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the Editor carry the full name and address of the writer, even if it has to
appear under a pseudonym. This applies to all email letters as well.
Country before dollars and not dollars before country
It is interesting to learn how patriotic our Sri Lankan expatriates are who are
concerned not only about the road to prosperity of their motherland but also
about matters, inter alia, our cricket. There have been many good suggestions
published in our media for the uplifting and betterment of our image
internationally. About the Indian Premier League scandal several interested
expatriates had written and had been published in the media blasting Mahela
under various captions like ‘Mahela - that’s simply not cricket’ etc, etc.
He has, very well spelled out the entire truth of the episode. This is, without
any doubt, the correct view of every cricket-loving citizen of our nation. If
not for cricket Mahela’s name would never have become a household name. The fame
and the colossal amount of money he has earned to lead a very comfortable and
luxurious life has been because of cricket, which should not be forgotten. He
should not forget his humble beginnings. It should be country before self and
not money before country. He should know to be patriotic and is mature enough to
be more disciplined.
He is all out for greener pastures like our politicians. Well it is obvious that
he is out for the extra millions in dollars, being not at all satisfied what he
has already earned from cricket. How can he suggest seriously in postponing an
important tour, which has been already scheduled and ratified by the ICC. Is he
a decision maker or a high official of the cricket world’s governing body the
ICC having a say to dictate to them. They should reprimand and fine him for the
desperate unfair request made to reschedule the tour. They should even seriously
think of banning him from Test cricket for his selfishness and greediness for a
couple of millions of dollars.
As far as his cricket is concerned he was nurtured and groomed to be in this
class that he is in. There are enough and more youngsters who are talented but
kept in the doldrums who are lingering in the wilderness as the ageing
cricketers are not willing to quit and call it a day to pave the way for the
budding youngsters. Many deserving talented cricketers have quit prematurely as
the veterans are playing for nearly two decades. Some of them still find
contracts to play for tournaments abroad for money. Sanath Jayasuriya and Vaas
played for the All-Stars combined team in the Hong-Kong Sixes. Both had
confessed that they are resting and not participating in the ODI series against
Zimbabwe. Why don’t they quit once and for all. They lack gratuity and dignity.
Coming back to Mahela, the end result of this dispute and issue would further
diminish his popularity among the cricketing fraternity of this country which is
already is at a low ebb. If he so much interested in collecting a fistful of
dollars he might as well quit and play exclusively for the Indian Premier
League. He cannot have the cake and at the same time eat it?
Please acknowledge donations
Many Sri Lankans residing in Victoria, Australia, who I met have expressed their
disappointment that they have made donations to several charitable institutions
in Sri Lanka, elder’s homes, orphanages, handicapped children’s homes, schools,
etc. These institutions have written to them to make donations to keep their
Having sent donations to these institutions, donors are clueless of their
contributions. Once they have received these funds by money orders, bank drafts,
cheques, etc. that is the end, they do not have the common courtesy to
acknowledge receipt of these donations sent promptly.
Several Sri Lankans living in Australia who had generously contributed towards
the rehabilitation of the 2004 tsunami disaster are too disappointed and angry
that their generosity did not reach the needy. They collected money clothes,
food items, medicines, building materials, beds, tents, etc. but have found to
their horror that these items had not reached the people they were meant for.
It is very important that these charitable institutions should remember that to
get continued assistance, they should be in close touch with the donors and
forward their annual progress reports, etc and acknowledge promptly any money or
kind sent from abroad.
Perhaps this letter may catch the eye of these institutions.
F.A. Rodringo Sathianathen
What happened to the proposed cancer hospital?
About three to four years ago, there was much hype of building a cancer hospital
in the background of the premature death of the brother of a well-liked
cricketer who had died of cancer. There was much sympathy to the young man and
many millions were contributed. I was virtually forced to make a contribution in
the air while on a flight from London to Colombo although I mentioned that the
institution I was working for already made a handsome contribution. Since
nothing is heard. I wonder whatever happened to this useful project! I have
enquired from many cricketers and those involved with cricket administration and
only managed to evoke a laugh. It will be interesting to know -
(1) How much was collected, and from whom
(2) Was the collection and disbursement of funds done employing due diligence
under conditions of transparency
(3) Where is the hospital due to come up
(4) Has the project been approved and supervised by the Health Ministry
This is a good matter for the Press to take up particularly in view of
corruption charges being hurled against each other by many involved with Sri
Lanka Cricket. A formal statement will be in the interest of the public.
Antics of politicians to threaten the Police
The front page of the Island of 19.11.2008 carries a prominent headline, “I will
remove your trousers’. According to this report these words have been uttered to
threaten a policeman who was performing his duty in the Parliament premises by
no less than a parliamentarian himself. He had been coming out from a ‘Serene’
sitting of the ‘august’ assembly where the language used is ‘parliamentary’ and
not from a fish market, gambling den, toddy tavern or brothel.
