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Letters


Readers please note it is essential that all Letters to 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.
 

The GLF meant for English writers

I read with interest your article on “GLF-for the middle aged and fat?”
One point you wish to make is that the GLF has not done enough to encourage young Sri Lankan writers from not-so-privileged backgrounds.

Well my point is that most Sri Lankans from not-so-privileged backgrounds who have attended Government schools, some private schools and Universities cannot speak or write English properly. In some cases English is non-existent. This is due to the shortage of teachers and University lecturers who can teach good English. First, we must train our teachers to teach our students properly before the GLF can encourage them in any way. The GLF would only interest people whose English language skills are of a high standard.

Another point I wish to make is that the GLF is meant for English writers and not Sinhala or Tamil writers. The Sinhala and Tamil writers can organise another festival for themselves if they wish to do so.

I have never participated at a GLF, but I strongly feel that Sri Lankan English standards need to improve from the school level onwards and that can only be done when the country has good English teachers. By spending three days at the GLF once a year is not going to help.

The “Sinhala only” attitude is still prevalent in this country even among the younger generation. This is mostly true of University graduates. There is absolutely no hope at all for English in this country with such attitudes. That is why people who can speak good English and are professionally qualified are going overseas.

Niranjan Bandaranayake

****

                                                                                           Tribute

Dawn of a new era for Musaeus

“Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it.” The significance of carrying out one’s respective duties precisely has once been highlighted in this manner by the world’s greatest leader ever, Abraham Lincoln. In the present world, where hasty fulfilment of a task has taken precedence over accurate fulfilment, the existence of perfectionists is indeed phenomenal.

Musaeus College, one of the leading Buddhist girls’ schools in the country, has had the rare opportunity of possessing such a paragon of supreme accuracy and efficiency for forty two years. Musaeus is now at the dawn of a new era, as Mrs. Stella Dandeniya has just taken over as the new Principal with her incredible experience of forty-two years behind her.

Mrs. Dandeniya has begun her career at Musaeus College on the 10th of May in 1966. She has then been a fresh young graduate from the University of Peradeniya who would have surely been brimming with enthusiasm to impart the valuable knowledge she had gained from her tertiary education. The many words of appreciation from the students who have passed through her hands provide testimony to the fact that the sweet fragrance of her excellence in teaching had wafted in all directions.

Even though I do not fall into the latter, I had the opportunity of associating closely with this personality who is indeed of a rare calibre, during my tenure of office as the School Captain as she is the patroness of the Prefects’ Committee. Despite the fact that she was the Deputy Principal and was not taking any classes then, her keen interest in indulging herself in imparting her knowledge by any means was quite evident to us. It was from her that we learnt to treat every new encounter as an opportunity to gain new knowledge, as every new experience is a different learning experience from her perspective. This special characteristic would have undoubtedly enabled her to acquire the numerous accolades that she has received throughout her career.

Due to her commitment and dedication in moulding the characters of her students as a teacher, she was appointed as the Sectional Head of the Commerce and Arts sections in the Advanced Level classes in 1981. In 1984 she was promoted to the position of the Vice Principal and later the Deputy Principal. A unique feature in her career which can scarcely be seen in one’s career is rendering her services in a single institution for many decades. The importance of her long term experience as a teacher, a Sectional Head, an assistant to the Principal, a Vice Principal and a Deputy Principal was quite apparent to us when we had to organise various events in school. Since she herself is a perfectionist in the true and larger sense of the word, she was extremely keen in guiding and leading us to fulfil any task we undertook to meticulous perfection. Mrs. Dandeniya is renowned as a strict disciplinarian. She strictly believes that every student must be brought up to adhere to the morals, the values and the ethics.

Nevertheless she maintained an excellent rapport with the students. We were able to approach her with any of our problems and we were bound to receive the best possible solution. It was during my term of office that I realised that this eminent personality also possesses a remarkable artistic soul. Having worked with Professor Sarathchandra in her University days and having reached the climax of her aesthetic talents by involving herself in his drama Singhabahu, she contributes magnanimously to enrich the cultural and the artistic values among the students. Her vibrant knowledge pertaining to arts and culture made it possible for us to organise such functions at very high standards. Thus she works her way through untiringly to give an all-round education to every student who walks through those portals into the care of Mother Musaeus.

Years pass by, times change, thousands walk through those historic portals, but the mission of Musaeus remains unchanged, as solid as ever, to mould the characters of the young girls and to produce true Sinhala Buddhist ladies. Mother Musaeus as always anticipates Musaues to flourish, to cherish the Sinhala Buddhist values and ethics and to go from strength to strength for many more years.
A personality who has dedicated nearly two thirds of her life to make Musaeus realise this goal and to achieve this mission has just taken over. It is our fervent belief that Musaeus will be secure in her hands and prosper more and more.

A dream so sweet did Mother Musaeus dream,
Of a future so grand with a radiant beam,
Most promptly did she swell with rapture,
As her dream fulfilled with supreme splendour
Madam Dandeniya, we wish you all the very best from the depth of our hearts. May you have the strength and courage to guide Musaues along the path of success, victory and triumph!!!

