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Felicitation of STC teachers – A joyful evening
“Joy and woe are woven fine a clothing for the soul divine,” were William
Shakespeare’s words several hundred years ago.
Amongst several threads of woe, a single gold thread of joy was there to be
woven for the clothing of the heart and soul divine of the Thomian teachers who
had retired several decades ago. The same gold thread went through that clothing
of several hundred old Thomians who were present on December 4, 2007, at
Sasakawa Hall, Colombo 3.
The chief guest was none other than our illustrious old scholar Minister G.L.
Peiris, for whom I happened to be the class teacher in 1958 in his 5th Form (JSC).
Professor Peiris gave a memorable speech, as usual; philosophic and quite
relevant to the occasion. I was anxious to remind him what we witnessed at the
dinner he hosted on his 13th birthday for the staff including Canon R. S. De
Saram, whom we still remember as one of the best wardens we ever had.
As we entered G.L.’s Panadura residence we were surprised to see a van full of
ice cream surrounded by hundreds of less fortunate children of his neighbourhood.
(May be that was the first step towards his political career). Unfortunately
Professor Peiris had to leave the party early to attend to his ministerial work
and I was unable to bring back his memories.
This historic occasion was filled with eloquent speeches from Kala Suri Arisen
Ahubudu, Dr. David Ponniah, Frank Jayasinghe, Mandawela, Coperahewa and a few
This great idea of felicitating the old teachers of STC, I think, originated at
Sriyan Jayasekera’s residence during a conversation Sriyan held with his friends
G.Y. De Silva, Kesaralal and several other fellow Thomians. It was the day
before our most respected headmaster of STC, D.S. Jayasekera departed from us. I
was eavesdropping and heard them discussing about felicitating the retired
teachers who are still living.
This idea went deep into my heart and mind as I am also one such retired teacher
waiting for my transfer to another world, may be in a few years. I am sure this
great event will postpone that day of transfer by a few more years for all old
teachers. These old Thomians of the DSA Group Era had organised this
felicitation event extremely well, in true Thomian spirit. They had spent
several hundred hours of their precious time and monies I believe, to organise
this event to such perfection.
We teachers were all given equal treatment and very valuable presents to be
taken home for sharing with our family members too, until Christmas time. The
most valuable part of it was the providing of transport to each and every
teacher utilising the old students living close to their homes to transport them
to the hotel and back. The same old students, not only drove back the teachers
to their homes, but also they were willing porters of the teachers to carry the
heavy presents. So heavy were they that none of us old teachers would have been
able to lift them by ourselves.
Last of all we have to thank these loyal old students heartily. Thomian teachers
have done their duty, I think, by sending out to the world such grateful ones.
This night was quite an enjoyable one even without drinks of the hard type
showing the perfect student-teacher relationship from start to end, remembering
and reviving old doings and happenings at STC during their service. Thus, they
enjoyed themselves thoroughly throughout.
Let’s hope all other schools will follow this example and make year 2008 which
has been named as the ‘Year of Good Customs’ a success and make this country a
better place to live. Well done, DSA Era Group of STC Mt. Lavinia.
W. G. Sugathadasa
Pomposity of the ignorant
Newspapers gave prominence to a lawyer who proposed the impeachment of the
incumbent President for what was construed as his failure to appoint the
Constitutional Council. The Organisation of Professional Associations slammed
the President for his failure to do it, for they argued that the failure would
not ensure good governance and opened the door to corruption. A Sunday paper
also accused him of having embezzled tsunami contributions when he was Prime
Minister . The Supreme Court held otherwise, castigating the paper and the
journalist for her article captioned “Helping Hambantota.” The Constitutional
Council nominates public figures to fill the prestigious posts but the
appointment is in the hands of the President. Article 41 A clause (e) leaves it
to the discretion of the President to appoint or not. Article 32 clause (3)
distinctly says that the President “shall not be liable for any breach of the
privileges of Parliament.”
In the presumptuous letter ‘State of the Nation’ the writer says “President
Rajapaksa has no power to make direct appointments to either the independent
commissions or the Supreme Court.”
