. He was a very honest and faithful employee who loved the College as any one of us. The following Methodist Ministers : Revd. M.S.Fernando, Lynn A. de Silva, and Dr. David K.Wilson .Served Wesley from time to time. I am now in my 83rd year and will complete it in March 1999. I am so glad to send this little piece and thank the Editor -in-Chief , Mr Shelton Peiris for writing to me to do so. May Wesley proceed in prayer and labour- ORA ET LABORA


 

Citizens Growing up at Wesley by Rev. Dr. David K.Wilson

In recent years something like a revolution has taken place. Informed opinion about the care of children between the age of 2 and 5. Nursery schools has laid a new emphasis upon this period of infancy. A. Gessell, in his book "The Preschool Child" says, "Never again, will the child's mind, character, and spirit advance as in this formative period of growth." Ceylon in the Nineteen Twenties had not shared that measure of concern for nursery children. At any rate the number of schools provided for them were few and far between. I came to know Wesley at the age of eight and entered the lowest grade in the school. Henry Highfield was its Principal, my class teacher was Miss Ludowyke and the Cricket Captain was Vanden Driesen.

Two years later both Miss Ludowyke and I moved over to Royal and she became my class teacher again in that school. The assembly each morning still lingers in my mind. Men like Highfield and Horlar, C. P. Dias, Mack and Honter read short passages from the scriptures and commented on than briefly. The boys sang the hymns lustily to the music played by senior students like Lyn Ludowyke and Victor Abraham. Right from the beginning of school life, the daily prayers reminded us that it was the vital centre of moral strength which was able to maintain life and to perform its mission without imposing standardized beliefs on society. Socrates was not able to define justice without making some assumptions about the gods, and Highfield thought it proper to train the citizens stronger than political or social expediency for rejecting injustice.

In my early years of school life, what impressed me a lot was the general atmosphere of the school and the personal example of teachers. The atmosphere of a school is difficult to define but it was made up of countless acts and incidents and controlled by subtle forces of personalities from the past and the present. Their lives and ideals were mirrored in the school community and by their attitude to the values and personalities dealt with in lessons, and to the problems of conduct thrown up by school life. Incidentally, it was here that I received my first caning from Horlar the disciplinarian for noisy conduct at school assembly. The opportunity of living with other people outside the family circle was team by me first at Wesley, and it furnished type roots from which social life was to grow. The need to be clean and tidy, to respect the order and routine that made the class room a joy and comfort to me and others, was the gentle art taught us by the lady teacher.

Learning to do things for ourselves with Card board, brown paper, light wood, scissors and paste was born out of the rich experience in the Hand Work classes of Earle Schokman. The Intellectual and imaginative exercises that were administered to us in small and large doses by Herman Labrooy and B.C. Perera. Labrooy is no more but B. C. Perera is still with us as a lawyer and is also a member of the choir at St. Michael's and All Angels' Church, Polwatte. Having left Wesley at the age often, my knowledge of Wesley's deeds are vague, but for the lively encounters at Cricket against Royal. The most memorable one was when Wesley lost badly to Royal and Royal totalled one of the highest scores (430) for schools in 1930 on the Reid Avenue grounds. My next association with the school was when I came back to Wesley as Chaplain of the school during the two years 1949 and 1950.

The year 1949 marked the seventy fifth anniversary of the school. At the school celebrations on that occasion, the Rt. Hon. Mr. D.S. Senanayake, (Prime Minister) said : "I stand here to acknowledge my gratitude to such men as Highfield, who infused into me some of those qualities which I hope I possess. " As a Chaplain residing in the school hostel, I began to see Wesley at its best and its influence on the life of the school community, and also its weaknesses. There were spacious building, better furniture, bigger staff, and excellent equipment. But often on reflection the question that cropped up in my mind was, "Has the school progressed?" There was James Cartman, succeeded by Cedric Orloof, and Kenneth de Lanerolle and an able team of staff members, guiding the destinies of the school. There was improvement in the outward paraphernalia, and in many other there was development.

But was that progress? Over and over there was unredeemable human nature which kept coming in at the junior end of the school and gathering momentum through the years and later pouring out into the larger life outside the school walls into the later pouring out into this was counter- balanced by the forward looking minds of the teaching staff that were ready to reinterpret the old and simple virtues of humility, service, restraint and respect for personality. In this regard, Wesley was in a sense fulfilling the conditions necessary to build a healthy democratic society. It was Lord Lothian who once said in a public address that, "Democracy is a, system that can only succeed where it produces a race of aristocrats. " After a significant pause he said, "An Aristocrat I define as any person who habitually gives more than he receives. " This is the Centenary year of Wesley, and I have returned to it after twenty four years, once again as Chaplain of the school. This time many of the old familial faces are gone. C.M. Fonseka, Eric Gunasekere, Fred de Mel, Eric de Silva and Ranis have passed beyond the veil.

The school is under the safe leadership of Shelton Wirasinghe and Dunstan Fernando (both of whom I have known for over a quarter century) along with an able band of teachers. But this time the food and energy crisis is upon us. It is time to pause and think. It is not sufficient for us review the pathway we have travelled through a hundred years, nor is it enough to remind ourselves of the intention of the founders and the builders of Wesley and its traditions. At a time such as this, we ought to be able to read the writing on the wall and note that the present crisis speaks in terms of warning and hope. The human race is so clever, and can plan and predict for the future, or so it thought. But now man is the victim of his own selfishness and arrogance.

Christian schools and institutions, tokens of education and social welfare are no substitutes for what must be the eventual sharing of this world's goods, and the creation of an international life style with the the budget of the world's resources which God has provided. This is a hard and painful lesson to be learnt in terms of cooperation, trust and mutual support. The Christian schools must infuse their life into the world in this gigantic task. They must help to create the cultural and intellectual climate in which nations can realize this sense of humanity. They must raise up men, who share this sense of humanity. They must raise up men, who share this concern, and who can be appointed, to act for the future. This is the significant contribution that Wesley can take for mankind's responsibility, because future history will be decisive. Pray therefore and labour on.

Editor's Note David Wilson 's early schooling was at Wesley' He Joined Royal College Colombo where he proved to be a brilliant scholar and an athlete of outstanding performance and singular permit. He was Wesley's Chaplain from 1949 - 1950 and again in 1974. The Cartman-Wilson combination resulted in a spiritual regeneration of Christian life of the School. He revitalised the SCM to be a vital shaft and a very sustaining influence. His rapport with students had no gust, yet his leadership was outstanding.


 

A Hosteller recalls The Sago Saga by Ernest Visvasam

Sago Pudding, ... how I detest the stuff. I positively absolutely loathe the stuff.! Anyone with any intention of trying to force me to eat the stuff will need reinforcements. Now don't get me wrong. I 've got nothing against the lowly Sago whose merits have been extolled by various nutritionists over the ages. My reasons are historical; they go back to the days of World War II . I was in my teens and in the College Boarding at Wesley. Life had been reasonably normal as long as the War was fought in Europe, but once it entered the Asian scene, with the entry of the Japanese into the conflict, things began to turn grim.

It meant the War was on our doorstep and rationing of nearly every commodity came into force. It also meant that hordes of troops of various nationalities - Anzacz, Africans, Gurkhas, British, & Americans were all about the place, getting first preference for whatever was available. If life was grim outside , it was worse inside the school hostel. The major area of dissatisfaction to us growing boys was food. On no account could food be refused, even on a rare occasion. A bad stomach meant an even more detestable dose of castor oil ! Then one day began an extraordinary regime of Sago Pudding and it continued unabated day after day. It meant Sago pudding at lunchtime, at dinnertime and even at late night supper.

This situation degenerated even further and we were served Sago Pudding even for Breakfast, which was the unkindest cut of all. We had to counter this Sago offensive and called a War council, before we were drowned in Sago Pudding. We then discovered the reasons for this Sago Pudding onslaught. The Boarding Kitchen was in the charge of the Major who conducted and directed all food operations. As mentioned earlier it was a time of dire shortages, and the "Major" was hard put to get his sugar ration on time, and was forced to enter into a nefarious deal which . appeared to be a bargain. When the so-called bags of sugar arrived it was all Sago! and six bags for the price of three ! And mind you a bag was one hundred weight (112 lbs) of sago. At the normal rate of consumption at perhaps twice a week of sago pudding it would have been sufficient for 6 months.

The "Major" reckoned this was far too long to keep the stuff and decided on the Sago Saga. Various methods of combatting this huge dose of Sago was debated which included a protest march to the Headmaster, but were eventually abandoned due to lack of takers. Finally the bright idea of actually "kidnapping" the Sago emerged, and with the connivance of a Hosteller's father's transport, the offending last three bags of Sago were ditched. There was a hue and cry about the sudden disappearance of three bags of Sago, but after a brief inquiry the matter was dropped as it was not uncommon to have break-ins during this time. Thus the Sago Pudding deluge came to an end, and even now the mention of Sago pudding brings out the rebellious side of me !

Ernest Visvasam New South Wales Editors Note. Ernest Vlsvasam was a student at Wesley in the 1945/50 period. He won the Dr Solomon Fernando Prize for Mathematics, Mary High field Essay Prize , and passed the SSC in the 1st Division. He then joined the Colombo Commercial Co as an Engineering Apprentice, and was awarded a Scholarship to the UK, to undergo a graduate apprenticeship shop floor training with the Hawker Siddeley Group lasting for two years.This tour included visits to several Manufacturers who were represented by CCC in Colombo. Vlsvasam is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, and obtained his full Membership of the IMechE in early 1960. Whilst in Colombo, he was a Vice President of the OBU. He worked as a Senior Engineer at Colombo Commercial Co and emigrated to Australia in 1974. He worked as an Engineer there until he retired in 1995 after 36 years in the Engineering Profession. He now spends his retirement in New South Wales.


 

My memories of Wesley by Rev Rohan Wijesinghe, B.D., Theol.M

 

I would like to share with you some memories I have of Wesley College in a lighter vein. These off-line events played a significant part in preparing me and perhaps many others for life as only Wesley College could do. These are the gaps in our school careers. These gaps are as significant as things that took place in the normal scheme of things while I was at Wesley College. So, I share them with you.

I joined Wesley College in Standard 2, a few days after the school year had begun. With a monitors exercise book and pencil my father took me to the class where Miss Iris Blacker was teaching English. She set some work for us, and I did my exercise in the monitors book. Soon after submitting it, I heard her ask who submitted the monitors book. I owned up and went forward. She slapped me across my face with it and said that I should have followed her instructions and bought a regular exercise book! That was my initiation! However, about 10 years later I became a Prefect of the College. One day I had to take some Office Notice to the Primary School classes and I walked in to Miss Iris Blacker's class. Seeing me she stopped what she was doing and introduced me to the students: "This is a Prefect, and a Prefect is perfect..." and she went on to give a glorified speech about how much Prefects were an example to the school. Believe me, it reminded me of humiliation I first felt when she slapped me across my face on my very first day in the school, nay, my very first class in school! Of course in later years she and I shared a mutual respect, and I think that she was a terrific lady.

Then when we were in Standard four, our class was in the Vice Principal's bungalow. Nihal Ameresekere (ND) and I shared the front double desk facing the class master's table. Our class master was Mr. Wilfred Wickramasinghe. Once during the short interval, Nihal gave me a playful punch to my face which I ducked and I returned the favour, but Nihal got my fist smack on his lips. That's the age when we had our front teeth shaking and about to fall! I think Nihal's tooth came off and his mouth was filling with blood. Just then the bell rang and Mr. Wilfred walked in. Nihal had no time to do anything, but a small trickle of blood began to pour out of his mouth. Mr. Wilfred feared the worst and thought that I was a thug and took the matter very seriously. I was never asked to explain my conduct and Nihal was too upset to give an explanation. promptly the monitor, Nimal Sureweere, was asked to take the two of us to the headmaster, "Papa" de Mel. Perhaps he was about to start a class, or perhaps he recognized me. He asked us to meet him during the lunch interval. By this time, Sureweere was trying to point out that since Nihal and I were best friends, he should not have reported me. Nihal was saying that he did not report me, but that since his mouth was filled with blood he could not speak. Any way by the time the lunch interval came both Nihal and I had agreed that we will not meet the Head Master, even though Mr. Wilfred sent us marching to Mr. de Mel's Office. We managed to avoid the encounter and for the next few months we made sure that we came no where close to Mr. de Mel. Many years later when I left school Mr. de Mel was the Welfare Officer. I went over to his office to pay him my respects. He then reached down to his diaries and selected one. Then he opened it and found the place where it was written, that I should have had a caning when I was in standard 4. I grinned and so did he.

I hated Sinhala kavi. I was in standard five and Mr. S.T. Perera was our teacher. One day I could not recite a particular verse of a Sinhala Kavi. A few others too defaulted like me. Then Mr C.M. Fonseka, the new Head Master came along and we were caned. I took it very badly and I still think I should not have been caned! But such were the ethics of schools then!!

I had another blue day in Form 2. Mr. L.A. Fernando was teaching us and he asked me a question and I gave a silly answer. I was asked to keep standing. Twice more I was asked questions and I just did not get things right that day. Then he came to me and said that I am a G.B. I grinned. He asked me whether I knew what G.B. meant. I said , "Yes, Great bugger." That was too much and perhaps I crossed the line. So I got a good punch on my shoulder and LAFA said "G.B. means 'Gon bas."

Once when there were communal riots in the late '50s, school closed early and we were returning home upstairs in a double decker bus. Suddenly the bus was stopped and some thugs came upstairs looking for those they might assault or harass. Mr. Sethukavala was seated in the front row. One thug saw him and said "you are one of them." At which Mr. Sethukawala stood up thin and tall, removed his spectacles and defiantly said" gahapan." The thug got cold feet and quickly left the bus. We felt so proud of our Physics Master that day.We glowed with pride at the integrity of our Wesley leaders and teachers!

Mr. Lionel Jayasuriya, as I remember him was a fabulous teacher and more than teaching us English, he taught us manners, values and good behavour. He had a way of making learning fun. I came to know him very much as he was our Senior House (Passmore) Master. I believe he taught my father who studies at Carey College. I am happy to have been able to greet him on his 100th birthday this year.

Mr. N.S.J Fonseka was an angel of mercy. At the 'O' Levels I did well in all subjects except Sinhals, which I failed. Without my asking he met me one day and said that it would be a shame if I could not get my 'O' Levels certificate because of my poor Sinhala grade. So he encouraged me to write a Sinhala essay each week and that he would correct and evaluate it for me. So it was that when I sat that subject the second time, I was able to obtain a Credit Pass. This opened the way for me to continue with my higher studies. I regret that I was not able to adequately express my gratitude to him later in life.

I took part in Athletics and Badminton. One year at the Colombo North group Meet, I was mistakenly entered for the 100 meter race, which was not one of my events. I was upset, but I can never forget the way "LAFA" kept on encouraging me to run the race for the College. I did so. I thought I ran a good race and that I breasted the ribbon first because I sustained a cut on my body by it. But when the results were announced I was not among the first three. Again LAFA was by my side saying how I ran a great race, but that in the last ten meters others caught up with me. He taught me to accept defeat with dignity. That was a lesson I learnt for life.

Physics lab

One day while watching a cricket match LAFA was with us and he and I were talking about Big matches. I complained that Wesley did not have a big match and that made us feel inferior. But LAFA immediately pointed out that he is grateful to the foresight of the founding fathers of the College for deliberately deciding not to have a Big match. He reminded me that Wesley College was for the average person and not meant to be elitist. By deliberately not having a big match we had made a significant statement and that is what makes us different and unique among the leading schools of Colombo. I had never looked at the matter in that way. To this day I am grateful to LAFA for giving me a solid reason to feel so proud to be a Wesleyite.

I travelled to school from Nugegoda by train. There would be a rare day when I might miss the train. When I was in Lower IV, once I missed the train and was late arriving in school. That day the prefects not only took down our names, but huddled us all late comers in a class room. Mr. Nonis, our Principal, visited the late comers in that class room. I distinctly felt that he was disappointed to see me, a Form VI student, among several students of much lower Forms. He said to me: "Wijesinghe, if Nugegoda is too far, leave school and join a school over there." I felt so ashamed. So the next day I made sure I was early at school, and I sat at Assembly in a place that Mr. Nonis would definitely notice. Then I was stunned when Mr. Nonis announced that the following boys have been appointed Sub Prefects of the school, and there included among others was my name too. Immediately I understood why Mr. Nonis felt so disappointed to find me in that class room among the later comers!

Usually we spent our small and big intervals in the Biology lab. But now that I was a sub prefect there was duty to be done. The Senior Prefect, Kodituwakku, assigned me and Daya Perera to check the back gate at the end of the lunch interval. The small park was filled with students and as the bell rang, everyone of them returned to their class rooms. Daya and I had never seen the back gate become so desolate so fast. Then Daya challenged me to go for a show to celebrate our appointments as Sub Prefects. I, not being so adventurous was reluctant, but went along with the scheme. We had to walk along Karlshrue Gardens past the Principal's bungalow and the Vice Principal's bungalow to get to Campbell park and beyond. We managed to do all that and as we came out to the main road near the Children's Hospital, we breathed a sigh of relief. Just then, a car screeched its breaks and it was Mr. D'abrera. He has seen us, and as he went towards Wesley College we saw him ringing his finger at us. It was a disaster and we lost our appetite for a movie. So we went to our homes dejected. The next day, we had to face the music. Mr. D'abrera, our Class Teacher met us and said: "So, you were trying to celebrate. Well, I marked you present." What a break!

When I was appointed captain of the College Athletics team we had some very good athletes, like Morris Mortier, Sarath Wickremaratne, Panchacharam, Thanga Velu, Bashudeen Mohammed, Winslow, Shantha McClelland, Gihan(?) Fernando, Kenneth de Silva and some others whom I do not remember now. But our morale was down because those were difficult days for the College and the Athletics team was not given much support, no special college outfit, "not even a packet of glucose!" and we had to walk it to the Oval. We fared disastrously and at the march-past I carried the college flag. The Chief Guest was Sir Oliver Goonetilleke, Governor General of Ceylon and an Old boy of Wesley. He presented the trophies to the winning teams and then he took a step back to identify from among nearly a hundred flags, the flag of Wesley College. He spotted the flag I was carrying and started walking towards me. My knees buckled and my heart began to race. He asked: "Did not do well this time?" I said: "No, Sir." He smiled, shook my hand and said: "Better luck next time" and walked away. Sir Oliver, by that gesture taught me to hold my head high even in defeat!

When it came to badminton, the college did not have any funding for this game, but My two brothers and I and P.S.Rodrigo were playing in various national tournaments and making an impact. There were times we used our private supply of shuttlecocks. We entered teams for the Inter-School Tournament for a few years. We had to move away the benches and chairs in the College Hall by ourselves, sweep and prepare the place for "Home" matches, and usually by the time the matches began wer were very tired. But Yet, we won quite a few of those matches. In 1958 I reached my best form and I had entered a national championship at the YMCA. Although I was unseeded I defeated all my opponents and reached the finals where I had to play against P.S. Rodrigo, my Captain at Wesley, For this all Wesley Finals Mr. Edmund Dissanayake, (Prefect of Games), Mr. Swaris (Athletics master) and Mr. Wilfred Wickramasinghe (Badminton master) were present. I felt so proud and I played my best game ever and in my heart I played for Wesley with pride! That was the pinnacle of success for me as a Badminton player.

My Wesley Days would not be complete if I did not mention the College Choir. I sang mostly under the leadership of Mr. Haig Karunaratne whom we came to love and respect. He was so dedicated to the College and to the Choir. He treated us with respect and as his friends. We had so much fun. Every year we had our Choir Party and Haig would be forced to sing the "Donkey Serenade" and Nimal Sureweere would burst out with his rich tenor voice. In my final year I was unofficially the lead voice of the bass line, but I was convinced that Swan had a better voice. Besides, I could never sing a solo. One Christmas Carol Service at the Maradane Methodist Church Haig would not accept my excuses and insisted that I sang a prestigious bass solo. I was near panic and then used rank and ordered Swan to sing the solo instead. I still remember how stunned Haig was when he brought me in for the Solo and Swan sang instead! Oh, well!! Haig did forgive me.

Mr. Felix Premawardene was the Drama specialist. In my final year Passmore House could not take part in the Inter House Drama competition. Felix would not hear of it and he somehow chose a play and convinced Bashudeen Musafar, Nigel Baptist and I to present Anton Checov's "The Bear." Felix trained us and we performed and our presentation tied for third place with Mr. Premawardene's Hillard House play! But after playing the role of the bear, I got my only nickname in Wesley College: The bear! Actually I did not mind it.

Mr. Charles Yesudian was not only our Zoology Master, he was a father figure to us. I remember the first lecture we had with him. He got us to write two things on the inside front cover page. "All flesh is grass." and "Knowing the better, doing the worse." Having lost my father when I was only 11 years old, I soon leaned on Mr. Yesudian. Soon after leaving school, when I felt called to be a Christian Minister, Mr. Yesudian encouraged me saying that he had observed that I had the correct temperament to be a Minister. So here I am after more than 40 years still grateful to this gentle and patient saint of a teacher to whom I owe so much.

Such are my memories of Wesley College. We were one great family. The staff members were excellent, and went beyond the call of duty to see that we made it through school. No one glossed over discipline, but everyone set a good example and set high ideals for us to follow. Among us students, we were one student body and we were hardly aware of our religious, language and cultural differences: we were a strong brotherhood. And that will always be what Wesley College was to me, "Men of grit and industry."


 

Brown Study and Buttonholing by The Scribe

In a reverie, often, one can catch a glimpse of the days that are no more, and recall no doubt with a tag of nostalgia, the gracious persons who had prayed and laboured in the vineyard of Wesley, perhaps under very trying circumstances In this exercise we recall with a measure of ease them whose names and deeds are fresh, even though many have crossed the bourn. We focus On some of Wesleys past teachers, men of the stature of Eric A. Gunasekera, Old Boy, a solid and sturdy bat just that kind of teacher with the many facets, skilled in English, Latin, Maths, Literature, not the "Specialist" variety R. A. Honter a man with a subtle humour, soft spoken, responsible in his unruffled way, to train many an Athlete, a Sportsman L. S DeS Weeragoda, a fine Maths teacher! N. Victor, a raconteur par excellence, and of Sinhala folklore Mrs. Nella Joseph, mother of Helen and Langston, was another formidable lady who seared the life of us, and infused discipline at our early age. Another group had men like J. L. F. De Mel (Pappa) J. E. De Silva and C. M. Fonseka. The two "De' s" were always immaculately dressed J. E. De Silva was a rare and a wonderful teacher, he was our "Hand work Sir", modelling, leather work, painting, a hypnotist, a Scouter, who introduced us to the beauty of nature. His stories from Baron Munchausen thrilled us. Ranis fits into the rich rare niche of that period, with his staid stateliness. Another teacher was F. J. Seneratna, a fountain of knowledge mild in manner . A disciplinarian who used a few sharp words to sour the most vociferous. He was an excellent cricket coach. Nor can we forget in recalling Kenneth De Lanerolle walking upright whistling. A rare gift of a teacher with so many facets, painstakingly planning SCM programmes, involved in Drama, music speech, with a keen and close eye on Wesley's fledgelings, a fine disciplinarian and Administrator. C. M. Fonseka, had a posture and style of his own. He had the habit of spurting saliva through the window - we called him "Spitto' to him went the credit of maintaining a beautiful landscape in and around the School campus, the like of which will never again be seen. Plump and comely Joyce Lembruggen and her name sake Rachel were angelic teachers, with peppery Iris Blacker forming a trio. These men and women including the Rev. James Cartman, and Rev (Dr.) David Wilson, carrying the burden of youth on their shoulders and moulding the crude, immature and soiled to be fit vessels on the very ocean of life. Time moves on.

Another group of teachers, no doubt walked inspired in the footsteps of the preceding stalwarts, In some cases even with a deeper stress on sports. Edmund Dissanayaka, of the Cartmen School, stands out .A K.Suppiah was yet another sterling asset. A man of a fine blend of sports and teaching skills. His altruism was outstanding. John Vedanayagama former Batticaloa pupil of Rev. Cartman also made his mark at Wesley. Wesley had her first ever Buddhist (acting) Vice - Principal in no other than Charles Silva, a pint size gentleman who had at all times displayed loyalty and concern. Lionel Rodrigo was yet another example of devotion, who for two years running never availed himself to a single day's leave. One who gave a new image to Wesley's Music and Drama was that all time Maestro Haigh Karunaratna. His talents be sowed brought in a rich harvest drawing near not only students of Wesley but of other Schools as well. Haigh withstood the cascading encomiums because of his sheer humility. Wesley lost him... .L. A. Fernando was yet another rare versatile teacher, steeped in a sacrificial care and concern for his charges. He Certainly mapped out, as a pathfinder, directions, which were followed taking such to great heights, though tragedy hounded him. Yet another teacher of puckish humour was Bertie Van Sanden. Students recall that never a lesson passed without Bertie's Jokes. He often stayed after school with a weak student and helped the lad. A younger teacher was Dr. Frank Jayasinghe. At Wesley he gave of his best and his brawl scope him to be accepted by many International institutions.

Three of Wesleys stalwart teachers were hugged into St. Thomas' sub- wardens Frank Jayasinghe and the recent third that fine teacher and counselor Daniel Pakianathan, who was on the staff of -Wesley for 31 years, is now the St. Thomas "Paki' as he is responsible for a resurrection of rugger at Wesley. On the frequency of Sports one cannot forget Old boy Nimal W. DeSilva who joined the staff in 1970, he endeared himself to the students. As a teacher his work was exemplary. Nimal, as the Master -in -Charge of Cricket, has always displayed tact and efficiency in matters of complexity He was always the last to leave the Pavilion, though he, travels from distant Gonawela. Well done Nimal! Bandula Waranapura that staunch Nalandian is another great asset in Wesley 's cricket. Be certainly is a dynamo generating much enthusiasm. In buttonholing a few of that vast company of loyal Old Boys you will be mindful that the limitations of space fences us.

Taking our mind back to the Centenary year we attempt to recall men of the' fibre of B.J. Karunatiileke. He gave of his best the resounding success of the Centenary Banquet, the 100 Diners lay out, won modest Karu a big hand of applause. Nor can we forget Wesley's source of perennial help Lou Adihetty, certainly a gracious and constant help in need. Lou's interest in Wesley was long before he even thought of Principal ship-long long, before! His concern perennial. God bless you Lou!. The 125th Celebrations has in display a conglomeration of Old Boys of different age groups. No doubt the various committees are drawing from these vital group; We are mindful of the Overseas members and their. unhedged Support. In this exercise of Button - holing, an older group and a not so old group register their activities J. C. P. Wickramanayake, taking the cue from Mrs. Mary F. Highfleld (nee Ledger) who compiled the first ever Old Boys' Register, also compiled, with the assistance of Amara Dissanayaka (wife of Edmund) quite a volume, which now cannot be traced S. Sivaruban brought out a Directory Shimal Thaha, functioning as Coordinator OBU directory is busy on a new Directory.

Its no fun keeping the Secretarial functions moving with a rapidly growing membership. Here outspends burly and robust Tyrone Maye, with cherub, face and robot mind! Well done Tyronne. Kadir Ishak a certainly an able lieutanant. Another group falls into the Dr.Kalinga Mudali category - P. Jeyaratnam, Ranjit Cooray Eric Gauder, Sam Soundravel, Parakrama Wijemanne. and none can forget either unobtrusive Wilhlem Vandort a veritable sheet anchor. Tracing backwards we record the deeds of Rajah Sinnathuray, particularly in the grim early eighties, keeping the funding pipe - line of the Welfare Society trickling. Of Rajah's stature was another conscientious OBU President P. B. (Cuiya) Herat. His term of office was fraught with much judicious Sense. Our next trio is certainly men of stature. Ranjit Abeyedeera is in a class by his own, though. Exposed to unwanted prejudice, in College he sprinted out, on leaving school to shine his best captaining the SLAF rugger team. Under his leader - the Airmen were a formidable side. With all the vicissitudes Ranjit always stood by his Old School. The next pair, is indeed a very helpful pair. Heard even before they are seen!. Vivian Jayaweera and Lasantha Fernand, rugged and robust, Characteristically transparent-outspoken and practical. To Lasantha's credit goes largely the planning of the College Chapel. This is but a cross -section of Old Boys with many others contributing their best often unseen and unsung. Rienzie. T. Wijetilleka has quite deservingly been featured in this issue.

This brief process will be unbalance without his name, as well as that great Wesley gentleman Clive De Silva, whose time, energy, expertise and funding strategy are unsurpassed working with his dauntless staff. Then who in his senses could ever forget our dear friend S. Renganatha the burdened Hony OBU Treasurer. His methodical system, the load be bears stands out.! Nor can we forget the yeomen service rendered by no other than O. K. Hemachandra a keen sportsman, who by sheer dint of pervasion and honest hardwork has been elevated to the high rank of Deputy General Inspector Police and who functions also as Ombudsmen, We congratulate him. On the frequency of Old Boys attaining heights in the police, we also have in mind (Retd.) DIG. B. N. Juranpathy who is in the forefront of progressive thinking for the OBU's welfare. Jehan K. Cassiin, who had held many responsible positions in the State has never taken Wesley off his chest. He was a strong though silent arm who adroitly steered men and malters in the College playground project. Jehan's father M, K. Cassim Captained the invincible Cricket XI of 1910. We reproduce the facsimile of his school leaving certificate issued by the Rev. Highfield.

We change style in this exercise of button - holing, and offer a bouquet to plump and comely Cynthia Jamie not forgetting either all those wonderful people in the College office, including mere spirit than - flesh Marshall Perera Before we put down the shutters on this "here, there and everywhere" ramble, a few other names flit across. Richard Dwight with scroll and pen, those men of vision, well on the right track, as that unique refurbished railway carriage, have made history in establishing the OWSC to stand on solid ground. President Mahroof Ismail, Denzil Perera and now LRG have both the brains and brawn in this venture, not forgetting those painstaking old boys whose doughty deeds have gone on record. Then incumbent OBU President Halim Ishak stands out for his benevolence even to fault. DS Wijemanne was yet another gracious person. On this last stint we comment On yet another of Wesley's tycoons none other than that gracious man from his pharmaceutical empire Mervyn K Peries. He pioneered the now well established Christmas party. The Tea Party on the 2nd of March is another of his innovations.


 

Wesley: As I remember by Shanti McLelland

Our Friends from The Republic of Maldives

April 26, 2001 Wesley College, Colombo - OBU branch, Republic of Maldives Wesley Hostel was home for a group of Maldivian students who featured prominently in most College activities. Those I remember during the period 1960 to 1968 were, Ahamed Imad, A. Nazeem, M. Shihab, S.Rasheed, M.Naieem, and A. Azeez . As they were in the college hostel, by default they were loyal to Moscrop House. All donned the double blue scarf as members of the (Wesley College) 14th Colombo Scout Troop. Imad was Troop Leader and earned the much coveted Queen Scout badge. On his return from his higher studies in Egypt, he was appointed as Scout Commissioner of Maldives, after serving many years as a Senior Scout Master. Now he is a prominent icon in the tourist industry, the country's biggest Industry. S. Rasheed continued his studies in Egypt and now a Director of Examinations in the Ministry of Education. Both Imad and Rasheed were excellent field hockey players and represented the School. Naieem who was a College Prefect and represented the school at soccer. After completing his studies at Wesley he proceeded to Australia, where he qualified as a Pilot. He skill in the aviation industry earned him the prestigious and responsible position as Director of Civil Aviation in the Republic of Maldives. Nazeem, Azeez and Shihab were outstanding soccer players. After leaving Wesley they all completed higher studies in overseas and now hold key positions in the government. All of them were loyal and proud Wesleyites. Wesley would remember them as outstanding sportsman, great ambassadors of their country, exceptional students, well disciplined, absolutely courteous, supportive classmates, brothers in the hostel, congenial and loyal friends. We will expect more news directly from them in the near future. Wesley: As I remember by

Internationally renowned Hockey Umpires

Shanti McLelland - Article 2. April 26, 2001 (a) Wesleyites who excelled as Hockey Umpires in Sri Lanka. Mr. Walter P. Jayasuriya was the first International Hockey Umpire from Sri Lanka. Mr. Jayasuriya was instrumental in leading many Sri Lankan umpires to become International hockey umpires. Mr. Walter Jayasuriya's role in Sri Lanka's hockey for over 50 years is a feat that will never be matched by anyone else. His dedication to the game and the welfare of the players was invaluable. Wesley should be proud of Mr. Walter Jayasuriya for the contribution to Wesley Hockey. Mr. A. Mylvaganam former Wesley Captain and Sri Lankan Hockey player was the next. Mr. Mylvaganam was an outstanding hockey player would be always remembered as one of the best Sri Lankan players that could have matched any in the world for artistry, technique and power. Mr. Sri Rohan Amarasinghe was the third International Hockey Umpire from Wesley. Mr. Amarasinghe captained Wesley in 1967 and represented Sri Lanka in 1975. Had the distinction of being nominated by the International Hockey Federation to umpire at the World Cup Tournament in Lahore, Pakistan. Rajah Jayasuriya, Donald de Silva, and Adrian Wickrameratne were Grade 1 National Umpires. Mr. M. Patrick Edema, and Mr. A. K. Suppiah, were Grade 1 umpires in the Sri Lanka Schools Hockey Umpires panel. Mr. Suppiah served as an umpire of the Colombo Schools Hockey Association for many years and was one of the most respected umpires of the Sri Lanka Schools Hockey Federation. (b) Guardians of Hockey at Wesley Messrs. T.N.M. Mahamooth, Mervyn Peiris, and Walter P. Jayasuriya were at the helm of Colombo Hockey Association, while Mr. Mylvaganam served in the Government Services h Hockey Association. They inspired and spearheaded Colombo H.A. to become National champions many times. Mr. Jayasuriya was instrumental in negotiating Sir Lanka's participation internationally. All four were stalwarts and influential members of the Sri Lanka Hockey Federation. Mr. Walter Jayasuriya will be remembered as the father of Hockey in Sri Lanka. Also, he was a highly respected official in Asian Hockey. They inspired and contributed greatly to Wesley Hockey. Mr. Adrian Wickremaratne was Secretary of the Colombo Hockey Association for many years. Mr. Amarasinghe served as Chairman and Rajah Jayasuriya as a council member of the Sri Lanka Hockey Federation Umpires Committee. Mr. D.S.Wijemanne was a strong supporter of the champion OWSC hockey team during the glorious 1971 to 1974 period. I would take this opportunity to place on record the services of Mr. T. G. Amith who coached school team for many years and was an honorary official of the Old Wesleyites Hockey Club. (c) Wesley Staff who guided the formidable Hockey Teams from 1960 to 1990. Messers. Fred Abeysekara, N.A.B.Fernando, L.A. Fernando, and A.K.Suppiah. · Wesley produced some excellent hockey players under Mr. Fred Abeysekara. Mr. N.A.B. Fernando took over to continue with the tradition. I still vividly remember 1965 when Mr.Fernando managed the Colombo North hockey team to become National Champions in both the senior and junior divisions. Rajah Jayasuriya captained the Senior team. In 1966 Mr. L.A.Fernando took over the responsibility ensuring Wesley's dominance in school hockey. In 1966 we maintained an excellent record, while in 1967 under the captaincy of Rohan Amarasinghe Wesley maintained its champion status. After 1968 Mr. A.K.Suppiah held on to the reins of Wesley hockey for many years. Without exception all four served Wesley hockey with a passion and made it a point to instill all the qualities of sportsmanship while producing cohesive and formidable Under 19, 17, 15 and 13 teams over a period of 30 years. Wesley:

Judo Champions from Wesley

As I remember by Shanti McLelland - Article 3. April 26, 2001 Wesley College Judokas Wesley produced some of Sri Lanka's best in Judo. We were well represented in the YMCA and YMBA national teams. M.C.A. Cader, Asoka Jayawardane, Y. Chang, Basnayake, and Sextus Taylor were active participants at National Level. Chang, Asoka, and Cader were black belts. They were national champions in different weight classes and belt grades. A.M.Mohideen, Vijith Kuruppu, and Ranjit McLelland were the first to start off in 1960 from the Colombo YMCA Gymnasium. Vijith Kuruppu excelled at nationally, coached both locally and internationally.

Please accept this invitation to write in the: As I remember series. (All names appearing in the articles will be a source for the Wesley College OBU Register) Wesley:
3. As I remember series Wesley College Basket Ball
4. Wesley College Badminton
5. Wesley College Scouting
6. Wesley College Table Tennis
7. Wesley College Boxing
8. Wesley College Swimming
9. Wesley College Drama
10. Wesley College Debating Teams
11. Wesley College Choir
12. Wesley College Hostel
13. Wesley College Small Park
14. Wesley College Tennis
15. Wesley College Volley Ball
16. Wesley College Prefects Guild
17. Wesley College Physics Lab
18. Wesley College Chemistry Lab
19. Wesley College Botany & Zoology Lab
20. Wesley College Sick Room
21. Wesley College Tuck Shop
22. Wesley College Prize Day
23. Wesley College Sports Meet
24. Wesley College Colours Nite
25. Wesley College Double Blue Fate
26. Wesley College PTA
27. Wesley College Welfare Society
28. Wesley College Highfield Block (1960) 29. Wesley College Cartman Library
30. Wesley College Soccer (each age group)
31. Wesley College Cricket (each age group)
32. Wesley College Hockey (each age group)
33. Wesley College Track & Field
34. The Principal's Bungalow
35. The Vice Principal's Bungalow
36. Wesley College Tutorial Staff
37. Wesley College Support Staff
38. Wesley College Hostel Staff
39. Wesley College Office Staff
40. Wesley College Ground Staff
41. Wesley College Music, Art & Kandyan Dancing
42. Wesley College Double Blue Ball
43. Wesley College Social Service Club
44. Wesley College Photography Club
45. Wesley College Radio Club
46. Wesley College Hall & Balcony (High Teak Roof, Stained Glass panes)
47. Wesley College Flag & College Motto (Add more captions as you may remember)

WESLEY COLLEGE OBU PROJECT TEAMS We will use this information to invite Old Wesleyites to be group leader. Each group leader would form his team. Each team should come up with a specific idea or venture to help Wesley College. (Please fill in with your comments and ideas).

Project ideas:
1. College Computer assisted Essay Writing Competition
2. College Spelling Bee Competition
3. College Inter House Sports Meet
4. College Inter House Drama Competition
5. College Choir and Christmas/Wesak Carols
6. College task force to improve number of University entrants
7. College task force to improve A/L results
8. College task force to improve O/L results
9. College Sports Teams
10. College Buildings & Architecture


 

Street vendors at Wesley by Dr. N.D.Amerasekera

I was at Wesley 1950-62. Intervals were our respite from the sweat and toil of the classroom. Street vendors were an integral component of our school lives. As distributors of affordable goods , they provided us with cheap and delicious food and formed a vital part of the social and economic life in our neighbourhood. Street vending as an occupation has been around for hundreds of years .

There were 2 groups of tit-bit sellers who sold their delicious goods in the 'small' and lunch intervals. Some were at the back of the school and the others by the front entrance or sometimes lining the front driveway. At the back near the small park it was a mini food market, beneath the lush green canopy of "Andara" trees. With the vendors battling for custom the noise was deafening. It wasn’t elegant or pretty but was functional and useful. They had to compete with Wijemanne's official "Tuckshop" which sold traditional stuff like fish buns, patties and the ever popular milk tea. He had the backing of the establishment. Purasandha Cafe next door to the school, on Baseline Road, sold "Thosai and sambar " a more substantial meal popular amongst boarders on Sundays although strictly out of bounds. Thus the consumers had a good and varied choice. There was an oldish man at the back who sang a song "come on buy baby nice pineapple and pol toffee”. He had a large tin full of the best toffees which he balanced at the back of his bicycle. His sweets stuck to the teeth and were just delicious. I kept some in my pocket which often melted in the afternoon heat. The black Bulto's were boiled sweets which took an hour to suck and the boarders sucked half of it and kept the rest under the pillow for a 'rainy day'.
Alerics Ice cream van often arrived on time to Karlshrue Gardens and the deafening noise of its engines were an adequate advertisement of its presence. Ice creams were expensive and were for the rich kids and for special occasions.

"Bombay mutai" seller was not a regular but had brisk business selling the beard like flowing strands of sugar often gorgeously coloured. A very popular favourite of the boys indeed. I was a hungry boarder then, always broke and scrounging from the day-boys.

Amidst the food fare was the ever-popular Stamp Tuan who sold first day covers and colourful stamps from the world over. The stamps didn’t come cheap and he gave no credit – strictly cash only. He had a pleasant manner and a brisk sale. He pulled his magnifying glass to check for any damaged edges. The bargain bucket of world stamps were the peoples favourite which got cheaper nearer the end of the interval. He smiled often to show his betel-stained teeth. I can still picture him handing over an absolute bargain of common stamps to an unwary kid. They all had to make a living!!

Chemistry Lab

The achcharu ladies were mother and daughter duo. They had big bosoms which were well aired by the low neckline. Sometimes coins dropped into the deep gully never to be found again. Occasionally they sold their goods side by side but mostly one was in the front of the school. They had some lovely "veralu achcharu" or "pineapple achcharu" seasoned with a topping of chillies. They also sold seasonal fruits like pineapples, galsiyambala, mangoes, all kinds of berries (lovi) and custard apple and wood apple. The "Kadalay" man was popular too. He had "Bola Kadalay with fried coconut" and "taste Kadalay" sprinkled with salt and chillies. His peanuts were the best in the world and came wrapped in old Wesley College examination papers. Prawn "vadeys" and "Masala Vadeys" were a crowd puller and those unfortunate enough to bite the chilly inside went hopping to the water tank opposite the sick room to ease the pain.
The old man at the front gate sold milk toffees with coconut aptly called the Toffee man or "Toppa". He was a tall dark figure with completely white hair. He had the biblical withered hand. I believe he had leprosy. Of course it is too late to complain about the health hazard. As there were many vendors at the back of the school, arguments and fights amongst them were not uncommon. The choicest language was used to gain the upper hand. Nevertheless they provided a service to the starving boarders and the hypoglycaemic day boys who wanted something different and cheap. Against all advice, both parental and school, we all ate these foods sold in the open shared by flies and bacteria. I cannot recall any serious tummy trouble. The benefits were mutual and unknowingly we gave these vendors a livelihood. They sold their goods on credit to be settled on boarders pocket money day - Friday. The vendors were in full force at Campbell Park when the cricket was on. The long hours of hunger during matches put us seriously into debt. The tit-bit sellers were a part of our school community and a lavish part of our school memories. May God Bless them all who are now long gone to the vale beyond.
PSST!!! I didn’t mention we saw the seniors who went to the Thamby Kadey for a quick fag during the intervals – lest the prefects read this note.

Addendum by Shanti McLelland

The stamp Tuan was another icon. Nice, bombai muttai, and sanchol muscat were a few others. I liked the galsiyabala, ramubuttan, and mora days. The woodlands ice cream van used to compete with Alerics which was the better one. The boiled chick peas and Pineapple with chillie, salt, & pepper were just yummy. The cheap ones were peanuts, konda kadala, and parrippu gram. The prawn vadai was great. Yes I can remember all of the faces at the front and back-end of school. Probably a good x-ray may show all of the stuff that did not digest. On no cash days the Anadara trees at the edge of small park facing Nalanda supplied the bean cods. Golden memories & Silver tears

More recently taken from the Sri Lankan papers:

Wesley College, Colombo was well known for that elderly bucksome woman called "Thara Biju" who sold varieties of fruits achcharu and other tit bits outside the school gate. Thara Biju was her nickname given by the boys because of her personal looks. But if she heard that name being mentioned she would come out with her own vocabulary only for a few moments and quickly forget it and continue with her business. Her favourite customers were given credit facilities. Associated with Thara Biju on cricket match days at Campbell Park was a "dwarf old couple who were popularly known as the "Kurumitto Joduwa". They were a husband and wife combination both about almost four feet in height. The dwarf couple and Thara Biju enjoyed a flourishing business at Campbell Park on match days as they also catered to students of All Saints’ College, Borella.


 

The Kelani Valley Railway in the early 1950's by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

My school life at Wesley began in January 1950 when I stayed with my Grandparents in Nugegoda. My uncle Neville Weerasekera (an old boy of the school) showed me the ropes how to buy the ticket and get to school. Some had season tickets but I preferred to buy them daily. Nugegoda was then a small town with a few vehicles on the road. The Railway station was painted grey and had a picket fence as they all do. It had a characteristic smell common to all stations in those days of steam trains.The Seth Thomas pendulum clock was the hallmark of all Railway Stations. At the station was the stationmaster with his white suit and cap. There was a constant tapping of morse code at the station. Coal dust was everywhere and got into the eyes, nose and mouth. The train puffed and hissed and came to a halt when we all got in. This was the 7.17 from Nugegoda reaching Baseline road at about 7.55 giving us 20 minutes to get to Wesley before school began. There was a crowd of students travelling. Rohan, Prasanna and Nimal Wijesinghe, W.A.K.Silva and his brother Ranjit. Ranjit and Vernon Kulatunga. Asoka De Silva from Udahamulla and N.M.perera and his brother. There was great camaraderie between the travellers and we helped each other and chatted a lot. Once at Baseline road Station we went up Cattle Mart Road and then to Baseline road towards school. Often we met boys cycling to school and recall Ivan Bowen on his bike. The twins Yrol and Garreth Jayawardene walked passed us followed by their ayah. Its a long journey past the Mount Mary Railway Housing Estate. All those upstair houses were painted grey too and had the picket fence. The return trip was more leisurely as the train was at 3.56pm. We often stopped to watch cricket at the Railway cricket grounds or played marbles at the station compound. One cent coins were placed on the track to see them get flattened. Mr.Kanathigoda was the Stationmaster at Baseline Road for many years . Both his sons Neville and Ivan attended Wesley. W.A.K.Silva after an Engineering degree joined the CGR and rose to become its General Manager.

Many Wesleyites lived in the Mount Mary Estate and their dads worked in the Railway and I felt it would be a walk down memory lane to trace the history of the famous KV line, in brief.

From the daily papers:

The broad gauge Rail system built by the British, began operating in 1864, initially from Colombo, Henerathgodde (Gampaha) and to Ambepussa. Kandy was reached in 1867. 1925-40 was the peak of railway development. Most of the system is Broad Gauge at 5'6" with diminishing bits of Narrow Gauge at 2'6" (Dual Gauged since 1991). The system was known as the Ceylon Government Railway, as of late it is referred to as Sri Lanka Railways.

News 100 years ago: Sir Joseph West Ridgeway becomes the first Governor to "dare to beard all the lions of the Kelani Valley collectively assembled in their dens" when he accepts an invitation to be the chief guest at the Kelani Valley races and gymkhana. It is an annual event held at Talduwa where the planters gather for three days of fun and merriment. Replying to the toast proposed at the breakfast, the Governor has some interesting things to say about the planters. "I had heard so much of you gentlemen, of your pugnacious habits, of your inveterate hatred of all Governors and constituted authority. I was also told that you were misogynists, in other words, women haters. Evidently that is a libel." Elaborating further on what he saw as features of the planters, he added: "The fact, gentlemen is that you do not seem to me to be lions at all. You seem to be lambs. However, if you are lions, you are not the savage famished lions ready to devour anybody who comes your way, but you are well-behaved, well-fed lions bursting your skins with hospitality." Having made his speech amidst roars of laughter, the Governor finally announces a gift to the planters - the Kelani Valley railway. The construction of the Kelani Valley railway has begun. The terminus of the line has been fixed on the left bank of the Kelani river opposite Yatiyantota. Planning began in July 1897 when the cost was estimated at Rs 57,546 per mile or Rs 2,877,000 for the whole line from Colombo to Atulugama with an extension to Yatiyantota and a branch line to Ruwanwella. The branch line was abandoned later. The annual profits from the railway line is estimated at Rs 150,000. The Kelani Valley is a light line of 2 ft 6 in gauge (as against 5 ft 6 in on main track lines) and is for the benefit of the planters in the tea country directly east of the capital. (Note: The Kelani Valley line was opened to Avissawella, 36 3/4 miles in 1902 and completed to Yatiyantota, a further distance of 11 miles in the following year. Later it was extended up to Opanayake).

Technical matters: Another popular alternative was almost any train on the mainly steam-hauled narrow guage Kelani Valley Line between Colombo and Opanayake..now sadly upgraded to broad guage.(1991)..with a section closed down. This railwayline employed some interesting locos from narrow guage coal-fired Beyer-Garratts to Hunslet diesels..! and ran through some of the busiest suburbs of the City of Colombo such as Baseline Road, Cotta Road, Narahenpita, Manning Town, Kirillapone and Nugegoda. A number of manually operated level crossings in and around Colombo considerably impeded the progress of trains on this line.The trains travelled at a leisurely 10 MPH. Purists would argue that the Kelani Valley line was THE Love Train. There were no toilets on the trains. Not surprising.. It has been said that if you are travelling in one of the front carriages, you could actually jump off the train, have a trackside pee and jump back on the last carriage! Well away from Colombo the gradient in some places was in the order of 1 in 22 thus explaining the need to employ Beyer-Garratts.

At Sri Lanka's Royal Colombo Golf Club, founded in 1879, the intrusion comes not so much from people as from passing trains. Four holes are traversed by the Kelani Valley steam railroad; golfers are advised to give way. A free drop is permitted if your drive lands on the tracks. Weekdays $27, weekends $38.

History of the Kelani Valley Railway By K. G. H. Munidasa

The Kelani Valley Railway, popularly known as the K.V. line, holds a unique place in the 139-year long history of the Sri Lanka Railways. As a safe and cheap means of transport the K.V. line played an important role in the socio-economic progress of the country. Sir Joseph West Ridgeway, British Governor of Ceylon (1896-1903) is best remembered for his progressive policy of developing the island's railway, introduced the K.V. line, 95 years ago, which he named the Kelani Valley Sabaragamuwa Light Railway. The European planters in the Kelani Valley and Sabaragamuwa have been agitating for a railway since the successful completion of the railway to Kandy, in 1867. Then in February 1894 a deputation from the K.V. Planters' Association (then entirely British) met the Governor Sir Arthur Havelock (1890-1895) and submitted a memorandum urging for a railway to the Kelani Valley. This resulted in the appointment of a commission to investigate and report on the feasibility of constructing a railway extension from Veyangoda to Dehiowita. The report, the commission submitted was favourable to the proposed railway.

However, the government soon found that a railway on the route was not possible due to jungle and the difficult terrain, and instructed the Chief Resident Engineer, F. J. Waring to inspect the country between Colombo and Karawanella and suggest a fresh route for the proposed railway extension. The report he submitted on February 18, 1895 proposed a route from Wellawatte via Mirihana, Pannipitiya, Pitipana, Padukka, Waga, Kosgama, Avissawella, Atulugama, Ruwanwella. After the survey was completed and estimates were ready, the Secretary of State approved the construction of the line on April 27, 1898. It was decided that Minhana (presently Nugegoda), Pannipitiya, Padukka, Waga, Kosgama, Avissawella, Dehiowita, Karawanella and Yatiyantota should be the stations on the line.

The construction commenced on March 22, 1900 and the first phase up to Avissawella was completed on September 15, 1902 and Avissawella to Yatiyantota section was opened for traffic on September 13, the following year. The distance covered was 48 miles 40 chains up to Yatiyantota and the total cost, including the rolling stock, was Rs. 54,33,679. On representations made by the planters and the inhabitants of Sabaragamuwa to the colonial government in 1900, the Governor Sir Henry McCallum (1907-1913) initiated steps to extend the railway to Ratnapura from Avissawella. Accordingly, construction of the Ratnapura extension was started in November 1908. The line was opened for traffic up to Kuruwita on January 15, 1912 and to Ratnapura on April 17 the same year. It was further extended beyond Ratnapura to Opanayake via Dela, a distance of 86 miles, and the regular train services from the Colombo Fort railway station were formally commenced on May 2nd, 1919. At the beginning, the K.V. line locomotives and rolling stock were of entirely British make, which included steam-tank locomotives built at the Hanslet Engine Works in Leeds. These were in service to the last alongside the subsequently introduced German and Japanese diesel locomotives. The operational records of the CGR show that the K.V. railway had been very popular during the Sri Pada season and in view of the extra pilgrim traffic, there "Sentinell'' steam rail cars were introduced into service on July 18, 1927. One of them viz V2 331, built by Sentinell Steam Rail Car Manufactures of U.K. (the oldest in the world) is still preserved at the Dematagoda Engine Sheds. The Kelani Valley railway at the height of its glory hauled loads of freight, race horses to Avissawella for the Talduwa race meets on the weekends and a full complement of passengers. One may still recollect the crowded day train on the K.V. line which left the Colombo Fort station at 9 each morning with goods and passenger coaches, reaching Ratnapura at 3.30 p.m. and Opanayake at 5.30 p.m. However, sometime after the 2nd World War the K.V. line began to decline and the government was forced to close the section from Avissawella to Yatiyantota from January 1942. The actual degeneration of the Kelani Valley railway came about in the late sixties due mainly to the growing competition from road haulage contractors who monopolised the tea, rubber and coconut trade. Meanwhile, passenger revenue too, decreased, resulting in lower investment by the state to improve and develop the line. Finally, in the mid - '70s the decision was taken to close the K.V. railway altogether. First the section from Ratnapura to Opanayake and then the Avissawella to Ratnapura section were dismantled. The last train of only three coaches ended its run at the Ratnapura station in July 1976.

Fortunately, further dismantling of the track was stalled in 1977 and two years later in response to public agitation train service was resumed between Colombo and Avissawella.

The broadgauging program of the K.V. line as a step towards improving and modernising the train service was launched by the Railway Department on February 15, 1991. A novel concept in engineering adopted in the design of the new track was the laying of a third rail so that narrow gauge as well as broadgauge traffic could be accommodated in the same track. Broadgauging the track was completed up to Kosgama last year and regular train service commenced from October 28. The final 12-mile lap to Avissawella including renovation of the station, is now ready and will be opened by the Minister of Transport and Highways, A. H. M. Fowzie Monday.

Addendum by Rev.Rohan Wijesinghe

 

Yes, the 6.55 and the 7.17 comes to mind. Those were the usual trains we took from Nugegoda to travel to school. If we missed them there was the 7.47 or the 8.20. But that would mean, we would be late to school and get detention from the Prefects. Usually these trains were very crowded. But there was Mr Thome (or Tom) who would be travelling from a point before Nugegoda and it was fun to travel with him. Several of us would jump into his compartment. There was also another gentleman who got in at Nugegoda. His name evades me just now. But he lived on Railway Avenue. Their yarns and stories helped build a sense of club among us and travelling to School was certainly fun. If for any reason any of us missed the train, then we were fined a bulto or some other thing. Returning home, we would catch the 3.45 from Base Line Road. As school was over at 3.15 p.m. we would often have time to watch a cricket match in the Railway Grounds near the station. What stands out is the white haired Mr Tissarachchi who was a good bowler. At his age he really bowled many overs. Getting into the train was often a scramble as groups of students from Wesley College, Ananda College and Nalanda College and some times St. John's Dematagoda would compete for corner seats. So we were in the habit of jumping on to the footboard before the train actually stopped Of course it was very rarely that students of two schools would be in the same compartment. Once Nihal de Silva, a fairly stout Wesleyite missed his footing and fell and his long hair was run over by the wheels of the train, but miraculously his head was safe. After that incident we were a little sober about jumping in to the train before it stopped.

Once when coming to school, as the train was coming to a halt at Cotta Road, some people were in a hurry to get to the door. As the train was so crowded the doors were open and some were on the footboard. One of our students was standing on the open doorway, and he got pushed out. he fell and his feet went inwards under the compartment, and i believe he lost a few toes. He is now an Anglican priest and his elder brother is a Doctor!! But when passing through the golf links near Manning Town the train would slow down so much that some of us were in the habbit of jumping off and then again jumping on to the train. We were so oblivious to the danger of what we were doing as teenagers, because caught up with the thrill of being reckless. Once or twice groups of us would set off walking to Nugegoda on the railway tracks. When we had to cross a culvet (Bokkuwa) that was a challenge but it was fun. The most scary part was walking on the bridge at Narahenpitiya. At one time we were quite an interesting click. There was Asoka Gunesekera, W.A.K. Silva, Elroy, Lakshman Gunethilleke (Gunda), myself and a few others who would travel back home together. The yarns and stories we shared with one another were fantastic because everyone of us really stretched the truth and our imagination as far as it was possible!! Some of these were not worthy of print, but such were the our lives then.. Some girls from All Saints Girl schools would also travel with us. I remember one Wesleyite got interested in one of them, and a student from St John's also had his eyes on her. The competition was furious, but no blows were ever exchanged. I believe the Wesleyite did not keep up with the competition! So, the KV line was a source of much fun and adventure to us as we traveled to and fro to Wesley College from Nugegoda every day. Some of us travelled from Maharagama, Udahamulla and Navinna and even Pannipitiya. Some got off at Kirullapone.


 

Punchi Borella by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

'Poonchi' Borella It is a small junction between Borella and Maradana but an important crossroad. To the south is Borella, to the north Maradana, to the west The General Hospital and the 'Aswattuwa' with the old colonial name, Lipton Circus, and to the east the Welikada Prison. At the centre of the junction is the Bo Tree never short of devotees. The Tramview Hotel overlooks the Bo Tree and serves those lovely Thosai and Sambar on a banana leaf and a cup-tea to wash it down. The sambar was rather dodgy as I recall with bits of previous days dahl and vegetables and last years tomatoes. But the taste was heavenly. Donald's Studio was just a stones throw away. The Maradana Methodist Church was the Hostellers regular place of worship beyond which was Ananda College, Wicks Bookshop, Moulanas, Maradana Railway Station and Buhary's- the best place for 'Gothamba Roti'

During the week all the action is under the canopy of the sacred Bo Tree. Crowds gather to hear the Medicine man advertising his " Ko-Katath-Thailay". As its name implies it is the oil for all occasions and all ailments. A few drops of this precious liquid will cure anything from piles to nervous diseases and from epilepsy to gas in the belly. It is particularly effective for aches and pains (Athey-paye-ruthawa) a common symptom of the elderly. The sale is brisk and he moves on after a couple of hours of non stop advertising to save more lives elsewhere.

There was also a man who specialised in toothache. He knows he has hit upon a very common complaint and a positive money spinner. The medicine is in a very small bottle which contains only a few drops of fluid. He explains that only a single drop is needed into the tooth cavity and 'hey presto' the pain vanishes. As they say a sucker is born every minute and he makes a quick buck to getaway before he is found out.

The trainee barbers gather there too offering a free hair-cut to those who dare. You have to hold the mirror yourself and the crows overhead provide the Brylcreem. The constant clicking of the scissors is their sign that action has begun. They haven't yet mastered the use of the scissors and the scalpel and you would have done well to get out with your ears intact.

PUNCHI BORELLA in the sixties... From a Sri Lankan daily

Punchi Borella (Lit: Small Borella) is technically just a small junction (fourways) in the city of Colombo...as opposed to the big junction of Borella (fiveways) nearby. There were no neon signs...just sodium vapour street lamps and oil lamps! There were of course the smells! Pleasant or otherwise!...In a society rapidly losing their olfactory skills perhaps it is best if I leave this aspect largely untouched...but do think of a combination of Sandlewood, hot coconut oil and blocked drains! The name Borella: Anyone with a basic knowledge of the Sinhala language would know the origin of the name (but remember that this page has an international readership!) BORA means "muddy" and ELLA means "stream". So, literally Muddy River! If you pronounce Borella with a pseudo-western accent it sounds almost posh! (i.e. with a stiff upper lip and slurring the words..sounds even better if you pronounce the the "LLA" as "YA" in Cockney style...my Colonial mum was.. and is.. good at that!) In fact, if my memory serves me right, BORELLA was so POSH that at least three Prime Ministers lived at Borella: Solomon Bandaranaike, his widow Sirimavo Bandaranaike and Dudley Senanayake (all in or around Rosmead Place)

I have been unable to identify the actual stream that gave its name to this area because Borella is (and was) a heavily built up area. "Punchi" of course means small (the U should have an umlaut by the way, but we Srilankans... with the possible exception of my mum don't need such aids to pronounce our own language correctly !) CROSSROADS Punchi Borella itself was just a crossroads at the centre of which stood a sacred Bo tree and a small shrine. The main attractions at first sight could said to be a rather seedy tavern, several rather unhygienic-but-low-budget roadside food establishments, medium budget restaurants and assorted roadside hawkers. In fact Punchi Borella was the sort of place where you could be born, baptised, grow up, go to school, go to the cinema or go to church. The cemetery was just about a mile or so away (Kanatte Cemetery) There were loads of Mara trees("Flamboyant Trees") with their bright red and yellow flowers ...now sadly cut down (hundreds of ominous-looking crows roosted in them at sundown).

There was of course the Saint Thomas Aquinas University College (or simply "Aquinas" or, affectionately "the Ack") through which most of us had entered Medical School. The Bishop's Palace (Palace! HA!They live in PALACES!) stood between Aquinas and the Medical School...both good refuges at times of adversity! Then there was Campbell's Park, a favourite haunt of young couples.... and the Church of All Saints...in case you were spiritually inclined!...(just before exams, perhaps!..when all else had failed perhaps.!) There were a couple of girl's schools as well but by this stage in our lives we were more into nurses than into schoolgirls. During "Rag" week most of the ragging took place around Punchi Borella. MALU PAAN P unchi Borella only really comes to life after seven o'clock at night and never really goes to sleep. There were no MacDonald's or Kentucky Fried Chicken....A good thing too! Roadside food vendors did brisk business. The fare ranged from boiled and stir-fried chick peas (Kadala) through roasted peanuts (Rata Kadju) and Vaddai to stringhoppers and hoppers. "Thosai" establishments (Saiva Kade) were there as well. In the relatively "hygienic" restaurants one could get filled rolls, the famous Malu Paan and a cup of tea or the famous Orange Barley Water bottled by Ceylon Cold Stores (the so called Elephant House.) A cup of tea cost 10 cents those days. Frequent bus services operated through Punchi Borella which cost all of 5 cents to Borella and 10 cents to the Pettah and the Fort.(eg Bus no 103 from Narahenpita to Pettah).

It was easy to travel short distances on the crowded buses without paying. The local cinemas screened overlong Hindi Bollywood films (three and a half hours) with doors opening as late as 9.30pm. TRAM CARS My earliest memories of Punchi Borella is from the fifties when trams used to operate through this junction between Borella and Maradana and points beyond. I must have been about five years old then.The trams were operated by the Colombo Municipal Council, were painted a vivid green and had open sides. They ran on steel tracks on steel wheels and most adults would complain about the uncomfortable ride. By the way, the seats were wooden. For a little boy however trams had a definite attraction. The motorman stood at the front end and vigorously jangled a bell which would mysteriously cause the tram to move forwards or so it seemed. The current was picked up from an overhead single cable and frequently produced blue flashes accompanied by a sharp crack and an acrid "electrical" smell. The wheels clattered. There was a single locomotive-style headlamp at either end and there was of course a conductor/brakeman.


 

Wesley as I remember (2): by Shanti McLelland

Article 48 (a)- Wesley as I remember: by Shanti McLelland Maradana junction was the transportation hub for a lot of Weseyites. I recollect some of my contemporaries who may remember the grandeur of the Maradana station, which displayed the time in Roman numerical. The unforgettable Donald de Silva walked most of the time Forbes Lane opposite St.Joseph's College. Arnold, Sidney, Laksiri, and Anura his brothers were also at Wesley. Donald excelled and represented the school in Cricket, Rugger, Hockey, Soccer, and Athletics. He was an 'A' grade National Hockey umpire. A great team player and entertainer. Anura the youngest represented proved to be a outstanding cricketer and did well in hockey, athletics & scouting. Strolling past the Gamini cinema and before New Olympia lived my good friend & classmate Charles David. Brothers Alfie David excelled in Athletics winning college colours and was a prominent member of the SCM, but would be remembered along with his brother Paul for their excellence in Studies. Jo David carried his stature to the Police Service. Charles was a scout, a member of the SCM, and I found him helpful in my peer to peer studies. Whenever I visited him, his mother made sure we had a good treat. Charlie & Jo are in Sydney, Austarlia. Sometimes, I would hang around and wait for my friend Kosgahakumbura to arrive from Badulla. Kosgaha would not fail to bring me a few Avocado pears. Kosgaha was a hosteller and a great asset to the college Hockey team. He was a good soccer player and athlete for Moscrop House, his brother was also at Wesley, but concentrated on his studies more. A.L.George also traveled from Badulla. He was such a loyal member of the Old Wesleyites team that he would come by the night mail to be on time for any tournament match, or a seven-a-side, at 7 in the morning. George kept goals for the Sri Lanka Hockey team. Patrick Edema along with his brother Anton, and M.P.Fernando, traveled from Gampha. Patrick excelled in Hockey and Athletics. He served best as hockey goalie for Wesley, the Old Wesleyites, and the Colombo Hockey Association teams. He was appointed Senior Prefect and was a member of the College tutorial staff before joining the Police. Both, Anton and Patrick easily made the College Athletic team. Anton was a public schools Long Jumper, while Patrick used his brawn to hurl the discus. Another of my classmates Narendran was from Hultsdorf where the Supreme Court and most of leading Lawyers & Notaries had their offices. Whenever I decided to walk back on the Maradana road to Borella, I had to go past all of the furniture shops. Ransiri de Silva from Moratuwa, or the Koddituwakku brothers would not be missed. Nihal Koddituwakku would sure be remembered as the College Senior Prefect, outstanding cricket captain, wicket-keeper, and batsman that did Wesley proud. Ransiri my friend would not fail to invite me in and talk about the old school days and give me a lesson on teak, stain, and polish. The turn off at Dematagoda Road was a good meeting place for M.C.A.Cader who lived in the Heart of Colombo Fort, in his Studio Loft. Sextus Taylor was from round the corner. The gram shop and the Pasgorasa kiri-pani would hold us longer before we went our own ways. Sextus and his brothers Carlo and Hillary 'Cucu' now live in Canada, Germany, and England respectively. Sextus was a great sportman, a public schools athlete (100, 200m), one great Judoka and Rugger player and ended up being molded into an actor by Mr. Haig Karunaratna (Propelled Wesley to the inter school drama finals, with Peter Swan & Asoka Jayawardane). Cassim and his brother Kum Cader were a few years junior to me. Kum's son Mohamed Ali attended Wesley in the 80's. Cassim was a Black belt Judoka, a tough Rugger player. Wilkin House could depend on him to bring in all the points from Putt Shot, Discus, 400m, and the relays. He was a public school athlete and later on trained to be a powerful hockey goalie. Just before turning into where I lived, were Fizal & Zuffer, Upali & Ranjit Samararatne, Hidya Tulla & Hanza Lateef.

Article 48 (b) - as I remember: by Shanti McLelland Walking down memory lane from Kotahena to Borella: Gazzi Musafer, and Emir who came from Kotahena had to pass through Maradana to come to College. Gazzi started of as goalie, proved to be a goal scorer by the time he represented the Sri Lanka Schools team. When I write about Musafers, I should not forget Bashudeen, Shari, Rummy, Sandy, A.W. Musafer, & Akbar Musafer. Dr.Sandy Musafer a Sri Lanka Schools hockey player was an outstanding as a inside forward. Akbar Musafer was equally good as a spinner and middle order bastman: Akbar excelled in his studies. Rumy was more keen studies and was like all others a collge prefect. Bashu was an excellent athlete, cricketer, wore golden boots for rugger, soccer, and hockey. He was a college prefect. Bashu joined the Army, which helped him to continue with sports. Emir and Shari both gave their best in rugger, and could fit into any hockey team. Shari the rugger captain and Shari ended up in the Police. A.W. was a brilliant student, but if I remember right, he decided to join the Merchant Navy to see the world. Rumy was a prefect and was an 'A' student. I need to meet and record his accomplishments for my next article. I am sure I missed a few more Musafers who like the Mohameds were a legend at Wesley. Closer to Punchi- Borella lived Gamunu, Nihal, the youngest, and Vijaya Perera. Good boxers like the father and they all excelled in the Hospiatlity Industry. Nihal and Gamunu were the last of the Boxers coached by Mr. Nissanka before Wesley decided to give up boxing. Sarath Lewis would come from Temple road. He was so keen to play cricket for college. But he never got a chance, because Mr.Lionel Jayasuriya as junior cricket coach would never select anyone not up to his eye-level. Sarath also joined the Merchant Navy if I remember right. The Sivapakkiams at Norris Canal Road near the Colombo General Hospital lived within this area of vibrant activity. On Saturdays, a group of us would play softball cricket on the side roads. Rex Lawrence was another I remember joining us sometimes. Rex was a member of the 14th Colombo Scout troop.Both Sivapakkiams were excellent students. Siva Sr. an Engineer now lives in New Zealand. Nearer to Borella, were those who will always be remembered as great friends. Nimal, Malik,& Palita Suraweera, Rohan Amarasighe, and his brother, Chandralal de Silva and his brother, the Parasuraman brothers who ended up as doctors. The Wijemmanes; the whole dynasty, D.S., Jayantha, Parakrama & the rest along with Tissa Wijemmana lived and served Wesley well. Amarash and Dianesh Rajaratnam. Suresh the eldest served Wesley as a member of the staff. Both Dianesh and Suresh took to their famous father to become astute lawyers. Amaresh & Dianesh excelled in sports. Dianesh was versatile in cricket, hockey, soccer, and athletics. Amaresh will be remembered as School Boy Cricketer of the year. He also took part in drama and athletics. Both were college prefects. I should not forget to mention that the youngest also ended up as a lawyer.

Article 49 (a): Wesley, as I remember by Shanti McLelland In the late 1950's and early 1960's during the period of transition from primary to middle school we looked forward to the Friday afternoon's in the first term of the school year. Especially, we were happy if had a social science class as the eighth period from 2.40 to 3.15 p.m. Mr.Edmund Dissanayake just could not resist letting us go a little early to cheer our cricketing hero's at Campbell Park. I certainly did not mind the early get away as I was never in frame of mind to memorize any of the boring people or events that was taught pathetically from some well bound book. Mr. Watson Wijewickrema hurriedly released us from the stereotype English by Ridout as soon we heard the All Saint's church bells chimed 12.00 noon. Both these teachers were encyclopedias of Wesley's cricket history. I certainly appreciated these teachers for their specially installed memory chips, which I wished I had, as they were be able to provide statistical information to such minute detail, that they refreshed our faint memories; the feats of our cricketing heroes: Rajasingams, Adihettys (100's and 'ducks', Classens, Abu & Hansa Fuard, Abeysuriya, Juriansz, the classic 92 by Ebert, Neil Gallahar and the wicket keeping performances of Upali Samararatna & skipper Nihal Kodituwakku. We certainly never got away to watch the start of a match at mid-day, from any of the classes just before lunch, if it was a Religion, Sinhalese, or Biology class that was taught by Mr. Wilfred Wickremasinhge, Mr.Felix Premawardane, or Mr. Suntharalingam respectively, they were just sticklers to time. It was worse at 1.15p.m., when were returned back from Campbell park after cheering our team; particularly if the class happened to be that of Miss. Iris Blacker, Mr. E.L.Rodrigo, or Mr. Lionel Jayasuriya. The first two would not spare the cane and spoil the young cricket fanatics if they were late or just could not answer with the throats dry from singing the college song or just cheering ourselves hoarse. The latter just would not have any of the sweaty and hyped up kids in the class (of-course this was one way of getting one off period). However, Mr. Jayasuriya as a cricketer and as the master in charge of junior cricket always encouraged us to go out watch the seniors play, and learn from them. Further more, he would not fail to dig into us the quotation from Smaranayake's English with a Smile, "try and try again boys, you will win at last". This was repeated over and over again, particularly when Wesley was not keeping to the expectations of the college song, "doing our best with bat or ball". Some relief to over come these issues was provided by the big galvanized tank with a brass tap that was bound with coir rope to prevent leaking. This tank 10 gallon 4x4 feet was situated at the back of the LKG class opposite the sick room. We would enter from the back gate, quickly buying and filling our pockets with some galsiyambala, or collectors bubble gum (had pictures of International cricketers) from the vendors at Karlshrue Gardens, and gulping down some water, zinc, and rust straight from the tap (probably this was one way the Administrators at Wesley made sure the poor kids got all of the minerals at no cost). I think this was remedied with the upgrades that were done in the last 10 years.

Article 49 (b): Wesley, as I remember by Shanti McLelland We faithfully followed the Mr. L.A.Fernando during lunch, after school to the grounds, with a six foot double blue flag. A whole lot of the Vice Principal's followers would sing, dance, applaud, cheer or give a standing ovation to our cricketers . If we won we would carry our heroes back to the pavilion. It is possible that on first term Fridays, most of the students would have been diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder). The cricketing greats in the 1960's, as I remember are: Darrel Maye, the school boy cricketer of the year, athlete, and Hockey player. Darrel single handedly demolished the might of Royal College's array of stars and turn all of the Newspaper's to carry the Wesley's feat in their lead story in 72 font Times Roman bold letters. Our own Mr. Cristie Seneviratne may have typed the final copy for the Daily News as lead Staff reporter at that time. Subsequently, Mr. Christie Seneviratne succeeded Mr. Carlon Seneviratne as Sport Editor at Daily News. (Mr. Seneviratne's son Nihal made a name as a medium pace bowler). L.C.R.Wijesinhe, Milroy Muthuvelu, Samsudeen, Mihlar, C.T.Rodrigo, Sarath Wikremaratne, Chandran Perera, Rodney Perera, Kenneth de Silva, S & H Jeganathans, Mervyn, Russell & Granville Harmer, Amaresh Rajaratnam. The period 1961 to 1963 was one of the memorable times, especially Wesley's team under the Captaincy of L.C.R. Wijesinghe, Everad Schoorman, & Milroy Muthuvelu. These cricketers made us proud. Probably eclipsed the performances at the time of Duckworth, Sathasivams, Edmund Dissanayake's, Adihetty's or Koddituwakku's. Possibly because we remember there accomplishments vividly. In the later years we had similar performances by Amaresh Rajaratnam, Navin de Silva, who were voted School boy cricketers of the year. Also, I should mention the names of other stalwarts good or bad, never the less, they brought glory to Wesley: Francis Schoorman, Omar Jayasekara, Donald Thurairatnam, William Deutrom, Peter Christie, Fahli Gouse, Milroy Jebarajah, Ananda Thevadason, and Hansa Fuard. Donald Thurairatnam, William Deutrom, Peter Christie, Fahli Gouse, Milroy Jebarajah, Ananda Thevadason, and Hansa Fuard. Donald Thurairatnam, William Deutrom, Peter Christie, Fahli Gouse, Milroy Jebarajah, Ananda Thevadason, and Hansa Fuard.Diyanesh Rajaratnam, Delmar Achillies, Sunil Fernando, Derrick Shockman, Roy Devadason, Danesh & Mahendra Dissanayake Some other cricketer who will not forgive me for not carving their names in my memory list, as they were some of the best Wesleyites who I do not wish to forget: Brian Baston, Eric Gauder, Oskar Dissanayake, R.Sinnen, Bunty Dole, Donald de Silva, Nihal Seneviratna, Lal Jayasinghe, Darrrel Herft, Jayantha Wijemanne, Tyronne, Emile, Tarvice Jansz & Patrick Jansz.

Article 50(a): Wesley, as I remember by Shanti McLelland Sometimes memories are only flashes of some exciting events that made us rave about them for days and read in the papers, which made us walk with our heads held high. But, with time the extraordinary detils are lost and the only hope to hear about them once again would be to meet the College Pavilion; sit around those the likes of Edmund Dissanayake, Watson Wijewickrema, Walter Jayasuriya, Shelton Peiris, Chrsitie Seneveratne, Peter Christie etc. But then we let some of them slip off the circle, sometimes with very little care, a kind thought, or even a little time to drink some sweet water straight from a golden thambili at the edge of the west-end of the pavilion. Let us not therefore forget those with us now and make the best use of their wisdom and leadership to the benefit of Wesley.

Article 50(b): Wesley, as I remember by Shanti McLelland Some of the Wesleyites that held on to the reins of the OBU and Wesley during the difficult days particularly of Mr.A.S.Wirasingha a long 25 years were: Mr.J.C.P.Wickremanayake, Mr.Eric Silva, Ms. Christie, Mr.Sarem, who worked without too much of an appreciation at the College Office, Welfare Society, and the governing board. Long standing old boys who never failed to rally around in time of need and also stood out as exceptional role models were, Frank Samaraweera, B.J.Karunatillake, Shelton Peiris, Edmund Dissanayake, Nihal Wijetunga, Garath Jayawardane, Neville Perera, Prof. Maharoof, & P.B.Herath.

Article (51) - Wesley as I remember: by Shanti McLelland The Sri Lanka Schools Athletic Association introduced the Inter-School Junior Championships (U.13, 14 & 15) in 1967/68. Wesley, without a coach, a master-in-charge, or with funds allocated to this new activity normally would have been left out, if it were not for a few dedicated parents, athletes, and teachers who rallied around to build up a team within a short period of time. Mr.L.C.R.Wijesinghe sacrificed some of his cricketing time to help out the athletes as ad-hoc master-in-charge. Five up and coming athletes turned up faithfully to train each day. Richard Ebell, Jayantha Wickremaratne, Taric Bongso, Hansa Lateef (all 100, 200 & 4x100 relay), and Leon Ingram (High Jump, 4x100relay). These young athletes excelled at the Colombo North Group Meet and went on to become Junior Public Schools Athletes. The championships were held at Asgiriya, Kandy. Sad to place on record that Wesley as usual did not provide the necessary support & motivation to the athletes. I cannot recollect any principal at Wesley giving any recognition to Athletics as an important sport. It appears to be the same now, but I do hope it will not continue to be the same in the future. Wesley's athletics survived due the efforts of a few dedicated athletes and efforts of some individual teachers. Mr. A. Swaris had the national long jump record to his credit, he was an outstanding athlete and A.A.A. referee; Mr. Kiruppurajah trained in the US was appointed as a Director of Physical Education, in the Ministry of Education; Rev. Rohan Wijesinghe assisted Wesley athletics for a short time. Rohan was one of Wesley's top Badminton players like his brother Prasan. He also excelled in Athletics (Discus & Javelin), who will be remembered as a scholar and sportsman. Mr. L. A.Fernando -Vice Principal, was one great supporter of Wesley's sport never failed to be at any of the meets or looked after the interest of the athletes. Mr. Fernando has to be credited with Wesley's success in sports during the 1960's; Mr. A.K.Suppiah, carried a heavy burden on his shoulders being master-in-charge of Hockey & Athletics, in addition to the responsibilities as a class teacher and hostel master. But I am glad the team of 1967/68 went on to excel in studies. Both Richard Ebell and Taric Bongso excelled in the senior 100, & 200m events and represented the school in rugby football and were exemplary scholars & college prefects. Both elected to pursue studies in accountancy. Richard completed both the Chartered Accounting and CIMA, now holds the position of Managing Director, in one of the public companies. Taric, the last I heard was that he is an accomplished Management Accountant. Jayantha Wickrameratne now serves as a Senior Manager for a leading Merchant Bank. Jayantha had many years of Consumer and Commercial Credit Management experience, and served a short period at Barclays bank in Toronto. Hansa continued his studies in Japan in electronics. Hansa's brother Hidaya Tulla served Air Lanka, and now has his own Law practice. Leon represented College in Rugger and made a name in Judo. Leon's brothers Derrick (outstanding cricketer and hockey player) and Russell (College boxer) were from Mt. Mary railway quarters. We often dropped by their place for a coffee after practice, and would remember the whole family affectionately.


 

Don't look back in Anger by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

To bare one's soul and its wounds in the public domain is cathartic provided one has the heart to forgive - NDA

Lamentations of loyal Wesleyites

Life in school was not always a bed of roses. Often we felt the rules were too strict and unfair and the punishments too harsh for the crime. We were no angels and these are common to all schools and institutions. Being at the receiving end at the time we were overwhelmed by the situation. Looking back after many decades the anger has vanished and those very incidents seem rather humerous to relate to friends in a conversation. Those who were expelled from school, I'm sure, won't be reading these pages. There were times when we thought a particular teacher had a grudge and mostly that was never the case. It was just a part of our childhood paranoia. Bullying was there but it was mostly of a psychological form and physical abuse in my opinion was drastically dealt with by the authorities and was rare. In those days the children had little or no voice. The parents and the teachers spoke for them. It was said children should be seen and not heard. As a result we were lost in an adult world. The pendulum seem to have swung the other way now and parents seem to despair.

There were times when the school got things wrong and I raged at the injustice of punishments. In the senior classes like University entrance some of the teaching was inadequate and the syllabuses were not covered. In particular there was a science subject that was poorly dealt with and students had to resort to private tuition. There were some teachers who never taught or did very little teaching. "He" merely discussed a particular sport in class and its strategy for the next game. This was bad news for the students who consistently produced poor results in that subject and no questions were asked why? Those who were clever survived . The ones who suffered were the students who needed that extra care to get through the exams. It is my hope with time these unlucky ones fulfilled their ambitions too.

I have been told about a sportsman who bears a lifelong grudge against the school for not being made the captain. I know of many who gave away their captaincy after a year to give others a chance. It takes all sorts to make this world. I do not wish to make any judgement about these situations but wish with the passage of time he decides to bury the hatchet. It has been alleged that a National Team Selector as long as he was in post never allowed an Old Wesleyite to be selected to play for his country. Such appalling behaviour is a disgrace, if the rumours are to be believed. Sadly, some of these habits are deeply entrenched and stubbornly refuses to go away.

At school some were really clever and others very good in sports. Both these groups gained prominence and were cared for by Wesley. There was also a large number who were not any good at either. I felt they were neglected and the pastoral care of the school failed them. This was a tragedy indeed for their future. Many of them with the Grace of God survived to do well. The school could indeed have done better for them. This again was a problem in most schools and not confined to Wesley.

At Wesley in the 1950's we were fortunate to have many talented sportsmen. They brought us much fame. Unlike schools like St Thomas', St Josephs and Royal College very few of our sportsmen went to University. It was indeed sad to see many of our great sportsmen leave Wesley at GCE/SSC level to enter Stafford College or Pembroke Academy to complete their studies. As a school we failed to harness the academic ability of our sportsmen and give them the extra push and coaching to be successful in their public examinations. The school never took into account that the practices and matches took much time away from these students which made it difficult to compete at public examinations including University Entrance exam. Fortunately many of the sportsmen entered lucrative professions and became successful which proves my point that if given the extra push would have had much academic success at school. This I blame on the masters in Charge of sports for not taking the trouble to provide adequate resources for our sportsmen. There was a broader problem of poor teaching by many teachers who should have known better. As always for these faults the buck stops with the Principal and the School management. The general impression that sportsmen were only good in sports is totally false as I found out in University and in later life. I hope these issues have been addressed and changes have been made for the 21st century. Even God can't change the past.

In the 50's we had discipline with a capital D. It was administered through Dickensian rules in a climate of fear. I was sent to the Principal with a another boy for using bad language. I protested my innocence but we were both caned. I lost faith in the rule of law when a respected principal could not be bothered to question us to find out the truth. It was a miscarriage of justice and the principal set a bad example. The teacher could have sent us to Ranis or Marshall for the caning if it was too much of a bother for the Principal to question us. Throwing a tantrum how could he retain the respect and confidence of his students. I was just 8 years old but had a strong sense of right and wrong. Well that was the way I felt until I left school. The Principal cared for all of us. His great passion in life was the school. I suppose certain people thought he terrorised the place, but you've got to be man enough to accept punishments and move on. Corporal punisment has now been excluded from schools in the West. I hope it has disappeared from the 'menu' at Wesley!! At University and beyond I realised life was never fair. Whatever happened at school was never a personal vendetta. His enthusiasm for the cane has beeen vindicated over time.

Reading this if you think Wesleyites at school lived our boring and fearful lives always in the eye of a storm, you are wrong. It was a cross section and an overview of our total lives complete with highs and lows. We loved the applause and hated the brick-bats. For many of us school was the best preriod of our lives. Friends we made became friends for life. The lessons we learnt on and off the classrooms prepared us well for the wider world beyond. It was a sublime experience. We were less in control of our lives while at school than later on. But in our adult lives too, although it seemed we had more control destiny played its part and influenced and changed our lives greatly. Those whom we thought were "no hopers" at school became immensely successful and the ones whom we thought were destined for greatness, faded away into oblivion. This I would call the awesome force of destiny of which we have no control.

Refusing to conform to the rules, regimentation and the doctrine of the establishment was then taken as a serious offence. On looking back at history, if one puts aside pure mischief, non-conformists were often intellectuals and free-thinkers whose actions formed the bedrock of the modern civil liberties. Throughout the ages non-conformists fought for a more tolerant society.  They weren't afraid to be different or stand up for what they believed in. Like in most institutions nowadays there has to be a forum for dissent which acts as a safety valve. Sadly in those days the students' voice went unheard and occasionally youthful anger boiled over. This resulted in drastic action like expulsions from school which could have been avoided. Discontent like anger is a part of normal human behaviour. It is the duty of educationists to train students to deal with it appropriately. I do not think the world in the mid 20th Century was ready to hear students' problems. Student 'dissent forums' was then a luxury the teachers could not afford. They felt threatened and thought it would encroach on teachers powers and rights and their comfortable life style. I am certain the wisdom that comes with age will allow us to be gracious and understand the quirks of an era now long gone.

Finally I must mention the sale of "small park". It was prime land, in an excellent position and this was the only way the school could have expanded adequately. With its sale went my childhood memories and the dreams of scores of old Wesleyites. Now it cannot be undone. The sad saga and the intrigue of the loss of small park is best described in the words of Winston Churchill " It is a riddle surrounded in mystery wrapped in an enigma" Its flames still smoulder even after 30 years. Was it a muddle or a fiddle? When one goes into the history of any school there are these skeletons in the cupboard and it is for us to forget the past and remember the good times and the wonderful friends who enriched our lives.

As for me Wesley occupies a special place in my heart. Without the encouragement and support that I received from the Principals and Staff I will not be where I am in life. Our boulevard of broken dreams needs to be revisited from time to time to get the correct perspective of life that is now just a distant memory..

The good the bad and the ugly experiences we have had are all part of the rich tapestry of life.

Sad and disappointing time, of my school career.      Ranjit Aaron NZ      1st March 2010

My happy school days out weighed the bitter one. Yet I cannot help but voicing one sad memory, which I bottled all these years.

When I moved from my junior school studies to Form I.  It was extremely difficult to follow my studies in Tamil. Although Tamil was my mother tongue, getting past the 5th Std was a big struggle.  Neither my father nor my mother was educated in Tamil. We never ever conversed, even at home in Tamil. My father and mother could not read or write Tamil. At school, I mostly mingled with those who spoke English, because I felt comfortable with my fellow Sinhala and students who conversed in English. I conversed better in Sinhala than Tamil
In the light of the above facts, further studies in Tamil was a night mare.
My father and I made an appointment and presented my case to Mr.P.H.Nonis, who was the principal at that time. Pleading with my inadequacy, to continue my studies in Tamil. I requested, that I be granted an exemption to prove my competence by following my studies in English. I even challenged, if I did not prove my self, I was willing to leave school.
Mr.Nonis did not want to even listen to our plea. His body language from the very inception of my presenting my case. Gave us the indication that his mind was set, not to heed my request. I was lost in the wilderness, to fight alone battle. After an unsuccessful attempt at the GCE (Ord level)  I forced my self out of college to continue my studies in a private instuition in the language of my choice and succeeded..
My elder daughter, who studied at HFC Bambalapitiya, when faced with a similar situation, was granted an exemption. She successfully passed the GCE (Ad. Level) with flying colours in English..
When I look back, its not anger, but saddened by the fact I could not continue my higher studies in the school I loved and cherised so much.. .