From my experience as a Senior police officer for thirty years, the threatening
of police officers by politicians in this country began during the “Ape Anduwa’
time of the fifties - the time I too joined the service.
During this time there were several incidents reported to Police Headquarters
where pavement hawkers had threatened to remove the ‘coats’ or ‘buttons’ of
constables who were trying to keep order on the pavements. There were several
politicians too who made such threats. But when a senior minister referred to
the police as ‘polis ballo’, there was quite a stir in the Police particularly
among the lower ranks. When this was brought to the notice of Prime Minister
Bandaranaike by the IGP the, former is supposed to have laughed and remarked, “I
say Abeykoon, just ignore the fellows..... they are worse than dogs!” Banda was
a master at smoothening out ruffled situations.
The Oxford educated aristocrat had at about this time already been embarrassed
by a similar happening at the Colombo General Hospital. A government MP had
stormed into the operating theatre when an eminent surgeon was at work.
The MP had wanted to be with the patient a supporter of his when he was being
operated on. Suppressing his annoyance, the surgeon had casually removed his
surgical coat, given it to the MP and walked out of the theatre.
The stunned idiot of an MP had run behind the surgeon, apologised to him
profusely and slunk away meekly.
Fortunately SWRD did not have to deal with a situation where an MP had
threatened to remove the trousers of a police constable. With the occasional
ribald wit that the Prime Minister had a reputation for he would surely have
reacted with a guffaw and an apt comment loaded with innuendo that would even
have tickled hardened policemen to laughter.
Policemen, as all know, are quite used to all manner of threats and insults from
the social super breed of men and women called politicians. They are often
addressed both in harsh and in civil language. They are even referred to as
rogues or dogs. But the irony is that politicians cannot be without them. They
want them in their houses, in their offices, when they travel and even to
accompany their wives and children. There have been female politicians who even
developed intimate relationships with them! But one doubts very much, whether
any woman politician will ever threaten to remove the trousers of a policeman in
A pertinent question readers of this news item will be asking themselves is, why
did the MP threaten to remove the officer’s trousers and not his tunic or
buttons. After all it is the upper portion of the uniform that bears the
insignia of office and not the trousers.
As someone who for thirty years endured the nonsensical, boorish behaviour of
politicians, my advice to the Police is not to take the jokers seriously. The
country is starved of entertainment and thankfully plenty of it keeps on coming
by courtesy of the honourable members of the ‘circus of clowns’!
Regarding the full page news item appearing in the latest issue of the Nation
paper, I, as a layman, cannot understand how urine can cure diseases because it
is excreted from the body as a waste product/toxic. According to Dr. Anthony, it
is number one cure for cancer and if it is so, why shouldn’t the Maharagama
Cancer Hospital make use of Urotherapy. Can any oncologist or anyone comment on
the Doctor’s claim which for me sounds incredible!
Cricket was called a ‘gentleman’s game’ in the good old days. It was played for
the sake of playing and for the fun of it. Cricketers went broke playing the
game. Nevertheless, the players and the spectators enjoyed the game. The
cricketers were happy and contended and were respected and admired. Even after
they were no more they were remembered and respected.
That is no more. Cricket today is commercialised. It is now a profession which
brings in a lot money to the players and the administrators. Cricket is highly
competitive and the players have to ‘do everything possible’, including
cheating, to win the game. If a catch is grounded or if you nick the ball to the
wicket keeper, you should not own it up but wait for the umpire’s decision and
if the decision is wrong, keep silent. What matters is the win that brings in
million of dollars. Cricket presently demands strength and unruliness as against
grace and gentlemanly ways that was expected in the past.
Cricketers today rarely play for the country. They play for money. Bowlers
attempt to break the heads of the batsmen more than the wickets. Intimidating
tactics are considered virtues that bring in wealth, Sledging, abusing, growling
on and off the field expose the emergence of uncultured and ungentlemanly
behaviour among the players. Drugs and unconventional methods have been used
illegally for performance enhancement. Cricket has become a bookmakers paradise
with the players lending active support.
The Australian team is guilty of having introduced body-line bowling and rough
tactics to the game in 1921 when playing England. That has since enveloped the
game of cricket fully - a tragedy no doubt.
Some umpires have been racist or colour biased or simply biased, as a result of
which cricket has been the loser. Standards have fallen.
Spectators turn abusive, cast insults, hurl battles and other objects at the
players, battle players and spread ill-will. Players fear to lose matches.
A defeat will not only be a financial loss but also may result in facing the
danger of bodily harm or having their home razed to the ground.
