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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
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
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
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!!!
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
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
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
May he rest in peace!
Volleyball player - military man –
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