 

Addendum by Shanti McLelland

Mr.L.A.Fernando used to remind me that life is like colour grey. More white than black. Enjoy and appreciate the white than sulk with the black. The small park is where we got our practice in hockey with tree branches, soft ball cricket with our hard, box like 'Ford' school bags serving as wickets; playing soccer with only socks or white 'Sinva' or 'Bata' canvas tennis shoes; they looked more red or brown, the color of the gravel; or we enjoyed counting the rounds we ran around the rectangular edge of the 'small park' where the "nidikumba' grass grew beneath the large ancient looking trees, which served as shelter on heavy rainy days, and flowered red, white & yellow during the months of April, May, & June. Small Park was the training ground for most of Wesley's great sportsmen. This was because Campbell Park was too far and risky for the primary school students to go and play during lunchtime, before, or after school. I remember the hard gravel grounds, which left bruises with blood soaked skin peeled on our elbows or knees. The straight semi-circular drain that ran along side starting from Campbell place to the end near the 'thambi boutique' at Mt. Mary where Suranjan Range, Jayasinghes, Ahamaths, and Nazmi Ziard lived: just before the Railway flats where Patrick & Malcome Jansz stored there cricket and hockey gear. The supreme sacrifice to sell this desolate, highly dangerous park that bruised and skinned many of the best athletes was a necessity to keep the school without having to close down. As such the best brains of the Methodists that Wesley depended should never be questioned, although the princely sum of Rs.100,000 (to be verified) that may be valued at over 50 million now.

The Wesley Staff quarters and the Tennis courts were situated next to the Highfield Block. We used the side pathway to reach Campbell Park very quickly. As, 12 year old I remember staying over after school to play with Prem de Mel who lived at the ground level in one of the four units. Mr. Fred de Mel was the Head Master at that time. We use to watch the teachers play Tennis while we either climbed the cherry trees or enjoyed a cup of tea. Mr. Edmund Dissanayake currently live in the same unit. My friends Kuwera and Kuweni lived upstairs highly diciplined by their father Mr. Felix Premawardane, who was famous both for the 'King Rajasingha' moustache and the 'Kaluware Jaramare' drama, which he successfully directed and staged over 100 times. Mr. Wilfred Wickremasinghe occupied the other unit on the second floor. They all just were a whole big family and friends for all of the students at Wesley. But sad to say ' truth is stranger than fiction' for it turned to be colour grey for Wesley. Overwhelming opposition by Old Wesleyites, parents, and students and after very much emotional pleas, this beautiful and solid Wesley staff quarters met with the same fate as the Small Park. This had to be done, there was no choice, Wesley's strategic planners had no other alternative, or the vision like the Rev. Henry Highfield. The tall, the bald, the short, and the fat could not put the broken state of Wesley's coffer's, as it had opted to be a community serving non-fee levying assisted school rather than a private fee levying Methodist Missionary School. Fortunately, we are ever grateful these decision makers did not stay on to serve the Wesley's cause longer, as it saved the Tennis courts and the Wesley Pavilion which otherwise may have been sold off to meet the commitments of staff salaries, lab facilities, and all extra-curricular activities that was poorly provided to and continued to keep everyone 'unhappily' happy. But the color white was that without such a strategy of raising another 100K, Wesley, may now be just a name on the history books, with forty years of students names not on record. Without these last source of funds; the best brains and the great names I admirably read on the web articles, all of the Double Blue fates, the pin prick fund raisers, or the donations would not have been able to put all of the 12 shells back on the College Crest. Wesley College which opted remain a Non-Assisted private school could not have lasted to serve the Methodists and everyone else who clamoured to be part of "Ora et Labora". So, let me quote one more of my guru's famous cliché's, Mr. L.A.Fernando, "to those who understand no explanation is necessary to those who don't no explanation is possible."

 

 


 

Eric De Silva - A Portrait of Greatness by L.A.Fernando (From the Centenary Souvenir)

If you did not know Eric, you obviously had not been either to his home or to Wesley College. But if by chance you were traveling between Wesley and the Kanatte cemetery On Wednesday, November, 7th 1973, between 3.30 p.m. and 4.30 p.m. then you would Have witnessed a most memorable and Impressive sight. it was the final lap of a simple man who achieved greatness by simple living. A silent line of schoolboys, dressed in immaculate white, headed by a senior member- of the teaching staff of Wesley, winding their way in hushed silence led the adults who walked behind a hearse that carried the remains of Eric, now in a coffin draped in 'Double Blue.' The total school community, comprising members of the Board of Governors, representatives of the Methodist Church, the tutorial and clerical staff, members of the Clergy of other denominations, the minor staff, past pupils and parents, friends and loved ones, were paying public homage to a humble man who lived a private life. For over 35 years, Eric had foiled behind a green-topped desk, day and night, almost everyday of the week, budgeting the finances of Wesley in a way he only knew. Eric, in his own inimitable and simple way redefined greatness. Humble he was, quiet unassuming and self-effacing, always concerned about the lowly and the underprivileged , loyal and devoted to his task as his superiors, forthright and outspoken righteous indignation on occasion, laughing and smiling in times of stress, digging deep into the reservoir of spiritual power by prayer and in faith, obedient to the Master he chose to serve.

Eric served Wesley in almost unique manner. Tall and lean, he carried a big heart, almost too big for such a frail frame. He sang lustily in a loud voice, and spoke softly, infrequently and wisely. What mattered to Eric was not what others thought of him but what His Master thought. The only remunerative work he engaged in was as bursar of Wesley and the sole solid custodian of the school's finances for over -35 years. He worked within his own system accurate. The system demanded much labour and sweat. With Wesley opting to be a non-fee levying private school, his burden was made heavier but he wanted no assistance, for funds were too lean to take on another. However, he was not a mere bursar. He was a great educator. Everbody who came to Wesley, parents and pupils alike, had to meet him, had to know him. Once the) knew him, he was irresistible. His influence was infectious and immediate. He taught more effectively than most classroom ins- instructors, not 'examination subjects' but the 'stuff' that goes to make real men. Parent' came to see him even after their children had left school.

Past pupils never failed to greet him whenever they saw him. Wesleyites loved him for he always had time for them He was never so indecently busy as to irritate others who wanted to talk to him. He had no favourites, he wore no mask he had no guile. Words he did not much use to debate and to convince; his silence was too often most eloquent and more effective than words. His strength of character, integrity an uncompromising honesty, these were sufficient for him. When the tutorial staff once , elected him unanimously to be the President of their Guild, it was a silent acknowledgment of the high regard the teachers had for him. His last journey symbolised the true Eric we knew. What remained of his mortal self passed from hand to hand. The college servants, the tutorial staff, the prefects of the school, past pupils young and old, they carried him along. So he was left in that little plot of land had finally acquired for himself. Silently the mourners moved out, one could not help but ponder on Eric's concept of greatness.


He saw the calm beyond the storm
the dawn beyond the night
He did the best that he could do
and then suddenly resigned

  The School Office in the 1950’s by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera- Double click


 

The Wesley that I knew by R.L.Kannangara (1906-1917)

I joined Wesley in the year 1905. A slip of a boy, timid to an extraordinary degree, I trembled before the enormous man, with a bulbous pose, who 'examined' me and another, dressed entirely in black and as- self-possessed as I was nervous. This was my first contact with C.P. Dias, the great Headmaster of Wesley , In 1907 the school moved to Karlshrue Gardens. What a contrast the new habitation was to the one we had vacated ! But, alas, our new master was even worse than the old; on the very slightest provocation out came his cane to punish us for errors, which were largely the result of his own inadequate teaching. I walked to school each day with leaden feet; the last bell made the sweetest music in my ears. What the classroom failed to achieve the playing field at Campbell Park did. There we played soft-ball cricket with the chalked trunk of a mango tree as our wicket. As schoolboys all over the world did and still, do, we made heroes of the First Eleven, among whom were batsmen and bowlers as great, or even greater, than the best of today. C. A. Perera, R. E. S. Mendis, F. W. Dias and Sammy Gunasekera will all find a place in the best eleven that Wesley has produced in the long years of its existence. I made up my mind that one day I would skipper the school team and, if my good fortune permitted it, stake acclaim for myself among the elect of Wesley.

I cannot remember whether I was equally resolved to do well in the academic sphere I I began to like school in my third year. E.W. Wickremasinghe, the master, was a stern disciplinarian yet a just and kind man. It was my good fortune to teach his three sons at Trinity many years later. School began at 10 in the morning an( went on till 4 in the afternoon, with a break of one hour for lunch. The boys of the Lower and Middle School came attire* Buttoned up to .the neck and in trouser Which reached half-way between knee and ankle. On five cents one could do one self well on grain and veralu-achcharu; on fifteen he could dispense hospitality on a lavish scale.

Wesley, in my early years, were in the champions of School cricket. F.W.Dias led us to the top of the table in 1908 and 1909; and in 1910 M.K. Cassim kept us there. Memories crowd on me as I write this. Freddy Dias, that genial six-footer, drove with the power of a Walcott; R. E.S. Mendis and Sammy Gunasekera were left arm bowlers-of great ability ; D.M. Rupasinghe C. S. Jayasinghe, S. Nagendra, M.Molligoda and T. Sathasivarn were better that the average, each in his own way. The present generation, accustomed to professional umpires, will be astonished and Even amused to hear that Highfield and Hardy, the Principals of Wesley and Royal, Were in control of this game. It was nothing Unusual, for it had been the practice for Many years for the Principal of a school to extend his immediate authority to the more important extra-mural activities of his school.. These men too intent on being fair to the other side, were, not infrequently, unfair to their own ; the benefit of any doubt always went to an opponent, hardly ever to one of their own !. Their presence on the field had the added disadvantage of cramping - our style.

No one regretted the day, when they decided to make way for the coach, the master and the old boy. In 1917 I realised my ambition, when I was appointed captain of the first Eleven I hope I do not appear boastful, when I say that I am proud of the three centuries I made for the school. Eric Gunasekera, our coach, was a good batsman , and what he did not know of the theory of the game, was hardly worth knowing. Sixes punctuated his score sheet as he went his adventurous way to a big total He was respected and much liked by everyone of us. Highfield of Wesley Picture to yourselves a sturdy Englishman riding on his 'push' bicycle or walking long distances to the o remotest parts of Ceylon in search of old I boys" who would help him to shift Wesley to a site more worthy of so great a school. He had not the money to buy a car; I do not think he ever possessed one; buses had not made their appearance on our roads in his day; the train, his ancient bicycle and his sturdy legs were the only means of transport available to him ! We, who knew , the old school, were delighted to find ourselves at Karishrue. C. P. Dias, affectionately known as 'Dia Pappa 'was a colourful personality. Tall and well-proportioned, he walked the corridors of the school like a Colossus. W.E.Mack, l can still see him in my mind's eye walking up the school drive-his shoes a glossy black, his trousers smartly creased, his coat and vest well ironed, a bowler hat on his head and a neatly rolled-up umbrella in his right hand. He was an exceptionally able teacher,English and Latin were his subjects C.V. Honter was as able a teacher as Mack; but, while the latter was aloof in manner, Honter was always ready '-with a quip and crack to. relieve the tedium of class; routine.. P. T. Cash was shy and diffident in his early years at Wesley. His sensitive nature perhaps fed on the stories he had heard and, read of the Orient, made him either too strict or too indulgent in his dealings with us But, before he left us to become the Principe of a school in Jaffna, he had found his feet and had earned the respect-and affection. A.H.Kukul De Silva taught us Maths in the junior form. It was his belief that a stinging two-finger Slap accelerated the mental processes of the more slow-witted among us. We were forced 'to this conclusion by his frequent resort 'to this practice. Jimmy Ratnayake was one* of the kindest men I have ever met: he-was also one of the most excitable. OEGoonetilleke an affable man generous almost to a fault was on our staff for a few years.

Writing in these reminiscences has helped me to capture the carefree abandon of my schooldays; for a brief hour I have walked hand in hand with old friends and shared their joys and sorrows. Of the Wesley of today I fear, I know very little It has changed, it should have changed as all else around it has done. But in the essence, it is I believe the Wesley that I knew.


 

Fifty Years: Reminiscences of an Old-Old Boy by J.C.F.de Silva (1915-22)

What memories of the past the above title conjures up! What visions of an era long past, those spacious days of long ago when life moved at a slower tempo and was not the hustle that it now is 'from the womb to the tomb' Here are a few thumb-nail sketches of some of my old teachers as I picture them after a lapse of fifty years and more. I studied at Wesley during the period 1915-1922 when Rev. Henry Highfield was our Principal. What a man he was : short, stocky with a luxuriant moustache and an ever-ready smile, willing to help us boys with our troubles. Endowed with a fund of energy and almost inexhaustible stamina he used to set an example to the boys by himself helping to weed the grass on the old Wesley cricket grounds at Campbell Park.

The older generation used to talk with pride of his legendary exploit when he went round a good bit of Ceylon on his bicycle collecting funds for building the College which had then recently moved in to its present location from the Pettah. His unfailing smile withal he was a strict disciplinarian and never hesitated to spare the rod when necessary, as so many of us found to our cost! In contrast to him was our Vice-Principal, Rev. Percy Cash, tall, soldierly he served in World War I remember right, and of a serious turn of mind. Sarcasm was his forte and. we used to be at the receiving end of many a caustic remark when he took us in Geography. He was not such a popular figure as our Principal but he was a very good teacher. Now, the lay staff, chief of whom was C. P. Dias 'Papa Dias' as he was generally known) our Headmaster and also doyen of the Colombo Municipal Council, of which he was a Member. Grand old man 'he was loved and respected by all, his outbursts of temper, were looked on as a joke by us boys, though sometimes with dire consequences to us. Well do I remember one occasion when I had incurred his wrath by laughing or some such thing. He caught hold of me by my throat (nearly strangling me in the process), pushed me against the balustrade and tried to kick me, so making a ludicrous picture, as his efforts were hampered by the cloth he wore over his trousers. He then pointed out to me the Welikada Jail opposite and, said that I would some day be an inmate there! The old mans prediction has so far not come true, although fifty years have passed by however, one can never say what the future holds for each of us. Here I must digress a little to say that each bestowed on them in malice: but just as a result of our boyhood exuberance; Next, we had W.E.Mack (Balu:Makka) who used to take us in Latin, Arithmetic and English. (They were really versatile, those teachers of old). He used to sport a waistcoat (a status symbol of those days) and was a great snuff-taker, a habit which, I think, was responsible for the reddish- brown colour of his walrus moustache.

In our Virgil class there was one particular name in the text-book-Othrys- which used to tickle me a great deal. This was commented on by Mr. Mack who himself laughed heartily as a result. I must say that the Arithmetic- he taught me has stuck in my head alright and stood me in good stead when I sat for the Survey Clerical later. Then there was C. V. Honter who used to take our English Text. He was christened 'Mike Lambourne' after a character in 'Kenilworth' which was our text-book at the time. A round, podgy figure he had a bristly moustache from which he used to pluck hairs at times while looking down beneath his spectacles and down. his nose and murmuring speak up speak up to us" - The fact was he was so absorbed in this hair-plucking business -that he couldn't hear what we were saying repeating the phrase above. So we come to A.H. de Silva (Kukul Silva, from his gait, resembling & rooster on the warpath). With him. snuffing was a ritual, involving the removal and cleaning of his spectacles, a task which occupied about 5 minutes. He was noted for his two-finger slaps (just like that) which he used to administer while holding a pencil between his teeth. I came within an ace of receiving one of these one day, but I stood up to him rather cheekily (up to then I had been rather timid); this must have surprised him, so he said, "You also! " and stopped short, only biting on his pencil! I was surprised , too and now, Sam Van Hoff (Sambo), a tall figure with a scholarly stoop, to old bachelor who had his 'den' in Karishrue behind the College. Due to a physical defect he was unable to climb the stairs and so took all his classes on the ground floor. He too was an adept at caustic comments. I can still picture him in his room surrounded by books

Next, Eric Gunasekera (Ettaya), tall, wiry and athletic, master and cricket coach. His specialty was tweaking our ears, a form of punishment that could be very painful. One day, when I was a new boy, I had no textbook and through fear was hiding in the lavatory. Suddenly Ettaya came in there, questioned me and took me by my ear into the class. That ear sure hurt for a couple of days ! Some years ago I met him some- where near Campbell Park one evening. His sight was rather impaired at that time. F. J. Lemphers was our Drawing master, a calm, unruffled man whose placidity was almost bovine (I don't mean to be derogatory but that's Just how it was). When he did get angry with one of us, which was very rarely, the most he would do was to say, "You buffalo!" and the matter ended there. In fact I think we used to take advantage of his kind nature by resorting to all kinds of pranks during the Drawing period. History was taught us by M. A. Samarakoon (who later became District Judge, Colombo), a short, stocky, well-built man who reminded me of Napoleon Bonaparte. He was- the only master I really feared! For a good reason too; one shot from that massive forearm would have downed anyone of us. Of this power I had ample proof one day! We had been asked to revise a particular lesson relating to the 17th century Civil War in England. In class, a map was hung on the blackboard and we were asked, one by one, to trace the course Prince Rupert took to (or from,. I can't quite remember) Marston Moor. Most of us had neglected revision and were unable to give a correct answer. When it came to my turn I went to the map and was trying to bluff koon specials, a haymaker on the nape of my neck, and I went sailing out of the door into the corridor to join the other boys who had received the same treatment ! All these revered teachers have now gone beyond our ken, gone to 'the bourne whence no man returns', but memories of them still linger in the minds of those of us who studied under them and studied to such good effect. 'Requiescat in pace'.

However, there is one who is still with us. I refer to S.J. V. Chelvanayagam. Yes, none other than the 'Father of the Federal Movement'. He was the youngest of the lot when came to Wesley and taught us Mathematics (English, too) for a few years before he joined the Law College. A gentle soul he was, one who never used the cane on us, a fact which we boys exploited to the full. When we annoyed him unduly he would dash the chalk or pencil on the table and walk away leaving us to our own devices. And so I close this little chapter of memories in the hope that these vignettes of former, members of the staff will be of some interest to the present boys of Wesley. This may sound like a cliché, beloved of old-timers, but it is a fact that cannot be gain said; those teachers of old were indeed a dedicated lot, men who taught us to remember, not to forget, men the like of whom, in the context of present circumstances, may not be seen in this generation. For myself I can only say : 'Respice finem'


 

My School Days At Wesley (1926-33) by J.C.P.Wickramanayake

As I take up my pen to write on this subject, memories rush to my mind like ghosts beckoning from the past and pleading to be let in. My problem is what I should leave out in order to keep this article within a length to match the space that could be allotted to it. My period in, school was 1926 to 1933 - only 7 years as I had attended other schools earlier. The number in school was small, about 600, which is unimaginable in this age when the number of about 1,350 which the school has must be considered a small number compared with numbers in other schools of equal standing. I must say that I enjoyed prayers mainly due to the hymn singing. All the boys of the school, irrespective of their religion, attended prayers, but it must be said that in this there was not even a hint of an attempt to convert, or subvert, boys of other religions. In fact, boys of other religions enjoyed prayers as much as the Christian boys and went to their classes unaffected, by the prayers so far as their attitude to their own religions was concerned, though it can be said that the feeling of piety and goodness -which prayers should evoke in a Christian I expected to have conveyed Itself to most of them. My colleagues at school were. of all races and of all religions and difference? of race or caste or creed caused no barriers between us. The unifying factor was the language as we all spoke English in school.

We were fortunate in having a set of very capable and conscientious teachers. I remember the pains our teachers took to pass on to their pupils the knowledge they had of the subjects which they taught, and with what selflessness they worked. The boys in the school during my time were as mischievous, or more so, than the boys today. One instance of mischievousness which I recollect was associated with the famous boxer. Gunboat Jack, who visited Ceylon at that time. He had almost massacred a local challenger Roy Wells. We were surprised when Gunboat Jack called at the school with. his Manager one day. He asked for one of the teachers the teachers and when he was taken up to the teacher he told him that he had come in connection with the challenge he had received ed from him. The teacher, a timid man by nature though a terror to his pupils, was all consternation and, waving both his hands he said "Oh!; No, No. Mr.Gunboat Jack, I did not challenge you!". He was so shaken by the event that he was not fit for any more work on that day and that was all that the mischief-makers Who had sent the dud challenge wanted!

At Cricket, we were the wooden-spoonists during the period. The interest we took in the game was, however, tremendous: On match days, everyone awaited the close of the school with impatience to rush to the grounds. An incident Connected with cricket of my period in school recurs vividly to my mind how a ''pair of spectacles" scored by one of our batsmen was received. The batsman was Ponnusamy and the match was against St. Benedict's In 1927 which was played on the- Railway Grounds. In both innings Ponnusamy came back after being dismissed for a blob. Smiling all the way from the wickets to the Pavilion, and his smile was most noticeable against the background of his swarthy face. We won-the match . and our Principal, Rev. John Dalby in, referring to the match at Assembly on the' next school day commented on the spirit of sportsmanship which was displayed ' by Ponnusamy when he walked back to the Pavilion with a smile after having scored, '0* in each innings and said that it was the correct spirit and the 'Wesley' spirit. We were all highly impressed by this example of sportsmanship and, applauded lustily. As I said earlier- there are many more events which occur to my mind when I think of my school days. The memory of which has also been such as to evoke in me the utmost loyalty towards the school loyalty, which I make bold to say is as great as that which any alumnus of a school


 

Reflections (1933-74) by Edmund Dissanayake

q4My association with Wesley College Began in the year 1933 when I was admitted to the Lower Kindergarten. Wesley 'College has been fortunate in having had several devoted teachers, who have served the cause of Education, regardless of private gain. No disrespect is implied to others if I were to mention the names of a few teachers who exerted a profound influence on me in my formative years. Miss. Iris Blacker, Mrs. Joyce Leembruggen, Messrs. R. A. Honter, J. E. de Silva,L. C. de S. Weragoda, Eric Gunasekera,J.L. F. de Mel, F. J. Senaratne, E. D. Thambimuttu, P. H. Nonis, K. M. de Lanerolle and Rev. James Cartman. They were teachers of the highest integrity and sincerity of purpose. Among my school mates who particularly influenced me was Shelton Peiris, our Senior Prefect of 1946, who appeared to us as the very embodiment of all that Wesley stood for. When I was very young, I had a strange fascination to be a teacher. Perhaps the good example set by my own teachers may have influenced me. And so, in September 1948, Rev. Cartman gave me my first assign- ment as apart-time teacher; and in January 1949, I formally joined the Tutorial Staff, as a full-time teacher. Although more lucrative employment was offered to me elsewhere both in 1949 and in 1960, I do not regret my decision to have continued as an Assistant Teacher at Wesley. For, in the ultimate analysis, one's fulfillment lies in accepting an occupation that brings one joy and satisfaction. I believe that the less one 'has to chastise, the less one has to use the cane, the greater would be the rapport between teacher and student, and greater the response from the student. Wesley has also been fortunate in having a loyal and devoted domestic staff. Ranis and Wilbert, both, alas, no more, being outstanding. Men of their calibre are a rare commodity today... I believe that a student's education is not complete unless he has been resident in the school hostel for even a short period. It has been our experience that hostellers have generally be on far more resourceful than day scholars. Hostellers have shone both in the class-room and on the field of sports. Their mischief, if at all, was quite healthy. Once, late at night, we heard the school bell ring. The hostel masters presuming that a hosteller was responsible, switched on the lights in the dormitories, but found all their charges in that the culprit was a cow whose tail had been tied to the rope of the college bell ? The particular hosteller who was responsible for this bright idea, works today as an executive in a high-powered corporation. Mrs. Ruth Hindle who was hostel matron from '1949-1957 was a "very popular figure. Her humane approach to all problems in the hostel, endeared her to everyone. Shelton Peiris and Aelian Fernando in their capacity as Senior Hostel Masters in the early fifties, were largely responsible for setting the correct. tone in the hostel. Their enthusiasm and devotion to duty were unparalleled. The versatile Kenneth M. de Lanerolle, who was Vice Principal and Hostel Superin- endent, was a great source of inspiration to both staff and students. Indeed he was their hero. Mr. C. J. Oorloff who succeeded Rev. Cartman in 1950 is remembered for his efficient administration, and discipline. ' Mr. P. H. Nonis is unique in that he was the first Wesleyite to be appointed as ,her Principal. It fell to his lot to pioneer the school through the new educational set up, as a private non-fee levying school. Mr. A. S. Wirasinghe came to us from Richmond. He introduced the system of teacher-supervisors throughout the school. This helped to decentralize the administrative machinery, and has materially contributed to the smoother functioning of the school. Messrs. John Vethanayagam and Wilfred Wickremasinghe who were active hostel masters twenty five years ago, continue to serve Wesley, devotedly. Mrs. Elsie Perera nee Peiris, and Mr. A. V. Gunaratnam who have completed twenty five years service are also with us. Mrs. Sheila Wijeykoon nee Drieberg and Mr. Felix Premawardena left for Australia and Zambia respectively, after 24 years at Wesley. Mr. Charles de Silva will be retiring in December, 1973 having served Wesley for 28 years. Students affec- tionately remember his earlier Morris 8 car which was reminiscent of a padda-boat. This car was made available to staff and students in wet weather. His appointment in 1972 as Vice Principal (Acting) greatly redounded to the credit of the Governing Board, as he was the first Non-Christian to hold such office at Wesley. He filled this post with much acceptance.

The death of Mr. Eric de Silva has taken away from our midst a pillar of the school. He was Bursar for 36 years. I remember Rev. Cartman telling me in 1947, that if Erie left Wesley he would be compelled to employ at least three people to take his place. If Rev. Cartman had such a high regard for Eric's work twenty seven years ago, one 'can imagine the tragedy that has befallen Wesley today. The late Eric de Silva was one of the finest men I have met. In truth, he has not passed away, 'for he continues to live in our hearts. Cricket has been one of my great "loves". Boys remember with pride the enthusiasm engendered by Rev. Cartman. Wesley's success in cricket during that period was largely due to the personal interest taken by Rev. Cartman, and the Masters in charge, Mr. F. J. Senaratne, Mr. G. Joseph and Mr. J. L. F. de Mel, For the record, the last occasion when Wesley beat both St. Thomas' and Royal in the same, season was in 1947., Wesleyites who. read this article may be reminded of their debts to "Uncle Joe" for books purchased at the School Book Shop! The indefatigable Mr. de Mel's devotion to duty, traveling to school from far away Panadura, was an object lesson to everyone. The tremendous interest evinced by our Old Boys in their Alma Mater, is indeed the pride of any school. No one could gainsay the great devotion and concern shown particularly by Mr. J. C. P. Wikramanavake.

Among the Wesleyites who during the last twenty five years have served as, teachers at Wesley, and have wielded much influence among the students.. are Sam Silva, Shelton Peiris, Fred Abeysekera, Watson Wijewickrema, the late Rev. Maxwell de Alwis, Agbo Karunaratne, Graham Dissanayake, Lou Adhihetty. N.A.B. Fernando.D.B. Welikala, M. Mohideen, Sam R. Thevathasan and Prasanna Wijesinghe. It is our wish that the few Wesleyites who are presently on the Staff would continue to serve at Wesley for many more years. I refer to Messrs Lalith Wijesinghe, Marshal Fernando, M. A. P. Fernando, Srilal Karunaratne, Nimal de Silva If Wesley is to continue as a Private Non Fee Levying School in the great tradition she has been heir to during the last one hundred years, it is respectfully submitted, that every inducement should be provided to Wesleyites to accept appointments in their Alma Mater. ' "And when Wesley's call shall sound 'Ready Aye' shall all be found, In duty and in honour bound Wesley to the fore.''


 

A Drive Down Memory Lane by H.S.A.T.Peiris

e8The morning, of 10th May 1934, was gloomy when the Cowley Crunched up the drive and halted in the portico of the stateliest of all mansions the child had even seen Wesley College Wesley College. Hordes of little, boys, blue and white uniforms, crowded round and peered into the limousine. "Poom -Oom - Poom"', they squeezed the rubber, bulb, much to the annoyance of the driver! "New boy, new boy" they all shouted and-giggled, as the reluctant, lanky specimen was scooped out , of the car by his mother. The wretched tormentors followed. Now in the frequency of memory, I reach him as he stands one in those wretched tormentors followed. Now in the frequency of memory, I reach him as he stands one in those many rows in the spacious stained glass windowed hall where the entire school had assembled on the first day of term._The speaker is a calm and be-spectacled, tired looking, Englishman in cap and gown-the Rev. John Dalby as he was later known. The Staff, prim and proper, sit behind him.. There is a pin-drop silence among the rows of boys. What he spoke is forgotten through the passage of time, but what remains is the tattooed impression of discipline and order and obedience. This was indeed a significant day day in the life of a new boy for over the years this boy, instructed and guided, followed an educational-oriented training for life ,a training which has guided him over the storms and stresses and the changing phases of life. It opened up to him new vistas, new experiences in understanding, in tolerance and in all those things of value and of good report. That new boy was myself. Many are the incidents both in the class- room and on the playing field in my early formative years. Many were the teachers in those same years.

I can never forget Mrs. Rachel Lembruggen is the most perfect Of all teachers, immaculate .in dress .and as beautiful as an angel to our childhood observations. observation. The Other Mrs. Leembruggen, Joyce, plump and comely, taught' me in her broad deliberate speech my very first poem- Little drops of water, Little grains of sand, Make the mighty ocean and, the pleasant land. So convincing was she that even as tiny tots this poem made us feel important, the way she delivered it.; Another teacher who created an indelible impression on my life was the diminutive Miss Iris Blacker whose most formidable form of punishment was a severe wrap on our knuckles with a blue pencil, in inch taller than she.' One important facet in the syllabi of Wesley then was handwork ; what fascinating .hours-we spent in these classes! Handwork. included woodwork, 'modelling with clay and plasticine, rattan, work including basket' weaving, elementary metal work, sign.-board writing, leatherwork etc. .How we rushed to the hand Work Room with its many gadgets and instruments. To be met by the most skilful of teachers, who with patience, tact and firmness, took us through our paces year in and year out Under his guidance we became confident, and collected, unruffled and methodical. For his labour' of love we are indeed grateful, as his instructions 'certainly helped us to be the handymen we are. This teacher is no other than Mr. J. E. De Silva yet dynamic and creative. Two other teachers both Wesleyites to the core helped us. The cigar smoking Ataya and the other the soft spoken "Hulang".. Eric Gunasekera and L.C.de S Weragoda as they will be remembered by numerous old boys. Nor can I forget D.R.Victor- He was a storyteller par excellence. And So time sped on till we were forced to breakup school as a result of World War II. During the war tears we were commandeered and scattered away from Colombo. We went to Kittiyakkara and old fashioned bungalow near All Saints Borella. Numbers increased with the arrival of Rev. Holden who came from Mandalay. He was a disciplinarian and did a wonderful job at Kittiyakkara.

My mind goes back to when I was a. Prefect and leader of the debating team of that year. Wesley College proposed for debate "THE BAN ON THE NATIONAL DRESS MUST BE LIFTED". The feature debate, with our sister college, Methodist, was eagerly looked forward to, for, even under the eagle eye of Mrs. Loos, we had a fine time with the girls.! On my part I thought I should be a little imaginative and original-but alas it was brought to the notice of Rev. Holden that I intended to lead the debate clad in sarong o and coat! Rev. Holden would hear nothing of this. He threatened to call off the debate. ' The debate in itself was not that exciting until our last man the "chuttie" member of the team, waxing eloquent and lost in excitement demanded that "THE NATIONAL DRESS SHOULD BE LIFTED"! The House roared and even the ranks of Tuscany could scare for bear to cheer! Weeks later I made it bold, however, to attend College in coat and sarong. By and by in College life Edmund Dissana- yake and I had teamed up and we had as Senior Prefect Sam Silva. Now one of Sri Lanka's finest administrators, Sam, even then was unassuming, composed, collected and always willing to help a junior. Of him it could be said-''Nihil tetigit, quod non or- navit" - he touched nothing which he did not adorn. How true of Sam even now! I had by now assumed greater responsibilities at Wesley and was appointed Senior Prefect and had the privilege, as a student in the Varsity Entrance form and later as a member of the College Staff, of associating myself with one of Wesley's most capable principals in recent years-the Rev. James Cartman. 'Carti', as he was affectionately called, had the unenviable task of restoring Wesley to her pre-war status-This the Rev. Cartman did with distinction and. aplomb. His was' certainly, a formidable task, I repeat. The traditions of Wesley, rich and hallowed, could not easily be interpreted in improvised buildings, but the Rev. Cartman with his vision and drive, with his tact and under- standing inculcated that spirit of Wesley in us.

With some of Wesley's finest teachers like E.D. Tambimuttu, Kenneth de Lanerolle and Fred de Mel away in the various Civil Defence branches, the Rev. Cartman drew heavily from remaining teacher and student. I recall now that this was group work at its optimum. It infused a spirit of cooperation ; it gave him the opportunity of walking close with both teacher and student. Edmund Dissanayake and I were asked to' organise 'the guarding and hatching and this we did with other senior student. I recall the entire school entering the hall. Edmund led the students, opening the stage side door with a silver key. The Wanderers had returned' .,. The Rev. Cartman steered on. An. enthusiastic cricketer and the President of the Schools' Cricket Association, he presented a new dimension to the younger students, tapping their enthusiasm. On match days. the entire school assembled would yell, led by Rev. Cartman the Red Indian " "War Cry", as we called it-

ZAM, ZAM, ZAKAY ,. ZAM, ZAM, ZAY ISHUBA, ISHUBA . OOH, HA, HAY ! -

The tamarind tree at Wesley has been a silent sentinel over the many decades. Its origin is lost to us in the mists .of forgotten years, but whenever I see it I begin to regress. For at its foot, during the intervals, we mugged up our Latin, memorized poetry and mouthed gossip. Under its spreading branches and in its cool shade we admired the cuties of Mt. Mary. Who of us can forget dear old Ranis whom we once tied up to the tamarind Tree with that unending silver chain and. coiled round his waist! We had our fun, strong healthy fun, some of which caused us fear and foreboding like the day when we played barber by clipping off the whiskers; of 'Garandiya' alias Silva, and we were reported to Mr. Nonis. Garandiya withdrew his com- plaint on our threatening--to expose his selling glass bulbs to us". Or when we ate all the 'achcharu' made by old Babun's ancient wife and accused Babun till she hit him with the coconut shell spoon. What a fight it was the late Mr. C. M. Fonseka Had to rescue Baboon, and the .old lady, growling, retreated, stuffing back her breasts which had slipped the confines of her jacket! : And as the canvas of time unrolls I see in retrospect our own contributions as students in the life of the school. Prize Givings Weekends, were weekends to remember. Having worked like galley slaves on the eve of a Prize Giving I remember once creeping with some others, past mid-night, to the *Tram View Hotel the then Wesleyites' Inter Continental! After a satisfying repast we saw on our return Raman the rickshaw puller who abused some of us daily. He was curled up and fast asleep in his rickshaw. We trundled the viper along with bated breath.

What if the sleeping devil got up ? Then as we reached Wesley we lifted the contraption with the snoring spitfire over the gravel drive. Merty, Chinni, Cruze(shy and coy), Gemba, Edmund and many other willing hands helped. Gently, ever so gently, we placed the rickshaw under the porch and chained the College gate. At dawn a trapped and demented Raman tore his hair and hissed invective, till he was released by the gardener! I have had the most pleasant memories both, as a student of Wesley and as a teacher; studying, living and working with so many noble lives. Eric Silva, played his part unostentatiously till his death. A very ready help, Eric's witness for the' Master, in his own sphere of activity at Wesley, was indeed appreciated. Bertha Weerapass~ (now Mrs. Bernard) in her charming way, was also a great asset in the College office. I recall the splendid work she did for the Jubilee celebration in 1949. * (Now. .unfortunately no more~ Where it once stood is today just a broad stretch of pavement.) Many others, too numerous to mention, also gave of their best to Wesley .. But I have to mention Edmund Dissanayake as outstanding. Edmund is the symbol of Wesley, loyal and faithful. Already index, nay, an encyclopaedia of the Colleges history for nearly 40 years. His contributions, as & student, in the field of cricket is legendary. His adventure on the memorable occasion when Wesley played St. Thomas and Edmund was struck down by a ball off- a Thomian bat was indeed a startling experience to us all. I remember, returning at mid-night from the nursing home where he was, meeting a ghost. What a ghost! I had related this to Dunstan Thuring (now Rev). Well, that is another story, the recalling of which gives me the creeps even now. Ask later and it shall be related unto you ! What was so wonderful of Wesley The reply to this .I found embodied in the lives and actions of my teachers. True, I had been given directions and advice, but as a young teacher I too had to fall in line, live out and activate those Values, both in the class room and in the playing fields, deep and abiding, which superstructure was based on the rock bottom of Truth, Understanding and Honesty.

My short sojourn as Senior Hostel Master introduced me to many a rich young life which has been translated over the years into men of grit and honesty. This rare climate in the hostel of Wesley was was also due to people like Lilian Welles and Ruth Hindle-matrons who spared no pains to make our lives so comfortable in the hostel. I recall men like L.Aelian Fernando and Rev. David Wilson who enriched and guided the lives of both hostellers and young teachers. Nor can one forget those Hostel Aides-great men who unobtrusively laboured as cooks, dormitory boys and sick-room attendants. In presenting this brief resume of events I cannot but recall the singular guidance received, both as a student, and as a young teacher from that versatile virtuoso - Kenneth de Lanerolle. To me, as to countless WesleyiteS the shall remain their Inspiration, for as Singer, Musician, Actor, Mimic Wit, Playwright, Poet, Artist, this prodigious teacher, was our hero, our guide and our friend Another place we loved very dearly at Wesley was the Small Park, where we played and fought, and nurtured and nourished the very fibre of our young lives to stand out as characteristic Wesleyites. It is a great shame that designing minds have caused the rape of this valuable lung and dissected it to accommodate a scheme, which, in the-context of robbing young Wesley from its rightful heritage, is indeed a very perfidious act. And so Time has sped. The noble College has reached its Centenary. It has weathered every storm, the vicissitudes of circumstance and time have not marred her progress nor dulled her contribution to the nation's development. We remember .with prayer and gratitude the pioneers and those, great men who have gone before us and who have unhesitatingly blazed a trail -even scorning fame and fortune-in toil and labour to make; Wesley a better place to those vast numbers who enter her portals. They have sown, with fortitude and vision, they have sown with a steadfast and a strong arm, whilst we have continued to reap the abundant harvest of their toil and those following us - shall surely garner. Who can be unmoved on such a pulsating, momentous occasion as 'this? A hundred years of a rich and noble heritage; and who can remain untouched as one walks through those long corridors of Wesley or ponder in The North Tower, where we as Prefects met to deliberate; or gaze-in the self-same stained-glass-windowed hall of our childhood- at the portraits of Wesley's genial giants- Henry Highfield having an eye on them all! And we Wesleyites as we Pray and Labour on the highways and byways of life-repledge our loyalty and "together stand" to toast the best school of all, for


Who that walks......... ... Where, men of ancient days.
Had wrought with God-like arms The deeds of praise
Find not the spirit of the Place control or rouse
And agitate his labouring soul.

 


 

On those bygone years -An Interview - S.P

"Somehow it is so clear in my mind that 4th of June 1914, When I travelled as a small boy from Madampe with my father to join Wesley College as a Boarder". And as he spoke' with such clarity and detail I found myself transported to a distant age of an unhurried and even tempo. Then the State provided horse and bullock drawn coaches and a steam boat service on the Colombo Puttalam Dutch Canal. The single bus service from Colombo to Puttalam was well patronised, and as a rule seats were booked in advance for the entire journey, and as it chugged along it raised, clouds of dust. Horse traps, buggy carts and rickshaws moved around the station entrance of the Railway stations soliciting for passengers. The speaker was Arthur Ernest Herat Sanderatne, Attorney- at-law and formerly of the erstwhile Ceylon Civil Service. What memories he yet had of the Revd. Henry Highfied who had kept a steady correspondence with his old pupil. Though late that evening in June when father and son arrived-there was the Revd. Henry and Mrs. Highfield to make the small lad comfortable and at home. Memories flooded into Authur's mind with consu- mate ease and his trained mind sorted them all out for me as he spoke of the 1918 riots and the disturbances round Wesley when the "down" boutique, known to so many generations of Wesleyites was also looted.

The Powder Magazine opposite the college was a hive of activity and it was guarded very heavily indeed by special contingent of Punjabi soldiers-what tough, grand specimens of manhood, Arthur recalled , they were! Those were very disturbing days indeed. Capt. Pedris was court- martialled and shot. Wesley too shared the anxiety of those days for, beside other leaders, a prominent Wesleyite-Don Baron Jayatilleke - was hustled into prison. Here the Revd. Highfield took a bold step in fearlessly fighting and shouting at the excesses that were committed by a set of thoughtless Britishers. It was Revd. Highfield's intervention that obtained their speedy release. Arthur also spoke with nostalgia of the work and labours, particularly in the Boarding House, of Revd. Percy and Mrs. Cash. He recalled vividly the life of companionship the Boarders had their fun and escapades. The Boarding House had even then fine exemplary men - S. V. O. Somanader, S. J. V. Chelvanayagam and F. J. Senaratne. Among those great men. of S. J. V. Chelvanayagam, Arthur Sanderatne had to say many fine things like his personal sacrifice of time and labour to help the boys, his great devotion to teaching and the valuable contribution he made in improving the college Science Section.

He had a serious outlook and was called "Ghandi". In response to the "Empires Call" Ceylon too sent her volunteer contingents - many a young Wesleyite too joined - many never to return. The Boys of Wesley, apart from qualifying for external exams had scounting, boxing and cadeting included among other extra mural activities. Regular outings were a feature. The Revd. Highfield on bis push bike always accompanied the boys and teachers who travelled in double bullock carts. Among the old brigade C. P.Dias Wesley's Head Master for over 40 years, was an institution within an institution. He was feared and yet loved. He was noted for his daily walks from Cotta Road to Kotahena and back. This exercise he claimed made him alert and fit. He was a City father for a long time. Wesley had a loyal and devoted set of minor employees, of those Ranis played a grand "innings" and his services were available to many generations of Wesleyites. And so we kept talking with Arthur Sanderatne in reminiscent mood- I reluctantly left this great andloyal son of Wesley whose unflinching loyalty to the old school is an example worthy of emulation- "Wesley" he mused as we shook hands ''always endeavoured to provide asound education with a view to build character with emphasis laid on the necessity of im- proving the mind body and spirit." - yes how true of Wesley.


 

Skimmings - In Retrospect (1949-74) by T.A.S.H

In turning back the pages of Time, One's thoughts regress to the Wesley's Diamond Jubilee March 1949 into which celebrations were woven Thanksgiving and Rejoicing. Apart from a mere chronological event, the celebrations of, the, year were also a finale to a short yet devoted and inspiring period of dedicated service to Wesley by the Rev. James Cartman, 8. Wesley's energetic and popular Principal from March 1945 to September 1949. Those who had the privilege of being associated with him will recall the Himalayan task the Rev. Cartman had to grapple with during his tenure of office. The College buildings for which he strove to get back, after the fall of Singapore-and into which a few hundred of students processed on the 3rd of December 1945, led by Edmund Dissanayake-were in shambles. A handful of pre- war teachers and students formed the nuclei for the Rev. Cartman to rely on. Foremost was Mr. Eric Gunasekera, of revered memory who through all those exacting vicissitudes, remained a trusted custodian of Wesley*s ' tradition'-a source of inspiration, a loyal counselor and truly a very present help to the Rev. James Cartman. Eric Gunasekera spared no pains to serve his Alma mater and to this end it could be said he spent himself even after his retirement in Wesley's service, Beside the others who rallied round were loyal old boys of the staff like L.C.deS. Weragoda and F. J. Seneratne who together with a group of young teachers "and senior students spent much time to build up and initiate those who joined Wesley-post-war to the Wesley traditions.

A special tribute must be paid ,to the youth of Wesley who answered her call undaunted and unselfishly led by Shelton Peiris and Edmund Dissent- yake. The youth of Wesley then as now played their part magnificently. The in played their part magnificently. The .in- creasing numbers of this post-war period of admission to Wesley was indicative of the acceptance of Wesley. With the near approach of the Diamond Jubilee the Rev. James Cartman spearheaded a drive with such feverish enthusiasm that one could not believe one's, eyes at the rise of the Diamond Jubilee Fund Barometer displayed in the College Hall! The call to help was a sincere and stirring one-the response was heartening. Contributions poured in; even the youngest at Wesley gave his mighty mite. Extensions were initiated and completed in time for the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in 1949. The present College Library, which is a portion of the extensions, was named after the Rev. James Cartman in grateful acceptance of the splendid work he did at Wesley. Short though his stay was one could see the progress Wesley was striding towards,' both in the academic sphere and in the field of sp6rt as well What was more was the awareness of youth as it was called to play its part and the plea Cartman often made for the building of a "Wesley Spirit" producing "Men of Grit and Industry" was not in vain.

Certainly Cartman's influence was deep, profound and abiding. One recalls his choice of M. A. M. Sheriff whom he had handpicked from a provincial school and encouraged and guided by Cartman made history a few years later in being selected to participate yet as a school boy in the Empire Games of 1950. The Poets exclaim of the One crowded hour being worthier than an Age without a name is truly fitting of the Rev. J. Cartman"g contributions to Wesley-Well played Sir! On the departure of the Rev. J. Cartman the then Governing Board called upon Mr. Kenneth M. De Lanerolle who. had been appointed Wesley's Vice Principal; and who snared in no small measure the heavy burdens of Wesley during the Cartman regime, to act as Principal, Wesley College. This request was graciously accepted by Mr. Lanerolle and, as a natural sequel, those who had Wesley's welfare at heart, waited with bated breath; for his confirmation.~ Principal of Lesley and in which high office he had already' accomplished so much in so small a space., of time and under much strain-and stress. Certainly a new Epoch was to begin with Kenneth De Lanerolle the superlative administration But alas those Prudish Pundit Prattlers conferred otherwise and Wesley was denied Mr. Kenneth D Lanerolle as her rightful Principal. However, in spite of this abortion of justice Kenneth De. Lanerolle did not betray the trust and confidence placed on him by students and colleagues alike and it is to his lasting honour, that, this fine gentle- man gave of his best even after the appoint- ment of Mr.Cedric J.Oorloff ,-C.C.S who in turn settled down to reorganize Wesley with the object of securing greater financial stability. Mr. 0orloffs& used to office routine and administration, though at first aloof was found to be a very valuable asset. His rich experience in the then Civil Service and an ingrained culture resultant of a classical education, gave him at Wesley the necessary leadership at that time Wesley joined the free scheme of education. Nor can one forget the contribution to Wesley of Mrs. Oorloff a lady with an old world charm and a dignity which sets the right tone in any disturbing Circumstance. Together both placed "Wesley' need foremost. It was their joint effort that gave reality to the extensions at Wesley now called the Highfield Memorial Block-- In which effort Mr.Oorloff was ably assisted by a band of teachers too numerous to mention, old boys, students and well wishers alike, whose contributions, services and efforts have been gratefully recorded else- where.

One finds it extremely difficult to mention by name all those wonderful men and women who strove silently yet valiantly in the service of Wesley. Mr. Fred De Mel whose name is a close link with Wesley, retired as Wesley's Head Master. He was a teacher and an excellent one at teaching, a stern disciplinarian yet every approachable man. It is a matter of deep regret that Death had snatched both Mr. Fred De Mel and Eric Silva another of Wesley's pillars who had laboured so unostentatiously and ungrudging- gly, on the eve of Wesley's Centenary. Miss Iris Blacker that diminutive stalwart of Wesley had at all times given of her best and so very many of us have had the good fortune to be guided by her as students at Wesley. Nor can one forget the contributions to Wesley's progress made by men like W. T. Canaga Ratna, Ivor De Silva, L.A.Femando, Fred Abeysekera, Ivan Ondaatjee, Frank Jayasinghe and Austin Salgado to mention a few they were all young teachers when he did credit to the cause of education at Wesley in no small measure. Wesley was fortunate to have at least some of her alum- ni associated themselves with their Alma Mater as teachers. One recalls the work of Fred Abeysekera who excelled not only in the classrooms an-inspiring teacher but also Joined in the hurly burly of sports particularly in Hockey. One recalls with pride men of the calibre of C. J. T. Thamotheram, C.S. Ponnadurai, Felix Premawardena, Arnold -Sethukavaler David Joseph, Bertie Van Sanden and the late Maxwell York de Alwis who later became the Rev. M. Y. de Alwis- His premature death had caused a void that is hard to fill. - Wesley had great teachers and one recalls to mind the late Messrs G. Joseph affectionately known as Uncle Joe, silent strong man, C.M.Fonseka and Mrs. Rachel Limburger A gracious lady who served the school for many years. This is indeed a very inadequate List of those devotee and dedicated men and women not to mention Wesley's youth, who had at all times and often under extremely difficult terrain had not spared their time, effort and energy to urge the progress of the school they so loved. With all humility the writer of this article craves the pardon of any whose name had not been included even in passing and would affirm that such omission is without design.

Wesley though a Methodist Institution had always enjoyed a Catholic outlook and besides having the good fortune to have men and women of the Anglican faith, apart from Other faiths has a unique record of being so loyally served by those belonging to the Buddhist fold. This article is deemed incomplete if one fails to record the service of dedicated labour of Two great Buddhist gentlemen, Messrs Charles de Silva and Edmund Dissanayake. Charles de Silva's loyalty to the college and his contribution were so great that the Board of Management decided to appoint Charles as Wesley's Vice Principal. Edmund Dissanayake's name is so closely woven with that of Wesley forever 4 decades he ad given of his best and continues to do so be it in the cricket field, or in the class room. If Wesley had so easily pulled itself out of many a tricky period when the wicked of circumstances were equally treacherous and risky it was due to men like Edmund that Wesley regained an even keel and her composure. It is not always that the kindergarten comes into the glare and lime-light of a school yet the most important years of a child are nurtured and cultivated in this region. This task is indeed an exacting and demanding one. Wesley has had the good fortune of women of the calibre of Joyce Leembruggen whose devotion to service took priority over all her other interests. Her worthy successor Mrs. S. E. G. Perera yet continues the good work of her guru in the kindergarten. Other teachers associated with the lower and middle school were Miss Christobelle Mendis (now Mrs. Peiris), and Sheila Wijekone (nee Drieberg.) Mesdames Isla Perera and Dulcie De Mel together with other ladies had played a very prominent role both in the lower school and in the middle, and had helped in .no small measure to create the correct climate to accommodate- the wee Wesleyites.' Wesley was also fortunate in having chaplains like Rev. D. K. Wilson whose period at Wesley brings to mind his Warm and gracious Ministry particularly with the hostellers. Silent and self. effacing the Rev.' David Wilson (now Dr.) offered the service of love and affection to all who came in contact with him. His wise counseling gave' the necessary guide lines to many a baffled youth.

Rev. Cyril Premawardene of the Baptist Mission also functioned as chaplain of Wesley. His period of service was also one of deep spiritual assistance to many. The Rev. Pile is also remembered with gratitude for his contributions to the Christian Union in particular. So also the Revs. John Trevenna and Hugh Tattersall. With the departure of Mr. C.J. Oorloff who assumed duties as Principal of Trinity, Wesley welcomed her first old boy Principal. Mr. PH.Nonis a thoroughbred Wesleyite who was on6 time acting Principal when Rev. John Dalby was Principal. He was largely instrumental in the purchase of the College Cricket Pavilion at Campbell Park. The difficult period that Mr. Nonis had to face at Wesley he did so with fortitude and courage and brought to bear many a decision with the welfare of Wesley foremost in 'his mind. The life of the college had at all times been enriched and enlivened to a great extent by the college hostellers. These lads took upon themselves to maintain the key and' tone of 'Wesley tradition. One recalls with gratitude the services rendered to the college hostel by men like Mr.O. A. Weerasooriya, R. R. Ariyanayagam, John Isaac (now Rev) Shelton Peiris, Ivor de Silva and L.A. Fernando, and at a time when Wesley was at Kittiyakara. the yeoman service rendered. to the handful of hostellers by the late Eric de Silva. Nor can one {or get the Hostel Matrons of this period. Lilian Wells who kept an eye on her wards with tact, firmness and love was indeed a very capable lady and so was Mrs. Ruth Hindle who 'heaved up those narrow stairs with such determination that her approach and departure was always known particularly by the errant! Miss P. Gomes who had for a number of years laboured patiently is indeed a worthy successor.

Wesley has had the distinction of having very distinguished old boys and within the' last few decades among other worthy 'alumni was Sir O.E Goonatilleke. Ceylon's first Governor General who heads the long and illustrious line of Wesley's great sons who had done credit both 'to their country and abroad. A school such as Wesley ,has to have necessarily a multitude of persons composed in outlook different from each Other yet all having 'the one goal and object the welfare' of their Alma Mater. Nor can one forget others who had been adopted to the Wesley way of life and who in their turn had spared no pains to give of their best in whatever role They may be called upon to perform their duties.. One recalls with reverential gratitude the service rendered by the late Ranis truly he was an Institution within an.' Institution. Ranis was indeed a very loyal person and in his own way, style habits perpetuated the tradition 'of his dear Wesley. One also remembers men Like the late Wilbert. ground boy, and Silva (Laboratory aide) and 'the present Marshall Perera. Wesley's lustre can also be referred to such loyal helpers which in their unobtrusive ways and behind the scene activities have helped her in no, small measure.

One recalls with gratitude their labours. WV. Rodrigo also' belongs to this group of loyal men; This cursory record has also to note that the 'enthusiasm displayed in deciding that Wesley should remain a private school had shown' a marked deterioration which had its gaunt shadows casting themselves on the financial, aspects of the. school." Here though it is' humanly impossible to' record individuals and their valiant efforts to keep the old flag flying one is urged to record the inspiring work by a band of loyal Wesley lovers in. initiating the Wesley~ College. Welfare 'Society' whose concise objective was to liaise between the Management and the other ancillary associations towards this effort. Much grueling work on a foundation basis was laid by its first President the late Mr. A. M. F. Siriwardene and Mr. A. R. Silva its Vice President. The work of Mr. Emil Loos and the husband and wife team-Mr. & Mrs. H. L. Joseph is "recorded with gratitude. The Herculean efforts of the late Mr. A. M. F. Siriwardene to serve. Wesley remains in one's memory as a monument, better than that of bronze or marble. As a firm foot hold was established rapi4ly. And men of the calibre of F. V. H. Labrooy, the late J. L F. Dc Mel, and Mr. J. C. P. Wikramanayake who in their turn spared no pains, the Wesley College Welfare Society grew into a very substantial arm and 'a very valuable, link indeed.

The College with the rapidly changing conditions. of the 'country had also undergone various changes-lack of adequate accommodation, the need for more laboratory equipment are the most, glaring of Wesley's needs. Wesley's present Principal Mr. Shelton Wirasinghe had certainly an uphill task from his induction at Wesley, a very versatile and talented gentleman. Mr. Wirasinghe often had to ride on the horns of a dilemma in the throws of financial difficulties. However his grit and tenacity has never failed . It is refreshing 'therefore' to note that grit and industry has formed an oasis in an arid zone 'and Wesley offers Drama, oriental dancing and music, opportunities for radio and literary competitions~ the Student Christian Movement. the Sarasavi Saba of the finest school choirs whose timbre, vivace and depth is a reflection of Wesleys great maestro --Haig Karunaratne and his 'associates. And to strike the balance in the adage 'Men Sana in Corpore Sano cricket and hockey Wesley offers cricket -Hockey and Rugger and Swimming among the other games. It has to be proudly accepted that in spite ' of upheavals 'and difficulties, the pledge of supporting Wesley as a non-fee levying private school is being carried on. It is our fervent prayer' that the Centenary Year will enlighten those who have stayed away from Wesley-their Alma Mater to draw closer at the call of Wesley. in her every hour of need; for Wesley as it has been so correctly stated will certainly' not apologies but shall at' all times valiantly and honorably justify her existence. This is the Toast for -the long years ahead.


 

Wesley as I remember (3) by Shanti McLelland

Article # 52. Wesley: as I remember by Shanti McLelland The best all round sportsmen would be many in the 125-year history of Wesley. The names listed here are only those come to my mind at the time of writing, and in no way comprehensive. Lou Adihetty National Hockey Goalie, Athlete, Cricketer and Cambridge Blue probably top the list along with his accomplishments in studies. We always looked forward to the centuries, and were let down if Lou fell short of our expectations. Darrel Maye in my opinion was outstanding, especially as he never would extend himself to look for fame. He was equally good in Athletics, Hockey, and Cricket. The best was when he demolished Royal to silence the pundits from the media, to change the headlines in Wesley's favour. Upali Samararatna was an outstanding Wicket-Keeper, if I remember right he did carry-on with a bleeding forehead for daring to be so closely behind the sticks. Soccer a sport he favoured like his brother Ranjit and he did excel in athletics. Sarath Wickremaratne, just made it look so easy, whenever he sailed a six straight on, or bowled when things looked bad. I watched vaulting over the bar to finish in the top three in pole vault, represented the University, Colombo & State Services in Hockey. Clifford Rodrigo was an unpretentious cricketer, like Darrell he has the honour of some of the best bowling figures. Left arm or leg spin I cannot remember. A national hockey player represented Mercantile and Colombo Hockey Association for many years. The last time I watched him play was at the Nationals in Matale 1971. A few minutes to the final whistle, he darted through the center, collected a long pass from the right extreme at the 25yds line, dazzled past the two Sri Lankan full-backs playing for Matale and twisted on his toes to just to spin and drive into the right corner of the goal to leave the goalie flat on his back. Colombo won this final with this goal. Mr.Walter Jayasuriya, the king of Hockey was there to hug C.T. as proud as he could be. Kenneth de Silva will be remembered more for his Cricket. But, he did excel in Hockey as a fullback, along with Diane Herft & Ratnavel as goalie. Kenneth also proved to be a good athlete (putt shot). Mervyn & Russel Harmer, both excelled similarly in Cricket, as wicket-keepers, in the Javelin throw in Athletics, or in Soccer. Bashudeen Musafer was one excellent sportsman. Rugby football was his favourite. He wore his pair of golden boots, whenever he kept hockey goals, played as a forward in soccer, or converted the goals in rugger. Was a good athlete; one of the most versatile sportsmen Wesley was fortunate to produced. Rajah Jayasuriya captained College Hockey to win the Schools Championships in 1965, Represented the country many times, a member of the Asian games team, and a National Hockey Umpire. A good athlete and made the College team in cricket & athletics. Reginald Batholomeusz was another exceptional Wesley Athlete. Broke the 100yds & 220yds college record in 1965; he had perfect style in the Long Jump. A public schools athlete; was awarded the best all-round sportsman award that year. Represented the Country in Rugby-Football, played cricket and hockey for Wesley to make it four sports to his credit. Article # 52(a) Wesley: as I remember by Shanti McLelland Rodney Perera was another sportsman who enjoyed playing cricket, hockey, or taking part in athletics. His quick, faster than the clock run rate in batting was always a treat to the cheering squad that followed him one end to the other. Donald de Silva should not be forgotten as he represented the school in Rugger, Cricket, Hockey, & Soccer. Amaresh Rajaratnam & Diyanesh Rajaratnam were outstanding at Cricket, Rugger, & Athletics. Jayantha Wijemanna was a dependable hockey player, a good batsman in cricket, and did his house proud in athletics, he was well supported by his brother Prakrama. Rohan Amarasinghe followed the footsteps of Walter Jayasuriya to become an International 'A' grade umpire had the distinction of being selected to officiate at some of the prestigious International tournaments. Rohan was a Sri Lanka Schools Hockey player, captained the school at hockey and athletics. Champion athlete winning the 100 & 200m, possibly with new school records. Patrick Edema & Anton were excellent athletes. Anton a Sri Lanka Schools athlete was the best Long Jumper I had seen after Reggi. Patrick kept hockey goals, great in the field events for Wilkin house. Sridharan & Hariharan Jeganathan the unforgettable twins as they were outstanding sportsmen. Represented nationally in Cricket & Hockey, good athletes and helped the House in rugger and soccer. The other twins I should not forget are Aliph brothers, I remember one first name as Ray. Keen rugged players, good at cricket & athletics. Ponnambalam Sivasubramanium played cricket, did well in the 100m, and gave a lot of much needed strength to the rugger team. Excelled in college debating and was a college prefect. Siva was one of Wesley's AFS scholars, along with Selvanayagam, & Thalisingham. Siva's brother Purushothakumar was a public schools athlete, a top high jumper and a good criketer. Mano Gnanapragasam a sleek 400m & 800m runner, a outstanding rugger player. Brothers, Shee Hung & Ma Hung were tough Rugger players, strong at soccer, did well in cricket, and were in Moscrop's athletic team. Both were long standing hostlers, until both entered Medical College. Lal Jayasinghe from Katunayake opened bowling for College, participated in athletics and soccer. Lal was a college and hostel prefect. Sunil Fernando captained College cricket, and was a member of the first XI hockey team & the Colombo District team, and was a good athlete. Neil Harive, Christopher Harvie were outstanding on Hockey, Athletics, and Cricket. Above all they were just great friends. Tyronne Harvie represented proved to be good left half at hockey, the sport he represented Nationally.

Article # 53 (a). Wesley: as I remember by Shanti McLelland The Inter House sports meet was one big event that was enjoyed by all students. The senior and junior houses were named after the school's principals and Head Masters. Wilkin & Dias (red), Passmore & Hunter (blue), Hillard & Mack (green), and Moscrop & Lemphers (Yellow). All hostellers by default were assigned to Moscrop. This however was changed in the 1960's as the other houses was at a disadvantage with those in the hostel having the advantage of having more time for practice, and access to all the facilities. But this resulted in the breakup of an established tradition as well as the coherent team spirit. The most coveted event was the One-Mile (a five & a quarter rounds on our 330yds. Track). The winner of this event was always looked up to as the hero in athletics. Since I was not a good sprinter, and was never even able to make the house team in the sprint events, I changed to the much tougher 880yds and 1mile events. These middle distance events required stamina, endurance, and the will to train hard. I first started following training for this event when I was in the primary school, as I never had a chance in the sprints, with top athletes like Reggi Bartholomeusz & Chandra Kaluphana. I can only remember the 1-mile event from 1962. I can still picture the lanky, very agile Darrel Maye striding the last 60m from the east end of the grounds to the finishing line. He gave me the impression that he was not after the record. I am sure it was this year Rev. Neville Koch was a winner in the 880yds. Both were from Wilkin House. The next year, 1963, I was amazed by the dedication of Ranjit Akmeemana from the Hillard House training with extreme intensity with the determination to win the 1-mile race. To him it was an obsession to win and break the record. I had the opportunity to train with him, being allowed to pace him in the training session each evening at Campbell park. I was always about 50 yards behind him in his 440 yd interval running. Ranjit did win the 1-mile but was off a few seconds from the record. This year the honours went to Condrad Fernando another outstanding athlete for his 880yds. Condrad won the pole vault, beating Sarath Wickremaratne & Rodney Perera. However, J.Winslow's record remained intact. (Winslow was a public school & National pole-vaulter). Conrad excelled in both his events at the public schools. Reviewing their performances I could never imagine that I could have ever surpassed these great athletes. In 1964, the college hockey captain, Rajah Jayasuriya came very close to winning the event but looked back at the last 20m, to finish second. In 1965, Tyronne Maye tried to clone his brothers performance, but was edged out by Mohan Abraham, who very wisely trained with champions to become second. The 1-Mile and the 880yrds were challenged by two determined athletes, Jagath Fernando and Mano Gnanapragasam. Mano won the 440yds but had to concede the 880yds. Jagath failed to walk away with the Mile but performed excellently to come a close second. The best time-keepers were always nominated for this event: Mr. D.A.Pakkiyanathan, Mr.V.Chandrasekaran, Mr.Thambiah, & Mr. V.R.Roberts; they were our best teachers of science & mathematics, as such there was no chance of a challenge for any missed records. The one mile was replaced by 1500m when the weight and linear measurements changed to Metric in 1967. The prized I mile remained in the record books as it was from 1947. Ahamath whom I met a few years later at the College pavilion, was proud and honoured, that none of Wesley's best could wipe out the best 4 minutes 51 seconds of his life at Wesley.

Article # 53 (b). Wesley: as I remember by Shanti McLelland Reginald Bartholomeusz in my mind still remains the best sprint athlete. He won the 100, 220yds, and the Long Jump. The first two breaks the record. At the public schools he changed to the 440yds. Reggi was best all-round athlete in 1965, and was one of Wesley's best. The other athletes during the period of 1962-1969: J.Winslow (pole vault), Asiriwarthan (440yds), Alfie David (440yds), Lal Fernando (Triple Jump), Darrel Maye (1 mile), Rev. Rohan Wijesinghe (Putt Shot & Discus), O.K. Hemachandra (hurdles), Condrad Fernando (pole vault & 880yds), Mervyn & Russel Harmer (Javelin), Somaweera Mendis (Javelin & Discus), Upali Silva (400, Triple Jump), Mano Gnanapragasam (440, 880yds), Jagath Fernando (I mile), Malik Suraweera (110m Hurdles), Chandra Kalupahana (100 & 220 yds), Rohan Amarasingha (100 &200m), Sextus Taylor (100 & 200m). M.C.A.Cader ( Putt Shot, 400m). Swarnin Wimalasena (Discus), Neville Koch (880yds), Hubert Silva (440yds). Christopher Harvie (800m & 1500m) and the rest of the best is to be filled in by those who remember.


 

The Wesley College Welfare Society By an Office-bearer of the Society

Wesley College elected to be a private school under the Assisted Schools and Training Colleges, Special Provisions Act No. 5 of" 1960 as from 1st. December 1960. This decision was made by the proprietors of the school - the Methodist Church of Ceylon, with the blessings of the Parent-Teacher Association and . the Old Boys' Union, which had earlier met and passed resolutions calling upon the proprietors of the school to opt to run 'it as a non-fee levying private school and pledging their wholehearted support to the management if this course, was adopted. The Wesley College Welfare Society itself was inaugurated at a meeting of parents, old boys and staff 'held on 27th November 1960. The' objects of the Society are to co-ordinate 'the efforts of all interested in the school and to render all the assistance financial and otherwise to maintain the school. Membership in the Society ,is open to all parents who pay donations, and to Old Boys and well-wishers who contribute a specified amount to the "Society annually. The main task of the Society is, however, to collect, the funds necessary for paying the teaching staff. The main source of these funds. 'are - the monthly donations which parents promise to pay as donations to the Society to meet the cost of educating their children. The first task of the Society was to meet parents and obtain from each a promise of payment of a monthly donation. This was a tremendous task as over 900 parents had to be contacted. The Society was most fortunate at the time in having the late Mr. J. L. F. de Mel, who had retired from the Staff after years of service, including over 10 years as Headmaster' to take on the duties of Hony. Treasurer of the Society. Mr. de Mel was a tower of strength to the Welfare Society in its infancy. He contacted almost all parents almost single-handed and obtained from them promises of payment of donations. He served the Welfare Society as Hony. Secretary till November, 1969, when the state of his health made it impossible for him to continue to do so. If any one person can be given the credit for the success of the Welfare Society it must be Mr. de Mel. His retirement caused a wide gap in the ranks of the office-bearers of the Welfare Society. His death in January 1974 has removed from Wesley one who had the interests of the school' very close to his heart, and who served Wesley College for, nearly 4Oyears most faithfully The late Mr. A. M. E Siriwardena, the first President of the Society, served in that capacity till his death in 1962. The late Mr. F. V. H. La Brooy succeeded him as President and he served in this capacity till his death in June 1971. The late Mr. La Broody rendered very great service to the Welfare Society. Though he resided as far away from Colombo as Hatton he traveled down to Colombo to attend the meetings of the Welfare Board. His death Was a great loss to the Society. Among others who served the Welfare Society, are' Mr. E. T. Laos, who was the first Hony. Secretary, Mr. A. R. Silva who served as a Vice-President and Mr. J. C. P. Wikramanayake who has served as the Hony. Treasurer from 1962 and is continuing in this capacity even today. The Society has received the fullest 'assistance and Co-operation 'from the proprietors of the school the Methodist Church, ~Ceylon. The advice and assistance given personally by the Presidents of the Church during the period, the Rev. F. S. de' Silva, the late Rev. Dr. D. T. Niles anti the Rev. 0. XX de Silva, have been invaluable and have helped the Society very greatly. As stated earlier the Welfare Society's main task is the raising of funds for paying the salaries of the teaching staff, which is a -most difficult one. The salary bill has risen 'from about Rs. 13,000 per month in 1961 to over Rs. 33,000 per month today.- The fact that 'the Society has been able to fulfill this task for 14 years now speaks volumes for the hard work done by its office-bearers. The total collections have been increased from 7Rs. 109,000 in 1961 to Rs. 330,000 in 1973. When one considers that these amounts have to be collected in driblets of Rs. 25/-per month from each parent, one can realize both the magnitude and the difficulty 'of the task.

Besides the collections by way of monthly donations by parents ,it has been necessary to raise funds from., other sources to keep the school going. The main source of these funds are special donations which are collected from the parents of new boys who are admitted each year.. Other sources are profits from the Karlshrue Nursery, which is run. by the Society, profits of the school Tuck-shop, which is run by a group of parents and Old Boys to help the school, contributions from non-parents,, Old Boys and collection on Collecting cards. issued to the students each year. At present about 35 per cent of the collections made annually come from these other sources. On paper the running of a school on payments made voluntarily by parents who promise to do so when admitting their sons to the School would appear to be an easy task. In fact, if al parents honour their promises the collections would- be enough to meet the salary bill and even more. It is, however, a sad fact that many parents who put in their children after making a promise of a monthly donation fall back on their promise~. The fact that school authorities can not do anything to make parents pay the donations they have promised and that the school must continue to keep on the children of parents who choose to break their promises and to treat them in the same way as the children of parents who honourably keep their promises, no doubt encourages such parents to do so. This tendency has caused great difficulty to the office-bearers of the Welfare Society. It is impossible for office-bearers to visit parents. Even writing letters means additional work to those honorary workers. If only parents act honourably and pay what they promise regularly the task of the office-bearers would be so much easier, and the funds collected from other sources could be diverted to meet the other pressing needs of the school, such as the proper maintenance of the buildings and grounds, the provision of all the other amenities which a school of the standing of Wesley College should provide, including the proper equipment for science laboratories and commercial classes and the best facilities for sports. The writer closes' this with the fervent hope that the co-operation of parents will improve sufficiently to enable the Society to achieve this happy position very early.


 

Memories of the 14th Colombo by D.F.Abeysekera

They were great days. Days of immeasurable fellowship. Good fun. Clean laughter. And the Joy of living! The 14th Colombo was a way of life to us-a way of life that meant, thinking for oneself; accepting leadership and responsibility; coming out fighting against odds; making the best of a situation; ascertaining the interests of a group; looking at the cheerful side of things; breathing the cold, crisp air of the mountains; getting up at dawn in icy winds; losing one's way in the thick mists of the mountains; testing the tang of salt air; regulating one's life to the pulsating, throbbing life of the immense ocean; burning 1one's breakfast of Quaker Oats and Green Peas-or knocking down a tin of Golden Syrup in one's tent! The smell of wood smoke in one's hair: eyes tearing-the peeling of onions; figuring out a clove hitch from the sheep shank-or square and diagonal lashing from the timber hitch and the fisherman's knot! Crane fires and trench fires- signaling-getting soaked to the skin in the rain; trekking through forests and climbing like the chamois-up hill and down dale-being fashioned to be rugged and self reliant to think of others

The 14th Colombo was all this and more to us. o People were a predominant feature of the 14th Colombo and People meant life in all its complexity. One hardly realised then that one was growing up and being attuned to the World and human relationships-Life itself, One met a great variety of persons-the stolid dependable types, the casual indifferent and inactive ones (whose sojourn in the Troop was short-lived) the calm, and excitable types-and out of this medley grew the 14th Colombo (ordinary, average people) into an interdependent community at Wesley. And thinking of persons one cannot but recall the Revd. James Cartman (Carty as he was affectionately called) who spent many a day with us at camp, in Bouna Vista, Galle, in particular riding the waves with us, and taking part in an improvised game of water polo. J.E. (J. E. de Silva, GSM later, to be known to the Scout World as "Blue Feather) on whose dedication and keenness rested the 14th Colombo for over 20 years. A man of varied talents, loved by us for his fairness and integrity, Kenneth de Lanerolle familiar figure on Visitors Day giving us the inspiration to get more involved, and to be dedicated to the ideals one cherished. B. R. Blaze "Bruised Reed" SM 1947-1948, a talented man with a great sensitivity and feeling for Nature and its immense grandeur. I often recall his "Shakespeare for .Scouts"

i. The Daily Good Turn How far that little candle throws its beams So shines a good deed in a naughty World

ii. A Word in Season Good name in Man and Woman, dear my Lord Is the immediate jewel of their souls Who steals my purse, steals trash But he that filches from me my good name, Robs me of that which not enriches him, And makes me poor indeed.

Fred Abeysekera

Shelton de Silva (now the Revd. S. A. de Silva) S. M. for a short time; Cyril Ferdinands (Troop Leader) my predecessor, the high pitched Soprano, a constant source of merriment in camp!- Shelton Peiris, a born Leader and one time Senior Prefect of Wesley, took over as SM at a time when the Troop was literally without a Staff Adviser consequent on the. departure of "J.E." to Royal, in March 1949; Edmund Dissanayake, yet another former Senior Prefect, acted as ASM. Of my contemporaries, I think particularly of Hilary de Alwis (Director Browns Group of Companies) Ranjit Seniviratne, Engineer Walkers, Durand Goonetillêke (DO) Electrical Engineer, the late Gordon Amarasekera, fondly known as "Python" Leonard Perera (he was a capable scribe) Dr. C. S. Chang, Neville Weerasekera, General Manager of the Ceylon Petroleum Refinery, J. E. Gunasekera (Attaya Junior) Attorney-at-Law, Matale; Dr. Maharoof Ismail of the M.R.I., Jauffer Sadique, Chief Assessor, C.M.C., D.B.C. (Balu) Mack, now in Australia, who excelled as a sportsman for the University of Sri Lanka and the Navy, G.B.S. Seneviratne, reported to be doing free lance journalism in the U:K., Srilal Karangoda, Motor Engineer, Mahinda Upasena buyer for the Iraq Government, A. P. Batuwitage, Gladwin Wijeyara tne (of Jonathan & Co.,) W. G. de Silva, the famous "Camp Dog" (now turned a very responsible Pharmacist) to whom the loss of many tin of corned beef was traced, and who growled and barked like a real one, that dark and mist-wrapped night at camp in Bandarawela, as he was lassoed and tied to a tree, by Shelton Peiris, S. M. whose hands were also bitten in the ordeal! The late Revd. Maxwell de Alwis, Dan Ahmat, Neil Joseph (now in Australia), Dr. Bernard Peiris, Department of Agriculture, Peradeniya, B. A. P. Mendis, Wyville and Orville Mottau, the late Maxwell Rodrigo, Errol. Juriansz (Excise), M. Lameer H. M. Ghouse, D. P. Sirisena, M. Faleel A. B. Corner, D. P. Ekanayake (Air Ceylon ) P. B. Herat, 'R. .Jayatunge, and M. Samsudeen (later to be "Selvyn Sam" the Singer!) Harold Matbysz, Brian Jacotine, Gladwin de Silva, Alan Ratnarajah, E. G. de Zylwa, Neil Algama K .D. Zoonoob, were the Seniors of the time. The following excerpts from my Log Book would be of interest to readers:

Nuwara Eliya Camp-April 5th - 12th 1948

We reached Nanu Oya by 7.30 a.m. and left for Nuwara Eliya by bus, and after a record breaking breakfast went to Gamini Vidyalaya our destination.... The Camp site was tidied dry and wet pits dug and the Eagles started cooking 42nd Colombo - Royal College - were also camping in Nuwara Eliya and we had visits from .(Dr.) Trevor Anghie and Kaleel who invited us to their camp fire.... We left for the Camp Fire by 6.30 p.m. with the temperature recording 440 F outside Coming from Colombo, it was like being locked up in an immense Frigidaire! Early the next morning, the Peacock Patrol left on their hike to Pedro-with a few Eagles, Foxes and Woodpeckers for "company"! . .. . Gordon Amarasekera, who was. leading the way till we came to the 6000 feet mark suddenly jumped out of his skin, yelling, "Python! Python !"doing several cartwheels into the scrub! -.... Everyone ran helter-skelter to discover that he had only seen a mottled fir log, old with age! Dinner ended, Hilary de Alwis entertained us at the top of his raucous voice-"Nonage Ale"! shattering the tranquility of a peaceful, sleepy Nuwara Eliya. .... Saturday had dawned and we were on our way to the Hakgalla Botanical Gardens- Sam Silva and Durand Gonetilleke having left for Adam" s Peak-when we encountered "Bruised Reed" in his battered Austin, his radiator emanating steam from every pore! An Old Wesleyite- Ishak-passing by in his Citreon-hailed us on his recognising the double blue scarves and Hilary who groaned and creaked was given a lift.... We less fortunate guys plodded on in~ the thin drizzle, eager to see the famous Sita Amman Temple at Sita Eliya. .

Sunday the 11th April: The Ferdinands brothers and Hilary-a Saintlier crew' one hardly met-went to Church to ostensibly pray, but in fact to find out who the girl in red was we had met many a time on our buying spree~ via the Nuwara Eliya Park! ... Went to the Clifford Pavilion and saw -"The Upturned Glass" that is, those of us not on "The cooks on Duty List!" to encounter Mr. Kenneth de Lanerolle, who discreetly failed to recognise us! . . .Back at Camp... a hot dinner of corned beef and Bachelors' Beans in tomato sauce with hot crisp bread. What luxury! ... free entertainment of the highest order, again-by Hilary- - Nonage Ale, of course, to the accompaniment of saucepans, ladels, spoons and forks and a wild dance by Hilary never seen before. (We were reliably informed by Ferdi that he had 3 glasses of .Sanatogen, 3 spoonsful of Radio Malt, 10 cod liver oil capsules and 1 tin Camp pie before the performance!) ... and so Good Bye to Nuwara Eliya and visions in our minds of another Camp ! -

Bounavista, Galle - 16th - 21st August 1948. Monday, the 16th August ... 9 p.m. Maradana Railway Station-Shelton de Silva's "Roll pang" and Sakkili Band enabled us to get a compartment to ourselves-including a section that was reserved for us! On reaching 'Galle, we were packed into a bus (we thought we now knew what sardines in a can felt like!) - Neil Joseph was so completely squeezed that he did feel he had shrunk a couple of inches! (He was obviously not sanforised, as they say in the ads.) Led by D. F. (Durand Goonetileke) puffing and panting, bathed in our sweat, we reached the breezy hill of Bouna Vista to be greeted by the Rev. James Cartman, and Mr. I. K. G. Chandrasena A. F. C. Galle-the latter an Old Wesleyite and keen Scouter himself. ... a dip in the sea. . . water polo-.. .Maxie Rodrigo, on Carty's shoulders.., a water fight... Carty's team'vs Shelton's... sand in our pockets.... heavy as lead.... blocked ears... a dry towel. .. dinner... and bed after a half hour's singing.... The Inter patrol competitions had commenced... The camp site was spotlessly clean .... "gadgets" sprung up everywhere pounds of cheese consumed.. .The Double Blue fluttered proud and high. Fires burned, fresh fish sizzled in the pans... The camp was a hive of organised, planned activity.

"Monty" (Carty's pet hound) had just licked Freda's plate clean.... The results of the day's competitions 1st Eagles 2nd Foxes ~Wednesday, the 18th August. The Rev. Cartman left camp as it was the eleventh anniversary of his wedding, taking home with him a resounding BRAVO? Ghouse established a new "those" record ... 18 and very sick and clean out!... Friday, the 20th-Orderly Patrol P/L M. Ahmat (Foxes) P/L Fred Abeysekera (Eagles) P/L Leonard Perera (Woodpeckers) a splendid Camp fire. J. E. de Silva, Group Scout Master, was ceremoniously named "Blue Feather" by I. K. G. Chandrasena, Commissioner... Recruit C. S. Chang was invested The moon sparkled on us with a greenish brilliance and created a glow of warmth-particularly for the girls of the Galle Convent, at. Southlands, who were present at our Camp fire! (Note: I shudder to think of them now, with their double chins and preoccupations, for they like us, have, surely grown old!) Saturday the 21st.... Hopes of extending camp were shattered and we were homeward bound -on .The C.G.R.'s 3 p.m. Diesel Express, -with "Roll Pang" echoing and re-echoing down the train's corridors!

The next ......... I yet have with me a circular issued to all campers, dated the 13th March, 1951, and give in some detail the list of dry rations one had to take along, with notes as then written, as it indicates how little one had to pay for so much! Needless to say this camp was the best camp of our lives. We did not labour up, climbing up to the plains by the tunnel in Ohiya, as we had done before, but in a sense floated in. the air-with visions of University life ahead but with a nostalgia-that this was our last camp at Wesley. -. - - Diyagama East, Diyagama West, West 'Haputale, Kirigalpotta-World's' end, mottled trout for breakfast-the rainbow trout - that got away; Camp fires, songs and jollity Great Friendships'. This was the nadir of our association with the 14th Colombo.... It had ended all too soon! As I now recall those joyful and carefree days, I literally travel back to my boyhood, and I am personally glad I kept notes of our camps, and somehow preserved my Log Book, which is, if not historical, at least a version of those happy days we spent together as the 14th Colombo. When' the Revd. James Cartman (Principal) left Wesley, and the Troop accorded him a farewell on the 20th September, 1949, he wrote the following in my Log Book: "It has always been a joy for me to be associated with the Boy Scouts, and I have always been proud of the 14th Colombo Scouts. On several occasions I have visited them in Camp. At Galle I spent two nights in camp and thoroughly enjoyed every - moment of it. - I am glad, Fred, that you are so keenly interested in Scouting. I know you will get a lot out of it and you will look back on these ~days with joy and happiness;.." Those were prophetic words!


 

14th Colombo - Wesley College by Riza Azoor District Scout Leader.

Riza Azoor

 

It was in 1917, that Acting Principal. Rev.Percy T. Cash M.A. B.Sc., founded the Scout Troop at Wesley - registered as 14th Colombo. He was the first Scout Master, and was assisted by Mr.S. Wijesooriya, a Kings Scout from Galle; who was the Instructor. That year the College had a strength of 64 Scouts forming 98 Patrols. the keenness of the Scouts was demonstrated, as before long there was 5 Kings Scouts.It was in March 1918, that the Troop made its first public appearance when they formed a Guard of honour to to the Colonial Secretary, the Hon. R. Edward Stubbs, when he presided at the College prize Giving of that year. Then again, a big event was the celebration of the Troop's Anniversary on the 25th of July 1918, with the Director of Education Mr. E.B. Denham distributing the badges and opened the 14th Colombo Scout den. On that occasion he was welcomed by the Deputy Colonial Scout Commissioner, Mr. Vernon Grenier and the Scout Master Rev. Percy T. Cash. The occasion was presided over by the Rev. Henry Highfield, Principal, who was back from furlough.

Over the years that followed, the 14th Colombo grew from strength to strength actively participating in the National events and also in the rare Jamborees held here as well as abroad. It was in the early 1940's that J. E. de Silva, the Scout Master and Kings Scout T. M.N. Mahmooth attended the World Jamboree in Agra, India. The name of J. E. de Silva is synonymous with Scouting at Wesley, a keen Scouter who made scouting and the regular camps occasions of great experience and no doubt enjoyment. Mr. J.E. de Silva had a flare for outdoor life and he inculcated it among the Scouts. Wood work, Pottery, Sculpture, Art, Leather and Rattan work were taught to the Scouts apart from getting them interested in other hobbies, particularly those that had an award. It was a great privilege to be trained by this all time great Scout Master. As subsequent Scouters the names of Messrs. I. G. K. Chandrasena, Shelton Peiris are among the many who were trained Scouters and from time to time took command of the 14th Colombo. The 14th Colombo was fortunate to associate men of the calibre of Ratnam Abraham and Lionel Silva and Cyril Ferdinands. There were many many more who had helped in the growth and the maintenance of the highest ideals in Scouting.

In this connection we must remember the Rev. James Cartman, Wesley's vibrant Principal who was responsible in getting the Troop reorganised after the return to the College at Karlsrhue after the war. The war years had completely disorganised the Troop and loyal scouts had left the school. The Rev. Cartman not only organised camps but had also visited these camps. Both Scouts and Scouters looked forward for his visit with a car load of goodies. Patrol Leaders like Fred Abeyesekera, M. Ahamat, Leonard Pieris, Gordon Amerasekarare but a few who put back the 14th Colombo on the rails.
My association with the 14th Colombo goes back to the latter part of 1972, just after the late Group Scout Master George Peiris was in control. He was a Head Quarters Commissioner and a parent who had been involved from 1970. Ill health did not permit him to continue with the activities of the Troop as much as he desired. It was during this stage that the movement was rejuvenated by Mr. A. H. G. Ameen of 28th Colombo - now an Attorney-at-Law. We owe a great debt of thanks to Mr. A. H. G. Ameen the 6. S. M. who infused a spirit of activity. He was followed by Sarath Fernando, who was the Troop Leader who did yeoman service and had to leave on being commissioned into the Army, and now serves as a Brigade Commander. One recalls the very exciting camps to various parts of the island when as Troop Leader, I together with Sharir, Elmo, Shankar, Ben and Riya was involved in the planning as members of the Court of Honour of these camps. We yet remember the camp spirit and the unity that scouting stands for. The College Chaplain, the Rev. John Trevanna was also associated with the 14th Colombo prior to the seventies. It was during this time the very last Queen's Scouts -A. K. Nazimudeen and Rohana de Silva won this award. The award has now been replaced by the Presidents Award which had been regularly won by our Scouts.

When I took over in 1978 after course of Scouters training, I closely followed the footsteps of Sarath, taking full charge of a very lively Scout Troop. They were very keen. We participated in all National and District events and also in the college events particularly the guards of Honour at the Prize Day. I have been associated with the Troop for 18 years as its Scouts Master apart from my association as a Scout. the following Scouts; Madhu Siriwardena, Gishan Mendis, S. H. M. Zabith, Nalin Ariyaratne. Roshan Weerainghe, Shane Philips, Thakshila Codawatte, Poojitha Rajapakshe, Samira Kulatunge, S. M. S. Azmaan, and Nadun Alwis participated in foreign jamborees. I would like to mention here, the services rendered by Mrs. Lakshmi Amaratunge, Akela who was associated with the Cubs dating back to 1960's. Mrs. Moline Philips who assisted Mrs. Amaratunge since the 1980's succeeded her as Akela in 1993. She is now a District Cub Akela.

It was my privilege to be able to organize over the 18 long years many camps which were set up in very many parts of the island. Many of the interesting camps were to Anuradhapura, Horton Plains and the Sinharaja Forest. It seemed to be we were in a world of our own. These camps had certainly given the practical approach
to the challenges a scout faces in life, which on test, the keen and the alert are awarded the Presidents Award of which the Troop have many. There was also the stiff training and the keen competition at the Scouters Wood Badge Course, the holders of which are, Riya Azoor, Sarvanraj and yours faithfully!

The Troop, their Patrol Leaders, many assistant Scouters and I have logged many memorable events, nostalgic now as we look back! I shall be failing in my duty if I do not mention for record, the names of former Scouts who served as ASL's from time to time; Sarvanraj, Fawaz, Madhu Siriwardena, Prasanna Gunawardena, Murtaza Mamujee, Roshan Weerasinghe, Shane Philips, Terence Christopher, Samira Kulathunge, Adrian Vanheer, Pradeep Priyanga and Ranjeewa Senanayake, and Riya Azoor, on whose shoulders has fallen the responsible mantle of Scout Master and of course every single member of our Troop, who when called on duty had given of their best without exception.

As Scouts we must remember that we need not wait for a special call but be always alert to the demands made to express and demonstrate our training and experience so always "Be Prepared."


 

The Welikada Prison - A disappearing memory by Dr N.D.Amerasekera

The Front Gate

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The Welikada Jail, as it was called then, has always been a part of every Wesleyite. We saw it everyday and developed a love-hate relationship to this massive expanse of bricks and mortar that housed the country's worst criminals. The Death Row wasn't far away. There were numerous jokes about the prison amongst the teachers and students.The guards marching in the morning with their 'Topee' hats and Khaki shorts and gangs of prisoners wearing white being marched for their hard labour was all a part of prison life which we saw day after day. I can still picture the massive multi-storey buildings inside the tall perimeter wall , all painted a drab magnolia. A new remand Prison was built to house the Coup suspects in the 60's opposite our Primary Block . Some of the prison guards and Commissioners sent their children to Wesley College and their ambition was to be guards themselves - not prisoners. I can still recall some of the prisoners waving to us from behind bars far away.