A well known subterfuge of journalists, who know fully well that readers do not
have ready reference to the Constitution and will gulp the lie. Article 33 cause
(d) says that the Chief Justice and other judges of the Supreme Court can be
appointed by the President. The paper in its usual strain of confusing and
befuddling its readers trots out a canard involving the seniority of the
appointees. Seniority is of no importance. The President appoints the best man
to his knowledge. He wants good honest men to help him in the perilous journey
of governance. That is why he appointed his trustworthy blood relatives. It was
not nepotism, unlike the first UNP government that earned the nick name’ Unge
Nathayonge Paksaya which harboured the first Minister to demand a commission on
a purchase of a trawler for the Fisheries Department. He got off scot -free.
Transfers and placements in top posts should remain in the hands of the
President or else his governance will be hindered.
To ensure good governance the President should be free to make appointments and
he has the right to choose men he will want near him and not others.
Right of reply
Letter from Chairman, BOI
We have received the following letter dated April 24, 2008 from
Dhammika Perera, Chairman and Director General BOI, with a copy to the Attorney
General, in relation to Article titled, ‘AG checkmated! – BOI Chairman calls the
bluff’, published in The Nation on April 20, 2008.
With reference to your article, on the above title, published on April 20th,
2008 in The Nation, “First of all, I would like to categorically state that, the
Board of Investment and the Attorney General’s Department are working closely,
with regard to the matters referred to in the article, under reference.
The Attorney General’s Department is an independent Department, which advises
the Government and other statutory Institutions, on all legal matters.
The Affidavit to be filed by me, was prepared by the Attorney General’s
Department, based on the observations, submitted by the BOI and I categorically
deny that, any attempt has been made to pressurise me, to have any material,
included therein, against my wishes.
I further state that, there was no attempt made by the officials of the Attorney
General’s Department, to suppress any material from Court, as insinuated in the
It would appreciate, if the same publicity and prominence, that has been given
to your news item, is given to this letter, as well.”
We stand by the facts in our news report, which we had obtained from reliable
sources, at BOI and Attorney General’s Department. The above letter apparently
drafted by either the Legal Officers of BOI or the Attorney General’s
Department, admits that, the Affidavit for BOI Chairman to sign had, in fact,
been prepared by the Attorney General’s Department, as had been reported by us.
If the Affidavit has already been prepared, then what is the delay, in the BOI
Chairman signing the same?
Our Court Reporter informs that, the Attorney General’s Department has filed a
Motion, dated February 19, 2008 requesting four weeks time, to file the
Affidavit of the BOI Chairman. Attorney General’s Department, by a further
Motion dated March 18, 2008 has required further time, till March 28, 2008, to
file the Affidavit of the BOI Chairman. The BOI Chairman’s Affidavit has still
not been filed even up to April 30, 2008. Would this not, disclose that, there
is some problem, as was reported by us, with the Attorney General’s Department,
unable to get the BOI Chairman, to sign the Affidavit, which as per the above
letter, had already been prepared!
On the other hand, Chairman Ports Authority Saliya Wickramasuriya, has not
denied our news report, which concerned him also. Ports Authority sources inform
that, the Chairman has protested to the Attorney General’s Department, and has
informed higher authorities of having to sign Affidavit, prepared by the
Attorney General’s Department. Ashantha De Mel, Chairman Petroleum Corporation
has also not denied our report, but had informed the Petitioner, Vasudeva
Nanayakkara that, he had signed the Affidavit, without reading the contents in
good faith, since it had been prepared by the Attorney General’s Department.
The BOI Staff, who had been pressurised during the past, to grant special
favours, have now started ‘spilling the beans’, disclosing shockingly, how the
BOI had been run in the past, causing major losses to state revenues, with
special concessions, granted to certain parties. One such shocking disclosure
made to ‘The Nation’ is that, the BOI Approval granted to Lanka IOC, has
included concessions for businesses, such as, “automatic car wash, car service,
departmental stores, internet cafes, ATMs, food courts, etc”, as per the BOI
Agreement dated December 5, 2002 signed with Lanka IOC !
Open letter to the Postmaster General
It is understood that the you as the Actg. Postmaster General,
whilst presiding at a meeting of the postal staff, had charged that “Certain
postal officers who failed to put things right in the past when they were in
service, are now writing to the print media criticising the postal services.”
