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Old 09-02-10, 12:09 PM
sriyanjay sriyanjay is offline
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Default The Eton of Ceylon

On Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 1:33 AM, Dilsiri Dassanaike wrote:

Dear Milinda,

The BBC as usual has got it all wrong!!! This is not surprising at all as they appear to be getting everything wrong about Sri Lanka in the recent past. The Eton of Ceylon and now Sri Lanka was and still is S.Thomas' College Mt. Lavinia. The founder of S.Thomas', The Rt. Rev. James Chapman D.D, born 1799 (a distinguished Etonian himself) the first bishop of Colombo of the Church of Ceylon had a vision. It was indeed to conceive and give birth to a school in Ceylon on the absolute traditions of that great school in England, Eton. Consequently, on his arrival in Ceylon, he gave birth to his dream in 1851 and went about making his dream an actuality. The rest is history!

Whilst Royal is indeed a great and highly rated educational institution, with tremendous traditions and is about 15yrs older than STC, lets get our facts right.

1. Royal is a government funded school.

2. It never was referred to as Eton because it is predominantly a buddhist school and had no connections to Eton whatsoever.

3. Royal now has in excess of 8500 students and if I remember correctly it was the late president H.E. J.R. Jayawardena himself who referred to his
alma mater as "Royal Village." (Private schools like Eton and STC as a rule and indeed a tradition have a very much smaller attendance).

4. STC is a predominantly christian school although many non christians have attended and will continue to attend this wonderful school and one of the pride and joys of STC is that all denominations have and will continue to enjoy this great academic institution as brothers, as we all did.

5. STC is a privately funded school and is also part of the constitution of Sri Lanka.

6. Isn't it absolutely mind boggling, has been and will continue to do so that, more than 8500 students still cannot get the better of us 2300 students. This is an approximately 4:1 ratio advantage to Royal. They still can't do it??????

7. It is indeed clear that whilst Royalist pride themselves in the learning of books, etc. we at STC pride ourselves in a more rounded education ie books, sports and above all, "being men and gentlemen always." This is indeed a Thomian tradition.

8. The creme a la creme is that, the present warden of STC(The Rev. John Charles Puddefoot M.A.(Oxon) B.D.) an absolute scholar, is himself an ETONIAN!!! Need I say more!

In conclusion, I would say that all reporting must be absolutely accurate, otherwise the truth is distorted. To Charles Haviland of the BBC I say

The only Eton of Sri Lanka has and will always remain S.Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia Sri Lanka. I also say to him, please do visit our website,


Dilsiri Dassanaike
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Old 09-02-10, 12:24 PM
sriyanjay sriyanjay is offline
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Default The Eton of Ceylon

...this must surely rank as the authoritative word on the subject...

'fait accompli'


• Government interest in Higher Education took concrete shape with the formation of the Schools Commission (1834) and he instituted the First Government School in the Island- THE COLOMBO ACADEMY.

FOUNDER of Colombo Academy 1834.

Sir Robert Wilmot Horton (Governor of Ceylon) 1831-1837
Sir Robert Wilmot Horton, Baronet (B.A.) was born on 21st December 1784. Educated at Eton College and Christchurch College, Oxford. Member of Parliament for Newcastle (1818-1830) Under Secretary of State for Colonies (1821) in the Liberal Government of Lord Liverpool. Knighted on 22nd June 1831. Governor of Ceylon 1831 to October, 1837. Resigned as Governor an year before his term expired. He succeeded to the Baronetcy on the death of his father Sir Robert Wilmot. Governor Horton died on 31st May 1841 at Sudbury Park England.
Sir Wilmot's wife Anne Beatrix-according accounts was one of the most beautiful women of that time had a poem written about her by Lord Byron. The first few lines of "SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY"
She walks in beauty, like the Night,
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that's best of dark and bright,
Meets in her aspect, and her eyes.

Sir Robert Wilmot (Jr.) was the only son of Sir Robert Wilmot, Baronet of Asmaston in Derbyshire by his first wife Juliane Elizabeth, second daughter of Hon. James Byron. Sir Robert Wilmot (Jr.) married Anne Beatrix, eldest daughter of Eusebius Horton of Catton, Derbyshire. Anne Beatrix the beautiful heiress was a cousin of Lord Byron the famous Poet. Sir Robert Wilmot assumed the name Horton by Royal licence on 8th May 1807 in compliance with the Last Will of his farther-in-law. M.Wilmot, Horton's half-brother by his father's first wife was in the Ceylon Civil Service before Horton's arrival as Governor. He served as Government Agent Southern Province. Horton's cousin E.P.Wilmot was a District Judge.