As I looked out towards the prison many things crossed my mind. For many of us even now prison is almost an unknown place and very few knew what happened behind the grim gates that swallowed the convicts. We imagined that its inhabitants were desperate people and dangerous criminals. In our minds the place was associated with isolation, humiliation and suffering which were all part of the punishment. To the prisoners the greenery and the wide spaces become a distant memory. The images of the family and loved ones must be at the forefront of their confused minds. Sometimes the sheer lack of privacy and at other times the loneliness of solitary confinement must be soul destroying. The sky , the grass, sunrise and sunset and the even the weather must feel so far away. The horizon is always hidden. Time then is not a luxury but a burden to endure. A few had the benefit of work and exercise. I would hate to think of what food they received. Above all I wonder how they faced the world again on their release.

Moves are underway to convert the Prison Complex into an Urban Development in the near future. New prisons are to be built elsewhere. A large slice of our past and memories are to disappear forever. The Prison has stood there for over 150 years. Being a remnant of the British Raj built in Victorian times it is a part of Ceylon history. It is my wish that the architects, planners and developers will have the foresight to preserve at least its facade and the front gates as a reminder of its inglorious past in memory of those who served, worked and died there.

I hope the OBU Colombo will take some photos of the views of the prison from Wesley College before they reduce those buildings to rubble and our memories to dust. The landscape of the front of the school is to change forever and the scenery will never be the same again.

Addendum by Shanti McLelland

It would be with a mix of happy and sad memories; with the famous Welikada prison gone. It will remove from the scene some of the legendary memories of the 1960 'COUP', the lyrics of 'ERIC BATCHO'. But, I think the loss would be all those student Wesley would have from the Serpentine Road, Magazine Road, the prison flats and the officers quarters from the wide spread prison complex. How many Wesleyites would miss the famous haunts, and the names like Jansz, Kern, Perera, Jayasinghe, Bartholomeusz etc. Wesley certainly could benefit from a much more invigorating and motivating environment, than the gloomy walls facing the main entrance to the school. This gloom and doom blocked the beautiful mountain range and the aesthetic sunrise. On a crisp clear morning, some students who happen to be in school very early would run up the stairs to the Tower room near the Biology lab, to take a splendid view of the misty blue mountain range, over 100 miles away.

Those with a 20/20 vision would have hold still as if taking a picture from a telescopic camera to get the best view of the peaks. One would position perfectly, lean to the right of the grand old Tamarind tree and bend the head to the left of the third story, iron grilled prison cells. Strain the neck through the tower window, to encapsulate in memory for ever, the serene and distinct shape of the world famous Adams peak. This view may be lost forever. If I have to single out one person that I would connect with the 'High Perimeter Wall' would be Wesley's outstanding gentleman Prison Commissioner, Mr. C.T. Jansz. "Cutty" as he was to his friends would make it a point to done the his old double blue shirt and be ready, able and ever willing to participate at the Old Boys Hockey match on the first Friday evening in March, along with the ever present Walter Jayasuriya, T.M.N. Mahamooth, A. Mylvaganam, Mervyn Peiris, Prof. Mahroof Ismail, and D.S.Wijemanne. Lest but not the least, I would not forget one of the infamous reminders of some of our noble teachers who would make it a point to grill into heads of those who used fall short in the formative evaluations. "Either mend your ways or end your days over there." Of course the prophetic words have remained insignificant.

From the Daily Papers:

The first Prison's Ordinance was enacted and enlisted as the Prison's Ordinance No. 18 of 1844 and it was also in the same year that the Welikada Prison was opened. It was after the enactment of the First Prisons Disciplinary Commission Act No 1 of 1867 that pingo carrying was determined as a punishment. The Prisons Department was under the purview of the Police Department from 1905 under the then Major Diwillon in his capacity of Inspector General of Prisons, who was also the Inspector General of Police.

When one enters through the massive gates of the Welikada prison the first thing one sees is the semi-circle about three feet above the ground. It's painted in white and in black - weradhi nokaramu api hademu - meaning, we will do no wrong hereafter and rehabilitate . This is the first thing that greets every new convict . The Welikada prison was established during British times in 1844 under the inspector general of the police department. In the year 1877 the prison ordinance was introduced and the prison department was brought under the commissioner general of prisons. The present chief of this department is Upali Samarasekara, attorney-at-law, former additional judge and magistrate Narahenpita. He took up this position only four months ago. The Commissioner General told The Sunday Leader that there are 25 prisons in Sri Lanka, housing convicted criminals and suspects. There are about 15,000 suspects and 800 convicts in all of the 25 prisons in the country. In the Welikada prison there are 368 female prisoners, of which three are convicts sentenced to death but whose sentence is commuted to life imprisonment. Among the three female condemned prisoners, there is a 56-year-old woman who had murdered her husband's mistress 20 years ago. She say's that she's tired of living within the confines of the prison and prefers to go to the gallows than to go on existing like a caged animal. She said that her daughters still visit her once a month and she is treated well , but unlike other mothers she cannot boast of taking care of her girls let alone being there for them. Most of these convicts have committed murders, contract killings , robberies or peddled drugs. The only alternative to life imprisonment is the official pardon,but that too can only be done by the President.

The relatives of the condemned are allowed to visit once a month.Food is only allowed only at Christmas or the new year. The Commissioner General says that except for the condemned convicts the other prisoners are rehabilitated and trained in various fields where he/she could re-start life once released. The prisoners are trained in cottage industries, as well as masonry, plumbing, electrical wiringand wood work. The also have a mini garment factory as well as a bakery catering to the requirements of the inmates within the eight acre premises. Unlike before when the convicts are said to have been fed on rice and salt, today the government spends a lot of money on their food and also to rehabilitate them and train them in various fields. The Sunday Leader learns that about 550 coconuts a day are used to make sambol for breakfast, each prisoner is given a loaf of bread weighing about 170 kgs which is made in the prison bakery.For all three meals they use about 1300 coconuts, that's roughly about 1781 kgs.They consume 1350 kgs of rice and 227 kgs. of fish daily. It was a heart rending sight to see tiny tots with their mothers serving the sentence, along with their mother - paying for a crime they didn't commit. Children stay with their convicted mothers in jail. The jail is a pathetic place where offenders pay for their sins. But what we often forget is that crime is social misconduct and it is not only the offender who suffers, but even others around him or her.

The Government has launched an ambitious project to convert the 156-year old Welikada Prison premises, spanning a land area of 54 acres, into a state- of- the-art commercial township, Urban Development Authority Chairman Prof. Nimal De Silva told the Daily News yesterday. This project will seek to transform the present Welikada Prison premises, which presently houses over 4000 inmates and of which the land value is priceless, into a township which will house commercial establishments, supermarkets, highrises and residential apartments, primary schools and also recreational facilities such as swimming pools, gymnasia etc,

5000 inmates of the Welikada Prison will be relocated at three prison premises which will be constructed at Hulftsdorp, Homagama and Welisara.


 

The Changing Face of Baseline Road by Dr.ND Amerasekera

Baseline Road is the main gateway to the school. I knew every inch of it from Kanatte to Dematagoda. I can still picture the narrow straight road stretching from Borella to Peliyagoda past Dematagoda and the new Kelaniya Bridge. During the hot dry spell in April the tar melted and when the monsoons came its edges got washed away leaving gaping holes. Morris Minor cabs , belching CTB buses and the bullock carts smearing the road with dung is the scene we all have etched in our memories. The short stretch from Borella to Wesley College dipped into a valley and was lined by beautiful large spreading trees. The Maliban Hotel, The Borella Market, The Colonial building that house The MRI (Medical Research Institute) and the Government Printing Press were the Landmarks we all knew and loved. In place of the present Lady Ridgway Hospital there was an old Victorian building - The Home for the Incurables. In Dematagoda the Baseline Road Railway crossing, The Cattle Mart ,Manil Theatre and St.Matthews School too will change beyond recognition. Baseline Road has got its name from the Surveyors who measured the city of Colombo when they used the straight road as the baseline for their calculations. The advances of the 21st century has reached this narrow road. It cannot hold the rush hour traffic. The accidents, pollution and the inevitable delays due to congestion has reached its peak and the Government has decided to convert it to a wide 6-lane road. This will no doubt change the face of Wesley College as we knew it. Memories and nostalgia cannot stand in the way of progress. It is my hope the low front wall of the school and the gate posts will survive the advance of the bulldozers. I wish the OBU will photograph the front access to the school to keep a record of how it used to be in the 20th Century before "progress" changed it forever.

 

From the Daily Papers

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The work on the Baseline Road Improvement and Extension Project funded by the Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) continued in 1999. Under Stage I of this project, the Baseline Road is to be transformed into a dual 3 lane causeway from the Kelanitissa roundabout to the Kanatta roundabout with a fly-over across the mainline railway at Dematagoda and a pedestrian subway at Borella. About 65 per cent of the project has been completed and the work on the balance section from the Kanatta roundabout to the High Level Road section will be commenced in the first half of 2000. Work on the new Baseline Road should have ended last November. But now, five months later, the project looks nowhere near completion. The new date for the completion of the project, we learn, is December this year. But there are no guarantees that the road will be ready for traffic even then.

Why? What delays our infrastructure projects so much? When the Baseline Road development project began, after much delay, in 1996, it promised to have a super six-lane highway in two years. Motorists who used the road constantly dreaded the construction phase but were happy to see that the narrow, badly- maintained road was at last to be developed into a proper highway with fly-overs at the railway crossings. They were willing to go through the inconvenience of negotiating a road under construction for a better road in two years. But unfortunately that is not to be. Driving on Baseline road is a nightmare. On one hand there are the earthmoving, bull-dozers obstructing the already unruly traffic, and dust from the construction affecting visibility. One has to also steer clear of trenches, pits and huge potholes on the sides and middle of the road. On top of all this there are the messed-up junctions made worse by indisciplined motorists.

New Baseline Road now Dual Carriageway

Then there is the crawling traffic weaving through workmen and a horrible road surface due to the construction work. "I use Baseline road every morning," S. Dharmarathne, a businessman working in Borella said. "It's the easiest way to work. But the drive is terrible. There's traffic from all sides, because the work shifts from section to section. Very often you don't know which direction to take." "We welcome the improvements to the road. It looks like it will be a great road with six traffic lanes and a flyover over the level crossing. But how much longer are we to wait for the road to be completed?" he asked. "It's terrible," complained Ariya Ranawana from Kelaniya who travels weekly to the Rajagiriya Ayurveda Hospital. "I take the bus down Baseline road. It used to be a terrible bus ride but now, it's crazy. The dust and the pace of traffic- it's killing. I feel sorry for the people who have to travel daily.When will this road be over?" It looks like motorists and passengers will have to put up with dust, congestion, and construction for at least nine months more. "Hopefully the road will be ready in December," Road Development Authority General Manager P.B.L. Cooray said. The delay, he said, was chiefly due to utility lines which were found underground while construction was on going. "These had to be removed and relocated. This was the biggest problem," he said. He said that these lines- water, electricity and drainage- were not surveyed and even the departments, which owned some of these lines were not aware of their existence until they were unearthed during construction. The best example was what happened to the flyover.

a5One side of the flyover was completed nearly a year ago. When the contractor was pile driving for the columns to hold the other side of the flyover, they came across some long forgotten service lines. The Department concerned had to then remove and relocate the lines, which took months. The flyover columns are beginning to take shape only now. The contractors, Kumagai Gumi of Japan have asked and received approval to extend the date until December 1999. Mr. Cooray said no penalty was involved since the RDA approved the reasons for extending the deadline. "It's not the contractors' fault," he said. The cost of constructing the six-lane road, with the sub-way pedestrian crossing and flyover is Rs. 2.5 billion - funded by the Japanese OECF (Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund) on a soft loan. Baseline Road, Phase one, extends from the Kelani Bridge to Borella junction. At Borella, an underground underpass for pedestrians will make sure that traffic is not disturbed at the junction. The second phase of the project will widen the road going past Kanatte to Edmonton Road in Kirulapone.

The idea is to link the Baseline to Galle Road at Ratmalana creating an outer city road, which allows vehicles travelling north to south of Colombo to avoid the heart of the city "The delay in phase one will not affect the other phases of the project," Mr. Cooray said. But the four-kilometre stretch of Baseline road from the bridge to Borella is also the most important. It connects to the Low Level Road a road which carries a large amount of cargo traffic and it travels through the bustling township of Dematagoda, carrying a heavy load of traffic every hour. No one has calculated the loss to the economy by such undue delays in completing essential roadways- the lost hours in traffic, the congestion and late cargo. It reflects badly on the country if extending a four kilometre stretch of very important roadway takes over three years. It is just as important to have the road ready on time, as it is to build a good road. The development work on the Baseline Road between Borella and Dematagoda, a key section in the city road network, having a direct bearing on traffic congestions, is in full swing. The Road Development Authority (RDA) is confident that traffic blocks would disappear once this is completed. The present development scheme is categorised as the Baseline Package I. It involves a section of the road from the Kelanitissa Power House junction in close proximity to the new Kelani Bridge upto the Kanatte roundabout, a distance of approximately 4.2 kilometres.

The project started in December 1996 was earlier planned to be completed by December 1998. But due to various unforeseen contingencies, the road engineers were unable to finish the work as scheduled. As a result, a new target date was fixed for December '99. The estimated cost of the project is Rs.2500 million. The fundings is by the Overseas Economic Corporation Fund (OECF) of Japan. According to RDA Director (Special Projects) J.M Chandradasa, the four- kilometre stretch would involve a six-lane highway. An overhead bridge now being built skipping the level crossing at Dematagoda is nearing completion. This section has been a severe bottle neck over the years for both, the motorists and the pedestrians. Many trains pass this point daily and the railgate had to be closed obstructing the road traffic. The most difficult times had been the peak hours in the mornings and evenings. The situation would soon improve once the traffic is diverted making use of the overhead bridge.

A subway is now being constructed under the road at the Borella junction. It is for the use of pedestrians. A number of traffic light signals too would be built at important junctions on the stretch. A new street lighting system too is designed. Footpaths for pedestrians are separately marked-off in addition to the pavements. The RDA, in the near future, will call for tenders for stage II of the project. Officials say it would be the same funding agency, OECF of Japan. Some RDA engineers at the stage I sites said they had to grapple with undue delays arising as a result of poor coordination by some of the other government departments. Water Board, Electricity Board and the Telecommunications were listed as some of these. Any changes or dismantling jobs on equipment belonging to these different departments had to be carried out with their permission. "Even if such requirements were notified to the respective departments, the attitude shown by them is found to be extremely poor and the work program suffers," one engineer said.


Report of the Wesley College SCM by The Rev. S. K. Kadirgamar, Chaplain.

Student Christian Movement

Being the 125th Anniversary of Wesley College, a brief reference to the growth and impact of the specifically Christian Organ of the Institution-the Student Christian Movement-will not be out of focus. Founded on the Universal Christian Ideals of Brotherly Love, and Charity-and good will to mankind-the College Strives to foster the belief that all things and all creatures great and small come within the purview of Gods love and concern for us hence encompassing the totality of the Wesley Family.

From the inception of the college in 1874, Wesley's Founder, The Revd. Daniel Henry Pereira- and all the Principals of the College, without exception, nurtured the Ideal of Christian Education, based on the noble concept of the Oneness of Mankind. The immense richness and variety of Wesley- the blending of children of all races and religions in the land into one. Wesley has been its strength throughout the years. This great concept now a firmly entrenched tradition goes on.

Thoughts and ideals and concepts tend to get crystallized over the years; also formalised- In 1882 commenced, The Young Men's Christian Association of Wesley enabling the Principal, Staff and Students to become an Organized cohesive whole based on Pray and Labour

During the Stewardship of the Revd. Henry High field (1895-1925) the School's Christian activity was given a significant Impetus with the opening of the College Hostel, in 1910. Sunday School classes flourished under the able guidance of The Revd. P. T. Cash (Vice Principal) who is known to have donated his entire salary he drew as Vice- Principal towards the construction of the Physics Laboratory at Wesley. lie lived on his modest stipend as a priest.

His wife Edith trained Wesley's first choir in 1907, starting another noteworthy tradition of bringing music into the mainstream of Wesley life. The Wesley choir trained by Edith Cash was adjudged the winners of a shield for the Best Boy's School choir bringing much joy to the college. SCM work has been continued over the years by dedicated men and women such as Joyce Leembruggen, Ivor de Silva, Maxwell de Alwis and Haig Karunaratne. Carol Services became a regular feature of college activity in addition to Nativity Plays. One has to give Haig Karunaratne a place of prominence. His work had a big impact on the SCM.

In 1926 the YMCA was re-styled. The College Students' Christian Association.

The CSCA latter became the Student Christian Union ; superseded by Christian Union ; and finally The Student Christian Movement of Wesley College.

The Christian Union indulged in Dramatics, as well. The CU in association with Kenneth de Lanerolle, produced two plays - Arnor Christi (1947) and Judas of Kerioth (1949). This tradition has continued over the years.

The SCM & the College had chaplains of vision. One-man stands out - that of Red. (Dr.) D. K. Wilson. lie built up a fine group of Christian students, Who were like 'leaven' in the life of the school.

In recent times the building of the Wesley Chapel was the most welcome news in Wesley's 125 year existence! With its consecration on the 14th February, 1993 a long left need has been satisfied. The building itself has been described as "an architectural gem" by The Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Colombo - the Rt. Revd. Kenneth M. J. Fernando, who was Guest speaker on the occasion. The President of the Methodist Church in Sri Lanka and Wesley's then Manager, the late Revd. Dr. Kingsley Muttiah officiated at the Service -All those who contributed in cash and kind, those who gave of their time in the planning of it and its execution the services of Rev. D. J. J. Koilpillai, Principal Mr. Dunstan Fernando, Mr. Lasantha Fernando the Committee and Vice Principal Mr. M. A. Fernando are sincerely thanked.

The good work which the SCM persons continue to Wesley's 150th year with the certainly that God's guidance and his Grace will always he forthcoming with new targets set, striven for and achieved. If this is the goal we must start now. We have to be progressive.

Besides its activities the SCM had unearthed vast talent in various fields such as Christian Drama, singing, writing, poetry, speech, and service leadership. The SCM Day which includes a concert and awards ceremony which has become a regular event in the school calendar. The magazine titled "The Scroll" has been released in the last five years. At present counseling, based on training and service has been inaugurated in the chapel..

Regular Sunday services are now introduced during School days. A Historic event took place on November 17th 1997 at the Wesley Chapel by the confirmation service for eight boys as full members of the Church. From this day a regular monthly sacrament service of the Lord's Supper is held at the Wesley Chapel.
And as we face the future in total faith and in hope, we pray to God Almightily our Creator that our efforts will be like leaven in the bread; and will be fruitful, and yield good, with His grace and love and concern for us, we are hopeful that wonders will be performed for this our country.

Wesley has always been a safe haven in times of crisis as was very evident in the communal disturbances of 1915, when The Revd. Henry Highfield gave refuge and sanctuary to many of our neighours.

This is the Wesley spirit that will live on ! Unity in diversity.


 

Snap Shots (1): Wesley College - As I remember by Shanti McLelland

(a) The first five minutes
Assembly started after Ranis rang the bell for the second time, five minutes after the first. Between the first and the second, attendance was marked in class. The prefects were expected to make sure discipline was maintained during this time in particular, when a thousand students would just converge from all sides. Most of the juniors entered from the back gate at Karlshrue Gardens. Some late runners would hurriedly sneak through the path between the teacher's flats and the tennis court. A few parents would stop their cars briefly in front of the double swing gates on Baseline road; to drop off the a few who did not have the courage to take crowded public transport. But I am sure they missed a lot of fun and rollicking tales, upstairs and down stairs, sitting if one was lucky or hanging on to a aluminum pole, which sliver on the palms. The very familiar red coloured double deckker CTB later known as SLTB bus would bring a load from Moratuwa picking up a few more dozens from Ratmalana, Mt. Lavania, Dehiwela, Wellawatte, and Bambalapitiya. This bus was well in time. But the Nugegoda, Nawala route was always on the nick of time. Most of the bus travelers had student season tickets. Those who boarded the bus last usually hung on to the 'foot board', which gave them, at least the satisfaction of, last in the bus, first out at the gate, but certainly a regret on rainy days.

(b) Morning Assembly
It was the practice for all students to meet each morning in the College Hall. If I remember right, Mondays and Fridays were general assembly days and it was 'Chapel' days for the christian students. Usually the Principal addressed the Assembly on Mondays and the Vice-Principal on Fridays. Christian chapel followed the general assembly which was used for impotent announcements for the week beginning and the week following. A teacher was responsible for the days reading on the other three days. The prefects assisted the staff to maintain order. It was a very serene and grandeur sight each morning to see the whole school at assembly. The prefects, always in white, standing in full control at the door aches, some at the Highfield Block, at the Junior School, or at both the gates. The teachers led by the Principal walked majestically from the school office along the corridor, and entered the stage from the door about eight feet high, symmetrically placed at the circular back wall of the stage. The Principal's engraved, high backed & cushioned chair was certainly from the Highfield days. There were two other chairs in front of the stage, one for the Vice-Principal and the other for any guest in attendance. The teachers along the back wall. The balcony was open on General Assembly days, and was the domain of the juniors. For many years the students who came in to the hall first or who desired not to stand at the back, were provided with seats. The College Song was a definite on the first day, Founder's day, and last day of each school term. I would always remember the voice of
Mr. L. A. Fernando, so full of emotion and passion - the hymn was "Jehovah Thou has Promised".

(c) Public Address System
The Wesley College Public Address System was an important bit of equipment for morning assembly and special events. Usually, the PA System was hired from an external source for any big event such as the Prize giving. A name I remember vividly is 'Parakrama Radio'. For many years students who were members of the Radio Club took responsibility to provide a quality service during all of the other 220 school days. The amplifier, microphones, and speakers were all maintained with very little down time. If I remember right there were many changes to the service over the years and the school may have a 'State of the Art' system now. The names that come to my mind in the 1960's are Rosa, Jayantha Fernando, Rohan Soysa, Rohan Amerasekera, & Sadanandan. Can picture a few more faces, but the names and some initials appear to be lost with time. I could remember these familiar faces each morning before assembly in the College Hall with testers, spare red & black twisted wires, and black or grey insulated tape in their hands highly focused and conscientious to make sure the communication system was in working order. Lalith Wickremeratne was one other that I could link with electronics, but I am not sure if he was a member of this group. But I am quite sure almost all of the members were from the hostel. A big 'Thank you' for that invaluable service, which was then, just taken for granted.

(c) School Uniform
It certainly was a delight to see teachers and prefects in the double blue tie and white suit on special days. The graduate teachers could be easily distinguished. The upper school students all in white cotton pants popularly termed as 'Longs' with Short or Long sleeved shirts. Most dressed in the more the more popular brand of shirts labeled machine wash, 65% cotton, 35% polyester. Some wore the collar slightly flicked up, which was a sore sight to some of the teachers. This habit caused a bit of pain to those continued this habit to get a bit of a 'High' or to show off their true colours. The 'Middle Schoolers' wore either wore blue or white shorts and white shirts. Some wore short shorts, and other long shorts, depending on the quality of the cotton. Imported or local, Blueline, Indian, Chinese, or from the "Wellawatte Spinning Mills" with 40x40 yarn count. . One wash by the 'Dhobi', Laundry, Dry cleaners, or at home would decide on the fate of the shape and size of clothes. Some wore their hair very short with a real good boost of the barber's cutters, or long as faithful followers of 'The Beatles'. Unforgettable was the Elvis look 'Bylcream bumps', I will refrain from naming a few of these handsome souls. Some teachers wore John White shoes from Apothecaries, students would be happy with the local DI leather shoes, the laced type, which doubled as boots for mid-day football/soccer. Bata rubber soled 'Pumps' were good as an easy slip on, for those who had to change their shoes for cricket or Rugger boots, after school. The Sinva rubber backed canvas shoes, thin or the thick was a cheap all-purpose school-wear. These were easily and quickly made bright and white at home with 'Swan' & water, or in the class, with bits of discarded chalk beneath the 'black board'. Uniforms was popular inspection target for some teachers and prefects, they were sure of getting a victim who forgot that 'dress maketh the man'. The Hostellers had very little change of breaking the dress code, as they went through the inspection routine twice.

Snap Shots (II): Wesley College - As I remember by Shanti McLelland

(d) Support Staff
It is hard to forget those who kept the school in fine tune on a daily, with all of the supporting facilities in proper order. Ranis was the icon that everyone remembers. The Arachchige look, at the bell or with the class registers, and would act as a guard at the main office. Marshall now the chief, was an apprentice at that time. Both have served Wesley for rare half a century. Marshall acts as a tour guide to the Old Wesleyites who infrequently visit Wesley from Australia, UK, Switzerland, New Zealand, USA, or from the Lush Hill Country or the Sea Coast of Sri Lanka. The 'beeta' chewing Raman made sure the botanical gardens like school surroundings were maintained in great shape, green, pruned, and mowed during the 365 days of summer. Perumal was probably appreciated most after his retirement. The Hostellers depended on him most, as they lived in the campus most of the time. We certainly owe a big Thank you for his devoted service. Basanayake was the long-standing controller of the hostel kitchen. I am sure those who had the pleasure of living in the Hostel for many years would appreciate his service, along with all the others who toiled for years to keep the boys away from home with 'Home' cooked meals and service at the long barracks like dining hall. Another Gunaratne joined later on to assist in the office. He was a very happy, fun loving person who apparently cut it short at a young age. The sick room staff, Mrs. Gnanaiah too over in the early sixties from another long-standing matron, Ms. Gomez. Ms. Gomez will be remembered by many who walked the plank in the 1950-60 era. It is the same with the sick room care taker who was good as a male nurse, made sure the sick hostellers got the best of attention, or was taken to the physician "Dr. Wjegunaratne" near Donald studio at Paranawadiya. I hope the other names missed my attention or memory would be filled in due course.

(e) Lab Assistants
Rodrigo was a lab assistant in the Chemistry lab. It was the smarter way to get his advise for a quick identification of a acid, salt, or any other chemical that were required for an experiment. He would put us to shame with the periodic table at his fingertips. Rodrigo in his Khaki shots and white short sleeved shirt will be always remembered for his loyal service. "Physics" Perera in his round glasses was equally competent and careful with all of the measuring equipment or 'Bunsen' burners. He had an uncanny sense of smell for gas, either leaking or purposefully left by a prankster. I am not quite sure who was responsible for all of the dead snakes, frogs, or live rats at the Biology lab, close to the balcony. But I do remember Gunaratne certainly did serve in the last few years I was in school. 'Sara Bulath' was his way of handling the formaline smell in the lab that served for Botany and Zoology. All those doctors, engineers, and the not so great science students would remember the labs and the assistants as equally good or better than in University.

(f) Pavilion Staff
Pavilion was the favourite haunt for most of the sportsmen. Wilbert I remember who slim in build but would roll the matting for the wickets with ease. Then walk the distance around the grounds to hammer in the pegs and tie the boundary cord in very little time. The wicket watered and rolled in the evenings to keep in good shape. As a youngster I would watch this routine for years and be amazed at the loyalty and dedication. Wesley was very fortunate find an equally loyal and dedicated ground's staff in Vincent Perera. For those who spent most of the time between two and six o'clock each day during our school days would not forget the yeomen service provided by Vincent. Looking back I am quite sure their service was extraordinary valuable because it was the time when Wesley had to more with less. Charlie joined to assist Vincent and he too served well. Rarely did we find the pavilion closed in the 365 days. We, who used the grounds and the pavilion to the optimum, taxed their patience and their energy to the utmost. They kept the grounds marked, rolled, watered, grass cut and raked for soccer, rugger, cricket, hockey, and athletics. The jumping pits filled with river sand and clean. The pavilion facilities for home and visitor teams with no complains at all. The OBU club nights saw these workaholics stay late with all the support and enthusiasm. I am sure there are belated thanks required, as we did show are appreciation then, and I am sure they would miss those good old days.

 


 

Report of the Old Boys' Union, Kandy Branch. by D.F.Abeysekera

A Page from the Past

On 25th January, 1970, Samad Ismail, Walter Wijesooriya, Kenneth de Silva, Fred Abeysekera and Stanley Chinivasagam o met at the hotel Suisse to explore the possibility of Old Wesleyites and their wives meeting periodically to chat about old days, to re-live our days at Wesley, and to foster goodwill and fellowship among Old Wesleyites in and around Kandy. The accent was to be on fellowship, and the gatherings planned out were to be informal and light. Consequently, a communication was sent out by Walter Wijesooriya, dated 26th January, 1970, the first paragraph of which read A serious effort is being made by a few Old Wesleyites who met at the Hotel Suisse yesterday, to have oa gathering of the Double Blue Clan in the hill country, regularly. Such gatherings will be informal, and the inevitable chatter on the 'good old days' will form the basis of these occasions

The response was encouraging, and the first batch of Old Wesleyites and their wives met in the home of Kenneth and Shireen de Silva, overlooking the picturesque Kandy Lake. This was a dinner-meeting, and the fellowship was excellent, the following being present; Justin and Erica La Brooy, Stanley and Therese Chinivasagam, Samad and Shea Ismail, Walter and Shanthi Wijesooriya, Fred and Indrani Abeysekera, Spencer and Beryl Patterson, Bertie Adihetty, Sarath Wickremaratne, Alan Moonesinghe and Neil Dolapihilla. Similar dinner-meetings were held subsequently in the homes of Samad Ismail, Fred Abeysekera and Stanley Chinivasagam, when the idea was mooted that it was well worth exploring the possibility of starting a branch of the Old Boys' Union in Kandy. By this time it was 1972, and we were meeting as a group from time to time; and with Fred Abeysekera as convener, an announcement was made that a formal meeting was to be held to discuss the feasibility of this suggestion.

A formal notice calling a meeting was sent out on 28th October 1972, the text of which was as follows "OLD WESLEYITES GET TOGETHER IN KANDY - In view of the centenary of our alma mater, to be celebrated in early 1974, an effort is being made to inaugurate a branch of the Old Boys' Union in Kandy it is suggested that we all meet on the 20th November, Monday, which is a full moon poya holiday The following was the agenda of this meeting, which was the formal inaugural meeting of the Kandy Branch of the Wesley College Old Boys' Union. 6.00 p.m. Meet at the Masonic Lodge, Seibel Place, Kandy. General Meeting - feasibility of a branch Union ; discussion of matters of mutual interest with visiting Colombo Old Boys. Matters arising therefrom. Discussion of the proposed Centenary Celebrations; A steering-committee, etc. Of the 48 Old Boys in and around Kandy written to, the following were present: J. C. P. Wikramanayake (Colombo) in the Chair; Watson Wijewickrema (Secretary, Colombo), Justin La l3rooy (left Wesley in 1928 : College Staff 1933), Spencer Patterson (left 1925) Dinsdale de Silva (left 1935) ,Samad Ismail (left 1941), Stanley Chinivasagam (left 1946), Durand Goonetillake (left 1948). B. J. S. de Z. Adihetty (left 1928), Fred Abeysekera (left 1951: Staff 1960), Shantha Premawardhana (left 1965), Walter Wijesooriya (left 1951), Sarath Wickremaratne (left 1963), Cyril D. E. Premawardhana (left Staff 1963).

The ladies present were Erica La Brooy, Beryl Patterson, Shea Ismail, Indrani Abeysekera, Maheswarie Goonetillake and Therese Chinivasagam. The following pledged their support of a branch union, but regrettedo their inability to be present: Lister Fernando, Wickrema de Alwis, Kenneth de Silva, Bruce Baptist, Kenneth de Lanerolle, K. Arumugam, Jackie Carnie, John Isaac and Clinton Rodrigo. J. C. P. Wikramanayake addressed those present, and the following were elected office-bearers

President W. J. F. La Brooy

Vice-President Dr. A S. Ismail

Treasurer Fred Abeysekera

Committee Members Bertie Adihetty, Stanley Chinivasagam, Spencer Patterson, Durand Goonetillke. Very soon, however, Shantha Premawardhana was compelled to give up his duties as Secretary, consequent upon his admission to theo Divinity College of Sri Lanka. Fred Abeysekera then took over as Secretary; and Durand Goonetillake as Treasurer, from Fred. Four meetings of the Executive Committee have been held thereafter, and the Kandy branch of the Union is in many ways yet in its formative period And so, to the second year of its life, with the hope of greater support from those around us! Secretary Shantha Premawardhana,

Fred Abeysekera Hony. Secretary.

 


 

The Centenary Year Prize Day by Shelton Peiris

e7The College stood dignified and majestic in a fresh coat of colour wash and on a' new laid tarmac, with her Flag flying high, on that brilliant evening oof Friday July the 5th nineteen, hundred and seventy four. 'What excitement was shown as last minute details were attended to! A neat extension Aluminium Tent. was erected between the base of the. North 'tower and the portico, to seat nearly 200 additional, guests. The quadrangle opposite the college office was also provided with chairs and was filled, to capacity. A portion of the hall was reserved for invitees and special guests. The platform' decorations were simple yet effective. The gallery was. filled to capacity by a section of the students, who as usual observed the traditional "Wesley etiquette. The wonderful stained-glass windows lent 'a. subdued charm' blending with the colour of the ladies costumes, in that time-hallowed Hall of our pride. The Chief Guest, the Hon'ble Mrs. Sirimavo R. D. Bandaranaike, Prime Minister of the Republic of Sri Lanka, was expected at 5.30. in the evening. Excitement surged to a new high when the Police Pilot car was seen approaching and the Prime Minister's Benz, with the Pennant of the Republic flying, swung in.the Scouts formed a Guard of Honor The Principal, Mr. Mr. Shelton Wirasinghe, Mrs. Manel Wirasinghe, The President of the Methodist Church, the Revd. Denzil de Silva, the Vice-Principal Mr. Dunstan Fernando, two. Past Principals of Wesley, Messrs - P. Harold Nonis, and Cedric J Oorloff, Revd. (Dr.) David Wilson, and Mr. Shelton Peiris Actg. Secretary of the' Old Boy's union, stood at the porch to welcome thedistinguished guests. Proceedings began with' the traditional manner of wel6ome, when little Indaka Nanayakkara, the youngest student in grade I, offered in oriental fashion a "hand" of betel leaves" to the Prime Minister, while little Ajitha Fernando 'presented a bouquets of flowers.

The captivating Hymn by Kipling "Land of our birth we pledge to Thee" was sung lustily after which the Rev. Denzil de Silva offered the opening prayer. The Principal' of the School in his welcome said," It is with the deepest sincerity that Wesley past and present greet you at ouro Centenary Prize Day this evening. We are indeed grateful that you have been able to find the time for us in the midst of all your duties in the service of Sri Lanka. Your presence with us gives us 'great joy." He added we watch with the greatest interest the tremendous social, cultural and economic revolution that is being achieved in our time in the quietest of ways, and the very significant changes in education that must necessarily go with such a revolution. And in all 'tbis 'Wesley. pledges her support as she has always done in "whatever is true and noble, just and pure, lovely and gracious, excellent' and~ admirable" o Continuing he o said "Wesley steps forward. into her second century with renewed hope. Within these hallowed walls boys will, in the words of Revd. Fr. 5. 0. Perera, one of our distinguished alumni, "be ,booked-and birched and in due 'course promoted. 'And as Revd. John Dalby has ,reminded us Work. and. -Prayer o will remain the Salt of Life;' The Shield of Faith, the ,Cross of Sacrifice and the~ Scalloped Shells of Quiet and Adventure will surely see us through." The Prime Minister speaking in Sinhala said the need of the day was for schools in Sri Lanka to prepare Youth to fit into life and society, and be useful citizens instead of solely producing scholars. She added that Wesley College had made a significant contribution to Sri Lanka, during its 100 years of existence-producing men of distinction, who were found in many walks of public life.

Commenting on the earlier system of education, the Prime Minister said that system suited a different society. The present government had felt the need for a change so that education could be geared to meet the demands of the day and' had accordingly introduced a new educational, system in 197e, designed to overcome the differences between the village and the 'urban schools and effect a' uniformity, thus to afford equal o opportunities for every child; Under this new set up, the ability of every student could be recognised and every opportunity could be provided to develop to a maximum. The distribution of Prizes then took place, the' Junior Prizes being awarded first, after which the Wesley Choir, under the baton of Haig Karunaratne, rendered a Sinhala lyric, words of which were by Jayantha Premachan dra, set 'to music 'by Haig. This intèrlude was refreshingly appreciated by the audience. The Senior Prize list was read out by Mr. Dunstan Fernando, the Vice-Principal. Others assisting at the distribution of prizes were, Mrs. S. E. G. Perera, Messrs Edmund Dissanayake,' Wilfred' Wickremasinghe, S. Sivanayagam B.G.R. Fernando, J. Vethanayagam and.S( G. Thambiah. The vote, of thanks was proposed by the Actg. Secretary of the .Old Boys' Union, Mr.Shelton Peiris, and seconded by the' Senior Prefect of the College, Mr. J. K. Wickremaratne, in' whose speech was the time-echoed plea, for the traditional full holiday, which was graciously granted.

The College song was then sung with feeling: and this was followed by the Benedictions ~pronounced 'by the Revd. (Dr.) David' Wilson. The 'evening's Ceremony was brought to a close with the singing of the National Anthem, and the calling Out for three hearty Cheers, foil the Chief Guest. Post script" thought it be, one must add that the Principal and his very-hard-working Staff, have to be congratulated for their splendid work in planning and organising the evening's programme. One cannot forget behind the scene workers 'like Messrs. S. .Sivanayagam and S. 0. Thambiah who prepared the Prize-lists; Messrs M. U. De S. Kalupahana Edmund Dissanayake and their band of good men and women, who displayed much tact in handling the delicate o job of ushering in such a large crowd into the College Hall, and into the other places of accommodation. Nor can one forget the minor employees of the school for All their labour 'of love; the Prefects and the students of Wesley for attending to so 'many little jobs in such a big way! Well' done young Wesley and now to the FORE and to your .places of responsibibty ahead

 


 

To give thanks and to celebrate 125 years of Wesley College by Paul R David

Wesley has stood for the freedom of the human spirit and the community of all her sons to what ever race or religion they may belong ... . To the wider life of Sri Lanka the school has continued to give fine men of vision , scholarship, ability, understanding and simple faith "

Mr A.S. Wirasinha , Principal 1962 -1983

My wife Ami and I were in the party of old Wesleyites and their partners who went from the United Kingdom to Sri Lanka to take part in the events and activities that took place from the 27 of February to 7 March to mark the 125 th Anniversary of Wesley College, Colombo. We were fortunate that we were able to take part in the acts of thanks giving and the celebrations to mark 125 years of dedicated service to the nation by Wesley College, her staff and students over the years. Old boys of Wesley (most with their partners ) came from Australia, Switzerland , Pakistan and Canada to take part in this momentous occasion in the life of Wesley. These old boys from abroad included Mr Lou Adhihetty (also a former Principal ) and Mr Alfred David (a senior member of the Department of Foreign
UK OBU Cricket Tour Team arriving at Hotel Oberoi in Colombo Affairs and presently Sri Lanka's High Commissioner
to Pakistan ). I was particularly pleased that most of the old boys who came from abroad for the celebrations belonged to my era at Wesley. There were several occasions for us to meet up with our boyhood friends recollect happy memories exchange latest news while also partaking of two or three drinks to keep up the momentum of high spirits.
There were so many happy memories as well as memorable moments , but I shall summarise below only the major events and the main points to be noted:

Founders Day and Thanks giving Services.

The Founders Day Service was held on the birthday of the College on 2 March 99 in the College Hall and brought back memories of our School Assemblies and Prize giving days. The Service started with a procession led by Kandyan Dancers and the College band with the Prefects carrying the Sri Lankan and College flags. The procession was headed by the Principal Mr Ben Fernando , Mr M A P Fernando and several old boys of Wesley. After the address by the Principal the service was mostly conducted by the present students of Wesley and contributions both in verse and prayers were made in English , Sinhalese and Tamil. There were thanks offering by representatives of the Christian, Bñddhist, Hindu and Moslem religions aptly reflecting their representation in Wesley over the years. The Choirs (English, Sinhalese and Tamil) and the School band performed with precision and care that warranted the occasion. The vibrant rendering of the College song and the War cry brought the service to a rousing close. The ladies in our party from the UK OBU told us that we should be proud of the present boys of Wesley and they also made it a point after the service of giving their personal thanks and congratulations to the students who participated and those who took care of all the arrangements during the Service. All of which reflected the sense of order and attention to detail learnt by all of us who attended Wesley College.
This Service was followed immediately by a service conducted by Rev Duleep Fernando (President of the Methodist Church), for the dedication of the new Building which is still to be completed. Some of us more daring than the others joined Rev Fernando and the Principal in going down into the basement level of the Building for Prayers of Dedication. The Thanks giving service held on Sunday 7 March in the College Chapel was led by Rev Duleep Fernando and was another occasion to give thanks to the achievements made by Wesley. More than three hundred people including past teachers and pupils attended this moving service.

The Double Blue Ball.
The highlight of the celebrations was the 125 th Double Blue ball organised by the Old Wesley Sports Club (OWSC) at the Hilton Hotel on Saturday 27 February . The OWSC did the college proud by putting on a grand and thoroughly enjoyable show with several innovative ideas . There were more than 600 attendees who were entertained by two of the best bands in Colombo playing old time favourites and Baila music. The memorable night was enjoyed by all guests and the Dinner was plentiful and very tasty. The proceedings and dancing went on till the early morning and was fittingly concluded by traditional breakfast of Kiribath and sambols.

Gala Banquet.
The Gala Banquet to mark the Anniversary was held 6 March 99 at the Oberoi Hotel and was indeed a grand and dignified occasion . The very much respected Speaker of the Sri Lanka's Parliament Dr K B Ratnayake (an old boy of fellow Methodist educational institution Hartley College ) was the Chief Guest and spoke eloquently of the influence of Methodism in Sri Lanka. Other Speakers included Rev Duleep Fernando, Mr Lou Adhihetty and Mr M H Mohamed. The Vote of thanks to the guests was proposed and seconded by Mr Keith de Krester (Australia OBU) and Mr Senthil Sinniah (UK OBU) respectively. It was a pleasure to see this occasion being graced by several past teachers of Wesley and friends of Wesley including Mrs Wirasinghe, wife the late Mr A S Wirasinghe (a past Principal) . The occasion as is the custom was brought to a rousing close with the rendition of the College song and the college war cry of "Zam Zam Zacay

Sports Events

The high light of the sport events was the Triangular Cricket Tournament Between the Over 40's teams of the Colombo, Australia and UK OBU's. It was a very enjoyable day bringing back memories of the days when we as youngsters watched our seniors perform and also recalling when some of us represented the College on the pitch at Campbell Park. It was also a chance to meet many school friends whom we have not met for a long time and to exchange news, gossip, telephone numbers and e-mail details. The youthful Colombo team beat the UK Team in the finals with the Australian team coming a respectable third.
In the ensuing days the UK OBU Cricket also played matches against a combined Sri Lanka I Australia XI and A Tamil Union XI. A team composed of the past Cricket captains played a match against the present Wesley Cricket team on the 6 March 99.
A Hockey match between the present Wesley team and a team composed of the past Wesley players took place and provided good entertainment to the spectators. Social Events and get togther's. Mr Afgar Mohideen held a Dinner party on the 26 February 99 ,to host the old boys visiting from abroad and the invitees included the Principal and several of the local old boys. It was a memorable re-union when we met many good friends with plenty of liquid refreshments and an excellent dinner to enliven the occasion. Thanks to Afgar and his family for hosting this event which set the tone of the social evenings that were to follow. The UK OBU and the Colombo OWSC hosted club nights at the Campbell park club house for the visiting and ( several local) old boys on the 2 and 3 of March respectively. These club nights again provided us the opportunities to meet in a relaxed atmosphere and to strengthen our fellowship with our old schoolmates.

GRAND FINALE
The formal events to mark the 125 th Anniversary of Wesley were brought to a close by the Grand Finale held on 7
March 99 at the BMICH with the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka ( deputising for the President of Sri Lanka ) as the Chief Guest. The Prize giving for the winners of the All Island Art competition organised as part of the Anniversary
Celebrations was included in the programme and greatly increased the already high profile of the occasion. A memorable item was the Tableau which was presented by the students of Wesley which summarised the history of Wesley particularly the valiant efforts of Rev Highfield , to set up the permanent home for Wesley College

IN CONCLUSION:
The twelve days of activities in Colombo to mark the 125 Anniversary brought back happy memories of school days and helped to rekindle friendships . We are proud of what the past and present boys of Wesley united by that one fraternal band - the band of Double Blue have achieved in several walks of life. We were reminded throughout the festivities that Wesley has produced several men of grit and industry who have gone forward to serve our dear Sri Lanka and in the case of the expatriates their adopted motherlands. I am sure that the rest of the Wesley OBU UK members will join me in thanking the Principal, the Vice- Principal , Rev Duleep Fernando , the staff and boys of Wesley , the OWSC , the Colombo OBU and all others who organised and participated in the numerous activities to give thanks and to celebrate 125 years of excellence and service to the nation of Sri Lanka by Wesley College, Colombo.

 


 

The Small Park - A shattered memory by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

It was the cradle of sports for all Wesleyites. We learnt to bat, bowl and kick a football in a small gravel field behind the school called the Small park. The likes of Neil Gallagher, AR Chapman, Nalendra Abeysooriya, Kennethe De Silva, Sarath Wickramaratne and the Carnie brothers all started their cricket in the Small park. It was situated between Karlshrue Gardens and the Nalanda Grounds, both ends lined by tall Andara trees. The passage from Karlshrue Gardens was a steep slope. A parapet wall separated Dr.Jayasundera's house from the Campbell Park end of the grounds, tall enough to save his 4 daughters from the prying eyes of the boarders constantly snooping in that direction. At the opposite end was an old house with a pretty verandah and porch separated by a barbed wire fence loosened by boys creeping through to collect the ball. A tall Kottan tree was at the far corner beyond which was a 2 storey house where the occupant was a keen cricketer and watched the games as they unfolded. He couldn't resist the temptation to clap for a boundary or comment forcefully about the umpiring.

The Small Park was a veritable dust bowl but it was our Lords Cricket Grounds and the home of cricket. The grounds itself was a mainly gravel pitch with a few patches of dried grass at the Nalanda end. Due to many decades of cricket in the middle was an oval basin which was a our pitch. The stones and the slope gave the bowlers the advantage of viscious spin or a fast break. The conditions were the same for both sides and all was fair. The grounds was no place for leather and willow. The tennis ball was a fine substitute. We used them until the skin came off the ball and the grey rubber showed. M.W.Wickramaratne, Nelson Jayasinghe, Lakshman Gunaratne "lubba" ,SSP and ASP Ranasinghe A.R, Cecil and NGA Fernando, Kalinga De Silva, DMC Gunasekera, Senaka Jayasinghe ,Milroy Bulner were the great exponents of the tennis ball game. The bouncers were rare but "hooruttu" (ball traveling along the ground) or "goondu" was in every good bowlers repertoir. Tennis ball game had a vocabulary of its own. "pol adi" was the answer to a tight situation. Those who scored slowly were shouted at " hit out or get out". There being no replays and 3rd umpire this was a crucial job and " hora umpiring" done discreetly was part of the game. Missed catches was called " catching frogs". Misfields between the legs were " bowkku". The grounds sloped towards Nalanda and fielding in that area was a nightmare.

My first recollection of the park is watching " Challenged fights" in the small interval. There were a few on at any one time and the choice was entirely ours. Facial injuries were avoided by both parties but torn shirts and cuts and bruises were a part of the fight. On returning to the classes they got punished further for their ungainly appearance and the person to avoid was Mrs. Blacker.

In the lunch break the pitch was taken over by the seniors and I recall Richard Dwight, Baafi and Mihlar being the heroes of the many games of cricket I had watched. During the marble season they played "bungkings" and 3 holes where the loser hands over a marble each time. Soccer in the park was very popular too and the permanent goal posts were a great help. The boarders played in the park everyday from 4-6pm on weekdays and wholeday Saturday. The hostel House matches took place there. The cheering and the jeering for those was intense. There were those who loved to commentate on the matches and Upali Siriwardene had a special knack for this. The park being mainly gravel falls resulted in cuts and bruises or more severe lacerations. The matron kindly dealt with these running repairs. We even had Athletics on Saturdays. The proximity of the grounds was its main advantage. The midday sun beats on it mercilessly and playing games on it is not for the faint hearted. On numerous occasions I have seen the sunset behind Nalanda College when it was time to return to the hostel.

It is with great sadness that I note the park is no more and has been gone for nearly 30 years. It was part of the land that Rev Highfield toiled hard to buy- cycling and "begging". We will never know the intricate details of the need for this sale and the financial transactions thereafter but Wesley College has lost a plot of prime land just behind it where the school could have extended its buildings if the need arose. Their decision deprived future generations of Wesleyites of a playing field virtually in their back yard. I wonder whether those involved in the intrigue were pleased after the sale of a part of our heritage and our memories. Controversy and innuendo will rage on until the air is cleared by someone who knows exactly what happened behind those closed doors.

The sad saga and the intrigue of the loss of small park is best described in the words of Winston Churchill " It is a riddle surrounded in mystery wrapped in an enigma" Its flames still smoulder even after 30 years. Was it a muddle or a fiddle? This sad and regrettable mistake will haunt us for many more years to come. Only time can soothe the self inflicted deep wounds of our history.

 


 

Wesley College is an institute reputed for racial harmony - by Peter Christie

Speaker Dr. K. B. Ratnayake speaking at the Wesley College 125th anniversary celebrations banquet said that the school had grown from one built to accommodate the children of merchants in Dam Street, Pettah to an institute reputed for racial harmony and opened to students of all walks of life. He was speaking at the Banquet that was attended by the Principal of Royal College Lakshman Gomes, the Sub Warden of St Thomas' College, S. Pakianathan, Senior Diplomat, Vernon Mendis, Managing Director of the Hatton National Bank, Rienzie Wijeytillake, Former Principal Lou Adihetty, Halim Ishak MP., Keith de Kretser (President OBU Australia) Former Minister M. H. Mohammed MP., Sentil Sinniah (Representative OBU United Kingdom) other Old Boys and well wishers. Dr. Ratnayake said that lot of problems could be solved if everybody, Sinhalese, Tamils, Malays, Burghers and Muslims identified themselves as Sri Lankans and not put racial connotations in identity. Dr. Ratnayake said that party politics had done a lot of damage to the country criticising those politicians who fought each other on divides of language, religion or race. He also said that as a nominated Member of Parliament he had one electorate to look after. The electorate of Sri Lanka. He said the advantage of being a nominated member unlike his predecessor Mr. M. H. Mohammed an old boy of Wesley who represented Borella, is that his loyalties are island wide. He was impressed, a poor villager from Point Pedro to be invited to such a prestigious occasion. An old boy of Hartley College another Methodist institution said he though a Buddhist had memorised the New Testament and always quoted Christ's "Lord forgive them for they know not what they do". For good measure the Speaker repeated the quote in Sinhala and Tamil proving that he is tri-lingual. He further emphasised the need for school children to be taught each other's language. The Principal of Wesley College N. A. B. Fernando said that as an old boy he was making every endeavour to maintain the standards set by the school in maintaining ethnic and religious harmony. The students of Wesley will learn three languages, he said.

 


 

Wesley OBU (UK) cricketers in school's 125th anniversary celebrations sent by Mahendra Dissanayake

Almost a quarter of AirLanka's airbus that took off from London's Heathrow airport last Thursday was filled with staunch and loyal old boys of Wesley College, Colombo on their way to their alma mater's 125th anniversary.

Lord Reggie's old and dear friend Ben Fernando who is the present head of Wesley and once upon a time, a very, very popular figure in London's Sri Lankan scene and president of the oldest Sri Lankan organisation here on many occasions. 'The Association of Sri Lankans in the UK', will be truly proud of these lads who left no stone unturned to make this trip, be there on time and play their part well.

Speaking to Lord Reggie on the eve of their departure Lord Reggie's close pal, a former Wesley skipper Ananda Thevethasan said the lads were pleased that the OBU's patron - a former principal - Rev. D. Izzett was travelling with them and will be there to share those moments of glory and happiness when Old Wesleyites in Sri Lanka and from Australia will "be with us as one family".

Thevathasan also expressed his absolute joy about the participation of that famous and mighty Old Wesleyite and Cambridge Double Blue (Cricket and Hockey) Lou Adihetty.

He said; "He was our coach and every move of his on the field was classic. It will be wonderful to see him at the crease again. That alone is worth the trip."

R. Perera will captain the UK team against SSC and Tamil Union on the 3 March and 8 March 1999 respectively at this cricket tournament which has been organised by former Sri Lanka opening bowler L.R. Goonetillake (President, OWSC).

An interesting duel should be the game between the past Wesley skippers made up of Lou Adihetty, Milroy Mutuvaloe, Everad Schoorman, Ananda Thevethasan, Navin de Silva, Delmer Achilees and Ameresh Rajaratnam and others against he present college eleven led by Dharsika Jayakody.

Lord Reggie also wishes to warn the rest of the Wesley teams that the team from UK put on a magnificent show at the Festival of Cricket here in 1997 to get the better of all the leading Sri Lanka schools which gave them that much coveted Sri Lanka OBAs trophy and be it bowling a 'googly' or a 'chinaman' or for that matter batting on a difficult pitch these lads are sure to put on a splendid performance and give the rest a jolly hard time. Queen says 'OK' to drugging of her carriage horses

Buckingham Palace recently admitted that royal horses are on occasions drugged before ceremonial events.

According to a palace spokesman the sedatives are given purely to calm the younger horses for important events such as the State Opening of Parliament and the annual Royal Ascot race meeting.

The spokesman said the drug acepromazine which is given in doses of around 25mg has a numbing effect and stops the horses from getting excited when passing noisy or cheering crowds.

These doses Lord Reggie understands are given as a liquid through a syringe into their mounts or as ground-up tablets together with their food thus making the animal tame and peaceful for some time. 'Late sitting' - a rare picture of Tony Blair

One of London's newspapers Lord Reggie loves to read, the 'Evening Standard" recently held a photography competition that attracted over 50,000 entries taken by people from many walks of life depicting everyday scenes of England from many angles of life.

Those pictures taken by both amateur and professional photographers portrayed sad, happy and stunning moments but the one Lord Reggie really enjoyed was that of the British Prime Minister Tony Blair seated on the carpeted floor of the parliament titles. 'Late sitting: an intimate shot of Tony Blair by Mike Maloney.'

As our picture shows the melancholy faced Tony Blair is seen reflecting over a letter he probably just finished reading but in which oak panelled room in the Parliament building will be even difficult for the longest serving member to guess.

 


 

Gain experience from people around you by Richard Dwight

Knowledge alone would not do, you must bring to bear your talents and develop your skills to blend with the knowledge acquired in order to forge ahead in the competitive times, said Chief Guest Rienzie Wijetilleke, Managing Director HNB who was himself an old boy, at the Wesley College prize giving.

Mr. Wijetilleke was speaking from his awareness that everything is performed these days with a sense of urgency, where efficiency experts are called to perfect operations, so that the result will be speedier production and, that if business does not have the latest technological apparatus, it is in danger of, being 'Lost in the dust of Advancement'.

Mindful that there were innovative inventions in the past, he explained that as against those, there are much more advanced inventions that we see today. Progress has been made in mode of travel, communication, be it the print as well as the electronic media. Sophisticated equipment such as dictaphones, recorders and the preservation of comprehensive information in small diskettes or served in memory, for retrieval later on. And so students like you and all over, notwithstanding the challenges you are up against, could face them undaunted with these present amenities and facilities, that were non existent to the pupils of the past, he said.

In order to succeed Wijetilleke felt that one must be farsighted asking questions like what am I going to be in the future? What is my vision in this the fast challenging world? He recalled that Mahathma Gandhi too had a vision for the poor people, wanting to wipe away the tears of the teeming millions. The past Presidents of our land Jayawardena and Premadasa had theirs too. The former to usher in a Dharmista Society, the latter to alleviate poverty - whilst the present President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga is striving to stop the war and bring about peace. You should be stressed, also aim at having leadership qualities, learning to work as a team, the leader with the others.

"Gain inspiration from the people around you, be enthusiastic having at all times a proper frame of mind. Learn to be orderly, managing and organizing yourselves to a planned schedule and adjusting as well, to changes that are necessary. There may be crises in your own homes, sickness, bereavement or whatever, let these be your training ground to build up your confidence with equanimity. So that you will be found credible in the eyes of your teachers and principal, to be entrusted with a job of work".

Striking a personal note Wijetilleke said that at Wesley he came under the principalship of C.J. Oorloff and P.H. Nonis. On leaving Wesley he taught for a while and joined the Bank of Ceylon, which took him to England, where he passed his banking as well as his accountancy exams to hold the present position he is in. "People do have faith in us, for 70 billion rupees is entrusted with us, our word is our bound, if you say something stand by your word at all times".

With deep concern for the boys, Wijetilleke chose to conclude by asking them at the end of the day to reflect on the day's happenings. "Spend a few minutes in self examination, of the things you should have done and not - as to whether you have hurt someone or done some wrong and, striving not to repeat the same mistakes".

The principal Mr. N.A.B. Fernando whilst welcoming the Chief Guest and Mrs. Dhammika Wijetilleke who gave away the prizes, apart from his report covering a wide range of activities, said that many significant and long lasting changes have occurred at Wesley. To illustrate what has happened and adding his own personal perspective he used P.B. Vaill's interpretation of change in "New ideas for a world of chaotic change."

"The organization in this case Wesley, is not a large ship, but more akin to a 40 foot raft. Rather than sailing a calm sea, this raft must traverse a raging river made up of uninterrupted flow of permanent white water rapids. To make things worse, the raft is manned by 10 people who have never worked together (with understanding) or travelled the river before, much of the trip is in the dark, the exact destination of the raft is not clear, and at regular intervals the raft needs to pull ashore, where some new crew members are added and others leave".

"In the past 5 years, during my tenure of office as principal, my colleagues on the staff and I have travelled together on the raft and traversed the raging river full of permanent white rapids. The 'raging river' will continue to be a part of the scene, but I have initiated and implemented changes at Wesley on the platform of school effectiveness and school improvement, that is our destination which will ensure stability. We have from time to time pulled ashore for evaluation and review of our programmes and some staff (crew) have left and others have joined us".

The secretary of the old boys union, Ivor Maharoof delivered the vote of thanks. college, Dilkush Peiris also spoke.

 


 

A brief history and origin of Campbell Park by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

Campbell Park is a seductively lovely ground. To all Wesleyites it is a sacred ground. For those who represented the school in cricket, rugby, soccer, hockey or athletics at Campbell park it is an everlasting memory. It is a vast expanse of greenery extending from Campbell Place to the Lady Ridgeway Hospital and Baseline road to All Saints Church. Intersected by gravel roads running from Welikada Prison to Bloomfield CC Grounds and All Saints to the Medical Research Institute its beauty was taken for granted in those days. Large trees surrounds the park. The old pavillion with metal spikes and bars have given way to a brand new the MH Mohammed building. At the far end were the tennis and basket ball courts. The Lady Ridgway Hospital was built on the site of the Old Victoria Home for the Incurables which was still standing until about 1955.

As a boarder I played cricket there on the sidelines, almost everyday and at other times dreamed of playing cricket there. The sounds of the hourly chime of the Church bells still ring in my ears. I can recall hordes of worshippers going for the Novenas on Wednesdays. The elegant cover drives, the heaving sixes and the shattered wickets were seen in abundance during those 12 memorable years. The lasting memory for me is the sight of the setting sun behind All saints church while watching cricket on a warm sunny Saturday afternoon when the match is set for a photofinish.

The sports meets were a great annual event. The muscle men did the discus, javelin and putt shot. The puffing and panting of those running the magic mile and the intense rivalry between the 4 houses were the highlights of the day. Those who came last in the 440 or 880 yards were given a special cheer. There we learnt to accept defeat gracefully. Many took part but the winners were few.

Campbell Park will always have a special place in the hearts of all Wesleyites.

In the words of Eric Gunasekera: Karlshrue, open, airy was a paradise to the pupils of the Pettah institution. For a satisfactory playing field we had to wait. But we started on the stretch of Campbell Park behind All Saints' Church, then migrated to the marshy patch alongside Baseline Road until we acquired, thanks to P.H.Nonis' (acting Principal) enthusiastic effort, the former Tamil Union Pavilion.

I believe Tamil Union moved from Campbell Park in 1942.

From a local paper: As a young member of the Tamil Union, when their grounds were at Campbell Park, P. Saravanamuttu (Sara Trophy fame)always felt that they needed a bigger place to expand their activities. He realized his ambition when he found what appeared to be a marsh at Wanathamulla that could be converted into a beautiful playing field. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the ground could be developed to international standards. He supervised the work day and night and produced the Colombo Oval. The Tamil Union owes a permanent debt to him because it was mainly his vision and hard work as an official of the Tamil Union that laid out and created the magnificent Colombo Oval to make it the best ground in Ceylon at that time. A great tribute to his memory is the present attempts to restore his life's work to its pristine glory. One of the earliest social functions held at this magnificent ground was on 1st May, 1943

Addendum from The Ceylon Daily News

The Police celebrated the 132nd anniversary, in 1998, of its establishment as a legally re-organised institution with the appointment of George William Robert Campbell (G. W. R. Campbell) (Lately Sir) as the IGP. He was brought here from 'Ratnagiri Ranges' of Rashtapradesh of India. Law enforcement had been in existence in a nebulous form for many years previously in this country. It could have been since June 1859, the Maritime Provinces under Dutch Rule, when four soldiers were detailed (to do Police work) to guard the city of Colombo on a decision taken on June 10, 1659 by the officials concerned. However, the Police was shaped into an efficient and a cohesive organisation by divesting it from most of the civilian functionaries and giving it a distinct identity. Hence it is much reasonable to recall to memory the architect and the pioneer of the modern Police Sir G. W. R. Campbell who took over the Police in the year 1866, when there were 44 Police Stations with a strength of 690 police officers of all ranks. He had been awarded the Mutiny Medal for the services during the suppression of the Indian Mutiny.
He realised that crime prevention could not be properly carried out as all the police inspectors were Europeans or non Sinhalese. So he recruited three Police Inspectors together with 40 young constables from good families. They were interviewed by himself at Colombo. He opened a training school at Maradana to train police officers. He opened up the Police Headquarters at Maradana and the Police Hospital at the same place. He recommended uniforms for the Police Officers and they were sewn by the Prisons Department. When the Police Services were criticized by the media he recommended to buy three journals Colombo Observer, Colombo Times and the Examiner at the Police Headquarters and gave instructions to the Officers concerned to read and get the required informations to give a healthy Police Service to the Nation.
The Campbell Park was constructed at Borella in a land extending over 20 acres by the Government on the request of Sir G. W. R. Campbell, and it was so named as a gratitude to his great service to the Police and to the Nation and he was also conferred with a knighthood "Sir", after his retirement. G.W.R. Campbell took over duties from Captain Drew who relieved Captain Terry at Galle, was born at Campbelltown, Argyllshire in 1835. He retired on April 11, 1891. He was a very efficient administrator and was able to maintain police-public relationship from his appointment to time of his retirement.

From the 1959 School Magazine

Campbell Park: It is of great concern to us that very soon Wesley may not have the Free use of Campbell Park. It was only a few days ago that the Principal, Mr. Nonis,
Announced that we will have no sports f activities whatever on Campbell Park on Fridays. This, we learn, is because Carey College now shares the ground with us. It would be good to remind ourselves that
Campbell Park has been leased to us by the Colombo Municipality, though the pavilion
o Itself was purchased by the college, from the Tamil Union Cricket & Athletic Club, many years ago. Thus if there is even the slightest doubt as to whether in the future, we may not have "monopoly" rights over the Park, it is time that we develop the land the College has leased out at Wanathamulla, near the Colombo Oval. The problem here seems to be that "squatters" have occupied this land, and that the Municipality is fighting shy of acting in the interests of the school. We urge the Principal, the O. B. A. and the Board of Governors of the College, to give this matter serious consideration. As it is we find our Rugger XV, meeting, even for practices, on 'foreign' grounds, when rightly, they should have all the facilities enjoyed by other teams.


 

"Going for a pump" by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

Going for a "pump" during the small interval was a ritual of all Wesleyites. A thousand students decended on the urinals next to the Primary Block. Time was tight and so was the urgency. I cannot describe in words the desperation of some but the image above speaks for itself.

The new urinals for the 21st Century - 2012

There were about 20 spaces separated by vertical sheets of concrete which were our urinals. They weren't any worse than boys urinals anywhere in the world but it had its specific smell towards the end of the day. At night there was no light and the boarders did not venture in there but the few who did often missed the target with disastrous results for the next day. The toilets and the wash area was just next door. Numerous wash basins were in the middle. There were 3 large water tanks for baths with a bucket. Bryan Claessen tells me these were use for "duckings" for freshers to the first eleven cricket team during his time. Several showers were on one side which were popular too. The water there somehow seem colder than anywhere else in the world. The concrete floor was broken up in many places which collected water and stagnated and it was not a pretty sight. The toilets were of the squatting variety with a bucket and a small tin for the wash after the ablutions. When I went to see it in the year 2000 little had changed. There was a rectangular area just outside the entrance to the bathrooms where all the rainwater from the roof converged. This was the boarders favourite spot for a "rain bath" as we called it. It surprises me that progress and the 21st Century advances hadn't reached the Wesley College bathrooms yet. Perhaps they were too far away from the public gaze!!

Addendum: Much has changed since the arrival of Shanti McLelland as Principal. The buldings are in a good state of repair and the new toilets are clean and well maintained. -- 2012

 


 

Recollections on the death of a classmate - Edward C. Roberts by Fred Abeysekera


We met in our formative years - at Wesley College - in 1946 as classmates, and over a short period of time became very special friends - and remained so, for life.

Fred Abeysekera

We both lived in Nugegoda in our early youth, along with two other classmates - Archibald Singham and Neville Weerasekera - and we became inseparables. We went on ceaseless rambles across hill and dale, discovering short cuts to every possible place, criss-crossings the length and breadth of Nugegoda (then a small town) and its environs. Such treks were more often than not across private property and never without excitement. Falling into streams and shallow, unprotected wells at dusk, chased by irate owners of private property, outrunning dogs (who joined their owners in the chase) getting bogged down in paddy fields, barely scrambling to safety; and ending up laughing. It was always side-splitting laughter....these were the tumultous days of youth.

Our daily journey to school and back was by train - the notoriously slow, narrow-gauge railway - the Kelani Valley line. To be in time for General Assembly (a daily ritual in those days when the entire school met in the college hall), we had to catch either the 6.55 a.m. train or "the 7.17" at the Nugegoda Railway Station. The Station Master who knew all of us by name was Mr. R. Poulier, and he had a fatherly eye on us. These journeys, however, were always fraught with totally unwarranted risks; much excitement, fun and frolic - with us ending up in school with tell-tale signs of having travelled on the footboard; in open bogeys (which were sometimes loaded with coal) and only occasionally, seated in a second class compartment of Archie Singham's choice (which had more than the average sprinkling of pretty school girls) putting to legitimate use our season tickets for which we paid the princely sum of Rs. 4.00 for a month's travel! When school ended at 3.15 pm each day, we ambled along to the Baseline Road Railway Station when we were not required to be present at Campbell Park for athletics practice, hockey, cricket or basketball. We always went down Karlsrhue Gardens (via Mount Mary - a Wesley-Josephian stronghold) buying chocolate or "bullto" from the "Thambi Kade" at the corner - on rare occasions encountering an adventurous prefect exuding smoke from his nostrils, ensconced in the bowels of the ill-lit interior of the boutique. Like England's hero, Nelson, we turned a collective blind eye in such instances - and sprinted the rest of the distance, only to be admonished the next day for not walking down Baseline Road, as people usually do! Edward was not the fastest runner in our group and was invariably identified - consequently all four of us being roped in and lectured to on road safety - or, the hazards of going off the beaten track.

The author

I recall a particular incident which caused us much raucous laughter at the time, and on recollection, much merriment. Norman Mailer's Naked and the Dead had been banned in Sri Lanka as our prudish politicians (the self appointed custodians of "public" morality) were of the opinion it was totally unsuitable for "young minds" - which in effect meant that the book was not available to the reading public at large. A copy of the book turned up at Wesley and our group of four took turns to read it, with a specially devised brown paper cover bearing the legend "English Grammar by Nesfield", to disguise it effectively. Edward had drawn No. 3 and it was his turn to read the book. The book was handed over to him at the Nugegoda Railway Station by Neville Weerasekera who had completed reading it. It had been securely wrapped by him in a myriad layers of brown paper, with stout twine and sealing wax complete. Edward was cautioned not to open the package until bedtime. It is reported that his brother George (with whom he lived) had been informed around 9.00 pm that Edward had a severe "stomach disorder" which was to serve as adequate cover for his night-long treks to the toilet! (where the book was to be read). About midnight Edward had successfully torn out the last of a layer of covers the book was secured in to find to his dismay that it was a familiar school text-book - Chemistry by A. J. Mee! Thus dramatically ended Edward's voracious appetite for reading, as well as his chronic stomach disorder.

Edward had the capacity to radiate love and concern for people particularly those close to him - his wife Anula and his children Dushan and Dushanthi and his buddies from Wesley. We were always welcome in his home with his elder brother George giving him all the support he needed to generate spontaneously the warmth and fellowship of hospitality. One of Edward's desires - expressed a few months before he died on January 18th, 1999 - was to spend a relaxed evening at The Old Wesleyites' Sports Club with his family and classmates and their respective families. This, unfortunately, did not materialise. He stoically endured a long and protracted illness, spanning two decades with great courage and fortitude. His sense of humour never abandoned him at the worst of times. Edward will be greatly missed at Wesley's 125th anniversary celebrations next month by all those who knew him and came to love him and very specifically by his old classmates.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE

 



 

Those School Boy Days……at Wesley College, Colombo… now time stands

by Shanti McLelland - November 14, 2001

Before the spring of year 2001, Dr. Douglas Amerasekera launched the Wesley College (OBU) UK web site. We have to thank Azahim Mohamed, Secretary of the OBU branch in the UK for initiating the venture. This exceptionally scholarly site has helped to unfold Wesley's 127 year history and bring together Wesleyites around the world.Now, six months later, all Wesleyites have been invited to the launch of the Wesley College (OBU) Australian branch web site. This time we have to thank Mahendra Dissanayake for the excellent architecture and construction of the site. I am glad to see my running partner Reg Bartholomeusz an outstanding sportsman at the helm with my fellow scout Nelson de Silva as scribe. This will join the time zones from East to West.I was excited and exultant to read the news letter - Vol. 1 (1) published by the Australian Branch, edited by Bryan Wijekoon. Previous to this it was in 1990 that I read a news letter from the Aussie branch. Cecil d'with Barbut & Keith de Kretser two of the the long-standing stalwarts have to be thanked for keeping the Australian branch active in the 1990's. The article by Norman de La Harpe brought back some of the old memories of the round table stories narrated by Mr. L.A.Fernando during our Athletic meetings before Public schools, Relay Carnival, or the Junior AAA meets. The motivating stories were about our former Wesley's top sportsmen. We have to thank Norman for giving us the first person version. M. M. Sheriff, Harold Matthysz, Trevor Van Rooyen, Ian Campbell, and including the great cricketer N. S. Jayasundara. The students now at Wesley would have never got this valuable information otherwise.

As remembered by Norman, Lucian Dep certainly was an outstanding athlete, national pole vaulter and served the AAA as an official for many years, along with Mr. A. A. Swaris. His nephews Cletus and Srinath Dep both were outstanding high Jumpers and public schools athletes in the 1960's. Both of them competed at the time we were representing Wesley. The other athlete Shirley Perera was once again one of St. Joseph's top athletes. Brothers, Shirley, Neville, and Neil lived near the Medical College, and certainly were great friends.It was certainly a great adventure to see the great cricketer Henry Duckworth and Wesley's front-runners in one of the photos. Hopefully time will come to meet and greet these past Wesleyites in the future. Wesley should certainly be proud of some of our top sportsmen, who were outstanding nationally and internationally. I hope this valuable information on both web sites will motivate the present Wesleyites to emulate the dazzling feats of these past heroes.I must also take a few moments to remind the Old Wesleyites not only to delve in the performance of sports at Wesley, but also concentrate on the academic excellence. I remember how happy and thrilled when the names of those who entered medical college; University of Ceylon, Colombo campus, Peradeniya campus, Vidyodaya, or Vidyalankara was read out after the University Entrance/Advanced Level results. Very distinctly I remember the Hill Medal winners D. Raymond and Paul David. Paul specially because of Charles David who was my classmate, Joe David. Also, not forgetting Alfie David who was an extraordinary sportsman and scholar.

I was happy to all of the faces in the photograph taken by my good friend Mohan Abraham. It was certainly pleasure to see the evergreen Dr. Frank Jayasinghe (who taught me algebra in Form_1), and all of the other eleven I distinctly remember, same as I had seen a few years ago. We have to thank those loyal Wesleyites for holding on to the double blue in Colombo.I certainly remember most of the names I see on the address list. I send my heartfelt greetings to all my fellow double blue colleagues on the UK & Australian web.
Wesley to the fore


 

(15th December 2001)

The Oases and Mirages of my school life 1950-62 by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera


Nostalgia is my great sin, and I remember with a sense of loss a kinder gentler world which disappeared forever as I left school. The most painful of all is the disappearance from my life the people who meant so much to me, friends, teachers, chaplains and Principals in all those years at Wesley. I stepped on the treadmill to carve myself a career and raise a family. Now having reached the end of my working life I still yearn for those days at school even though more than forty years have passed me by.

1950 was a time of idyllic splendour and tranquility in Ceylon. D.S.Senanayake was the Prime Minister. The sense of humanity and decency instilled by the British for over a century was still in place. The Galle Face Hotel, The Queens Hotel Kandy and The Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya were the only Hotels with any star quality. The affluent and the not so wealthy indulged in a weekend flutter on the horses at the Race Course in Reid Avenue. The Parliament was by the sea and the breeze helped the politicians to think rationally and clearly- or so it seemed. You shop at Cargills or Millers , have tea at the Pagoda Tea Rooms in Chatham Street or the Fountain Café at Union Place and buy your Lingus (Spicey sausages), Orange Barley and Lanka Lime at the Ceylon Cold Stores at Slave Island. During April the rich went "upcountry" to Nuwara Eliya to escape the Colombo heat. Galle face Green on a Sunday was packed with people sucking Alerics Ice Cream. When all was said and done those who needed Devine favours went to the "Novenas" on Wednesdays, at All Saints Church Borella . Meanwhile Ranis rang the school bell with the passion and precision of Big Ben.

Colombo in the 1950's was a city of contrasts with the beauty of prestigious estates with pleasant houses in some areas and slums, shanties and tenements in others. The poor with large families lived in a single room in screaming poverty. The falling plaster, broken windows and fences, corrugated iron roofs were the hall marks of the poverty we saw. It is a scene straight from the annals of our urban life of that era. For many the new found political independence did little to give them home or hope. The prized jobs were in the government service with jobs for life. In those days everyone knew his place. The master and servant, teacher and student, rich and poor, parent and child accepted the situation as if ordained by God. Wesley attracted both the very rich and the very poor the majority being sons of middle class Government Servants. The main Maradana Railway yard was where the narrow and broad guage converged. Many of the Railway employees lived at the Mt. Mary housing estate and in Dematagoda. Scores of them sent their boys to Wesley thanks to the good old CGR.

There is some truth in the saying "school is where you go when your parents cant keep you and industry cant take you". I joined Wesley in January 1950 during the 'reign' of Cedric Oorloff. With his Oxford accent he had an air of authority and dignity. He commanded respect and received it. Being just 8 years old and bottom of the pile viewed school life with fear and trepidation. Oorloff inspired terror and always had our attention. In later years as a boarder living just behind his back garden we appreciated his humour and generosity. Mrs. Oorloff was a tall kindly lady, looked after her garden and taught English and History to the seniors. Gillian their daughter, a bubbly teenager, was a pleasant sight playing with her dog in their well manicured lawn. I can still picture his green Austin Devon parked in the porch of their large and spacious bungalow. My first brush with the law came quite early in my school career. I was involved in a serious conversation with a classmate at assembly when CJO spotted my indiscretion and asked us both to stand-up for the whole proceedings. We coped with the embarrassment quite well but on our return to class Mr. MT Rajapakse gave us a rasping blow on the face. I remember being dazed for a few minutes and unable to hear for couple of days. Soon all was forgotten and we both got back to our old ways.

The old Primary Block is no more. It is replaced by the new DH Pereira building. The old block had a raised floor with steps to the classrooms. Every class had a half wall on the side with a wire mesh. The teacher was by the blackboard in a wooden platform with a table and chair. Chalk was everywhere. The students had two to a long desk with its top engraved with the initials of former pupils. There were 30 students to a class. Mr CM Fonseka was the headmaster of the Primary School. He was pretty strict and was in charge of the 5th Std English. Students feared him and gave him respect. His son Robin was a student at Wesley and was a popular boy. Robin later became a Methodist Priest. While he was at Kurana katunayake as the Priest in Charge, sadly, he was knifed to death.

I was in the Primary School from 1950- 53. Life there was rather claustrophobic being hemmed in by "aggressive teachers" and "bullying" seniors. Throwing of dusters at pupils, using the hand to assault students and the liberal use of the cane and ruler for minor offences just didn't seem acceptable. This was how it appeared to me at the time. On looking back it would not be fair to apply the liberal values of the 21st Century to school life 50 years ago. Miss Blacker taught us English until we went to the senior school. Mrs. Iris Muller took some of those classes too and she was a marvellous, kind teacher. My lasting memory of those English classes was the Longman's Copy book which we had to carefully copy down the letters of the English alphabet using a calligraphic pen. MT Rajapaksa was our class teacher in Std 2. He was a superb teacher and his departure to join the staff of the Maharagama Teacher Training Institute was a great loss to the school. Mr.Bharathasinghe was in Std.3 though for a short time when Miss Tissaratchi, a pretty young lady took over. She was unable to control the class and had the habit of sending the students for punishment by the Principal or headmaster for trivial offences. It was an easy way out for her but not for her students. Mr. Wilfred was the teacher in Std.4 and S.T.Perera alias "Poos Bada" was in Std 5. The latter had an apron of fat over his belt. He was a good dedicated teacher. He got us to memorise a book of poems during the year which caused a lot of heartache to those who were not too good at remembering. STP had a short cane for punishment which came out forcefully during those poetry sessions. He left school to become a Headmaster of a village school in Tissamaharama where we visited him subsequently whilst on a school trip with Edmund Dissanayake. It was pretty rural and there was no electricity at his house and life seemed very simple indeed. I wonder how he is and whether he thinks of us too after all these years. The English teacher in Std 5 was a big , jet black Mr. Aelian Jayasekera. He introduced us to the poems of Milton, Tennyson and Longfellow. AJ was a kindly man and controlled the class without reaching for the cane. In the primary classes we used S.F.De Silva's history books which were beautifully written like one long story. He was the Director of Education for the Ministry at the time. I believe he wrote the geography books too. We used J.E.Jayasuriya' s Mathematics books and it was later that I realised he was an Old boy of the school. I recall joining the 14th Colombo Cub Pack when Mr. Wilfred was in charge. Perhaps it was the lovely gear and the cap that attracted me to this brotherhood. The marching and the three finger salute soon became a ritual. We shouted " Ah Kay Lar we'll do our best" and sang a song with rather poignant lyrics

Row Row Row your boat
gently down the stream
Merrily merrily merrily merrily
Life is but a dream

I enjoyed the "chip a job " week immensely and remember scouring the middle class neighbourhood of Borella for work. People were very generous and many were bemused. Mr. EL Rodrigo then joined the staff and supervised the Cubs. I found him too strict and I left when being in the pack was a liablity. ELR was our boarding master and I realised what a caring, kind person he was in later years. This was merely how I viewed it as an 8 year old. On returning to school for a visit as a Medical student EL Rodrigo saw me and promptly took me to the Tuck Shop. We had a long chat about the good old days. I wish him a long and happy retirement. It gave me great pleasure to see his photographs hanging in the college hall with the all time greats like HJVI Ekanayake for over 25 years of service to the school..

Transport is crucial for schools. In common with the development of road transport worldwide, bus operation in Ceylon was pioneered by private enterprise. Private entrepreneurs. Ebert Silva, High Level Bus Company and Ceylon Tours provided the service with many other companies whose names I cannot now recall. Demand continued to increase with population growth and the private companies found it difficult to change, invest and improve and the service began to crumble.The Government Nationalised bus transport in 1958 and the Ceylon Transport Board was born. The red reliable British Leyland single and double decker buses then were a common part of the Colombo scene. Quickshaw Taxis competed for business with the Morris Minor Cabs. Rickshaws in the 50's were confined to Fort and Pettah. Trolley busses were popular for a decade in the 1950's running between Borella and Pettah. Bullockcarts were seen on the roads well into the 1970's. At Wesley there were students from all corners of the Island. Those from far away chose to board. The majority lived locally and walked or cycled to school. There were school buses from Ratmalana supervised by some teachers who used this service. The affluent used their cars to bring the kids to Wesley. Those living in the Kelani valley from Maradana to Avissawella had the slow and cumbersome narrow guage railway. It helped me to travel from Nugegoda to Baseline Road and I remember with nostalgia and much affection the happy band of schoolboys , the steam trains and Hunslets that did their job so efficiently.

Unlike at present the students had no voice at all. Parents took decisions for us at home and the teachers did so at school. Having been used to the vernacular at home my English was appalling and Miss Blacker's efforts with the sharp edge of the ruler encouraged me to read Aesops fables, Grimms and Andersons Fairy tales. Reading then on became a habit. C.M.Fonseka who also taught my father was the Headmaster of the Primary school. He was a strict Victorian teacher good at his job. He inspired terror and had our attention and never spared the rod. I can still picture his dark face with short grey hair and white suit. His son Robin was at school and it was with much sadness I heard he died tragically at the Kurana Methodist Minister's bungalow where he was the parish priest. John Gogerly made us do wood work and carpentry which was a welcome relief from the struggles at Maths and reciting poetry from memory. My desk was full of carved names and initials and I happily added my own which horrified Miss Blacker. The stern warning and ear pulling did not deter me from indulging in the same every year until I left school. It pleased me no end to find my name in the chemistry lab 40 years later. The equipment and apparatus hadn't changed either which did not speak much of the science at school.

I am an only child, a rare breed in times when 4 or 5 was the norm. Being spoilt and pampered at home I was becoming an incorrigible brat. My father being in Government Service was transferred from pillar to post, every 4 years. I needed a stable environment for my education and joined the school hostel in 1952. The boarding gave me more brothers than I ever wanted. The Camaraderie and the brotherhood in the hostel was the best that happened to me at school and feel eternally grateful to my parents for the experience which didn't come cheap. Learning to share was difficult at first but sharing stood me in good stead in later life.

This was the era of amateur sportsmen and winning was never the only motive but to play the game. "Umpires' word was law" was the teaching and often we walked away even when the umpires finger stayed down. I still can recall the many games I played at Small Park with Kenneth De Silva, Randolph Crutchley, Kenneth Anthonisz, Michael Christoffelsz, Boris Schrader, Upali Perera, Asoka Ranasinghe, Mynah Wickramaratne, Arthur d'With-Barbut, R.Ratnavale, Masilamony, Soundravel etc. Cricket was all consuming. We played it several times a day in any corner we could. If the space was limited we tried French cricket. I dreamed a lot about the game too. The first eleven games at Campbell Park were never to be missed. We gathered in our hundreds and it had a carnival atmosphere. So we sang:

Hurrah for the merry,
Hurrah for the land,
Hurrah for the Wesley Boys,
Who do not care a damn,
Everywhere the merry goes,
The land is sure to go.
Down with the battle cry of freedom

Little did I know the real meaning of this poem of Freedom by James Joyce when I sang it then. I associated this with "Mary and the little lamb". Everywhere Mary went the lamb was sure to go. On occasions when the chips were down and our wickets were falling we chanted "What's the matter - minor matter" even when the situation was beyond repair.

Cricket is first and foremost a dramatic spectacle. It belongs with the theatre, ballet, opera and the dance. In the 1950's we had the best decade of cricket at Wesley. DBC Mack, Claessens,Adhihettys Fuards Abeysooriya, Kretser, Ebert are just a few of the names that rolled freely as we speak of those vintage years. I recall going to CJ Ooroff's bungalow in a procession with hundreds of others after a thrilling win against Royal singing "Monday holiday" to the tune of "he's a jolly good fellow". The request was granted to our utter surprise and delight. The setting sun behind All Saints Church as we watched the drama on the Campbell Park matting is an image that is firmly etched in my memory.

General Assembly in the College Hall was pure theatre. First the boys entered the hall then the teachers followed by CJ Oorloff. Good Morning boys he said and we chanted "Good Morning Sir" First CJO read out the school news of matches etc. Then the rebukes followed by the punishments in the way of Saturday detention. The non-Christians were then adjourned followed by a short Christian Service. Built at the turn of the last century the college hall with its stained glass windows and the high timber ceiling is very elegant indeed. I still dream of it and saw it many times recently to appreciate its splendour. Without a full house and the buzz of schoolboys it is never possible to recreate the magical atmosphere we experienced in those days.I remember the Prefects all in white standing guard by the doors at assembly and the sub-prefects on the opposite side standing to attention ticking off the noisy primary school boys. Derrick Wright and subsequently Nimalsiri Rosa and Ranjit Rosa were in charge of the public address system during assembly. Apart from the occasional hiss and crackle they maintained it well. There were times when it all went dead but dark skinned Nimalsiri Rosa was "born to blush unseen".

The boarding taught me the value of regular study. L.A.Fernando, Ivor De Silva, E.L.Rodrigo, AJ Vethanayagam, DB Welikala, Ben Jayasinghe, Frank Jayasinghe, Wilfred Wickramasinghe, Henry Rajapakse and Charles Yesudian were the teachers who maintained law and order and helped the brotherhood to thrive and succeed. Hide and seek was a popular game played on a weekend. We had the whole school to hide in. Under the Assembly hall stage was a fine place for this, dark and quiet. The games went on for a whole day and kept us well amused and out of trouble.

Do you remember the little cubby hole behind the assembly hall where the bookshop was? Mr.Wilfred (cot rule) and "Pettha" E.L.Rodrigo sold the monitors exercise books, Dreadnought instrument boxes, College Hymnal and the Holy Bible. E.L.Rodrigo had his own rules of engagement depending on his mood. You couldn't pass the office without a comment from Eric De Silva or a stare from KM de Lanerolle through his black rimmed bifocals. We often met Marshall on the corridor giving us the bad news that the Principal is walking towards us. The 1st XI Cricketers and the Prefects were at the top of the pecking order and walked tall and with confidence. The rest had to dodge their way out of trouble. " Good morning Sir" to a teacher on the corridor usually got a Brownie point. In those days we were full of "yes Sir - no Sir" . We learnt the art of keeping out of harms way very early on in our school careers. It was as a boarder I came across Eric Gunasekera, an icon belonging to the post war era. He lived in retirement in an old palatial house on Karlshrue gardens with a lovely lawn and hedges full of flowers. Dressed in all white he stood by the roadside to ask the returning boarders for the cricket scores from Campbell Park. He was feeble then and almost blind but his enthusiasm for Wesley and its cricket remained strong as ever. Teachers of that calibre and dedication are sadly a rarity now. I have no such kind words for his bull terrier who took a bite off my thigh which needed a few stitches at the General Hospital Colombo. I must mention the Matrons - Mrs.Ruth Hindle and Mrs.Gomes who looked after the boys with much affection. They did the running repairs for us and to the new boys in the Junior Dorm provided a shoulder to cry on.

W.H.Davies speaking of leisure said "What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?" Amidst the hustle and bustle of hostel life there were placid moments too. I vividly recall one Sunday afternoon looking out of the dormitory window across the old primary block. In the distance was busy bustling Dematagoda. The monsoon storms were ready to unleash its wrath and the sky was purple. It seemed to be heading directly towards us. Nearer and nearer it came, until I started to worry that it would pick up the school . What descended on us in the boarding was hardly bearable. The lightning scrawled like a violent signature across the darkening sky. ' I was, terrified but enthralled, I watched from the window the wind as it spiralled elegantly across and the torrential rain erupted like a water spout. The thunder was deafening. The wind and the rain cleared as quickly as it came. The sun always won in the end. Analogous to the peaks and troughs of our own lives.