Neranja Gunawardena
School Captain
2005/2006

****

                                                                                    Appreciations

Stanley Fernando

Lawyer and Tax Consultant

Mr. Stanley Fernando was born in 1928 and he had his secondary education at Holy Cross College, Kalutara. Thereafter he entered the University of Ceylon and read for a degree in English and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree. He was, for a short time, an Assistant Commissioner of Agrarian Services. After graduation he joined the Law College and passed out as an Advocate of the Supreme Court in 1957 and thereafter joined the Department of Inland Revenue. 

He followed a course in Income Tax Law at the Inland Revenue Office in the United Kingdom and was awarded a Diploma. Mr. Fernando was a Lecturer and Examiner in Tax Law at the Sri Lanka Law College and Faculty of Law, University of Colombo. He is also a Founder Member and Fellow of the Sri Lanka Institute of Taxation. He has also written several articles on Taxation, namely, Judicial Review in Taxation, Uncommon Tax Cases, Admissibility of Evidence Illegally Obtained in Tax Investigations, which have been published in several journals, and is the author of Tax Forum in Business Today.   He has successfully argued a number of Tax Appeals before the Board of Review and the Court of Appeal which have been reported in the Sri Lanka Law Reports and in the Sri Lanka Tax Reports.  His writings to various journals on Tax matters are still read with interest.

Mr. Fernando after obtaining a degree from the University lectured in  several schools and colleges and with that income he supplemented the family budget and helped his two younger brothers to complete their education. He supervised their studies. He was like a father to his younger siblings. A stern disciplinarian he brooked no nonsense and was outspoken. He was a good tennis player and took part in tournaments and won many trophies.  He was honest, hard working and a man of integrity.  Throughout the years he supervised, guided and disciplined his five sons who are all professionally qualified and who are now married and hold responsible posts in the Private Sector.

Mr. Fernando’s eldest son is an Accountant and Dr. Suresh and Trinesh are Attorneys-at Law, while Hemesh and Nimesh also obtained professional qualifications in IT and Marketing 

I persuaded him to resign from the Public Service and practice as a Tax Lawyer. By dint of hard work he built up a substantial tax practice and became one of the leading Tax Consultants. He had a good heart and helped friends and relations. He was always accessible to law students and litigants alike. Stanley and myself completed 50 years in the profession and were felicitated by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka at a dinner at Blue Waters Hotel after the National Law Conference.

His demise is a great loss not only to his family but to the legal profession.   He was, above all, a caring Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother and Friend. We thank the Lord for his life, his lectures, his writing and his advice over the years. 
     
May he rest in peace!      
Anton Fernando

****

Dr. L.D.C.Gunawardhana

Volleyball player - military man – veterinarian

Sixty years ago, the seventh grade teacher surveyed all around his class, pointed his extended index finger at a perplexed boy and declared,” You will be the class leader for this year, come to the front.”

He did come to the front. He stayed in the front for the next three score and ten years. That was L. Don Chandrapala Gunawardhana who was conveniently addressed “Eldeecee“ because his initials were LDC and also of the presence of another namesake in the class.

As an adolescent leader he was focused on his tasks, friendly with his peers and fun to be with. The boy evolved into a busy personality. In the winning school volleyball team he was an aggressive player. At the College Rifle Club he was a sure marksman. Those were the halcyon days of Ananda College, Colombo where the students competed with the British military personnel stationed in the island and triumphantly brought trophies repeatedly under their gold and maroon flags fluttering high up in the Maradana sky.

It was a foregone conclusion that after he left school, he would join the military. While at Ananda College, Eldeecee imbibed the best from his illustrious teachers who included Meththananda, Karunananda, Weeraratne, Manivasagan and Reverand Vacissara.
The unquenching thirst for challenges made him quit the military to proceed abroad in search of higher academic and professional education. He immersed intensely in his studies and graduated as a Veterinary Surgeon.

Dr. Gunawardhana returned home. The veterinarian hanged his shingle. He was an instant success. He maintained his focus and moved to the front line in his chosen profession. With Nandani, his loving wife he raised his family at Gampaha, the abode of his respected ancestors among whom was his father, the philanthropic Vidana Arachchi who was reputed to have come forward to accommodate the hostel students of Ananda College, Colombo when they found no place to go as their residential buildings were overnight acquired by the British military during the Second World War. The military person in the veterinarian was delighted when his only son followed the dad to render much needed security services to Sri Lanka and the young gallant officer brought home the Rana Sura Padakkama (RSP).

After a brief illness, Dr. L.D.C.Gunawardhana expired and his mortal remains were cremated at Kasagahawatte Cemetery,

Gampaha on Sunday, December 28, 2008.
Dear Eldeecee, my seventh grade buddy,
May you attain Nibbana!
A.A.W. Amarasinghe, MD,
Consultant Psychiatrist, Atlanta, USA

****

 

 

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