Cricket, or any other sport today, does not create goodwi1l between nations and
amongst the players as modern values in sport revolve around money. They
sometimes lead to orgies of hatred.
Mahela Jayawardena and some of our cricketers opting to play for money than for
the country have therefore to be viewed in the context of the present day
Coming to the cancelled tour, we should have selected a national team, dropping
those who cannot play for the country. We may have lost the matches to start
with but would have set a healthy precedent and played the leisurely game of
cricket as should be played. That would have been a good investment for the
future serving as deterrents as well.
Upali S. Jayasekera
Academic Degrees, professorship and national honours
The letter by Mr. Edward Gunawardena on the above subject published in ‘The
Nation’ (November 9, 2008) is worthy of note and most welcome at this juncture.
Every statement that he has made in his letter is, in my view/opinion, true and
cannot be challenged or disputed by any honest right thinking person.
That it is the Universities and not the countries that award degrees is ‘sine
qua non’ for every one to know. I would ,however, like to point out a small
anomaly here: to’ illustrate this point at the time our batch qualified as
doctors (1958) there was only one Medical Faculty of the University of Ceylon
and we were awarded the degree MBBS (Ceylon) which we wrote against our names.
Since then there has been a ‘proliferation’ of Medical Faculties in Ceylon (now
known as Sri Lanka). So I totally agree with Mr. Gunawardena that doctors’ names
appearing with the degree MBBS (Sri Lanka) is incorrect and that the name of
that University in “Sri Lanka that granted the MBBS degree should be specified
as for example NEBS (University Colombo). MBBS (University Peradeniya) MBBS
(University Jaffna) etc.I am by following this principle, as pointed out by Mr.
Gunawardena, that “those with degrees from dubious or unrecognised Universities
or other educational institutes can be found out.”
It might be pertinent to point out here that even in the case of postgraduate
medical qualifications, until quite recently, were awarded by different Colleges
such as the Royal College of Surgeons of England (that is the FRCS (England) or
the corresponding Royal College of Edinburgh (that is FRCS Edinburgh) or that of
Glasgow (that is FRCS Glasgow) or Ireland (that is PRCS Ireland). Likewise the
same thing applies to post graduate qualifications in Medicine, to mention the
Membership of the Royal College of Physicians of London or Edinburgh, Glasgow or
Ireland that is MRCP (London), MRCP (Edinburgh) MRCP (Glasgow) and the MRCF
However, in the case of Obstetrics and Gynecology, even today, there is only one
Royal College. If Obstetricians and Gynecologists in the whole of Great Britain
and so when writing his/her qualification as MRCOG (Gt. Brit), FRCOG (Gt. Brit.)
or just simply MRCOG! FRCOG makes little or no difference unlike in the case of
Medical or Surgical postgraduate qualifications!
I would rather not elaborate on what Mr. Gunawardena has stated on the award of
national honours except to state Verb-sap - the Latin abbreviation for “Verbum –
Sapiens” which means “a word to the wise is enough”!
Prof. M. Sivastiriya
Tribute to Gamini Senadhira Sports editor and a gentleman
It would have been with profound grief, deep sorrow and shock when all those who
knew Gamini Senadhira heard about his sudden demise a few days ago. To most of
them it would have been a real shock, as they would not have known that he was
taking treatment for a prolonged illness, which he kept as a secret. He was
reluctant to worry his close associates, as he was a real gentleman. He divulged
his grave illness only to a handful of friends and colleagues that he was taking
native treatment. The native doctor who treated him had promised 100 percent
that he could be cured. He had complete confidence in him. He told me, as a
subordinate, the correct stand of his illness and his progress at intervals. He
was 64 years old at the time of his death, a product of St.Benedict’s
College,Kotahena. He opened batting with famous Ranjit Fernando with distinction
and later played club cricket.
He was my mentor who taught me the basics of journalism particularly about
sports, cricket in general. I met him through sheer accident. In the year 2002 I
sent a fax requesting him to rectify a small mistake published in the Sunday
Leader sports page. When I called him he wanted me to come and see him. He
politely accepted the mistake made by another subordinate and made a plea to me
to forget about it as he cannot embarrass a brother journalist and asked me
whether I would like to join the Sunday Leader as a free lance sports
journalist. He only had a chat with me and my C.V. was not even read. By then he
had already got the approval from the Managing Director. He possessed a dynamic
personality and unique attributes taking correct instant decisions at most
Gamini Senadhira had been in the sports arena as a Sports Editor for nearly four
decades having worked for many popular newspapers. He had been at the Sunday
Leader since its inception. In addition to performing his duties as the Sports
Editor he voluntarily shouldered other duties like administration and transport
and at all times worked tirelessly with dedication and sacrifice to the
institute. He delegated authority to precision and gauged the capabilities and
talents of his subordinates. He worked in the institution in unison with the
entire staff and made it a cohesive unit
. He not only had a close rapport with all employees at The Leader Publications
Ltd. but also with all Editors of all other newspapers and earned respect from
all. His pleasing disposition to the staff and also to all journalists in
general endeared him to win a large circle of friends. He always tried his best
to comply with reasonable requests made even by strangers in carrying stories
having substance. Anyone who needed his help had very easy access to him. He was
very punctual and never made hollow promises .The void left through his demise
cannot be easily filled. The Managing Director and the Editor of his employer
will mostly feel it. His demise is very irreparable to his wife, two sons,
grandchildren and the in-laws as he was very attached to his family, which was
everything to him.