Vice Principal's Bungalow

1952-53 the 4th and 5th Stds of the Sinhalese stream was moved to the ground floor of the Vice-Principal's bungalow. The former was in the lounge and the latter in the dining room. We weren't allowed to use the toilets there and had the long march back to our old haunt by the cycle shed and the timing was crucial. We played in the VP's garden and helped ourselves to the juicy and mouth wateringly sour "billing" fruits. Lionel Jayasuriya lived upstairs and parked his ancient Austin 7 in the garage. He is now 101 years old and lives with his daughter. Mr. Wilfred and S.T.Perera kept the noise levels of the classes down to make it bearable for the Jayasuriya's and we complied when we could. The Principal's lawn was strictly out of bounds. Rather cut off from the rest of the pack we had a jolly good time. I believe Mr.Lanerolle was the occupant of that lovely spacious bungalow but was away in the USA for further studies.

In 1954 Lionel Jayasuriya was our class teacher and we were in Form 1 and in the Highfield Block. He loved settling disputes between students and sometimes the whole period was taken to solve a trivial problem. When we realised this most disputes were brought to him. He was particularly kind to me as the Jayasuriya family invited me for meals occasionally which was "manna" from heaven for a hungry boarder on a subsistence diet. He had thin scaly legs which he proudly displayed by placing his foot on the desk in front. This made the boys to call him "Kabaraya". We had another Kabaraya in the class- Chandra Weeraratne from Welihinda Estate Pelmadulla. The latter had a short fuse and was greatly irritated by this nick name. It was in this class that I realised the importance of hard work for a better life in the future. My parents were proud of my reports and I seem to enjoy the challenge and the competition from my very clever colleagues. From thereon I never looked back and good fortune was on my side.

I cannot speak highly enough of the beauty of our school garden and the estate. Raman from Cochin was the man in charge. He was good at his job, spoke little and said it with flowers. The lawn in front extended from the gate to the primary block. It had a border of Coleus and Cannas in full bloom. The front of the school had a tarred surface with stones in places. The tamarind tree must be a 100 years old as it is seen in the photo of 1907. It is time we gave it the respect it deserves. The tree must have seen many generations of students pass through school, Principals come and go and teachers begin and end their careers. There were several palm trees lining the drive up the hill with a few Casuarina trees. Belonging to the pine family Casuarinas produced spiky cones and needles which littered the ground in the dry season. There were many large spreading Flamboyant trees scattered in the grounds producing beautiful orange flowers in May. I was sad to note that a part of the elegant front lawn has been taken over for basketball. This brings me back to the sale of the small park which was ideal for sports. There are no words to describe this irresponsible move. At the rear there were Andara trees lining both sides of Karlshrue gardens forming a green canopy providing shade for the achcharu ladies and tit bit sellers. As boarders living on the premises 24hours of the day we knew every blade of grass,every stone and all the ripening papaw fruits within the boundary. On returning to these very grounds after 40 years the changes seem a flagrant infringement of our cherished memory.

Casuarina tree
Casuarina cones and needles and Flamboyant Tree

 

1955 saw the emergence of Rock 'N Roll music. The first rock 'n' roll record to achieve national popularity was "Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets . I queued for hours in the heat of the day to see the film at the Savoy. Bill Haley succeeded in creating a music that appealed to youth because of its exciting back beat, its urgent call to dance, and the action of its lyrics. The booming base and the twang of electric guitars produced a foot tapping sound. Haley abruptly ended the ascendancy of the bland and sentimental ballads of the crooners popular in the 1940s and early 50s. I was then in the boarding, singing, clicking my fingers and gyrating to the music coming through the Rediffusion set in the Hostel common room. Music of Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard and the Shadows was all consuming to us teenagers. The Colgate Hit-parade on Tuesdays was as good as watching cricket on a Saturday. I cannot believe nearly 50 years have passed since those exciting times in our youth.

1955 we were in Form 2 and were back to the main building in the classroom at the bottom of the stairs to the library. Mr.Felix Premawardhana was our class teacher. He gave us a heavy dose of Sinhala and drilled into us the value of good pronunciation. Mr.Sahabandu taught us Geography and Ivan Ondaatje- English. The year was rather uneventful and passed rapidly.

1956 was the beginnings of the political decline of our country. We moved away from the Westminster style gentlemanly politics into an abyss. The jingoism and the ultra-nationalism was a recipe for division and disaster. It was Albert Einstein who said that Nationalism is an infantile disease and is the measles of mankind. The rapid abolition of English as the state language drove many educated people away from the country. The Burghers who formed a colourful community and contributed immensely to the welfare of the island emigrated in their thousands to Australia, England and Canada. They had a tremendous love for life which they showed in the way they lived . I remember the sad goodbyes when my friends left. The first Dutch Burghers came to Ceylon four centuries ago, when the maritime provinces of the island came under the Dutch East India Company. They joined the legal, medical and teaching professions. The likes of C.A.Lorensz played a major role in the fight for independence. During my time at school the Burghers ran the CGR and did so most efficiently. The time keeping of the Ceylon Railways was second to none. Their departure coincided with the economic and political decline and saw the beginning of the ethnic divisions which ravaged the Island. In 1957 we saw CJ Oorloff leave Wesley for Trinity College just as I had got accustomed to his face. He steered the school through some difficult times after Independence. Mr.P.H.Nonis brought a more relaxed style. He was a kind and gentle person but very efficient and Wesley continued to move steadily onward.

We had our share of sorrow. Devananda Peiris was a tubby, happy lad and played his part in the rough and tumble of boarding life. Once when we returned after the August holidays learnt that he died of complications of appendicitis. I recall we were utterly devastated and it dawned on us of our own mortality at a very young age. The second tragedy was that of DGM Perera who had just left school at the age of 12 to attend Pembroke Academy. For some unknown reason decided to commit suicide. We spoke about this and sulked for many weeks. The loss of Hermon Claessen in a motor cycle accident was tragic indeed. Hermon was an excellent cricketer and a wonderful person too. Shanthi Perera lost his life soon after leaving school and joining the Air force, in an air accident. He was a Senior Prefect and a talented musician. End of the year we gave our Class teacher a present which was the tradition. At the end of every year many left the boarding and the school and I recall the sadness of our goodbyes. Kottachchi ( I believe his 1st name was Sarath) who was a fit, muscular Sea Scout drowned in the murky waters of the Beira Lake, whilst rowing . He lived in Kolonnawa and I remember attending the funeral with numerous other Wesleyites. Even now the demise of school friends and teachers is as hard to accept though it is 40 years since I left school.

In the boarding we were fascinated by the occult and ghosts. We believed the darkness concealed secrets of a world beyond . Numerous stories were told of past principals who walked the corridors at night. They all wore white and disappeared when confronted. Mostly these were confabulations by students to pass the time. I personally have not had any such encounters . As these stories were told and re-told with the passage of time there were interesting additions to make it sound more plausible. The school laboratory was a no go area after dark and boarders had seen apparitions walking back late on a moonlit night. This was our resident ghost. Be it a restless soul of a person who cannot break off his ties with Wesley or a figment of someone's imagination, the stories have been passed down through many generations to be incorporated into the folklore of the school.

Every year around Christmas time, students are faced with two major events. The one most thought about is upcoming exams and this tends to blot out any Holiday cheer. Students are also faced with the Annual Carol Service. The service is a silver lining in the black cloud of exams. It allows people to forget their present worries and experience a little Holiday spirit. Also, it is an opportunity for the Parents and Well wishers to get together in a positive atmosphere. During my years at school we always had an active choir and recall Maxwell de Alwis as the Dickensian Master in charge of the baton. A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols was held in the great hall at school and a Carol Service at the Maradana Methodist Church. They were very well attended and enjoyable occasions. Before the end of term we hired a coach to knock on the doors of various prominent old boys and Methodist dignitaries to sing carols and earn a plateful of delicious cakes and aerated waters. I have vivid memories of Dayaprasad Peries singing "Once in Royal David City" and the husky baritone voice of Joy Jayawickreme's "Good King Wenceslaus". We sang at the British Royal Airforce base at Katunayake. Katunayake then was a sleepy little town. I remember the cool December mornings going to the tap opposite the Baseline end of the Primary Block to wash my face. At dawn before sunrise there was a cool breeze, a sky full of stars and in the distant orange haze the silhouette of Adam's Peak. We spoke and dreamed of going home for the holidays to be pampered once again by our parents. The hope was for a good school report and a safe passage to the next class.

Opposite the Hostel Dining Room

A horse is described as dangerous at both ends and uncomfortable in the middle. 1958- I remember it well as the year when the sport of Kings - horse racing that began in 1922 was banned in Ceylon. I am no punter and it had no effect on me personally but a Saturday ritual of many, rich and poor, was suddenly taken away. The bookmakers and the cutomers went underground and business flourished. The beautiful Reid Avenue Grand Stand and its spacious turf was left to decay and wither. It was 1972 when we changed from Ceylon to Sri Lanka. Street names were changed too. Overnight the well known landmarks in Colombo lost their links with the past. It disorientated the older folk and disillusioned the young. Many still asks themselves whether all this was ever necessary. The cost of this exercise was bourne by our sagging economy. Meanwhile there were changes in my personal life too. I left the boarding. I felt lost for awhile but the impending exams helped me to recover and move ahead. Preparing and sitting for the GCE one feels grown-up. During PH Nonis' kingship the senior students and the Prefects were given special privileges. We were bigger than the rest and some of us represented the school in sports, certainly adding a feather to the cap. There was a hardcore of "honkers" and "rioters" (not terrorists) whose main idea was to disrupt class with jokes and vice cracks. Looking back they helped to break the monotony adding a bit of spice to school life. Those who took it to the extreme fell foul of the law with serious results. It amazed me how little they cared about the exams which for most of us was the passport to a reasonable future. After leaving school, thankfully, they all found their niche in life without being in the scrap heap. Some of them have had outstanding careers having had the best of both worlds.

I enjoyed immensely the pomp and pageantry of the School Prize giving and was fortunate to receive prizes almost every year until I left including the Gogerly Scholarship for the best SSC results. Though it mattered much at the time it is now only a passing memory and matters little in the larger scheme of things in life. Those who never received any prices at all went on to great things later on in Medicine, Law , Engineering and Politics. The event was an opportunity for the parents to see their boys' achievements recognised in public. The Hill Medal was the coveted prize for the best performance in the University Entrance examination. The sportsmen of the school too received their awards. At the end of the event the Senior Prefect proposed a vote of thanks to the Chief Guest and made a plea for a holiday on Monday - which too was granted. I do not believe this format and its rituals have changed over the years but I stand to be corrected.

For every person wishing to teach there are thirty not wanting to be taught. The struggle to educate that thirty was endless. We had a vast array of teachers ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. Charles Silva was a small kindly man with a round face and taught Pali. He spoke with his mouth closed and the lips hardly moved like a ventriloquist. I had no intention of taking this subject seriously and he just could not fathom how stupid I was. I remember being dismissed as a loafer and a bad influence on the others. He was a dedicated teacher and took his task seriously producing some excellent results. He finally rose to become the Vice Principal of the school. A well deserved position indeed after more than 25 years service to Wesley. Tall gaunt eccentric Sethukavalar taught Maths and Physics. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of matters scientific but was an absent minded professor. He made a hissing sound at the end of every sentence and many students learnt to mimic him. He once related the story of a gathering of Chemists to decide on the worlds best solvent that would dissolve everything. One bright spark asked "where are you going to store it?" Sethu was a most popular teacher and we were sad to see him leave for Union College Tellipalai. I saw the obituary of Mr.N.E.H.Fonseka a couple of weeks ago in the Ceylon Daily News. He taught Sinhala and looked the part with his national dress. "NEH" tolerated no nonsense and taught well. Felix Premawardene and his brother Cyril were so different in appearance and style like chalk and cheese. Felix taught Sinhala and history, had a big tummy and a handle bar moustache. He barked commands at us and was tough. Punishments came thick and fast. Cyril was gentle wore his "dog collar" and was a man of GOD. CJT Thamotheram was a fine maths teacher, one of the best having obtained a first class in the subject. His last few years were marred by the controversy about the lack of promotion to a higher rank. When he left for England we lost a good teacher. Dabrera taught us Rugby in the Maths and Physics classes. As for the exam results your guess is good as mine. He was a good and friendly person and most helpful if you played in his team. Perhaps "Dubby" believed Oscar Wilde who said " Nothing that is worth learning can ever be taught". He was greatly respected at school. After leaving Wesley he taught in London and spent his retirement in the UK. I was deeply saddened to hear that he passed away in the late 1990's.

For English we had some excellent teachers. Fred Abeysekera, Mr. David Joseph and Ivan Ondaatje. Fred-A and Ivan-O gave us a good grounding and David-J built on it. I met Mr. Joseph at the Ceylon Student Centre in London in 1974. We both had gone there for some gossip and a cheap "buth curry". He was returning to Ceylon after a teaching assignment in Somalia. The troubles in the horn of Africa was not to his liking. We spoke at length on the happy days at Wesley and put the world to right . I wonder what's happened to him since. JLF De Mel or De Mel Pappa never taught me but was the headmaster. He spoke softly and slowly and his manner was gentle. I can't recall hearing him say a cruel or harsh word about anyone. I had many opportunities to appear before him to argue my case. To speak he made a circle with his lips as if to whistle which often amused me. I cannot think of a kinder man. He was a father figure for us all. "Pappa" was a deeply religious person taking an active part in the school services and in the chapel. Miss. Iris Blacker was more than a teacher for the Primary School. She was an institution. Though slightly built and very slim we felt she was like a fire blowing dragon and was capable of reducing anyone to tears by her fierce look and the swing of her hand. She maintained strict discipline and kept us firmly in the straight and narrow path. I think every school needs a Miss. Blacker to instil in the juniors a fear of the law and a respect for the school rules. It is much later in our school life we realised what an invaluable part she played for well over a quarter of a century. Without her at least some of us would have spent sometime in the in the large building opposite Wesley. I wish life treated her kindly in her retirement for her tireless work. We shouldn't forget the Kindergarten and the wonderful work of Mrs. Joyce Leembrugen and Mrs. S.E.G.Perera and also Mrs. Deutrom and Mrs. Sheila Wijeyakoon. The blocks opposite the old Tuck Shop belonged to the little ones. Passing through that way they always seemed to be singing nursery rhymes giving it an air of calmness and serenity. St Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit Order once said " give me the child until he is seven and I will show you the man". The quip proclaims that early education can decisively mould childrens' characters and future. Those teachers did that wonderfully well. I can still picture the swagger of Miss Iris Blacker, "come for a fight" walk of Mr.Wilfred or the 'fielders' walk of Edmund Dissanayake. JLF De Mel always had a kind word when met on the corridor. Physics Silva with his thick rimmed glasses , bless him, walked with a football between his legs. Dabrera never failed to ask why we weren't there for the rugby practices. L.A.Fernando was dressed in white with long sleeves and wore a smile on his face. Meeting a fellow boarder on the corridor is a certain hazard as he would either step on your toes or give a knock on the head. As many of the teachers stayed long the stories about them entered the folklore of the school. There is a story about a teacher who cycled home at night when a policeman stopped him for not carrying a light. As he was smoking he showed the policeman his cigarette saying "this is my light". He successfully defended his prosecution when the law was later amended.

Mr Eric De Silva

Mr. Eric De Silva who was the College Bursar lived in the room next to the sickroom. He was treated with as much respect as a boarding master. Eric was one of 5 brothers all of whom were Methodist Ministers and he was not far behind as a man of God. He is one of the kindest persons I have had the privilege to meet. His long strides and stooped body was a familiar sight in the long passage by the Principal's grounds leading to the hostel. I believe his son now has taken over the job in the school office. On looking back it seems to me that towards the end of my school career the teachers grew younger as we grew older. Working for exams and the struggle for a better future lay heavily on us. The rapid growth spurt in the teenage years gave us the added height and weight. The facial hair and the coarsening features made us look and feel older. The teachers seem unchanged from whence we started.

During my years at school we wore navy blue shorts and pearl white shirts until the 4th Form when suddenly we became adults and wore long trousers called "longs". The fashion was to wear 'Hentley' white trousers and Diplomat shirts. They were stiffly starched and whiter than white- well, most of the time.

On looking back we believed teachers wielded immense power and perhaps they did. But law enforcement was done with knowing restraint influenced mostly by their faith. Others depended firmly on the swish of the cane. Punishments at school were a necessity to keep the riff raffs on the straight and narrow. The types of punishments were brought to Wesley by the British Principals from English Public Schools like Eton, Rugby and Harrow. They were harsh and on looking back unnecessary. There were times when I raged at the injustice of punishments. In this 21st Century of human rights, corporal punishment is looked down upon as demeaning and humiliating for which there is no real need. Reading the reminiscences from the first half of the last century we get a glimpse of those hard times. By the 1950's when I joined corporal punishment was mostly confined to the primary classes. It felt like capital punishment. The majority of the teachers having been to Teacher Training school learnt to control the class without the need for the cane. Throwing the duster or chalk and slaps with the hand were not uncommon. Standing on the form or outside the class was a favourite too. Mr. Wilfred pinched the tummy quite hard until the tears rolled down. CJ Oorloff liked the cane and gave an almighty swing with a grunt like a Wimbledon tennis player serving for the match. Having received a caning once for swearing when I came out of his office just swore again, this time quietly for the "injustice". It never had its desired effect!! Edmund Dissanayake , Lionel Jayasuriya, Charles Yesudian, Charles Silva and DB Welikala were teachers who never used physical force but taught and controlled the classes well. Saturday detention with the names read out at Friday assembly was a hard one to take but was fair.

The school magazine was produced annually and was a summary of the years activities. The editorship was a prestigious position and usually went to a student in the lower sixth who has excelled in the GCE and had a "free" year in the lower sixth before the University Entrance exams. It had painstaking standards with regard to accuracy, grammar, style and ethics. The magazines were issued in the middle of the year and the hunt for articles started in January. The advertisements were a necessity to reduce the cost of its production and pages were sold to known companies through old boys, parents and well wishers. I cannot remember the cost of the magazine and I didn't care about it either as my parents paid . Sports took pride of place with photographs of the teams and also of the Senior Prefect and his team of prefects who helped maintain law and order. There were often tales from the past of teachers and Principals and also reports of old boys who have done the school proud by their achievements. No magazine was complete without a reference to our roots in the dusty, crowded Dam street and the part played by Rev Highfield in the new Wesley. There was a list of all the prize winners with the Principal's and Chief guest's addresses at the annual prize giving. The obituaries of old boys featured towards the end with the "Valete" of the school leavers. These were published by Caxton Press or Wesley Press in a glossy finish and done to the highest standards. I kept these valued journals for many years after leaving school but was unable to safeguard them when I left the country. The loss of these magazines that were an excellent review of my school years remain a deep regret.

There were many clubs and societies at school. The SCM must have been the most popular amongst the devout Christians. The many students who have become priests shows the message wasn't discarded. Despite my Christian upbringing I have become a heathen and moved away from the Church. Nevertheless I have the greatest respect for their teaching and the message. The suffering that I see in hospitals may have made me cynical about religion. There was an active Drama Society expertly managed by Felix Premawardhana and Haigh Karunaratne, themselves very talented actors. There are lots of reasons why people become actors. Some to hide themselves and some to show themselves. Like classical music Drama was an upper class pursuit beyond my comprehension. It was much later in life living in London that the theatre and the classical music began to strike a chord. At school I much preferred to swing a bat or get into some mischief with the boys. A photo is a piece of reality and often a fragment of the truth. There was a photographic club with Nimalsiri Rosa at the helm. I recall his darkroom with a red light in some dinghy corner of the main building. He was the official photographer and must have a tremendous collection of photographs from the 1950's. There was once a craze for bubble gum pictures which we exchanged with friends. Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Johnny Weismuller as Tarzan featured in them prominently. Stamp collecting was popular too. I never could draw and it amazed me when some students produced landscape drawings so much like the real thing. The object of art is to give life a shape. Mervyn Wickramasinghe was a superb artist during our time and his caricatures of Principals teachers and students adorned the school magazines for many years. He qualified as a Zoologist from the University of Ceylon and contributed immensely to the fight against the malarial parasite in Ceylon. His botanical and zoological illustrations at school were masterpieces. Much has been said about the school choir and its wonderful productions and the names of Ivor De Silva, Maxwell De Alwis and Haig Karunaratne come to mind as those in charge in the 1950's and early 60's. Performing Bach's Matthew Passion and Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring during lent and the Operetta Alad-In- and Out was for me the highlights of the School Choir during those years. Mary Colin-Thome's excellent piano accompaniment needs a mention for her dedication to music in the school.

True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it be lost. No account of school life is complete without mention of friendships. It must be one of the finest things of Gods creation. I have shared my triumphs and sorrows with my friends. There were occasions when I have owned up for things I didn't do to share the blame and punishment. My friends have reciprocated generously too. On being a boarder they were mostly 24 hour friendships. I felt we will be friends and always together. Sports, choir, SCM, Scout Troup and the various other groups brought us closer together. When a boarder has had a visit from home and was flushed with money and food he had more friends than he could cope with. The parting on leaving school must have been the saddest occasion of my life. Many of the school friends I never saw again. Thanks to the OBU's worldwide they have become a forum and a meeting place for us all. Hearing of the death of school friends and seeing their name in the obituary columns still cause heartache and much sadness. Email and easier and cheaper telecommunications have helped to track down friends and keep in touch. The twelve years in school seemed like a lifetime then. The friends from school were closer than those I have made since, the ties being stronger in those formative years.

As the years pass and the grey hairs appear there comes an irresistible urge to find school friends. The internet and better telecommunications have helped tremendously. It was just the other day when I was to meet MW Wickramaratne after 40 years opposite Bond Street station at 3pm. We walked past each other a few times before we finally made contact. We met Ranjit Rosa at Claridges and had a long chat. The years in between melted away when we spoke as if it was another meeting on the school corridor in the late 50's. The passage of time and the rigors of work and family have taken its toll but the spirit of camaraderie and friendship has not diminished. The bonds were made and firmed in the classrooms and playing fields of Wesley College. How very true are the words of John Milton:

The childhood shows the man
As morning shows the day

The Tuck shop was a special favourite of boarders and day boys. In the small interval it was completely packed out. The metal roof and the wooden walls painted in Solignum black gave it an intimidating look. Wijemanne ran it well and provided what the customers wanted. There were plenty of sweets, bullto, peppermints, hoonu betty, Lanka Lime and Orange Barley. 'Aerated water' bottle cost 25 cents There was plain tea and milk tea specially stretched by Jinadasa to give it a froth.. The fish buns (15 cents) were very special and tastily packed with tinned salmon. In the boarding I enjoyed the mealtimes more than the meals. The hardened string hoppers and the hoppers like flying saucers didn't vet my appetite. Wijemanne gave the boarders on credit to be paid on pocket money day- Friday. Wije gave special preference to cricketers after a good innings the previous weekend. I met him in 1992 when the Tuck shop had moved to the little room opposite the hostel staircase. Being an astute businessman he was candid and outspoken but was a generously loyal old boy. When I met him last we spoke at length about those happy times remembering mutual friends. He even offered me and my sons free Coca Cola, an unthinkable act during my schooldays. For all those years of service we should call the new Tuck shop "The Wijemanne Tuck shop". I just cannot imagine the Tuck without Wije (Senior).

A nickname is the heaviest stone that a devil can throw at a man. At school a nickname was our real identity and they were the bane of our school lives. TW De Silva in his early years had coarse features. They called him "kimbula" (alligator).He was in our class and had an awful stammer starting every sentence with a "ffffffff". Thankfully he got over it. The son of a Methodist priest became "Padiliya". The teachers weren't exempt. AJ Vethanayagam was "Balli" (bitch). Mr.Wilfred became "padlock" and El Rodrigo "Pettha". There was a streak of cruelty in us too. A boy with a crooked jaw from birth was called "monkey".

As we reached the top of the pile, in the sixth form , the end of our school life was upon us. We were then on the edge of childhood when life was beautiful and saw the world in vivid technicolour. Adulthood with its heartaches,responsibilities and accountability was only just round the corner. As we looked to the uncertain future, the poem of Christina Rossetti came to mind.

Will the road wind uphill all the way
Yes, to the very end
Will the days journey take the whole long day
From morn to night my friend

Without leaving the thoughts so negative, I would add

Will there be no joy, no hope, no success?
To overfill your cup, my friend, until the cup runneth over

When I left school in 1962 the politics of the country was in crisis and our coffers were empty. The many upheavals, disunity and the workers strikes had brought the country to its knees. The Government grant to assisted schools had stopped and the financial crisis at school began. An optional fee was charged from all students to keep the school afloat. Small park was sold with the Wesley College Flats to balance the budget. This must have been the hardest time for the school since life began in 1874. We seem to have emerged from those hard times bruised but not beaten with a vision of better times ahead.

It is hard to describe my excitement at entering Medical College. I felt in some strange way this was my destiny. Nothing else was more important. I looked forward to hard work anticipating the fabulous goal ahead. I felt the romance of being a bohemian medical student. I felt special. I was proud and arrogant. I presume I am allowed to have these delusions of grandeur as a teenager with all my life before me. I must confess, now approaching the end of my medical career I see it all differently. My degree was a kind of innoculation to make me immune to the rigors of the profession for the rest of my life. After a lifetime of medical practice with its disruptive routines and demands upon time, patience and endurance I now see the light at the end of the tunnel.

After a lapse of 15 years I went back to Wesley College in 1992. The front gates which were open 24 hours of the day were closed and padlocked. There was a sentry on duty with an AK47 which was taller than him. Due to disuse my Sinhala was poor and had to scrape the barrel to string a few sentences together which seem to amuse the guard. GCE pass in Sinhala and years of toil with Felix Premawardhana and Kumara Rachanaya did not seem to come to my rescue. He shook his head, waved his hand and went back into his wooden box. I was pleased to see Marshall Perera come towards me and open the gates. He admonished the guard for his ignorance that I was an Old Boy. 30 years seem to have passed him by and he remained unchanged when all around him had altered beyond recognition. Over 50 years at Wesley must have equalled the record of Ranis and what a feat it is. Marshall remembered everything and everyone and gave me a complete rundown of events. We walked and talked for a couple of hours visiting every corner of the school which brought back heavy memories of friends and teachers. The hostel has been scaled down and there were some new buildings. What struck me most was the neglected state of the school estate which was immaculate during my time. The front garden and lawn were in ruins and the corridors littered with paper rolling about in the wind. It gave the impression of a school in decline. The falling plaster and the greenish discolouration of the walls confirmed this impression. I was happy to see the school in better repair in 1996 and subsequent visits. Meanwhile the Old Boys have acknowledged the contribution made by Marshall Perera and donated a house in Kekirawa for his retirement. Walking along the narrow alleyways of the school, the network of corridors and stepping into those classrooms brought back heavy memories. I remember playing there as a child, but had forgotten the intricate details for several decades having lived abroad all these years. They form part of that landscape of childhood, apparently completely forgotten and yet instantly and intensely recognisable. They are moments that remind you of the things that are so familiar that they shock you into attention. I'm not quite sure why those sorts of experiences are such a jolt. With me the shocks are about the passage of time. There is an eerie silence that leaves me wondering where all the friends and the time have gone. Even the peeling plaster and the green lichen on the outside walls of the school, though trivial, are also a part of the deep strata of memory that permeates my past..After every visit I left Wesley with a heavy heart and a head full of memories. Recovery from this blast of nostalgia took several weeks.

The school owes a great debt to the OBU Colombo for its support over the years. Wesley would not have survived the bashing it received from successive Governments but for the immense support from the Old Boys. The OBU has always been a mixed group which has given differing opinions but united in its support. The militant rebels and the far right have been a strength harnessed by the luminaries who held centre ground like OE Goonetilleke, Terrence De Zylva and MH Mohammed. I sincerely hope the newcomers holding the centre have the courage and the support to move ahead and meet the challenges of the future. The OBU is a powerful body and has been a king pin and a king maker with a tremendous responsibility on its broad shoulders. The past has shown us Wesley College is only as good as its OBU. It is my hope the Union remains a beacon to the head of the school and an exemplary example to the present students of its value. It is our hope in turn they as old boys will provide the same service to the school.

When we first went to Wesley we joined a school with a unique way of life. Life thereafter was moulded by its customs and traditions. The founding fathers of the school have entrusted the principals and the teachers to maintain the academic standards, sports and the traditions that make Wesley so special. It is our hope they would succeed in this task.
I wish someone said to me on the day I set foot on the hallowed grounds of Wesley College " This is the most important day of your life. Nothing will ever be the same again. You have not chosen a school but a whole way of life". And so it was for the next 12 years - an experience that was to stay with me for the rest of my life. Whatever may lie in store for us and Wesley, one thing at least is certain, the magic that drew my father, his brother and myself to this lovely school endures.

Greetings to all those Wesleyites past and present. I consider it more than a privilege to write these notes . Although it is nearly 50 years since leaving school the memories remain fresh and clear. To all Wesleyites I send my personal good wishes. To my many close and dear friends I send my warmest regards hoping we have the good fortune to meet again.


Thanks for the memory.

 


Wesley's public figures and contribution to good governance

As I remember on January 16, 2002 by Shanti McLelland.

Sir Don Baron Jayatillake undoubtedly was the most famous political philosopher from Wesley to carve a name in Sri Lanka in the last century. Don Baron as popularly known during his school days, was only another name I often heard in the conversations of the elders of Kotte. HJVI was one of the closest friends and strategic associates. HJVI steered clear of hard core politics and was the front for DBJ's extraordinary vision for Sri Lanka's political future free from the British. The Baron Jayatillaka Mawatha at the heart of Fort will always remind us of the great Wesleyite who turned teacher, diplomat, and political philosopher.

Sir Oliver Goonatillake, will never be forgotten for his Sir Winston Churchill style administration and decision making in critical situations. The first Sri Lankan Governor General after Independence in 1948. We knew him more popularly for his presence at the Queens Scout Badge award ceremony, Presence at the Public Schools for the Governor General Cup award ceremony, and more closely at the Wesley College Prize Giving.

CWW Kannagara was the Father of Free Education. More have been written about CWW, DBJ, and OEG.

Mr. Terrence de Zylva was a true son of Wesley, a man of extraordinary Grit. He was a great social reformer, stood for the economically weak and down trodden. Stood by his political and educational reform convictions even at the cost of his life. He was famous for his Suriyamal (poppy) campaign and for setting up a school almost next to Wesley to cater to those he were not able to enter Wesley College. Wesley would be always proud of Terrence for his leadership.

Messers. Gehan Cassim, P.B. Heart, and J.C.P. Wickremanayake held public office while Rajah Sinnadurai, Kingsley Wickremaratne, A.M.Mohideen were others who entered the political arena at various periods of time.
Gehan Cassim a planner and an administrator, contributed a lot to Wesley during the 1974-1980 time period. He was at the fore front at a time there were no great names or loyal Wesleyites around to rally to help run the school as a non fee-levying, non-assisted private school.
P.B. Heart was the president of the OBU in late 1970's. P.B. infused a lot of enthusiasm to develop the OBU to a strong body with high standards.
J.C.P.Wickremanayake was one of Wesley's stalwarts. He made a gigantic contribution to the Welfare Society in particular and the OBUin general.
Rajah Sinnadurai could be considered the most photographed Wesleyite in the 1970's. Rajah spearheaded the OBU at a time it was just sagging with inactivity. As an All Island Justice of the Peace, Rajah brought in the big names in politics and business to infuse a lot of interest in the OBU affairs in the early 1980's.
Kingsley Wickemaratne propelled himself up thorough the International Jaycees, sheer hard work at his Wicks Advertising organization, and affiliations with the Hotel industry. Kingsley was the President of the OBU just before the Centenary celebrations.
A.M. Mohideen who was Senior Prefect in the mid 1960's. Head of the college debating team, tried a stint with College Rugger, and entered Vidyodaya University from Wesley at time our University entrants were not that many. Mohideen put on many caps, as politician, business magnate, and travel tycoon. Mohideen managed to win the hearts of all whom he worked with a sense of great humor and outstanding wit.

The most outstanding and long-standing name in Sri Lanka's politics from Wesley undoubtedly goes to the Mohameds. Mr. Mohamed Haniffa Mohamed started the race after being elected as a member to the Colombo Municipal Council in 1947. He was at Wesley during Rev. Albert Hutchinson and Rev. John Dalby. Held the post of Mayor of Colombo 1960-63, Member of Parliament 1965 to date. Popularly known as M.H. from the heart of Borella, held the important positions; Speaker 1989-1994, Minister of Labour, Employment, and Housing, Minister of Transport, Minister for Security for Commercial and Industrial Establishments, and Muslim religios and Cultural Affairs. He was the President of the OBU during the resurgence of the Union in the late 1980's.
M.H. Mohamed's contribution to Wesley and Sri Lanka's politics did not end there. He introduced 5 illustrious sons to Wesley. Hussain Mohamed was the first. Hussain followed in his father's footsteps to be elected as Mayor of Colombo in 1989 for a period of 3 years. Hussain was first elected to the Colombo Municipal Council in 1966 son after leaving Wesley and held on to this seat till 1993. He was Deputy Mayor of CMC from 1979 to 1989 and from 1993 to date a member of the Western Provincial Council. Hassen G. Mohamed the next in line opted to support the father and elder brother rather than take a role in public. Ahamed Azahim Mohamed spear headed the campaign for a OBU web site. Azahim had a vision and implemented the OBU International web site with the assistance of Dr. Douglas Amerasekera in the spring of year 2001. I lost track of the next of kin, M.Haniffa Mohamed after leaving school. Finally the youngest Shaul Hameed Mohamed once again took to National politics. Shaul helped immensely to develop the current Wesley College Cricket grounds and the pavilion in the early 1990's. Shaul was first elected to the Colombo District Development Council in 1982, held this position till 1987. Then he was elected as a member of the Western Provincial Council in 1988. He was Leader of the House of the Western Provincial Council from 1989 to 1993. The tradition that started with M.H. Mohamed's father in the early 1900's will definitely continue for many more years.

May Wesley continue produce some of the best in Sri Lanka's Public Administration.

 


 

Name dropping by Shanti McLelland January 15, 2002

Snap shot 1.
Lakshman Samaraweera was a prominent Old Boy who made it to all of the annual general meetings without fail. He contributed a lot of time to actively serve most of the committees: Welfare Society, Governing Board, and the OBU Committee. Always dressed in whit, with a broad smile, and never short of serious advice. He was always a keen supporter of the cricket, athletic and hockey teams.
Mahes Samaraweera made sure the father's visions were achieved in Rugger, Athletics, Cricket, and Hockey. Mahes was a college prefect and was an outstanding student. He was an officer of outstanding caliber.
The other names that come to my mind, to link together: Githal Peiris and Ravi Peiris. Both excelled in hockey and were very amiable and great friends who would find impossible to make enemies.

Snap shot 2.
Dallas and Delmer Achillies were two outstanding Wesleyites. Fine gentlemen. Dallas excelled in music and could blow the trumpet as good as Armstrong the great. I remember his feats vaguely, in drama, college choir, and walking up the stage at most of the Prize givings. Delmer was an allround sportsman and in particular a stylish left hand batsman and an excellent cricketer. He could have made the National side without a doubt. Both appeared to believe that dress maketh the man. All contemporaries will remember Dallas and Delmer as outstanding friends.

Snap shot 3.
Neil and Christopher Harvie. Both excelled in sports and studies. Both captained the college Hockey team and played cricket. Both were college prefects and were part of the OWSC hockey team success story of 1972. As hostellers, both were role models to the juniors with great leadership qualities. Christopher went on to break the College 800 and 1500m records after the 880yds and 1mile was replaces with the metric measurements.
Another name that pop up is Tyronne (Buster) Harvie. Represented the school at field hockey and was a definite name in the National Hockey Pool for many years. Neil, Christopher, and Tyronne will be remembered as affable and honest friends.

Snap shot 4.
Patrick and Anton Edema were proud Wesleyites. Both were College prefects, Patrick was senior prefect. They were outstanding sportsmen. Anton excelled in the Long Jump and 100m at the Public Schools meet. Patrick was best in Discus, Putt Shot, and 400M. Did yeomen service as 1st X1 hockey goalie. Both joined the defense services to serve the country.

Snap shot 5.
Nimal, Malik, and Palitha Suraweera will not be easily forgotten by their schoolmates. Just great friends would be the quickest way to describe them. Nimal was best I the choir and to entertain with his unforgettable voice, which he stubbornly and proudly mesmerized both the school boys and the girls. Malik was one of the most technically sound hurdlers that matched another one of Wesley's top athlete's O.K.Hemachandra. Malik also topped the discus and high jump events at any of the sports meets. Palitha with a broad smile was one who made a name with a lot of colleagues in the 60-70's.

Snap shot 6.
Sridhran and Hariharan Jeganathan are just unforgettable. The twins eclipsed to other two elder brothers. Great sportsmen. Made a name anywhere they went. Both were outstanding cricketers and hockey players at National level. Sri represented Sri Lanka in Cricket and Hari in Hockey. Could fill into any Rugger, Soccer, or Softball team. The best of them I remember was a flawless partnership of over 100 against Ananda. There would never be a dull moment with the 4 brothers.

Snap shot 7.
Dr. Shee Hung and Dr. Ma Hung. They were best remembered for those bone crushing Rugger tackles. Highly disciplined with one focus of getting into medical college. Left the College Hostel to concentrate on studies. Both excelled in Rugger, Soccer, Athletics and Judo.

Snap shot 8.
Mahenrda and Danesh Dissanayake were Wesley's best in cricket. Just outstanding in academics and extra-curricular activities. Made both their parents, Grahame and Edmund Dissanayake proud. They could have been easily elected as best schoolboy cricketers in Sri Lanka or abroad.

Snap shot 9.
Mervyn, Russel, and Granville Harmer. Too much is not enough. They were Wesley's pride. Outstanding cricketers, would have been automatic choices for any National side. Excelled in soccer. Both were excellent in the Javelin Throw Event. Walked smart and upright would call a spade with no reservation.

Snap shot 10.
Rohan and Prasan Wijesinghe. Their names are synonymous with Badminton. Both excelled and were champion badminton players. Rohan and Pasan both taught at Wesley and coached the badminton teams. Wesley was giants during the time Prasan was in charge of College Badminton. We were national champions. It was at that time Wesley used the College hall for most of the championship tournaments. Wesley were just famous nationally for badminton. Rohan came back to help Wesley in athletics. Rohan excelled in athletics: Javelin, Discus Throw, and High Jump. Two Wesley's prefects, sportsmen, and teachers.


 

Shanti McLelland - Wesley College Scout Troop 1960 to 1964

I would watch my friends enjoying themselves in the activities of the College Cub Pack. Mr. Wilfred Wickremasinghe and E. L. Rodrigo had a lot of followers from the primary school. No amount of coaxing by my friends would entice me to join the Cub pack while in the primary, nor the Scout Troop when I passed on to the middle school, grade 6 or Form 1, as we preferred to be known as. My friend who shared the double desk, Anurudha Jayawardane just could not convince that scouting was one great group adventure. But, as always, necessity made me change my mind.
The 14th Colombo Troop had registered to participate at the Colombo Scout Camporee. It was June of 1960. They had one last minute problem; the Parrot patrol had one member sick and could not make the mandatory 8 to compete in the competitions. So two of the best scouts, Anurudha and Mohan Abraham dragged me to join the troop. I had the option to switch back if I did not like the experience of the 3-day camp at Bullers road, at then Divinity school grounds. Mr. R. E. Abraham was the chief Scout Master. R.E. was one of the best scoutmasters who could motivate to take up a challenge. One of the best, Wesley could boast of.


e2
Inimitable Mr.E.L.Rodrigo (Sir) Mr Rodrigo in July 2009

During the period 1960 to 1964, Wesley went to camp at 1960 (June 16-19) and 1961 (June 29-Juky 02). 1962 Golden Jubilee Jamboree (February 02 - March 03). Hanwella, Mirigama Camp 1962, April 15-20, Preethipura, Hendala 1962, Sept. 12-16, Hanwella 1963, April 05 - 11, and Pedro Camp 1963 Dec. 8-14.
Mr. R. E. Abraham led the 1960 Camporee. The 1961 camp was without a scoutmaster after Mr. Abraham left Wesley. We were left to self-serve. Seniors like Ravindra De Silva, Adanadanesan, Vijith Kuruppu, Tissa Weeratunga, and Sathanandan did a great job keeping the 14th Colombo together. Some of the campers during this period I remember are: Ravindra de Silva, K.Vijith Kuruppu, Tissa Weeratunga, D. Anandanesan, P. Sathanandan, Anurudha Jayawardana, Mohan Abraham, Charles David, Merril Cooray, M.Satahsivam, T. Y. Daniles, S. Ariyanayagam, Anura Perera, and Sextus Taylor, S. Ramakrishnan, M.Fazy, Ronald de Zilva and Hussain Mohamed.

The following year 1962, the most important Golden Jubilee Jamboree year was one again survived with 14th Colombo without a Master, just run by the Patrol Leaders. The Jamboree had 8 representatives from Wesley out of a total contingent of 28.
P. Sathadandan, Ravindra De Silva, Anurudha Jayawardana, Shanti McLelland, D. Anandanesan, S. Ramakrishnan, and Ranmal de Silva. We were led by one of the best scouters. Mr. C.J. Cantlay from Royal College. The other Scout Masters in our team were: Messers.Dayananda de Silva, J. M. Benjamin, W.M.McDougal, and Thilak Godamanna. Mr. Cantlay was a popular District Commissioner during the time of Mr. R.A. Abraham as Scout Commissioner. R.A. was Rajan and Mohan's Father and R.E's Brother. They were a great inspiration to us and guided us like a beacon. Mr. Mithripala Senanayake, Minister of Industries, Home, and Cultural Affairs unfurled the National flag at the opening ceremony.

Mr. A.S. Weerasingha was at the helm at Wesley at this time. Mr. E. L. Rodrigo stepped into help the troop in 1962. Mr. Rodrigo with the support of Troop Leader Ravindra de Silva organized the outstanding and unforgettable Mirigama camp in a beautiful jungle setting. D. Anandanesan acted as camp scribe.

 

 

Top Photo: Standing L to R: Anurudha Jayawardane, Ravindra de Silva, S. Sathadnandan, Tissa Weeratunga, Vijith K. Kuruppu, Hussain Mohamed, D. Anandanesan.

Mid Row L to R: Charles. S. David, Mohan L. Abraham, Shanti McLelland, Ranmal de Silva.

Front row L to R: Merril Cooray & Anura Perera.

(Hope I got all the Names and initials right).

In May of 1962, Mr. Aruliah joined the Hostel. Mr. Aruliah turned out to be a dedicated and an excellent Scout Master, assisted by Mr. Dharmarajah who was also at the Hostel at that time. Mr. Aruliah organized the Preethipura camp. But once again it was time for a change of the guard.

Middle Photo : Merril , Anura, Tissa, S. Ariyanayagam, Charles, M.Sathasivam, (Center ?), T.Y.Daniels, Ravindra de Sliva

Mr. Rodrigo once again took up the challenge to lead the troop for the next year. Mr. Rodrigo steered the Hanwella camp.
Mr. N.R. Dhanapala from Richmond was brought in by Mr. A.S.Weerasingha to assist Mr. Rodrigo at the next and the best adventures of all at Pedro, Nuwara Eliya. We left Colombo Fort Station at 10.00pm and reached N'Eliya at 3.45pm the next day, 14th December 1963. The program included visits to Pedurutalagala the highest mountain peak in Sri Lanka, over 8000ft, Nuwara Eliya Park, Sita Eliya, and Hakgala Botanical Gardens. Ravindra de Silva, Vijith Kuruppu, and Anandanasan were the senior leaders.
Mr. Dhanapala organized the Patrol Leaders camp at Campbell Park, January 23-25, 1963.
The hiking memories: Second Class hike from Wesley to Talangama boys town (6th August 1960). Parrots Patrol Hike Borella to Kotte (28 Sept. 1961). Hike at Mirigama (17 April 1962). First Class Badge Hike ( 25/26 April 1963) Urugudawatte/ Nugegoda back to Maradana. Venturer Badge (20 July 1963) Victoria Bridge to Negombo (approx 20 miles). Hiker Badge (10 July 1963) Borella to Kalatuwawa Reservoir (approx 40 miles).

3rd Photo: Ravindra de Silva (Troop Leader and Queen Scout) at camp site on arrival.

1964 was my final year of Scouting. Mr. Dhanapala led the 14th Colombo Troop to the Colombo Golden Jubilee Camporee from February 26 to March 01 at the Divinity School Grounds. It was time to end the adventure as quickly as I enrolled. With the first class, green cord, Queen scout badges, and the school award for best scout junior and senior scout it was the right time to explore some other avenues to spend my days at Wesley. Mr. L.A.Fernando, was instrumental in my leaving the Scout Troop. But, as suggested I did not go back to serious studies, but ventured out to serious sports.

Some other names of scouts that flash my mind as I write: Nelson de Silva, Bernard Solomans, D.A.Y. Siva, Bunty Dole, Asoka and Palitha Weeratunga, Senaka and Laksiri Amaratunga, Delmer Achillies, Willam Van Gazel, Lakshman and R.G.Wijesinghe, Anura de Silva, Shanthi and Daya Perera, Sunil Fernando, Garrick O'Neil, Christopher Harvie, Rev. Koilpillai and Koilpillai (Snr), Christopher Nell, and all those I have listed above. I hope we will be able to fill in the missing names when memories are refreshed. Kenneth & Rienzie Mahammoth who like the Uncle T.M.K. Mahamooth were excellent scouts. Not forgetting the outsatnding scouts from the Maldives. I have listed their names in a previous article. Ahmed Imad, a Queen Scout was appointed Scout Commissioner for the Republic of Maldives.

During this period we had the fortune of seeing Mr. C.W.W. Kannangara was the Chief Scout, Mr. Oliver Goonatillake, the Governor General, present the Queen Scout badges, Mr. William Gopallawa, President hosting the President Scouts at the Presidents House. Mr. M. H. Mohamed was the Mayor of Colombo, Ms. Iris Blacker as Chief Guide Commissioner. Wesley Scouts were invited to the opening of the parliament and the Wesak celebrations at the Temple trees.
Some of the Queen Scouts at the time were: Brothers, Ravindra, Ranmal, and Rohana de Silva, D.Anandanasan, P. Sathanandan, Vijith K. Kuruppu, and Shanti McLelland. The Troop Leaders were, Ravindra de Silva, Shanti McLelland, and Ranmal de Silva.
Some of the Scout Master whom I remember best: Messers. Harold Sittampalam (Hatton), Dharmakeerthi (Kotte), Marcus Navaratnajarah (Jaffna), B.A. Perera (Kurrupu Road), C. J.Cantlay (Royal College, District Commissioner), and Mr. Mathew (Anderson College, Slave Island).

w2I enjoyed reading the Scouting memories and very informative history written by Troop leader, Queen Scout, and Wood Badge holder Riza Azoor. Wesley did not have any wood badge qualifiers previous to 1970. It is a great achievement by the scouts of the 1970's. It is an invigorating record indeed, certainly better than the enlivening and energizing best of the 1960s.

Well, did I enjoy it, do I regret? It was one great experience, no regrets at all. Enjoyed 4 great years of scouting, lifelong learning, and above all made a network of splendid friends. To the present middle school students, just go out and join the 14th Colombo Scout Troop.

 

 

 

 


 

January 15, 2002

Names I remember: by Shanti McLelland

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Bartholomeusz was a name that made waves at Wesley. Ofcourse as usual I will start off with Reginald the sportsman (lets leave the academics out). Adrian who lived down Baseline road two steps from the school. An outstanding in student, carried away prizes at every level, a good role model, should have ended up as an engineer, doctor, or a professor but may have opted to continue with literature or language. Adrian was a college prefect, 6th form debater, and member of the elite college choir. Brian joined Wesley possibly in the 9th grade. But made friends quickly and was always with a great smile. Joined in the fun and the pranks alike. Darrel liked his goats beard and the two wheeler. Was ready to party anytime. Found tough to keep the waistline down. Darrel probably was one of the first to have the TV's in Sri Lanka when the OGL imports flooded the market in the late 70's. The two brothers, names I forget, but still remember the faces, are sons of a doctor who was a great supporter of Wesley. Certainly both were outstanding students and well mannered and well behaved.

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Wickremaratne was all sportsmen, almost all. Sarath was outstanding, excelled in cricket, soccer, athletics, hockey, and even a bit of Rugger I suppose. A university scholar. Should have stayed on to become a professor, but liked to travel and make deals. One of Wesley's best not to be forgotten easily. Adian made an impact after leaving school in the field of hockey more than cricket. Was a long standing administrator for the Colombo Hockey association and as an umpire. Rohan emulated Sarath to some extent in cricket, hockey, and athletics. Cousins possibly, Jayantha (J,K.) was a junior public schools athlete, excelled in rugby, but was more outstanding in studies. A name constantly called on a prize day. I am sure Jayantha was a Senior Prefect and ended up as an excellent merchant banker, after a short stint abroad. Lalith should have ended up as an electrical engineer, and I hope he did as he had the kinesthetic capability and the mental capacity.

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Rajaratnam was just another Legal name. The Wesley Law classes were only a glimpse of what the Senior Rajaratnam was known for at Kalutara. The Rajaratnam brothers came from Holy Cross College, from the Mangostine town, down south. Many lawyers today, would be grateful for the excellent study material and instructor led classes proved at Wesley on Saturdays for a long period of time. Suresh was not a student at Wesley, but before taking up serious law practice, taught at Wesley. I personally benefited fromhis teaching style and advise. Amaresh the only one in the family to deviate into Marketing. But made up for that with the nomination of best school boy cricketer or for leading the best school cricket team in 1969. Helped Wilkin House to gain some points as a sprinter and filling into the rugby and soccer team. Ofcourse, he will be remember for his role in the "Lowen akek apthre" directed by Ariyawansa Kulasooriya another schoolmate/prefect and Literary Union office debater. Dianesh was popular in the Employers Federation and in any of the sporting pavilions for he was a brilliant lawyer, cricketer, athlete, hockey player, and rugby wing three quarter. Mahesh the youngest did lived up to the father's wishes to become a lawyer. It may just to add that the other Raja, the sister also practiced as a lawyer in Sri Lanka.

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Amarasinghe. Ranjit and Rohan was not the only ones at Wesley. Wesley was co-ed in the lower classes- Nursery, LKG (low kindergarten)and UKG (upper/grade1). Shiranee (hope it is he right spelling) was the one only girl student I remember. She ofcourse ended up at Methodist and subsequently as a teacher at Carey College. Ranjit was almost gone from Wesley by the time I got to know him. Rohan captained Wesley Hockey and Athletic teams. Vice Captained the Sri Lanka Schools Hockey team. Represented Colombo and Mercantile Hockey Association teams. But most of all was an International Umpire, one of the best in the world, was given the task of umpiring some of the most crucial international matches. Represented Sri Lanka Hockey Federation as a formidable fullback. In athletics Rohan clipped the 100 & 200m records after the metric system was introduced. Rohan was an exemplary college prefect, but did join some of the big time rioters for a good time once in a while.

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Down the same lane at Borella, were Wijemannes: Jayantha, Parakrama, etc, etc and also Tissa. Jayantha excelled in Cricket and hockeylike the father and helped Wesley OBU in the championship feats. Parakrama was also a good Inside forward in the School hockey team. Both were college prefects. Strong members of the OBU.
Down the same lane, Ronald and Tissa Norton Abeydeera. Great Rugger players. Great friends. We could walk down this lane anytime when hungry or during rain or sunshine, as all of the above were outstanding friends and brother, just family. Great Wesleyites never to be forgotten, always remembered.

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Weerasinghe, Malin and Rohan. They were one's best friends. Will stand up for anyone anytime, anywhere, whatever the circumstances. Both were excellent students and passed out from the secondary educational system with flying colours.

 


 

Only at Wesley…by Shanti McLelland

The great debate. Real freedom of speech in the east, not even heard of in the West. An outstanding public speaking opportunity. Such explicit respect for the Student.

These were some of the comments after a sixth form literary union debate between the Academic staff and the Lower and Upper VI students at Wesley College Colombo in 1967. Mr. L.A. Fernando the Vice Principal selected the topic. The Staff team was led by the Principal, Mr. A.S. Weerasingha. The other member of the staff, I cannot recollect. The students were asked to propose the topic selected by the staff, as it was impossible for the staff to have done so. Only Mr. L.A. Fernando would have been able and dared to select a topic that was so controversial. And for such a topic, the automatic choice to lead the team should have been and was Shanti McLelland, as other would have found it bit nerve wrecking, but I did relish the idea. Who the other members of my team, I cannot remember who or what they said.
Well, the topic for debate was one of the best quotes from George Bernard Shaw: "Those who can do those who can't teach".
Who won or lost did not matter, the staff took the position that GBS always said the opposite, and depended on where the punctuation mark (comma) was placed. The students very sheepishly presented that the "facts speak for themselves". You as past students, be the jury.
Thank you LAF, thank you Wesley.

 



January 17, 2002

Inter House Competitions by Shanti McLelland

Every student on at the time of admission to Wesley College was randomly assigned to a team. The teams were known as Houses. Each of the Houses had a distinct colour. Students who moved on to the upper school did not carry forward into the same house colour. The Houses were named after the Past Principals for the Upper School and the Primary Section houses were named after the Head Masters. The records show that all Hostellers were assigned to one house to keep the team spirit at its best. But this was changed somewhere in the 60's. It was a sort of equalization exercise. The primary school houses were named after Mack (green), Dias (red), Honter (blue), and Lemphers (Yellow). I was in Mack House. Mr. Sivanayagam was the senior housemaster as far as I remembered. I am sure Mr. Shanmugam was in charge of Dias House, Mr. Wilfred Wickremasinghe - Lemphers House. Honter, I cannot recollect, maybe Mr. E.L.Rodrigo. The Senior Houses were: named after Rev. Samuel R. Wilkin 1874-1879 (red), Rev. Thomas Moscrop 1886-1888 (yellow), Rev.Thomas Hillard 1889-1892 (green), Rev. Joseph Passmore 1893-1895 (blue). I certainly was at the forefront for Wilkin. The teachers I remember the teachers who guided Wilkin: Mr. Van Sanden as the chief. Then
Mr. D.M.D.Dharmaratna steered Wilkin for many years along with Mr. Haig Karunaratna. Those famous LCC and grade 10 commerce students will not forget Mr. Van Sanden who was just an outstanding teacher, never to let down a commerce student, but fully controlled the class with just his voice, stature, and crisp flannels. Mr. Dharmaratna was the best in Technical Drawing. Certainly there was none to match Mr. Haig Karunaratna in Drama/Choir and English, all combined as a teacher. Not even Mr. Kenneth de Lanerolle or Mr. A.S Wirasingha. I can vouch for it.
The most important competition among the houses was the Inter House Sports Meet. Wesley sports meets were as good as any open meet. Outstanding competition among the houses for individual events, relays, hose decorations, and food service. The other house competitions were in drama, hockey, soccer, cricket, and rugger.

 


 

June 1, 2002

Life is not a Destination - Shanti McLelland

I am sure many who knew Surendran Thiruchelvam are filled with sadness and will not cease to ask the question why? Where is the missing link in the equation - life is life was. Time does not heal - the knot in the throat, the deep sigh, and the flashbacks that never has not faded with time - He was loved by his friends dearly. He loved cricket, moreover, loved to have fun at the Mt.Lavania beach, with a profound desire to dive from the rocks to the beautiful light and dark blue sparkling water.

Eardly Melder was just bubbling with life, and then he was among friends having fun, unforgettable… flashback to his joyful smile. Handsome, tall, and debonair, I remember the ever smiling, only serious when over the sprint hurdles, straddling over the black and white high jump bar, and rotating his strong body to sling away the 1.5lb Discuss.

Malik Suraweera was a brother, made sure to drop by at my home in his father's Peugeot 203. He did the same when I was sick in bed and could not meet with him for a pow wow, mainly on sports. I had to gather up all my energy the next day, to bid farewell to a terrific friend.

In the last few days, many were celebrating the finest display of Wesley's Rugby team. The cyber space of full praise for the 15 that conquered the Trinity Lions. Shari Musafer was one great Captain and player that tried his best to see Wesley to the top of the league, that was over 37 years ago. His dreams were cut shot while sleeping in the Police Barracks. Loyalty, Honestly, Friendship, or love of Rugby did not let him hold on to LIFE IS!!! Badminton - None could match Wesley. Even the magnificent teak roofed Wesley College Hall was loved by Sri Lanka's National players.

The formidable team will not be forgotten, Malik Jhan was not only one of the best in National Badminton, also, was excellent in Cricket, Hockey, Athletics, and a Scholar. This, all in one Wesley's pride was not even given 20years to fulfill all his dreams. Friends, that make us ask the question why, over and over again … Marlin Weerasinghe, what a faithful friend, just would not let down a schoolmate, none would dare bully when Marlin was around, will take a lot of care to make sure nothing would get on your way. He was liked by the teachers as an excellent student and loved by those who knew him near. You knew he was your friend, even if the bear hug was bone crushing. All remember him as warm and kind.

Kenny Dickson, the dependable left hand, left half, left to Australia to make his dreams come true. He was sad to leave us, as the grass is less green, and the nights are much shorter, but then the opportunities were much greater. Given the task, Kenney made sure Wesley's hockey would remain at the top of the charts, Wesley could not ask for more, for he loved hockey, he loved Wesley along with his two brothers - Jerry and Ricky. But then, he loved cars, loved to the power, the dangerous curves around the river - life was exciting.

Impossible, to forget, Impossible was not in his vocabulary. Yes indeed, Donald de Silva, beat all odds. He represented Wesley in Hockey, Soccer, Rugger, Cricket, and did his best in athletics. He loved hockey more, was one of Sri Lanka's National umpires. From his schooldays he was a wheeler-dealer and made even in the prime of his life. Great friend just could not keep the party going, as life was too short.

Rex Lawrence, I could remember in a scout uniform full of integrity. Sometimes walk through Campbell Park after school, talk of the days past and the next. The last was in Canada, still remembering the friends, teachers, and the good old days at Wesley.

Milroy Taylor, very unassuming with a captivating smile, much more effective than the curl he liked to tweeze down with his fingers. Above all, he loved music and the guitar. Dakotas. A group of dedicated Wesleyites resurrected Badminton to its past glory in 1966. Then, Milroy helped to raise the much needed funds to setup the court with a musical extravaganza at the college hall - nothing asked in return. The smile, the waves, and the music will remain - always.

From Wesley, we could view the grandeur of the magical sunrise over Adam peak. In Sri Lanka we could see the twinkling stars of the Orion all 365 days, the exhilarating BOP tea, the aromatic spices Marco-Polo could not resist, The sapphires the best of the double blue, rows and columns of swaying palm trees, the sparkle on the waves splashing the pearl of the Indian Ocean. Good luck and enjoy - before the spectacular sun set? But, the question why will linger on … there is no explanation possible and to those who understand no explanation is necessary.

 


 

May 31, 2002

Languages the binding link - by Shanti McLelland

The 1874 advertisement displayed on the web site quite interesting. What it was in 1958 is easy to write, but I wonder what it will be in 2074 (200 years later). In 1874 it was English, Latin, French, Greek and Singhalese. In addition, Elu, Pali, and Sanskrit were available. French, Greek, and Elu was gone by the time I joined moved up fro the primary. I remember Mr. Nonis (then Principal) was the last to teach Latin up to 1961 and it disappeared with the arrival of Mr. A.S. Wirasingha as the Principal due to lack of teachers and the need for it. I also, remember Mr. L.A. Fernando (then Vice Principal) remarked that Latin interested those aspiring law students, and all they needed was a few dozen Latin terms to survive law school for Property law in particular, Roman law in general, and Civil and Criminal Procedure exceptionally. Well, how many lawyers did we produce at that time? Even if we did, credit should go to the untiring efforts of Mr. Rajaratnam with the law classes that were held at Wesley aided by an outstanding set of exam oriented notes. I missed out Latin, but I regret opting for Sanskrit and Pali sacrificing Applied Maths and Geometrical Drawing in grade 9. Mr. Charles Silva (late Vice Principal) taught Sanskrit and Dr. Frank Jayasinghe filled the time-table with Pali. I think Pali and Sanskrit were destroyed by us, so they were gone by 1965. The left over was English, Sinhala, and Tamil. Will French make a come back, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Urudu??? Time will tell…2074.

 


 

Mrs Netta Joseph and the 1934 standard 3 class (Kind courtesy of the Wesley College OBU Australia)

Wesleyites of past generation will recall with gratitude, but also with some trepidation, their debt to Mrs Netta Joseph, Teacher in charge of the 1934 Standard 3 at the College, and one of the greatest teachers to adorn a famous college. She was a teacher par excellence who had a tremendous influence on her young and maturing pupils. She had, in the writer's time, a class of forty five, who came in combination from standards 2a and 2b (think now on the restrictions here in Australia on class sizes to the twenties as being the maximum for proper teaching). But despite this large conglomeration of pupils of all communities and religions, she managed to ensure that the best was brought out in the young boys entrusted to her care. In later life there were many shining examples of success from this foundation from early school days which included, not only books, but also determination and discipline.

As Mrs Joseph said "Never accept the ugly when you can strive for the beautiful". And she was not only a great teacher, but also excelled in music and as an organist, qualities which her daughter Helen and son Langston inherited. But this small tribute to her, from one of the Class of 1934, concerns the tremendous influence she had in teaching and the enforcement of discipline not forgetting the striving for the best always! Nearly seventy years later the writer recalls the achievements of some of the boys of the 1934 Class in different and varied spheres of life - academic, accountancy, authorship, administration, engineering, marine engineering and service in the racing industry and the War. By and large it can be said with pride that this class could compare with the best in any age and in any school. And so the writer makes mention of some of the boys of the 1934 class and what they did in later life, though this does not unfortunately include the many others who served their country well in other walks of life. In academia Ian Van den Driesen, after graduating in Economics from the university of Ceylon, took to an academic career, finally becoming Professor of Economics in the University of Western Australia. In Accountancy, Rodney Ferdinands was successful in the first examination in Ceylon of the profession of Chartered Accountancy. In Australia he was President of the Institute of Internal Auditors in Victoria. Subsequently as an Author he researched the history of the Burgher community in Ceylon, and his book "Proud and Prejudiced" is acclaimed as the history of the community. Four members of the 1934 Class were successful in that most prestigious Exam in Ceylon Civil Service, three in 1948 and another in 1949.

Ivor Ferdinands passed out first in 1948. After leaving the Government Service he moved to the Mercantile sector where he was Managing Director of one of the leading firms before emigrating to Australia, where he served as Advocate for Victoria in Industrial Relations and Consultant in the Victorian Public Service Board. Sam Silva was elected President of the Union Society at the University of Ceylon and had a distinguished government career in administration, before dying at a relatively young age. Caryl Ludekens remained in Ceylon and served the Government in many important administrative positions before retirement. David Loos, with his first class honours in statistics, spent most of this time in the Public Service in the Treasury where he was involved with Ceylon's External Trade and Foreign Exchange. He subsequently secured a position in the World Bank in America. Charles Speldewinde won the Bayliss Prize for Engineering in the Commonwealth, and played an important role in the development of Canberra as the Capital of Australia. His work for the Australian Capital Development Commission was rewarded with an M.B.E. George Ferdinands spent all his life after Wesley away from Ceylon and obtaining a scholarship in Marine Engineering travelled the world in his chosen career and settled in Vancouver, Canada with his brother Maurice who worked for the Canadian railways. Ridley Bartholomeusz volunteered during World War II to join the Empire Training Scheme, after which he served with the Royal Air Force in England. Renge Selvaratnam, a brilliant athlete and cricketer, took to his family profession, that of training thoroughbred racehorses. When racing was banned in Ceylon he became one of the leading Trainers in India. And so the writer must conclude this note on some of the boys of the 1934 Standard 3 Class and, more importantly, pay tribute to that great Teacher, Mrs Netta Joseph, who played such an important role in the maturing of her young charges. Her memory lives long in Wesley College, and in the many students for whom she tirelessly strove for them to reach their full potential. May she rest in Peace (Contributed by one of Mrs Joseph's grateful 1934 Standard 3 Pupils)

 


 

The Tribe of the Double Blue by George Robertson & Langston Joseph

George Robertson

When Trevor Collette invited me to write a few lines about the Seniors' Night presented by the Old Boys" Association last December, I readily agreed as it was another of those occasions which are always well attended and enjoyed by everyone. The food was excellent, there was good music and the overall mood was one of fellowship and relaxation, with a time for singing our favourite Carols between interludes of dancing. The President and Committee did a great job once again. But I have said all of his before. Previously too, I have mentioned the good food, the music, the singing and all that. So I set my mind to thinking of something fresh to write about and remembered saying to someone that evening that in 2002 it would be fifty years since I left Wesley College. And there I was, at a Dinner arranged by past pupils of Wesley for the senior Old Boys. I must mention Vernon Achilles, the most senior Old Boy who is in his 90's, Anton Blacker, Langston Joseph, Glyn Lappen, Vernon Nugara, to name a few, who are among the respected elder statesmen of the Old Boys' Association, and all of them regular guests at these gatherings. But what was I doing here really? Why had I come along with my wife Beryl who incidentally commenced her school career in the Wesley Kindergarten? Sure, I came to hear some news about my old school, to meet old friends and to say "hi" to some others whom I recognised but whose names I had forgotten. This happens a lot to me these days! But there is another reason, I believe we go to the Old Boys' Association functions because they fill a need in us. They transport me back to a time in my early years to which I return very easily, and for a little while I recapture the atmosphere and feel of being with a group of my contemporaries from a time so long ago. It is a tribal urge, this reunion ritual the need to identify oneself in a particular context.

This TRIBE OF THE DOUBLE BLUE it is that which distinguishes us from all the others the Royalists, the Thomians, the Peterites, they are the other Tribes of our era, and I guess are just as proud and happy to meet each other as we are. We were all cloned or cast from the same mould of what was considered to be the end product of the School system as it was then, pressed into uniforms, assembled daily, marched everywhere in columns two by two, our hours dictated by the tolling of the School bell, obeying without question and punished if we did not. Trained and instructed in academic and sporting pursuits, lectured on the importance of "doing well" to such an extent that half a century or more later, wherever a group of Wesley Old Boys" Association friends get together, inevitably the subject of Cricket will be raised. And old men will play again across the table with the glasses, the ice, and the crystal decanters of Scotch, the great Matches that they featured in so long ago. It never fails! I have seen this happen on many, many occasions. Men who can barely walk a mile nowadays, and need to pause for breath between every sentence, will come alive! Their eyes will light up and every smallest detail of that Innings will be vividly recalled. And everyone will listen as if they had not heard these same stories many times before.

Even as I write this, today's Television programme promotes a discussion of the famous Australia vs England Test Match Series of 1948, with comments by Sir Donald Bradman. See what I mean? 1948, for goodness sake! Even HE did it! But we all do it because we need to . And after all there's no place else to go. We get together at Old Boys" association functions so that for just a few hours we resurrect those crazy, carefree days when we were growing up, full of ideals and virtues which were at the very heart of what was expected from us as boys of Wesley. I sometimes find myself unable to relate to the cynical rat race reality of this high-tech society that has overtaken us. Where everybody moves as if they He walked on a coral reef in the Sea of Galilee! And so on. But our Christian Faith has stood the rigours of these contemporary interpretations, and I certainly am in no way a heretic! Because these were our formative years, and because, thank God, our parents had the commitment to their sons and daughters to ensue that we had a sound education so that we could face whatever lay ahead because of all of this the TRIBE OF THE DOUBLE BLUE will always represent those ideals and virtues which characterise decent men and women everywhere. (And the Answer said more effectively with an American drawl - ALASKA!) And now for our PUNCH LINE - "You can take the boy out of Wesley; but you can never take WESLEY out of the boy!" Fraternal Greetings to you all George Robertson & Langston Joseph

 


 

To Sir, with Love…. A tribute to Kenneth De Lanerolle of Wesley (Kind courtesy of the Wesley College OBU Australia)

Written by Fred Abeysekera

My son Chrisantha (Victor) conveyed to me, to Canada, the sad news of his death. I hadn't seen him before I left Sri Lanka, in March 2001; and this made me feel his loss more sharply and poignantly. My mind's eye went back fifty years and more, to my days at Wesley College, Colombo, as a student, and my first meeting with Kenneth de Lanerolle, who had returned with a Master's degree from the University of Michigan, to enrich further, the quality of leadership at Wesley. He was Vice Principal, James Cartman was at Welsey's helm. A more magnificent combination at the top, Wesley has not had, since then. He served during one of Wesley's great eras - an era of outstanding achievement - which indicates that committed leadership of the highest calibre, always has a tremendous impact, on the quality of achievement of any institution. Scholarship, music, dramatics, debating, choral singing, as well as sports, flourished.. The spate of centuries scored by Wesley batsmen, and the galaxy of superb bowlers and fieldsmen produced by her, topped up her image, as an outstanding cricket school, to the brim. Swimming and lawn tennis (now defunct!) flourished. The college had many an excellent swimmer, with the Colombo harbour serving as our "pool".

In lawn tennis we proved our mettle, with D.B.C. Mack and N.U. Wirasekara winning the Public Schools' Doubles Championship and consequently awarded Public Schools' colours. Hockey was well nurtured as well with the expertise of Ceylon's dribbling wizard - former Wesley Captain - A Mylvaganam - utilized as coach. In soccer, we clung on tenaciously to our reputation as a mercurial barefoot battalion, which included players of the ilk of M K Brantha, Lou and Vincent Adihetty and ERB Amarasekara (Snr), Wesley's outstanding athlete and Senior Prefect, M.A.M.Sheriff won a place in the prestigious Ceylon contingent to the Empire Games, in Auckland, New Zealand - the only schoolboy in the team. It would be an understatement to say that to have been at Wesley at the time, was a great privilege.

The school community was a hive of vibrant activity. The library was well patronized, and books, and more books, read in pursuit of a spectrum of knowledge, as broad and varied as possible. There was laughter and happiness in the air, and a sense of comaraderie which was unvanquishable. Those of us who did not directly participate in an event, supported the school by their presence - a lucid demonstration of loyalty. Wesley, led by the Cartman - de Lanerolle duo, was a well integrated, happy family. I recall how a teacher was provided for Greek, when a single student indicated his desire to offer this subject, for the University of Ceylon, Entrance Examination. Such was Wesley's concern for each and every one of us, at the time! The Christian Union (later renamed the SCM) had a rich tradition of producing excellent plays under its aegis; as did, Wesley. The man behind the scenes was Kenneth de Lanerolle. I recall, vividly, the play, "AMOR CHRISTI" with Kenneth giving a warm and exciting rendition of the spiritual, "Were you there, when they crucified my Lord?" The audience was visibly moved so genuine was the pathos evoked. His rich bass-baritone voice rings in my ears even now, when I recall the play, staged over fifty years ago! Kenneth accompanied our singing at general assembly - a daily feature - playing the piano. As an actor steeped in the UCDS (Dram Soc) tradition of E.F.C. Ludowyk, at the University College, Colombo, he excelled in whatever role he was cast. His English speech was refined and cultured. I recall his lessons in the General English class (Upper Sixth) where a series of mini exercises, such as, "the cabbage bounded off the table", were aimed at getting us to speak the words, correctly. We were required to (as a warm-up exercise, or prelude) to pronounce tricky works such as, recitative correctly, much to our merriment.

Kenneth was a balanced and harmonious personality, with the courage to be critical - always with good intent - when necessary. He was a rare gift to any educational institution, where the character of the child is moulded, and in so doing, rich and wholesome values inculcated, The latent talents of the individual were discovered and developed, to their fullest potential. The great versatility he displayed in the undertaking of such tremendous responsibility, for our growth and well-being, amazed us. Ironical, paradoxical or, perverse, as it may seem, the "flaw" in this make up appears to have been the diverse talents he was gifted with. Too many , perhaps, for our little, mundane minds to comprehend. This made some resent him secretly, as his brilliance, exposed without intent, the pathetic inadequacy and mediocrity in some of us at times, even among those in authority over him. The attempts to keep him down to me was akin to trying to capture the wind, in a fishing net.

When reflecting on Kenneth's life, I am strongly reminded of some of the lines from Bob Dylan's lyric, Blowing in the Wind How may roads must a man walk down before you call him a man? I knew him during various phases of my life - as a student prefect; and much later, as his colleague on the Wesley staff. In the Fellowship of the Y's Men's Club of Kandy (Y's Men International) and the Kandy YMCA; and as Principal of Wesley, albeit for a brief spell, in the winter of his life, when he was found eminently suitable, to pull chestnuts out of the fire, for the management! The negative and counterproductive manner in which he had often been manipulated and manoeuvred, over the years, enraged those of us who believed in his integrity and sincerity of purpose. I would like to isolate a few lines, from some of his favourite psalms and hymns, to merely touch on Kenneth's unrelenting belief in God; and the solace he would have received from such faith in Him. Like John Donne, he would have experienced the bitterness of despair, in endeavouring to forge ahead with his totally committed life as an "educator".

I would prefer the less pretentious word, teacher" "Breathe on me breath of God Till I am wholly Thine; Until this earthly part of me Glows with Thy fire divine" Or "My table Thou hast furnished In presence of my foes; My head thou dost with oil anoint And my cup overflows". In Vietnam, he worked diligently and courageously, bringing solace to the traumatised youth of that country, devastated by a ridiculous and futile war clamped on them. He served equally conscientiously at Wesley (as Vice Principal, for seventeen years; much later, for a brief spell as Principal) at Kingswood and Carey, as Principal in the interim period; and on several National Educational Reforms Committees, focusing on the role of English, in particular; the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka; The YMCA Forum; The Ceylon Teachers' Travel Club (when he organised an excellent tour of Soviet Russia) several music, drama and English speech (Elocution) groups, as well as his local church, and The Church of Ceylon, Diocesan Council. Always unobtrusively, and characteristically, he helped many in need; very specially the poorest students at Wesley, who benefited from his munificence; with gifts of cricket boots, the Wesley cricket blazer (in a least one instance) spectacles, and running shoes, school uniforms, hockey sticks, Horlicks malted milk and Sanatogen! His managerial skills were considerable and fundamentally "people" oriented.

The rule was often obscured to focus on the human element. Combined with his humane qualities, meticulous planning was his forte qualities much in need in Sri Lanka's "public administration". No contingency found him hence, Wesley stranded or flustered. He had the temperament to handle any situation with acceptance. I recall a sequence at Wesley's 75th anniversary Prize Day, when Ceylon's first Prime Minister, The Rt Honourable D.S. Senanayake, PC (Privy Counsellor) was delivering his address, as Chief Guest. Mr Senanayake suddenly felt sick and Kenneth de Lanerolle read out the rest of his speech with great confidence. The advice we sought and joyfully received from him as 14th Colombo (Wesley) Scouts stood us in good stead. His advice always be prepared for the unexpected! Our camps in Bandarawela, Nuwara-Eliya, Horton Plain and Pidurutalagala, and at Buona Vista, by the sea, in Galle, were consequently most enjoyable and rewarding experiences. He never failed to visit us in camp and be one of us in experiencing the unparalleled joy of living close to Nature. His dear friend J.E. Silva, was Group Scout Master and this would have been a further incentive for him to be so supportive of scouting at Wesley. As a disciplinarian, he displayed novel ways of "dealing with" miscreants.The deft movements of his scalp and formidable eyebrows scared the daylights out of the younger ones handed over to him for punishment for "misdeeds" such as sleeping in class! At times a deft pinch of one's stomach reserved for the rebellious ones, with faint traces of silk-like fungi above their upper lip with attendant delusions of being cast in the image of Al Capone or Jesse James! quelled the most rebellious of them. The momentary pain had the intended salutary effect! seldom did he use the cane (when he did two strokes would suffice) and it was over quickly after he had deftly extracted 80 page exercise books inserted as padding to absorb the blows! His wise saws did the rest; and one returned exorcised of all richly imaginative thoughts, such as setting the school on fire, in order to "miss" a meeting of the Sinhala Literary Association, where one had been conscripted to speak on the evils of alcohol, or, to sing a string of pre-selected Kavi and elucidate the poets' intention in each instance! Some of these guys ended up as college prefects. Such was his gift of dealing with the rebel or nonconformist. To him it was "a growing-up process" not a crime. To be able to see the great potential behind what would be superficially termed a misdeed and conventionally a breach of discipline and to thereafter channel and nurture the potential for good in such young men, enriched them, greatly as well as the corporate life of the school, in consequence.

Kenneth was a graphic-artist, as well as the author of a few books, written in his leisure hours, the most significant being, Southern River. Here one gets an insight into his parental home, and his childhood at Matara, when the wholesome and simple pleasures of the country side enthralled a child. Educated at the famous Richmond College, in Galle, he excelled in dramatics English language and literature music and elocution. He had as a young man also mastered the elusive art of theatrical "make-up", transforming familiar faces into something rich, and strange. The deft strokes of his brush, and his sensitive use of colour, produced brilliant posters. These were a few of his very special gifts, and we, his students, imbibed much of his dexterity, each according to his own talents and inclinations. Kenneth de Lanerolle brought out the BEST in one……… He is greatly missed by the many thousands who were influenced by him as a teacher, most extra ordinary; and a staunch friend. He was with us, here, for a season; now above; and we pray, he is overwhelmed by the Peace and Tranquillity, he so richly deserved in life, now that his is no more with us, physically.

Fred Abeyesekera 26 October 2001


 

Prefects of 1973- Guardians of the law and whiter than white

w6

The names in ??? are the ones I have forgotten...but only the first name... Pretty good memory for 29 years!!!!!!!!!!!!.

But then again how can you forget these blokes !!!!!!!!!

Kind Regards

Chris Harvie

 


 

Art, Music, & Drama by Shanti McLelland

Wesley had some of the best teachers and students in music, art, and drama.
In oriental music it was Mr. Basil Mihiripanna, who was a master at the Sitar. Seated akimbo on the floor He held audiences spell bound at public performances. Wesley was indeed fortunate to have had a world renowned musician. He received his training in India and practiced many years to be a perfectionist. Mr. Mihiripanna left Wesley to take up a prestigious position in the ministry of Education. He was appointed as a Director of Education (Aesthetics).
English Music and College Choir - I remember the teachers Mr. Haig Karunaratna and Mrs. Christianz and students - Nimal Suraweera, Dallas Achilies, Rev. Neville Koch, Maurice Balasingham, Alston Koch, Adrian Jansz, Milroy Taylor, and may be Kenneth Honter and Shane Lawrence.
Internationally recognized Sri Jayana was one of the best in Kandyan Dancing. With his departure, Wesley saw the last of oriental dancing at the school pavilion in early 1960's. But, his troupes continued to perform in many countries and were a tourist attraction in many of Sri Lanka's leading hotels and public stages. In the last few years his son Asoka Rajapaksa (represented Wilkin House in Athletics) took over the legacy to continue with the International performances.
The master painter Mr. Jayantha Premachandra held many art critics spellbound with his life like paintings. During his teaching career at Wesley, he covered the 8-foot door at the rear of the College Hall with a life size oil painting for every prize giving. Most of the time he worked on religious themes. His paintings were acclaimed by famous artists and took pride being presented world over at prestigious exhibitions along side some of the best known internationally.
We should not forget the services of Mrs. Isla Perera who was the middle school teacher who saw a great deal of excellent to poor artists for a long period of time in the sixties.
Mr. Felix Premawardana was best known for his record breaking "Kaluware Jaramare". It was staged more than hundred times and appeared in all of the well known Stages in Sri Lanka. Mr. Premawardane will always be remembered for his contribution to Sinhala drama and literature. I should record the effort of A/L student Ariyawansa Kulasooriya who staged "Lowen Ekek Apa Adare". I remember only one of the other actors - Amaresh Rajaratnam and the teacher who assisted - Mrs. Lakshmi Amaratunga (with Kaluware Jaramare fame).
Mr. Kenneth de Lanerole needs no introduction. I faintly remember his performances and the performances of his students at the college stage. But, I remember best, his outstanding performance at the Lionel Wendt. The classic Merry Widow opera was run full-house for two weeks, with his performance widely splashed in the daily columns of leading newspapers and magazines. His departure left a huge void.
Mr. A S. Wirasingha could have filled this need, but the administration of the non-fee levying private school legacy he took over in 1962 was too much of a task. But in 1967-68, Mr. Wirasingha did come with a outstanding performance in "Boy with a Cart" which won the prestigious All Island Inter-school Drama Competition. Monroe Reimers was adjudged best actor.
Haig Karunaratna will be best remembered for his large casts and colourful opera, drama, and plays, skits. The musicals were just outstanding and enjoyed by so many students with talent and no talent. Everyone who turned up was transformed into performers; that was his great talent. To make the dumb vocal and the lame perform on stage - this was aptly proved at the finals of the Inter-school drama competition in 1967. Matheo Falcone saw Peter Swan win the best actor award assisted by Asoka Jayawardana (narrator), Sextus Taylor and score of others I do not remember. Mr. Karunaratna also directed the musicals Jesus Christ Super Star (lead roles by Christopher XX, Neil Obeysekara, and twenty others) and Rainbow Man at the Lionel Wendt (3 days) I remember Errol Dickman as the stage director and Keerthi Sri Karunaratne (make up) and forty other actors. Many of the one-act plays I do not recall well enough to document. I quote Mr. Haig Karunaratna's constant quote of a famous quote, particularly when relaxing at the Kinross Beach - "no man is an Island".


 

THE HEADMASTER'S REVIEW FOR THE YEAR 1958-59 By JLF De Mel

IT is with a deep sense of gratitude that I stand before you today on this the 3rd anniversary of our Primary School Prize Day to give you a brief review of our progress and activities. But. before I do so I have a very pleasant duty to perform. On behalf of all of us 3 extend to our Chief Guest Mr. S. S. H. Silva and Mrs. Silva a very warm welcome. Mr. Silva is one of the finest products of Wesley. As a student of this college he surmounted many an obstacle and handicap by sheer perseverance and tenacity of purpose. He showed brilliance and outstanding ability in studies and in the field of sports; he won the coveted Hill Medal, was Senior Prefect and Captain of Athletics and led Wilkin House to victory in our Sports Meet. He had a very successful career in the Ceylon University and crowned his efforts by securing a place in the Ceylon Civil Service. His simplicity and charm of manner have combined with efficiency to bring him rapid promotion. As a Senior Civil Servant he has served with great distinction and received high recognition at the hands of Government, while he enjoys the love and respect of all who have come into contact with him. It is a matter of singular pride to all of us at Wesley that he has set Wesleyites a great example which they can cherish and emulate. He has also proved to be a very loyal Old Boy. We are proud and happy that both as a student and as a Public Officer he has brought honour to his Alma Mater. We also thank Mrs. Silva for her presence with us and for kindly consenting to give away the Prizes.
It was three years ago that a definite step was taken to consider the Primary Department as a distinct unit in itself as far as conditions permit. This decision made it possible for the Primary School to plan their own programmes independent of the rest of the College and provide for the boys from the Nursery upwards greater opportunities for self expression and scope for a fuller development of their own individuality. They have now four Prefects selected from among themselves who shoulder responsibility for orderliness and discipline. Our boys take an increasing personal interest in their own House Competitions, Sports Meet, Exhibition of Hand Work & Art, Variety Entertainment and the greatest of them at!, their own Prize Day. No longer do our boys feel they are an insignificant appendage of Wesley with-some slight attention paid to them as a poor relation! It is my fervent hope that this section of the school will receive greater recognition and develop into a first rate Primary Department, with better equipment, more qualified staff, pleasanter and airy class rooms and a play ground which they can consider their own.

We have stilt to organise ourselves to eliminate the feelings of segregation between one group and another by finding an effective way to break down the barriers that keep our boys apart, and promote a sense of well being and good fellowship which can lead to easy mixing, a mutual understanding and real unity among all the races represented in the school. Many obstacles exist, but they must be overcome by judicious planning.

Our number on roll is exactly 601 today, showing a further increase over last year's numbers. Unlike in the early years when, on a different system, a few Prizes were given away to these boys at the big Prize Giving, we are able to give now many more to a far larger number. Accommodation continues to be a problem. It is an encouraging sign that some efforts are now being made to provide better equipment and buildings for the Kindergarten. We hope that this project will make headway soon and supplying a very pressing need.

As regards changes in our staff, we were sorry to say ~good bye" to Miss C. Niles, Mrs. Helen Stouter, Mrs. Erin MacLelland, and Miss Mary Colin Thome who did her work of Teacher in Singing with great acceptance. To all these teachers who served the school for varying periods, most loyally, we offer our sincere thanks. We must place on record the keen interest Mr. Kenneth de Lanerolle our former Vice-Principal took in the affairs of this department, even undertaking Lo give the benefit of his specialised knowledge in the teaching of English as a second language to the Primary Staff, by conducting a series of classes and demonstrations. We wish him a very successful career as Principal of Kingswood. At the same time we extend our congratulations to Mr. Aelian Fernando on his appointment as Vice-Principal and while thanking him for the interest he has already taken in the past, hope he will be a real asset in the life of Wesley in the years to come. I must also express our thanks and gratitude to our Principal and Mrs. Nonis for the lively interest they have shown in ever so many ways and for their encouragement in our work. Our congratulations also go to the most senior member of the Kindergarten staff, Mrs. S. E. G. Perera on the new responsibilities entrusted to her as Head Mistress of the Kindergarten
-a very deserving tribute to one who has proved her efficiency by many years of loyal service. We welcome to the staff the following colleagues who joined us in the course of the year:-Miss V. Buell, Miss I. W. Marasinghe, Mrs. E. R. Saratchandra, Miss M. D. Jansz, Messrs Jayantha de Silva and Terence Gunawardena. We hope their stay with us will be long and happy and that their service will be of the best.

Our sports meet proved to be a very enjoyable one. The exhibition of Handwork and Art drew a large and representative section of our parents and well wishers. Both the exhibition and the entertainment drew appreciative comments from a wide circle. As special features I must mention the high standard of the exhibits of cane work, coir rope and coconut shell, the painting of plaster of Paris models of animals etc., and masks produced from paper pulp. On the whole the painting and exhibits were of a high order.

Our cub pack has increased in numbers and efficiency during the year. Great enthusiasm prevails among both the cubs and their masters in charge. Chip a job week brought in Rs. 150/-through their efforts. We have also secured the services of Mrs. Saratchandra through whom we have inaugurated classes in Oriental Singing, while
Mr. Iyadurai of our staff trains the boys in Tamil Singing. Our dancing classes continue to do well under the guidance of Sri Jayana, and Miss Jansz has taken over the classes in Western Singing from Miss Thome.

I crave your indulgence now to turn to another aspect of our existence as a school. We live in a period of stress and strain. An atmosphere of uncertainty and fear for the future seems to engulf us. Standards of conduct, the relationship between religion and life, moral standards and human relationships have all received a severe jolt. Whilst in a way we are roused from lethargy and complacency by the intrusion of these tendencies, it would be a pity if these were to lead to a lowering of the values we have placed on such things as justice and fair play, reverence for oneself as well as others, democratic freedom in the accepted sense of the term, and unity which is essential to peace and goodwill between race and race, ~nation and nation. As people, directly concerned with the growth and upbringing of the younger generation, teachers and parents alike have a responsibility to be alive and awake to all that is happening by way of new interpretation and new ideologies that are taking shape and penetrating the life of our society. This is a challenge every teacher must be prepared to face. Nothing can help him if he has not only made himself aware of these tendencies but sought to cultivate within himself such high ideals for himself which could mould him to be the type of person he should be, who shall not deviate, for whatever reason, from principles and standards which he must regard as fundamental to his high calling as a teacher, and which should become intrinsically woven into the fabric of his being. The teaching profession needs men of character and principles, devoted to their work and conscious of their responsibilities. How else can children in their formative years imbibe the best we can offer? And how else can such schools as Wesley send out into the world gentlemen in the true sense of the word, who believe in self respect and respect for others, whose sense of duty and responsibility far outweigh the privileges they seek and the doubtful pleasures they crave for?