Having been a postal employee and as one who writes to the print media, I wish
to clear the air not only with regard to unfair and thoughtless remarks but also
to project the factual position over the present state of the postal services
especially because you are new to the post and therefore not conversant with the
postal administration and operations and also as your knowledge of the history
of the post is apparently limited, and you have had a wrong start.
You catapulted to the post as a result of a conspiracy hatched to oust your
predecessor. False allegations were brought against your predecessor by certain
trade union leaders (he may perhaps claim damages from those trade unionists)
and a strike was engineered, the culmination of which was the removal of your
predecessor, to make way for you.
You are perhaps unaware that I, in my letters published in the print media,
disproved the allegations. No one has so far challenged the facts put forward by
me. You too have been silent. Then again two committees that inquired into the
allegations have cleared your predecessor of corrupt practice or misdemeanour.
Will you deny that? What steps have you taken on those reports? Will you deny
that a misleading report was sent to the Public Service Commission?
Nevertheless an innocent officer, your predecessor, continues to be under a
cloud whilst the corrupt, inefficient and backboneless rule the roost, one of
the reasons why postal standards are on the decline and corruption and
dishonesty have been institutionalised. During the time I was in service, the
postal standards were very much higher. Not that there were no shortcomings.
Public complaints were promptly acknowledged, and clarifications were either
issued or remedial action was taken, and the complainants were replied.
The ministry secretaries and the postmasters general were honest, upright,
dignified and were impartial administrators. Some of the names that come to my
mind are A.R.M. Jayawardena, A.B. Damunupola, A.L. Perera, D.F. Balahenadra,
Christy Silva, S.M.S. Jayasiri, Austin Fernando, Asoka Gunasekera and W.A.R.P.
Ranasinghe. They stand tall among the others. They did not tolerate dishonesty,
corruption and indiscipline. Favouritism and discrimination were unknown to
The trade unions then did not protect wrong-doers. They fought against
corruption and indiscipline. Trade unions opened files for certain officials and
documented their irregularities, even covering their trips abroad. A certain top
official had misused his position to send air mail letters abroad to his friends
on ‘postal service.’ He was trapped but without writing to the press, the
Ministry was written to with documentary proof. Within a week he was out of the
Department. Today the Ministry Secretary who is involved in such an irregularity
continues to be in service. Sad, isn’t it?
A certain PMG who forwarded wrong reports and occupied departmental quarters in
Colombo when he owned a house in Colombo along with certain other irregularities
was reported with documentary proof and out he went. An Acting PMG who misused
vehicles and when reported with documentary evidence was sent out. These are
only a few.
We did not have postmasters general who were involved in the award of unlawful
tenders. We did not have postmasters general who forwarded misleading reports or
defied Public Service Commission orders. We did not have postmasters general who
suppressed inquiries against officers and recommended them for promotion. These
were no postmasters general who recommended those who had disciplinary cases
pending against them, for promotion to staff grade. We did not have delays to
examinations circularised, not holding the examinations for two to three years,
extending the date of closing through invalid circulars and that too on forged
or wrong signatures.
Will you agree to probe into the questionable competitive examination for
promotion to the grade of asst. superintendent, applications for which were
called by Circular No.1812004 dated November 11, 2004 under the signature of the
ministry secretary which had the closing date of applications as December 10,
2004, but which date was extended to August 2, 2006 by a circular dated July 26,
2006 and No. 11/20/890/204(06) issued under the signature of DPMG
(Administration), when the DPMG had no authority to extend the date, whilst the
signature of the DPMG (admin) is suspect?
It is also rumoured that certain applicants whose applications had been
entertained were not entitled to sit the examination – which too needs to be
The post of postmaster general is not a SLAS post. However, when H.E.
Seneviratne, the PMG retired, the only Asst. PMG, Mr. W.S.A. Gunasekera declined
the appointment as PMG. That resulted in a SLAS officer being posted as a
stop-gap measure and D.G. Dayaratne was the first SLAS officer to occupy the
post. Thereafter the SLAS used its influence to keep the post under their grip.