May the turf lie softly on his soul!
Only in humour?
Streets that meet
Titles that befit
List of shame
Kidnapping brethren for a “homeland”
Sports like terrorism
Sends one round the bend.
Irene de Silva
Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Vianney Fernando
His guidance and contributions are immense
His Lordship Bishop Joseph Vianney Fernando, Bishop of Kandy, celebrated the
Silver Jubilee of his Episcopal Ordination on the 21st of May, 2008 at the Kandy
Cathedral where he had spent ten years as the Vicar General and prior to that as
a schoolboy at the adjacent premises of St. Sylvester’s College. The birth of
St. Anthony’s College Kandy in 1854, took place at these very same premises and
prospered for 74 years before moving to its present home at Katugastota.
Many appreciations and tributes were written and published during and after the
Episcopal Silver Jubilee highlighting the spiritual, intellectual and humane
achievements of this wonderful servant of God, Bishop Vianney Fernando. This
reflection however is to set down the huge role of influence His Lordship has
had on the growth and sustenance of St. Anthony’s College Kandy and to express
gratitude and appreciation of all Antonians, young and old.
Initially it was as Vicar General for the Diocese of Kandy that the then Rev.
Fr. Vianney Fernando began his association with St. Anthony’s College. Those
were turbulent times when the then Bishop of Kandy was compelled to hand over
the educational section of this institute to the Government. As this was a
unique situation, it demanded extraordinary measures to be set in place for
future governance, and Rev. Fr. Vianney Fernando had a role to play in
structuring an administrative policy between the Government and Church. Nearly
thirty years on, these policies are still in force resulting in St. Anthony’s
College being the only Government Boys’ school that has continued to have a
Catholic Priest as its Principal.
It must also be said that even prior to his ordination as a priest, two very
prominent Antonian personalities were the influential forces behind his chosen
vocation. His mentor was Rev. Fr. Lawrence Hyde osb, the first Principal of St.
Anthony’s College after the shift to Katugastota, who was also an Old Antonian.
Then the great builder at the Katugastota premises, Rev. Fr. Theophane
Wickramarathne osb, was responsible for sending him to the seminary to become a
priest. The fact that he was consecrated Bishop at the grounds of St. Anthony’s
College was a fitting tribute to these two very Revered Priests.
After his Episcopal Ordination in 1983, Bishop Vianney, by virtue of his
capacity as Bishop of Kandy, became the overall Church authority in the joint
management of St. Anthony’s College with powers to appoint or remove the
Principal in conjunction with the Ministry of Education. Dubbed the “Gentle
Giant of Kandy”, he has built a solid base over the last twenty-five years for a
satisfactory administrative process between all parties involved in running the
school, commanding respect from all.
The Old Boys’ Associations of College have found him to be their guiding-hand in
all matters. The Colombo Branch of the OBA in particular, has worked very
closely with His Lordship who is also the Patron of the Association. Despite his
many commitments in Sri Lanka and abroad, he has always found the time to meet
with delegates of the Association and give ear to their suggestions and
proposals or even grievances and advice or support them accordingly. The OBA
(Colombo Branch) has played a vital role in the development of infrastructure
and facilities for the young Antonians, none of which would have been possible
without the guidance and support of His Lordship, Bishop Vianney Fernando.
In 2004, when the College celebrated its milestone of 150 years, he was a major
source of encouragement to the Principal, staff, students and old boys, being
involved from the inception in planning and setting out an appropriate programme
of events and being present at all of them. His guidance and contributions were
also great attributes in the successful production of the ‘Sesquicentennial
Publication’ by the Colombo Branch.
In appreciation of the major contributions he has made to the success of both
our Association and our Alma Mater, the Colombo Branch of the OBA has arranged a
‘Thanksgiving Service’ to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of his Episcopal
Ordination, at St. Theresa’s Church Thimbirigasyaya on December 1, at 6:30 p.m.