This is a matter for parents as well, and they too must be alive to the need for creating the right atmosphere in their own homes so that their children can naturally assimilate whatever is best and noblest through the medium of exemplary parents and the wholesome atmosphere of a good home. Hence, the ever increasing emphasis that every sound educationalist puts on the value of Parent Teacher Associations and the valuable help and guidance their joint efforts could offer to the children for whose growth as true men, both have a responsibility. My earnest hope that the P.T.A. of this college will play its part effectively in this direction, and that it would become possible in the very near future to have a separate association for the parents and teachers in the Primary Department. Our P.T.A. has gone far towards fulfilling an undertaking to build, by their sole efforts, a tuck shop cum lunch room as a special contribution to their children's welfare, and well in keeping with the architectural pattern of the existing buildings. We hope this praiseworthy effort will receive the generous support of our parents.
I would now like to express our grateful appreciation of the continued encouragement our parents give us in all that we have tried to do to promote the welfare of their children. We are well alive to the fact that we can depend on you always to be sympathetic and appreciative of our work on your children's behalf. In conclusion let me express my thanks and gratitude for the co-operation and loyalty extended to me by the teachers in the Primary Department all along and more especially for everything they have undertaken to do in connection with this Prize Giving. May I add a special word of thanks in regard to Mr. D. A. Wilfred who has enthusiastically borne the heavier burdens in connection with our Prize Day and Sports Meet? And also for his good work with our Cub Pack. To my colleagues in the other part of the school and the clerical and domestic staff too who have always given us their willing co-operation I say a very big thank you.

May Wesley continue to uphold the great traditions established by such a galaxy of high souled men who have served during a period of 85 years to make this school respected all through our land, and may it never be said of us that we have failed to preserve and build upon the tone and spirit of Wesley. This is my fervent hope and prayer for all the years to come.

 


 

The School Book Stall in the 1950's - A hole in the Wall - by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

Mr.Wilfred Wickramasinghe

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For many years in the 1950's and 60's Mr. Wilfred was in charge of the School Book Stall. It was open for a short time before school started at 8.15am and in the intervals. It had exercise books with the college crests. Monitors exercise books, school reports and Hymn Books. There were many items of stationery like erasers rulers and Dreadnought instrument boxes. It was most active at the beginning of each term and intensely busy at the beginning of the school year. There was no bargaining and what the shopkeeper said was law. Mr. E.L.Rodrigo and senior students helped out occasionally. The shop was located just behind the College Hall with a little cubby hole to do business. It had a special smell of its own of brand new paper. Following is a short notice about the Bookstall from the 1959 school magazine. Managing the bookstall was an effort beyond the call of duty and I appreciate greatly the efforts of Mr.Wilfred to provide a service to the students and the school.

 

A NOTE ABOUT THE WESLEY COLLEGE BOOKSTALL by D. A. Wilfred Wickramasinghe 1959
The Bookstall is run mainly for these reasons.
To maintain a certain uniformity in the materials used by the Students.
To help Parents by supplying the best but reasonably priced materials.

Every cent gained as profit, helps the School funds. Therefore it is our duty to patronize the College Book-Stall whenever possible.

We have in stock, all exercise books, Monitor's exercise books, Report books, Pencils, Colours, boxes of instruments, lead pencils, foot rulers, erasers, and Art and Handwork material.

The members of the Staff and students, who helped me in the work of the Book stall during the past year, are thanked.

 


 

House Reports 1959

HILLARD HOUSE
DURING the period under review Hillard House has not fared too well. The C. F. de Pinto Memorial Shield awarded to the House with the highest number of points has been, as it were, our "possession" for the past two years. But, however, at the end of last year we lost hold of it and the shield now goes to Moscrop. We congratulate them.

Studies: We continue to maintain a high standard in studies as regards the general performance in the college examinations. In the public examinations too, we fared creditably. A fair percentage of passes in the G.C.E. examination and the U. E. examination came from Hillard. We congratulate all the successful candidates and wish them every success in the future.

Cricket: We remain champions for the 2nd year in succession. In the semi-finals we beat Passmore and in the finals we beat Moscrop by a close margin. We congratulate L. R. Gunatilleka and his team. Special mention must be made of L. R. Gunatileka who was elected runner-up in the 'School boy Cricketer of the year', competition. He also represented the Colombo Combined Colleges' team. He was also elected the best bowler in the schools.

Hockey: Although we had only one college player in the Hillard team, we fared well. In the semifinals we beat Wilkin. But in the finals, we lost to the more formidable Moscrop team. However, this match was keenly fought and proved interesting.

Soccer: Having 5 of the regular players in the college team, Hillard emerged champions for the 2nd year in succession. In the semifinals we trounced Wilkin and in the finals beat Moscrop quite convincingly.
Athletics. In Athletics, however, fortune was against us from the very beginning. We were placed fourth, Moscrop beating us into 4th place by a solitary point. Two of our athletes represented the school at the Group Meet.

Volley-Ball & Basket Ball: We were runners-up in both games losing to the more experienced Moscropites in the Finals of the respective games. However, with a little more practice and enthusiasm we are sure that Hillard will excel in these two games soon!

General: We congratulate B. S. Perera on his appointment as Senior prefect and L. R. Gunatileka and F. Sikkander on their being appointed sub-prefects of the College.

We bade farewell to our House Captain. Upali Samararatne at the end of the 1st term and to Terrence Gunawardena, who was a prominent and loyal Hillardite, at the end of last year. We wish them both all success in their new spheres of life.

The Hillard House Council met on S occasions during the period under review and various matters concerning the House were discussed. This governing body has proved to be more than an asset in the progress of the House.

This report would not be complete if we do not say "thank you" to our House Master, Mr. Felix Premawardena whose able guidance and enthusiasm have contributed, in no mean way, to the progress of this House.

FAHMEY SIKKANDER,
(Secretary).

MOSCROP HOUSE
DURING the period under review the Moscropites have continued to do their best in the sports field and in the class-room. Although they were not successful in everything in which they participated, yet their spirit of love and unity prevailed throughout.

Studies: The members of the house have consistently been among the best in their classes. We heartily congratulate L. R. Abeyatunge and S. Thirunavukaresu on their success at the Preliminary Examination of the University of Ceylon. We wish them a successful University career. Our congratulations also go to our members who achieved success ill the G.C.E. Examination,
SPORTS:

Cricket: We lost in the Senior finals to Hillard by 2 runs. Yet our team strove hard to the very last ball of the match. Our juniors won the Under XV1 Competition very comfortably.

Athletics: At the Inter-House athletics meet we were placed third, nevertheless we are happy to state that we did our best.

Soccer: We were runners-up in the Senior Competition. We won the under XVI Championship with ease and this gives us hope that in ~he future
years we would be better equipped to compete in the Senior tournament.

Hockey: Due to the keen interest taken by our captain we emerged Champions. Six of our members played for the College Hockey XI in 1958.

Basket Ball and Volley Ball: Moscrop House won both these Championships in 1958. It must be stated that no House gave us stiff opposition!

Farewell and Welcome: At the end of the second term Mr. T. Kiruparajah left us. We wish him a successful career in the Miami University, U.S.A. We extend a warm welcome to Mr. R. E. Abraham who joined us at the beginning of the 3rd term.

Congratulations: We extend our congratulations to Nalendra Abeyasooriya, Mohamed Razark and S. R. Sinniah on their appointment as College pre
fects; S. Thirunavukaresu, S. M. F. Sikkander (Snr.) C. d' with Barbut and R. T. Asirwatham, who have been appointed Sub-prefects; S. Thirunavukaresu, and A. C. Wijeyatilake who have been appointed Assistant librarians. We also congratulate N. Abeyasooriya on his appointment as Captain of the college cricket team for the second year in succession, M. A. Razark on his appointment as captain of the College Basket Ball team, C. d' with Barbut on his appointment as captain of the college Tennis team and R. S. C. Fernando on his appointment as captain of the College Volley Ball team.

Finally we thank the House masters and the captains of games for their contribution towards the progress of the 1-louse. We remind all moscropities that "that which is worth doing is worth doing well".
CECIL WIJEYATILAKE,
(Secretary)

PASSMORE HOUSE
REVIEWING the past year, it has to be said that we have had a fairly successful year. If success however is to be measured by victories in Inter-House Competitions. It must be admitted that we have had a rather lean season. But in spite of many handicaps our boys have given of their best in all the activities undertaken by the House. We are glad to report that our boys still maintain a pride of place in the academic field.

Studies: This year we are proud to congratulate I. D. Raymond, A. K. David. B. D. Weerasinghe, U. D. Edirisinghe and K. A. L. Kalyanaratne on their success in the University Preliminary Examination, held in December 1958. While bringing credit to their House, they have also created a record for the slumber of University entrants from a single House. We wish all of them a very happy and successful academic career in the University.

Our congratulations also go to D. M. Arandara, M. I-i. Cader, M. N. Wimalasuriya, A. Palihakkara and W. C. Fernando on their success in the G.C.E. Examination held in December 1958.

* Athletics: In the field of Athletics we have not only maintained the old standard but also created a best achievement in recent years by winning the Inter-House shield for the fourth year in succession! The House is grateful to Ranjit Dassanayake for having so ably led the team to victory this year. We are also grateful to our Junior Athletes who scored most of ~he points for us. We congratulate Rohan Wijesinghe and D. Thome on winning the under XVI and under XIV championships respectively. We take this opportunity of thanking our House Masters who not only helped us during the sports-meet but encouraged and inspired us in all our efforts. Our congratulations go to A. K David on his appointment as captain of the College Athletics Team for 1958.

Hockey : Though we were the favorites in the Inter-House competition, we finished runners-up. We congratulate N. R. Perera on his appointment as captain of the College Hockey Team for the second year in succession. Our congratulations also go to A. Palihakkara on his appointment as Vice Captain of the College Hockey Team.

Rugger: We were not able to show our prowess in this field as there was no Inter-House Competition. We strongly recommend that an inter-House rugger competition be started as soon as possible. This is bound to raise the standard of rugger in the College. We are proud to note that the following played for the College XV: N. R. Perera, N. L. C. Fernando, A. K. David and L. Pieris.-whilst M. Z. Lameer played in a few matches for the College XV in addition to playing for the 2nd XV. Our congratulations ~o to N. R. Perera on his appointment as Vice-Captain of Rugger in 1958, and to N. L. C. Fernando on his appointment as Captain of the Rugger in 1959.

Badminton: We regret to have to report that there was no inter-House competition this year.
R. L. Wijesinghe must be congratulated on his fine performance in The National Badminton Championships for Novices, where he won the Men's Singles title. He was also responsible for the success of the College team in the Inter-Schools' Badminton Tournament when Wesley emerged champions of Group "A",
Cricket: in our first match, though we were only able to field 9 men, we bundled out the strong Hillard team for 43 runs,. But we could reply with only 29 runs, thus losing the match. In the losers' match we dismissed Wilkin for 65 runs. Though our openers gave us a bright start having put on 40 runs before being separated, the rest could only add 5 runs, and we were all out for 45 runs! D. Kodituwakku represented the College First XI and played with a great measure of confidence.

Football: We were placed last in the inter-House football competition. Very few Passmore boys play football and as a result our team was very weak. In spit~ of this handicap our boys put up a good fight before losing both matches. We hope thus that our standard of football would improve in the years to come.

Basket Ball: Though we had a fairly good team, we finished fourth in the Inter-House competition. We were deprived of the services of our best players as the Inter-House matches were held in late November just before the University Entrance and S.S.C. Examinations. We would very much appreciate it the authorities hold these matches at a convenient date, early in the Third Term.

General: We congratulate I. D. Raymond and A. K. David who were appointed College prefects in September 1958, and A. G. de S. Gunasekera who was appointed a prefect in May 1959. Our congratulations also go to P. A. J. Perera, N. L. C. Fernando and D. Kodituwakku on their appointments as sub Prefects. We also take pleasure in congratulating M. H. Marikkar and W. A. de Alwis on their appointments as Business Managers of the "Double Blue"-1959.

Farewells: We are very sorry to bid farewell to Mrs. G. H. P. Leembruggen, one of our Senior House Mistresses. She always took a keen interest in the activities of the House. We will always remember the hours she spent helping us during sports meets and Inter-House Dramatic Contests. We wish her all the best in her new life in Australia-thoUgh we hope she will come back to Ceylon.

We are also sorry to bid farewell to Mr. R. E. Abraham who has now joined the College, Hostel and thereby Moscrop House. We thank him very much for his devoted services to the House.

We also bade farewell to the following Senior members of the House-I. D. Raymond, A. K. David, B. D. Weerasinghe, K. A. 1. Kalyanaratne, U. D. Edirisinghe, N. R. Perera and Ray de Silva.

Finally we wish to express our sincere thanks to Mr. L. Jayasuriya our Senior House Master, and Messrs. V. R. Robert, A. J. Vethanayagam, D. V. A. Joseph, D. F. Abeyesekera and H. Karunaratne, for their kind and devoted services to the House. Their encouragement and inspiration have led us to achieve great things in the past. We sincerely hope that their guidance would help us to reach greater heights in all our activities in the future.
Hilmy CADER,
Secretary.

Editors' note: Passmore House holds the record for winning the athletics championship in 1930, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, and 1936 - Seven years in Succession! (Double Blue 1949, page 40)

WILKIN HOUSE
WILKINiTES have contributed to the progress of the school in all spheres of activity during the period under review. In house activities though we have not met with success, we hope to do our best in the coming year. Wilkinites have always lived up to their house Motto-"Do your best and leave the rest."

Cricket: With a weak side we did fairly welt in the Inter-House competition. We lost to Moscrop in the Semi-finals and in the losers' match we did well to beat Passmore by a narrow margin of 12 runs. Two of our members P. S. Rodrigo and Rex de Silva represented the school in Cricket.

Athletics: We did quite well to secure the second place in the inter-House Sports Meet. Our congratulations go to S. M. Rajasingham who emerged Senior Champion. He also did well at the Group Meet.

Hockey: With a well balanced side we faired very badly. In the Inter House Competition we were placed last but we fought hard in both matches.
K. Ismail, S. M. Rajasingham, and M. Seibel played for the college team. R. B. de Silva, was a reserve.

Soccer: Although we had a weak side we fought hard in the Inter House Competition. We were placed last. Three of our members M.Z. Ariff, T. D. Samidon and R. B. de Silva played for the College XI.

Rugger: Though no competition as such was held we had the distinction of having more than half the College Rugger XV. in Wilkin I-louse. The following played for the college: A. S. Wijesinghe (Capt.)
S. M. Rajasingham, L. V. Jayaweera, B. Lisk, D. Perera R. Wijetunga, M. Seibel, and Lloyd Wijesinghe. S. M. Rajasingham, who was one of the prominent ruggerites of the college, was chosen to represent the combined schools in rugger.
Badminton: It is a pity that no inter-house competition was held last year for we might have emerged champions for the fourth year in succession. We have the distinction of having with us P. S. Rodrigo. the College Badminton Captain for the second year in succession.

Volley Ball: in the semi-finals of the inter House
Competition, playing two short, we lost to a strong
Moscrop side 2-0 but, in the losers' match we beat
Passmore 2-I to take the third place.

Extra Curricular: Our congratulations go to K. G. N. S. Weerasinghe for his creditable performance in the University Entrance Examination and all Wilkinites who have obtained the S.S.C. Certificate. W. A. K. Silva, M. Lameer, R. Wijetunga and Brian Balasooriya must be congratulated on their being appointed sub-Prefects.

Farewell and Welcome: It is with deep regret that we bade farewell to a number of loyal Wilkinites. During last year we lost A. S. Wijesinghe, (House Captain) Lloyd Wijesinghe, (House Secretary), S. M. Rajasingham, L. V. Jayaweera, Ananda Perera, N. S. Ranasinghe, M. B. W. Perera, L. S. P. de Silva K. D. Fernando, R. B. Ebenezer, and M. Seibel. We wish them success and the very best in the future. We are happy to welcome new corners to our House and we all hope they would help the House in every possible way.

We are greatly indebted to our Senior House Master Mr. J. L. F. de Mel and our House Masters Messrs. B. van Sanden, V. Gunaratnam, D. Dharmaratne, C. de Silva, Ivan Ondaatje and A. Salgado. Wilkin should advance from strength to strength under their guidance and support. We all thank them sincerely.

REX DE SILVA,
(Secretary)
Soccer: Although we had a weak side we fought hard in the Inter House Competition. We were:
placed last. Three of our members M.Z. Ariff,. T. D. Samidon and R. B. de Silva played for the College XI.

 


 

First Day of School January 1958 by Monroe Reimers

The school I went to before Wesley was St John's Girl School Nugegoda. This was not only because it was the closest school to our house but my three sisters also went there. It was a simple issue of convenience. Needless to say it was hell on earth, not a single pleasant memory remains, if there ever were any. I remember constantly wondering if I was on another planet. Then mercifully after a series of harrowing incidents my father saved his pennies and cut his corners so I could go to Wesley College Colombo. It was quite far away and required two buses but it was supposed to be a very fine school and I was after all his only son. I remember anticipating the day with great excitement. I was seven years old. My father decided to make me a suitcase. It wasn't simply to save money but also because he imagined himself to be some sort of genius handyman, he prided himself on being able to make anything better than what could be bought. So he made me a suitcase and painted it black. Out of timber and three gauge ply. It was so heavy I could barely lift it off the ground even before a book could be put inside. Nevertheless I liked the look of it and wasn't going to let that mere detail stop me. I proceed to write my name on the solid black suitcase in large bright white letters. Now, as the only son amongst a bevy of beautiful sisters I was assigned the task of representing both my grandfathers. I had both their first names as my middle names. Thus my name, which I bear proudly, is Monroe Edmund Darrell Reimers. For some inexplicable reason, which I wonder about to this day, I thought Edmund began with an A. Thus with M.A.D. Reimers proudly emblazoned on my suitcase I set off for my first day at Wesley.

I remember holding my dad's hand as we got off the bus. I remember the giant Tamarind tree on the front lawn. The rest of it is all a bit blurry. I vaguely remember a speech in the Hall by principal P.H.Nonis in his black gown, surrounded by the masters up there on the stage in the distance. I remember my father standing beside me. I knew he was late for work and didn't want to be there. Then it was all over, and the mass of humanity began to disperse. I looked around for my father and he was gone. He said he had arranged for somebody to take me to my classroom but they must have forgotten for eventually I was the only one left. Me and my ten ton suitcase. Not knowing what to do I picked up my suitcase and started to walk. I could have sat down on the suitcase and waited I suppose, but it never occurred to me. I am not that kind of guy. I just kept walking. And walking. I must have lugged that suitcase [which had a full load of books inside now]round and round the school for at least two hours. Not once did I bother to ask for directions. I just kept walking, one foot in front of the other. Then one of the most wonderful things happened. The memory of it is still as precious as ever and it has been recalled fondly many times over the years. A hand tapped me on the shoulder. I looked up to see the smiling face of the vice principal, L.A.Fernando. "Are you lost little fellow?" I remember saying yes. He took my hand in one hand and my suitcase in the other and led me to class 2a and introduced me to my teacher Mrs. Anderson. Words were exchanged followed by suppressed laughter and I was shown to my seat. Thus began ten of the happiest years of my life.

 



A visit to the old school - Michael Christoffelsz

I left Sri Lanka in December 1963 for Australia with the family, my dad was an ASP in the police and he had enough of the force after 28 years service, so he took early retirement and we came to Australia.

It was a great experience going back to visit Wesley College, I took the family over for a holiday in April 2001, it started off with my wife and self planning to spend two weeks in SL, and the kids decided that they wanted to come along too, so I gave them an offer that if they paid for their air fares, mum and dad would look after the other expenses, little did I know what I was letting my self into, however they had the time of their lives and want to go back in 2004.

I called into College one morning, and as it was school holidays we had to get some one to open the gates, I told the young chap that I went to school here from 1952 to 1961 and it was my first trip back to SL, and I would like to take a look around, while we walked around and I explained to the family the various classes I attended, the young guy who let us in went and got the principal, who was M.A P Fernando, he was in a care taker position and invited us back to the bungalow and gave us a guided tour of the place, it is the first time I have been through the place, the closest I came to entering the great bungalow was when we woke old Cedric Oloff from his Sunday afternoon sleep buy throwing a cricket ball on to the verandah, we were invited in to receive 4 off the best from the boss.

College buildings looked in great shape, I was most impressed with the chapel and the new 175 year building where the infants school and tuck shop once was, M.AP Fernando told me that they had closed the hostel as there weren't enough students, and he was hoping to get some of the boys that lived on the out skirts of Colombo who were spending a lot of time and money travelling to school each day to live as hostellers, the hostel fees at the time were Rs 1,065.00 for the month ( I was going to book my boys in for 2 years and pay on the spot ). M.A P also said that they need a lot of repairs to the buildings and new school furniture, I will talk to the old boys when I am in Melbourne in the new year about doing some thing about this.

 


 

Russell Hamer - My cricket hero By Delmer Achilles

My son Ryan once asked me who I thought was the best cricketer Wesley College produced and without hesitation the famous name of “Russell Hamer” came to mind. Whenever I saw him I was in awe, just his presence gave me such a thrill to be around such a talented sportsman! His generous smile and the way he carried himself created an incredible impression on me. He was always the perfect role model for the younger cricketers coming through, being as simple as he was. He would talk and encourage us and it was always special to get his advice.

I will always remember the first time I played a softball match against him.

Russell was few years senior to me and I was probably about 12 or 13 a virtual “podian” batting for Mount Mary with Russell Hamer “the star” keeping wicket for the Prisons team. I remember I managed to play a few hook shots to the boundary and there was Russell cheering me on, encouraging and acknowledging every good shot I played. I don’t think he knew who this little podian was and what school he went to but he sure went out of his way to say “good shot” and said “well played” which meant a hell of a lot to me than scoring runs for Mount Mary. That was the sort of guy Russell was, always down to earth. We ended up getting thrashed with Russell loosing tennis ball after tennis ball! I didn’t mind that as I was privileged to meet the best cricketer Wesley has ever produced.

My fantastic recollections of Russell Hamer in College were that of a Super Star Sportsman! He was a strong and solid lad with big arms (His younger brother Granville who played under me in 1971 said they used to eat turtle flesh which hardened their skin and could never take an injection as the needle would just bend- true story)

On Friday mornings (match day) Russell would walk in to college with his blazer folded neatly tucked under his arm. We used to wait for the team to arrive for their lunch in the hostel dining room (the usual menu of beef stew and bread which I think was the tradition- I had that for every year of the five years that I played 1st xi)

Every kid would want to carry Russell’s blazer and bat for him, so popular was he!

I always wanted to do it but could never get close to him as all the kids would be around him. I was quite happy though when he acknowledged me whenever I wished him good luck! His wicket keeping was a delight to watch, standing up to quick bowlers and leg side stumping were simply amazing! He always stood out and played some fantastic games for college.

He was also brilliant at soccer with tremendous skills. I remember his falling over the head kicks for goal was a special treat to watch! His loud laugh after that was even better!

The other sensational memory I have of Russell was when I watched him bat against St Thomas’ College at Campbell Park. Barney Reid was the bowler (one of the best schoolboys bowlers at the time) Russell just put his right leg forward and played one of the best shots I have ever seen, the ball started off flat then sailed over Barney’s head, kept rising and rising well over the big trees finally landing near the entrance to the Welikade Prison! Such power and such a tremendous shot! Whenever I meet Barney or Brian as he is well known in the Victorian Premier Cricket scene in Melbourne (he is the current coach of Ringwood) I remind him of “that six”

That was pure class! Russell at his best! He gave me so much enjoyment, something that I will always treasure. Again I consider myself lucky I was around and privileged to know the great Russell Hamer and in my time at Wesley from 1957 to 1971 he was easily the greatest and best cricketer Wesley College has produced!

 


 

Earliest recollections in the life of Vernon Karl Lorensz Achilles

t2I was informed I was born at 3.25pm on the 26th of October 1907 in a house called Lilly Villa on old Kolonnawa Road. My parents were Wilfred Nathaniel Achilles and Maud Cornelia Jansz. My parents lived in a 2 roomed house about a quarter of a mile away from my grandmothers house. I used to go for long walks with my mother but I spent most of my time with my grandmother and aunt who was a teacher at St. Matthews Dematagoda. I can remember being carried by my grandfather Charles Gilbert Jansz when I was about 2 years old.. He was a ships doctor sailing from Colombo to the Malay straits, Singapore etc. My grandmother had a collection of Dollars which they all vanished. Money at the time did not appear of much concern. Food was in great supply. Servants for the asking! We had 5 females 2 in the kitchen and when the copra was churned into oil the strong smell of coconut oil pervaded the entire house. In 1910 my grandfather and his ship Loodhiana on its return journey was sunk in the Bay of Bengal. I started school from the age of 5 at St.Matthews Dematagoda though I went to other schools I finally came back to Matthews Dematagoda. I joined Wesley at the age of 10 in 1917 and when I failed in the Cambridge junior I went back to St.Matthews and passed my elementary school leaving class. I was given 2 distinctions in the Cambridge Junior – English and Scripture. I did well in most of the subjects and failed in mathematics – logarithms were my bugbear. Still Wesley College provided me with a lot of memories. When we started in Colpetty Lane I 1st started going by train from Colpetty paying Rs1.00 for a zone ticket. All Wesleyites traveling by train had to detrain at Maradana Station and walk towards Borella and get on to the Campbell Place and up towards College. I soon found an easier way to get to College. It involved a lone walk but since there was no other transport we had to walk. There were richer folk who had horse carriages. Of course I walked towards Flower Road from the back of our house got on to Green Path then Turrett Road - Regent Street pass the hospital and onto Campbell Place. Once I was late and was stopped at the gate by PH Nonis who gave me 100 lines but since he did not take my name I never wrote them.

My dad was keen that I should join Wesley. He said he was an old boy but I have no other details about his College experiences. He worked at Leechman & Co, a big tea shipping firm. He was the Chief Clerk and a keen tennis player, Chairman of the YMCA Chess Club, A tenor singer of the YMCA male voice choir. Player of the violin and a keen gardener. When my mother passed away on April 17, 1917 I was not quite 8 years old. I stayed with my dad’s sister and several step uncles and aunts in Colpetty but soon was back with my grandmother and aunt Alice who was till teaching at St.Matthews Dematagoda which had been shifted to Baseline Road about a quarter mile from Wesley While at Baseline Road House near the Railway gates I contracted Malaria. After a stay in hospital and drinking Quinine I was a given a new preparation called ESSENOFELE which was quite effective. So effective that when I joined the Railway and stayed at several malarial stations I never got malaria although my colleagues were shivering with the condition. I mentioned this to my doctor and he has never heard of it. 1917 is a long long time ago.

On Vernon's 100th Birthday with Delmer and Dallas

Entering Wesley from the gate at Campbell Place the room straight up was the 2nd STD. My 1st master was called by the boys Thepa John. He used to play pocket billiards quite a lot. He was followed by Mr.Gnanapragasm who was a mathematical genius. He would write down a row of figures and another line below and ask us to add them. Without waiting he would write down the answer from the left. We were informed he had been taken to the lunatic asylum. His wife noticed his peculiar behaviour becoming more erratic. Among the other masters were Mr.SJC Schockman, “Kukul” Mr.A.H.De Silva with his finger slaps, Messers Lappen, FC Lemphers, LL Fonseka, SJV Chelvanayagam, Sinnathamby our science master, CV Honter, Sam Van Hoff, Eric Gunasekera and CP Dias. Head of all was Mr.H. Highfield. Vice Principal was Mr. PT Cash whose wife along with Mrs. Highfield conducted singing classes. Mr.LG Fernando changed his name to Weragoda. I was released at 3pm and attended the singing class in the library.. I cannot recall the names of our team. I think Mervyn Fernando and his brother Maxie was in the group. Anyway we were entered in the school singing competition held at the Public Hall later called the Empire theatre. We traveled in a lorry with several benches for seats. We beat all the Girls’ Schools. Wesley,Methodist, Bishpos, Ladies College and a Sinhalese Ladies School. The year were 1919,1920 and 1921. In 1921 we were place 2nd to Bishops College.

Many English Boys from Mt.Mary attended College and there were the inevitable fights. Carl Helsham was considered a local and McDonald who was much bigger started a rowalmost near the Bell rope. Carl smashed McDonald’s nose and with blood all over his white clothes was taken to the dispensary. L.J was a well know boxer and in a ring arranged in the assembly hall showed everyone what a knockout was. He slugged and knocked out Annesley Herft during the recession. Tops were the rage. Top fights and taws were common.

We played inter standard cricket on the grounds behind All Saints Church. Two incidents remain fresh in my mind yet. I was batting and AH Fallil was in the fielding side. He was standing at point almost at the end of my bat. I warned him he was too close but he remained there. I slashed at a ball which caught him full on his mouth. After First Aid we resumed play with Fallil standing on the same spot. My next shot went towards him and he hung on grimly to catch me out.

The next incident involved our captain Rex Anthonisz. He played a shot and ran forward expecting his partner to run, but he stuck at his post refusing to move. Anthonisz started walking back to his crease. The ball was thrown to Sperlin Van Dort keeping wickets who seeing Anthonisz walking towards him flung the ball at the wicket and missed. Still Anthonisz face red as a Jambu would not run. Anyway he reached his wicket safely.

 


 

Transcribed from the Double Blue Magazine 1961

From the Editor’s Pen by Dallas Achilles

Valete: During the period under review here there have been many changes in the school. We lost the services of Mr.D.F.Abeysekera who left us at the end of the 2nd term last year to take up an appointment as Principal of Cathedral College Mutwal. Mr.Abeysekera’s link with the school was quite strong him being an old boy.

Upon obtaining his Bachelor of Arts degree he joined the school as a teacher in 1957. In 1958 he was the obvious choice as master in charge of Hockey which post he held until he left. What he did for College hockey is seen from its brilliant record . As the master in charge of the School Magazine he was an asset to the student Editors in 1958-59-60. We all join in wishing him every success in his new life.

Three other old boys on the staff have left us to take up appointment elsewhere. They are Mr. DB Welikala Mr. A.Salgado and Mr. Henry Rajapakse. Mr.Welikala it would be remembered took a keen interest in indoor gamed and was responsible for the revival of table tennis last year. We wish him and the rest every success in their new appointments.

Others to leave were Mr.Lionel Jayasuriya, WCB Perera, NEH Fonseka, KT Jesudason and Mrs.Anderson who taught in the Primary School. Unlike the others Mr. Jayasuriya has retired. Finishing a successful academic at Carey College he joined the College Staff in 1949 and after 11 years of valuable service has goodbye to us. Mr.Jayasuriya’s interests were wide and his guidance in many matters were sought by old boys and students alike. The post which bought him most success and honour was as Senior House Master of Passmore which he bought upto a Champion House in Athletics. We feel the Blue Blooded Boys will miss him a great deal. The other 3 members of staff mentioned left us to take up appointment elsewhere. Although Mr.WCB Perera’s connection with the school was short he certainly made his mark. In his first year he was the under 12 cricket coach. He was Master in Charge of Hillard and the 6th Form Union.. We wish him and the others many happy years in the future.

Mr DB Welikala.

Mention must also be made of 3 prominent Wesleyites who left us. Mohammed Razark our Senior Prefect till the end of 1960 left us after an astonishing career at school. He was the very 1st Wesleyite to serve on the Quiz Kid’s Panel sponsored by Maliban Biscuits at Radio Ceylon and was easily the star among all the kids. Many were the times when the Quiz Master stated: There isn’t a single question that stumped Mohammed. Razark showed his prowess at sports as well and captained the College Soccer and Basketball teams. We wish all the best in the future life.

Another Wesleyite who gained the respect of all young and old was D Kodituwakku. Senior Prefect for only one term. He brought the Prefects Guild upto standard. Words cannot be found to express what he did for Wesley becoming one of the best Cricket Captains and Senior Prefects. The Editors being Prefects one would be inclined to think that in the following statement – they are praising their own tails.. This is not so, as we are trying to show our point regarding Kodituwakku as a sound leader. This statement we would like to add has been made by the higher authorities of the school – The prefects Guild under D Kodituwakku has been the best ever for many years.. He takes with him our warm gratitude and our best wishes for the future.

Dallas now

The last prominent Wesleyite to leave was LR Goonetilleke who departed from our midst at the end of the last year. He needs no introduction whatsoever as his achievements are well known throughout the island. In his school career he captured over 200 wickets in his 4 years. Upon leaving the College he continued his career playing for NCC. He played a part in helping them to win the Sara trophy for the year and his performances gained him a place in the under 35s team against the over 35s. He bowled extremely well and got 8 good All Ceylon wickets for 48 runs. He was also acclaimed as one of the most promising bowlers in Ceylon this year and was also chosen to play for Ceylon in the Gopalan Trophy match vs Madras. He certainly has brought credit to Wesley and we do not hesitate to say that he is one of the greatest bowlers ever to be produced by the school. He joins the band of best left arm bowlers of Wesley – L Barbut, RES Mendis nd Sammy Gunasekera. We feel sure he will continue to bring fame and honour to Wesley and we wish him the very best.

Salvete: We express our warm welcome to Mr.Kirupairajah who has spent a successful 2 years at Miami University USA. During his stay at the States he received the Bachelor of Science in Education and the Master of Education degrees. We congratulate him on his success. He also achieved National recognition when he was invited to participate in the Ambassadors for Friendship tour operated jointly by Macalester College USA and the Readers Digest. Since only a highly selected group of students from the entire States were chosen for this adventure in International understanding this was a single honour which reflects credit to Mr.Kirupairajah, Wesley College and Ceylon.

Other Staff News: We congratulate Mr. A D’Abrera on his being selected to lead the Ceylon delegation to the WCOTP Conference in Amsterdam. On the trip he visited Switzerland France Italy Germany and Egypt. In England he was the guest of the British Council. At the Conference he was invited to talk on vocational and Technical education. We are sure his talk would have impressed everyone present for he was elected to the special committee to report on Vocational and Technical education. At present he is in the process of preparing a memorandum to be presented to the WCOTP. He is the only member of the Wesley College staff to hold a high post in the Ceylon Teachers Union being its Vice President 1960-61. Word has just reached us that he has been invited by WCOTP to New Delhi and introduce the theme ”The recruitment training and retention of Technical and Vocational Teachers for the purposes” of the Conference. He will be leaving us a again shortly and if he accepts the invitation we can look forward to more interesting tales of his travels.

 

Congratulations to : NAB Fernando who has entered the bonds of Matrimony

Condolences: Our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. GS White on the loss of her husband. Mr.V.Chanthirasekeran on the loss of his brother. Mr V Thirunavukarasu BA, S.Mendis and G Mendis on the loss of their father. C Jinadasa whose father died suddenly this year. AJ Hensman on the loss of his father who died suddenly in England.

Double Blue 61: Wesley is now a Private Non Fee Levying School and has entered as it were a new period in the history of the school. We would like to mention that despite the withdrawal of Government aid, every facility that has been provided in the past has not will not and need not suffer. In fact now that we are private more facilities will be provided. Thus in publishing this years magazine we would like to point out that this is an important facility too; and this years issue is unique for the fact that it is the 1st to be published by Wesley as an unaided Private School. It is still more unique for the fact that this years issue is for the very first time in the history of Wesley being run entirely by students.

True, ever since 1940, the students were in charge – but they always had a staff advisor or a master in charge. This year a new record has been setup for the Magazine Committee comprising of students in the senior forms are totally responsible for its publication. We hope The Double Blue 1961 to their taste as we have spared no pains in retaining a high standard. We would like to thank the Principal, members of staff and the boys for their wholehearted cooperation and encouragement which made our task a great deal easier.

Late Comers: In spite of repeated warnings there is still a large batch of late comers to school every day. Punctuality is a noble virtue and a man who adheres to the exact time of appointment or attendance is a man to be admired. The school is the first place where one obtains a training not only in education but also in learning to be a man. The perpetual late comers do not realise this and unaware that they ruin their future life as well as their school life. For as the Principal stated on the Primary School Prize day “Punctuality is indispensable for steady and successful work” We strongly urge the boys to be more punctual in the mornings.

College Uniform: Still a large number of boys fail to adhere to this rule. Any Wesleyite who wears a fancy costume and attends school should be ashamed of himself. Little does he realise that he is actually a fish out of sea and has no right to be seen along with true Wesleyites. We hope the boys in future will respect this rule and be dressed like Wesleyites.

New Tuck Shop: After many years as the Tuck Shop Manager Mr.D.S.Wijemanne has decided to close down his shop. On behalf of all the boys we would like to record our appreciation of the services rendered the school as an efficient caterer. The new Tuck Shop is being built by the College Woodwork Dept on the foundations of two old wooden classrooms. The new shop seems to be spacious and we wish its committee all success in their venture. “Wadey” and Ice Cream Stall. We wonder how many boys are aware of this small stall which is being successfully run by Mrs.Nonis and Miss Iris Blacker at the back compound of the Principals Bungalow during the short interval. The Purpose of this stall is t discourage the boys from patronising the Hawkers on the roadside whose good are exposed to the most un hygienic conditions.

Campbell Park: Now that Wesley is private we would like to urge the authorities to consider a long term plan in improving the conditions of the Park and Pavilion. Until a few years back we had one of the worst scoreboards amongst schools, but thanks to Mr.LA Fernando and his family the more presentable present scoreboard now adorns the park. Some years back before the Highfield memorial Block began to take shape the boys were asked to volunteer to dig up the place and save the cost of manual labour. The same could be done regarding the grounds. After all a cricket team of the sort we have deserve better playing facilities.

New Features: From the 2nd term 1961 two new features will be introduced to the school curriculum. These are the GCE Advance Level Classes and Nursery Classes.

Drama Society: This Society which has been dormant for over 2 years has certainly revived itself with a big bang. A tremendously successful Inter House Drama contest was held and the standards dislayed by all 4 houses were very high indeed. Judges Mrs. Marjorie Jayasuriya, Miss Mallika Wanigasuriya, and Mr. George Wickramasinghe were very much impressed by the plays staged and after much deliberation awarded the 1st place to Moscrop House. Wilkin was a close second while Passmore and Hillard tied for the 3rd place. We commend the Society for their splendid work in keeping drama on the College map and we look forward to many more features presented by the.

Maliban Quiz Kids: We have had the honour of having 3 Wesleyites Mohammed Razark, Lakshman De Silva and Hosni Marrikar serving on the regular panel of Quiz Kids since its inception. To MA Razark falls the honour of being the very 1st Wesleyite to serve on such a panel and his wide general knowledge was an asset to him and made him the star Quiz Kid. L De Silva served for a short while MH Marrikar served on the panel for practically the whole of last year. His varied interests soon made him an able successor to MA Razark and very soon became the star of the whole panel.

A New Record: For the very first time in the history of the 14th Colombo Scout Troop a scout has gained the Scout Chord. This is a rare honour for junior P.L.Ravindra De Silva. It is the highest award a junior scout(under 15) can gain. The Scout Choir is a braided lanyard in Scout green and is worn on the right shoulder. To be awarded the scout chord a scout must hold the 1st Class badge and 6 proficiency badges 2 of which should be selected backwoodsman, camper, cook, stalker, starman, weatherman, and woodcraftsman. He must also be under 15. We congratulate Ravindra De Silva on his unique achievement. The 14th Colombo Scout Troop already has one Queen Scout and 2 First Class Scouts which is quite a good record. We Compliment the GSM Mr. Abraham on his successful Troop.

College Garden: We regret that the appeal made by us in last years “Double Blue” has fallen upon deaf ears. The junior boys have continued to find the front lawn a convenient playground during the short intervals and the once beautiful garden is now anything but a garden. The boys are to be blamed for this sorry state and we feel that steps should be taken to prevent any further damage.

College Servants: The Editors of the Double Blue 1960 would like to apologise for the typographical errors which appeared in last years magazine concerning the college servants. Ranis is well in his 50th year of service and we heartily congratulate him. Silva has completed 48 years and is still going strong into his 49th year; while Wilbert is well on his 43rd year. We congratulate them on their loyal service to the school which they have grown to love.

The Library: There is in the library a large glass topped table containing a map of a part of Ceylon. This huge table is taking up valuable space which could be used by more chairs providing more seating accommodation. We would like to suggest that this table be removed either to the Geography room where it rightfully belongs or to the Library corridor.

 


 

My Sixth form Years 1960-61 by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

It is indeed a wonderful experience to look back on one’s life 50+ years after leaving school. I was 18 then, life was beautiful and saw the world in vivid technicolor. Disagreements disappointments and the heartaches seem to be all forgotten and all I can remember now are the pleasant memories of happy times. I recall the sunshine and the warmth and not the monsoon rains. Anecdotes and images appear at random. The innocence of the fifties gave way to the cynical and raucous sixties. Beatles and Elvis Presley were still riding high in the Hit Parade. The hippy culture of sex, drugs and rock and roll were making the headlines and setting the pace. My most enduring memories of the 6th Form days continue to haunt me

The Upper sixth was the culmination of 12 years of tutelage at Wesley College. I had reached the top of the pile. On a cold January morning I climbed the steps in front of the school office and found my way up the wooden stairs by the Physics lab. At the top there was the unmistakable pungent smell of acids and alkalis coming directly from the Chemistry lab. Down 2 steps and I was on the corridor leading to the Biology lab where the acrid smell of formalin greeted me. This was to be my domain for a memorable 2 years. On many occasions I have looked out of the Biology lab window towards the Principals bungalow. It had a lovely porch and verandah and a well manicured lawn surrounded by large spreading Flamboyant trees. This picture still haunts me.. I think this idyllic scene brought some calmness and serenity to the otherwise rowdy bunch that formed my class.

From the “Biology”corridor there was a lovely view of the front drive, The Tamarind tree and the Welikada Prison and the steady stream of Morris Minor cabs, red Leyland buses and bullock carts. There was a rather lonely road just in front of the school gates leading away from Baseline road by the tall perimeter wall of the Prison. This went in the direction of Wanathamulla. Every morning the prisoners wearing white were taken along this narrow road by the Guards in Khaki shorts. Being so close to the prison for over a decade I had often let my mind wander about the life of those in jail. For many of us even now prison is almost an unknown place and very few knew what happened behind the grim gates that swallowed the convicts. We imagined that its inhabitants were desperate people and dangerous criminals. In our minds the place was associated with isolation, humiliation and suffering which were all part of the punishment. Sometimes the sheer lack of privacy and at other times the loneliness of solitary confinement must be soul destroying. Time then is not a luxury but a burden to endure. A few had the benefit of work and exercise. I would hate to think of what food they received and the many who walked out how they faced the world again.

We were to sit the extremely competitive and formidable University Entrance Examination in 2 years.

Mr Charles Yesuduan - Biology Teacher

Charles Yesudian taught us Zoology. He was one of many fine South Indian teachers who came over to Ceylon in the 1940's to share their knowledge. Mr.Yesudian was from the Southern tip of Cape Cormarin in Nagercoil. He was always smiling and had a benign and calming effect on everyone. His amiable sense of humour was always close to the surface, and he was enormously self-satisfied. Popular and respected, he taught with authority and dictated his lectures, which all the students copied down. It was well known that if you could get a full set of his lecture notes you would all pass with flying colours.

Senior students would handover these notes to the juniors. We were immediately impressed by his considerable intelligence, ability and above all his energy. He set tremendously high standards for himself and for his students. His transparent enthusiasm for Biology was quite contagious and always extracted the best from us all. He is one of the most extraordinary characters I have met in my life. He spent his life studying and teaching biology. I have never known anyone with a better knowledge of it. . He was meticulous and methodical . We couldn’t have had a better preparation. The dissections of shark, rat, toad, cockroach, prawn and earthworm were repeated over and over again. His rolling South Indian accent still rings in my ears. We used the Grove and Newell’s textbook.

He had his own library of well thumbed volumes of Zoology books from Darwin to the popular Penguin books “ Animals without backbones” Botany was taught by Suntharalingam. Without being unkind to him it would be fair to say he lacked teaching experience to teach at this level. He covered the syllabus but had difficulty in controlling the class. His sentences seriously fractured Queen’s English. His periods were a riot and 45 minutes of mayhem. I remember someone asking him why monkeys have tails in front and at the back. The text was Lowson and Sahni and sometimes Pulimood and Joshua. LA Fernando was the Chemistry teacher. He was excellent and commanded respect and received it.

He was a most impressive teacher and I admire him for the effort he put into his teaching and his magnificient attempts to get us through the exams. Mr.L.A.Fernando brought to the school, the classroom and his life as a Vice Principal a regal grandness of purpose and possibility. All of those who knew him were lifted by it, and there are many. We are greatly indebted to him as a Teacher, Philosopher, Preacher and Raconteur. Mr. Fernando urged the students to achieve what they didn't think they could. He provided pastoral care to those in trouble, financial or otherwise.

On the left our Biology Text

On the right a signed Farewell card we gave Mr Yesudian. All those present on his last day signed it.

It was an emotional Farewell to a great man.

q6

 

For Inorganic chemistry we used Prescott or Lowry and Cavell and for Organic Chemistry – P.J Durrant. For laboratory use we had Browning and Joseph’s book edited by Prof. EL Fonseka. Physics guru was Chanthirasekeran, the quaint gaunt, saint. He was a good reliable teacher. He was a quiet man who rarely smiled but had a benign and calming influence on us all. VC had an excellent knowledge of the subject and we had confidence in him. I recall the many physics practicals he worked out for us and the scores of difficult sums from the past question papers. He went through them like a knife through butter. We used Nelkon's Physics . After some years he left Wesley to work in Zambia and then in Toronto where he died at the relatively young age of 66..

We had a few English classes too taken by David Joseph. This was a breath of fresh air. There were no essays to write and all we did was to listen and contribute to the discussion. He discussed topical issues, politics, religion and philosophy. I remember a discussion about imagery by our public speakers. Mr.D.S.Senanayake in a speech said “ with our eyes looking towards the stars and the feet firmly planted on the ground let us walk boldly towards freedom”. These erudite discussions were well received.

When in London in 1974 I asked a friend the directions to the Ceylon Students Centre. He asked me to get off at the Lancaster Gate Tube Station and follow the Curry smell. He was absolutely correct. I was so pleased to see Mr.Joseph at the Students Centre. Over a “buth curry” we spoke of the good old days and the not so good idiosyncracies at Wesley. He had finished a teaching assignment in Ethiopia and was on his way back home before the horn of Africa erupted into civil war.

 

Back row L to R: R.Somanathan, LAFA's nephew !! (Geethal De Silva?), DM. Arandara, Sarath Ranasinghe, NJNonis, CH De Alwis Jayasinghe, L.S.Jayasinghe, AS Ratnam, Gnanakrishnan,, Rohan Wijesinghe, Siyamala Carson, Ranjith Alwis, Sarath Wickramaratne

Seated L to R: LCR Wijesinghe, Daya Perera, Sheriff Fallil, Mr.C.Yesudian, Ranjith Jegasothy, Hamilton Amarasinghe, C.Sathyanathan, ND Amerasekera

The School Prefects of 1960

 

Standing L to R: Dallas Achilles, Dalkin Samidon, MH Marikkar, CH DE Alwis Jayasinghe, Rohan Wijesinghe, Milroy Bulner, T S Wanigatunge

Seated L to R: Daya Perera, Mr PH Nonis, D Kodituwakku (Senior Prefect), AC Wijetilleke, Mr L A Fernando, Sheriff Fallil

Fifty years is a long time to remember friends particularly not having seen many of them. Interestingly I remember a great deal but not having seen so many of my school pals it is difficult to place the names to their faces. Daya Perera started life at Wesley with me in the 2nd STD. Then they lived in Gunasekera Lane just by All Saints Church Borella. On Numerous occasions he has entertained us there. He pursued a career in medicine and is now an Anaesthetist in Los Angeles California. Daya and his wife Swarna were excellent hosts when we visited him. Daya sadly passed awayon the 4th of November 2003.

Harold Jayasinghe R. Somanathan Sarath Wickramaratne
A.S.Ratnam LCR Wijesinghe Sarath Ranasunghe
Milton Arandara Ranjit Alwis Hamilton Amarasinghe
 
Sheriff Fallil Yogan Sathianathan  

 

 

R.Somanathan after a degree in Chemistry at Peradeniya is now an Associate Professor at the University of California in San Diego. He joined Wesley from Uva College Badulla and lived in Agratenne estate near Passara. We were in the boarding together for many years. I traced him after many decades with the help of Nissanke Dassanayake who is now in Texas USA. Lakshman Jayasinghe came to Wesley from Kingswood College and joined us in the 4th Form. He quickly settled in and made his mark as a hard working student with a will to succeed. He is now a Consultant Radiologist in Brisbane. Harold De Alwis Jayasighe was a very tall man from Etul Kotte who could have easily made a living plucking coconuts but decided to study Agriculture - not far from the coconut trade. After a degree in Agriculture is a Director of Agriculture in Sri Lanka. Harold was a man of principles and never involved himself in the riotous behaviour which was our trade mark.

Sarath Wickramaratne joined school before me in the Kindergarten and travelled daily from Mattakkuliya near the Old Victoria Bridge. Sarath completed a degree in Agriculture and is a Director of an Agro-Chemical Company in Sri Lanka. As they say "he could sell a freezer to an Eskimo". Sarath was a wiry chap with flexible joints which helped him to bowl with a contortionist action and is now a fine Golfer. Andrew S Ratnam qualified in Medicine in South India and is an Orthopaedic Surgeon in Scotland. Sheriff Fallil changed his name to Sheran De Alwis. Sheriff was a bright chap but decided to enjoy the fruits of life as a teenager. He cycled daily from Hampden Lane Wellawatte after his stint as a boarder at Wesley. He was fun to be with and was the life and soul of any party. After some years as an Upcountry Planter now lives in Australia. The last I spoke to him on Skype was a Senior Manager in a Plantation in Sabah, East Malaysia. Y Sathianathan and Gnanakrishnan became Engineers after degrees from Peradeniya. Sathianathan worked as a Chief Engineer at the Uda Walawe Scheme. I met him in Darwin, Australia when he and his wife took us out for fine dinner. We chatted warmly of our time at school.

M.Hisni Marrikar studied Law and practiced for a while as a Proctor . He was known for his vice cracks, quick wit and being a Maliban Quiz Kid. I was saddened to hear of his sudden demise in his early forties while taking a stroll. Lalith Wijesinghe LCR was the cricket captain of the school and a popular figure. He never had time for study. After the 6th form he taught at school until 1974 when he left for England. Lalith qualified as a Geologist in London and worked in the Middle East for many years. He now lives in Kandy enjoying his retirement. We are now in regular contact. Rohan Wijesinghe joined Wesley in 1953 and travelled daily with me from Nugegoda by the narrow gauge KV line. He was a fine sportsman and a refined human being unlike the rest of us in the class. Mr. Yesudian encouraged him to take to the Ministry and is was a Reverend in Toronto. He too is retired but takes on part time work as a pastor.

Our Physics Master

Nihal Nonis was the Principal’s relative. He entered the Medical Faculty and retired as a Consultant Physician in Sri Lanka. He took on the honorable job as the Registrar of the Sri Lanka Medical Council. I can remember some other faces from those years but sadly the names have been erased from my memory. Sarath Ranasinghe joined us in the lower sixth form from Veyangoda Central and was a brilliant scholar. He was awarded the Hill Medal for his performance at the University entrance exam.

As his sojourn at Wesley was short we cannot expect him to have the same nostalgic attachment as the rest of us. Nevertheless he still speaks warmly of his time in the 6th Form. He is now in Private Practice in Kandy. On my visit to Melbourne it was indeed a great pleasure to meet Hamilton Amarasingha. He has retired after a long and distinguished career with the Katunayake Airport Authority. He was spending quality time with his two daughters in Melbourne and the grandchildren. I must say my career path was never as distinguished as many of my contemporaries. Still, my claim to fame can be that I once walked amongst them !!

When I started in the 6th Form Mr PH Nonis was the Principal. He gave the sixth formers the freedom to walk in and out of school at will. At last we were treated like adults. I cannot remember any gross misuse of this privilege. On occasions when there was a free period, and we had many, the whole class walked out of school and roamed the streets, Victoria Park and sometimes the Colombo Museum laughing and joking. These were happy times. I saw more films in those 2 years than I ever saw again.

We learnt the short cuts to the Regal. Savoy, Liberty and Majestic waving our Rs.1.10 for a ticket. Mr. Nonis left in 1961 and Mr. Wirasinghe took charge. He maintained this freedom of the sixth form when many of us were Prefects and Daya Perera became the Senior Prefect. We propped up the side walls of the great hall during assembly. The antics in the Prefects Guild was seen to be believed. Occasionally a hapless student was taken in for questioning and we made certain his misdemeanours weren’t repeated. The battle of the Sixes was a cricket match between the Arts and Science students in the 6th Form. It was a wonderful occasion of fun and privilege when the rest of the school was hard at work.

We spent most of our time at school in the Biology Lab. Often we did not go for assembly and remained there chatting. Because of our long association with the labs we got to know the Attendants who looked after them. Rodrigo was in charge of the Chemistry labs. He was a grey haired tubby chap wearing shorts and short sleeve shirts. He was ever so kind and sometimes helped us with the experiments. The rows of bottles of reagents arranged at the middle of the wide tables is a picture I will never forget.

We always sat on tall uncomfortable wooden stools. Harris looked after the “Bio” lab. He got us the animals for dissections and maintained the room in good order. Many of the specimens in formalin were collected by Mr.Yesudian . Physics lab was looked after by "garandi" Silva who has been at the school 49 years. He was a grumpy old man in thick round glasses. He had a bicycle parked inside the lab. He could hardly walk and it amazed me then how he could cycle. The apparatus there were as old as Silva and a disgrace to the school. All these “servants” apparently lived in the school most days and was like part of the furniture. They all served Wesley well.

Mr LA Fernando our Chemistry Teacher

I must not give you the impression that it was all fun and games. although I have always wanted to be one of the gang I was deeply aware of my goal to enter Medical College and never stopped working for it. On looking back my stamina for work at the time amazes me still. There were the syllabuses to cover and the revision to do and there was no end to the work.

In the lower sixth life was easier and we made full use of it. We watched the cricket matches with great keenness as we had our own man Lalith Wijesinghe in the team. We became active spectators attending in large groups. The highlight of the lower sixth was the School Fete with an excellent science exhibition. Soon the upper Sixth was upon us and the work began in earnest. The Exams were held in December. We had 3 months of virtual study leave as most syllabuses were covered. We went to school on odd days to do some practicals.

The tension was getting to us and life became hard. There were stories that the exam papers had leaked as it often happened. The theory exam was held at Visakha Vidyalaya in Bambalapitiya and the Practicals at the University at Reid Avenue. The results were posted to us in March. On that fateful day Sarath Ranasinghe and Lakshman Jayasinghe received letters inviting them for an interview prior to entry to Medical College. I was disappointed but not surprised not to receive an invitation.

Several days passed and I had arranged all my books for a second assault in December. Many commiserated with me which I think I accepted with grace. It was Mr,LA Fernando who personally brought my letter which had been mislaid by the post office. I was ecstatic and he was too. I sold all my books and celebrated not with a drink as we would do now but by going to the Cinema which in those days was a special treat.

I remember my last day at school. I went to assembly virtually through the back door and sat in the balcony. After being in this protected environment I was at times fearful of feeling lost in the big world outside. The world was spinning around me. There was a cricket match that day and the boys sang the school song. I couldn’t hold back my tears but was too shy to show it. I stayed behind for the short Christian Service. Mr.L.A.Fernando read a passage from the Bible and we all sang


"Guide me oh Thou Great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land
I am weak but thou art mighty
Help me with Thy powerful hand."

Top left: Top of the stairs going into Chemistry Lab

Top Right: Physics Lab

Bottom left: Chemistry Lab

Bottom Right: Biology Lab corridor

It is my favourite Hymn and I thought we lifted the roof as we sang. I have now a recording of this Hymn sung by the Kings College Choir Cambridge to remind me of my last day at school. I remember walking back to my usual haunt the Bio lab where the boys had gathered on this final day. Wesley has been my whole life so far. It was strange and desperately sad to leave the life I knew and loved. But there was a whole new world before me. Saying goodbye to my friends must have been the hardest thing I’ve had to do. We vowed to meet up again in 20 years, in the Bio lab.

More than forty years have now passed and those vows remain unpaid and forgotten. I still recall my lonely walk after the good byes and seeing over my shoulder the magnificent buildings of the school. An image that has stayed with me ever since. Even after all these years it pains me deeply to think of the Principals, teachers and students who have now departed this world and was then an important part of my life. If I ever have a regret it is that I should have shaken the hands of all the teachers on my last day at school from the Primary School upwards for many of them I never saw again.

During my 5 years in Medical College I may have visited the school twice. Each time I found myself a stranger in the place which was my home for over a decade. My friends had left by then and some of the teachers too. The loss of the Small Park was a heavy blow to many of us. I was not to set foot on those hallowed grounds again for another 20 years. In those years I left Sri Lanka, carved myself a career and raised a family. I often spoke to my 2 sons of the halcyon days at Wesley College and it was they who wanted to see this magical school they have heard so much about.

It was a most memorable trip in 1992 when we visited the hostel, classrooms, assembly hall, library and walked along the narrow paths amidst the lovely flamboyant trees then in full bloom. Mr. Wijemanne greeted us with a broad smile and took us to his new Tuck Shop. He was a man who was there when I started school in 1950 and when I left in 1962. We reminisced at length. It pained me to hear of his death some years later. The long corridors and the notice boards had the feel of the 1950's but a lot has changed mostly for the better. I left with my affection for the school rekindled. It was not until the new millennium did I have the time to look back ,recall and write about my life and friends . The sixth form years were the best I've had at school.

In those days for anyone studying the Sciences the choice was rather limited, being confined to Medicine, Biological Sciences, Agriculture and Engineering. There was a belief that entry into Medical College was a passport to Nirvana. That was just an illusion which for a few turned out to be a nightmare. It was only the beginning of a long struggle with busy days and sleepless nights. I hope this popular misconception has now been properly addressed. If I am allowed to be cynical - it is no more a noble profession but a kind of business making a living on others' misfortune, just like the lawyers. A "Medical Mudalali" is a term more suited as avarice and greed has taken over this profession. As I look around the various professions their nobility has been eroded by the pressures of modern living. As a 6th Former in the sixties I wasn't to know all that.

A professional career with its disruptive routines and untold strain on my time and leisure has invariably taken its toll. I now look forward to the end of my career with the same excitement as its beginning. Going back to that January morning climb up the wooden stairs I would never have imagined life would turn out this way. Call it destiny or the will of God, good fortune has been on my side most of the way.

Fifty years on... where are they now ( inserted October 2011)

The human brain is a remarkable archive of memories that can be recalled instantly and repeatedly. Although it is 50+ years since I left school those memories of my sixth form years still remain so fresh. The 2 years we spent there were among the best years of my life. Life was filled with probing conversations about sex, politics, religion and cricket. Despite the gruelling schedule and the punishing regime we had time to behave like teenagers. There was infectious laughter in the corridors. But behind fun and games there was alertness to everything going on in class. I recall going to bed about 11 and falling asleep surrounded by piles of paper and books with only my black cat for company. Finally impressive hurdles were overcome.

Going to the cinema was a treat in itself. The discipline and hard work brought us closer together. Somedays we managed to sneak out of class and roam the streets of Colombo. How we managed to do this despite the strict discipline, baffles me still. Perhaps it helped that we had with us the Senior Prefect, Daya Perera with us at all times. Vihara Maha Devi Park was a popular venue. Our teachers understood well the pain and stress of it all. They gave us their time and taught us beyond the call of duty. In those years I stepped on the treadmill and remained there until I retired in 2007.

On a warm summer evening as I sit out in the garden with a glass of wine these memories come easily to mind. The friendships I enjoyed and the fun and laughter in the Biology lab are precious recollections. Thankfully many who shared my life in the 6th Form enjoyed successful careers. Whilst some have retired others continue to serve their communities. The passage of years must have changed us all as we embarked on our lifes journey with demanding careers , marriage and children and even grandchildren. As I meet them now their boyish looks have all but disappeared. I see the lines and furrows in their faces, the result of the inevitable trials and tribulations of a long and tortuous journey. The thick head of black hair is replaced by thin grey strands. The ravages of time has certainly taken its toll. Somehow, many have retained the smile from long ago and the ability to laugh and joke about events of the intervening years..

In all honesty many of us had no clear idea what we wanted to do with our lives and no idea how University was going to help us figure it out. In a rather confused manner we believed in following our hearts, listening to our parents, believing our instincts, and trusting our intuition. When many of our friends were enjoying their teenage years living the good life we were burning the midnight oil. There were times we felt we missed out and wondered if it was all worthwhile. Some of us had the single-mindedness and self-belief. Our teachers during those years worked tirelessly to prepapre us for the examinations and also for life. They inspired almost evangelical devotion among their students.

In all their endeavours, their kindness, humour and charm made them much loved and enormously respected by us all. Our teachers were uncomplicated men and dedicated professionals. They changed our outlook on life and were mostly responsible for our success. Mr Yesudian was our mentor and father figure and many us owe our careers to this great man. The film "Goodbye Mr. Chips" comes to mind as I think of the great teachers of our era.

These 50 years have been costly too, in terms of life. Mr Yesudian passed away on the 23rd of June 2006, Mr Sunderalingam and Mr L A Fernando passed away in SL and Mr. Chanthirasekeran in Toronto Canada on the 25th of May 1997. Mr David Joseph who taught us English passed away in Papua New Guinea in 1978.

R. Somanathan Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of San Diego USA

Dr Nihal J Nonis : Retired Consultant Physician now living in Colombo. He is the Registrar of the Sri Lanka Medical Council, a prestigious position of great honour.

Hamilton Amerasinghe: Retired from an executive post at the Katunayake Airport. he now shuttles between Colombo and Melbourne visitng his grandchildren.

LCR Wijesinghe: Retired after a successful career in the Middle east

Milton Arandara is a Consultant in the lucrative Gem industry in Colombo. It wasa great pleasure to see him at the dinner at the Galle Face Hotel in Sept. 2012. We talked a lot about our good life in the 6th form.

Sheriff Fallil: Now works in Monrovia, which is the capital of Liberia, Weset Africa , as a Senior Manager

CH De Alwis Jayasinghe: Retired as a Director of Agriculture in SL. I met him at the Reunion in 2012 when he was about to leave for Canada to settle down.

Dr L S Jayasinghe: Consultant Radiologist in Brisbane, Australia - still busy at work

Sarath Wickramaratne: Business executive in Agricultural Products

My career path as a student at Wesley was never as distinguished as some of my contemporaries. Still, my claim to fame is that that I once walked amongst them!

Sarath

Ranjit Alwis: Managing Director of an Accountancy firm in Adelaide, Australia

Meeting Ranjit Alwis in Adelaide. He is winding down his lucrative Accountancy firm to start a well earned rest.

Yogan Sathianathan: Tax Consultant in Darwin, Australia

Dr Sarath Ranasinghe: Won the Hill Medal in our year. Paediatrician in Kandy in Private Practice. He was there at the Reunion in Sept 2013. We reminisced about those happy times at school.

Rohan Wijesinghe: Still elusive as ever living in retirement near Toronto , Canada. Now involved in Charity work.

Dr Nihal Amerasekera: Still managing the Double Blue International website in my retirement.

Daya Perera sadly passed away 4th of November 2003 and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean according to his wishes

Hisni Marrikar became a solicitor and sadly passed away in the 1970's in SL while on an evening stroll.

Dr A S Ratnam Orthopaedic Surgeon in Scotland. He was affected adversely during the chaotic time of the ethnic troubles in SL. He is now retired. It was a great pleasure to speak to him on the phone at great length on Friday the 13th Sept 2013 after 50 years.

Ranjit Jegasothy - Lives in Auckland new Zealand- Hope life has been kind to him and we wish him well.I spoke with him in early 2013 and was in good spirits.

Siyamala Carson, Niles and Hoover : Whereabout not known. We remember most fondly and wish them well.

I wonder what the next decade has in store for us ..... !!

Reflections on my retirement by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

I recall most vividly the euphoria on being a doctor in 1967. I was completely overawed by the occasion. For my family this prestigious position was a dream come true. The excitement lasted several months until the rigours of a professional life of sleepless nights and busy days wore me down. I saw the long and tortuous road ahead of more examinations and the unrealistic expectations of a room at the top. Having reached there, now, my retirement looms large. The bell has rung for the final lap of my marathon of 40 years in medicine. I look forward to this well earned rest with the same excitement and euphoria as at the beginning of my career. The long years of toil has taken its toll.  Hopefully I have emerged more philosophical with an ability to live what’s left of my life without the driving ambition, greed and avarice of my youth.

I have delved deep into the archives of my mind to recall why and when I had chosen a career in medicine.  Those recollections were hidden at the bottom of a mass of countless memories. Only a small fraction of that thought process could be salvaged despite my valiant efforts. I was then fourteen and full of the joys of life. I just wanted a career with a stable job and a regular income. In those days this was synonymous with government service. I wish there was a more noble reason for my choice. Helping the suffering humanity and relieving pain was the inevitable fallout from my choice of career.

The first public hurdle was the GCE O- Levels and the requirement was 5 credits. Then came the University Entrance examination which was a game of chance. Just 300 were chosen from several thousand able candidates. My journey into the profession began in Medical College. I still feel deeply nostalgic for the bohemian lifestyle and pranks of my days as a medical student. There I was introduced for the first time to the drink of the Gods, a habit which was to last a lifetime. We seemed to have everything to live for despite the hard grind. During those gruelling years what impressed me most was the dedication and commitment of the Physicians and Surgeons of the General Hospital Colombo. They taught us their craft unstintingly. Our apprenticeship was worth its weight in gold. We emerged confident and with a sound practical knowledge to face an uncertain future in a country in turmoil. Many couldn’t accept the status quo and left the island. I stayed on in the hope that good times would return.

My internship in Kurunegala gave me an insight into life away from the big city. The power cuts and the water shortages were a regular feature. I learnt to accept this with good grace knowing how much more the villagers suffered. I still feel deeply for the simple rural folk of the “Wanni” who had such implicit faith in my powers of healing. They often thought I had influence over life and death.  When I think of the individual patients and recall their anguish I wish that was true. The gods, nature weather, politics and disease were all heaped against these simple folk. Sadly  their only release from this enormous burden was death. Little has changed since the graphic description of  the hardship of village life by Leonard Woolfe in his “Village in the jungle” at the turn of the last century. This grim reality was accepted as the norm by politicians who could have done much more to improve their life. In Kurunegala, my life and career was at a standstill. I applied for a transfer to Colombo. After much heartache my wish was granted.

In 1970 our economy was in serious distress. The country was seething with unrest . The tide of discontent reached its peak with the insurgency of 1971. After it was promptly and brutally crushed the dust settled slowly. The government imposed strict import restrictions. All foreign goods became too expensive. Only politicians and the very rich could afford such luxuries. There were restrictions on leaving the country like in the Soviet Republic. The intelligentsia made use of their political connections to go abroad which was then euphemistically called the brain drain. I was frustrated by the erosion of our freedom and was overwhelmed by a feeling of oppression. The country seemed to be heading into an abyss.

After the house jobs my career prospects became a part of the Health Department lottery. For seven years I had drifted from one job to another. In sheer desperation, finally, I decided to pack my bags to seek my fortune abroad.  The decision to leave my family, friends and country was not taken lightly. I still recall the sleepless nights  the agony and the anguish. This at times tore me apart. I wanted a different life from what I saw around me and was attracted to the bright lights and the sophistication of a life in London.  The day of my departure came too soon. I left for London in  June 1974.

In London  I struggled with the cold and looked for jobs. My Sri Lankan friends helped me overcome homesickness and maintain my sanity.  In those distant days racial discrimination was rife both in day to day life and also in the National Health Service. I learnt to accept these vagaries. I had to be twice as good as a local candidate to get a job and often even this wasn’t good enough. There were times when people curiously preferred to stand in the bus than sit next to me. Despite these setbacks I passed my examinations without delay and was fortunate enough to work in two of the most prestigious teaching hospitals in London for a period of five years. This is however more than what I could have ever achieved in my own country. As my finances improved. I developed expensive habits. Although guilt ridden, I ventured to buy myself a small car. After the manic driving in Sri Lanka I re-learnt to drive sensibly in England.

With the postgraduate exams completed I found my room at the top in a town 50 miles north of London. It is a leafy suburb created after the war to accommodate the spill over from the East end of London. The prevalent Cockney accent was a source of amusement having being brought up on the high-brow BBC pronunciation in Colonial Ceylon. They were a friendly bunch although rather stoic and rough, at times. I found a house in a peaceful village by a golf course which has been my home ever since. Here I have seen the summers come and go whilst serving the local community.

Working in the UK is a pleasure. Their work ethic is exemplary and I learnt enormously from their attitude to work and patients. They plan well for a crisis before it arises. Their dedication to duty and their commitment to patient care cannot be faulted. On my retirement it grieves me to leave an institution with such a fine work force. The hospital has grown in size and stature to become one of the best in the country. We have the most modern equipment and experts to provide good healthcare. It has been a privilege to be a part of this team.

In 1974 I joined the best Health Service in the world which was free at the point of use. Over the years the patient demands became greater. They wanted the best service in the world - free and were not willing to accept the inevitable medical errors. They were quick to resort to litigation for minor issues. The legal bills and the cost of such a service became too great for the government to finance. Then the cutbacks began to erode into patient care. At present the National Health Service is in crisis providing a substandard service. The doctors are disillusioned and leaving the country in their thousands. A brain drain yet again as I saw in my youth in Sri Lanka. The politicians are not prepared to inform the public they cannot afford a free health service. This they reckon would be political suicide. So the blame for this multifaceted problem lies on the Politicians for their lack of honesty and guts and the patients for expecting too much from a ‘free’ service.

I have now reached the end of a long journey. My most abiding memories are of patients who also became my friends. I would never forget the tremendous courage of those who had only a few days to live. Many showed remarkable bravery in this most difficult situation. Some had a strange premonition of when the end would come. These deep and conflicting emotions of my professional life has been both challenging and rewarding.

I leave the medical profession with a heavy heart but also happy to be free again. Now I can get on with my life without the time tables and onerous routines of a hospital doctor. Would I study medicine again if given a chance? – yes, indeed. Diagnosis and treatment are a  difficult but fascinating challenge. The physical, mental and emotional demands of the profession although exhausting has its rewards. Its camaraderie and team work makes the work attractive and motivating. People ask me how I would spend the rest of my life. This would indeed depend on maintaining good health and having sufficient funds. I wish to travel when I can carry my own luggage. China, Australasia and South America have been on my list for many years. Cricket has been my passion since childhood and now I would be free to watch it live at Lords or the Oval and also on television.  Listening to music, reading and going to the theatre would fill my days with pleasure. I would not work again for money. I have paid my dues to society!! The driving desire to earn money has left me now. We leave this world as we came – with nothing.

I have missed my family in Sri Lanka enormously and have paid a heavy price for my desire to live and work abroad. I wasn’t present for the births, weddings and deaths of those most dear to me. I am now a stranger to the new generation born during my absence. I feel a foreigner in the country of my birth as Sri Lanka has moved forward in leaps and bounds despite the destructive forces of a long ethnic conflict. Although I live happily in England I have left my heart in that beautiful island of my birth and the land of my fore-fathers.

I have lived a passionate and impetuous life. These are attributes that could lead to serious grief and there was. When I look back what stands out is the awesome force of destiny. There are countless examples of this unusual and unexpected phenomena in my eventful life.  I was one of the few in my batch at Medical College who did not want to leave Sri Lanka. Extraordinary circumstances in my life paved the way for this change of heart. Then I always wanted to be a physician but by a strange turn of events I was directed towards Radiology. This was a godsend and I have never looked back. I am appreciative of the luck and the privilege. Thankfully destiny has smiled on me and good fortune has been on my side most of the way.

This closes the chapter on my professional life. Hopefully the new phase would be sedate and a peaceful. As always destiny would have the last word.

I must pay tribute to my parents. They have been my inspiration always. I compliment most warmly my dear wife who had to endure and share the pain  and hardship of my demanding  professional life.
May God Bless them all.

 

 


From the Editors of the School Magazine 1961 by Dallas Achilles

Staff: There have been frequent changcs in our staff during the period under review.

Messrs. E. L. Rodrigo, N. E. H. Fonseka and N. A. B. Fernando an old boy of the school joined our staff recently. Messrs. Ivan Ondaatze and V. S. Balendran have since left us. Others who left us were Mr. J. L. F. de Mel who retired after serving Wesley for nearly 30 years as a teacher and later as Headmaster; Mr. C. J. T. Thamotheram; and Mrs. A. J. T. Peiris. We congratulate Mr. Frank Jayasinghe on his obtaining the B.A. (Hons.) degree and Mr. Wilfred Wickremasinghe on his appointment as Head-master of the Pri­mary school section.

College Furniture: Reckless and un­called for damaging of the college furniture was quite prominent throughout last year. In spite of frequent appeals by the higher authorities this wanton unconcern for college property does not seem to cease. We strongly appeal to the boys to be more careful with the furniture which we proudly possess. We should be thankful for en­joying such benefits unlike most schools.

Woodwork Department: Quietly, and without much ado, this department has flourished a great deal. The department not only repairs the damaged furniture, but goes on~ step further by making new desks and chairs. We are thankful to Mr. D. M. D. Dharmaratne, the master in charge of the department, for his infallible efforts in achieving the good name it has earned.

New Windows: The end of 1959 pre­sented a brighter outlook in the College Hall in the new windows. These beautiful windows, donated by Mr. E. S. B. Fer­nando a loyal old boy of the school, added a new look to the ancient hall, replacing the specially tinted glass panes which were regretfully irreplaceable.

Milk Bar: A very welcome feature which began last term was the opening of a milk bar in the college premises during the Short Break. Judging by the crowds which patronize this popular feature, it looks as if it has really come to stay. We thank the Milk Board for kindly consenting to supply the very welcome bottles of milk.

Cycle Shed: One factor which certainly needs improving is the Cycle shed. During wet weather the cycles are given a tho­rough drenching, as the roof leaks very badly. The biggest complaint however seems to be in mischief makers who remove the air from a tyre; and sometimes go to the extent of adding to their personal belong­ings some parts of cycles. These pranksters seem to think it is fun, but it really is not funny to see the unlucky boys pitifully wheeling their partless, airless, cycles to the nearest cycle repair shop.

Laboratories: We are definitely proud of having three well equipped laboratories for Physics, Chemistry and Zoology. Yet, they are still in the same condition as they were years ago. As the years go by, we would like to see improvement.

Hostel, Bathroom and Lavatories:A marked decline in the amount of complaints received from Hostellers clearly shows that this factor has shown much improvement. However the water supply is rather poor. This may be because of the College being situated on a higher level than the sur­rounding areas, but steps could be taken to eliminate this problem. After all the Zoo and Chemistry labs obtain a steady supply of water from a tank

Indoor Games: We are very sorry indeed to note the lack of enthusiasm shown towards such popular indoor games like Badminton, Table Tennis and Carrom. Wesley has plenty of talented players.

College Garden: Not many schools in the island today can proudly boast of a garden of the kind we have. We would however like it to remain beautiful; and we strongly appeal to the Junior boys who play on the lawn to refrain from doing so. There are two big Parks where they can play as much as they want.

 


 

Wesley cricket 50 years ago -- a spectators view by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

Playing and watching cricket was one of the most enjoyable things of my time at Wesley. A tangle of emotions tumble through my mind as I reflect on the cricket at Campbell Park. Fifty years is a long time. I have travelled into the past and searched the deepest crevices of my mind to gather these memories. For me it was a most wonderful experience and it is my hope this will remind old Wesleyites of their time at school.

I wrote these notes for the Australian Old Boys' website in appreciation of the many cricketers at Wesley who have now emigrated to that great country. The list is too long to mention them individually. But I make special mention of Bryan Claessen who was my childhood hero. He was a talented all rounder, and later my very good friend. Bryan is best described as a cricketer and a gentleman. I would like to say thank you to them all for those wonderful years of cricket at school. Not only have we enjoyed their performances as schoolboys we have remembered them all our lives. I wish them good health and happiness in the years to come. It is a small but a sincere tribute to a fine band of Wesleyites. I only hope those rich, healthy, cricketing traditions are still alive and well at Wesley.

In those days without television, mobile phones and video games cricket provided the entertainment and pumped up the adrenaline. We played softball cricket before school started, during the intervals, after school and at weekends. When there were no proper wickets- tree trunks, suitcases or black lines scribbled on a wall became perfect substitutes. Any space became our “oval”. We kept the ball low most of the time but occasionally hit a six and broke the neighbours window. When we were not playing cricket we talked and dreamed about it. Such was the strength of feeling for the game.

I joined the boarding in 1952. Then in the hostel everyone played cricket. Watching the school matches at Campbell Park was a ritual never to be missed. Although 50 years have passed I have vivid memories of some of those matches and the stresses and strain that accompanied them. Campbell Park is named after Sir GWR Campbell who initiated a “modern” Police Force in Ceylon in 1844. This was later the grounds of the Tamil Union Sports Club until 1943 when Mr.PH Nonis acquired it for Wesley College. Campbell Park is divided into 4 quadrants by 2 cycle paths. Wesley lay claim to the northern quadrant. The southern quadrant became the grounds of the popular Bloomfield Cricket Club. Campbell Park was our amphitheatre. The Wesleyites, old boys and well wishes line up on the Campbell Place side and the visitors were on the opposite side. We had the old pavilion then with the metal railings. The entire pavilion had the unmistakable smell of linseed oil. There were bats strewn at the rear of the pavilion -and I recall Stuart Surridge Len Hutton and Herbert Suttcliff bats all turned a dark yellow from wear and tear having black bands of twine ( bindings) to keep them intact. That was Wilbert’s domain and us little boys were promptly and ruthlessly escorted out of the building . We had a matting wicket then and a small score board maintained by present boys. The tennis and basket ball courts and the sand pit for high jump were all part of the scene. Our metal sight screen was unusual as most school had cloth screens that ballooned in the breeze. The Principals CJ Oorloff or PH Nonis was seen seated in the pavilion on a Saturday afternoon with prominent Old Boys like DS Wijemanne and Terence De Zilwa enjoying the game and taking part in the tea and cakes. It was Mr.Oorloff who decreed we close early on a Friday afternoon to encourage students to support the school. The tall Andara hedge that separated Campbell Place from the park had a well used passage to creep through. A “short cut” as we called it. During matches a long row of cars were parked on the grass verge all along Campbell Place being battered by the sun reflecting its heat and light in all directions. It wasn't often when a ball was hit over the fence to damage cars. On a visit to the Park in 2000 I saw the changes to the scenery since my time but I will always remember it as it was when I was at school.

In January we could buy from the school bookstall a blue folding card of cricket fixtures for 10 cents (without any advertisements!!). In the 1st Term ( Lent Term) we played St.Thomas’, Royal, St.Joseph’s, St.Peter’s, Trinity, Ananda, Richmond and Kingswood and in the Christmas Term we played Prince of Wales, St.Benedicts, Maris Stella Negombo and Carey College. The school matches started at 12 noon on both Fridays and Saturdays when each side played 2 innings. The ritual began when the team was announced at Friday assembly and we sang the College song. The season started in January with the so called easier matches against Kingswood and Richmond . To watch the games we assembled in large numbers under the massive trees that surrounded the grounds. Singing and chanting waving the school flag was part of the fun. Zam Zam Zaky and the school song broke out spontaneously. When the going was good drums appeared with the more rhythmic tunes like the bailas were in full swing. Mr.LA Fernando often rallied the troops to sing and support the school. When wickets fell we sang “What’s the matter minor matter”. Often as the afternoon wore on the concentration was intense and the stress levels high . To take a break we sometimes walked back to the hostel for some refreshments. I can still remember the tall, dark, slim figure of Mr. Eric Gunasekera then in the evening of his life and partially blind waiting at his gate in Karlshrue Gardens, for news of the cricket at Campbell Park. We always stopped to greet and relay the events. Alerics and Piccadilly Ice cream vans, with their engines humming ,did good business on those days as well as the Achcharu ladies and GRAM sellers ( a paper cone of roasted peanuts cost 5cents).

To be a 1st eleven cricketer at Wesley was a great honour. They were placed on a pedestal and were greatly respected by all. That intoxicating amalgam of praise and public acclaim can be destructive. Despite their teenage years they received this adulation with poise and dignity. Conceit grows imperceptibly and the person who is afflicted is unaware of it. Fortunately the hard knocks of our lives at school and those in the cricket field were enough to tone it down. The effort to suppress one's feelings and behave well in public continuously must have been a great strain. Much has to be said about the discipline and training at Wesley which helped to groom such men of modesty and valour. I must say I looked at them with some envy and respect.

Cricket in those days was played by gentleman. Umpires word was law. We congratulated the opponents’ achievements in the field. We walked away when we felt it was out though the umpires did not see . The spectators dissent and applause was confined to areas beyond the boundary. No streakers, foul language or efforts to intimidate the batsman at the crease. When we lost though crest fallen and frustrated clapped the opponents back to the pavilion. Those injured in the heat of the battle were comforted by the captain of the opposite side. My generation grew up with peace. This gentlemanly behaviour on the pitch merely reflected the peaceful and chivalrous times of our youth. Even my beloved Test cricket, which once seemed so resurgent, now appears mired in too much money and too many fixtures, with the players looking not only worn-out but terrified as well, lest they drop a vital catch. In the 21st century these seem rather tame as the cricketers have given up being gentleman for the high stakes they play for.

1st XI Cricket Team of 1952

The 1950’s were the vintage years of cricket at Wesley. 1950-51 DBC Mack captained the team. I was a “day scholar” then and being 7 years old had no opportunity to see the cricket. 1952 and 53 were the Claessen years when Radley and then Bryan captained the teams. The hostile bowling of MN Samsudeen and the Claessen brothers and the aggressive batting of Bryan C and Patrick Schockman brought us tremendous success. In those days the barometer of success was the performance against St.Thomas’, Royal and St.Joseph’s. It is my impression that in 1951 and 52 we were placed 2nd in the league table and were unbeaten. The team was as follows: L.Abeywardene, N. Gallaher, S.Musafer, D.Mack L.Adhihetty, D.Ebert, G.Abeysooriya, B.Perera, H.Felsinger, M.Samsudeen, S.Allalasunderam, R.Claessen, A.Batuwitage ,Abu Fuard, N.Fernando, V.Adhihetty, S. Mack, A. Chapman, GJayatunga, D.Range, P.Schokman, A.Casiechetty, M.Jurampathy, R.M. de Silva H.Claessen, Ansar Fuard, G. Nanayakkara and Bryan Claessen. Most of us regard heroes of our youth as the greatest we have seen. I have never seen a better schoolboy batsman than Lou Adhihetty. But I do not think there was anyone in that period more exciting than Bryan Claessen, or a finer all-rounder than Ansar Fuard. There were very few better fast bowlers than LR Goonetilleke. I must say it was exceedingly difficult for me to select these cricketers from the vast galaxy of exceptional talent we have had over the years.

When successful against St Thomas or Royal at home we marched in a large group to the Principal’s porch chanting “Monday holiday” and it was usually granted to our utter delight. When matches were played away in Colombo we never missed them. When we played St.Thomas’ away it was a long trek to Mt Lavinia. The red Leyland double deckers of the CTB had a direct route to Ratmalana via Bullers Road and Galle Road. We caught the bus opposite our school gate and got off at the beginning of Hotel Road walking the short distance to the school. St Thomas’ was established in 1862 and had the most impressive buildings with large tall grey Greco-Roman granite columns. They had beautifully laid out gardens. I couldn’t say the same of their breezy turf wicket by the sea which was a cemetery for visiting teams. They have always had good cricketers and strong teams. Dan Piachaud, PI Peiris, Neil Chanmugam, Lareef Idroos, CM Ponniah and Buddy Reid come to mind. Royal College came into being in January 1835 as a private school christened "The Hill Street Academy" and was situated at Hill Street Wolfendhal. They moved to the present site next door to the University in 1923. It was a shorter journey to the Reid Avenue turf which was the Royal College grounds. On many occasions I had preferred to watch from beyond Reid Avenue fence which gave a panoramic view of the red brick school, the pavilion and the action in the middle. They had some fine cricketers like Brendan Gooneratne, EL and Bryan Pereira, Darrel Lieversz, Sarath Samarasinghe and Nanda Senanayake. St. Peters grounds at Bambalapitiya was again a turf pitch. They had an elegant Pavilion built on a hill overlooking the turf. The “Bambalawatte boys” gathered in their hundreds with their Brylcreemed Elvis Presley hair, speaking their own brand of pigeon English. The Wellawatte canal wasn’t far away and the smell of stagnant water was ever present. We could see in the distance the tall chimney of the Wellawatte Spinning and Weaving Mills bellowing thick black smoke. Clive Inman was a prolific scorer and Anton Perera was there match winning fast bowler. St.Joseph’s College was started in 1896. Their matting at Darley Road has been the site of many battles between our 2 schools. I recall the swimming pool end and the pavilion end. Ken Serpanchy, Rufus Buultjens, Malcolm Francke and Priya Perera excelled for the Josephians. The school had impressive large buildings built around the grounds. The high dome of their Chapel is breathtakingly beautiful. Whenever we won at Darley Road we had to evade the hostile Maradana crowd for whom it was more than a game of cricket. Many stories existed why we didn’t play Ananda. I do not know the basis for the story of skulduggery and poor sportsmanship but they have always been formidable opponents. They had some excellent cricketers in Yatagama Amaradasa, Mohanlal Fernando, Sonny Yatawara and Kumar De Silva. This match was resumed in 1956 and was played at the Nalanda grounds just next door to us. This made the contest rather fierce both for the cricketers and spectators. It was the personal pride at stake and we didn’t want to lose to our neighbours. Our hostellers just crossed the small park and jumped the fence running down the steep hill to the Nalanda grounds. The match against Kingswood was played at Randles Hill, Trinity at Asgiriya and Richmond at the Galle Esplanade.

Mr. AV Fernando

Bespectacled Mr. AV Fernando our coach and Edmund Dissanayake , the master in charge were familiar figures in the pavilion planning our strategy. Bryan Claessen was a hero and I still remember him acknowledging the adulation of the boys. He went on to represent Ceylon as a schoolboy. His gyratory bowling action and the vicious spin brought us exceedingly good results. The team also had two hostellers – Arthlow Chapman and Neil Gallagher both stylish batsman who provided some fine entertainment for the spectators putting the opponents to the sword. Ansar Fuard captained in 1954. His aggressive batting and accurate bowling helped to turn matches round in our favour. Ansar and Abu followed the footsteps of their father who captained in 1915. Ansar was an astute captain and was ably assisted by his brother’s fine off spin bowling to complete a very successful year. Abu later went on to play for Ceylon and also became an influential member of the Selection Committee. The tragic death of Hermon Claessen in a motor cycle accident was the biggest blow to Wesley cricket during my time. He was a fine all round cricketer. 1955-56 were the Lou Adhihetty years. He was a great alrounder who brought honour to himself and the school. Lou’s name appeared in the national papers regularly for his fine performances with the bat and ball. Wesley was fortunate to have an old boy- Christie Seneviratne as a sports journalist who wrote under the pseudonym “Wrong’un”. He gave us good exposure when we deserved it. The cricket coverage in the daily papers were full of clichés. “Rain stops play”, “Benedictines skittled for 65 runs”, “Tame Draw at Darley Road”. “Royal routed for 89 runs”. Any Tournament was called a Tourney!! We are fortunate to have Richard Dwight as a Sports Journalist to help keep our flag flying.

Mr. Edmund Dissanayake

Cricket in Sri Lanka is played in the dry season - January to April the game being so dependent on good weather. I recall the many times watching cricket in the blistering heat of the mid day sun with beads of sweat rolling down my forehead. There have been times when the whole game got washed off by a cloud burst of bad weather. This was indeed a great disappointment for us all except when losing. I remember the times when I have prayed for rain when our team was in a bad way!! There is nothing more heartbreaking than to see a winning team robbed of victory by a quirk of nature. To have the better team isn't enough to win matches good fortune must shine on them too.