Nevertheless the Attorney General has since ruled that the post of PMG is not a
SLAS post. I am therefore of the view that your being appointed to the post is
against the Attorney General’s ruling. It will not be long for the postal
workers to realise that and rise against the “foreign occupation of their
territory.” I challenge you, Mr. Acting Postmaster General, to disprove what I
Upali S. Jayasekera
Ven. Olande Ananda as I see him
A Dutch by birth graduated in Sociology came to India in search of reality of
life in late 1960s was destined to meet a charming but erudite Bhikkhu during a
journey. It is (lay name) ........ who after receiving ordination from Ven.
Davuldena Gnanissara Thera the Supreme Prelate of the Amarapura Maha Nikaya on
September 21, 1975 is widely known as Olande Ananda who was born on January 2,
1948 completes his 60th birthday toady.
Yen. Olande Ananda has been serving the Buddhist community in Sri Lanka for many
years. For people who lead busy lives many of them being professionals, his
Asapuva is a heaven of peace which brings a sense of tranquility through quite
Nidh2naYzva pavatt±raYz, yaYz passe vajjadassinaYz;
niggayhav±diYz medh±viYz, t±disaYz pa01itaYz bhaje;
t±disaYz bhajam±nassa, seyyo hoti na p±piyo.
“Should one see a wise man, who, like a revealer of treasure, points out faults
and reproves; let one associate with such a wise person; it will be better, not
worse, for him who associates with such a one.”
The association with Yen. Olande Ananda Thera helped me to learn the Dhamma as
well as the practice of Samatha and Vipassana, which help experience the reality
as it is. He is wise and treasure of the Dhamma, he points out the difficulties
of the meditation practitioner. It will be very helpful to get succeed in the
practice and understanding of the Dhamma.
He advices people who come to him for guidance to refrain from unwholesome
activities, spiritual development, who wishes to attain higher level of Arya
Magga, he instills great virtues such as Metta, Karuna, Muditha and Uppekka in
order to establish and maintain interpersonal relations among people of
different groups ... that is to make a peace loving society, he gives them the
sense of distinguish good and bad particularly in terms of five precepts (Pancha
Sila) in the correct way as it has been misinterpreted from a negative point of
view by many; he shows sympathy towards everyone with loving kindness; what is
not heard and see, he makes to hear and see. He gives new knowledge to those who
seeks; What is heard of, he corrects, purifies and clarifies.
SantaYz tassa manaYz hoti, sant± v±c± ca kamma ca;
sammadafifi± vimuttassa, upasantassa t±dino.
“Calm is his mind, calm is his speech, calm is his action, who, rightly knowing,
is wholly freed, perfectly peaceful, and equipoise.”
I see in him the above statement in the Dhammapada which I put in my words as;
“Ven. Ananda leads people to look inward into their own thoughts and often
erratic ways. His quiet voice throughout the meditation session gives the
strength and courage to reach out to tranquility of mind. He also leads Dhamma
discussions which are very flexible allowing the practitioners to as any
question that may come to their minds. He invites all participants to give their
own views so that there is a rich exchange of views and opinions. This is a
refreshing aspect that one misses in normal Dhamma sermons. His wide knowledge
of the Dhamma is evident in the erudite view he expresses simply in analyzing
aspects of the Buddha’s teachings”.
However he does all this in a very kind manner that inspires everyone to seek
further knowledge and to practice what they listen to. All in all his
contribution to improve the Dhamma knowledge and practice of meditation help
people to better understanding of the reality. The guided mediation classes
conducted by Yen. Ananda has been well recognised by people immensely as it
inculcates a new mental discipline for life in general and further for attaining
higher level. The simple introductory classes given before the meditation
session helps understand one’s own attitudes which in turn help develop good
mental disposition. In his method of guiding, he starts with the practice of
Metta Bhavana, then switches to samatha and ends with Vipassana. His method is
gradual process which is simple and easy to practice.
He teaches various aspects of Buddhism through his own experiences and various
traditions like Mahayana, Tibetan. He is very simple with a vast knowledge of
philosophies and practices of different religions. Dhamma talks are well put
together and informative as well as useful to everyday life.
He is very practical but disciplined.