Governor Horton, a liberal according to the standards at that time, originated many new measures recommended by the Colebroke-Cameron Commission. These included :
• Inauguration of Ceylon's First Legislative Council and Executive Committee (all nominated by the Governor). The first meeting of the Unofficial Legislative Council is dated 1st October 1833 presided by the Governor Sir William Horton.
• Abolished Compulsory Labour - abandoning Governments claims to free service.
• Right to private property and temples were left untouched.
• Abolished government's monopoly of the Cinnamon Trade (1833) (which came down from Dutch times).
• He ruled that Moors and Malabars (Tmails) had the right to own houses and land in Fort & Pettah (forbidden earlier by the Dutch).
• Started the First Newspaper (Colombo Journal) published in 1832.
• Started the FIRST MAIL COACH in Asia-the passenger and Postal Service to Kandy (earlier carriage was by palanquin and Bullock Carts).

• Government interest in Higher Education took concrete shape with the formation of the Schools Commission (1834) and he instituted the First Government School in the Island- THE COLOMBO ACADEMY.

• Ceylon Savings Bank established.
• Cricket Club formed in Colombo (1832).

Sir Robert Wilmot Horton was a great statesman, who made his mark in England particularly on the question of emigration of the poor of the British Isles to the England Colonies in the North Americans and Southern Hemisphere. In Ceylon, there was only the Government Gazette to read, so the Governor started the "Colombo Journal" which was printed at the Government Press. Letters in this paper singed "Timon", "Liber" and "pro Bono Publico" were from Sir Horton's pen. He also wrote Political letters in 1832/33 under the pen name "Philalethes".

The converting of Marsh's Private Hill Street Academy to a Government School was solely due to the efforts of Sir Wilmot Horton. He paid personal attention to the welfare of the school, promptly appointed a 2nd teacher from the Colonial Secretary's Office. He even attended the First Examination held at the Academy on 29th June 1837 some time before his premature retirement from Ceylon later that year

Royalists PAST & PRESENT owe a debt of gratitude to His excellency Sir Robert Wilmot Horton a founder of our college.


Reverned Joseph Marsh (1835-1838)
"Other may be celebrated…. but the name of Marsh as having developed the genius of this country,…as having in fact been instrumental in causing the permenent welfare of the island…while millions yet unknown will lisp his name with glowing lips and hearts thrilling with gratitude… may the almighty be with him."
Rev. Joseph Marsh, M.A. (Edinburgh). Born 1803 at Bonsall, Derbyshire, England. Died 2nd February 1839 at sea off cape of good hope Colony (now South Africa) Headmaster, Hill Street Private Academy in 1835.
Headmaster Colombo Academy 1836 to December 1838. Mathematics and Classical Tutor at Church Missionary Society Cotta, Actg. Colonial Chaplain, St. Paul's Church Colombo, January 1835.

Secretary schools Commission July 1835 to 1836. Secretary friend in Need Society Colombo (Patron H.E. the Governor). Marsh arrived in Colombo in 1831 from Madras.

A Scotsman who set the seal for what we are today-the FIRST PUBLIC SCHOOL IN SRI LANKA AMONGST EQUALS.
With his appointment as Acting Colonial Chaplain of St. Paul's Church Colombo, he started a Private Academy to educate the children of the Upper Classes in January 1835. When the residents of Colombo noticed the good work done at the Private School, they petitioned the Governor His Excellency Sir William Horton to establish a school to be operated by Government, and with a lower scale of fees, so as to allow the majority of young men in Colombo to gain the benefits of good education.

Governor Horton converted Marsh's Private Academy to the Colombo Academy to the Colombo Academy in January 1836 and made Rev. Marsh Headmaser on a salary of £ 200 per annum (£16-13s-Od approx) Rs. 168/- per month on condition that fees would not be raised. Marsh according to accounts was a mild mannered Padre, who did not believe in Corporal punishment. As Secretary Schools Commission he received a salary of £ 8-8s-4d per month and £ 8-6s-8d per month as Secretary, Friend in Need Society.
Rev. Marsh started the :
• Library in January 1837
• The First school Magazine- "The Colombo Academy Miscellany & Juvenile Repository" in January 1837. (he was the Editor)
• A printing Press in 1837
• The First Prize Giving for the Colombo Academy was held in june 1837
• Mention is made of Cricket being played in 1838