Wesley never had a big match. Seeing the fun at the Royal Thomian , Josephian-Peterite and Ananda -Nalanda matches we felt left out. I remember asking Mr. LA Fernando why we don’t have one and he said with a murky smile “all our matches are big matches”. There is some truth in it in the way we approached them. The efforts not to lose the match often makes it boring ending in a draw. The Big Match is also an excuse to misbehave in public places. Once when A Peterite cricketer Vittachi was hit on the face by a Lou Adhihetty bouncer it dislodge a front tooth. I remember the confusion in the middle and his rapid exit to the General Hospital Colombo. Lou is presently in retirement in Switzerland. 1957 HL Juriansz, a hosteller captained cricket. I remember him as a thoroughly decent Wesleyite and a very popular captain. 1958-59 team was lead by Nalendra Abesuriya . He too was a hosteller with a large fan club. Being an alrounder Wesley had 2 very successful years under his leadership. He left school and entered “Planting” but ill health made him retire early. I was deeply saddened to hear that Abey, passed away in his early 40s leaving a young family. 1960 was captained by SR Sinniah another a cricketer of great ability. Another hosteller from Moscrop House. He presently lives in the UK and plays for our summer tournaments with the OBU. LR Goonetilleke must be our best bowler ever. His accurate left arm fast bowling broke the back of many school teams. He was subsequently selected to play for Sri Lanka. 1961 was D.Kodituwakku’s year as captain. This was the year of my University Entrance examination. I was busy putting in the hard work which prevented me from supporting our team with my usual enthusiasm. 1962 was captained by LCR Wijesinghe coached by BJH Bahar. It was a successful year and was one of our best years since the time of Lou Adhihetty. LCR was my classmate in the 6th form. After many decades I located him in The Emirates where he now works as a Metallurgist . He is unassuming, modest and immensely sensible. Kenneth De Silva who was a hosteller had his beginnings as a softball cricketer with us in the small park. He became a match winning all rounder in 1962. I still wonder how he managed to spin the ball so viciously with his tubby short fingers. He is now the prefect of Games at Wesley and a great asset to the College. Rodney Perera’s 101 against Richmond was a match winning performance. Sadly Rodney is with us no more. Milroy Bulner who was a valued member of the 1961 team too passed away in his 30’s . Following is the 1962 Cricket Team sent to me by LCR Wijesinghe.

Lalith Wijesingha, Kenneth De Silva (v. capt) , Milroy Muthuvaloe , Darrel Maye ,Sarath Wickramaratne , Mervyn Hamer , Everard Schoorman , C.T Rodrigo ,RAK Perera Batcha Fuard , Milroy Jebarajah ,Priyanath Fernando, Campbell ( forget his first name) We played 8 matches , Lost the first match to St Peters' on the turf at Bambalapitiya, Drew with St Thomas' Mt Lavinia at Campbell Park, Won against Kingswood, Richmond, Trinity, St Josephs', Royal, & Ananda.

The following are the highlights from my years at school. The long lists speaks for itself of those glorious times.

Over 5 wickets in an innings

1950
R. L. Claessen ...6 --87 Vs St. Joseph’s

R. L. Claessen ...6 --88 Vs Royal
E. B. Claessen (1st Innings) 5 --26 Vs Trinity
E. B. Claessen (2nd Innings)6 --38 Vs Trinity

1951
G. Nanayakkara •..5 --36 Vs Kingswood

E. B. Claessen ...5 --57 Vs Trinity
E. B. Claessen ...6 --39 Vs Kingswood

E. B. Claessen ...5 --31 Vs Richmond

1952
E. B. Claessen ...6 --88 Vs Zahira
E. B. Claessen ...5 --19 Vs Zahira
E. B. Claessen (1st Innings) 6 --24 Vs Prince of \Vales

E.B. Clacssen (2nd Innings) 6 --20 Vs Prince of Wales

E B. Claessen..5 --66 Vs Royal
E B. Claessen...5 --42 Vs Kingswood
E B. Claessen...6 --98 Vs Trinity
E B. Claessen . .5 --14 VS Trinity

1953
M. N. Samsudeen...5 --10 Vs St. Joseph’s
-1953
M. N. Samsudeen..6 --6 Vs Prince of Wales
M. N. Samsudeen..5 --17 Vs Royal
E B. Claessen..5 --25 Vs Prince of Wales

E B. Claessen 5 --40 Vs Kingswood
E B. Claessen 6 --38 Vs Richmond
M. A. H. Fuard...6 --76 Vs St. Thomas’
M. A. H. Fuard..5 --29 Vs St. Joseph’s

1954
M. A. H. Fuard...6 --44 Vs Trinity
L. Adhihetty 5 --49 Vs Kingswood
B. Buell... 6 --49 Vs St. Peter’s
B. Buell 5 --12 Vs Richmond
M. N. Samsudeen 5 --61 Vs St. Anthony’s

1955
M. N. Samsudeen...5 --40 Vs St. Thomas’
M. N. Samsudeen 6 --26 Vs Royal
M. N. Samsudeen 5 --46 Vs St. Peter’s
M. A. H. F’uard 5 --50 Vs St. Benedict’s

L. Adhihetty...5 --68 Vs St. Joseph’s

1956
L. Adhihetty 7 --62 Vs St. Anthony’s

L. Adhihetty 7 --18 Vs Richmond
.H. G. Claessen...6 --59 Vs St. Thomas’
H. G. Claessen...5 --39 Vs Royal
H. G. Claessen...5 --116 Vs Kingswood
H. G. Claessen5 --40 Vs Trinity
H. G. Claessen...6 --60 Vs St. Joseph’s
W. de Kretser..5 --72 .Vs Richmond
RM De Silva 5 --37 Vs Trinity

1957
RM De Silva..6 --24 VS Prince of WaIes

O. Edema..5 --16 Vs Maris Stella
S. R. Sinniah...5 --28 VS Prince of WaIes

1958
S. R. Sinniah...7 --15 Vs Maris Stella
S. R. Sinniah 6 --64 Vs West Australia School—

S. R. Sinniah...5 --61 Vs St. Joseph’s
N. Abeysuriya ...6 --53 Vs Ananda
N. Abeysuriya ...53 and 7 --43 VS Prince of WaIes

1959
N. Abeysuriya ...5 --39 Vs Richmond
N. Abeysuriya...5 --65 Vs St. Thomas’
L. C. R. Wijesinghe 6 --22 Vs St. Anthony's

L. C. R. Wijesinghe...5 --13 Vs St. Anthony's

L. R.Goonetilleke..6 --20 Vs St Peter's
L. R.Goonetilleke 5 --46 Vs Ananda

1960
L. R.Goonetilleke...5 --15 Vs Trinity
L. R.Goonetilleke 7 --31 Vs Royal
L. R.Goonetilleke 6 --49 Vs Royal
L. R.Goonetilleke 5 --21 Vs Richmond

L. R.Goonetilleke 5 --42 Vs Richmond
L. R.Goonetilleke 6 --53 Vs Kingswood
L. R.Goonetilleke 5 --76 Vs Kingswood
S. R. Sinniah 5 --22 Vs St. Peter’s
K. V. de Silva 5 --32 Vs Kingswood

1961
L. C. R. Wijesinghe ..5 --31 Vs St. Thomas’
L. C. R. Wijesinghe 6 --42 Vs St. Thomas’
L. C. R. Wijesinghe...5 --43 Vs Ananda
E.Schoorman 6 --45 Vs Ananda
K. V. de Silva 5 --32 Vs Kingswood

 



Over 8 wickets in an innings

1951
E. B. Claessen 8 --68 Vs St. Joseph’s
1954

M. A. H. Fuard 9 --35 Vs Prince of Wales

M. A. H. Fuard 8 --60 Vs Royal

M. N. Samsudeen 8 --28 Vs Trinity

1955

M. A. H. Fuard 8 --76 Vs Trinity

1959
L. R. Goonetilleke 8 --9 Vs Mans Stella

L. R. Goonetilleke 8 --18 Vs Kingswood

L. R. Goonetilleke 8 --45 Vs Royal

 

Scorers of centuries

1950

F. D. Ebert 107 Vs Kingswood

1951
R. L. Claessen 101 Vs St. Joseph’s

D. B. C. Mack 105 Vs St. Peter’s

E. B. Claessen 101* Vs Trinity

E. B. Claessen 115 Vs Kingswood

1953
E. B. Claessen 105 Vs St. Joseph’s

M. A. H. Fuard 101 Vs Richmond
1955
L. Adhihetty ... 114 Vs St. Joseph’s

1956
L Adhihetty 147 Vs Kingswood

L. Adhihetty 104 Vs Trinity

L. Adhihe.tty 110 Vs St. Joseph’s

1957
L. Ebert 112 Vs Trinity
1958
R Athukorale 114 Vs Kingswood
1961
D Kodituwakku ... 103 Vs Carey

 

It is true that we relive our own childhood through our children. Both my sons played school cricket in England and I never missed a match. By some strange coincidence Steve played cricket with Dan Piachaud's son. (Dan Piachaud was a fine Thomian Captain in the early 50's. He later played for Oxford University and received his cricket Blue) Public School cricket has the same feel as school cricket in Sri Lanka. They have some of the most elegant pavilions and the most scenic grounds one can imagine. There is nothing more entertaining than watching cricket under a tree on a summers day. It often turned the clock back 50 years.

The enchantment of the cricket matches of my childhood still haunts me. At school Cricket was not only a game but a way of life. My lasting memory of cricket at Campbell Park is the sight of the setting sun behind All Saints Church and its lengthening shadows. The Church bell rang at 6 o'clock. As the bails were lifted we all departed discussing the ups and downs of the days play. Losing a match in those days was like the end of the world but we always bounced back. It was certainly a good training to face the peaks and troughs of our own lives. The songs we sang and the friends I made are etched deeply in my memory. After leaving school in April 1962- I went for some matches in the following year. The magic and the aura of this extraordinary spectacle seem to have gone not being an integral part of it anymore. Thereafter life got too complicated building my career. I never saw any matches at Wesley again. Ah! Those were the days.

To me these years have been one rich gift. I dedicate these notes to the many Wesleyites who entertained us at cricket 1950-62 but have now departed this world. They have done us proud. Our heartfelt thanks posthumously to Wilbert, Cricket Coaches and the Masters in Charge of cricket in those years who made it all happen in the background while we sang and beat the drums beyond the boundary. May God Bless them all..

And when the game's o'er, and our fate shall draw nigh
(For the heroes of cricket, like others, must die),
Our bats we'll resign, neither troubled nor vex'd,
And give up our wickets to those that come next.


TEMPUS FUGIT

Addendum by LCR Wijesinghe

There are some incidents etched in one's memory and can be

remembered to this day. Here are a few from some selected matches.

1961..........Wesley Vs St Thomas'.........

This match was played at Mt Lavinia & Wesley was Captained by D Kodithuwakku. I cannot remember the details of the scores of both schools but I know I made a significant contribution with both bat & ball. I scored 60 runs and took 5 wkts in the innings & 6wkts in the second innings. The Thomian last pair of Tony Sirimanne & Selvadurai was at the wicket and I was bowling .Sirimanne drove the ball straight to Glen Reimers who was fieding at mid on & he grassed a relatively simple catch in the excitement. Sirimanne & Selvadurai held on for nearly one hour I guess , and saved St Thomas' and deprived Wesley of a historic win. I wish to pay a tribute to my Father who was one of my biggest supporters and never missed any of Wesley's home fixtures. I am sure you will recall that there were large crowds to witness Wesley matches those years ( specially if the side was successful) and I always used to spot my Father watching the match from a particular point. May God Bless him

1962.............Wesley vs Trinity................

Wesley won this match in the fourth ball of the last over at Campbell Park. It was the last Trinity pair at the wicket and they

determined to save the match & were stone walling the last overs whatever we managed to send down. I was not bowling during this period & decided to bowl the last over. The field was a very attacking one with a silly mid off & mid on in addition to the customary slips & gully. Having bowled three very good length balls I found the batsman somehow defending and managing not to get out. I decided I should now surprise him in the fourth ball & with the same action bowled the next ball which was a short ball. The batsman was taken by surprise & just held his bat at the ball & gave a simple catch to the silly mid off......Wesley had another victory in the nick of time.

1962..............Wesley vs Ananda..............

This was played on the Nalanda grounds. CT Rodrigo was the match winner. The strange fact was that he was not a regular player but was selected for this match & did not even bowl in the first innings but went on to take 7or 8 wkts and give Wesley a handsome win over a very strong Ananda side which had Sarath Wimalaratne, TD Rajapakse etc in the side. Sarath Wickramaratne excelled in his fielding in the gulley position by taking something like 5 or 6 catches, some of which were stunners. There was excellent team spirit in the 1962 team with each one playing their role. There were no STARS but each player made his contribution.

Addendum by Lou Adhihetty

Funny that you should send this to me because about 2 or 3 weeks ago, I wrote to Bryan Claessen and reminded him (!!!) that 50 years ago I played cricket under him

!! (1953). We are really getting old ! We were unbeaten - beat Prince of Wales, Kingswood, Royal, St. Josephs and Richmond - all the other games were drawn. Actually, in my carreer, I recall 3 very GOOD games. First, when we beat St Josephs in 1953, Second, beat Royal in 1954 and, lastly, beat Trinity in 1956 (scoring 49 runs in 12 min. - A MEMORABLE MATCH).

Addendum by Michael Christoffelsz

This was a great article and I thoroughly enjoyed it, cricket was much of what we did to pass the time away at the hostel, and some notable matches at small park, I used to remember the fierce competition of the hostel houses the Vikings, Spartans and Yodayas when we played cricket against each other, and I still remember been given out lbw by " Homba" Fernando when I was on 90, a dubious decision I thought, and when I asked him about it after the match, he replied " you won anyway, so whats the problem", and I accepted his answer we both had a laugh about it.


 

Recollections of School days by Daya Winslow

q3I have tried to recollect my days at Wesley.
I joined Wesley in 1959, before which I was at Jaffna College. My Dad's aim was that I get a puritan upbringing coming from a old Methodist family. My Dad came to know our old A.J.Vethanayagam in London in the 1950s at Methodist International Home. He must have been the one to convince my Dad about Wesley. For me the days there at Wesley were like days at the circus with different days programme. If I did something wrong old Vethanayagam's reaction was " I will tell your father". I could not do anything without being watched. Mrs. Sivasubramaniam our teacher in Geography was a classmate of my aunt, so too was Haig Karunaratne. The only free place for me was the school bus and the daily victim was teacher Hensman (Kukulla) who sits between lady teachers and knits (wonder why?) He had no contact with any male colleagues. As far I remember he and Vethanayagam were neighbours living down Station Road, Wellawatta and had no private contact. Vethanayagam had a very sweet voice, can sing very well... when he opens his mouth to sing one has a guarantee to get goose pimples. On the whole he was a very nice gentleman. He taught us what patience is! Our only contact outside with girls was S.C.M and All Saints Convent, the girls from the CGR quarters in Mount Mary. We were like monks in a monastery. I must honestly say our teachers were great to guide us through the wild
youth days. Pity that the time does not come back again. Greetings and best wishes to all teachers, Wesleyites who know me and those unknown to me.

For us at Wesley day starts at 06:00 hrs. for the journey of about 5 miles. Bus stop at 06:30, chatting, looking for days preys, fighting with bus conductor, he stops the bus (route 104 end station Layards Broadway) we start ringing the bell. On the way Holy Family, St. Pauls , Lindsay, Ananda Baligava Vidyalaya, All Saints, at last at college. Here we in the hands of our dompteurs who try their best to calm us between 08:00 - 15:00 hrs. With their cane, pinch, slap, knock on the head, out of class, look at the wall etc. At 10:00 short interval the animals were let loose for food and to run around to loose the energy what they gained in 2 hrs sitting. Run to the tuck shop, fish bun, gall bun, Rolls, daily the same stuff, look out side what is there.... veralu (until I came to Germany in 1966 I did not know it was olives!), Achcharu, some monkey nuts, ice cream etc. 5 cents! Back in class itching,, getting the stuff free from our teeth, pocket full of unwanted rest, run to toilette. By all these doing another 2 hrs. gone lunch break. Punchi Borelle Thosai kaday, sit near the glass cupboard where Indian sweets, Vadai in hands reach. Thosai with sambol, tea costs 20-25 cents. Not forgetting the free stuff what we get there! some days the animals go into other area, such as prison grounds, waiting for the 12:15 train between Dematagoda and prison area near where Russell Harmer lived for a free ride to Cotta Road. Train driver throws coal blocks at us and we throw back and the free ride too. We walk back hands black, shirt which was clean now has some other colour, but we enjoyed our outing and freedom. The pack was Norman Armstrong, Dennis Azariah, Vasantha Rajaratnam, Sunil Ratnasingham, my self and few others. 15:00 school closes home! await for the next day out. Night we dream of our next days prey. Student Christian Movement, so called SCM which was also stands for Society
of Christian Marriages was the outside contact with girls during the school hours and during holiday camps at Matara, Kandy, Jaffna. Mostly no one misses the chance. That was the spring time for Adrian Jansz, Kenneth Honter, Ananda Thevathasan. Here they learn more about Bees, Butterflies, natural biology classes in the
open air! Under trees, grass in all what nature with God's Blessing.

What a life at college !!

I remembered the date, I came here into Germany on 21st May, 1966. It was on a Hotel Management training, and schooling sponsored by Lufthansa. It is now 37 years since Germany my
home and base is. Left Ceylon on BOAC VC 10 from old Katunayake army airport, first to Bombay. Mother in tears to see the only child leaving home at the age of 19. From Bombay by Lufthansa Boeing 707, Karachi, Cairo, Athens, Frankfurt, Koeln end station. All this with DM 50,in the pocket, that is what the Ceylon Govt. allowed to take out. Now married two children twins 24 years, Marc doing Medicine, Linda history of buildings both in Aachen. Only the old couple at home with the dog and TV. We live near Belgium on the German side on the mountains called Eifel about 660 Meters over sea. Nice quiet village area. Yes, for me now English is a foreign language. German is easy one writes and speak out each alphabet as in our mother tongue unlike in English!

Daya WijaRatnam Winslow
Franz Fedderstr. 42,
D-52152 Simmerath-Lammersdorf
Germany
e-mail: winslow@ariyam.de

 


 

In search of a school friend by Dr.ND Amerasekera


Friendships are one of God’s finest creations. Those that are made at school during our formative years remain strong in our hearts and minds throughout our lives. The great dispersal at the end of our school careers come as a shock to us all. We then embark on our journeys through life in the wider world getting on the treadmill to carve ourselves careers and raise our families. It is not until these life’s obligations are fulfilled do we get the time to look back and trace our school friends who meant so much to us. Good communications in the 21st Century, internet and telephone services have made these easier. But these still remain an alien culture to many of us who grew up in the fifties. This great dispersal and my own destiny has brought me to the UK where I have lived for the past 30 years. A distance of 6000 miles is a hindrance and a barrier to my efforts to trace one of my closest friends. In sheer desperation I seek the help of our readers.
I met Vere De Zoysa when we were boarders at Wesley College Colombo in 1955 both age 13. He was from Wellaboda Road, Panadura and the house number may have been 32. His father died in the Typhoid epidemic of the 1940’s. This was a grave tragedy for the family. I can still recall his mother coming to see him at Wesley once a fortnight. He was a shy, quiet lad and had a stammer which was an impediment he tried hard to overcome. Those were the days of Rock & Roll music of Bill Haley and Elvis Presley. He emulated their hairstyles with a curly front which we then called “Thuppe”. Vere was a great drummer making a wonderful beat with his fingers drumming on the school desks. He was of a stocky build and rather muscular and had the reputation as a strong man. School work was of little interest to him but just went along to please his mother. We often sat on the thick buttress roots of the tall Mara trees around Campbell Park chatting about our lives at home, friends, relatives and our plans and desires for the future. He often spoke about a girl friend in Panadura whom he met at Sunday School. The love of his life. Vere wanted to be a Planter in an upcountry estate. For the following 2 years we remained inseparable. In 1957 I chose the Sciences and he decided to take up the Arts and we went our separate ways. I believe he left school soon after GCE and I never saw him again. I have often wondered how life panned out for him. Did his destiny take him to be a Planter? I believe like myself he is married and has raised a family. Vere has not kept in touch with Wesley College or its Old Boys Union. Perhaps this is deliberate or more likely he has had a busy career with less time for these trivial pursuits. Does he live in Sri Lanka or has he moved away to a far off land dreaming like myself of those distant days at school?
Nearly 50 years have passed since those days. We have both reached that mature age when life is less certain and to see the dawn of a new day is never taken for granted. It is my sincere hope one day we can meet again to relive our past and take stock of what life has offered us in those intervening years.

I would be most grateful for any information about my childhood friend.

I received this email 23/06/03 from Mr. MAP Fernando
Dear Dr. Nihal D.A.

I read your letter published in the Island newspaper. So has Vere. He called me & we had a brief but nostalgic conversation. I thought he was abroad. Your efforts have made me find him.

His address:- Vere de Zoysa
Clovis Estate,
Block 'B',
Uhumiya,
Kurunegala Tel: 037/38839

He is managing a 100 acre coconut estate. Son in UK. Elder daughter married. Promised to meet each other soon. What a reunion it will be!

Thanks to your appeal
Shall keep in touch

M.A.P.Fernando
Wesley College

This letter appeared in the Sunday Island on 29/6/03

After 50 years
I wish to thank the Editor of the Island Newspaper for publishing the letter captioned “In search of a school friend” which appeared on Sunday 15th June 2003. Having read this my friend Vere de Soysa , was pleasantly surprised and contacted the Principal of Wesley College Mr.MAP Fernando. Mr.Fernando sent me an email with the address and phone number. Vere now lives in Kurunegala and is indeed a planter. As we spoke on the phone the intervening 50 years just melted away and the distance of 6000 miles that separated us became irrelevant. I wish I could have put my arm around him as we did as friends in those days. We have now decided to keep in touch and meet up towards the end on this year.

The lyrics of that famous song by Joni Mitchell comes to mind:

I've looked at life from both sides now, from win and
lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall. I really don't know life at all. -

This is a happy tale amidst a sea of trouble in our tiny Island home made possible by the kind courtesy of the Island Newspaper. Providing a fine service to all Sri Lankans.
Dr. Nihal D Amerasekera (UK)


 

Wesleyites whom I will not seen again at annual celebrations By Edmund Dissanayake

Willfred Barnes

A bank executive, was a cricket crazy man. He used to travel all the way from Ampara, regularly to watch Wesley cricket. Once he came from Bandarawela, and I went from Colombo to watch the Trinity—Wesley match at Asgiriya. On the second day, there was a slight drizzle, which had ceased about half an hour earlier, but the umpires were in no mood to walk out. It was in Wesley’s interest to continue play. The two of us walked to the middle and mischievously indicated by signs that there was no drizzle! Soon after the umpires did not the needful.

The night the two of us stayed in a hotel. I did have a wink of sleep. Barnes was a champion snorer!

A railway accident at a rail gate crossing ended his life. The boys of Wesley were in full attendance at his funeral. Dunstan Fernando, a former Principal, delivered the funeral oration, at my request. I was too distraught to comply.

C. B. Casinader

He never failed to be present at the annual celebrations, coming all the way from the land of the "singing fish". Until recently, I had carefully kept a letter he wrote to me in 1948, stating that the best speech that the Head Prefect had ever made was in that year. For some unaccountable reason the letter was typed in red. What happened to that letter, I do not know. His son Noble was with me in the Hostel in 1948, and another son Prince, (later MP) was with me in the Teachers’ College at Maharagama, in 1950. I believe it was he who introduced me to the benefits of the essence of the coconut flower! Prince was a tower of strength when Rev James Cartman re-visited Batticaloa. Prince lived in a lovely place called "Lovers" lane, or Lovely Lane.

Stanley Chinivasagam

The absence of about 5 senior cricketers, including my brothers Chandra and Donald (no strike) found the Wesley cricket team in deep trouble at Randles Hill in the match against Kingswood. Our last batsman was Stanley. M. Satha took him towards the bathroom (Stanley told me) pulled out a flask, and asked him to take two swigs, and swipe at the ball... come what may. Stanley went in...7 to win or lose and Kingswood’s star bowler operating. The first ball went crashing to the pavilion, and the next to the paddy field. Wesley were victorious.

Stanley was the Hony. Secy. when Hon. M. H. Mohamed was president.

Harris de Kretser

He was the Hony. Secy. of the OBU who was fearful of "fireworks" at the AGM. I had to reassure him that there would be no trouble. Harris is the donor of the Pinto Memorial Shield for Inter House Activities. He also donated a cricket bat for batsmanship, to be awarded at the prize giving.

Terence de Zylva

He was better known for his ‘Suriya Mal’ campaign. During the Second World War, he was incarcerated with other leaders in the Bogambara prison for political reasons. We visited him there in the company of cricket coach F. J. Senaratne, when our match with Trinity was at Asgiriya. He was the OBU Hony. Secy. when Sir Oliver was G. G. Nobody could refuse Terence when he asked for donations. His portrait was unveiled in the High Field Memorial Building.

Edwin T. Fernando.

His explosive speeches at the Annual lunch were looked forward to. He liked the Wesley staff very much. Once he invited the staff to his home at Horana, and there he realized the capacity of certain members for ‘liquid refreshment! Frank Jayasinghe (later Principal of certain prestigious schools) was a very keen traveller. E. T. joined us on one of our 3 day excursions together with his second son Anil. Whenever a tavern was sighted Anil would look in Frank’s direction and say "Sir". Anil was a hosteller then. He took to hoteliering in later life. The OBU spent a wonderful day out at the Uswatakeiya Hotel where Anil was the General Manager. It was here that D. S. Wijemanne was in his element. The various games he organized in the pool attracted foreign guests, too. I was pushed into the water by a person, so that he could pinch the whisky that my bag contained! The buffet provided by Anil was fantastic. A person seated close to me ate only lobsters.

 

Willet Gomes

Willet and his wife were always present at OBU lunches. In his capacity as a Naval Officer, he will be remembered for his indomitable courage in volunteering to proceed to Kegalle at the height of the insurrection. With very little ammunition, he was able to restore order.

Halim Ishak

Halim passed away recently. Probably one of his last acts was to write an Appreciation of D. W. Abaykoon, which was published in "The Island" two days after his death. A hallmark of Halim was his humility. He was humble to a fault. The OBU paid him the highest honour by electing him as President. In his capacity as an MP he treated rich and poor alike. MPs of his stature are a rare commodity today.

M. H. Jainudeen

He never missed an OBU lunch. He used to carry a small flask in his hip pocket. You can easily guess the contents there of.

Walter Jayasooriya

His name is synonymous with hockey. He bestrode the hockey arena like a colossus. The wonderful dance he performed with his son Rajah, drew applause all over. He never failed to bring the sweetest ripe jack to the pavilion. Rajah continued this practice.

B. J. Karunatilleke

He was the energetic OBU Hony. Secy. during the centenary year 1974. His efforts brought in more than 400 for lunch. As there was no room in the Hall, the stage too was utilised. He was a wizard at crossword puzzles. The "hundred diners night" which was a forerunner to the lunch will be remembered for the excellent speeches... Kingsley Wickramaratne (now Governor) in particular, was in his element.

P. Harold Nonis

It was during his principalship that the College pavilion was purchased from the Tamil Union for Rs. 10,000/-. He was asked to lead the Past Captains XI against the rest skippered by M. Sathasivam in the centenary year. He had a sense of humour that endeared him to everybody. He passed away in 1980. I was greatly privileged when the family invited me to address the congregation from the Pulpit at the Methodish Church, Colpetty, shortly after.

 

 

D. S. Wijemanne

He was one of the most popular old boys that Wesley has produced. He had a canteen at Wesley where boys ran up big bills. Whether these bills were honoured, one does not know. His popularity extended to other schools like Royal and St. Thomas’. Wije was a family friend for close upon 60 years. He played for Wesley as a pace bowler. The best in him was revealed whenever any person fell ill.

Once the Wesley ground boy Vincent Perera found him sleeping on the cricket matting in the middle of the ground, late at night. When he inquired as to the reason, he said that I had an argument with him and that he was at fault. Vincent came home to tell me about this problem. I assured him that there was nothing that transpired. I remember when I was hospitalized for a month, Wije was very helpful to my wife. He was there when help was sorely needed. He was a man for all seasons. At Wije’s funeral, not only Wesley, but the students of many other schools were present. Wesley gave him the highest honour.

When will we be able to see the like of him? He was a man in a million.


 

Some Old Tales by Dr.Farouk Sikkander

Farook then and Farook now

 

Dear Nihal,
Thank you for the greetings. I wish you and your family a happy rewarding and joyful New Year. I did play under 14 and under 16 cricket, most times as a reserve! Once when C.J.O. read the team at assembly he said the opposition may doubt whether this was an under16 side as Lucky, Kodda and I were 6 feet. The only time Iwas caned was when I did not turn up
for a match as it coincided with the Haj festival and I went to Mirigama where my father was working, and C.J.O. had arranged a Latin class for the day after. J.L.F. was my first Latin master and he was able to make it very easy. Once I took 7 wickets for 9 runs playing for Moscrop in a interhouse match and J.L.F. wanted me to come for the 1st eleven
practices and spoke to A.V.F. He was disappointed when I did not turn up. When I was a hosteller I ran for the under 12 relay team at an inter school meet. My father worked in Kegalle as the post master and I too worked there as a H.O. and left before the insurgency in 1970. Iplayed tennis and bridge at the planters club and used to beat many of the members. As
a 8 year old I underwent appendicectomy and was in a male adult ward . L.D.C.Austin was the surgeon. I dreaded the injections and when visiting time was over I would cling to my father and not let him leave. After that I got measles and pneumonia and missed attending school for one term. At the end of the year I received a special prize as I came first in the next two term exam.........I shall wind up now and stop boasting Regards Farouk..


 

Some memories of Wesley by Olkie Edema

Hi Nihal,
Thanks for the note... The pictures are fabulous and do bring back fond memories of our alma mater.

Olkie Now and then

 

The one of the assembly hall brought to mind an incident when I was in the 5th form (1957 - post C.J. Oorloff - Mr Nonis was Principal at the time). Our classroom was upstairs right behind the balcony at the back of the assembly hall. We had a "tough" set of guys in that class including Ralph Van Rooyen, Ranjit Abeydeera, Maurice Wendt, George Siebel..... Anyway, before class was to start one day news had filtered in that the teacher-in-charge was going to be somewhat late. Given this vacuum and presence of restless, fertile imaginations, somebody got the brilliant idea of hiding all the classroom desks in the attic (guaranteed to disrupt at least the first period, if not a few more)!! Those of us who remember how solidly those old (painstakingly carved into) teak double-desks were built, will agree that it was no mean task to heft the desks through the 'just large enough' trap door in the ceiling! But within about 15 minutes the classroom was completely bare (except for the teacher's desk and chair) and the class had gathered on the corridor just outside. The look of disbelief on the master (I cannot recall who it was)'s face when he arrived, was absolutely priceless! Of course, everybody appeared to be equally puzzled at the missing furniture. In the confusion that followed the whole mornings sessions were written-off. I believe the mystery was finally solved when someone broke down and ratted on the culprits. If I remember rightly, apart from recovering the desks from the ceiling, the whole class was detained and each one made to write an essay on "Social Responsibility" or some such (obscure at the time) subject.....
Shall write another short episode of school life when I force myself to do so. I keep in touch with Ralph Woutersz who was my colleague both at St Thomas' Prep and Wesley. He is in Australia and lives close to Harris Anthonisz who I also met in Australia when we visited a few years ago. It was nice to see an article by Dr Sikander. We were classmates one year.

Bye for now..
Olkie

Addendum from Olkie

The good reverend Pyle must have turned a full revolution at my goof!

Incidentally, Rev. Pyle had a very dry sense of humour which invariably sailed over the heads of the boys in his English language/literature class. However, he would persist in pausing a few moments on such occasions (with hands clasped together over his cassock) in expectant anticipation that someone might just get his wisecrack. It was my unfortunate villainous streak to wait until the end of such silent pause to let out a laugh that I had picked up from being an avid listener to the BBC's "Goon Show". Of course this brought instant laughter from the rest of the class but made Rev. Pyle's face even redder than usual each time. This went on a few times until our dear reverend decided to put a stop to it. I was called up and asked to bend over his desk facing the doorway. He was proceeding to let me have it on the bum with his open hand when I looked up and to my horror there was Mrs. Leembruggen (the younger) in the doorway with the most amused look on her face. She had just happened to be passing at the most inappropriate time and could not help but stop to view the spectacle! Talk about embarrassment (to Rev. Pyle as well)! I knew that Mrs. Leembruggen held me in high esteem as she was the head teacher for Passmore at the time and had chosen me to be a leader in the cricket and drama teams. Anyway, to her credit she never spoke to me about the incident and treated me thereafter as if it had never happend. I, of course, had learned not to play games with Rev. Pyle. I may have made him proud, though, when I got a credit for English language.....



 

6th NATIONAL JAMBOREE held at BALAPITIYA in AUGUST 2002

e3

Kindly sent to me by Riza Azoor

 


 

Memories from the 50's By Nissanke L Dassanayake

The photocopies of the brochures from the Prize Givings and the musical productions were kindly sent to me by Nissanke Dassanayake Dallas, Texas, USA

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read the file which can be downloaded free from: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html

Prize Giving 1955

Prize Giving 1957

Prize Giving 1962

Operetta- Robin Hood

Operetta- Aladd-in and out


 

A letter from New York by Dhilanthi Fernando

Dear Dr Amerasekera
Let me introduce myself. I am Dhilanthi Fernando, married to Rev. Shanta Premawardhana. While doing an internet search, I came up on your Wesley College website, which I found to be most interesting and informative. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that you had quite an entry on Shanta! You don't know this, but I am the eldest daughter of former principal Dunstan Fernando, and I was humbled to read that my father's many years at Wesely are duly recognized, especially your appreciative remarks about his many building projects. I know how much he worked to get the chapel built, and it was indeed wonderful and fitting when he had a service of Thanksgiving there in '95 to celebrate 50 years of teaching. Thank you for your labour of love in putting this website together. I know there must be many old boys around the world who look at it and remember their alma mater with fondness.
I am also the grand-niece of P.H. Nonis (my maternal grandmother was Edith Perera, his sister). In fact, when I was a student at Methodist (about 8 or 9 years old) I used to be in and out of the Principal's bungalow, and one of my most vivid memories is of going to a function at Wesley with "Loku Seeya" (prize giving? college day?) and seeing Sir Oliver Goonetilleke there, who I believe was the chief guest, and I distinctly remember that he wiped away a tear when the "Hymn for Ceylon" was sung, and young as I was, I found it very touching and unbelievable that the Governor General was crying!

Shanta and I got married in '77, when my father was the VP and we were living in the VP's bungalow. You may also know that Shanta's father Rev. Cyril taught at Wesley, as well as his uncle Felix. Shanta of course has the fondest memories of Wesley (he went to Trinity in Grade 9), and often tells the hilarious story of how quite a few of his class mates were also sons of ministers, and how his sinhalese master once slapped one of them for misbehaving, then found Shanta sitting innocently nearby, and slapped him also, saying, "Umba thamai anik padiliyage putha!"

We now live in New York, because of Shanta's job at the NCC, having lived in Chicago for 22 years before that. My parents visited us 2 years ago in Chicago, and of course, I try to visit Sri Lanka as often as I can. They are both keeping well, but of course, old age is something that comes whether you like it or not! My father still gives private tuition in English and Maths at their home in Moratuwa.
If you ever visit New York, please let us know!
With best wishes,
Dhilanthi Fernando

 



Reaching the Finals of the Inter-School Shakespeare Drama

And they did it in style with a performance of a lifetime! After not participating in the annual competition for over 20 years,
Wesley entered the contest in 1998 with Hamlet. If anyone does know the last year we were in the finals (I believe it was sometime in the early 1970s), please let me know.

It was a truly outstanding and memorable performance by the Wesley College Drama Circle last Wednesday morning at the Lionel Wendt
Theatre in Colombo. The 26 member cast rose to the challenge with a brilliant performance of Coriolanus - one of Shakespeare's 3rd
period tragedies - the judges later commended as "the best play from a Colombo school"! The play which lasted around 27 minutes started
with a bang - a dramatic battle scene that left many in the audience spellbound. The audience was also deeply touched and some even moved
to tears in one scene, when Coriolanus rejects his wife and young son who come in search of him.

Rushan Hewawasam, Head Prefect of Wesley, was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Award and highly commended by the judges for his
moving portrayal of Volumnia, Coriolanus' mother. We were later informed that he had just missed out on the Best Supporting Actor
award. The acting was strong all-round and the main characters were excellently supported by the rest of the cast. The judges also
commented that the Wesley College play was the best edited of the 11 plays that were staged on Wednesday, and successfully conveyed the
whole story - in well under the 30 minute time limit.

None of this would have been possible if it weren't for a highly dedicated and motivated director, cast and crew that have worked
tirelessly for the last couple of months. They have been well supported by their parents, the principal - Mr. M. A. P. Fernando,
members of staff and students of the school. Mrs. Rochelle Janson, the director of the production, along with her husband Manoj (old
Wesleyite), and Ms. Juanita Beling, who did the make-up, must be commended for their wonderful work. Practice sessions have been (and
are being) held daily (including Sundays) for 6-7 hours in the evening, and most of the time lasting well beyond midnight. It must
also be mentioned to the credit of the cast that despite late night practices, they do not neglect their studies. While dropping in to
view practices in the College hall, I noticed on many occasions, cast members studying and doing their homework between scenes and
during short breaks. I can honestly say that I don't personally know of any other group of individuals that are so very committed to
achieving their goal in bringing fame and glory to the school.

As many of you may understand, productions such as these cost time and money. A lot of preparation and hard work is involved over
several weeks and months even for a 27 minute play. Costumes, make-up, props, sets etc. have to be made, hired or purchased for
the play. To keep the cost to a minimum, many volunteers help out with preparations. Compared to the production budgets of many other
schools, the Wesley College production has definitely been cost-effective. However, despite the best efforts, the initial
budget set for the semi-finals has been exceeded as preparations are underway for the Finals next Sunday. A sum of around Rs. 20,000/= is
urgently needed for the construction of props, set design, fine tuning of costumes etc. for the large stage at the BMICH where the
Finals will be held. The school has been very supportive of the production, however, it will be greatly appreciated by the team if
old Wesleyites can help out at this hour of need.

So, I think it is time that old Wesleyites in Sri Lanka and around the world joined to pay tribute, and encourage and support the
fantastic work of these young individuals. Any financial contributions, large or small, will be most welcomed by the
production team. Cheques drawn in favour of "Principal - Wesley College" or any cash contributions can be handed over to the College
office (Tel: 2695763) between 7.30 a.m. and 3.00 p.m. (Monday through Friday) and a receipt obtained. When making your
contributions, please specify that it's in support of the Shakespeare Finals on Sunday. If you have any queries, please feel
free to contact me at anytime on Tel: 2917935, 0712-505776 or e-mail: cassini@sltnet.lk Also, any messages of support &
encouragement for the cast and crew can be sent to this e-mail address and I'll be happy to forward them on. I will send a few
photos taken at the semi-final performance immediately after this message.

 


 

Verse That Led To Worse! by Anton Blacker

The year war 1932…. We were in Form II and were excited to have a new “English” teacher. It was a young University Graduate on his first job after completing his B.A. (Hons.) Degree. Our expectations and hopes were realized when Benjamin Blaze entered the class and spoke with real enthusiasm and brought a fresh new slant to ‘English’. In fact he went further than we anticipated and challenged us to explore new vistas. “Don’t be satisfied with prose” he said. “Try writing poetry!”

Our mouths fell open. How could we aspire to such heights, we thought. He insisted that we try this out and present our work at the next session. After some joking and sporadic attempts at jingles, Tryne C. Ahlip and I got our heads together and churned out some doggerel. At the mid morning recess, we summoned the class together and read our ‘poem’ to them, each reading alternate verses. This was received with much merriment and cheers as we had included some humorous references to another teacher,(Mr. G.V. Lappen) whom everyone feared. We walked on air till the luch break as we thought we were instant heroes and poets. In retrospect, we had spoken derisively about a rather rotund boy who resembled the fabled “Billy Bunter”. This was a mistake as it turned out.

I still remember the first two lines about the boy who came from Nugegoda. They are:

“…..is a piggy boy, the bada of the form,

And one day when he came to school,

His trousers were all torn!”.

I have omitted the name of the boy, though I still remember it. As we were going into class for the afternoon session, Tryne met me outside and told me he was not coming to class and would be taking the train home to Nugegoda. He advised me that I too would be in trouble as someone had told Mr. Lappen about the “poem”. I had never ‘cut’ school before and was caught in a dilemma. If I ‘cut’ school, I would have to explain to my parents about my absence, and if I went to class too I might be in trouble. I took a chance that Tryne’s fears would not materialize and went to class.

As soon as the bell rang I realized that Tryne’s fears were correct as Mr. Lappen walked into class looking more fearful than we had ever seen him before. He had a long cane under is arm. There was a deadly silence as he looked around the class. After what seemed like eternity he announced: “certain boys in this class have done something very bad. They have committed a terrible offence” (I remember those words vividly to this day.) He continued “stand up Ahlip and Blacker”. The rest of the class all looked towards me and I felt the blood drain from my face as I struggled to my feet. Mr. Lappen ordered me up to the front and demanded I hand him what I had written. There were two pages of what we had written, and luckily I had put the more incriminating page in another pocket, and so with trembling hands I proffered the single page. (I don’t know why I didn’t say it was destroyed). Mr. Lappen read the contents with visibly mounting indignation. My head began to swim and I cursed Tryne for letting me take this alone. Mr. Lappen seemed to take ages reading it and uttered grunts of disapproval and horror. I wondered about the worst that could happen and how I was going to explain to my parents that I was sacked from school, and other wild fears. Suddenly he crunched the paper and reached for the cane. I was really relieved to get the ‘12’ – they didn’t seem to hurt that much compared to my worst fears.

Mr. Blaze never referred to poetry in class again!. In spite of the caning I still hold a regard for Mr. Lappen who taught with real enthusiasm and gave me the rudiments of maths which stood me in good stead for many years after. However my taste for writing poetry never went beyond doggerel!

Tryne Ahlip became a well known journalist in Colombo before his sad demise.

 


Down Memory Lane by Anton Blacker

“l’ll always remember the cricket match between Wesley and Trinity College in early 1939. This was played on the Railway Grounds, off Baseline Road, not far from Wesley College, as most will remember”.
Stanley Jayasekera captained Wesley and his cousin Bobbie Schoorman captained Trinity. I do remember many interesting details of that match but will recount just one. In Trinity’s 1st innings one of their opening batsmen was M.K. Kanangara, who came out to bat with a smart new khaki pith hat. He seemed visibly uncomfortable when he had to face our opening bowler, Claude Ganegoda.
Claude took the new ball and before going back to his mark glared for several seconds at the batsman. Our wicket keeper was Dissanayake (elder brother of Edmund). Claude yelled to him to make sure that he didn’t miss the ball. Stanley immediately moved me from short square leg to deep fine leg. Claude’s first ball was a brute of a delivery. It was just short of a length but was a vicious off-cutter, bowled very fast. The batsman jumped back to avoid being hit and it whistled past his face. Our keeper did a desperate scramble to collect it and Claude with arms akimbo continued to scowl at the batsman.
This seemed to break the batsman’s nerve and he started to shake. The second delivery was even faster and caught him in the midriff. His new hat flew off his head and his nerve seemed broken. The third delivery saw his off stump uprooted, and the batsman returned to the pavilion sobbing and completely unnerved.
This match was won by Trinity by a narrow margin. In recounting this episode I contacted Bobbie Schoorman was lives not far from me in Noble Park, and whose memory of that match is even more vivid than mine. He added that Kanangara had been a prolific scorer in pre-season matches and the match against Wesley was his first inter-collegiate game. Bobbie remembered that Kanangara was still sobbing when he returned to the pavilion and his new hat had slight damage!


 

Reminiscences of a former teacher by Edmund Dissanayake

March 2nd 1874 marks the founding of Wesley College. At the Centenary Prize Giving in 1974, Mrs. Bandaranaike, Prime Minister, was Chief Guest. In her address she said, "The need of the day was for schools in Sri Lanka to prepare youth to fit into life and society and to be useful citizens, instead of solely producing scholars." The Acting Secy. of the OBU, Shelton Peiris proposed the Vote of Thanks. It was due to his initiative that the Diamond Jubilee Souvenir, the Centenary Souvenir, and the 125th, Centenary Souvenir were published.

The OBU Centenary lunch was held in the College Hall with as many as 432 participating, mainly due to the energetic Secretary, B. J. W. Karunatilleke sparing no pains to make it a memorable occasion. The Chief Guest was the present writer who had served 25 years as a teacher. Mr. Harold Nonis, President of the OBU, presided. The customary speech on behalf of the cricket team was made by Dayalan Sellamuttu. The next time I met in Bandaranaike was at a sad occasion. George Rajapakse, son of the Lion of Ruhuna, had passed away in UK. Besides the PM, Mr. Maitripala Senanayake, Lalitha Rajapakse and self were present at the Airport when the body arrived. I distinctly heard Lalitha say, "I told him not to proceed for the surgical operation".

The next time I met Mrs. B was when she was out of power. She had come to Sri Jayawardenepura Hospital to visit the widow of a former Minister, Chandrika too was with her. There were two beds in that room. The other bed was occupied by a relative of mine. Mrs. B kept on looking in our direction, and when she came across, she asked several questions about the nature of the patient's ailment, the name of the surgeon etc. She spoke very freely. As I left for home, I wondered how such a gracious lady, the first woman Prime Minister in the world, could be found guilty of the misuse of power. The country has just celebrated 60 years of Independence. My mind went back to the year 4th February 1948 when 5 Prefects of Wesley College, together with their Vice-Principal, Kenneth M de Lanerolle were proud invitees of the State, to this August function at Independence Hall. The invitation was first offered to Rev. Highfield in UK. As he was indisposed the invitation was extended to the Prefects.

A Biographical sketch of Rev. Highfield, Principal of Wesley 1895-1925, edited by Rev. W. J. T. Small is reproduced. "An incident or two in Mr. Highfield's life will show the real greatness of the man. When in that awful crisis during World War I, our government ran amok, and surrendered its administration to the military - when our leaders like Sir D. B. Jayatilleke and the late Mr. D. S. Senanayake and others were lugged along to jail without a charge or a trial, and some were shot to quell the riots - it was an Englishman, Highfield of Wesley, who wrote to the Governor thus "this is not what I was taught at Cambridge as British fairplay". He thereby stood a chance of facing a firing squad, for the mood of the military government was unpredictable and uncertain" (page 8 of biography). On that occasion, while entering the "rallipalam" decorated hall, we were privileged to witness the four runners who brought the "Message" from the North, South, East and West, handing them over to four ladies representing the Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Burghers. Among the runners were Wesleyite M. A. Sheriff, and Oscar Wijesinghe of Royal. Edmund Dissanayake


 

Before I forget - By George Robertson

(From OBUA Newsletter - 2008 March)


As my body continues on its journey,
my thoughts keep turning back and bury
themselves in days past.

- Gustave Flaubert -to his mother, 23rd November 1849

Perhaps I seem to have more time to spare or it may be the benefit of the years that I now find my thoughts frequently turning to “the good old days”. I have vivid memories of my early childhood in Ceylon, the day I was enrolled at Wesley College, and earlier

when I attended kindergarten at Moratuwa. As I recall, we kids had to gather in a large room at lunch time, and finish off the mid-day meal with a drink of lime juice, the taste of which lingers even to this day. I learned to write my name, and copy words from the

blackboard using a “slate pencil” onto my slate. Does anyone remember using a slate and slate pencil when they started school? They were part of the material I carried in the school bag slung across my shoulder together with a book titled, I think, “My first

reader” I got interested in reading at an early age, and used my slate to draw pictures on. There was always a house, a tree, and a path leading out from the front door of the house, smoke rising from a chimney and a bird flying overhead. At least, that’s

what I saw in the picture, but everyone else saw a childish scribble. Nothing has changed, I still draw houses. I could not have known it then, but when I was a child

WW II was raging across Europe and Asia. I became familiar with the sight of airplanes, tanks, warships and all the paraphernalia of war. We had to practice “Air-raid drill” When an alarm was sounded from the Principal’s office, we kids had to crawl under our

desks, bite a pencil in our mouths to prevent us biting our tongue and stick our fingers in our ears so our ear-drums would not burst from the explosion of a bomb. The war finally ended in 1945. We were requested to go to school wearing red, white and blue

ribbons pinned onto our school uniforms on the day it was announced. That night there were celebrations all over the island, crackers going off, fireworks, and searchlights lighting up the night sky. It was much

later that I began to understand what I had lived through during the first decade of my life. Not very long afterwards, my entry to Wesley College began a new chapter and I was soon made to realize that school was a serious business. I remember the library, where I spent many a free period or lunch hour. Looking back as we all do, I remember much that was good and memorable during our revered days at Wesley although at the time we just brushed past those valuable hours with little or no thought as

to how they were preparing us to face the future. We have all done this so I shall not mention names of Principals, Teachers, sportsmen, my classmates or anyone else, but I will record a grateful thanks to each and every one of them who pointed the way at some time during my journey. It has been a long road, from slate and slate pencil to computers in one lifetime but the odyssey is not over yet. The best is yet to come…………

 


Boys of Wesley and the link with the Battle of Bannockburn by Keith de Kretser

When HJV Ekanayake wrote the College Song in 1898 he established a link with a memorable part of European/British/Scottish history and the great Scottish Poet Robert Burns. The melody of the College Song is the tune ‘Scots Wha Hae” and it was written by Robert Burns in the 1700’s almost 500 years after the famous Battle of Bannockburn in 1324 between the Scots, lead by Robert Bruce and the English. To appreciate the connection with this part of history, set out below is the story. I hope you enjoy it and listen to this great melody by clicking on this link. I have had great delight in researching this information and my love of the College Song.

http://www.msgr.ca/msgr-humour/celtic-scots_wha_hae_wi_wallace_bled.htm

Keith de Kretser

Melbourne, Australia April 2008

THE STORY OF BANNOCKBURN

Of the twelve claimants to the crown of Scotland, no less than six of them had been born illegitimately. Though they had been sired by such men as William the Lion and Alexander II, that they were bastards made their chances of ever ascending the throne slim indeed.
Of the legitimate claimants, John Comyn the Black, Lord of Badenoch had a claim of descent from Duncan I, the king murdered by Macbeth in the Shakespearean play of the same name. Two men, the Count of Holland and a Robert Pinkey had claims based on descent from the two younger sisters of Malcolm IV, William the Lion and David, Earl of Huntingdon. The Count of Holland, at one point claimed that David, Earl of Huntingdon had given up his rights to the throne in favour of his sister Ada, the Count's mother. Had this been true, the Count's claim would have been the strongest, but it was never proved and presently the Count gave up his claim to the throne. That left three further claimants, all descended from the daughters of David, Earl of Huntingdon. The two strongest were John Balliol, whose grandmother was Margaret, David's eldest daughter and Robert Bruce Lord of Annandale, the son of David's second daughter Isabella. That the rules of primogeniture cleary showed Balliol's claim to be the stronger mattered little to the Bruce family and the stage seemed set for a destructive civil war.
It was then that Bishop Fraser, intent on avoiding such a calamity, wrote to Edward I asking him to come north and choose between the candidates. Edward came in the summer of 1291 and at Norham on Tweed his arrogant assertions that he was the Paramount Lord of Scotland angered the Scots who had come to hear his judgement. All but nine of the claimants that is. Balliol and Annandale among them, these men accepted Edward as their superior lord. Edward's final decision came months later and he chose Balliol. By the laws of the time it was the correct decision and though it brought Edward nearer his goal of dominating Scotland there can be no denying the justice of his choice. After Balliol was crowned at Scone as King John I, he rode south to Newcastle and there knelt in submission to Edward. Balliol was a weak man, alternatively timid or haughty and often sick. He was the last kind of king Scotland needed and Edward treated him with great contempt. He was ordered to Edward's court for the settlement of petty disputes affecting not England but Scotland, treaties were torn up and even the unpaid wine bills of Alexander III presented to him for settlement. Finally when ordered to take part in Edward's war against France, he decided enough was enough, ignored Edward's command and signed a treaty (the Auld Alliance) with France instead.
Edward came north in a fury. Though the old Earl of Annandale was dead, his claim had passed to his shrewd son and vigorous grandson, both named like him, Robert the Bruce. The Bruces promised their swords in the service of Edward and held Carlisle for him against a besieging army led by John Comyn the Red, a supporter of Balliol and married to his sister. Edward raised the siege and then marched on to Berwick, held against him by William Douglas. The town fell, the inhabitants were massacred and soon after the Earl of Surrey, sent in pursuit of John Comyn, met his quarry by Dunbar castle and slaughtered his army. All the major castles and keeps in Scotland either surrendered to Edward or were taken by siege and soon English chains bound the country. In July of 1296 Balliol wrote a craven letter to Edward begging forgiveness and when he submitted to the Bishop of Durham at Brechin castle, the heraldic arms of Scotland were humiliatingly torn from his tunic leaving him only with the contempuous nickname of 'Toom Tabard', the empty coat. He was sent to prison in England. Scotland suffered under an English yoke and the cruelties practised by Edward's men were many and atrocious. They led to the revolt of Wallace, his great victory at Stirling Bridge, defeat at Falkirk and final barbarous execution in London.
In those days Bruce found his family sometimes in Edward's favour, sometimes out and his own actions mirrored this fact. Sometimes the Bruce's sword was raised on behalf of Edward and sometimes against him. Bruce was appointed one of the Guardians of Scotland, along with Bishop Lamberton of St.Andrews and John Comyn the Red, son of the lord whose army had been destroyed by Surrey at Dunbar. They operated a shadowy government parallel to Edward's, but the rivalry between Bruce and the Comyn was bitter and sometimes violent and Bruce resigned his Guardianship in 1300. The Comyns, still Balliol supporters continued resistance and in 1300 and again in 1303, Edward rode north to punish their impudence. The latter occasion was prompted by the defeat of an English force by Comyn at Roslin. Edward wasted the countryside and the Comyn came before him in submission, his life being spared in return for an oath of allegiance to the English king. Bruce himself had submitted to Edward, once again, in 1302 and after Comyn's surrender was appointed, by Edward, joint Guardian of Scotland with Bishop Wishart of Glasgow and the English earl John de Mowbray. There was only one centre of resistance to Edward now and that was Stirling castle where a gallant William Oliphant and about two score men continued to keep the torch of Scottish liberty burning. Robert the Bruce commanded the English siege-engines that finally took the castle for Edward.

The English Host of Edward II

The English army that accompanied Edward on his march north was probably the most powerful force ever put into the field by the English in their wars with the Scots. The chroniclers said that it was a hundred thousand strong and though it may have pleased men in bygone ages to think that they vanquished such a host, the figure is ridiculous. To have supplied such a force, even if it could have been assembled, was a practical impossibility in the Britain of the 14th century. A more likely figure is somewhere in the region of 20,000. The cutting edge of the army, the seemingly invincible shock arm was the heavy cavalry. Made up of the knights, their squires and men-at-arms it was a potent weapon. The riders wore a surcoat of chain mail and this was covered with plate armour and then a flowing robe which carried the knights coat of arms for easy identification in the fight. The main weapon was a 12 ft iron-headed wooden lance. Battle-axes and maces (a kind of spiked club) were carried for close in work. the cavalry's tactics were simple: charge forward and allow the momentum of the charge to smash through and trample down any formation that stood in the way. Such formations were usually lighted armed foot-soldiers of little training for rarely did large groups of armored knights charge each other. Knight to knight encounters were usually restricted to single combat. One can imagine the terror a force of heavy cavalry at full gallop could inspire. The very earth would shake under the impact of the horses hooves and only troops of great discipline and gifted leadership could stand any chance of resisting them. Edward had 2,000 such heavy horse.
The cavalry were supported by around 17,000 foot soldiers, spearmen and archers. The spearmen were armed with a 12ft spear and a short sword or dagger as a sidearm. They wore a quilted or leather jacket to protect them against sword slashes or arrows and wore gloves of chain mail or steel plates sewn together. On their heads they wore a bascinet, a simple steel helmet either cone shaped or with a wide brim not dissimilar to the 'battle bowlers' of World War I. The exact proportion of English archers to spearmen is not known but the latter were in the majority. The archers, who had caused such execution at the battle of Falkirk, carried a longbow made of yew and a quiver of 24 arrows, each iron-tipped and a clothyard long. When the archers came forward to loose their missiles they usually stood in line about five or six paces apart. Edward's archers came principally from Wales, but also from Ireland and the north of England.
The nature of Edward's army, with the heavy cavalry the arm that would win any martial glory, led to command problems at lower levels. As all the nobles and knights fought in the cavalry, the foot soldiers were often poorly led. In contrast the Scots nobles and knights fought amongst their men on foot and were thus well placed to maintain morale and discipline. It would be an important factor in the coming battle. One more thing hinted at a weakness or lack of will. For all the chivalric power of the English host, the great English feudal lords were conspicuous by their absence. Only Hereford and Gloucester and Pembroke rode north behind the king. It would have been different in Edward's father's day and Scotland was blessed that the old man, the 'hammer of the Scots' had passed away at Burgh-on Sands, three miles from Scotland only seven years before. This king, Scotland's bitterest ever foe, was 68 when he died and leading yet another punitive expedition north to chastise those who had been the bane of his later years.
Among Edward's force, apart from the English, Welsh and Irish, were freebooting adventurer knights from France, Germany, Burgundy and Holland. There were also Scots, traditional enemies of the Bruce family and those who felt their own cause best advanced by service with Edward. The spirit of Scottish nationhood was nascent then and would need the impetus of a great victory to propel it to fruition. The Comyns stood with Edward, how could they do otherwise after the murder of their kinsman in Dumfries? The MacDougalls also, and the MacNabs.

The Scots under the Bruce

The Scots who faced Edward looked very different from the glittering chivalry that filled the ranks of their enemy. No great silken banners or horses bedecked in armour and gorgeous cloths greeted the English when they finally came upon their foe. The Scots army was rugged and tough, the product of a thousand guerrilla-type engagements fought out over the length and breadth of Scotland and they had neither the time nor the need to engage in sartorial splendour. There must have been men who had stood with Wallace that stood with the Bruce that day in the summer of 1314, and not a few of their sons. Most of them had known no other life than that of the warrior and they were ready for the fight. Bruce had spent the time from the issuing of the challenge to relieve Stirling Castle to the approach of 'proud Edward's power' in training his men in the methods they must use in the upcoming battle. They were a well-drilled, disciplined, well-nigh professional army that would successfully acquit itself when the clash of spears came.
The chroniclers said there were 20,000 of them and this figure is also ridiculous. The ratio of Scots to English was probably recorded correctly and it seems Edward had a fourfold advantage in numbers. The hard core of Bruce's army were his spearmen and of these he had 4,500 to 5,000. They were supported by a handful of archers from the Ettrick Forest and about 500 light horse. Mounted men indeed but lightly horsed they were no match for Edward's knights on their mighty armored destriers.
The Scots spearman fought with a 12 foot spear, a simple steel cap on his head, armored gloves and perhaps a leather jerkin and chain mail shoulder cover to protect from arrows. He fought in the schilltron, or spear ring, a formation with the ability to become a fluid line in advance with more manoeuvrability than the Macedonian phalanx whose purpose it sometimes duplicated. In defence the schilltron drew in on itself into a hedgehog of prickly spears. Simple manoeuvres it seems but desperately difficult to effect on broken ground, in great haste or with men less than intimate with their task. Until the advent of the Spanish tercios almost two centuries later, there were probably no infantry in all Europe better drilled than Bruce's that midsummer. If puissant was the word to describe Edward's host, disciplined flexibility were the words most applicable to Bruce's. The army probably reflected the racial mix that had created the Scotland of the early 14th century and the blood that flowed through their veins could have been Irish, Norse, French, English or Flemish as well as Scots and Pictish. Although Gaelic speakers were in the majority there were men who spoke Lowland Scots and even some who found Norman-French the easiest on their lips.
Bruce divided his spearmen into four main divisions. Randolph, Earl of Moray commanded the first and it contained men from Ross, Moray, Inverness, Elgin and Forres. Sir Edward Bruce, the king's last surviving brother led the men from Buchan, Mar, Angus, Strathearn, Menteith and Lennox in the second division. Walter the High Steward was the commander of the third division but as he was still a boy the real leader was Sir James Douglas. His men included the borderers and those from Lanark, Renfrew and Dumfries. The fourth division Bruce led himself and it comprised the Highlanders and Isles men of Angus Og MacDonald and troops from Kintyre, Bute, Carrick, Cunninghame and Kyle. The horse were led by Sir Robert Keith and the baggage camp commanded by Sir John Airth. Behind Coxet Hill on the edge of the battlefield there gathered 'the small folk', townsmen, labourers, craftsmen and small tenant farmers, perhaps up to 2,000 of them. Not trained or armed well enough to be placed with the main body of troops, they could be a useful reserve if they battle started to go in the Scots favour. If it didn't they would probably be massacred by pursuing, victorious Englishmen

The First Day Of Battle

Gang cry the hounds o' Douglas Vale,
Gang string your Ettrick bows,
Gang warn the spears o' Liddesdale,
That Edward leads the foe.

There is a legend that in the days when he was a fugitive king harried from one hiding place to another, when all his friends and family seemed to be either dead or rotting in English gaols, the Bruce found himself completely alone and hiding in a cave somewhere in the west of Scotland. So many times he had raised armies only to see them destroyed or scattered and as he lay on the damp floor of the cave he must have been dispirited beyond imagination, the bitter taste of despair welling up in his throat and onto his tongue. It was then that he saw a spider. Foolish creature, it seemed intent on spinning its web across an impossibly wide space and as the Bruce watched the spider leapt and failed, again and again. Six times it jumped and six times it failed but on the seventh attempt it succeeded. The Bruce took heart from this example of arachnid perseverance and rose once more determined to see his quest for the throne fulfilled. The quest led him directly to the banks of the Bannock Burn and the battle that would decide his throne's, his country's, his family's and his own fate

The Second Day Of Battle

Gang pack your bags, ye English loons,
Gang tak' your banners hame,
Just like the king, whae sought our croon,
And lost the bloody game.
Just like your king, whae sought our croon,
And lost the bloody game.

The sun came up bright and early on the morning of June 24th, 1314 and it promised to be another hot day. The first rays of the dawn shone on the faces of the Scots as they celebrated a pre-battle mass in the New Park. Below them on the sodden ground between the Bannock Burn and the Forth, the English were stirring after a damp if not sleepless night. It was a Monday and the feast of St. John the Baptist. The Scots breakfasted simply on bread and water and stood to arms. Bruce knighted James Douglas and Walter the Steward and after the ceremony the line of battle was formed and the order given to move down onto the Carse. It was no perfectly dressed line of soldiers that moved forward, rather a staggered grouping of four loosely-held together bands of men. Slowly they moved down the broken slope from the higher ground and towards their foe. Leading on the right was Edward Bruce's division. On their left were Douglas and Walter Stewart's Lanark men. Forming the left of the line was Randolph and the men of Ross and Moray. The king's own division of Isles men, Highlanders and Carrick levies was behind in reserve. Somewhere on the advance from the New Park across the Carse, the Scots halted and seemed to kneel. Perhaps they halted for a last prayer before combat. The watching Edward II cried out that they knelt to beg for mercy. his more seasoned commanders, hiding their embarrassment, pointed out that if this were so , then the mercy the Scots begged was from God himself and not Edward Plantagenet. It does seem unlikely that the Scots, having already said Mass, would chance kneeling to pray in such close proximity to the enemy and most probably the movement seen by Edward was a last chance to straighten and tighten the schilltrons' formations before the clash of steel.
To match the skill of the Bruce and his trusted lieutenants, the English had only the folly of Edward and noble officers riven by petty jealousies. Gloucester and Hereford quarrelled over who should command the English Van and heated words and insults exchanged led Hereford to ride back to Edward and seek his adjudication of this puerile squabble. Before he reached the king, the Scots had appeared and Edward had sounded the trumpets ordering his knights to advance. Gloucester, eager to lead the charge without the interference of Hereford, spurred his horse forward without taking the time to don his brightly coloured surcoat bearing his coat of arms. Without this he was just another mailed, armored rider and many of the knights didn't recognise him at first. As such the charge he led was not as compact and cohesive as it should have been. It was still a terrible sight to behold and was powerfully heavy with the weight of iron suddenly propelled forward. The knights raced on, faceless men in iron helms, their lances lowered and their great warhorses pounding the earth with their iron-shod hooves. They crashed into Edward Bruce's division and, though Gloucester was plucked from his saddle impaled by a Scottish spear, the fury of the charge caused the schilltron to bend - but not break. The English knights were not lacking in courage and they drove their mounts onto the spears. Horses and riders fell with broken spears in their breasts, but some broke into the schilltron and flayed around with mace, battleaxe and sword, cleaving skulls, limbs and shoulders until they were dragged from their horses, their helmets pulled back and their unprotected throats cut. Douglas and Randolph brought their divisions up in support on Edward Bruce's left and the English knights pulled back a little, probably hoping to regroup for another charge. The Scots gave them no respite and pressed on their heels, unstoppable as an incoming steel tide.
The sheer insanity of Edward II's choice of a campsite now became apparent. Caught between the Bannock Burn on their left and the Forth (or perhaps even the Pelstream Burn ) on their right , the English were caught in a space too constricted for them to manoeuvre. Although the three forward divisions of Bruce's army could have numbered no more than 4,000 men, they were enough to bridge the gap between water and water and trap the English where they couldn't deploy. The English knights had no room to adequately withdraw and reform for another charge. The great mass of English foot soldiers that outnumbered their Scottish counterparts by almost four to one were caught behind the cavalry and unable to even see the enemy much less come to grips with him. Even the archers, whose deadly shafts had won Falkirk for Edward's father, were impotent: the action was so closely joined that their falling arrows were as likely to strike their own knights in the back as the Scottish spearmen. And still the Scots pushed forward, driving their opponents back inch by inch to the water. The English had not given up, however and managed to extricate a body of archers from the great mass of the army and these were pushed to the right and forward, rushing along the banks of the river until they were in a position to enfillade the left flank of Douglas' division with their killing shafts. It was a critical moment, for a repeat of Falkirk was still not out of the question. This movement had not gone unnoticed by the Bruce and seeing the danger, he ordered Sir James Keith and his few hundred light horse to charge the English bowmen. Keith and his light horse flowed over the Carse as no armoured knight could do and he was entirely successful in his purpose. The Scots were never a nation of great mounted warriors and the later equine glory won by the Royal Scots Greys at Waterloo was more of an exception rather than a rule. The charge of Keith's men, however, held the fate of the nation between fingers and rein and was without question the most important mounted action in Scottish history. The English archers were utterly dispersed before they could bring their clothyard arrows to bear on the schilltrons and the Scottish line continued to advance without fear of flanking enemy archery.

It was the turning point in the battle. Bruce saw this and now flung his own division into the fray on the left of Douglas and the Steward. In earlier days Bruce had told Angus Og of Clan Donald "My hope is incessant in thee." and these words the MacDonalds chose to keep forever as their clan's motto. At Bannockburn he simply said, "Be cheerful and act valiantly." The MacDonalds and other Highlanders and the men from Bruce's own lands did both, cheerfully and valiantly rushing upon their foes, clambering over the slain horses and men and adding to the carnage with their spears, battleaxes and daggers. The Scots line newly strengthened pressed on and on, each step forward adding to the constriction of their enemy's power. At some point Edward's lieutenants realised the battle was lost and Sir Giles Argentine took his royal master's bridle and led him from the field. A large body of knights gathered round Edward and escorted him to Stirling castle. When Edward was safe, Sir Giles turned to the English king and said, "Sire.... I am not accustomed to flee and I will continue no further. I bid you adieu." He then turned his horse around and returned to the battle where he was slain. He had once been called 'the bravest knight in all Christendom' and the manner of his passing should serve to remind us that courage is never the monopoly of the victors, however much later generations might wish it so. Most of the English army saw Edward's standard leaving the field and saw no reason to stay themselves. The foot turned and ran, crossing the Bannock Burn and the Forth any way they could in their desire to flee. The 'small folk', the last reserve of the Scots, sensed the day was Bruce's and came pouring down from Coxtet Hill and their coming may have made the English think another Scottish army had arrived. With the foot fleeing behind them the English knights thought they finally had some space to withdraw and reconstitute the charge. It was a vain hope for as they pulled back the schilltrons felt the pressure on their front wane and exultantly called out, "On them. On them. They fail!" Later men talked of walking over the Bannock burn and other streams and keeping their feet dry, so thick did the English dead lie in the water.
Edward's army was completely destroyed. Some knights were taken captive and held for ransom, but the common soldiery were hunted down like wild dogs and slain by a populace bereft of pity after a generation of English depredations. It was a stunning victory, astonishing, against all odds and terribly complete. The day was won and though the war would continue, the initiative now lay with the Scots. The taste of victory was sweet indeed and perhaps for the first time the Bruce knew, rather than hoped, that the kingdom was his. The joy of his and his army's success ran through Scotland, for on that day we became a nation of free men and I would wager their are few Scotsmen today who have never, at some time in their dreams, stood with the Bruce on the Carse and gone forward with him to claw from the grasping hands of history a triumph that was surely his and his nation's due.

The Aftermath

...for as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom - for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.

Declaration of Arbroath 1320

Edward II of England
After fleeing the field and with the bitter taste of Sir Giles Argentine's farewell in his mouth, Edward reached Stirling castle. Mowbray denied him entrance, and rightly so, for the rules of the game clearly precluded such a thing. Edward turned his horse around and with his knights by his side rode for Dunbar. He shook off the pursuit of the fiery James Douglas and the handful of Scots horsemen who had ridden after the English king determined to see him captive or slain. At Dunbar he took ship for the south and the faithful knights who had protected him in his flight were left to find their own way home through hostile countryside. His stock had never been high in his own land and the lack of great lords who had accompanied him to the fight should have told him his future prospects were dim. Yet he was obdurate in defeat and the war continued. In later years, after the shock of Bannockburn had worn off, he came north on abortive attempts to retake Berwick from the victorious Scots. He failed in that task and no major battles were fought, the Scots preferring to launch diversionary raids into the north of England. For many years the northern counties of Northumberland, Cumbria and even Yorkshire were wasted and burned with great regularity.
In time, a vindictive wife and her lover had Edward deposed and then forced to abdicate in favour of his infant son, the future Edward III. The ex-king was shunted from dungeon to dungeon across England and whatever his faults only the hardest of hearts could fail to feel pity for him in the squalid dishonour of his last few years. His life ended in 1327, in that most intimate of regicides when a red-hot poker was forced up his anus murdering him, no doubt painfully, without leaving a mark of violence. When he reached heaven or hell or purgatory or whatever part of the afterlife the Plantagenets were consigned to after their sojourns in this world, I warrant the fire in his arse was nought compared to the burning of his ears that his father subjected him to.

Scots Wha Hae

As most commanders do, Bruce addressed his men before the battle. He referred to their warrior struggles of the past twenty years. He told them of the fate that awaited them and unborn generations if they should fail. He urged them to slay the tyrant English and pull down their pride. He offered his men an escape. Any man who chose to go home and not stand with the army was free to do so, but in the Bruce's mind only traitor knaves, would-be slaves and cowards would take that course. Many commanders have given their troops the opportunity to leave, knowing that in front of your comrades the courage required to shame yourself and flee is greater than that needed to stay and fight. Below are the words the Bruce was said to have spoken. They were in fact penned almost five centuries later by Scotland's greatest ever poet, Robert Burns.
Still, imagine the field. Imagine the moment. Imagine standing there, the hot sun shining on your steel cap and the sweat matting your hair. Imagine the sight of 20,000 armed enemies with all their banners, trumpets and awful power barely a mile away. Imagine the king who had shared your trials, seen your joy, witnessed your pain and shed his blood with yours in countless engagements over the past few years. Imagine him mounted, belted, buckled and helmed, his head drooped as he searched for the words he must find. Imagine the head coming up, the eyes bright and sparkling, the throat swelling, the tongue and lips moving and in a great voice he speaks.....


Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to victorie.
Now's the day, and now's the hour;
See the front of battle lour;
See approach proud Edward's power -
Chains and slaverie!
Wha will be a traitor's knave?
Wha can fill a coward's grave?
Wha's sae base as be a slave?
Let him turn and flee!
Wha for Scotland's King and Law,
Freedom's sword will strongly draw,
Free-man stand, or free-man fa'?
Let him follow me!
By oppression's woes and pains!

By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!
Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow!
Let us do, or die!
" Scots wha hae "

Written by Robert Burns 1759 -1796

Please follow the link below to hear this lilting rendition of the Scots Wha Hae the tune of the College song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNUpihQasRA&feature=related

At the Edinburgh Military Tattoo I heard the massed Pipes and Drums play it in more Military tempo. When the distinguished Old Wesleyite H JV Ekanayake penned the words and selected the Scots Wha Hae as the music, I am sure that the inspired leadership of Robert Bruce as a leader also inspired him. When we sing the College Song we must step up the tempo almost as a march and it should be sung with gusto.

 


Heart Ne’er Cool that Once Beat Neath the Double Blue by Shanti McLelland

Ever since I can remember my days as Wesley College, it was home away from home. I was always happy to attend school everyday, rain or sunshine, even on holidays when it was possible to take part in an extra-curricular activity. It was critical for my parents that they selected a suitable college that would be able to help me materialize the dreams they had for me. It was when I was in the upper school that I realized the rich history and powerful legacy of my alma mater and that was why my parents were confident that Wesley would be my college of choice.

With a current enrolment of over 2,500 students, the construction of many new buildings, and the complete renovation of others, Wesley College will continue to be a premier institution that will be on the forefront of academics, sports and technology. The vision set forth by the Founder and the Principals that charted the course in the last 135 years will continued to be achieved in every conceivable way.

The College could not have a more appropriate motto…”Ora et Labora – Pray & Labour On” and the College Song with exhilarating lyrics written by Harold J.V Ekanayake to the music of “Scotts Wa Hae”…”men of grit and industry, honour bright and loyalty, to do the best in mart or hall and bat or ball” which embodies Wesley’s vision for all its students to become exemplary citizens. No matter where you come from or what community you live in, or who your parents were, Wesley has always been committed to nurturing and developing and transforming all students’ inherent potential into towers of strength. From the classroom to the boardroom, from the stage to the field, from the tent to the examination hall, Wesley was there to help one and all to get to the mountain top, to reach out to the stars, and to light up the distant future with a rainbow of hope.

Since coming to Wesley, I have grown to adore the College and everything it embodies. There is a profound sense of family, pride, and dignity at the school. It could have been the dedicated teachers, the large number of amiable friends in the class room, the strong Christian values along the hallowed halls of fame, the vibrant hostel full of followers of Rev. Thomas Moscrop, the empathetic office staff, the intimacy of the grandeur buildings, the “one-on-one” attention and recognition by the passionate teachers, or the honour of being in the winning team of Rev. Samuel Wilkin the first Principal of Wesley. It is not easy to put in a few words the repertoire of world-class experience I received once I stepped in to Wesley’s world of tradition and legacy envisioned by founder Rev. Daniel Henry Pereira.

While embarking on my school years I was fortunate to meet many wonderful friends who are now prominent leaders and exemplary citizens who continue to help shape the school and the country. I had the unique opportunity to experience amazing academic, sports, and extracurricular activities that students of many other schools did not have had the good fortune to endure.

I walked on to hallowed grounds of Wesley as a young boy and graduated out as a proud Double Blue… armed and ready to tackle all of life’s challenges and any adversities that may come my way. As I look into the rear mirror, there is no doubt that I was one fortunate kid that I had the opportunity to navigate the waters of rich culture and tradition of Wesley. I am assured that I had chosen a remarkable institution of broad learning that had allowed me to have an unimaginable school experience. Then Double Blue provided a rainbow of many educational experiences, it was your school and my school, it is for you and for me to build a fraternal band, Not for you, not for me, but for Wesley. Coming to Wesley College was the best decision of my life. Wesley has inspired me to not only achieve the possible, but reach beyond my wildest dreams to conquer what yet seemed to be impossible!


Reminiscences of Wesley College By A WESLEYITE OF 1874

Excerpts from the Wesley College Magazine February 1919 (From the archives held by Edmund Dissanayake ,veteran teacher at Wesley, and a revered cricket coach for several decades)

It was on the 2nd March 1874 (in commemoration of the death of John Wesley), that Wesley College was opened in the Mission buildings on either side of the Pettah Wesleyan Church (or chapel as it was then called). The College was the growth of the Pettah Wesleyan English School conducted by the Rev. D. H. Pereira (a highly cultured Educationist of his day). Mr. Pereira was made the first vice-Principal of Wesley College.

Some of the newspapers found fault with the authorities for designating the Institution a College. A public meeting was held to inaugurate the Institution which was presided over by Sir Richard F Morgan, the then Attorney General and a friend of the Wesleyans (father of Mr. Richard H. Morgan, Advocate). The doughty Knight encouraged the Wesleyans by his presence and his weighty words.

The Chairman of the Mission, the Rev. J. Scott, wanted as principal a man who would and could work the institution with a will, and the Home Committee sent out an under-¬graduate of the London University, the Rev. S. R. Wilkin as Principal. The affection between him and his p1lpils was very great. All the pupils loved him, and therefore they did not wish to cause him sorrow by disobeying him in any thing The cane was seldom if ever used. At the very start the College had as Head Master THE PRESENT VETERAN HEAD-MASTER, MR. C. P. DIAS. (Hence the saying "Principals may come and Principals may go, but Mr. Dias goes on for ever"). The Rev. S. Langdon (afterwards known as the Apostle of Uva) was the lecturer in Natural Science. Of the assistant teachers, Messrs. Joseph Weerasinghe and Pullenayagam have joined the majority, leaving Mr. A. W. Siebel who, I am glad, is still in the land Of the living. Mr. Palis Samarasinghe, teacher in Oriental Literature, too has passed away.

After a few years, Mr. Wilkin wanted a trained assistant from England at the helm of this small barque or ship, and the Home Committee sent out the Rev. Arthur Shipham. He succeeded Mr. Wilkin as Principal, when the former became the Principal of Richmond College. Competition became hen, and it was uphill work at Wesley, but the authorities 0f the Mission said, "if it is uphill work, we must have a Hill as Principal," and the Rev. S. Hill (from Richmond Hill, Galle) was appointed Principal in succession to Mr. Shipham. Mr. Hill died soon after at the age of 32, and the College gathered a lot of moss which needed removal, and the Home Committee appointed the Rev. Thomas Moscrop as Principal. After a very successful term he was wanted elsewhere, and the College wanted more grants from the Government. But the Director put his foot down and said, "If you want more money you must pass more." The Mission agreed; and appointed the Rev. J. Passmore (now working as the C. L. S. Secretary for India and Ceylon). [Mr. Passmore succeeded Mr. Hillard. -ED.]

The College was getting on first rate but then, as now, people began to forget the good men of the past. The Conference said,” This will never do. We rejoice in the success but we should not forget the great names Remember who start¬ed the Wesleyan Mission to Asia, and his noble followers;" and they sent out the Rev. Thomas Coke Hillard B.A as Principal. As usual the College students got on very well in scholastic attainments, but the Home Committee believed in•" mens sana in corpore sano, " and said, " You must be high (in the) field too as cricketers, but lest you forget academic qualifications you shall have a London M.A and appointed

THE REV. H. HIGHFIELD As principal, who needs no introductory remarks to the present generation. He carried out instructions'. He followed John Wesley's advice to Wesleyan Ministers "Spend and be spent in the Master’s service. " He found that the College was in debt, and that the age demanded better buildings, Where was the money to come from? He looked round for advice. He had as life companion one imbued with the Missionary spirit. Both were ready and willing to sacrifice their' comfort and face poverty and want in order to payoff this debt and to put up better buildings. Mr. High¬field rode over the whole Island on his bicycle to every old boy in hamlet and village to Christians and non-Christians. A non-Christian told me that Mr. Highfield's appeal and tone were such that he could not resist opening his purse. Then he wrote to the H9me Committee, and had the courage to demand (and the faith to believe that he would receive) Rs 250,000. There were counter claims before the Com¬mittee then from India and China for urgent needs. A special commissioner was sent out. Mr. Highfield went to Europe, and pressed his claims in the same irresistible tone as he did to the non-Christian; and Mr. Highfield's faith succeeded again, and as the result you see the enviable buildings at 'Karlsruhe."

The Home Committee was frightened when he applied for an English Assistant (qualified man), for they thought another appeal might follow for more" cash," and the Committee met in solemn conclave and said, "He will kill himself by collecting cash for the College; let us stop him doing so by sending him cash," and true to their word they actually sent THE REV. P. T. CASH (London B. Sc.). After a few months working with Mr. High¬field, the latter instilled his spirit to the young missionary to "spend and be spent." I cannot afford the time now to write about the splendid honorary tutors, the Rev. J. O. Rhodes (who died in Austra¬lia), the Rev. Edward Strutt,. the Revs. W. J. G. Bestall, J. S. Corlett., Arthur Triggs, Walter Charlesworth and our great mathematical teacher, the Rev. J. D. Vanderstraaten, M.A.., B.D., and the classical tutor. W. H. Solomons, Esq." B.A,

 


 

Old Wesleyites Notes from the School Magazine of 1910


We heartily congratulate Mr. Sextus F. Wickramasinghe on winning the Ohlmus Gold Medal for Physiology at the Second Professional Examination last March. We only heard of it quite lately.
We congratulate the following Old Wesleyites on passing the 1st Professional at the Medical College last July:-Messrs T. C. Vanderziel, S. M. M. Jabir, N. K. Redlich, W. H Grenier. Mr. TC. Vanderziel heads the list (in order of merit) in 2nd class. Only one obtained a first class.
Old Wesleyites, and present ones too, will be glad to know that the Rev. Joseph Passmore late Principal of Wesley College, is editing an illustrated magazine for students called" Progress." The first two numbers of the new issue are out and look very attractive. Misprints such as "Edward VL, King and Emperor," on the cover of NO. 1 should be . avoided. The magazine is a monthly one and can be obtained at cost of Rs. 1 per year.
We are very glad to learn that Dr. Louis C. Brohier has been confirmed in his appointment as Colonial Surgeon for the Western Province. He has been Acting Col. Surgeon since June of last year. An old Wesleyite, therefore, is in possession of the highest Colonial Surgeoncy in the Island. We heartily congratulate him and are proud of the honour done him. Dr. Brohier has had a wide and varied experience since entering the medical service in 1891 and his rise has been steady, rapid and well deserved.
Mr. J. A. Corea, Mohandiram of the Pitigal Korale South, has been appointed Mudaliyar. We tender sincere congratulations.
Mr. Albert Abeyaratne, another old Wesleyite, succeeds Mr.Corea in the vacant Mohandiramship. We congratulate him also.
Mr. D. B. Jayatilleke, B.A. has left for Europe. He is to read an important paper on Buddhism at Berlin. In England he intends studying for the Bar.
The Rev. J. S. B. Mendis was the specially selected preacher at ~he morning service on Sunday, July 31st at the anniversary of the Maradana English Sunday School. He preached an able, earnest, appropriate sermon from the text "The hireling fleeth because he is an hireling."
Mr. J H. A. Mendis has been appointed Lieutenant ih the C.L.1.
Mr. S. Muttiah hopes to take his 1st M.B. London next December. We wish him success.

 


 

Wesley College Prize Giving 11th March 1911

THE Prize-Distribution at Wesley College took place on Saturday afternoon, March 11th. The Hon. Mr. A. Fairlie presided, and the others accommodated on the platform were: The Rev. W. H. Rigby, the Rev. H Highfield, Mr. K. W. B. MacLeod (Mayor of Colombo), Mr. O.Hattley, Mr. C. P. Dias, the Rev. P. T. Cash, and the Rev. H. Binks. After an opening hymn and prayer by the Rev. H. Binks the report of the school having been read by Mr .Highfield, the Chairman rose to address the assembly. THE CHAIRMAN'S SPEECH. Mr. Fairlie said: - Mr. Principal, Old Boys and friends of this College, I am pleased to be here this afternoon, and I think it is very encouraging to the Principal and boys of this College, to see such a muster of frie·nc1s upon this occasion. Apparently, there was no annual large gathering last year, and you are here on this occasion in large numbers. The report which has been presented shows the progress of the work during the course of the year. I notice that Mr. Highfield has taken up the question of Commercial Education; I think. it is important that this; question should be taken up as a good thing without any delay. I am glad to notice also that he emphasizes the importance of the subject of Botany. It is important that the country should be developed, and I am of opinion that there is among our young men a large number who should attach themselves to their land. And if they are to cultivate the land intelligently. they must study these two subjects, Agriculture and Botany, For this reason I think it is important in a College such as this, where many of the boys come from country districts. that these subjects should be taught and encouraged, I have noticed the reference in the Report to the boarding, I think it is a very important point, Mr.Highfield, some years ago, and those connected with him, had some difficulty over the removal of this College from the centre of the town to this splendid site which is bound to have an increasing population round it during ·the coming years. Mr. Highfield was more farsighted than Government. Government are only beginning now to move their Royal College from its present busy site in the Pettah to a more healthy one close to the Race course. Mr. Highfield started his work several years ago. when land and material were very much cheaper than it is' now I think Mr. Highfield is to be heartily congratulated in having this land secured and erecting this building upon it, I notice that a boarding-house has been started. I think this is also an important matter. We are Sorry that Mr. Highfield is again contemplating leaving for home and our best wishes go with him; and we trust that he will come back with renewed vigour to carry on the work which he has carried on here. Of late, the question , of Education' has received much more attention than it used to get during the past 30 years great strides have been made in. connection with education in our own nation, in Europe, and the United States of America, and also in the East, specially in Japan, but to a lesser degree in India and in Ceylon. This question of Education is being forced upon us. I think Government have done wisely in not pressing for compulsory education in an island such as this, At the present time, Government are encouraging education in many ways. All estates have to provide for schools and teachers, but the boys and girls on the estates are not compelled to attend school. I have no doubt that will come -later. The village communities have 'a right to make education compulsory in certain districts. Government seem to realise that a too hasty compulsory education may upset the existing conditions. In Great Britain probably 80 per cent of the population could read and write before the compulsory Law was passed. In Ceylon, I suppose more than 90 per cent cannot read and write. It seems, therefore, desirable, to proceed cautiously as th81:e are certain dangers to be guarded against. You know that an educated scoundrel is worse than an ordinary scoundrel. In my city, they started some years ago a free museum and a library. The first interesting event in connection with the library was a law case. A young man, who had been out of employment, attended the library and read certain books and by chance among them he read a book which taught him how to distil whisky. He bought the necessary apparatus, and turned out for six months, I suppose, what was excellent whisky, and sold it without paying one cent of Duty, and was sent to jail. Unless' education is carefully guarded, and directed, there may be dangerous results to the community. In colleges such as this, education will benefit those wl;1o attend them and education is given in such a way by those who are in charge that the boys really become educated. In my city there was a wonderful professor who died recently and his ability brought him to the notice of Government who agreed that he should be knighted, so he proceeded to London and got his knighthood. During his absence, an assistant had been teaching the class which used to be taken by the professor who was a capable man with enormous brain power, Nobody in the class actually understood the professor. The assistant, who perhaps had not such great learning, made himself quite understood to the class, and when the announcement was made that the professor was coming back, a wag of the College took a chalk and wrote upon the blackboard of the College, " Night cometh and no man can work," You students are to be congratulated in having a principal and professors in this College whom you can follow easily. I am glad that Mr. Highfield is not going to give up classics. I must, congratulate you on the success which has attended this College, I hope, those boys who have not been successful in securing prizes this year will be stimulated to greater exertions. You know some of you are more gifted than others. Generally, the boy who works hard and steadfastly succeeds< The Principal said that kind letters, expressing inability to be present, had been received from the Director of Public Instruction from Nuwara Eliya, and from Sir Allan Perry, and from other friends from outstation places. The prizes were then given away by the Hon. Mr.Fairlie.

 


 

PRINCIPAL'S REPORT: MARCH 11TH, 1911.