His calm, simple bearing, down to earth manners and the way in which he answers
Dhamma questions as only one who has truly practiced the teachings of the Buddha
M±se m±se sahassena, yo yajetha sataYz samaYz;
ekafica bh±vitatt±naYz, muhuttamapi p3jaye;
s±yeva p3jan±seyyo, yafice vassasataYz hutaYz.
“Though, month after month with a thousand, one should make an offering for
hundred years, yet, if, only for a moment, one should honour (a saint) who has
perfected himself,-that honour is, indeed, better than a century of sacrifices.”
Thus I take this opportunity to record my sincere wish to a great Bhikkhu Ven
Olande Ananda Thera on his sixtieth birth anniversary. May he have good health.
Bhikkhu Andhra Dhammika
Islamic inheritance laws flouted
Today, Muslim elders seeking alms and assistance, has reached
unusual proportions to the shame of the society, because the inheritance laws
laid down by Allah are not followed. The Prophet (pbuh) said that the first
knowledge that will be lost among his followers will be that of inheritance and
therefore, urged us to study this. It looks as if the time has come when we are
ignorant of the Islamic laws of inheritance, at all.
How many of us know that it is not permitted to write off one’s whole property
to the children, while one is still alive? Certain Imams have said it is haram
(prohibited) to do so. Today, parents write off all their property and
therefore, have to depend on the children, who often maltreat them or treat them
as if they are doing the parents a favour. The respect due to parents is also
lost because of this.
How many of us know that when a man/woman dies, his/her parents inherit part of
his/her property? The Quran orders us that “for parents a sixth share of the
inheritance to each, if the deceased left children.” (Sura 4: verse 11) That is
1/3rd of the property should go to the parents if both are living! This amount
need not even be bequeathed, automatically this share goes to the parents.
Today, no one leaves any share to the parents, and the children, along with
their spouses, take the whole lot. Parents, who toiled to bring up their
children, are often left destitute.
Islamic laws are made by Allah, and He knows our qualities better than us! If we
follow them, we can eradicate many of the evils within society, today.
Anyone who wishes to know of the laws of inheritance, could obtain a booklet on
this subject, published by Almuslimaath, by calling them on 2736577.
Dr. Mrs. Mareena Thaha Reffai
My Mother - Emma Kumarasinghe
Monumental patience, sacrificial nature, of true motherhood ways, I
recall down memory lane, since my happy childhood days,
A devout Buddhist, unquestionable boundless integrity
The fragrance of humility, embodiment of simplicity.
Numerous silent benefactions at Mallikaramaya ‘n Dharmagaweshi Youthful zeal
tremendous commitment, punctual was she
Helped needy generously, expecting nothing purely for charity
Like a fountain quenching thirst, to me a celebrity.
Each day with courage you left in us, lasting impressions,
Never failed social duties epitome of war mannerisms
A guiding star radiating values, a ray of dignity,
My mother, rare calibre, exemplary lovable, noble personality.
Undying nostalgic memories engulfed in my lonesome aching heart, Par excellence
you played the seven stages effortless warm at heart, You tenderly, graciously,
sprinkled filial admiration
Extraordinary grandma lost to the next generation.
Bowing to death’s calling naturally, so peacefully,
But, still I feel your unstrained smile greeting me cheerfully Filial affection
a symbol of unmatched boundless unique love Virtuous minstrel angel overflowing
with super maternal love
Soaring in your humble heart FORGIVENESS ‘n TOGETHERNESS Imprinted in the sands
of time, your righteousness.
We know, you lovingly nurtured ten of us to be
We all owe you that gratitude, as it should be)
Never did ill winds of any kind embitter our lives, Unknown unheard miles apart
There’s a feeling you’re everywhere with us far ‘n near, peaceful May your
samsaric sojourn be ever cheerful!
In my solitude, my daily prayers, I’ve an undying wish To be born, be under your
wings, my one ‘n only wish
By virtue of myriad meritorious deeds performed in Sansara May my loving mother
attain the supreme bliss, Nirvana.
Dare to forget!
Mentors and murderers stood the test
Of Scotland Yard and what ex-Tiger Karuna confessed!
We will rise from the ashes
We will fight in the Indian Ocean
As we simply dare not forget
Mrs. Irene de Silva