Rev. Marsh's health had deteriorated badly during 1838 and he went abroad on leave. He died a few weeks after leaving Ceylon.
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Old 09-02-10, 01:01 PM
sriyanjay sriyanjay is offline
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Default The Eton of Ceylon

...and, while we may jump up and down with justifiable, Thomian fervour...the fact is, Baronet Sir Robert Wilmot Horton (Governor of Ceylon & Founder of The Colombo Academy = Royal College) is older than the worthy Rt. Rev. James Chapman (STC's revered founder) by more than a decade and was in Ceylon from 1831 to 1837 - 'Royal' was founded in 1834. (Chapman arrived in 1845 and founded STC in 1851 - as we well know).

AND - Horton was educated at Eton - and Oxford...

Bio: The Rt. Rev. James Chapman D.D. (born 1799 / died 1879) was the first Bishop of Colombo (Anglican), in Sri Lanka (then named Ceylon), serving from 1845 to 1861 He was a fellow of King's College, Cambridge and also attended Eton.

Doubtless The Colombo Academy was in the Eton mould and, being 'ahead of STC by 17 years, could well claim to be 'Etonian' in character.


David Sansoni
STC Mt. Lavinia
Stone House

Now then Sire David you have plunged the sword into our hearts!!!!!

Now what are we to make of Royal Bala, a foe who became a great mate now what –brother?!!!!

Great research and thanks for sharing…

Milroy Berenger

Phew! thanks chaps, very interesting! fantastic research of a colourful history!
David Franklin

...and the motto of Eton is esto perpetua and its colours are blue,black and blue?

Once during a visit to see that famous Eton school, as we stood staring at the stone quadrangle and the forbidding but grand buildings of the school, my wife pre-empted my thoughts and told me - "S.Thomas' is more beautiful".(it is one of the best things I have ever heard).

Inside the school, in a classroom where we sat and took photographs - those buggers had also carved their names extensively on the desks!

msp - Shavi Fernando.

Dear Sriyan,
I myself raised my eye brows when I saw the article in the papers referring to the BBC.

Has anyone actually met this Haviland guy and explained facts to him ?

Bertal Pinto Jayawardena.

Dear Bertal,

Read the accompanying mail.
I think Udaya should take this matter up.


Eton, Harrow, Royal or STC

It matters not the fruit we see

Test of the pudding is not

In the recipe (or name) but in the eating

Some go on forever in noble tradition

Others learn and depart - royal rendition

Some pray & work, others pray not work

Faith is the victory & others Scatter Light

Into Husbands saving them from the blind

Virtue & Truth – easy casualty of war & politics

Fruit of Knowledge & Virtue –

Latter more than former

Some Look to the End but

End doesn’t justify the means

Non Sibi Said Omnibus

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Old 09-02-10, 02:37 PM
sriyanjay sriyanjay is offline
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Default The Eton of Ceylon

Dear Sriyan,
I have also written a letter to the Editor of the Daily Financial Times over an inaccuracy that they, the Daily FT, had highlghted in a boxed area and reflected in the papers last Saturday.
They had stated that the RCU is the oldest such organisation in Sri Lanka.
The RCU kicked off in 1891 as per their own article and our OBA started in 1886.
This fact has been drawn to their attention.
I also shared that detail with Udaya, who is copied in on this mail.


On Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 1:55 AM, Deepal Ahangama <da.focsec@googlemail.com> wrote:

Hi Gents

I have spoken to the BBC and they confirmed that Charles Haviland is a freelance and they have no contact. I have to write to the complaints Dept to get a reaction. Will keep you all informed.

Esto Perpetua


Dear DJ

I have complained to the BBC regarding the inaccuracies of Charles Haviland's article. The problem is that Charles Haviland is a freelance writer and therefore the only way to bring it to their attention is by following the complaints procedure. For ease I have set it out step by step.

Should you wish to write to the BBC yourself just log into bbc.co.uk and at the bottom of the homepage it says complaints.
Click that and on the next page click - make a complaint on the left hand side.
Next page open the box and click - send a comment/tell you my views.
Next page click - BBC Newswatch Website.
Next page click - contact us link.
Next page click the icon - Website.
Next page click - General Comments.
Please note that the url for the story is -


Then add your comment/complaint.

Esto Perpetua

Deepal Ahangama

PS - I have forwarded Dilsiri Dassanaike's comments below to the BBC

On Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 6:47 PM, John Pearce <johnpearce9@gmail.com> wrote:

Well done Gents.