The following was the report read by the Rev. H. Highfield, Principal, Wesley College :- Dear Mr. Fairlie, I am very pleased to see you occupying the post of honour at a Wesley College Prize-Giving. it is a post that has been filled by Governors and Lieutenant Gover¬nors, by a Bishop of Colombo, by Generals and Chief Justices and other dignitaries of the State, but it has never had an occupant more worthy than yourself, showing a genuine Chris¬tianity applied to the commercial life of the Colony and ready to spend itself in kind services for the community in a hundred different ways. 'Ye are all glad that you have recently been in¬vited to take a place in the Colony's highest Council and are able there to make your influence felt for all good causes. Our last prize giving was held on November 27th, 1909, when Mr., Justice Middleton presided and the prizes .for 1908 were distributed. My report on that occasion brought the College's history as far as could be up to date. I, therefore, shall to-day endeavour to carry on the account from that time to this. I have, therefore, to report on the examination results published since that date and to give the most recent figures both statistical and financial show¬ing the College'£ progress 01' retrogression and to touch on those other parts of our collegiate life that cannot really be tabulated, the moral and spiritual well-being or otherwise of our recent. history and the new developments we are able to report as having taken place during the period under review. Our numbers keep up well-the number on the roll for the year ending November 1910, is 596 and the average attendance had then risen from 462 to 493, although the number on the roll in the preceding year was only 7 less than that now reported. Our average attendance was 86·6 as against 82'2 for the previous year. If the machinery devised for noting the total daily atten¬dance is steadily and conscientiously worked we should be able, r am sure, to reach the 90 per cent. In the Cambridge local examination of Dec 1909, we Passed 11 juniors 3 of whom secured honours and the same 3 secured also distinction in one subject each. A. S. Cooray passed in the first class and won his distinction in Latin. E. E. Mack obtained a high place in the second class and A P. Basnayake a place in third class honours and each won the distinction mark in English. The remaining 8 satisfied the examiners. Some little improvement in mathematics was shown, but this bran oh of our work still leaves much to be desired. Thirteen seniors passed, of whom three O. E. Goonetillake, C. E. de Pinto, and J. G. Kannangara secured second-class honours, and one, S. F. Perera, a distinction in shorthand and a respectable pass in Book-keeping. Though quite young we have taken him on to our staff and he is guiding the studies of those who desire to take up commercial subjects. A class has been formed and gradually this will become an organised department of our curriculum. Whilst believing strongly that school is a place for forming character and drawing out capacity and not a place for applying that capacity to specialised work possessing an immediate monetary value in the various flelds of employments I am still, I hope, large-minded enough to see that true education can be given in many different ways, and so whilst Wesley College, under my control, will not abandon the classics it if; doing its best, under grave financial disabilities, to broaden its outlook and to offer real help to students whose inclination draws them in directions other than literary . We have not succeeded in passing any of our students through the Intermediate Arts, though we came very near to it this year, one passing in Latin, Greek, English and Pure Mathematics, and failing only in Applied Mathematics. One student- T. C. Dharmaratna-passed the London Matric. in January, 1910, and three others secured exemption from that examination. The school inspection in November last yielded us very good financial results 'and the passes in standards I-IV in both branches reached a very high percentage indeed. The College income from fees shows a steady tendency Lo rise. We reported for the yea~' ending November 30th last, an income of Rs. 18,471-50. This is about 95 per cent of the total chargeable during the same period. A slight increase was made in the scale of fees in January 1910, and again in 1911. The graphic representation of the comparative course, upward or downward, of fees and of salaries shows. that when I was on furlough last the fees total sank below the salaries total, but there has been an unbroken rise in both since my return in May 1906.0 The upward tendency of fees has been ' maintained during the first three ° months of the current year and there is no reason why, under the able and conscientious control of the Acting Principal, there should be any falling off. But the expenditure is bound to increase during my absence for it must be remembered that the College is self-supporting so far only as the local staff is concerned the" Mission giving the services' of both Principal and Vice Principal, and consequently when either is on furlough, part at least of his work must be paid for out of College income. In February last we opened our boarding house. we began with one resident pupil and now have on our roll 28. These are all or almost all doing well in class work, and I expect the names of some will appear in the Prize Lists of the near future: They are enthusiastic cricketers for the most part and there, again, are likely to help the College. The care of the boarders has been under the control of Mr. Cash and I cannot speak too highly of the work, moral and spiritual done amongst them both by Mr. and Mrs. Cash. We hl1ve ample accommodation for 60 or 70 and shall be plel1sed to hear of applications, espoecil111y for boys under 12 or 13 years of age. The Science Department, under the able care of the Vice Principal, is steadily growing and it will not be long before we are presenting candidates .for the Inter-Science. Whilst speaking of Science we must protest emphatically against the narrow limitation to Chemistry and Physics in the Civil Service Examination. Geology and Botany are as truly scientific subjects and, for a country like Ceylon, they are at least as important and as deserving of encouragement, yet our plea Is to have the latter inserted among the subjects that can be offered has been repeatedly' refused; and the former subject is, I understand, being withdrawn from the list.
We have restarted our College Magazine and the first three numbers of the new series are out and can be seen and bought on the precincts today. We charge only 25 cents a copy and are resolved to keep the magazine going so long as it pays. It is essentially a, school . magazine and record of Wesley College doings, but in those doings, we are very willing to include news of old boys, Our old boys in England are aware of this; but are those nearer home equally alert? When~ they in distant stations read this report, let them take careful note of this part in particular and send in names and subscriptions; 90 cents in stamps will bring them very speedily the first three issues. It is always difficult to report on the religious work of a College anywhere. In ours I believe there is steady attention to Scripture teaching and our Christian meeting has kept going well. A specially good feature of its work is that some of the boys have themselves given addresses and that when this is the case the attendance is quite as good as, if not better than, on other occasions. We are very much indebted, however, to those who from without have given us so much earnest and valuable assistance. I turn now to sport.. Our inter-collegiate cricket season in 1910 was as great 'a success as were those of the two preceding years. We had not expected this, but the team was under an excellent captain and its bowling and fielding proved too much for its opponents. We met the Prince of Wales' College after the limited season was over and lost the match. The season now nearly closed has been almost as bad as the last was good; the team is much stronger as a batting side, but has nothing like the bowling ca paucity of last year's and the fielding has been poor. ° The under 20 rule, passed several years ago, has been carefully observed by us in both seasons and this prevented us using at least one excellent bowler who, otherwise, would still have been in the College team. I would recommend our cricketers to pay more attention to inter-form cricket and have less to do with out- side Clubs, when the brief season of college cricket is over-. Football is, I fear, a mere interlude in the real business of cricket and is not taken up seriously. To the staff one and all, from the Vice-Principal and Head- master to the newest recruit, I offer my most hearty and sincere thanks. Their loyal co-operation has rendered possible the work done during the year. In our Masters' meeting, which we have tried to hold once a month, we have' had spirited discussions and many useful suggestions have been given and are even now being put into operation. I confidently call on all the masters to support Mr.: Cash with the same loyalty, when in a short time he takes up the work as Acting Principal. The Mission has very generously lent to the College the services of the Rev. H. Binks during the year. Mr. Binks is already known to the College in the classroom, on the cricket field, and as a speaker in the Christian meeting. I believe he will find a very congenial sphere of work and do yeoman service for the College. In referring to the successes and promotions of old boys I do not apologise for not recording all that, it may appear to some, I should have referred to. The list would be much more interesting if there came from "Old Boys" 01' their friends up to date information to be put in the Magazine. As it is, the "Old Boys" must thank the Head Master' for nearly all the records here given. Messrs. M. B. Abdul Cader and M. W. H. de Silva are to be heartily congratulated on being the first Wesleyites to pass the London B.A. The former is entered at Downing College, Cambridge, and is 'working hard and hopefully for the Law Tripos.
Dr. E. C. Spaar has shown that he has not forgotten his literary studies and has passed the Inter-Arts of London. Mr. S. T. Carthigasam has won good honours in Civil Engineering at Cambridge. Mr. Arsekularatne has passed the Banisters' Final. Mr. M. T. S. Oyer' is now a fully-fledged Advocate., Messrs D. W. Walpola, A. M. Rupesinghe, C. A. Rodrigo, D. T.M. Kulatileke, B. O. Pullenayagem and H. E. Abeyratne have passed their Proctors' and Notaries' Finals.

Messrs. W .. WS Thirimanne--- W. F. H. Perera have passed successfully through their Medical College course.
Dr. Pestonjee has been promoted Captain in the C. L. 1. ; whilst Major T. G. Jayawardana has been appointed Military Intelligence Officer for Ceylon-a new and important post. Mr. R. F. Honter-Our second Ceylon scholar-is now, we understand, Director of Public' Instruction in Sierra Leone; and Dr. Brohier has been confirmed in the post of Colonial Surgeon for the Western Province.
My hearty thanks are given to the donors of the following prizes: Attygala Memorial Reading Prizes, English Essay, Science, Logic, and Chitty Memorial Latin Prizes, also to Messrs. Miller for kindly giving the batting prize this year.

 


 

Schoolboy Memories of Ranjit Aaron (New Zealand)


Dear Nihal,
You may not remember me at college, neither will Bryan, if I was collate every single aspect you have said in your email about school days, it brings back nostalgic memories of my schooldays. I joined Wesley in the year 1952. I remember Bryan represent (Ceylon) Sri Lanka when he was yet a school boy, against Pakistan. The match was played at the Colombo oval and he was 60 runs not out overnight. Being a Friday we were at school and could not go to see the match. Well, I went with my father the following day being a Saturday to see and cheer Bryan to his century. But to our astonishment he was bowled the very first ball he faced. Well done Bryan.

1) When I was in form I, I ran down the corridor and Miss. Blacker came out of the ladies staff room and I knocked her off her feet. She immediately remarked that I should be taught how to walk down the corridors and never to run. The most embarrassing part was when she made me walk up and down the corridor in front of all the little ones, who lined up the two sides cheering me.

2) Mr.Vethanayagam who was my class teacher went on a Scholarship to the UK. The first night in his Hotel room he had filled up the bath and with a bucket had been pouring the water on his head till it filled up the bed room.

3) I cant remember the whole match, it was memorable, Wesley were set to get 45 runs in 12 minutes by Trinity. We made it ! A memorable match. Lou Adhihetty captained Wesley that year and Harold Juriansz and Lou opened the batting. WHAT A SENSATION !! Harold scored 14 runs in the first two overs. Upali Samararatne got the winning runs and Wesley won.

4) Hiawatha ( the spelling may be wrong) in which I too played a part.

5) The most inspirational lesson was taught by Principal Mr. Shelton Wirasinha. Study hard, discipline your self and don't ever go across the road. (Welikada Jail)

6) Darrel Maye. Observer School Boy Cricketer of the year.

7) Being able to study with a many ethnic groups in harmony ( Tamils, Chinese, Burgers, Malays, Muslims, Sinhalese, Buddhist, Hindus, Maldivians, English, Christians and even Blind and the deaf)

Schoolboy memories-Ranjit Aaron- New zealand

I can't exactly remember the year. It might have been either 1960, 61 or 62 Wesley College Fete. I was involved in running the Chamber of Horrors. It was a tough ask. Well !!, we could not depict the Horror looking guys. So we went to Punchi-Borella and Borella junction and rounded up almost 7 beggars. We offered them Rs.5/= and dinner for the night, just to sit in the Chamber of horror.
Next we went to Upali & Ranjit Samaratne's fathers funeral parlour in Punchi borella and requested for two Coffins on loan. We dindnt have money to hire a vehicle to take it to college. So, we carried it to college, crying right along the way to college , as though we were taking a dead body to Kanatte.
At the Fate looking at the Horror figures (the beggars), I remember some of the visitors who went through the chamber of Horror, looking at the beggars, remark "How well these boys act"

 


 

Some Schoolboy Memories of Lou Adhihetty

a2Hi Nihal,
I do recall numerous things BUT three things, I shall never forget. Two of the three are embarrassing and ONE a great JOY !

I recall how I was caned (4 cuts on my hand) by Cedric Oorloff (approx 1950 or 51) for allegedly talking in the College Hall while at General Assembly. NOW, HONESTLY AND TRULY (PLEASE BELIEVE ME), I did not talk as such ! David Schockman was seated next to me and he very talkative. I noticed Oorloff's eyes focussed on the two of us, so I (HONESTLY & TRULY) whispered to David saying "shut up" ! But, eventually, I was the victim. We were both asked to come to Principal's office after Assembly. IT WAS A GREAT EMBARRASSMENT BECAUSE I HAD (I THINK) NEVER BEEN CANED IN MY SCHOOL LIFE !!!
The second embarrassment was when I opened batting for Wesley against St Peter's College on their cricket ground in Bambalapitiya. I had already (in previous matches in the same season) scored two centuries and done exceptionally well as an opening bat. Against St Peter's, I went in to bat, took my guard and I was dismissed with the very first ball (I think the bowler was Vittachchi) - WHAT AN EMBARRASSMENT ! That was not all, in the second innings, AGAIN I was dismissed for a "duck" ! WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT ! I was ashamed BUT, THIS, IS CRICKET !!!!

The greatest joy of my life was NOT scoring 4 centuries for my school (thus equalling Bryan Claessen's record of 4 centuries) but helping Wesley to defeat Trinity College who (not intentionally but under the prevailing conditions/circumstances) set us 12 minutes to get 45 runs ! What an exciting match ! When I walked into the pavilion after dismissing Trinity, the coach Mr. A. V. Fernando, said "TOUGH TASK" ! Later, he came into the dressing room while I was getting ready to go out to open the batting. Then, I took the courage to tell him, "Sir, we are going all out to achieve this". I also informed that I had changed the batting order. As a right hand Bowler, I never liked bowling to left handed Batsman, so I said, " I have asked Harold Juriansz (also a left handed Batsman) to open the batting with me". AV had no objections because I was the skipper of the side (HE RESPECTED THIS - not all Coaches would accept such a decision - BUT AV DID ! ). Although I am an opening bat, as a rule, I never faced the first ball (I was a coward !!), my poor brother Vincent, who opened batting with me (previously) always agreed to face the first ball. On this occasion Harold also agreed to face the first ball. Harold was always quite an aggressive batsman and BELIEVE ME OR NOT he hit the first ball for 4 runs (BELIEVE ME OR NOT - it was a "blind shot" - anyway 4 runs !!). Harold scored at least 14 runs in the first two overs - roughly 6 minutes (I reckon I scored not more than 6 runs). Then, Harold got out. I cannot recall who joined me after Harold got out but when Wesley was around 35 runs for 2 or 3 wickets, Upali Samararatne joined me. Ratwatte (the Trinity bowler - Hector or Tissa) was doing his best to discourage and upset us by bowling wides or wide off the off-stamp. I cannot remember the full details but in last over Upali got a winning run (BLIND SHOTS OF COURSE !!!). WESLEY WON ! What a victory - PRAISE TO GOD NOT TO HAROLD OR UPALI OR LOU !!!!
God bless you all - HAPPY NEW YEAR !
Lou (Dr. Lou. ADHIHETTY, Wagenhalde 1, 8162 STEINMAUR, Switzerland,)



 

Some reflections of my time at Wesley College By Keith de Kretser

“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln.

As I enjoy a restful break from the rigours of life over this Christmas season 2008, Dr Nihal Amerasekera’s request to put together a collage of word pictures on our experiences at Wesley College has stimulated my interest to make the following contribution which covers an era from 1959 to 1970, my period at Wesley College. Many Wesleyites who know me are amazed by my memory for detail and I suppose given my pachyderm proportions today which are more fitting of my nick name I had throughout College, being referred to this day as “Badda” by my friends, it would be fair to say that I have an “elephantine memory” to boot as well.

1959 -1965

I lived at the time in Polhengoda (until 1962 and then in Chapel Lane, Wellawatte) and in our neighbourhood we had a number of Wesleyites. I used to travel to school with Roger Joseph and his parents. A senior student at the time Wanigetunge who used to be called ‘Wanige”, Colin Reith and Rodney Nugara – “Koka” were the others and Mrs White was my immediate neighbour. I begin by going back to my first days at Wesley in the Nursery class with Miss Norma de Silva and then Lower Kindergarten (LKG) also under the care of Miss Norma de Silva. The sub-primary section was located at the end of the boarding section near the western boundary of the school. We were dressed in navy blue shorts, white shirts, white socks and black leather shoes though some wore white pipe clayed shoes as well. We would assemble in pairs and walk in to class to the strains of a military march played on the piano by Mrs Dulcie de Mel another legend of Wesley’s sub-primary at the time. The others being Mrs SEG Perera and Mrs Sheila Wijeyekoon. Those early years were important years as we forged our first friendships some which I still share today of over 50 years with classmates from that first year. The photo below is from the Double Blue 1960 edition of Prize Day 1960 for the Primary School. Front row left to right are Darryl Koch, Tariq Bongso, Braden Koch and me. I still have all my College magazines since 1959 a full set that I have collected up to and including the special 125th Jubilee edition..

After successfully navigating through the LKG I was next in the UKG with Mrs Sheila Wijeyekoon. In standard 2 I had Miss Christine Stork and in Standard 3 Mr Raju Hensman. I was fortunate to encounter Mrs Wijeyekoon when she made the bold move out of the Kindergarten and took up Standard 4. Miss Iris Blacker another legend at Wesley who had served the school with distinction had retired and by the time I reached standard 5 Wesley had recruited another spinster in Miss Masillamoney who was equally strict but not as particularly as Miss Blacker. I recall as class monitor having to see the Matron to obtain a bottle of Dettol to wash the mouth out of one of my classmates who had sworn when addressed by Miss Masillamoney. She really meant business in washing his mouth out. She was also very adept at flicking a blackboard duster or her telescopic umbrella with pin-point accuracy when she would have a go at students who were disturbing her when her back was turned to the class. Her other disciplinary measure was the twisting of your ears till you writhed in agony. In this year we had two of our classmates who migrated to Australia – Manfred Redlich and Neil Van Buuren. So being in the English stream, she would from time to time when her patience was being tested by the students, shout at us saying - ”Go to Australia you Burgher buggers, go! Please go! Do not waste my time.” Regardless of these rantings she was a very good teacher in the old school style.

During these primary years we lost our music teacher Miss Maureen Jansz who was replaced by Mrs Christiansz who was the mother of Roger and his younger brother who were at Wesley. Other famous teachers were Mrs Stambo, Mr PGR Fernando, Miss Ivy Marasinghe and Mr Rodrigo who ran the book shop and who referred to the square ruled exercise book as the “Kota Rule” book. Who could forget the Head Master of the Junior School, firstly Mr de Mel and followed by Mr Wilfred Wickramasinghe - “Wilpudda” - Athula’s father who lived at the flats behind College with teachers Felix Premawardhena and Edmund Dissanayake. We also had to learn oriental dancing and our teacher was Mr Basil Mihiripanne or affectionately known as “Meeya Panna”. This was a curious phenomenon to the Burgher boys and it was treated with great amusement by the boys who did not pay much attention. There were the usual stirrers who would get into strife and have to sit out the class. Classes were held in the last class room of the primary wing at the Baseline Road boundary. Some of the boys would disappear and go to the “Thé Kade” next door by jumping over the wall.

The game we all played at the breaks was “King”. If it was not “King” it was marbles or a game of cricket in the small park. The small park was such a great asset of the College and it is a shame that many generations after the early sixties did not have the pleasure of playing in the small park. I remember having minders or mentors who were middle school students and I remember with fondness the late Kenny Dickson who was my mentor. I recall how one day we would wait till the final bell sounded to leave the small park and return to class after lunch. At the back gate there was the usual Accharu Ammé, a Kadalai Man and at times a pingo man or a man with a cart of mangoes or rambuttans. On this occasion the man and his mango cart were ready to leave and he had slowly begun to push the cart down hill towards Mount Mary. As the barrage of students began running across the road in front of his cart, he had a battle to avoid hitting us resulting in the cart losing direction and ending in the gutter with his load of mangoes rolling down the road. This was an opportunity too good to miss and like schoolboys of generations past we grabbed what we could and scooted back into school. Some of us got away as the man monitored our departure from school later that afternoon as he tried to retrieve the mangoes from students he suspected had stolen his fruit.

Life at school in the Primary years was interesting as I began finding my feet and independence as I grew older in such a pleasant environment. Shelton Wirasinha took over as Principal in 1961 and his love of the arts added a new dimension to the extra-curricular activities in the areas of the arts – music, drama, oratory and literature. I was a member of Dias House and Vice Captain of the House. I was also a member of the Junior Choir and a Cub with 14th Colombo Scout Troop. School plays conducted each year were something we looked forward to and it wetted my interest in public speaking and I represented Wesley at many inter-school elocution and oratory contests. The Sports Meet was another event we looked forward to each year to see who became champion house.. But our greatest delight was going to watch our 1st Eleven play with the likes of Darrell Maye, Milroy Jebbarajah, Kenneth de Silva, LCR Wijesinghe to name but a few. It was a thrill when our hero Darrell Maye won the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 1963.

The school fetes were also fun, with the merri-go-round and other rides. I remember my mother being involved with the Sela’s and Jonklaas’s in the Cake and Sweet stall which was in the Highfield block ground floor. I remember winning a cake which was of a crinoline lady looking resplendent in a skirt made of multi-coloured delicately presented butter icing. The competition was to name the lady. My entry was Ramona as the popular hit of that time was Ramona by the Blue Diamonds. I still have vivid memories of one fete where they were conducting a Dutch auction for a Humber push bike in the quadrangle in front of the office. As the crowd were bidding, Garrick O’Neill who was a student in senior school who was nearby tossed a dashing cracker at the Auctioneer – Michael de Saram who was the Bursar at the time. Little did he know that the Vice Principal – LAFA had spotted him. LAFA quickly pounced and slapped him. Garrick was suspended from school for sometime. As a junior I was in awe. Who can forget the Chamber of Horrors held in the Biology Lab and balcony area. They were really scary. I also remember the shooting gallery and stalls that were along the Baseline Road boundary from the famous Tamarind tree running towards the Junior wing. Some creative genius had come up with trying to toss a tennis ball through the mouth of a caricature of Christine Keeler who was the centre of attention in the Profumo scandal at the time. They were great times.

1966-68

So it was on to middle-school with new teachers and new experiences. Mrs White who taught English was our first form teacher and as mentioned previously she happened to be my immediate neighbour in Polhengoda in the early sixties. We were introduced to Mrs Isla Perera, Mr Justin de Silva, Mr Swaris, Miss Marasinghe, Mrs Lynette de Silva, Mr Vethanayagam, Mr Edmund Dissanayake, and Mr Charles Silva. They were interesting characters. Nick names were the norm and Mrs Perera was called “Vulture” because of her deep set eyes, high cheek bones and times gaunt features. Mrs Lynette de Silva who had a small black polyp on her face near her nose earned the name “Papaw seed’. Mr Vethanayagam was “Balli” for his nasal high pitched voice. Edmund Dissanayake was “Pigeon” and Charles Silva was “Boat”.

Justin de Silva was an interesting character. When he would cover for free periods he would give us a speech about the free world and America. He loved America and what it stood for and where possible introduced examples from American history and society. He smoked cigars and in keeping with his American dream drove a big yank tank – a Chevy or Cadillac. He lived near Ratmalana if I recall correctly and would drive to school some days along Galle Road and virtually follow the route taken by our school bus. You always knew when Justin was on the road as you would see these billowing clouds of smoke on the horizon as his car approached you. Yes! he was driving his car on kerosene. He was not one to be tested and if you pushed the wrong buttons he had a tendency to lose his cool and become physically violent using his hands to slap students severely. He was lucky that we were educated at a time when corporal punishment was accepted even extremes because one day he hit my classmate Yahiya Azeez whose father was an ASP rather severely. Justin de Silva was instrumental in forging a link with the hospital ship the USS HOPE - a US hospitable ship that at the time was berthed in Colombo to serve the community in doing much needed operations for the poor and needy. He wrote songs and started up a band with some of the boys from Wesley – Jeremy Kreltszheim, Asoka Jayawardenha and some others who I cannot recall. Noelene Mendis was the vocalist who went on to be a popular entertainer in her own right after that.

Another teacher who joined the College at the time was a chap named P I Perera. This poor fellow had a speech impediment in that he could not pronounce letter P instead the phonetics came out as “FUR” or “FEE”. So it was most amusing when he introduced himself as FEE I FURERA. Some of his classics were FAFAW, FLANTAIN, FADDY FIELD and FOFLIN SHIRTS. Talking about speech impediments boys could be cruel. Many may recall Donald de Silva – affectionately known as TOTA. His problem was that he could not pronounce the “c” sound and instead it was “T” as in “TOTA TOLA” hence the name”TOTA”. His younger brother Anura was “Little TOTA” as he had the same problem. When one teased them calling either of them ADO TOTA they would usually respond “FUT OFF YOU TUNT”.

During this time Miss Marasinghe who had slowly emerged as a sex symbol in our young minds as we were going through the inevitable changes in puberty got sick. She was convalescing at a house just behind the College in Mount Mary and many of the boys in our class and in College would go to visit her as she would be more casually attired in a house coat so that they could get a better view of her voluptuous assets. In fairness they also felt for well being but hell this was a good excuse to go around seeing her for a perve.

I was in Passmore House and played Hockey at the time. College had great hockey teams and there was a huge interest in the game. Participation in elocution contests and representing the College in mini-radio dramas were regular extra-curricular activities. We would begin preparing in our lunch time for the “Do you know” contests which would give us the experience to later represent the College at inter-school contests. Mrs Enid Sivasubramaniam was the coach.

My introduction to the College Choir was a wonderful experience and exposed me to the talents of Haig Karunaratne who I later had for English in Senior School. He was a fabulous choir master and his ability to get the boys to learn their parts and being able to follow the music even though they could not sight read music because they were not trained was a testament to his great skill. He had a great intellect that questioned and challenged the accepted norms of the day and expanded our intellectual horizons in engaging discussions on various topics. He was before his time and gave the impression of an eccentric individual but since those years he has still remained a man of great intellect and a teacher I really admired.

The College Choir produced some fabulous voices – the Wijesinghe brothers, Nimal Suraweera, Sam Sherrard, Spencer Berman and created that interest which I continued right through my school life being a chorister. The College choir was the largest in the schools with about 100 -110 voices. “Karu” who was an old Thomian brought with him a fine pedigree as a chorister, particularly as the Thomian Carol Service always followed the King’s College Cambridge format. So for months we would practice for our own Carol Service at the Methodist Church Maradana and we later shifted to St Luke’s Borella. Wesley being one of the member schools in the Student Christian Movement(SCM), we would participate in the Combined Colleges SCM Carol Service each year. Due to our choir numbers we always occupied the Choir stalls in church. Each year we would also sing at the Moor Road, Wellawatte Church on the invitation of Rev. David Wilson who was a former Chaplain of Wesley. We looked forward to this service as the parishioners would put on a string hopper dinner after the service for all the boys. Our traditional entry hymn was “Lo! he comes with clouds descending” a Charles Wesley classic which was traditional in the season of advent. So if you can visualize we would line up in pairs beginning with the sopranos at the entry door to the church and the remaining 45 pairs would wind their way through the porch along the drive and then on to the road near the gate. It was an amazing feat to get the boys to sing in time but Karu with his animated gestures did the job.

We also participated in other choral events for Radio Ceylon and won one event. The prize was money and I remembers the Principal bought us tickets to see the film – ‘Sound of Music” at the Rio cinema which included an Ice-Cream at the inter-mission. Those were the days.

Assemblies were great and I must say the routine of a brief Christian service at assembly each day was a great way to begin a new day. As youngsters there was also an element of fun as the boys would make sounds to annoy the prefects on duty. The introduction of polystyrene (foam) as packaging gave the students a new sound to their repertoire which annoyed the living daylights of the prefects. When rubbed on your polished shoes it would squeak and between “squeaks” and the “tocks” it was fun watching the prefects trying to identify the person or persons responsible. The usual trouble makers were inevitably picked up and some times they were innocent. Senior prefects Rohan Soyza, Rehaz Ahlip and Zubair Hussan would go ballistic.

I used to get my lunch delivered and we had to go and pick-up our Tiffin carrier or metal plate that was delivered to school from home. Some of us would swap from time to time to enjoy the flavours of someone else’s cooking. If that failed we enjoyed the fine food provided by the canteen run by Mr Bertie Hills, Mr Alfred Maye and Mrs Sela. Far better quality than the legendary “Gal Bath” Wijemanne days. Their motto was to look after us like they did their sons. Their seeni sambol sandwiches and string hoppers were great.

Occupancy of class rooms in the Highfield block was a regular feature as the transition from primary to middle school progressed and I recall how the students would taunt the school coolie – Perumal by shouting out his nickname “Kossa”. He would be on his way to perform various cleaning duties at the flats behind the tennis courts and no sooner had he heard the word “Kossa” there would be a tirade of abuse and he would pick-up a handful of red scoria which lay on the footpath leading to the flats between the Highfield block and the Vice Principal’s bungalow and he would throw it at the class. The classes under the staff room copped the worst. Teasing Perumal reached greater heights on the day of the sports meet when they used to have the servants race. Glowing under the sun after a few kassippu’s under his belt, Perumal would take on the likes of Marshall, Rodrigo, Gunapala, Wilson, Charlie and others. Gunapala had the wood on all of them but it gave us great delight for when they would run past the houses on the edge of the track the boys would roar “Kossa”. It was the only time he would not react as it was a formal event of the College.

The Middle school co-ordinator was the imposing figure of Mr Felix Premawardena who we feared. The end of third form and middle school was where some of our paths diverged as we had to make the choice of doing Sciences or Arts. Many of my friends would no longer be in my class though they would be in the same level. The journey through life at school drew clear distinctions in your status in the pecking order. Juniors were the brats and treated as such. Now I was about to enter senior school, long trousers, etc.. Soon the pendulum would swing the opposite way.

1969 – 1970

The photo is from the Athletics Team 1970

Hall’s Algebra , Durrell’s Geometry, Dreadnought Instrument Box were some of the iconic accessories when I commenced in form 4. Starched white tussore long trousers – set the image that I was now in Senior school. Whilst we still had many of the teachers we had experienced at some stage of our career, Mr V R Roberts was to leave his indelible impression on all of us. A silver haired gentleman in a cream tussore suit which he wore each day, he earned the nick name “Parana Coat” for it. He was educated to his JSC but he had been a teacher for many years and his expertise in teaching us all forms of the exacting sciences – pure and applied mathematics and physics was legendry and he had an equally renowned reputation outside college conducting many tutorial classes at his home and elsewhere. He brought a theatrical style and flair to presenting his knowledge which was most entertaining whether it was describing and demonstrating “Specific Gravity” or ‘Archimedes Principle” or a Theorem in Euclidean Geometry or Motion and Energy in Applied Mathematics. A remarkable fellow who expected total loyalty and respect and in return if you passed your O/L’s with good results you could almost be guaranteed a sub-prefectship. He had a significant influence in the senior school as he covered both the A/L’s and University entrance years as well. He would rank as one of my best teachers. He was also a Passmore House stalwart with Mrs Siva.

Sinhala which was growing as the projected main language under the Swabasha policy was taught by none other than Felix Premawardhena. We had to learn Sinhala poetry or “Kavi”. Even the burgher boys who spoke very little Sinhalese and were battling to read and write Sinhalese were presented with a bigger challenge learning Sinhala poetry and committing it to memory verse after verse. There was no respite if you could not, as Mr Premawardhena who was affectionately know as “Prema badda” would curl his moustache, fix his steely eyed gaze on you and call you to the front of the class. Woe be tide if you could not recite the verses as you either got you sideburns lifted up almost launching you in to space or yours ears twisted or the loose flesh around your belly button pinched and twisted as a form of punishment to encourage you to learn your Kavi before the next lesson. I was lucky though I came close on many occasions.

 

Mr Pakianathan

Chemistry was a new experience under Mr Pakianathan. Mr Pakianathan had a laid back style of lecturing us on the subject for the first half of the period and for the remainder he would set us an exercise of some sort and leave the lab. This practice never changed and as we got more knowledgeable we would be left to perform experiments unsupervised with only lab boy Rodrigo in attendance. The experiments usually involved giving us certain measured quantities of certain chemicals and we would have perform the experiment and then write up the equations and also determine some measurements as part of the practical solution. Rodrigo the lab boy liked a punt and many students had spotted him at the local “bucket shops” placing a bet. So one smart fellow decided that if we all chipped in some of our spending money we could bribe him to reveal the quantities of the substance and what substances he had prepared for us. This was a brilliant idea as he responded to the bribe and would give us all the details. Mr Pakianathan did not have a clue.

Sport in Senior school was Rugby and Athletics and I remember Mr Suppiah being the master in charge after Mr Swaris and introduced a cross-country race as an inter-house event. I remember representing College in the Public Schools Athletics Carnival in Jaffna one year and in Colombo the next. I participated in the field events. The trip to Jaffna was the best as every boys school in Colombo boarded the train at Fort Station. We were then joined by the upcountry schools at Polgahawela I think. We were accommodated at the YMCA in Jaffna with the Trinity boys and after lock-down at night we tied some bed-sheets together and scaled down the building and went into the heart of Jaffna till the early hours of the morning unbeknownst to Mr Suppiah. It was like we were at a Scout Jamboree with many friends from the other schools on this excursion to the North of our island. .

My rugby experiences are happy ones as well, though competitively Wesley was a poor side. College finished at 1:15 p.m. which gave me ample time to get home to Wellawatte, have some lunch and then grab my kit to go to practice. However I rode to practice with my jersey, boots and socks in a bag dangling from the handle bars and usually with a few comics to exchange on the way. Practice did not start till 4 p.m. so I made certain that my route went past certain girls schools so that I arrived on time. After practice though exhausted the ride home was always pleasant as one never took the shortest or quickest route home but involved stopping somewhere to speak to girls, exchange comics , etc.. The rock hard grounds were a testament to our dedication and love for the game, because we came off second best when we trained at Campbell Park.

The photo is from the Rugby Team 1969

 

The most memorable sporting event in this time and during my time at Wesley was Wesley’s stunning victory over Royal in the last ball of the match against Royal College in 1969. I am sure it is a treasured memory not only for the cricketers as our success over Royal was poor in over 75 years of competing but for the many spectators present who witnessed a great game played in the finest spirit of sportsmanship. Cricket was the big winner and the commitment by the players, particularly Royal was most commendable to make a result when they could easily have played out a draw. The Wesley team that year led by Amaresh Rajaratnam enjoyed much popularity and if I recall was the Schoolboy Cricket Team of the year.

 

 

Monroe Reimers

On the drama side Wesley had a growing reputation of doing some good pieces and would be invited to do excerpts from Dickens - Oliver Twist on Radio Ceylon and other literary pieces of work. Christopher Fry’s – “Boy with the Cart” was a fabulous production which won the all island inter-school drama contest and we received rave reviews in the media particularly the performance of Monroe Reimers as Cuthbert – the boy. Monroe who won the best actor was an all round student, a US Field Scholarship winner and later migrated to Sydney Australia where he graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) with none other than the internationally famous Mel Gibson who he shared a flat with. I was Cuthbert’s mother who he dragged along in this cart and the whole drama was based on our two characters and our situations in life.

Mr Aelian Fernando or LAFA left Wesley and was sorely missed. A much respected teacher who had made such a great contribution to the life of Wesley College and her broader family. On his departure we had a Chaplain who occupied the VP’s bungalow who was an Englishman, Rev John Trevenna. He, his wife and baby moved in and became popular among the students and Wesley community. Rev Trevenna who was a linguist had a great command of Sinhala. He once told me, that every letter of the Sinhala alphabet represented a sound and hence there was no confusion in reading or writing the language. His command of the language was unique and he attracted large crowds whenever he preached. I know for fact because he would get a full congregation when he preached at the Sinahala Service at some of the local Methodist Churches such as the Methodist Church at the top of my street Chapel Lane, Wellawatte. He had an interest in rugby and athletics and would come down and get involved with our training which was a great buzz to the students. He had an old cream Skoda which he drove and I recall him spray painting it using a “flit can” in the porch in the VP’s bungalow. He was an incredible character with a hands on approach to doing many things and also took over as the master-in-charge of drama. I remember us rehearsing in his home for a Sherlock Holmes classic in the setting of his lounge and study. His young wife would make sandwiches for us or even better her chocolate cake as we rehearsed well after sunset.

My senior school life was cut short as my family elected to migrate to Australia before I completed my O/L’s in September 1970. Eleven wonderful years of my life at beloved Wesley College came to an end. People have often asked me why I am so passionate about things for Wesley that still sees me having an involvement with my alma mater 39 years after I left her hallowed halls and the country of my birth. Perhaps I may be odd, but I am indebted to Wesley College for it is one part of a mosaic which is me and that in part instilled many attributes of my character through caring and nurturing in my formative years. It was in another time and era where the values held by the community and institutions like Wesley left an indelible impression on our lives. I would like to think that many of her alumni share my sentiments. There are many more experiences and memories I treasure but these are just some that have brought back fond memories as I penned this essay.

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” ~ Sydney J. Harris

My wife Myra and I taken recently

 


8th April 2009

Some unedited Schoolboy memories of Senthil Sinniah - 1954

I think I mentioned that I had Found a diary I kept in 1954----of happenings at Wesley. Typical entry---- Head Prefect confiscated my hymn-book because W.A.K.Silva and I were talking at Assembly. I took WAK's book, in turn. In the interval WAK got my hymn book back and the head prefect gave WAK a lecture and told him not to fiddle with hymn books at assembly.( February,10th 1954)

Feb.12th Friday1954--- Wesley playing Kingswood at Randles Hill. Kingswood all out 205 and Wesley 207 for 5. Batuwitage 57, Neil Gallaher 77, Lou Adhihetty 67n.o.
Gave my 25 cents (picture money) to Raymond and because some boys did not pay, I gave 10 cents extra.

Feb. 17th Wednesday. Class match against Form 111 B was started. I played for Form111A.We batted and were 15 for 1--Ahamath out. Colin De Silva and Sikkander were batting, at close. I was going four down.
Feb.18th Thursday--- Continued our match. We were 53 for 2---Scharengivel took both wickets. Samararatne and Sikkander were batting.
Feb. 19th Friday. Playing Trinity on our grounds. We batted first and scored 266 for 3 declared. Abu Fuard 65 Ansa Fuard 61 AR Chapman 77 not Out, Lou Adihetty 44 NO. Trinity fielding was bad. They were 61 for 7. Herman Claessen and Abu Fuard took the wickets.
Feb.20th Saturday I did not go for the match as it was going to rain. We won the match by an innings and 83 runs. They were out for 121 and 61 in the second innings---Samsudeen 8 for 23 in 18 overs.
These are typical entries I had made----through Jan.--April 1954. Monday, 22nd February, 1954
We continued our class match. We were in a good position---51 for 2. However, Scharnivel stuck a length and goy Upali S. Sikkander, Kularatne and Sappideen out with the total at 67.I was batting with Alfred David---I was 9 NO and David 0 NO---Total 76 for 6.
Tuesday, 23 February, 1954
Continued our class match. David got run-out for 1 and Abeysuriya came in. We thrashed the bowlers---including Scharnivel. When we stopped at 1.00o'clock, Abeysuriya was 36 NO and I was 35 NO. We put on a stand of 72 runs and the total was 150 for 7, at close.
Wednesday, 24th February, 1954
Continued class match. Upali Samararatne, our captain declared at 150 for 7. They batted and were all out for 12 runs----Upali 5 for 3 and L.R. Gunatillake 5 for 8. In the follow on, they were 6 for 2.
Thursday, 25th February,1954
We continued our match. In the second innings, they were all out for 26 runs.I took a splendid catch at cover point, off Upali's bowling. Abeysuriya, Upali and L.R. Guntillake shared the wickets. Our fielding was poor.
Friday, 26th February, 1954.
I went for the Wesley- Josephian match at Darley Road. We wer 160 for 8 but V. Adihetty and R.M. De Silva saved our side and we were all out for 220 runs. They were 54 for 0 but Abu Fuard struck a length and at close, they were 66 for 2.
Saturday, 27th February, 1954
Went by bus for the match. They were 110 for 3 and declared at 228 for 8. We batted and got quick runs. We were 147 for 7---Gallaher 52. Rain stopped play. Medical College boys invaded the ground and near the Wesley tent, they got hammered with bricks. Some needed medical attention.
Monday, 1st March, 1954.
I was made monitor for the week. Started our match against 111C. We were in a bad position 56 for 4. I was 8NO---Upali, Abeysuriya, David --three good batsmen were out.
Tuesday, 2ndMarch, 1954
Could not continue the match.
Wednesday, 3rd March, 1954---PUBLIC HOLIDAY
Thursday, 4th March, 1954
Continued the match. I was out first ball. I hit a half pitch ball and was caught by K. Dwight. We collapsed and all the others only scored 1 run---all out 57.
They were 77 for 1. Girsie 20 out and K. Dwight 55 NO.Our fielding was useless. I took a good catch in the slips.
Friday, 5th March, 1954.
Had to go by train to college as car had gone to Welimada. Continued our class match. They were 146 for 7. They decided to declare. K. Dwight scored 77, our fielding had improved. I took another brilliant catch at silly-point.Upali, our captain, bowled unchanged and took 4 for 55.L. Guntallake 0 for 50 and Abeysuriya 3 for 35.
Saturday, 6th March, 1954.
Wesley was playing the old boys. Wesley 165 all out. Abu Fuard 46, MAM Fuard 32, Gallaher 26 and H. Goonatillake 20. Old boys replied with 145. Abu Fuard 4 for 68 H. Goonatillake kept wickets.
Sunday, 7th march, 1954.
Could not go to Sunday School, driver did not come.
Monday, 8th March, 1954.
I had to stay at home----very bad cold and fever. Did not hear about the class match
Tuesday, 9th March, 1954
Stayed at home---- still had a fever.
Wednesday, 10th March, 1954
Went to school. Heard that we had lost by an innings. We challenged 111B again. Won the toss and were 55 for 3---Abeysuriys 45 N.O. Upali asked me to bat at six---in case there was a collapse.
Thursday, 11th March, 1954
Continued our match. Abeysuriya was out for 51 runs. When I went in we were 65 for 4, Scharnguivel was again their best bowler. I hit him for two fours and Upali declared at 75 for 6.
Friday, 12 march, 1954
They began their innings and this time they did not collapse. They were hitting Upali and Abeysuriya. Upali asked me to bowl and I took 2 wickets for 7 runs. Brace and Manger were batting well. They were 56 for 7. No cricket match to-day so Full day.
Monday, 15th February, 1954
AK David was made monitor for the week. Could not play class match as no bat was brought. Dull day.
Tuesday, 16th March, 1954
No match again, Mr. Oorlorf announced that no boy should go upstairs from 12.15 to 1.15pm.
Wednesday, 17th March, 1954
Half-day. No match. Told to buy college tie by Mr. Ivor De Silva.
Thursday, 18th March, 1954.
Continued our match, They were 56 for 7. Our fielding was useless again. Colin De. Silva dropped 4 catches--all off Brace. At close they were 69 for 7---Brace still batting with Kottachchi.
Friday, 19th March, 1954
They were all out for 69. Upali took 5 for 35 and I took 4 for 14.
Upali sent me opening and was run out for 0. AK David ran me out. AT CLOSE, WE WERE 51 for 3, Abeysuriya 35 NO. No college match.
Monday, 22 March, 1954.
Coninued our match. Abeysuriya scored 61 and was dropped seven times. Upali was 21 NO. At close we were 96 for 3. Scarenguivel was bowling well again.
Tuesday, 23 March, 1954
Continued our match. Upali batted well and was 69 NO and we were 156 for 6 . Scharenguivel 4 for 49.
Wednesday, 24th March, 1954
Continued the match. Upali scored a century and retired. We wer all out for 205 runs. They were 5 runs for no wickets.
Thursday, 25th march, 1954
Continued our match against 111B. They were all out for 57 runs. We won by an innings. Colin De Silva was our best bowler. He took 4 wickets for 1 run.

Senthil Sinniah's visit to OWSC on his 69th Birthday by Lalith Wijesinghe. 12th November 2009- double click

Addendum by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera : To those who do not know Senthil he was the 1st XI cricket captain of 1959, a very successful year. He was a popular hosteller and also a day boy at college. He emigrated to the UK in the late 1960's where he had a very successful and rewarding career in Banking. Senthil is one of life's gentleman and a product of the Oorloff-Nonis years when the school produced exceptional men of grit and industry. It has been a pleasure to be associated with Senthil when he was the President of the OBU (UK) when he resurrected the Union from its VERY depths. Since then we have served in the Committee together in a fine and thriving OBU(UK). We wish him a long and happy retirement in North Devon, UK.


 

Received for publication on the 15th April 2009

WESLEY COLLEGE REVISITED (I984) By Cecil d'With-Barbut


Last July I visited Sri Lanka on business and took the opportunity of touring the island and visiting Wesley College. I stopped overnight in Singapore and then flew Air Lanka into Colombo late on Saturday night. I had made no definite plans, as it was just after the Oberoi bombing and I had to visit relatives in Wellawatte.

a5As I arrived in Colombo the airport, as usual, was a mass of people all waiting to see relatives off to the Middle East. I looked around the Airport and there didn't appear to be anyone I knew, so I began making arrangements for the long ride into Colombo by Taxi. Just then I was tapped on the shoulder and to my great surprise, there were Edmund Dissanayake, Shelton Peiris and Mervyn Peiris with a garland of Double Blue in their hands, welcoming me to the Island .. It was such a relief to see some familiar faces. It made me feel I was returning home, rather than visiting some foreign land. They brought me greetings from the Principal and the Board of G0vernors. They informed me that Mr. Lanerolle was going to be away for a short time, but that he was looking forward to seeing me during the following week.
I then went off to my hotel and the next day I rang M.A.P. Fernando who is now the Vice Principal of the School. He informed me that the scoreboard had not been completed because they had had some trouble with the Contractors. He told me how well the School was doing with Mr. Lanerolle at the helm, but again expressed his disappointment about the unfinished scoreboard.
During the next week I completed my business commitments and it was amazing that everywhere I turned there was some old Wesleyite around to lend a helping hand. The Spirit of the Double Blue is indeed still very strong.
My travel in Sri Lanka was taken care of by Shanthi McLelland of McLelland Travels, another Old Boy. He went to a great deal of trouble to make my stay in the island such an enjoyable experience. It seemed more than a coincidence that at almost every hotel we stayed at, there was some Old Wesleyite, who went out of his way to see that I was comfortable. It wasn't surprising therefore that everywhere I went the talk centred around the College. There were some who were disillusioned, others who were sceptical, but they were all unanimous, that ,Wesley had turned the corner with the appointment of Mr. Lanerolle as Principal of the School; the great job he was doing in improving the standards at the College. During the first week of my stay I made one brief visit to the College. - It was Poya day and a holiday - I had a quick look around, met Mr. Sivanayagam at the hostel, a few of the old servants Marshall, Wilson, and a few others.
The next week, I went on tour. Incidentally, our Driver and Guide was also an old Wesleyite, one Mohan Abrahams, the nephew of the Teacher R. Abrahams.
One of the biggest surprises on tour was when we had just arrived at Hikkaduwa and as I prepared for dinner and a lay evening, one of the waiters informed me that I was wanted on the phone. This, in itself, was quite a surprise, because once you leave Colombo the phones are forever out of order: But a greater surprise was to hear who was on the line, no other than the great Ae1ian Fernando.
It was great to hear his voice. He was ringing from Beruwella. In fact, he had been trying for some hours and finally in desperation had told the operator that he just had to get through, which they finally did by means of a number of hook-ups., It was useless to try to talk as the phone lines were so bad, all I could hear was that he had dinner ready and we had to leave everything and come down to see him straight away. He wouldn't take 'no' for an answer, but we really didn't need much persuasion and within a few minutes, we were driving over to meet him. "Laffa" was just the same, his spirit undaunted. His wide smile and laugh had not changed. We had a great evening talking about all the famous cricket matches, when Wesley achieved the impossible. His heart is undoubtedly still at Wesley. Aelian Fernando appears fit enough, although he has had some cardiac set backs. He is involved with a Scholars Foundation. He spends most of his time travelling between Kandy and Beruwella, teaching foreign students some Sinhalese and something about the Island, organising their stay while in Sri Lanka. I also met Nalini Fernando and their lively kids. Ravi who is now a Product Manager at Lever Brothers and their daughter who is at University. Nalini has returned to teaching at St. Thomas' Prep School. I had a lovely time on the island, visiting the safer areas. We even watched a rugger match at Kandy between Royal and Trinity for the Bradby Shield. No sooner had I returned to Colombo than I was visited' by L. V. Jayaweera and Tyrone Maye. They wished to organise a night with the O.B. U. We set a date and he then arranged for my visit to the School. The next day he was at my hotel at 7.00 a.m. to take me to College. It brought back many memories that early morning drive through the crowds at Borella, up Baseline Road and the great College gates where we were met by the College Prefects on duty. No cars are allowed into the College but they opened the gates and we drove straight up the Principal's drive when I was met by Mr. Lanerolle. It was the first time I had seem him, since he left College in 1958.
The years have not changed him. He is still the impressive authoritarian teacher, with those great impressive eyebrows. He looks remarkably fit. He spent the morning taking me on a conducted tour of the school. They don't have morning assemblies now. There are no chairs or benches in the hall. This was something they need urgently. I met Haig Karunaratne who is also in charge of the Choir. He intends holding a Carol Service at the end of the year, and would like so much to have some chairs or benches for the occasion. If any Old Boy is interested in helping in this regard by making a small donation towards the cost of a chair, please contact me.
I met all the Old Staff Mr. E.L. Rodrigo, R. Hensman, and some of the Old Servants, Marshall who has spent 46 years at the School. Also Guneratne. The College has just been repainted and looks spic and span. They have built a new Basket Ball Court in the front of the School. I had lunch at the Hostel. The staple diet of the Boarders in my day Dhall and Pol Sambol, is now quite a luxury. In fact, there is some talk about closing the Boarding School, as it is running at a loss. I hope this doesn't eventuate. The O.B.U. held a Club Nite at the pavilion, and fellowship was shared by all those who attended. A video recorder was set up and we played back my film of the School. The evening ended with a sing song. My overall impression was favourable. I can see the vast difference that Mr. Lanerol1e has made to the College. It is a vast improvement to what things were when I visited the College last in 1980. In some areas there is great room for improvement. Campbell Park, the Pavilion, the Scoreboard, all reflect some of the areas that need some urgent action. I sincerely hope that all Old Boys and supporters of the School will forget their differences and get behind the Principal and give him all the support he needs to restore Wesley to its rightful place as one of the island's leading educational institutions.
Cecil d'With-Barbut
President OBU Australia 1984

Remembering Cecil d'With Barbut by Nihal D Amerasekera - double click


 

College News from 1958


From the School Magazine of 1958 kindly sent to me by Arthur d’With-Barbut
Staff-Many members of the staff have left us during the period under review. We hope that the new members would be able to continue the traditions of their predecessors. Mr. W. T. Canaga Retna has left us to assume duties as Principal of st. John's College, Nugegoda. During the seven years he served the school, he made a very great contribution to it. As senior Government master of the Sixth-Form he was responsible for a tradition that is still maintained-even students who failed the University Entrance Examination always passed the Government paper! He was also responsible for the high standard maintained in the teaching of English in the Sixth and Fifth Forms. He was a prominent· House-master of Wilkin. Mr. CanagaRetna's work as a "moral tutor" of a number of sixth-formers is specially remembered. He was very keenly interested in drama. Though a serious Christian belonging to the Anglo-Catholic Church he was ecumenical in outlook. He involved himself in all the Christian activity in the school, and contributed much to its spiritual life. He was the live-wire of the sixth-Form Union and the high standard maintained by the Union can be attributed to his guidance and help, which was always forthcoming. We wish him all the best in his new sphere of life.

Mr. Ivor de Silva has left us to become Vice-Principal of Richmond College, Galle. He served Moscrop House as the Senior House Master and was responsible for many of Moscrop'ssuccesses. He also did useful work in the Hostel, during a critical period and effected many improvements. Mr. Ivor de Silva was a discoverer of talent. The present senior hostel master for instance was brought to the stage as "An Adana race-book seller". This was drama at its height! Mr. Ivor de Silva took a very great interest in the Music and Drama society. He helped in producing the operas "A-l add-in and out" and "Robin-Hood". The College choir owes much to him, for throughout his stay in the school he was the live wire of the choir. Mr. de Silva was also the master in-charge of the college swimming club. The high standard maintained in swimming and life-saving are solely due to his efforts. As senior Geography master in the Sixth and Fifth Forms, he instilled in students a love for the study of Geography. He maintained a very high standard in the teaching of Geography. Finally, the greatest contribution he made was to the spiritual life of the school. He was keenly interested in the activities of the S.C.M. and was able to witness effectively by leading a life of example. At the end of last year he led the Ceylonese delegation to the S.C.M. Triennial Conference held at Guntur, India. We wish him all success in his new walk of life.

Mr. W. B. Jayasinghe has left us to join the American Embassy as Librarian. During his period of service he involved himself in many activities of the school. He first served Passmore House as a House-master, and later became Senior Hostel master and thereby-Master of Moscrop House. He contributed a great deal towards Wesley's success in the S.S.c. and University Entrance Examinations. He was an ideal teacher and inspired many students who were fortunate to be taught by him. We wish him all the best in his new sphere of life.

Mr. Derrick Mack (now Lieutenant) has left us to join the Ceylon Navy as a staff-officer. He did much to further sport in the school. In the class-room he achieved greater things. We wish him well in his new walk of life.

The others who left us during the period under review were Messrs. D. L. Fernando, C. Ganesh, Agbo Karunaratne, Lynton de Silva, and D. M. Jayasekera. The school owes them much for their devoteq. services. We wish all of them the very best in their new spheres'· of work. Mr. Joe Dassanaike and Mr. A. Sivadasen served the school during the first-term. We wish them all success in their future life. We are glad to once again welcome Mr. L. A. Fernando to Wesley. We congratulate him on his obtaining the Master-of-Arts degree in America, and the Diploma of Education, at the Birmingham University. He serves us now in a new capacity as Chaplain. With the rich experience and knowledge he gained abroad be fits into this post admirably. We are also glad to note that Mr. Fernando has now entered the sacred bonds of matrimony. We wish him and Mrs. Fernando all the best in their future.
We welcome into our midsts Messrs. Fred Abeyesekera, D.V.A. Joseph, Ivan Ondatje, W.C.B. Perera, Austin Salgado. Frank Jayasinghe and Mrs. S. Rajandran.
We bade farewell to two members of the Primary school staff. Those who left us were Miss. Nalini de Mel and Mrs. R. Perera. We welcome into our midsts messrs. D. Jayawickrema, C. Wickramage, A. lyaturai and Miss N. de Silva.

We congratulate Mr. Charles de Silva on his success in the B.A. (Hons) London examination. We are also proud to note that Mr. Kenneth de Lanerolle, our Vice-Principal, led a delegation of teachers to China under the auspices of the Ceylon Teachers' Travel Club, during the April holidays. We also congratulate Messrs. C.J.T. Thamotheram and Felix Premawardena on being elected President and assistant Secretary respectively of the Ceylon Teachers' Travel Club.

Another member of our staff Mr. D.V.A. Joseph entered the bonds of matrimony. We wish him all the best in the future. A delegation of Russian teachers visited the school early in the First term, under the auspices of the Ceylon Teachers' Travel Club. - They were entertained by the Teachers' Guild. Gifts were exchanged.

 




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Prize Giving 1958 - Sent by Arthur d'With Barbut

 


 

Wesleyites go east and west with 'Fusion '09' By Ruwini JAYAWARDANA

A fusion of talent will take over Ananda College auditorium on June 27 at 6.30 p.m. when the students of Wesley College, Colombo, will unravel 'Fusion '09', a string of music and dance items. The event comprising of a blend of eastern and western acts is spearheaded by former head prefect of the school, Rushan Hewawasam. It is the first time that the school will be hosting such a large scale musical and dance extravaganza. "The slogan of the event is 'Cultures United' and that is our main focus. Our college had produced many versatile individuals but for some years the students did not get the opportunity to really show their colours in aesthetics. This was mostly because of the security situation in the country but now that terrorism is vanquished from the country, we thought of organizing the event so that it not only displays the skills of the Wesleyites but reflects the togetherness of the cultures and traditions of the ethnic groups," Rushan said. Apart from traditional dance a variety of modern dance techniques like hip-hop and an item presented by school's the primary students will also be included in the list. A song dedicated to the war heroes will also be one of the main attractions along with the grand final and many surprises in between.

Representatives from the three Forces, the police and old students of the school are excepted to grace the occasion along with Sri Lanka's doyen of dance Vajira Chitrasena, Western Provincial Council Opposition Leader Rosy Senanayake and popular writer Haig Karunaratne as chief guests.Rushan had come across the concept of 'Fusion '09' when he had been the chief organizer for a felicitation ceremony of the school's former principal M.A.P. Fernando on the day of his retirement. He said that while putting together the event he was struck by the abundance of talent within the Wesleyites.

The rest of his companions had taken to the idea with enthusiasm and soon they had the backing of the whole school. Teachers, students, parents and well wishers have worked frantically for nearly two months to make 'Fusion '09' a reality. The Wesleyites during rehearsals "Our principal Dr. Shanti McLelland was very keen that we do a good job and had been encouraging us from the beginning. The committee comprising Erandini Weinman, Niroza Gazzaly, F. Nawaz and Mithree Vithanage along with main student representatives Manoj Kularatne and Khaleeq Jayah have worked day and night on making sure that every aspect is perfectly in place. They been the backbone of the project," Rushan noted also stating that Greg Pallegama, Dhanish Musafer, Dilshan Seneviratne and Assan Meedin had been backing them all the way. Former Wesleyite and media personality Kumar de Silva will compere the event.

Rushan who had flown to the country from Australia especially for the event, said that he had organized a number of events for schools in the island. He had put together about five projects for Wesley college but nothing on such a large scale and as exciting as 'Fusion '09'. Speaking on the challenging task of putting together 'Fusion '09' student representatives Manoj and Khaleeq. They said that it is time consuming but fun to breath life to the project. "We have never been involved with such a big task before. At times it is pressurizing as we have to see that everything is spic and span in time for the big day but Rushan had been devoted to the project. He made sure that everything ran smoothly," they chorused.

"The students rehearsed with teachers after school. Everyone played their part from designing posters and stage props to distributing invitations and writing letters. The funds will be donated to the school's aesthetic sector so that they will be able to use the money in purchasing instruments and new costumes for the students. We plan to host this event annually as the response is amazing," Rushan concluded with a smile.


 



The Great Tamarind Tree (Tamarindus indica) By Nihal D Amerasekera 09/06/09

Man can go to the moon and travel at the speed of sound but only God can make a tree.

Every boy who has walked through the gates of Wesley College must know the Tamarind tree, an icon of all our schooldays. Majestic is a minimalist verb to describe how the tree looked in its full foliage. We grew up with this tree, each of us growing in stature as the years went by. Its origin is lost in the mist of time. The images of Wesley at the time it was built show what must be the tree in its current site. When I was at school in the 1950’s it was a massive tree with its girth likely to be around 50 years old. It is unclear whether the tree was planted at the time the school was built or if it was a product of a careless dispersal by man or bird. This tree must now be a hundred years old or more.

During my years in the 1950's the front garden was maintained by our resident gardener Raman, a native of Cochin, who looked after it with great care. The lawn was emerald green and the flower beds at the edges were always in full bloom. We were not allowed to play ball games in the lawn which was maintained in pristine condition. Despite our busy school routines there were times I preferred to stand quietly to listen to the silence amid the rustling leaves. The deep silence they create speaks of patience, endurance and of the sacred mystery of life. They tell of how intimately humans and trees are linked in our journeys through life.

It is a tropical tree, native to Africa, including Sudan and parts of the Madagascar dry deciduous forests. It was introduced into India so long ago that it has often been reported as indigenous there, and it was apparently from India that it reached the Persians and the Arabs who called it "tamar hindi" (Indian date, from the date-like appearance of the dried pulp), giving rise to both its common and generic names. However, the specific name, "indica", also perpetuates the illusion of Indian origin. The fruit was well known to the ancient Egyptians and to the Greeks in the 4th Century B.C.

"A tree is a wonderful living organism which gives shelter, food, warmth and protection to all living things. It even gives shade to those who wield an axe to cut it down" – Lord Buddha.

It isn’t a particularly large tree. It makes up for its smaller size, however, with its iconic status as a stunningly beautiful tree in splendid isolation, framed by an even more beautiful background of Wesley College. It is awesome to contemplate that the great Rev Henry Highfield may have seen and admired the young sapling spreading its wings and reaching to the sky. The Rev PT Cash who was a great naturalist and a botanist must have taught his students about this tree and the part it plays in its environment. It nourishes, shelters, protects and supports a thriving ecosystem. The nasty red and white ants live on its bark. Numerous garden lizards and squirrels have made it their home. Swarms Bees and butterflies are always seen on and around this tree. Many types of spiders feed on the flies that live there. Groups of parrots descend on it when the tamarind pods are ripe in August. It is also a refuge for Golden Orioles and Barbets. In the evenings large groups of house sparrows make a din in its highest branches. The tree is full of life all round the year.

When we were in the primary school during the hot dry season from February to April several teachers preferred to take their classes under the Tamarind tree. Miss Iris Blacker and Mr Wilfred Wickramasinghe loved to conduct their classes beneath the boughs of the tree. There was very little traffic along Baseline Road and it was rather quiet and peaceful in the shade of this magnificent tree.

As boarders we were in the school premises 24/7. In the 1950's the food in the hostel left much to be desired and there was a famine of Biblical proportions. We never allowed the pods to ripen. Despite its acidity we ate the unripe tamarind pods in large numbers and relieved our hunger and also benifitted from its high Vitamin B content.

Some years ago I managed to locate one of our revered past Principals in Glastonbury in England. Rev. William Holden was in his late 80’s but was clear in his mind and had some fond memories of his time at the school. He related a story of how he conducted a class under the Tamarind tree on a hot April morning. As the class was large the circle was wide. A coconut crashed down from a tree missing his head by a whisker. MHM Meeran who later became the Senior Prefect and a doctor, was in that circle and remembered the incident well. Many years later Rev Holden was admitted to a hospital in North London to Dr. Meeran’s ward when he was treated with much kindness and sympathy. Both these gentleman are no more but the anecdotes live on. I recall on many occasions sitting under the tree for classes. As a hungry boarder have helped myself to the tamarind pods despite its acid taste when raw. This was featured in our Botany field work with the great genius teacher of the 1950's Charles Yesudian. Perhaps it can be named after him for his immense contribution to the academic success of the school. He was a father figure and mentor to many. There are scores of Wesleyites of that era who owe their careers to that great man, including yours truly.

The tree is the Grand Old Man of Karlsruhe Hill. It may even have seen the original owner of the property , Charles Ambrose Lorensz, a solicitor of great distinction. It has seen Principals and teachers come and go and also has witnessed generations of students who arrive as kids and leave as responsible adults. It is a living memorial to all Wesleyites since its very beginning. The Great Tamarind tree seeks to keep its origins a secret and so it will remain until the end of time.

It has survived countless monsoons and electric storms. It has even survived the wrath of the diggers during the expansion of Baseline Road. The tree is a part of our rich heritage and should be preserved. The last I saw the tree in 2008 when it looked battered and worn but still there hanging on – just. I am confident Dr Shanti McLelland and the powers at Wesley will do what is necessary to keep it alive.

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, monsoons, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools. ~John Muir

 


 

Two Shades of Blue by George Robertson - From Melbourne 10/7/09

“An educational system isn’t worth a great deal if it teaches
young people how to make a living but doesn’t
teach them how to make a life.”
- Mark Twain

Some dictionaries will explain the word “Flag” as a symbol of unity, the sharing of a common set of values and so on. Whatever it is, and like all others, the Flag that defines Wesley College has now become a part of our lives, and brings past and present together whenever and wherever it is unfurled, as all flags are designed to do. It serves as a rallying point at every gathering of Wesleyites whether on the athletic field or in the classroom. My father, who was a wise man, made sure that all his sons would have a good education and for this he chose to enroll us at Wesley College. But even my Dad could not have known that when he sent his boys to be taught at Wesley, they would also be learning how to live.

Think about it. The idea of a school to be opened in Colombo may have been the intention of an overseas mission in England, but the task was entrusted to an outstanding man, the Rev. Henry Highfield. What he did, and how he set about doing it, is now woven into the history of Wesley and will stand forever as a fine example of unceasing dedication and commitment. I said we gained a life. We must never forget, and will forever be inspired by what Rev. Highfield accomplished. It is now up to each of us to accept the responsibility and to ensure that the torch is passed to those who will take our place. That is the life Wesley gave us. You cannot spend the first ten or twelve of your formative years at Wesley and then walk away and forget it. What you do afterwards, wherever you go, whether you know it or not, it will affect the rest of your life.

Whenever we get together, at the Annual Wesley College Dance, Club Nights, Seniors’ Lunches, a golf tournament or an evening socializing with a few friends at home, the camaraderie will always be there. The recent visit by Dr. N.D. Amerasekera, so ably described elsewhere in this newsletter, is one example. He traveled from the U.K. to Australia on holiday, and looked forward to meeting old friends from his days at Wesley. Some he remembered as classmates, and many others attended not because they knew him, but because they also had attended Wesley College and knew of him and his generous contribution to the O.B.U, .and wanted to spend an evening with old friends. And as the moment arrived when we rose to sing the College Song, and gave out the War Cry I recalled being present when it was first introduced at assembly in the main hall by our Principal Rev. James Cartman. I tend to forget things now and again. This is to be expected at my age, but I can say that whenever I need to, I still remember all the words of the College Song. And when I do, whatever the occasion, I know that our banner is unfurled and is waving proudly somewhere as it has for the last one hundred and twenty-five years. It is designed with simple dignity; no stars, no stripes, no lions or unicorns nor crowns, no crossed swords and not in glorious technicolor either. But it has inspired generations of fathers and sons and will continue to do so for as long as we meet under its colours -

“A crest, above three words, spelling out ‘Ora Et Labora’ all on a background of two shades of blue.” -George Robertson. . .

 


 

Growing up in the 21st century By Dr. Nihal D Amerasekera - 22/7/09

It was in 1932 that the distinguished philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote his famous essay “In Praise of Idleness”. His words ring true today.

Like most of my generation, I was brought up on the saying: 'Satan finds some mischief for idle hands to do.' I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous– Bertrand Russell

What I remember most of all of my childhood are the hours of idyllic idleness. Watching hours of cricket seated on the grass brought me immense pleasure. Long periods of inactivity fishing in a murky pond are images from the past which even now gives me great satisfaction. Restraint and patience are incredible gifts learnt whilst idle. Doodling and day dreaming brings peace to ones soul. We spent hours creating our own games and toys with simple household possessions like rubber bands, cigarette tins and bottle tops. We spent hours reading. We imagined the characters in books playing their roles in vivid technicolour. There was a world of fairies, Cinderella and Pinocchio. The superbly descriptive poems of Alfred Tennyson, H.W Longfellow and Samuel Taylor Coleridge helps to improve the powers of imagination. During the monsoons the darkening skies and the strong winds before the downpour had its own splendor. In the dry season the swirling winds carried plumes of dust high into the sky. I had time to be enchanted by these acts of nature and allow my thoughts to wander free.

Even as a kid I was fascinated by the green mountains. Its winding roads touching the clouds brought a sense of exhilaration. The gurgling streams that disappeared into the valleys below enthralled me. I feel immensely grateful for those opportunities to enjoy nature’s gifts as a child. I wish I can see its charm in the same way as 50 years ago when I could absorb so much of its magic so completely.

On recent visits to Sri Lanka I saw the childrens’ endless treadmill of tuition and more tuition, some starting at an early age of eight. Teaching after school hours has become a lucrative occupation. Those teachers who are in a position to advice parents who should require special help have a conflict of interest. I am unaware of any attempts by schools to discourage the practice of unnecessary tuition. Perhaps they encourage this in the hope they would get the benefit of good results. I read in the South China Morning post a story of a parent who asked her daughter what she would like to do on her 11th birthday. The child spends every weekend and most evenings being ferried from one extra curricular activity to another. She wanted to spend her birthday lying on her bed doing nothing. She got a clip round the ear for being “so ungrateful”

We now live in a material world. Mobile phones and games consoles have taken over the lives of our children from a young age. These are fascinating innovations and there is a need for them in their lives. Leisure time is being invaded by the escapist virtual worlds of the computer. They ought also to develop their imagination and this requires free time and space. Many of our children are geared young towards lucrative careers which require high grades at public examinations. Pushy Parents in their enthusiasm arrange private tuition taking away large chunks of their free time. They make their childhood full of stress, competing. Their young lives are crammed full of activities and homework. As a result they miss out on their childhood. It is merely a reflection of the tremendous competition to enter the course and university of ones choice. This luxury comes at a tremendous price. The suicide rates amongst children have increased just like the incidence of mental illness. I am not suggesting children should not work hard to achieve their goal and full potential. Common sense must prevail and a crucial balance has to be reached. We must allow time for them to develop their own privacy and depth. This would be their shelter from the inevitable storms of life in the years to come.

No one wants to be poor. As a child I remember being driven through the rough, impoverished suburbs of Colombo which had a lasting impression on my young mind. I was struck by the poverty and inequality. My parents made me understand I had to make my own way in life which gave me the incentive to work hard. The crucial period for hard work is the 3 years between GCE O’levels and University Entrance. The endless tuition before this period takes away their free time for little gain. Coming top in the class is good for one’s ego. If it is the result of endless tuition you have paid too high a price. Money and wealth are no guarantee of happiness and is something that has to be drummed into our youth along with the encouragement to hard work. Does the child have free time for the imagination to blossom and appreciate nature, art and poetry. They must learn social skills to play with the kids down the road. Are they streetwise? A childhood missed is lost forever.

Policies on education by the government is part of the problem. They have introduced a series of examinations from a young age adding pressure introducing a climate of competition from the very beginning. All parents give of their best to the kids. They spend their waking hours ferrying children from one tuition to another and then to other extra curricular activities sacrificing their own leisure. Parents want nothing but the best for them. They must also consider giving the children a happy well balanced childhood. The alternative is a high achieving child with psychiatric problems as an adult.

John Stuart Mill, philosopher and economist was born in 1806. He was educated by his father. He learnt Greek at 3 and Latin by the age of 12. The paternal pressure made him complete his education by the tender age of 14. By 16 John Mills was a well trained economist. At 20 he suffered a nervous breakdown that persuaded him that more was needed in life than devotion to the development of an analytically sharp intellect. It was the imaginative poetry of Geothe and Wordsworth that helped him recover from depression.

Streaming of students according to ability and small class sizes (30) will help to avoid extra lessons after school hours. The teachers should not move on to a new lesson until all the students have understood what has been taught. This is perhaps an over-simplification of a complex problem but indeed is a good starting point. Surely, if the majority in the class needs tuition it reflects poorly on the teacher. Is the width of the syllabus reasonable?

The best teachers should be rewarded - the most competent, must be adequately remunerated to remain in a profession known for low pay, low status and soul-destroying bureaucracy. The teachers’ pay should be performance related. There has to be a genuine attempt to apportion credit and blame and, in some cases, target help to teachers who need to improve. There is a dearth of dedicated teachers of the kind we experienced in Ceylon in the early to mid 20th century. The teaching profession is packed with people with low morale. They in turn have no loyalty to the profession, students or to their institution. The students suffer as a result. Better pay for teachers will re-invigorate this noble profession. Do the white collar bureaucrats of the Department of Education show any concern for the problem? One has to care to be concerned!! It is never my intention to discourage tuition for those who have a dire need. It is now generally assumed that everyone needs tuition and that also from the very beginning of their school careers. This would be hard to justify and most certainly have a detrimental effect on their development.

 


 

23/7/09

Lab Rodrigo and other Support Staff at Wesley in the Mid 20th Century by Keith de Kretser -

I met Rodrigo for the last time in 1999 when I went back for the 125th Jubilee celebrations. He wore baggy tussore shorts and a singlet(banian) and his room was under the stairwell at the laboratory end(physics lab). He even slept there.

Rodrigo, Marshall and Ranis were legends in their own right. Loyal dedicated servants of Wesley. They like the ground staff Wilson, Charlie and others were so much a part of the fabric of Wesley. Even the coolie Perumal who we used to annoy by calling him “Kossa”. He would abuse us in the choicest filth. If he was passing the Highfield block between the VP’s bungalow and the classrooms on his way to the flats to clean up Wilfred’s, Prema’s and Edmund’s toilets we would call out Kossa. In his anger not only did he abuse us but he would grab handfuls of scoria from the footpath and throw it at us. But we had our day at the College Sports Meet at Campbell Park when he took part in the servants race. As he ran past the houses (Senior and Junior school) after a few Kassippus, we would call out Kossa and hoot. He never stopped and kept running with his blood boiling and in a rage but as the Principal and dignitaries were present he behaved himself.

Those were the days!

Addendum by Nihal D Ameresekera

Rodrigo

Lab Rodrigo was part of the chemistry scene since I started at Wesley in January 1950. He appearance and mannerisms never changed in the 12 years I was at school. He had some knowledge of the elegant and fanciful experiments in Chemistry and when we were little kids in the hostel he showed off his prowess by doing the colourful and noisy experiments at weekends. We were mesmerised by pungent fumes of hydrogen sulphide and the mini fireworks in a test tube. He turned a copper coin into shiny silver like magic with silver sulphate. Rodrigo was a kind man and the school was his life. He lived on the premises and cleaned the laboratory after the days mess of spills and explosions. During school examinations he quietly helped us when he saw us doing the wrong things. He was always seen in a banian and a pair of khaki shorts. I last saw him when I said my goodbye to the rest of the staff in April 1962. I can still recall his toothless grin as he said goodbye and good luck. I hope he had a good life and the school supported him until the very end.

Bio Harris was the attendant in charge of the Bio lab. He was a decent chap always most helpful. He brought us the rats and toads for dissection. Harris laughed a lot at our antics in class.

Ranis was a quiet dignified man of few words. No one messed with him as he was tall with a fierce moutache. He had 2 sons at school. Ranis rang the bell with precision and excellent timing. There is a fine account of him written by Gordon Tytler.

K. P. Ranis Appuhamy By Gordon Tytler (from the 125th Anniversary souvenir) -Double Click

Marshall Perera remembered by ND Amerasekera -Double Click

In Memoriam - Mr. S. S. SILVA (The Lab Boy) --Double Click

This caricature of Silva was drawn by MB Wickramasinghe for the 1958 School magazine. The caption read as follows: "The back of the head is sometimes used as a reflecting surface". MBW went on to complete an honours degree in Zoology at the University of Ceylon.

Physics Silva alias Garandiya was part of the physics scene since I joined. He wore thick-rimmed small circular spectacles and walked as if he had a football between his legs. He brought his ancient bicycle to work every morning and looked after it like a Rolls Royce. He rode it like a circus clown - pretty upright and in straight lines. Silva parked his bicycle just outside the lab and sometimes inside. He had a foul temper and would have frightened even the boldest. By the time I used the labs in the 6th form he was ancient like the equipment but he took great care of the stuff in the lab which was fit only for the scrap heap.

I have the greatest respect for the support staff at Wesley during my years at school. It is unlikely any of them are alive today. I wish each and every one of them the ultimate Bliss of Nirvana. Rodrigo was a Roman Catholic. May His Soul Rest in Peace.

 


 

24/7/09

“Proud to Be a Wesleyite”-

Remembering the Legends of a proud history with gratitude by Teran Careem-

On the 18th of July 2009 an event was organized by the theme “Proud to Be a Wesleyite” to reminiscence this proud history and to pay tribute to the most respected living legends of Wesley. The objective was to bring all Wesleyites together at the college campus for an event which was dedicated to the Past teachers and senior Old Wesleyites with gratitude. It was an experience that was unique to all who was present. A feeling of warmth filled with heartfelt gratitude and pride was experienced by all Wesleyites , parents and teachers alike.

Many Old Wesleyites and teachers were seen present, and it was evident that they enjoyed themselves with a great sense of belonging and happiness for what Wesley has achieved thus far and plan to achieve in the future. Many past students were seen talking to the teachers who gave so much to make them into who they are today and the teachers were seen beaming with happiness realizing what their students have achieved through their guidance. An electrifying display of talent from Wesley’s present boys from grade 01 to 13 was witnessed, where the present faculty staff had done a wonderful job in preparing the kids within a short period of time for the event. This goes to prove the Wesley produces multi faceted talent which goes beyond academics and sports. Teachers and Wesleyites of yesteryear , Mr. E.L Rodrigo, Ms. Isla Perera, Mr. Nimal de Silva, Mr. Shelton Peiris, Mr. Edmund Dissanaike, Mr. M.A.P Fernando, Mr. A.K.Suppaiah, Mr.Dunstan Ferando, Mrs.Lakshmi Amaratnunge, Mrs. V.S.Fernando, Mr.Haig Karunaratne, Prof. Maharoof Ismail, Mr. D.A.Pakyanadan, Mrs.Kumamaradasan, Mrs.Lovell, Mr.Nagahawatte was present among many more who was present on this day.

All Wesleyites and teachers who were present were awarded a Certificate with their portrait with the title “Proud to Be a Wesleyite” signed by the principal Dr. Shanthi McLelland. All those who were present was hosted to a scrumptious brunch at the Principal’s Bungalow afterwards. There was one common request made by all those who were present. That is to assist the new Principal Dr. Shanthi McLelland to take Wesley college to greater heights. And to rally around ‘neath the double blue, bound by one fraternal band” for Wesley’s cause.

 


 

Wesley College Boy Scouts First Anniversary Celebrations (25th July 1918)

The first anniversary celebrations of the Wesley College Baden-Powell Boy Scouts of the 14th Colombo Troop took place in the College Hall,. July 25, 1918. A fairly large gathering watched the proceedings, and at 4-45 p.m. Mr. E. B. Denham, Director of Education, who was to distribute the badges of the Scouts and later open the Club Room arrived attired in his military uniform of a C. T. G. Officer and was received by Mr. Vernon Grenier, Deputy Colonial Commissioner, and the R8v. P. T. Cash, Scout Master of Wesley College. The Scouts numbering 64 in all lined up on either side of the pathway leading to the College Hall and saluted Mr. Denham on his arrival. All those present then adjourned to the Hall, where a short meeting was held.

The Rev. Mr. Highfield presided and the others accommodated with” him on the platform were Messrs. E. B. Denham, Vernon Grenier, J. H. de Saram, and the Rev. P. T. Cash. Mr. Cash then read the annual report of the Wesley College Boy Scouts after which Mr. Highfield offered a few words of welcome to Mr. Denham and Mr. Grenier, and called upon the former to distribute the badges won by the Scouts. After the distribution, Mr. Denham said that he congratulated them very heartily on the number of badges they had won and he hoped that that number would exceed the number of Scouts of Dharmarajah College which was known all over the world, because it had for the second time won the King's flag, which was a very great honor. The meeting then terminated, and the next item was the opening of the Club Room of the Boy Scouts by Mr, Denham. This was followed by a, rally of the Boy Scouts in the Boarders' Park and several new scouts were enrolled into the troop, The Scouts then gave a fine display of numerous. exercises, such as signaling, first aid, cooking, tracking, fire lighting, etc Mr. Denham then addressed the Scouts, and said he hoped that they would be well represented at the Boy Scout Camp to be held in Kandy shortly.

Government had taken a Very great interest in the movement and had helped by a very liberal donation. The General Officer Command¬ing the Troops had also taken a keen interest in the Boy Scout Camp. Mr. Vernon Grenier also addressed the Scouts, and in conclusion called for three cheers to Mr. Denham, which were lustily given. Three cheers were then called for Mr. Vernon Grenier by the Rev. P. T. Cash, and the proceedings thereupon terminated,-Daily News, THE REPORT Before giving any account of the 1st year's activities of the Wesley G allege Scout Troop I should like to express our deep sense of gratitude to Mr. Denham for his presence here to-day. It augurs well for the future of scouting in Ceylon that-in these, early days-we have the real Sympathy and influential support. of the Director of Education. We also extend a most cordial welcome to the Deputy Colonial commissioner and take this opportunity of offering him our hearty congratulations ?n his recent appointment as Head of the Scout Movement for the Colony. With reference to the 14th Colombo Troop-we are just over one year old. In July, 1917, 16 recruits commenced their training. They were formed into 2 patrols. In November 3 more patrols were organised. By the beginning of this year the troop had settled down to regulars scouting activities.

In March on the occasion of the College Prize-giving-.\ display was held. His Excellency the Acting Governor, then Colonial Secretary, honoured us with his presence, and gave a short address of encouragement to the Scouts. In March, Mr. S. V. O. Somanader who had rendered good service as Assistant Scoutmaster resigned his connection with the troop and was succeeded by Mr. U.Gnanapragasam, formerly Scoutmaster of the 6th Colombo. The troop has already benefited "Considerably by reason of his wisdom and experience. At the very commencement of our Scouting activities we were fortu¬nate in securing the able services of Mr. S. Wijesuriya as our Instructor. Mr. Wijesuriya is an old King's Scout from the 2nd Galle. The present term has, up to date, been marked by considerable development. For the purpose of oversight and correlation of troop activities with other College agencies, a Scout Council has been formed with the Principal as Chairman.

The Scout Movement has also been extended to the day school, and 3 new patrols-very recently formed-contain a good proportion of day scholars. The troop now numbers 64, of whom about 20 are recently enrolled recruits, over 25 efficient 2nd class Scouts, who have passed the necessary tests in First Aid, Semaphore, Signaling, Cooking, Tracking, Fire Lighting. Compass Directions, Scout Pace and Length of Service. We have a few 1st class Scouts, and these have passed more advanced tests, whilst last but not least we possess 2 King's Scouts: one of whom has obtained the All· Round Cord. We are only beginners at present, but I think that Scouting is likely to take a firm hold in Wesley.

The training which it affords in usefuiness, honour, self-discipline and good citizenship is of much value. Our endeavour as II troop is to co-usefulness all other useful College activities, and it is interesting to note that tire Senior Patrol Leader is a Sergeant in the· Cadet Battalion, whilst another patrol leader is Lance-CorporaL There seems to be no reason why a school should not possess a Cadet Corps and a Scout Troop whioh render each other mutual assistanco. The smart cadet is sure to make a better Scout and a trained Scout is likely to be more conscientious and resourceful as a Cadet. Amongst our, patrols, furthermore, some of the keenest cricketers and footballers are to be found. With reference to outside examinations two of our members are at present waiting for the' arrival of belated Inter Arts and Inter Science papers before completing their respective examinations. 1 need not refer to the badges which have been won as the list shortly to be read out will sufficiently show that we are turning our attention to . efficiency in this respect also A class for training in the case of the sick has recently been started by Mrs. Cash.

Our thanks are due to all those who have assisted the Troop in its development : to the Principal who is Chairman of our Scout council, to all cur examiners. Mr. J. E. Evans, Superintendent of the Observatory, Dr. Frank Gunasekere, Lieut. Ferdinand’s, C.B. O.L.I., Sergeant Rix:, Messrs, A. P. de Zoysa, E. W. Gunasekere, G. Nugara, Y. Hassan, S., Pulle, A. P. Jayawardene, V. G. Gunetileke and D. M. de Silva also to Mr. J. S. Ratnayeke who has rendered us much assistance. I should like to express my gratitude also to my colleagues, Messrs. C. Gnanapragasam and C. M. Fonseka, 'for their loyal co-operation, and to the instructor for his invaluable assistance upon all scouting occasions.

PERCY T. CASH and C. GNANAPRAGASAM, Scout Masters.

 


 

Looking through the mist of fifty years By Dr. Nihal D Amerasekera -03/09/09

Melbourne 19th March 2009- An Invitation for Dinner

 

 
   

L to R: Trevor Collette, Nihal Amerasekera, Upali Perera, Reg Bartholomeusz, Bill Deutrom

Left L to R: Bryan Wijeyekoon, NDA, Darryl Koch, Markalanda

From L to R: Arthu d'with Barbut, John Carnie, Erroll Smith, Bill Deutrom

L to R: Reg, NDA, Hamilton Amerasingha, Upali Perera

As I look through the mist of time  I see my schooldays as perfect but in reality it was never a bed of roses. Now, all that remains are images of happy times. Above all what comes to mind is the kindness and camaraderie of my mates. The 1200 students knew and cared for each other. The teachers had a genuine concern for our welfare. It was a unique relationship. They inspired and also demanded respect and received it. Our parents believed the school can do no wrong, and they were right. The reality is that the road to success is rarely a straight one. Aiming for excellence is not so much about gratifying the ego as the desire to move away from the poverty we saw around us. Nothing of significance or lasting merit comes without some kind of investment: be it time, energy, belief or enthusiasm.  Many did this after leaving school. You certainly don't get success on the cheap. The school community made me what I am today and I owe them so much.
I left the shores of the United Kingdom on a bleak winters day to arrive in Perth Western Australia bathed in warm sunshine. I was on a 30 day “Grand” tour of Australia. This has been a life long dream.  Many of my school friends left Wesley in the late fifties and early sixties to make their home Down Under. At school in our formative years we made lasting friendships.  To see them perhaps for the last and final time has been my ambition all my working life.

Yogan and Vino Sathianathan



I came to know Yogan Sathianathan in Form IV. Being a mathematics whizz kid he was in great demand and he gave his expertise most generously. Yogan was a quiet lad from Wellawatte, a stalwart of the SCM and the Methodist Church. We proceeded together into the 6th Form and remained close friends before parting company in 1962. Yogan entered the Faculty of Engineering at Peradeniya as I went into Medical College Colombo. For many years I have asked numerous old boys about Yogan. The last they heard of him was when he was an engineer at the Uda Walawe Scheme in Sri Lanka. Paul David gave me a clue that he was in Darwin, Northern Territory Australia which helped me enormously. The internet did the rest. I phoned Yogan a few weeks before my travel to Australia. He insisted we meet at dinner. Yogan and his wife Vino gave us a fine dinner in a plush restaurant in Darwin. We reminisced and recalled those happy but uncertain times in the 6th form and before. He is now a Tax Consultant and a JP. He has immersed himself fully in providing a service to his local community. Yogan has retained his youthful slim figure. Time passed quickly and we hugged and said goodbye at the hotel car park. As I watched them disappear into the night, and wondered if we’d ever meet again.

 

 

 

Mike Christoffelsz and Harris Anthonisz

We spent four happy days and nights in the beautiful city of Sydney. The highlight was my meeting with 2 stalwarts from the hostel years. When a silver Holden appeared in front of our hotel I ignored it as its occupants didn’t look familiar. The guy who stepped out of the car had a beaming smile and an outstretched hand and it was Michael Christoffelsz. We hugged each other until we got our breath back. Mike and I spent our formative years together in the hostel.  The trials and tribulations of our teenage years we bore together with our fellow hostellers. Harris Anthonisz was a few years senior but a dear friend to us all. He was a rebel who instigated a hunger strike to improve the quality of food in the boarding. He paid for it dearly but it worked !! Harris is a fine raconteur, a great historian and a wonderful friend. Mike and Harris kept us going for the rest of the day. We reminisced probing deep into the archives of our memory. Mike is an expert in the booming  Australian mining industry and Harris retired some years ago.  What I remember most of all about Mike are the intense soccer matches on the gravel surface of small park. Tackles came thick and fast. Falls  were costly in terms of cuts and bruises. Despite this we were there to play day after day.  What masochistic desire drove us to do this I do not know.  We loved sports and still cherish those memories. After a long, sumptuous lunch by the river we said our goodbyes, most reluctantly, vowing to meet again someday soon.

The Band of Double Blue in Melbourne

Our next stop was Melbourne. We were warned of its unpredictable “British weather”. Despite this we had wall to wall sunshine during our 4 days stay. Melbourne must have the highest concentration of old Wesleyites  in the world. It is not the numbers that matter. They have the passion for our alma mater more than most. Reggie Bartholomeusz, the President, of the OBUA and the committee decided to host a dinner for me and my wife. We were greatly honoured by this kind gesture. Keith De Kretser  sent a flyer and gathered the troops.  The dinner was held at the Burgher Association House 358 Haughton Road, Clayton. Seeing my friends again I felt I stepped into an unexpected and surreal dream .  My heart raced with excitement, not wanting the evening to end.  I wasn’t quite sure what the night had in store for us. Words cannot express how I felt.  A good meal was accompanied by plenty of discussion about school and the days gone. After the speeches I was presented a gift for my contribution to the Double Blue International website. This will take pride of place on my mantelpiece. What a fantastic night it was.

Seated L to R: Lucien Fernando, Hamilton Amerasinghe, NDA, Upali Perera, Lorenz Stork

Standing L to R: Errol Smith, Bill Deutrom,Glen Reimers,Mahen Menon,Rodney De Kretser, Arthur D'With Barbut, Beverley De Niese, Dr.John Carnie, Trevor Collette

 

Arthur D’With-Barbut


Arthur D’With-Barbut and his wife Glenys were most kind to take us from our hotel to the venue. Old Wesleyites in attendance were Hamilton Amerasinghe, Tissa Abeydeera, Brian Azoor, Alistair Bartholomeusz, Reg Bartholomeusz, Felix Berman, Dr Jackie Carnie, Trevor Collette, Keith de Kretser, Rodney de Kretser, Beverly de Niese, Nelson de Silva, Bill Deutrom, Gerald de Zilwa, Arthur D’With-Barbut, Lucien Fernando, Harold Juriansz, Darryl Koch, Dayantha “Marky” Makalande, Dr Mahen Menon, Upali Perera, Glen Reimers, Robin Reimers, George Robertson, Errol Smith, Lorensz Stork, Bryan Wijeyekoon.
It is more than 50 years since I saw many of them. From the time we arrived at the venue handshakes and warm hugs sparked off stories of those lost years. As the digital cameras flashed anecdotes of our mischievous years at school resurfaced. Arthur and I were buddies from the hostel. We had much in common, sang in the choir and played cricket in the small park. He was a good student winning coveted prizes and awards. He was a fine table tennis player. Arthur hasn’t lost any of his sincerity and warmth which was a feature of the Barbut family. They showed their kindness and hospitality to the hostellers during our annual trips. We never failed to make a stop at the Survey Camp in Diyatalawa to enjoy their lavish hospitality. It was great to meet Glenys and Arthur’s sister and brother in law Gerald de Zilwa. Oh! how much I wish we could have spent more time together. I was on a conducted tour and time indeed was too short.
Upali and Charmaine helped to organize the event. We have been friends since my early days in the boarding and also later.  Despite our motto Ora et labora,  Upali never prayed neither did he labour at school. He still wears his wicked grin at times before his mischievous antics.  Upali worked as a Technical Assistant at the irrigation department and I believe he looked after our ancient irrigation tanks to be free of leaks . They have survived a thousand years without his help!!  If he continued in the army the war wouldn’t have lasted 30 years. I last saw him in 1973 at a bus stand in Nawala when he said with a murky smile he was off to Melbourne soon. I wasn’t sure whether to believe him !! Upali was a late developer and has achieved much since leaving school. Despite his mischief Upali is a genuine and dependable friend as we have all found out with the passage of time. His generosity to the Wesleyites in trouble in Sri Lanka speaks volumes. I must thank Charmaine for keeping Chiu entertained and involved while I strolled down memory lane.

Below L to R: Hamilton Amerasinghe, Reggie Bartholomeusz, NDA, Upali Perera, Keith De Kretser, George Robertson

                                                           
Hamilton Amarasinghe and I have been together since 1950 right upto the top of the school. He oozed common sense from every pore!!  Hamilton was always energetic and hardworking. I know he held high office at the Katunayake airport and kept the place safe. Well most of the time!! He reminded me that we were the only 2 boys who had to take our University entrance examination at Visakha Vidyalaya. He dressed like a Prince on those 3 days and in the noon heat Brylcream poured down his powdered face. We were from an all boys school and to be that close to girls gave us palpitations , ejaculations and nightmares.  But we survived the psychological and sexual trauma!!

John Carnie

John Carnie with his brothers Hilary and Robin were hostellers in the fifties. Hilary and Robin were fine cricketers and the authors of much mischief in the boarding. John was sensible, studious and had a good singing voice. The Carnie boys left the boarding when the parents moved to the Railway Housing Estate in Dematagoda. My cousins were in the estate too and I continued to keep in touch with them. I later met John in the Medical College Colombo. It was wonderful to meet up with John after a lapse of nearly 45 years.  I recall at school he had a fine academic career. Whatever job he was given he did it well. He was totally trustworthy and always reliable. John has risen to the prestigious position of Chief Health Officer Department of Human Services in Melbourne. He has brought honour and prestige to his family and to our school by his achievements. Despite this he remains modest.  Your health is in his safe hands.
Mahendra Menon was a year junior to me at school. His dad owned a Pharmacy in Dematagoda and lived in the premises.  Often we have walked back to Dematagoda, together after school. He has always been a good student and we met up again at Medical College. It was wonderful to meet Mahen and I thank him for his invitation to dine with his family, an appointment we could not keep, due to our tight schedule. He is in General Practice in Melbourne after qualifying as a surgeon.

Robin Reimers

Glen and Robin Reimers were popular boys at Wesley being good sportsmen and also interestingly mischievous.  They had a deep influence on many of those who were their contemporaries.  They had great wit and exuberance of spirit.  Meeting them in the school corridor was indeed a hazard  as we never knew what to expect – a push or a shove or a clip round the ear.  They were both blessed with a unique sense of humour.  They had the gift to entertain amuse and charm. It was lovely to meet them after 50 years. They both have mellowed so much. I thank them for taking the time to attend the function. I say a special thank you to Robin for making the effort despite his illness. It broke my heart to say goodbye to them not knowing if we will ever meet again.

Keith De Kretser
                       

Although I do not remember Keith De Kretser at school. We have been in contact through emails over many years. His passion and love for Wesley is never in doubt. He is  a prolific writer for the school websites. Keith has made use of his excellent command of the English language to drum up support for Wesley on its many fund raising projects.  His support for school rugby has been inspirational. Every school needs a Keith De Kretser to carry its banners when everyone else has forgotten. It was great to meet Keith and we hope to stay in touch.
Recognising my friends after 50 years was hard. No one has changed more than Trevor Collette. He was a slim athletic lad at Wesley. Now he blots out the sunlight !! I was so happy to make contact with him again. When he was the President of the OBUA he always sent me information about its members and events . At school Trevor loved all sports and played Rugby.  He as always is a true blue Wesleyite. What he hasn’t lost is his sincerity.

Erroll Smith

Errol Smith still wears that pleasant smile. We were hostellers together for so many years. He was an immensely talented sportsman. His hand eye coordination was too good for the rest of us. I recall the numerous cricket and football matches in the small park when he outshone everyone else. Errol is a modest man loved by all.  Academic pursuits never appealed to him. Smithy is one of life’s even tempered gentle people.  He still maintains his youthful good looks. It was great to see him upbeat and in fine spirits. I hope we will meet again.

 
Harold Juriansz           


When everyone else had changed beyond recognition Harold Juriansz remains unchanged in over 50 years. His unmistakable “galthoppi” and the broad smile is a photocopy from the late 1950’s.  Harold has maintained his athletic figure, a result of his clean living. . He remains soft spoken and gentle as he has always been. It was lovely to speak with a former Wesley College hero and cricket captain. I wish Harold many more years of the same.
I must mention Bill Deutrom and thank him for making the trip from Brisbane to be with us. His loyalty to Wesley and Wesleyites is a lesson for us all.  The school has benefitted enormously from his commonsense approach to the day to day problems.  He is an able negotiator, shrewd and hardworking. Bill is greatly admired and deeply respected. He is an inspiration to those around him. It was great to see Bill after 50 years and no doubt we will keep in touch. His mother who was our revered teacher will be proud of Bill’s personal achievements and his work for his school.

Bryan Wijeyekoon

It was great to see the very senior old boys like Gerald de Zilwa, George Robertson and Alistair Bartholomeusz to attend this function of an insignificant old boy. I am certain they did so to meet a fellow old boy of the Oorloff era. I have communicated with George through email as he has done a marvelous job as the editor of the OBUA. It was lovely indeed to speak with Alistair and Gerald whom I have known only by name. It was good of Dayantha, Lorensz, Beverly, Lucien and Daryl to come upto me to say hello. It was great to see Brian, Felix and  Rodney at the function. I know Beverly is a busy man working off-shore and it was good of him to come for the dinner. I have been in touch with Bryan appealing to him to produce an article about his mum who was a fine and respected teacher at Wesley for several decades. Mrs Wijeyekoon has helped many generations of Wesleyites to stick to the straight and narrow.
I thank all the old boys and their wives who attended our dinner on the 19th of March. Reggie was most kind to organize the event through the great Australian OBU. You couldn’t have chosen a better venue.  As I write these notes in my study vivid images come rushing in. I will always remember and cherish the kindness and the hospitality shown to us. These memories will remain with me forever. I hope and pray we could all meet again one sunny day.

On with the party

Randolph Ranjit Alwis



We ended are long journey in Adelaide. As I entered our hotel room there was a message from Ranjit Alwis to phone him. He was with us in a flash and then on until we left Adelaide we remained their guests. Ranjit and Lucky were generous hosts and took time to show us the beautiful city and its surrounds.  Ranjit and I were hostellers together since 1954 and parted company in the sixth form in 1962. He is now a chartered accountant in Adelaide and a Managing Director of his own company. He has received an award from the Australian government for his services to the ethnic communities. Deep into the night we recalled events of our lives at Wesley and thereafter. He has a fine memory for his schooldays and speaks warmly of his association with Wesley College. We were both sad to say goodbye to Ranjit and Lucky and vowed to meet up again when they visit their daughter in London sometime soon.
I must mention those who couldn’t make it for the dinner in Melbourne. Neville Ludowyke has been my good friend since the hostel days. He is a founder member of the Australian OBU and has been fiercely loyal to the Old School. He has always asked me to stay with him when I visited Melbourne and I thank him for that. Our mums were students together at the Girls High School in Kandy. I spoke with him a few days ago and was good form. Due to illness he was unable to attend but we will keep in touch. Bryan Claessen was unwell too. He was my schoolboy hero and I would have loved to see him. Radley Claessen spoke to me on his behalf while I was in Adelaide. I wish them both a speedy recovery. May God Bless them.
Thank you once again for your generosity and wonderful company.  I never imagined I would see so many of my schoolmates in a single evening in Melbourne. That was a dream come true. There were times I was overwhelmed with emotion.  The distance and the passage of years makes such meetings difficult  but I will certainly try my best.
Goodbye and God Bless – Till we meet again.

 


 

The Private Tuition Story, or Mr. Canagaratne vs. my Dad by Mervyn Wijesooriya

(Transcribed from the OBUA Newsletter- 2009)

My Dad, Don David Wijesooriya decided that his precious eldest son – the future so and so of Sri Lanka or Ceylon – must receive private tuition to achieve those lofty goals! In that era, in Ceylon, it was to a certain extent not “what you know but who you know” and a few other similar beliefs. In that era the art of bribing was honed or sharpened to a fine art. Like when the cop (Kossa) stops you, you give him some money and the cop will take it, crack his knuckles and you are off. Perhaps my Dad thought that if this tuition money was given to a teacher from the same College where I was being educated, it would work better!
Sorry Dad, I really did not think that you had such intentions, but those were the days. I was in grade six and Mr. Tom Canagaratne was my class teacher. My Dad arranged for us to visit him at his bungalow in Campbell Park on a Saturday. We were dressed in our Sunday best on this visit. I was uncomfortable when Mr. Canagaratne served us tea in a very formal manner. Mr. Canagaratne broke the ice. No! No! That’s not to cool the tea, but you know what I mean.
Mr. Canagaratne informed my Dad that at Wesley “We do not encourage private tuition” and that he did not think that I required any private tutoring. Mr. Canagaratne promised to consult with my other subject teachers as to whether I required any additional help. He asked my Dad a question:” How much do you want to spend on Mervyn’s tuition?” And he answered the question himself with: “Rs.25 to 30?” My Dad acknowledged and Mr. Canagaratne continued “Give him that money every month and let him go and buy books and read. And don’t try to control what he reads!

This was the tail end of an era, where unsupervised reading was questionable. I am sure Mr. Canagaratna's comment was based on that thought. In that era we did not have access to Hustler or even Playboy. The only erotica printed or otherwise was to use your own imagination!In Mr. L.A.Fernando's class, Patrick Schokman and I used to sit side by side. Patrick being a cricketer is attracted by the opposite sex and would bring to class the occasional note, and used to pass it on to me on a "read and return" basis. Perhaps it was more bragging rights than anything else. Mr. Fernando, of course would notice this and say aloud, "Patrick we used to read those in the bathroom during our day!

My Dad, I know was beaming with pride at my progress. Parents sometimes have a strange way of expressing this pride. Especially when they want to brag to their friends; in this vein, my father speaking him to read any dirty book he wants. Dad's colleague - a grown up man - inquired - "Is it Sinhala or English?" and continued to answer his own question. "If you read Sinhala novels, you will end up in Angoda and if you read English novels, I don't know where you will end!"
When adults express such thoughts, in the presence of impressionable young kids... well I do not know what to say.
Of course, from Biblical days - or from when Christ was a Cowboy - we were told elders know best!
“An educational system isn’t worth a great deal if it
teaches young people how to make a living but doesn’t teach them how to make a life.” Mark Twain

 


 

From the pen of George Robertson - Melbourne

Transcribed from the OBUA Newsletter l Dec.2005

“10% Inspiration, 90% Perspiration”

My Dad, who was a wise and very kind man, gave me a lot of good advice. He sometimes used unusual quotations to illustrate what he was trying to teach me. One day, he told me “Whenever you think of something important, something you feel you must do, this is called INSPIRATION’. But this is only 10% of the task. If you just stop and think about it all day long and do nothing, it will never get done. You must work to fulfil your aim, and work hard. This is the other 90%, the hard work; this is what PERSPIRATION means”. I have forgotten much that I learned from my father, but this much I remember, and I see it happening around all around me as I journey through my days, admiring the men who never gave up just because the job became a little difficult, or they just couldn’t be bothered. My Dad’s words came back to me as I watched four past presidents of the Wesley College OBU stand shoulder to shoulder at the Annual Double Blue Ball last October to receive the adulation of all the members present. Between them, they represented twenty-five years of effort, from the germ of an idea which prompted one of them to mention it to his colleagues, and without any plan, with no idea how to go about it they set out to convert their idea into reality. Not one of them has settled for just 10%, they have gone all the way, until they accomplished what they set out to do. It must have been tough going, at times.

The Wesley College Old Boys’ Union will not change the history of the world, but it has made some worthwhile contribution to the operation of the school from whence it emerged. If there is one student, one life,that has been touched by the work the OBU has done these past twenty five years, then our time has been well spent. I am convinced there would be more than a few…. I have had the privilege of working with all the Presidents over the years and have seen how they cheered when their efforts succeeded, and have sensed the disappointment written across their faces when things did not go as planned. It is said that only we Old Wesleyites gather together at the front of the Hall when we sing the College Song. I was told that this is largely due to the sense of unity that our School and the sentiments of this particular anthem bring out in us. Whatever it is, it is a moment that defies description, it is a shout to the world to say who we all are, whom we are with, and the enjoyment in sharing the time together. We are glad to be there. I invite all past Boys of Wesley, if they have not yet become part of this great tradition, to join us. Do not wait another twenty-five years, join now, be part of the 90%. You will do yourself a great favour, help your old School and make us all very happy. ………including my Father.

 


 

Some familiar faces from the 1960's

Easter Sunday 15th April 2001 St Luke’s Church Borella

Mohan Abraham Easter Visit To Colombo

 

From Left to Right: Miles Brohier, Tyronne Maye, Eric Sinnathamby, Rohan Amerasinghe, Jeremy Brohier, Frank Jayasinghe, Milroy Muthuvaloe, Clifford Rodrigo, Roshan Cabraal, Ainsley Scharenguivel, Vivian Jayaweera, Mohan Abraham

 


 

Looking back at Wesley from where I am now ... by Raashid Riza


Raashid Riza was at Wesley from 1991-2004 and was the Deputy Head Prefect in the year Apart from being the President of the Islamic Society in the Year 2003', he also did Drama, D and Oratory at Wesley. He is currently in England doing his higher studies in Architecture.


"Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in, and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding­-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? I was like that ship before my education began, only I was without compass or sounding-line, and had no way of knowing how near the harbour was
The above quote by Helen Keller sums it all up. Helen Keller was a renowned writer and poet, and what places her above the rest is the fact that she was blind, and she showed such audacity and courage to not let her physical disability ramify her and moved forward to great heights.
Education, more often than not is perceived to be all about grades and exams. But the more holistic aspect of school is rather conveniently omitted. Wesley for me has given that holistic education which has given me the strength to stand on my own feet.
At the time I am writing this, I am in England studying Architecture a very intensive course with all its merits. The course is extremely intensive, but that level of intensity can be mitigated by hard work and strong conviction. But what of the whole experience of studying outside home, the different culture you have to blend with, the new found independence that can be contributing or detrimental to ones development, the relentless forces that keep pounding you into different forms and those strong urges to compromise on your values?? The acquired sense or wisdom required to deal with all these afore mentioned elements are not taught as part of the school curricula, but are things which students pick up in the very ambience of the environment they study in. But for students to pickup them these very imperative shields, the environment that harnesses them must be conducive to create this feeling of strength that can repel all forces that can have an adverse effect in one's life and growth.

My thirteen years at Wesley has indeed given me that platform which has made me see the wider world with a rather profound sense of confidence and optimism. From the principal to the teachers to the non academic staff, to the very buildings that I left home for every morning, for almost every day for more than thirteen years.
The main college building and the elegance that oozes from it and the same functional aspects of the building itself is instrumental in molding the psyche and thought process of the student, and the growth of a child in such a building for thirteen or so consecutive years instills in him or her a sense of security and strength that he takes on for long years to come.
All of us Wesleyites have memories of our school days and reminisce them with a sense of extremist nostalgia, the mischievous pranks pulled on the teachers, the many practical jokes played in the class, the class who does nothing but stays in the lab, to the sportsmen who religiously attended sports practices in the college grounds. Apart from other obvious factors, what binds all these in a memory and visually places individuals/friends in our mind which we remember for so long is the very ambience and locality within the school campus in which whatever incident took place. If not for that ink which acts as the matrix to hold all these data together, the incidents remembered would only ilclude a few names.
At the time I am writing this, I am in England studying Architecture a very intensive course with all its merits. The course is extremely intensive, but that level of intensity can be mitigated by hard work and strong conviction. But what of the whole experience of studying outside home, the different culture you have to blend with, the new found independence that can be contributing or detrimental to ones development, the relentless forces that keep pounding you into different forms and those strong urges to compromise on your values?? The acquired sense or wisdom required to deal with all these afore mentioned elements are not taught as part of the school curricula, but are things which students pick up in the very ambience of the environment they study in. But for students to pickup them these very imperative shields, the environment that harnesses them must be conducive to create this feeling of strength that can repel all forces that can have an adverse effect in one's life and growth.

And when Wesley's call shall sound
Ready aye shall all be found
in duty and in honour bound
Wesley to the fore

Many of us have had our own cozy and comfortable place in 1he school campus; every student who was in Wesley over the past decades would feel such a sense of calm and serenity to be seated in the college hall discussing the events passed or analyzing a diIIicuIt math problem. Apart from the hall where I spent many a moment reflecting on things in life and how things could have been different, another place in the school campus that I was most comfortable was at the last row of benches in the College Chapel, where the chirping of the birds from the principals lawn, the cooling greenery that blankets the atmosphere and the view of the primary playground all amalgamate to create a kaleidoscope of thoughts that many a poet would yearn to have.

And it is they very same element in the atmosphere and aura of Wesley that creates an umbilical cord that connects the past, present and future generations of our great alma mater.

I for one was so busy learning different things at Wesley that I forgot to realize how it would be when I leave College. And when I did leave College, despite the fact that I felt a sense of incompleteness I felt always in touch with Wesley since Iwas still involved in many a college activity, and one moment I will forever cherish as an old boy is when I got an opportunity to act in a theatrical production that I did with a few fellow old boys. But. .. The reason I am most grateful to Wesley is for the challenging environment it created and for the many opportunities it gave me to stretch my limits and succeed, and to boost my morale.
The accommodativeness of Wesley to children of all backgrounds is truly marvelous. There may perhaps be other schools that allow Muslim students to go for their Friday noon prayers, but to the extremities of my knowledge, Wesley is the only school where, when the Muslim boys go to the mosque the students of other religions attend their respective religious meetings, thus saving the Muslim boys from missing important lessons. This very same facet of accommodativeness of Wesley with regards to Muslim boys being allowed to go to the mosque was mentioned in a College magazine I proudly own, which was published more than fifty years ago! And it gives me a sense of pride, to mention this very same thing in another college magazine fifty years on.

It is this confidence that I acquired at Wesley, (with due thanks to all those who helped me in the process) that helps me transcend many a challenge that I may overcome in a totally different academic setting here in England.

This last sentiment which I expressed above was made in the hope that my younger brothers who are still at Wesley would exploit what I have said and would make the most of their time at our great educational institution.

Amidst all these god given experiences and opportunities that I am receiving here in England, days at Wesley remain the most cherished period of my life and will definitely be the phase of my I which I will value and reminisce the most with immense nostalgia. My college days, amidst the tea and laughter, the fighting and shouting, getting scolded and punished, coupled with the values parents and siblings have instilled in me are what have moulded me to being the person that I today.



 

23rd February 2010

Christmas in the good old days by Ranjit Aaron – New Zealand.


For those born in the Thirties, forties, fifties and sixties

The house was painted, the walls white-washed with low black tar edgings all round the rooms and the chairs were re-cushioned. The traveling tailor came home, measured the rooms, and made the curtains on our old Singer sewing machine. Red Mansion polish was applied on the cement floor, which got a shine from a heavy handled brush. Cake making was a ritual, where my mother laid the rules when I offered to help. I ate a good many cadjunuts and raisins when no one was looking.

Two weeks before Christmas my father & mother accompanied me in a hired car to Pettah's Main Street . The well known shoe store was T.G.M. Perera's and I was fitted with the best shoes. Even Jamaliya's Shoe Store in Wellawatta took in orders for boots, the teenage fashion of the thirties. At times we visited and gave orders for shoes at Colombo Boot Manufacturers at Slave Island.
Most of our shopping was centered around Fort and Pettah. Main Street, Front Street, Khan Clock tower. Main Street had a plenty of shops. Some of the names that come to my memory are Hidramani, Favourite Stores, F.X.Pereira’s, Titus Stores,

The Main Street tailor measured us, as we provided China silk for our shirts. The silk of course was bought in early November from the Chinese peddlers who plied their trade on bicycles. Some of the Chinamen carried their bundles on their back, with a heavy stick for balance. Main Street in Pettah in the early thirties was very narrow. It had to cope with the tram lines and bullock carts. Our Christmas shopping included a visit to X.P. Paivas for lunch and ice cream. Round the corner was The Rupee Store, where for one rupee you could buy many things.

Millers, Cargill’s, was a delight to shop at. With father Santa distributing little gifts from the lucky dip. Simes and Whiteaways dominated the Fort shopping. We went to Hunters and Siedles and e Roche Brothers shops for many items. I cannot forget the shopping in the golden mile of Colpetty, Bambalapitiya and Wellawatta. The Wickremesinghe Brothers headed by George imported the famous Mende Radiograms from Germany. There was also Philips Radios imported by Maurice Roche & Company.

We cannot forget the well known shops in Wellawatta: M.P. Gomez, A.W. Jansz, J.B. De Pinto, Nooranis, Jamaliya's Boot Works and many famous boutiques. As a boy I went with my father to A.W. Jansz's store near High Street. We bought Dutch Edam Cheese, as an accompaniment for the Christmas breudher.  Jansz sold liquor and all types of hardware. We bought wire-netting to build chicken coops. My father frequented this outlet for his wines and sprits.

The shopping spree in Colombo included a visit to Pilawoos for a treat of buriyani. Elephant House played a significant part in booking Christmas cakes. Fountain Café was another favorite place for an Ice cream. Yet there was one last item that was in the shopping list: Fireworks. We gazed in wonder at the array of fireworks in the Fireworks Palace opposite the Fort Railway Station. Sparklers, Roman candles, sky rockets, Catherine wheels, squibs, crackers of every size were there in the showcase. Buhari Hotel was another stop for some Buriyani.
Unlike these days, the Christmas tree was made of freshly cut Cypress branches  brought to Colombo from the up country by the CGR.

Christmas was on. The cake was made and sent to the bakery. The Bakaraya would feed in the trays of cake at the end of baking bread. The cake was baked on low embers. We had a maid who pounded the rice and roasted the flour, making string hoppers and pittu, cutting up A.W. Jansz ham, with cutlets and seeni sambol. My father and mother never failed to take me for the Y.M.C.A open air Carols at Fort. Where many church choirs would render carols. Fr.Ignatius would conduct the choir more like doing the Baila. Then there was Lylie Godridge and his choir who enchanted the crowd to wonderful singing. Police Carols was never missed.

As midnight came, there were a never-ending sound of fireworks and sky rockets, the sirens from the ships sounded from Jetty. That would surely have awoken the Christ Child. Carol parties came to the doorstep at Kotahena after Midnight Service the famous Colombo Chetty Choir Conducted by Mr Joe Perumal. Of course the homes saw families sitting for a feast of string hoppers, ham, breudher, cheese, mulligatany and cake. There were presents near the family Christmas tree. The postman, the dhobi, the baker, the fishmonger were the regular Christmas early birds. They all got cash, plus a tot of arrack.

The children in the area eagerly waited for the Sakkili Band. These were the poor men and women who carried the night soil buckets, before the water closet and drainage era. Many householders were generous in the cash tips they gave them. An extra pint of arrack helped them in their dance! The famous Kukul Charlie also made his trek down all the lanes. Those were the days when Donovan Andree dominated and enriched the local entertainment scene. Donovan brought down the Ice Follies. Soon night came once more. We lit our fireworks, saw the  lighting the big Roman candles and sky rockets. The radio blasted yuletide melodies. My father bought some Chinese crackers which was harmless. These could be held in ones hand when lit. We called them Chinapatas.

Christmas’s I have spent in Sri Lanka . Nowhere in the world, would I ever experience, as the Ceylonese enjoyed it. I can still hear the hustle and bustle in Pettah, the cries of the street vendors and the pavement hawkers. The wailing of the mamma-pappa balloon, the rattle of the toy-carts, and the delicacies from the gram sellers are unforgettable.
I cannot forget the Wesley College 9 lesson Christmas Carols at the Maradana Methodist church. Ably conducted by Mr. Maxwell De Alwis. It had a wonderful air of Christmas around us.

A New Zealand Christmas is pea-nuts compared to a Christmas in Ceylon . I only hope we can go back to our old days.These days we hardly receive any Christmas Greetings by mail. They are all sent via email or ecards. I treasured the hand written Christmas cards.

There was our regular postman who made sure that he held back some Christmas mail to be delivered on Christmas day.  By the time he reached our houses he was unable to wheel his Red & Black Push byke. He could not stand on his two feet, as a result of the liquor he had consumed from each house. We got only half the mail, as most of mail had fallen by the way side. Since we had good neighbors, they would pick the mail strewn on the way side by the postman and give then to the respective   persons to whom the mail should have been delivered.

Life's like that by Ranjit Aaron

 After leaving school I did a years studies at the Polytechnic, continued playing Rugby for the NCC in the B divisons in the Clifford Cup Rugby Tournament.

During this time I applied for a job to Brown & Company Ltd and was successful at my very first attempt. I was posted to Lindula in the the Tea Machinery division.The week ends were very boring as my co workers all left to their respective homes and got back to work only on Monday morning. Especially during the week ends during the first few months I missed home and my circle of friends at Rugby and Colombo. So, every week end I traveled down to Colombo and got back to Lindula by Monday morning. I generally took the Saturday 3.00 pm train from Talawakele which reached Colombo around 10.00 pm and then took the Sunday evening train which left Colombo Fort at 10.0 pm reaching Talawakele around 6.00 am on Monday morning. This gave me enough time to do a shower and be at my desk by 8.00 AM. This became a regular pattern of life for me during early days of work in Lindula.

One Sunday evening when I was at the Fort Railway Station to catch the Badulla mail train at 10.00 pm to get back to Lindula. There were two guys who were fully drunk came to the platform apparently to Board the Batticaloa bound train which left at 9.50 pm. One of these guy had a suitcase, most probably he was the guy who was going on the Batticaloa train. Both of them could not stand on their two feet.

Finally the Railway Guard blew his whistle signaling it was time to leave. Then the engine driver blew the horn, but these two guys were not bothered about boarding the train. Then the train very gradually started to pull out. Only then, that it dawned on them, that they had to board the train. One of them grabbed the suit case and they both ran after the train. The one with the suitcase managed to board the train while the other was left stranded on the platform. All of a sudden the one stranded on the platform burst out into hysterical laughter, loud as ever. Then in a loud voice he said, it was he who had to board the train to Batticaloa, but instead his friend who only had come to see him off was on the train with my suitcase and not his suitcase.
I will never ever forget this incident which brought a lot of laughter to those who were watching it.


 

26th February 2010

Train journey to Badulla &  My memorable School Holidays. 1950-1963 by Ranjit Aaron NZ

300 km or 180 miles was the railway journey from Colombo to Badulla which took 9 hours. Its starts form 14 feet above sea level and reaches a crescendo of 6240 feet when it arrives at the summit at Pattipola. This remarkable train journey is one of the greatest and best journeys amongst other rail journeys in the world.

I was born in Badulla, in the Civil Medical Hospital. My Grandfather was a Tea Estate Conductor (who are now called a SD) He worked in Nuwara Eliya  and Badulla districts He had 13 children (7 boys & 6 girls) and my mother was the eldest. The girls went to Girls High School, Badulla and the boys to Uva college. The Estate on which my Grandfather served most was Telbedde Estate, approximately 5 miles from Badulla town.
Coincidently there are many Wesleyites who hail from Badulla, just to name a few Dr. Ratnasamy Somanathan, a Professor at San Diego State University, USA., Dr.Lambert Abeytunga, who I learnt from a recent article posted on our web, is a well renowned doctor in USA, Gunasekera who was a good hockey player. Trevor Collette the rugby stalwart, worked at Ceylon Tobacco Co. Ltd, Hali Ella.

My most enjoyable and memorable school holidays were spent at the home of my Grand parents on Telbedde Estate, Badulla. Which had a sprawling fruit and vegetable garden with many Mango trees, Avacado, Gauva, Papaya, Banana and even Sugar Cane. There were milking cows, goats, a large piggery and even some pet monkeys. Other than the Persian cats, Labradors, Dalmatian and Bulldogs. These were gifted to my grandfather by the Superintendent Mr. John Boyd Moss, when he left on retirement to the UK.  Mr. John Boyd Moss represented Ceylon at rugby. He was a regular player for the Meri Men. The Badulla Rugby team was called the Meri Men. Mr. Boyd Moss on his field visits packed as many as 14 dogs into his Morris Traveler. He most often had his breakfast with his dogs.
I enjoyed the baths in the company of my uncles in the many streams, that was flowing across the estate. The walks around tea fields, over the bridges were interesting. But going over the swing bridges, gave me the jitters..

In 1970 when working for Brown & Co. Ltd, Lindula & Uda Pusselawa. On one of my visits to a Tea  factory in Uda Pussellawa, my car skidded off the road. The car along with me was hurled 75 feet down a precipice. As a result of this nasty accident, I had a very bad head injury, concussion and loss my memory for almost 2 months. My Femur  had multiple fractures.  This forced me to stay as much as four months in Badulla General Hospital. At the end of the fourth month, even though my left leg was palsy below the knee, to my utter surprise, I was discharged from hospital. Saying I was fully fit and even fit to play rugby. On returning to Colombo I consulted Dr. T.N Shanmugalingam of the Colombo General Hospital. Subsequently, he operated my leg for a malunited femur. This  followed a series of surgeries. How ever, I was confined to bed for almost 1 year and 3 months.  At one stage the doctor even contemplated amputating the leg.  
Brown & Co. Ltd Lindula in the Talawakele area, was another place where I worked in 1967. I always loved working in the up country.

The CGR and Wesley College brings back nostalgic memories, as most of those who worked at the CGR lived at Mount Mary. Their children studied at Wesley. I still vividly remember those picket fenced Railway quarters at Mount Mary. The preparations for the Badulla holidays began weeks ahead. As my mother was in Government service, we had the privilege of Railway warrants. My father made early visits to the St. Johns Fish market & butchers shop. We took roast meat, fish cutlets and Seni sambol with butter well spread on Sandwich Bread.  We also took some (Toast Pang) Toast Bread, which I have been made to understand is not available any other country. We made such large quantities that we shared our meal with some of the occupants in the compartment. We took enough food and drinks to last the 9 hour journey. We also took some Bombay sweet meats, such as Boondi, which my uncles and aunts in Badulla relished

My father had a good friend Mr.Alfred De Silva, who was the owner of Borella Stores on D.S.Senanayake Mawatha. Mr. Alfred De Silva’s sons also studied at Wesley at the same time I studied. They were (Lukshman) D.G. De Silva, Kapila and Navi who is now a leading Chef in one of the leading hotels down south in Sri Lanka.. Every time we made our journey to Badulla Mr. Alfred de Silva would accompany to see us off at the Fort railway station.I made this train journey with my parents to Badulla year after year in succession from 1950 to 1963. At times, twice a year. Hence I knew every Station, Bridge and Tunnel along the route like the back of my palm.

Colombo Fort Railway Station

I enjoyed every minute of the 180 mile train journey, from the very moment it left the Fort railway station. This journey was so spectacular, the train winding its way with the old steam engine drawing the carriages. There after the steam engines were replaced with the Garret Engine and then the Canadian Diesel engines
The early steam engines had difficulty pulling the carriages up the Kaduganawa pass  and other steep terrains.  At times a second engine had to be fitted at the rear end of the train to push it up the hill.
In the early days the Badulla train from Paradeniya junction by passed Kandy and headed to Rambukkana and then to Nawalapitiya. At the Nawalapitiya Station I eagerly awaited the hot, hot Vadais, steaming hot Kotta Kelangu and the plain coffee or ginger tea. Similar vendors frequented the platforms form Nawalapitiya onwards..

Ambewela Bridge and Idalgashinna Tunnel

 

Coming into Hatton one could feel the cool air blowing into the compartment. The aroma of tea, from the tea fields and tea factories, through which the train wound its way. This brought about a completely different atmosphere into the train. Which was exciting, refreshing and exhilarating to both mind and body..
The carriages were clean, the foldable wash basins worked, toilet flush system worked,  there was water on the tap and the window shutters moved up and down smoothly. Unlike these days, where most of the fittings have been vandalized. In addition to all the food we took, still I sneaked my way into the train Buffet compartment, to have a hot Omelette, which had a remarkable taste. In the fifties and sixties restaurants cars in the trains, was run by Edmond caterers.

The 180 mile long journey took us through 45 tunnels and scores of bridges. The Hatton tunnel was the longest. Between Ohiya station and Idalgashina Railway station there are 13 tunnels.
Pattipola was another favorite place of mine. This place had intermittent rain and many a days covered by thick mist. The passengers often kept the window shutters down to let the thick mist into the compartment. Pattipola is the highst railway station in Sri Lanka. The Pattipola tunnel divides Nuwara Eliya and Badulla districts. When you enter this tunnel from the Ohiya end, it’s warm, hot and you can see the sun beating on the train. Once the train comes out of the tunnel at the Pattipola end. It’s very gloomy, misty and cold. In the early days this station was acclaimed as one of the highest stations in the world. Years back there was a narrow gauge train that ran from Nuwara Eliya to Brookside. Passing through Kandapola  and Ragalla. The railway stations that once existed are still visible on the bus route from Nuwara Eliya to Uda Pussellawa.

Demodera 9-Arc Bridge and Ohiya Station

 

Demodera Station and the Tunnel is wonderful piece of engineering. This stretch of rail track was called by the British “Loop in a Loop”. The train first goes through the tunnel and then over the tunnel. The station was built on top of the tunnel. The engineers were pondering over the intricacy of constructing the most difficult rail track, tunnel and station. When they suddenly observed the Kangany (supervisor ) of the workers, undo and his Talapa (Turban) and re-tie it, round his balding head. This loop in a loop Talapa inspired the engineers to mastermind this wonderful rail track. This track should be claimed as one of the wonders of the world.

In the early days the Station Masters maintained beautiful gardens in the station premises. The picket fenced flower gardens, was a delight to watch as the trains rolled by each up country station. No one ever dared to pick a flower from these station gardens. Some of the beautiful gardens that re-fresh my mind are,  Watawella, Rosella, Rosita, Talawakele, Great Western, Ambewella, Pattipola, Ohiya, Idalgashinna, Haputale, Diyathalawa, Bandarawella, Heeloya, Ella, Demodera, Uduwara, Hali-Ella and Badulla. When passing Ambewella one could see the cows grazing on the New Zealand farm. A tablet which was on a loop was exchanged at each railway station by the Engine driver and the Station Master. It was a delight to watch the precision at which this done. The engine driver will not receive the tablet unless the station Master, who handed the tablet, was fully attired in his uniform, white trousers, Coat and Black Peak cap.

Stunning Scenery all the way ------------------------and ------------------------------The Watatawala Railway Station

 

St Clair Falls

The waterfalls brought enchantment to the traveler on this journey. The St.Clairs fall, Devon falls and Bridal Wave are just a few that cross my mind. As the train reached Diyathalawa the fading sunlight which fell on the moving train created a breadth taking Silhouette on the mountain plain. Then appeared the mountain named the “Sleeping Worrier”. This was so fascinating and beautiful to watch from the moving train.
An uncle of mine was attached to the Diyathalawa Army camp. When ever I visited him. I woke up early and walked to Fox Hill to catch a glimpse of the Colombo bound train. This train left Badulla at 6.30 in the morning and reached Bandarawella around 8.00 am Then it made its way hugging the Idalgashinna ridge into Idalgashina.  From Diyathalawa the train  passed through plush tea fields, ravines and bridges to reach Haputale.  In the distance, it resembled a long snake moving in the sprawling Uva basin. Once it got pass Idalgashinna, it slowly disappeared into the Ohiya mountains. After awhile it reappeared for one last time to again disappear into the mist and rain. This fascinating view will always remain a memorable one. I could watch this over and over again, never to get tired. I regret not being fortunate to have had, a Video Camera in that era.

 

 

The mist is everywhere at all times------------------and -------------The Hatton Railway Station

 

Haputale Railway Station--and -Bandarawela Railway Station

 

 

 

Badulla Railway Station- "The end of the Line"

Invariably this train never reached Badulla at the scheduled arrival time of 6.30 PM. On every visit we made to Badulla, my Grand father was at the Badulla station to greet us. To begin my most memorable holidays. It will be a great pity if the younger generation cannot experience this wonderful journey with all its thrills. Neglect and vandalism has taken a heavy toll. Travel nowadays are some what a nightmare. The stations are bare of all the beautiful flowers that were once in full bloom. Some have even gone to the extent of damaging the foliage, landscape and the scenery that once brought great joy to the travelers who made this train journey. Nature and heritage should always be preserved at whatever cost.
The Sri Lanka tourist Board should promote this journey, which will definitely draw more tourists into Sri Lanka.

 

 


27th February 2010

My memories of school days by Anton Edema

I came to Wesley College in 1963 to grade 4B, my class master was Mr.PGR Fernanado and seniors used to call him ‘Pajar’. It was the decade of change, to Sinhala medium of Instruction. There were some reforming impulses but not modernizing trends at that time. At that time most of the teachers were males and carried a cane. Now I think that they were policing us while teaching. Were they Teacher Constables? Some of my  classmates were Brigadier Mahes Samaraweera, Brigadier Sarath Fernndo (for us he was Sara patta) Geethal  Peiris, Ravi Peiris, Ruwan de Silva, AKSA Perera, (Australian Mining legend) JK Wickramarathne, Christopher Harvie, Athula Wickramasinghe, Ramya Pathberiya.
We travelled all the way from Gampaha to Wesley. My brother and I used to walk from Maradana Railway Station to College via various routes. Through the Maligakanda reservoir area and Nalanda College.Via punchi  Borella was the standard route. Green colour single and double decked trolley buses were a common sight. Some days our Principal Mr. Shelton Wirasinghe used to give us a lift in his Holden car from Maradana to College. Those were mini skirt days and once he told us pointing mini skirt clad girls near All Saints Church, ‘Boys, enjoy driving, and while driving enjoy the natural beauty’. Now I find it difficult to comply his advice when driving as my wife usually occupy the front seat.
His romantic approach to Life and Music deserves great credit.

Wesley believed in sociability, give and take at that time. Our teachers were interested in modeling Knowledge, never bothered about ethnocentric nationalism as we had all communities in our classes as well as in the male dominated staff. They saw differently and sound differently.

 Mr.Wirasingha was a best orator of exceptional versality and we were (are still) very proud of him. He used to tell the history of College at weekly assemblies. I can still remember how analytical he used to be, when he explained about our college motto. Along with the story came the facts. He told us that “LABORARE EST ORARE” the Benedictine Monks Motto and ORA ET LABORA are almost similar and Bible verse close to the motto. He was a voice in great demand and a literary sensation. Many in the English medium emulated his clipped accent. Round Spectacles in a handsome face, he had astonishing energy, limitless capacity for hard work, unbounded confidence and resolution.
Mr.Shelton Wirasinghe’s stern, musical voice and graceful manner befitted the Post of Principal. We were enthralled by his voice, singing teaching, intelligence, literally gifts and his awareness of history. Once I asked him why we do not have Cadetting in College. He told me after World War 1 ‘Wesleyn- Methodists wanted “Militant Idealism away from their Youth’ and stopped all activities connected to military Idealism at Wesley College.

 Mr.Wickramasinghe was our Head Master. Seniors used to call him ‘Papaw” and sometimes ‘Saucers’. I was not interested about nicknames, hacks and splutters but many of it originated from the English medium .Most of my class mates were from, in and around Colombo and Moratuwa. They used to tease me when I made mistakes.
In 1963 we used to watch the Prisoners involved in the Military Coup taken from the Remand Prison to courts. Ferret Armoured car, Motor bicycle with LMG mounted side car, Land Rover Jeep, SMG and .303 SM Lee Enfield carrying Navy personnel used to take them every morning. Hostellers were very familiar with the Armoured car troopers as they used to park the Ferrets at the college premises in the night.

One morning in 1963 I was in batch of students taken to Campbell Park for the Annual Sports Meet Trials. We were separated to Houses and I was asked to run in the 75 and 100 yards in the under 11 age group and I came second in both and told me to come another day for heats. I went home and conveyed this to mother and she told me to practice the way I knew. I used to practice around 5 O’ clock in the evening at Bandaranayake College Grounds, Gampaha. At that time college hours were from 0800h to 1500h or some terms 0815h to 1515h.Coal powdered Steam engine trains were very punctual and we were never late to college. We had short interval and lunch interval. We used to come to Maradana in the 0605h train from Gampaha and went home in the 1550h train.

My father then guided me with the basics. He taught to how to warm up and to run “wind Sprints”. I came first in the heats in both events and elevated to the semifinals. In semi finals too I came first in both events. Then they told me to come to the College Sports Meet which was held on a Saturday. I was really scared that day when I saw the crowds as College Sports meets were conducted at a serious scale. I had never run in a sports meet till that day. It was a grand and noisy affair. We were asked to wear a white shorts and a white vest (boxing banion) we were given a number written on a piece of cloth. Sprint event favourite was my classmate Mahes, he had been the under 10 champion athlete and had the backing of all his house mates.

Nobody knew me as I was new to college. All the others were coached by the seniors and were very confident. I knew nothing about ‘Crouch Start’ and I was the only one who did the ‘standing Start’. I went and told Mr.PGR Fernando that I am afraid and do not wish to run the races. He just looked at face and told me to get ready. I ran few paces for the warming up, and then I was taken up to the starters point for the 75 yards race. Starter was a short man with a Pistol in his hands. That was the first event. He shouted some instructions to us and placed us on the tracks. I cannot remember shouts on your marks or get set, but when I heard the shot, I ran like a jack rabbit because I was really scared of the crowd. The woolen thread made a painful mark on my neck and somebody caught me from my neck and heard somebody (probably a school master) telling ‘Fluke’. I did not know the meaning of it at that time, when I came to the house corner every one shook hands with me.

My master told me not to eat anything but to drink Orange Barley, and then I told him about the word ‘Fluke’. He looked at face and told me ‘they are mistaken’. My mother gave me a small carton of Glucose and told me to take a handful before an event. I vividly remember big hefty fellows running but was clueless about what they were doing. When the 100yards event came, I was not afraid. I came first in that too. When I came to the house corner every one congratulated me and Mr.PGR Fernanado then gave me a pack of short eats to eat and told me ‘well done, you are not a fluke’. I got dressed up and joined my brother to go home. When we passed the All Saints’ Church, some seniors came running and stopped us and asked us to get back and report to the head master. Mr.Wickramasinghe asked me to wait until the prize giving. I was awarded the under 11 champion athlete cup. I cannot remember the chief guest. That was the start of my athletics carrier at Wesley.

I won every Athletics championship in the College, Under 11, under 12, uner 14, under16, under 17, under 19, over 19, and Best Performance in both Track Events and Field events. I think it is a very rare achievement for any Weslyite to achieve. One can equal it but difficult to break it. Profound change took place after Mr. AK Suppiah became our Athletics coach. Mr. Arthur Suwaris former National Long Jump Champion was our Master in Charge before Mr. AK Suppiah.  AKS had a very loud voice and tough. I still remember how he pronounced SIMUTANEOUSLY. For me it was Mr.AKS who kick started the sports revolution at Wesley. All were concentrating on Cricket. Even at that time all facilities were given only to cricketers. Some were trying to play down or ignore the achievements of other sportsman at Wesley. This subjective preference is well evident in almost all College Magazines. Cricketers who had not scored or not taken a single wicket in a match given prominence but other sportsmen who excelled in other sports not mentioned at all.

 During that period the Schools Double Sessions scrapped and single sessions introduced. College started the single sessions at 0800h ending at 1400h, then from 0730 to 1330 h and ended with 0715h to 1315h.Pre Poya and Poya was also introduced at that time. Some days Mr.AKS took us to Torrington Square grounds for training. It had a Cinder track. We used to walk from College to Torrington grounds through Campbell Park and Borella as we had enough time, and we saved ten cents of pocket money. There I was introduced to Mr. Anthony Abeyesinghe, National Athletics Coach. He is the one who asked me to try jumping as my height and weight was not sufficient to become a good sprinter.

I competed in Long Jump in the Colombo North Group Athletics Meet in the Under 17 category and won the event. Again I heard one my seniors telling my brother ‘it’s a fluke’ by then I knew the meaning of it, I told myself “I will show them not to condemn others achievements”, but I could not win at the Public Schools as I was immature and a novice when compared with other school athletes. I came fourth in Long Jump.

I came first in all three events, 100m, Long Jump and Triple Jump in the under 19 age group at Colombo North Group Meet. I won Public Schools Colours for Long Jump and Triple Jump. Mr. AK Suppiah did some things more adventurous with existing athletes and Hockey players, which attracted many for athletics. He monitored us and consistent under performers were separately coached. He was not easily roused to comments and made Campbell park atmosphere a cheerful and relaxed for us. He with Mr Wirasinghe wanted us to do more and differently. He convinced me that I can break the MAM Sheriff’s College record, if I improve my confidence and jumping technique. I broke the 22 year College record in 1971 and it stands unbroken even after 39 years.

S.Bonzo, JK Wickramaratne, May brother Patrick, Rohan Wickramaratne, Rohan Amerasinghe, Shanthi  MacLeland, Neil and Chriistopher  Harvie a few I can remember. I captained the Athletics Team in 1971 Richard Ebell was my vice Captain. Track suits, running shoes and Starting blocks were very rare. I used a dark blue rugger jersey for warm ups. Addidas brand running shoes were very popular but very expensive, I had a Puma brand running shoes while in college. While in College I was given permission to take part in CT & FC Junior Athletics championships, I came first in Long Jump with a record and adjudged the joint Best Performer with a Putt shot thrower from St.Thomas, Mt.Lavinia.
Wesley moved at its own pace observing its own standards in education and sports deeply rooted in its tradition and Christian faith. I still remember some teachers like Mrs.White, Miss Blacker, Mrs. Sivasubramanium, Miss Marasinghe, Mr. Frank Jayasinghe, Mr. LA Fernando, and Mr. Charles with respect. Mrs Sivasubramanium was a steadfast, cold warrior. When I was not awarded College Colours for athletics even after winning Public schools Colours, she with Mr Suppiah had pointed out the mistake to Mr.Wirasinghe. I was presented (not awarded- a notice typed on a College letter head) Wesley College Colours for athletics the very next College General Assembly. Mr Wirasinghe reassured that this would not happen again and spoke about me and my achievements for about fifteen minutes.

Shanthi Mac leland was Parvo  Nurmi to me. He was very good in long distance events and we felt very sorry when he could not win at public schools meet. Reggi  Bartholameuz was another I can remember. The day Richard Ebell set the under 17, 400m record baffled everyone; it was a one horse race that day. Bonzo and JK wickramarathne was very good in sprints. Rohan Amerasinghe was 400m expert. My brother Patrick and Cader were good in throwing events.

About the Author : Anton is a Chartered Chemist with a Special interest in Quality and Productivity. He is also a National Quality Award Assessor and a Productivity Award Assessor. Anton was a National Long Jump Champion and had 7 records. - The Editor

 


 

8th March 2010

Memories of School Life by Santhusht de Silva

Santhusht with his daughter- 1977

Dear fellow-Wesleyites, and especially Mr Editor:
I was excited to see your website, which is clearly a veritable furnace of nostalgia and reminiscence.  Unfortunately for me, since I departed Wesley right after the O levels of '66 (that's 1966), I was never a prefect, and was not even slated to be one, being a 90 lb weakling at the time --almost literally-- and in no position to maintain any sort of order or discipline.  My eyesight was weak, and I couldn't play any kind of sports, nor could I run, and so Moscrop House endured me with barely concealed impatience, and when I departed I left behind scarcely a ripple in the Wesley pond!  Very few of those who have written up their sagas would have known me.
Inversely, I do not recognize any of the names of the Cricketers or Rugbyites mentioned in the memoirs; I knew the fellows in the Hostel, my classmates, and the boys in the choir, and that is almost all.  But there must be others like me, and here's hoping some of them remember me!  I remember Sarath Wickremaratne, Kodituwakku, L. C. R. Wijesinghe, Rodney Perera, M. Muthuveloe, Mervyn Hamer and Omar Jayasekera, but not because I was deeply involved with the game.
Since I joined in the Nursery Class, and since the attendance roll was kept in chronological order, I was one of the first names in the list.  Here are some of the names:
Kithsiri Ganasinghe, Duleep Boteju, Nandasena Cooray, Kapila de Silva, David Herat, Lucien Herat, Ajantha Hewawitharne, Gamini Balasooriya, Kumara Ekanayake, Donald de Silva, Nimal Attanayake, Ranjan Gunawardhena, Kamal de Silva, Rohana de Silva,  Kuvera Premawardhena, Mahinda Kottachchi, Sudharshan Pieris (who died tragically of a fall from a tree), Clive de Silva, Lahan de Silva, Gehan Weerasooriya, Sarath Kuruvitaarachchi, D. P. Makalanda, Sydney Silman, Ajith Algama, Gamini Kodituwakku, Hilary Fernando; and I seem to have forgotten the names of roughly 10 more fellows.
We were taught by an amazing team of teachers every year, and few of my present friends believe me when I claim that there was hardly one who wasn't exceptional.  In chronological sequence, I remember Ms Elna Wickremasinge (the wife of Mr Wilfred Wickremasinghe), Ms Elsie Perera, Ms Dulcie Fernando—piano teacher, Mr Cyril Wickramage (of Sath Samudura fame), Mr E. L. Rodrigo, Mr P. J. Fernando, Mr Wilfred Wicremasinghe, Ms Lena de Silva, Mr Justin de Silva, Mr Felix Premawardhana, Mr Cyril Fernando, Mr R. G. Wijesinghe, and possibly somewhere along the line, Mr Frank Jayasinghe.  I do not remember the names now (unforgivable, I know), but there were other geniuses who contributed: Mr Kalupahana, Mr Shelton Wirasinha, Mr Watson Wijewickrema, Ms Iris Blacker, Ms Maureen Jansz, Mrs E. Sarathchandra, and of course, Mr NAB Fernando, and the legendary Haig Karunaratne.
Our particular generation did well at the O levels (and subsequently at the A levels, though I wasn't there); I think our 'gimmick', if it could be considered one, was to grab the ideas before we left the classroom.  I, for one, was not good at studying things at home (or in the hostel) because I was too busy reading junk literature.  So I had to get the stuff the first time, right in class, or it was gone forever.  
Imagine my astonishment one day when I discovered that mine were the worst eyes in the class.  The very next week they tested my vision, and much to my delight I was prescribed glasses.  Finally, I looked the way I had felt most of my life: a shortsighted little twerp.  I still remember traveling home to Peradeniya and arriving after dark, lying on the road with my cousin Nelson, waiting to join my father's choir in their carol-singing rounds.  By mere chance I happened to look at the sky, and was stunned by a sight that was familiar to everyone with normal vision: the stars!
I joined the Hostel twice; once abortively in Std 5, and once again later in Form II.  I enjoyed Hostel for the most part, principally because of making friends with some unique fellows.  There were Darrell Christoffels, Glenn Scarenguivel [Spelling?] Wilhelm Van Geyzel, Darrel Bartholemeusz, Neil Harvie, Ahmed Imad, Hussein Shihab, C. G. Sadanandan and his brothers, Jabez and Ebbie Joseph, Lal Fernando, Lasath Algama, Conrad Fernando (with whom very few of us saw eye to eye), and another interesting chap, Thiagarajah, who was perpetually singing Neapolitan songs in the bathroom, such as "O sole mio", and "La donna e mobile."  We mustn't forget Gamini Hettithanthri and Nihal Cooray, and Abdul Aziz, Ahmed Rashid, Habib, and a couple of other guys from the Maldives whose names I forget.  Imad and Rasheed were particularly sweet guys; both went on to study Islam in the UAR.  Wilhelm Van Geyzel was a fascinating character, completely steeped in WW2.  He could make the scaffolding (for the extension to the stage) into a submarine, or even a bomber.  The storage room in which it was kept was filled with machine-gun sounds all through the weekend.  When he left for Canada we felt abandoned and utterly bored.  But then, the Beatles came along, and Shihab, Sathanandan and I sang Beatles songs all the time.  There was also M. S. M. Mohamed, who loved all things Elvis-related and Boxing-related, and Kenneth Mahamooth.  Then there was Godwin Philips; and Punchihewa whom we bullied mercilessly, and I hope the poor chap has forgiven us.  The antics we got into were unbelievable.  On Friday nights, we would all be glued to the Rediffusion in the dorm, for the Ponds Hit Parade.  There were all sorts of games we played whose names I don't even remember; “Gudu” was one, and “Thachchi” was another.
I was heavily involved in the Choir from as early as I was allowed to sing in it, and just the second year it was trained by Mr NAB Fernando(while Haig Karunaratne was completing a degree at Peradeniya).  Inspired by the legendary 1962 carol service at King's College Cambridge, Mr NAB Fernando had us singing a couple of chorales from the Christmas Oratorio of J. S. Bach, and I have to confess that that particular selection of carols completely changed my life.  To this day I am a lover of Bach, largely because Mr NAB Fernando had us singing Bach off and on for almost a year, for the Prize Giving and other major events.  When Mr Karunaratne returned to Wesley and resumed responsibility for the choir, I was singing Alto, and was thoroughly immersed in Choir affairs.  Haig Karunaratne brought back with him from Peradeniya an interest in Sinhala and Tamil carols (called lyrics, for some reason), and we began to sing more interesting ones, laying aside the over-used carols that had been sung for years in favor of newer ones.  In the Choir, some of the names I remember were Horace Walker, Chiron Bartholemeusz, Adrian and Maxwell Parsons, Darrel Bartholemeusz, and C. G. Sadanandan sang with us for a couple of seasons.  One choir member I still remember from long before I joined is Shane Laurenz, who had the most beautiful treble voice.  I still remember him singing Cantique de Noel ("O holy night"), another one of those unforgettable memories.   (Horace showed us how to play on the piano "No reply" by the Beatles, a significant part of my education.)  Just my last year, Eric Gauder emerged as a really impressive baritone.  To my horror, though, Mr. R. G. Wijesinghe refused to accompany the choir, and it fell to me to do it.  For years I blamed myself for whatever rift there had been between the choir and Mr Wijesinghe, but since then I have learned that only about half the things for which I have blamed myself were ever justified, a very humbling thought.
Back in elementary school, I had joined the Cubs, under Mr E. L. Rodrigo, and when the other fellows moved up into the regular scouts, I went along.  For the longest time I was convinced that I would never pass the Tenderfoot stage, while the rest of the guys: Imad and Kenneth Mahamooth and company were breezing through the tests.  Just when I was getting comfortable with being a perpetual Tenderfoot Scout (though permitted to go on a couple of jamborees as a sort of special privilege --I remember one in Colombo: Siyawasa-- and one at Richmond; their 75th anniversary, I believe) I suddenly discovered a talent for knots and whipping --which will surely come in handy someday in my private life-- and was through the test.  There was a gentleman from Richmond, Mr Dhanapala, I believe, who had taken charge of the scouting, and he was principally responsible for my transition from perpetual Tenderfoot to perpetual Second Class Scout.  In the troop were Ravindra de Silva and S. Kuruppu.  Kuruppu taught us the basics of gymnastics (the Break Fall), and we sent a team to the jamboree to demonstrate firefighting and life-saving.  
The Scouts, of course, are notorious for their terrible singing.  It is more like rhythmic yelling, with ingeniously mispronounced Zulu, Swahili and Maori songs.  If a scout cannot mispronounce at least one African song before breakfast he goes into deep depression.  (It is part of the Scout Law: ... to help other people at all times, and to mispronounce at least one Zulu word every day.  ... Or is that the Cubs?  Only Akela knows.)
Because of my parents I knew more College teachers and staff than is good for anybody: Mr Wirasinha, and his wife Manel (who taught me piano), Mr Frank Jayasinghe, Mr Felix Premawardhena and Mr Wilfred Wickremasinge were all family friends.  In addition, Mr L. A. Fernando, who was vice principal, was an S.C.M. friend of several members of my family.  (Back in prehistoric times the SCM was apparently a very closely-knit group, whereas now they’re probably just very tangled.)  While this meant that whenever I got in trouble I didn't have far to go for help, it also meant that I was under pretty close scrutiny most of the time.  I remember once refusing to write a single word in a Scripture test administered by Ms Lena de Silva.  I was determined to stick up for my rights as a budding atheist, and I gleefully grinned around at my classmates while they sweated over Who Said What to Whom and Under What Circumstances, And What Had They Been Smoking.  Ms Lena was not happy.  Pretty soon I was being caned by Mr Felix Premawardhena.  Now I see the little adventure from the point of view of the teachers, but at the time I was thoroughly indignant at this abridgment of my rights as a free citizen.
Once I left College, I met D. P. Makalanda again oddly enough in the course of putting together a carol service for Colombo Campus SCM (of the University of S.L.).  I led the choir one year, but the following year Makalanda took charge, and it was an absolute triumph.  I can take a smidgeon of the credit having been the organist, but Makalanda made a brilliant conductor and trainer, and topped the carols with his own signature Sinhala Baila-Rock-style carols, accompanied by electric guitars.  (Unlike myself, Makalanda can keep time, which is more important than I suspected at the time. )
There are lots of other memories: the Double Blue Fetes mentioned by others, which heavily involved the hostellers; (I remember Dallas Achilles and a friend singing Abilene one year) cricket matches, particularly a narrow victory over Royal, but I forget the year; visits with the Royal College Hostel and a friendly cricket match; SCM variety entertainments for which Wesley submitted skits coached by Haig K; the Colombo Inter-Collegiate Christian Fellowship Christmas Carols (when it came to carols, I soft-pedaled my atheism with great discretion), and the annual War Memorial services on Poppy Day at the Cenotaph, with the bands of the Army, Navy and the Air Force.  Gosh, there was never a dull moment.  And then, of course, there was The Coup, after which an armored car was stationed inside the College compound, overlooking the road and the Prison.  Our year at the G.C.E exams there was some racial hostility, and many of us took fellow hostellers home with us, until it was safe for them to travel to their homes in the so-called Outstations.
By all accounts, the musical and choral traditions are being maintained at Wesley.  I wish I had an opportunity to advise the present students about their academic work: Get it in class.  Read the book; don't wait for the movie!  Alas, the younger generation seems unable to comprehend the fact that teachers know what they are talking about.  By the time they arrive in Grade 12, students stumble onto the fact that since they themselves know a fair amount about their subjects, there is no way that the teachers could know any less.  But by then, bad attitudes towards teachers have been ingrained, and it’s too late.  They may not be able to explain things as well as the students might like them to, but that just means that the students have to work a little harder.  Concentrating for fifteen minutes in class is worth concentrating for an hour at home.  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.  I used to listen with my ears flapping, because we had not got the memo that the teachers were supposed to be worthless.  And, in our ignorance, we found that they were excellent.  Hooray for the teaching profession.
When I moved to Kandy and attended St Sylvester's, I learned to regard the teachers with even greater reverence.  The tuition madness had not arrived in Kandy yet; probably the higher altitudes were difficult for the virus.  And my classmates spoke Sinhala even during the intervals.  I had to learn the language in a hurry.  (I’m only joking; I was in the Sinhala stream all along; one of the few loonies who took A Syllabus in both languages.)  But shortly afterwards teachers across the nation began to lose their grip on their audiences in the classroom, and began having to teach everything twice: once in class, to deaf ears, and a second time at a tuition factory, for additional remuneration.  This is a sort of Value-Added approach to education.
But I deplore this wallowing in nostalgia!  Those were wonderful days, but it makes no sense to carry on as if our lives were over once we left the school.  Wesley gave us a brilliant start, but the best is yet to come.  Just last Friday I saw Alice in Wonderland, and I thought to myself how wonderful it was that I knew so much of the background of the story, thanks to the stuff I read while I was at Wesley.  How many kids watching Harry Potter can relate to life in a boarding school like we can?  I still remember sneaking over the parapet wall to get Seeni Sambol from the boutique around the corner.  I remember lifting Punchihewa, bed and all, and leaving him out in the courtyard, with his wayward sarong totally absconding in its sacred duties.  How much we read!  Some American youth are not so fortunate as to learn even in university what we learned in school.  This is true for most Sri Lankan schools, but the miracle is that Wesley achieves this with so little public funding.  It is only from multi-ethnic schools like Wesley that leaders can emerge with a vision of a healed society for Sri Lanka.
The minute I send this off I'm sure to remember something interesting, but in the interests of brevity and promptness I will stop here, and propose a toast to some of the jolliest years of my life!  Cheers!

Aboout the Author Dr De Silva who is the Assistant Professor and Chair of Mathematical Sciences: Dr. de Silva earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics at the University of Peradeniya. After teaching for a year at the ill-fated Jaffna Campus of the University of Sri Lanka as an Instructor, he came to the University of Pittsburgh, from where he earned an M.A. in 1977, and a Ph.D in 1983 on differential geometry and relativity. Right after graduation, he came to Lycoming to teach mathematics, and also taught programming for a few years. From 1999 to 2002 Dr de Silva served as editor of PCTM Magazine, the journal of the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of Mathematics. His mathematical interests include theoretical physics, mathematical software applications and numerical analysis, dynamical systems and fractals. He is also interested in music, from Bach to Mendelssohn, Wagner and the Beatles.

 


 

18th March 2010

Visit to Rev RW Pile by Senthil Sinniah et al

Rev R Wilfred Pile - The Chaplain at Wesley College 1952-56

 

On Thursday, 17th December, 2009, Brian Mack, Azahim Mohamed and myself, visited Rev. Pile at "Homewood"----a Methodist Old People's Home, in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire--(about 85 miles from London.)

We spent a very pleasant and delightful one hour with Rev.Pile---talking about our old school and of fond by-gone times. Rev. Pile was a very alert but frail 94 year old. He was quite overwhelmed when we presented him with a tin of Fortnum and Mason biscuits and a poinsettia plant. (Rev. Pile cebrated his 95th Birthday on the 12th March, 2010).

This visit was initiated by an e-mail that the late Brian Claessen sent me in November,2009, suggesting that a group of old boys should try and visit Rev. Pile. At least, Brian knew and appreciated that we visited Rev. Pile.

My memories of Rev R Wilfred Pile -Chaplain 1952-56 by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera - Double click

Senthil Sinniah's visit to OWSC on his 69th Birthday by Lalith Wijesinghe 12th November 2009- Double click

Images of 1958 by Senthil Sinniah - Double click

8th June 2011

Meeting Rev Wilfrid Pile in June 2011 by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Homewood Nursing Home in Leamington Spa

 

Brian Mack, Senthil Sinniah and myself  travelled up to Leamington Spa near Coventry to see Rev Pile who was the Chaplain at Wesley 1952-56.  Those of us who remember the great man will recall the tall figure with a  powerful presence. He possessed all the charisma and the techniques for inspiring awe that one looks for in a man of God. He often wore a white robe and “dog collar” and walked the long corridors and passages of the school with an upright gait and a smile on his face. We were immensely fortunate to come under the tutelage of Rev Wilfrid Pile.

He now lives in a Nursing Home for Methodist Ministers called Homewood. Homewood was built in 2010 and is a purpose built Residential and Nursing Care Home in Royal Leamington Spa.  Homewood is home to 50 older people and is situated within its own grounds close to Leamington Spa town centre.  It offers 50 bedrooms all with en-suite and shower facilities, a coffee shop, garden room and large and attractive communal areas for the enjoyment of our residents.  Homewood is in a leafy suburban setting which ensures both quiet surroundings and a relaxed pace of life.

We informed him of our visit and on our arrival was taken to his room which looked immaculate. He welcomed us warmly and we sat in the lounge where Rev Pile had arranged some tea and biscuits for us. At 96 years he is active, walked without a stick and his memory was perfect. He was able to keep up the conversation taking a walk down memory lane to those happy years in Ceylon. Rev Pile remembered Lionel Jayasuriya, LA Fernando, Mr Oorloff and Mr De Mel and students like Bryan Claessen and Lou Adhihetty. He spoke at length about his early years as a minister in China, Ceylon and England and also his childhood in Dorset. He has kept in touch with the political changes that have taken place in Sri Lanka and had followed the fortunes of the Sri Lankan cricket team touring England. He said he always supported the Sri Lankan team except when they played England.

We gave Rev Pile a present of his favourite Ginger Chocolates from Harrods for which he thanked us profusely.

After and hour with him we decided to say goodbye hoping we could meet again someday. It was a great pleasure to see Rev Pile happy and well.
It was lovely to meet up with my friends, Brian and Senthil who were able to make time for this visit.  We broke journey in a quaint pub for lunch where we reminisced a great deal of those glorious 1950’s. We thank Brian for taking the trouble to drive us all the way up and back.

 


 

2005

Lunch with the Claessens - From the OBUA Newsletter 2005

Bryan Claessen - The host (2005)

A group of old Wesleyites and their partners recently called on Bryan Claessen on their way to Adelaide for a week’s holiday.
I do not think that any Wesleyite who knew Bryan would ever want to drive past his place without visiting him and his lovely wife Carol. They have a few acres at Tailem Bend, in South Australia, about three hours drive from Adelaide. The mighty Murray River winds its course through Tailem Bend, hence the name.
There were ten of us – Rod de Kretser and Marie, Trevor Collette and Jill, Robin Reimers and Trilby, George Robertson and Beryl, all Wesleyites, plus Trevor Newman and his wife Sandra. (This Trevor went to St. Josephs but we’ll ignore that).
It was a pleasure to meet my old classmate after so many years, and we talked of many things, and joked and laughed at the memories we shared. Those who know of Bryan’s cricket career and accomplishments will remember him as the finest schoolboy cricketer of his time, and it was good to hear Bryan recall some of his experiences from those bygone days.
They have worked very hard, Bryan and Carol, to make their home a pleasant place to live in and have always welcomed visitors who drop by especially if they hail from that School in Baseline Road, opposite the Jail.
Bryan looks well, but takes things a little easier now, as we all do. Nevertheless, his sense of humour and his outlook on life are very positive. He is a well- respected and popular member of his community, sharing in all the activities they undertake.
Bryan and Carol go dancing, Carol is a keen gardener and together they have worked to make a home from a piece of land where once was nothing.
It was also an opportunity to meet up again with Radley and Angela Claessen at a Dance to usher in the New Year and later to have a drink and a chat with them when we were invited for “Kiri Buth” and Seeni Sambol” at the home of Ron Foenander, our host.

 

 


 

27th April 2010

Some Reminiscences of Santhusht de Silva

In 1964 we went into Form IV (aka grade 9). The government, in an instance of rather desperately overenthusiastic response to all the nationalism that was flying around, decided to change to the Poya week, and the Department of Education wanted Wesley to go two sessions. Instead of the day ending at around 1:45, we would have a lunch interval at noon, and then work for a couple more hours, and go home at 3:15. (I think Lower School still let out at 1:45.)

Our new form master, Ronnie Wijesinghe, was most determinedly opposed to this change. I'm not sure what all his objections were, but he was certainly of the opinion that he could not teach Physics in the afternoon, after the students had eaten a heavy lunch of rice and curry. (This opinion is justified by my experience.)

We were scheduled for Physics and Applied Mathematics in the mornings on some days, and in the afternoon on other days; I think the afternoon Physics periods were on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. So, it happened, that Ronnie Wijesinghe (unilaterally, we were almost sure,) decided on something novel. He would cover the Physics syllabus whenever the periods fell in the morning. When they fell in the afternoon, however, he was going to read us Bram Stoker's Dracula !

I, for one, though I was persuaded about the rationale for this startling decision, was dismayed by the choice of story. Those of us who were unwilling to listen to Dracula's adventures were obliged to do some work quietly, which we did. The rest of the guys moved to the front, and hung on Bram Stoker's every word. (I'm certain it all helped them to learn a certain degree of English above and beyond what we were learning in class. Subject-matter is everything, when teaching a second language.)

Meanwhile, we were doing famously with our trigonometry and physics. Ronnie packed a lot into those morning periods, while he continued with the literature in the afternoons. Once Dracula was finished, he started on A Tale of Two Cities. For this one, I was certainly going to be right there, especially after I had heard the opening chapters from the back of the class. At that age, of course, we were all utter romantics, and it strikes me that Ronnie was one as well; his annotations of the text were brilliant and persuasive. I had never understood an adult novel as well as I understood that one. His characterizations of Jerry Cruncher and Stephen Carton were absolutely spot on.

By the end of the year, we had finished both books, and started, I believe, on Mary Shelley's Frankestein. I gave that one a miss, too; but by then, I was hooked enough on the Applied Mathematics that I joined my buddies with self-directed work at the back of the room. (And we were also planning to make electric guitars from scratch, and we spent a certain amount of time plotting how to do that.) The following year, Mr Kalupahana was conscripted to teach us Physics, while Ronnie was moved to the Sixth Form. (He had taught us in Sinhala, which was not easy for him, since he had learned all this in English, and he spoke in Sinhala only reluctantly. What an incredible achievement! In spite of all his eccentricities, he had an amazing understanding of the mind of an adolescent boy, and his interests in music and mathematics were all a part of a very logical and harmonious whole.)

Ronnie Wijesinghe was an enormous influence on us, and all for the positive. He made Physics and Mathematics reasonable and logical, which is the most important thing to do at that stage of our development. And, on top of that, he also introduced us to some fabulous pieces of literature, and far more effectively than a mere English teacher could have done. I sincerely hope that his life after Wesley was as rewarding as it deserved to be. A mathematician, a musician, and an appreciator of literature. And an amazingly effective teacher.


 

3rd May 2010

 

Memories of Wesley College by George Robertson                            

 A little more than half a century has passed since I walked the corridors of Wesley College as a student for the last time. I remember the occasion well. It was my last day at College. .I stayed back after the rest of the class had left and stood looking out of the window down to Base Line Road one final time; glanced around at the walls of the class, the blackboard, with chalk marks where the last lesson had been deleted, my desk, checked to see whether I had left anything behind, shut it and walked out. Our Bell-ringer Ranis had completed his task and gone about his business. Everything seemed so quiet as I walked away

I was the last to leave.

Since then I have had the opportunity to be a member of the Wesley College (Australia) Old Boys Union here in Melbourne and have enjoyed participating in the various activities we organized in support of our College.

 I have seen the many changes that have taken place at Wesley since my days as a student. That is the way life evolves; nothing remains the same forever; that is how things are. We must look to the past, learn from it and move on.  My Teachers represented to me the “elders” of my generation.

 A long time ago, in the traditional villages there were those who were called “Elders” No longer able to do the more strenuous tasks, they were looked upon as the holders of experience and wisdom which they passed on to a younger generation, such as we were then.  In our time, Wesley College was our “village” and I remember Messrs. R.A. Honter, De Mel, L.A. Fernando, Ivor de Silva, Ivor de Kretser, C. Canageratnam, Thamotheram, Mr. Van Sanden and many others. The Principal at Wesley when I joined was Rev. James Cartman, followed by Mr. Cedric Oorloff.  The Vice-Principal was Mr. Kenneth Lanerolle.. These men gave of their experience and learning, both academic and from life, to help a new generation to maintain the traditions of Wesley College, to uphold the standards in the classrooms and playing fields just as their fathers had done before. They also taught us what it meant to be a student of Wesley, and what that represented.

Too often we think we have to do “big things” – the fact is, each one of us can do our little bit where we are, to help a young generation, just as we were taught; to keep Wesley’s colours flying high.

 There is a saying “Do not try to reinvent the wheel” our School’s reputation as an institution of learning has already been established, we have to build on it, not go back to basics. We often tend to make the same silly mistakes made by previous generations when we try to start all over again. The greatest gifts we can give to another generation is our experience, our wisdom – the wisdom of an older generation.

 A well-known  humourist has said :” We learn from history that we don’t learn from history”  Which, when you come to think of it, is true – how many times have we argued about the same old things we argued about in the past? Did we not learn from that experience, not to make the same mistakes again and again? Or did we learn nothing from history?

 Let me make another quote from the same man:
 “the best way to win an argument is not to have an argument at all.”

 When we Old Boys have a get-together, the stories flow freely about the old days, the days we got into trouble, the tuck-shop, how much we owed the toffee man who sold us “verima nice the pineapple toppy” And there is always a sense of comradeship and good feeling and plenty of laughs. There is a unity of spirit in whatever we plan. I like to think that this is because the end result is not for ourselves, but for the benefit of our beloved Wesley College.
And if we can do this, our days at Wesley have not been in vain.

 Wesley enters a new era now, and I wish the Principal Mr. McLelland the very best in all that he undertakes for Wesley as I pledge my support to him and his staff.

 In conclusion: Roughly forty years after that last day at Wesley, I went back again. I stood once more at the same window in my old classroom and looked down at Base Line Road. This time I had my wife Beryl besides me, and we stood there, just remembering, not saying too much, one more time. Back home we had our two daughters and their families, and five grand children.
The years had passed and there was much to remember since then. And through them all, I shall never forget the contribution that Wesley has made to all our lives. There will be difficult times in her life, of course, but Wesleyhas lived through the tough years with a dignity that has seen her survive them all.
 Now it is time to give her some of the love and loyalty and strength she has infused in all of us, made us better than we might have been just because we were fortunate to have stood under a flag that referred to

                 “One fraternal band,
                     The band of Double Blue.”

 


 

13th May 2010

The School Office in the 1950’s and our Unsung Heroes by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Lest we forget our thanks to pay!

There are heroes who walk among us
never looking for glory or praise
They don't seek recognition
for their thoughtful, caring ways.
Living lives of deep commitment
providing for those they hold dear
Steadfast with a quiet strength
through times of laughter and tears.

Every Wesleyite knows the School Office. That is where serious punishments are doled out. For everyone else the office is the engine room, the treasury, the heart and the brains all rolled into one.

Mr. Eric De Silva
This was way before the digital revolution. There were no fax machines, no computers and word processes. Everything was done by hand with plenty of elbow grease. We heard the constant tapping of the old typewriters whenever we passed the Office. The old and faithful black telephone helped to transmit information despite the hiss, crackle and pop. The Office churned out reams of printed paper copied on the Gestetner  copying machines. The copies  ranged from examination papers to dictates from the Principal. The smell of ink and paper wafted from the office far down the corridors of the school. The old Postal Service seemed adequate as we knew nothing better. There was never a rush to get things done, as nowadays, and tomorrow was always good enough. The calm and placid atmosphere that prevailed in the country pervaded Ceylonese society right down to the grassroots.

Although a hive of activity at times the office had its placid moments too, mostly in the heat of the afternoon . The constant whirr of the ceiling fans weren’t enough to keep the place cool. There were 3 large old colonial desks in the main office for the Headmaster Mr. JLF De Mel, The Bursar Mr.Eric De Silva and also the Secretary Miss Bertha Weerapass. Each of the desks had a green central rectangular area, typical of office desks of that period.

Mr Eric De Silva worked all hours and was ever present in the office. He had on his desk an enormous ruled ledger where every student’s name, payments and arrears were recorded by hand with meticulous detail. Although we had Government assistance the school levied a fee from every school boy. This was euphemistically called the Facilities Fees. Late payers and non payers were constantly hounded. Those records were maintained and updated assiduously by the Bursar. Even in the corridor he would have a quiet word about payment. As the bursar he acquired a daunting reputation for prudence managing the income of the school.

Eric De Silva came from that strong Methodist enclave of Moratuwa. Four of his brothers were Methodist Clergy and Eric wasn't far behind. His eldest brother Fred became the Chairman of the Methodist Synod. Eric De Silva was a gentle soul liked by all and had never a harsh word for anyone. He lived next to the sick room for many years until he got married. In the hostel he was treated like a hostel master and earned the respect of all the boarders. He was a man of God and took our prayers in the hostel Chapel and played his part as a teacher at Sunday School. In chapel, his presence was of a man of simple and transparent faith, and his sermons were perfectly pitched and beautifully delivered. His uncomplicated biblical Christianity had a natural appeal. Eric De Silva was distinctive for never being heard to make a disobliging remark about anyone. His gentle manner, however, concealed a fierce loyalty to his superiors for whom he gave much vocal support during the financial crises of the 1950's and 60's which nearly paralysed the school.  His devotion, conscientiousness and commitment to his family and to his profession was exceptional. Eric De Silva passed away in November 1973 and was offered a fitting farewell by the staff, present and past students of Wesley College.

Miss Bertha Bernard nee Weerapass
Miss Weerapass, as we knew her then, was everyone’s kind aunt and compassion was her greatest strength.  She had a kind word for those who came to the office for punishments. I don't know how it worked but her warmth offered hope when all seemed lost. Our sorrows and fears lifted a little whenever she spoke after we emerged from the thrashing. She was the Stenographer cum typist and did the job brilliantly. What I recall most about her is her delicate elegance and relaxed irresistible charm. All the documents that emerged from the office for circulation to the staff, parents, old boys and the Department of Education were all done by her or Eric. How she managed to do this day after day without any outside help we will never know.  Eric De Silva and Bertha Weerapass  were permanent fixtures in the school office which was their second home.  Well, they were like a very efficient tag team. While one did the clerical part, the other would do the typing, and vice-versa. There was never one angry word exchanged between them.  The whole Wesley College  clerical machine depended on them and so, in turn, was the running of the school.  Which of us did not have a testimonial or leaving certificate typed by one of them.  Think of the tens of thousands of examination entries, results, ministry reports, miscellaneous letters and forms churned out by this pair over the decades. Eric and Bertha added charm to an otherwise unremarkable and drab school office where their talents found their highest fulfilment. Now there is little or no mention of their tremendous contribution to the smooth running of the school.  They are both no more and we must remember them. The dedication to duty they both showed has to be appreciated and commended. Miss Weerapass had an unfailing ability to empathise with people and make them feel good and wanted, a quality that served her well as she emigrated to Melbourne Australia to make a new life. All through her long life she remained a devout Christian. Her husband, Andrew Bernard, predeceased her and she passed away in 2008.

The Headmaster being a teacher had his teaching commitments and was rarely seen in the office except when returning to official duties. Mr Lanerolle was the Vice Principal. He had a small cubicle by the rear entrance. We often saw him wearing his bifocals and hard at work. The Principal’s Office was in the far corner. Those boys who saw its inside were invited there for punishments and recall very little of its décor.
Marshall and Ranis were in and out of the office carrying messages and documents to the classrooms and the staff.  They gave us an indication as to the moods of the Principal and the Vice Principal when we passed them.

The office was a beehive buzzing with workers during my years at school. When Eric De Silva retired his son took his place. I am certain Bertha was replaced by several secretaries. I hope this piece will encourage old boys to remember our unsung heroes who remained invisible and lubricated the wheels of the establishment. Without them the school functions would have grounded to a halt.

In my journey through life I am grateful I had the opportunity to meet and thank them for their tremendous services to Wesley College. The cheer, warmth and the kindness they brought to the School Office will live in our hearts for many more years to come.

Bertha Bernard nee Weerapass by Keith De Kretser    - Double click

Eric De Silva - A Portrait of Greatness by L.A.Fernando   - Double click

                                                                              


 

September 24, 2010

Reminiscing Halcyon Days at Wesley by Edmund Dissanayake

This article will refer to certain aspects of life at Wesley hitherto untold. The tutorial staff of Wesley comprised of several former Principal of other schools. The camaderie that prevailed at Wesley made her the most sought after school for both students and teachers. Also on the staff, together were associated, as many as five former cricket captains of Wesley. Harold Nonis (Principal) Derrick Mack, Dr. Louis Adhihetty, Lalith Wijesinghe and the present writer. Is it little wonder that Wesley remained on top in cricket?

The Staff Guild unfailingly organized an "outing" each term, the most frequent being the Southern Trails through Hambantota. Alfred Cooray, a friend of mine, had placed a standing order with me that he should be informed of all trips organized, for his inclusion. The teachers who spear-headed the outings at different times were Lionel Jayasuriya, P. G. R. Fernando Dr. Frank Jayasinghe, Shelton Peiris, A. K. Suppiah, M. Y. De Alwis and the writer. A dip in the water was always a sine qua non. In this respect, expert life guard Daniel Pakianathan was always included. As outings played a very important part, more reference will be made. The dancing of Basil Mihiripenne, the caricaturing of Felix Premawardene, the non stop dancing of W. Thurairathan, the captivating singing of Haig Karunaratne, one foot dancing of Jacob, and Alfred Cooray’s popular dance wearing a saree, were the highlights. On one of these outings both Shelton Wirasinha and his wife Manel took part. The song "Uda rata sita Menike knek ava Varsity" was being sung lustily, the voice of Lyn De Mel and Nimla Silva being the loudest. Except the Principal and myself the others were not aware that the "Damayanthi" in the song referred to Manel’s sister. When Manel threatened to jump off the bus, the song was cut short! The song is published in the post script. The Principal did nothing to stop the song!

The Camaderie that existed could be gauged by the fact that as many as 25 teachers went to Jaffna, by train to attend the wedding of D. Pakianathan. He later functioned as Sub Warden of S. T. C. Two others from the Wesley staff Dr. Frank Jaysinghe and F. J. Senaratne preceded him. Those who could not go to Jaffna earlier, attended the wedding of P. Sugirthathason also in Jaffna. There was a Union known as the "Bachelors’ Union" with Berty Van Sanden as Life President. The Principal Cedric Ooloff, was once summoned to the office of Van Sanden. He submitted tamely to all the "orders" given by the President, including wearing of a "Union-Cap’. Thereafter, we got on famously. More of Cedric Oorloff. Fresh from his last assignment as A. G. A. Hambantota, he was known as a stickler for rules and discipline. He was the first Principal to have caned a Prefect M. Y. De Alwis for being late to school. Prefect B M N Jurangapathy suffered the same fate for not preventing a few ‘naughty’ boys at the Karlsruhe gate from shouting the name "Kaputu Kuday" directed at a school girl. Jurang, later functioned as DIG Police.

Next, the entire school was saddened when our record breaking star bowler M. N. Samsuden was suspended for breaking a school rule, by playing for a club without the Principal’s permission. He relaxed when Fred De Mel and I went in deputation but by then the season was almost over. When Wilfred Wickramasinghe, Head Master married Elna Jayawardene of the same staff, on a school day, they were given only two hours leave. Oorloff said that weddings should not take place during school days. Quite right, sir! More of Oorloff. It was his practice to invite a different teacher to lunch at the Bungalow. I was expecting grand lunch, but was disappointed. The dessert however was good. C J T Thamotheram asked me whether I was not aware that the Principal received a very poor salary? After Oorloff retired, the Wesleyites in Australia, invited the Oorloffs. At a Dinner, I was told there were more than 200 Wesleyites and wives present. That showed the respect that Wesley had for their Principal, Cedric Oorleff. There was a time when several essential items were in short supply in the country. A. K. Suppiah came to our rescue. Not only sarees, but also items like matches, soap, dhal, chilies etc were made available to us at cheap rates. There was a practice, once a month to meet at Nanking Hotel, Fort.

Once our dinner went on till 12 midnight. Each teacher had to make speech. Later, we shifted our café and proceeded to Havelock road Modern Chinese Café. Danton Dabrera who had been nursing an injured leg led the party and a few were arguing loudly about some matter. That was the day of the Royal Thomian. The café proprietor mistook us for drunkards and refused entry. It was only when Aileen Anderson came , that the proprietor apologized. The writer wishes to say a word about the present position at Wesley. The new Principal Dr. Shanti Mc Lelland, himself, an old boy, an outstanding athlete and hockey wizard, in a very short time, was able to win the confidence of former teachers and old boys, in our country, and also abroad, to help in the development of the school. He is indeed a go- getter. Let us all rally round him.


 

6th January 2011

Some Schoolboy Memories of Bunny Taylor

Bunny Taylor in 2008 - Toronto, Canada

Hi Nihal,
          I was at Wesley from 1957 until I emigrated to the UK in 1967. Participated in every extra curricular activity except cricket ... Edmund Dissanayake kicked me out after my first day of practice as I tried to bowl and hit Fredrick Forster in the face as he was taking the Mick out of me.
  Edmund said that I should stick to Rugby and track & field. He was always concerned about my quick temper which got me into hot water all the time.  He is a great roll model and I am extremely fond of him & Haig Karunaratne who turned a mischievous guy like me into an actor.
Bunny

Characters of my day:
Boys: Without a doubt it was
Peter Christy (now known as Peter Casiechitty) - for his acid comments
Donald De Silva – for all the tricks and mischief he got into
Tuan Campball – for his generosity
Shanthi Mclelland – for getting involved in anything that was going at the time
Cassim Carder – for all the extra curricular activities outside the gates of Wesley

Teachers:
Edmund Dissanayake – for his calm & patients in putting up with us.
Van Sanden – for his strict demeanor (the only teacher I was scared of)
Haig Karunaratne – for his lackadaisical attitude, which worked well with us

Which was the crucial match:
Being a Rugby player the match we played against Trinity College at Campbell Park in 1967. Glen Van Langenberg Captained Trinity and Shee hung Captained Wesley.

Glen ran over the sideline and scored a try, I did not tackle him as if I did I would have given away a penalty in our 25 yard line … but the linesman who was a Wesleyite (shall mention no names) did not raise his flag and the try was awarded … giving Trinity a 3 Nil victory over us.

The most important Concert:
Matheo Falcone, Haig karunaratne made actors out of many mischievous boys who would have never considered acting, including myself who played the lead role … this play took us to the Lionel wednt theater for the Ceylon schools drama competition final.

The most inspirational lesson or teacher:
Without a doubt Haig karunaratne was the most inspirational teacher who could make me do things I never wanted to.
The most inspirational lesson – was when Shelton Weerasinghe told me never to shun
The junior boys who ran up to shake my hand or pat me on the back, even though they dirtied my starched white shirt and trousers with their dirty little hands. As we sportsmen were their hero’s

Which old boys from your era went on to achieve greatness
Raja Jayasuria who played hockey for Ceylon but was the most humble person. Many have achieved recognition and status within the communities they live in now. Which include my dear friends Shee Hung, Shanthi Mclelland (Principal of Wesley) too many to mention.

What made your school days special?
My friends and all the sports I participated in and all the mischievous and harmless fun
We indulged in…. like trying to blow up Cyril Fernando’s room in the hostel.


 

30th January 2011

An interesting anecdote from my schooldays by Prof Mahroof Ismail

Prof Mahroof Ismail

Dear Nihal,

The year was 1949 and there was a drama contest at Wesley among  the various literary unions. The Tamil Literary Union produced a play directed by Ajward Saleem. On the day of the dre