I too sent some details taken off Wiki.


Esto Perpetua

rom STC OBA <stcmloba@sltnet.lk>
to Sriyan Jayasekera <sriyanj@gmail.com>
cc mohan@rockland.lk,
Bertal Pinto Jayawardena <bertal@janashakthi.com>,
date Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 12:24 AM
subject RE: ...having said that...

Dear Gentlemen,

Bertal thank you for keeping me informed.. I will take necessary steps with this regard. Gentlemen I would be grateful if you’ll could give me further proof on this regard.

Hope to see you all at the AGM, OBA Lunch and Garden Party..

Thanking you

Esto Perpetua

Udaya Gunaratna

Hony. Secretary



Oldest Schools in Sri Lanka

03 / 17 / 2014
Posted by: Richie Sappideen
Following shows the oldest schools in Sri Lanka, updated as at 16th March 2014. Source: Wikipedia.

Last edited by sriyanj; 03-03-16 at 04:47 PM.
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Old 10-02-10, 07:34 AM
sriyanjay sriyanjay is offline
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Default STC vs. Royal..."Esto Perpetua"; "Floreat Etona"; "Disce Aut Discede"; "We scatter Li

Dear Friends: Seniors, Colleagues, Pedagogues...Gentlemen:

The text of my message is:

Psalm 133
1Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

2It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;

3As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.


The 'ether' is a-zure(!!) with...'Chauvanism'...almost...as voice after voice demands to be heard, in "defence" of our "Alma Mater's" (STC's) so-called unique 'Etonian' character, viewed as being "challenged" by the content of a report by one Charles Haviland of the BBC. (All of us (now) know what he has written).

Some phrases of note:

A) Dear Bertal, Read the accompanying mail. I think Udaya should take this matter up.Regards, Sriyan.

B) Dear Sriyan, I myself raised my eye brows when I saw the article in the papers referring to the BBC. Has anyone actually met this Haviland guy and explained facts to him ?

C) Dear Gentlemen, Bertal thank you for keeping me informed.. I will take necessary steps with this regard. Gentlemen I would be grateful if you’ll could give me further proof on this regard. Thanking you / Esto Perpetua / Udaya Gunaratna, Hony. Secretary, STC ML OBA

D) In conclusion, I would say that all reporting must be absolutely accurate, otherwise the truth is distorted. To Charles Haviland of the BBC I say

The only Eton of Sri Lanka has and will always remain S.Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia Sri Lanka. I also say to him, please do visit our website,


Dilsiri Dassanaike

Stirring stuff, to be sure.

In reference to B) above - in particular the key word: facts

Here are a few relevant facts - as far as may be ascertained!!:

Sir Robert Wilmot Horton (Governor of Ceylon) was the founder of The Colombo Academy (1834)...Royal College, from 1881. Governor Horton was educated at Eton and was Bishop Chapman's senior by over 10 years.

Rt. Rev. James Chapman was the founder of STC (1851) - as we well know. Bishop Chapman was educated at Eton

The College of St Thomas the Apostle, popularly known as "St. Thomas' College" and "S.Thomas'College", is a private Anglican school providing primary and secondary education in Sri Lanka. It has a very long list of distinguished former pupils, including four former Prime Ministers of Sri Lanka.[1] and has claimed to be one of the most magnificent schools in Sri Lanka.[2]

"What I conclude on behalf of S. Thomas' is that year in year out, she has sent out into every walk of public life so many men not necessarily born with the advantage of wealth & influence, not too well endowed with the enviable gift of superior intellect but nevertheless decent men who marry decent wives and by their own endeavors set up decent homes: men who will stand firm against the bogus doctrines which emerge from time to time in the life of every nation: men who stand for common sense, integrity, courage and faith in the tradition of liberty and fair play"
—Hon. Justice E.F.N. Gratiaen
The Royal College of Colombo (commonly known as Royal College) was founded in January 1835. It is considered to be the leading Public School in Sri Lanka.[1] The oldest public school in the country,[2] it is a National School, as such it is funded by the central government as opposed to the provincial council providing both primary and secondary education. Royal College is often referred to as the Eton of Sri Lanka[3] and it was selected as one of best innovative colleges in the world by Microsoft in 2009.[4]

Royal College has produced many distinguished alumni, including Presidents of two countries, a Sultan, and three Prime Ministers.

Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent boarding school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor".[1]

It is located in Eton, near Windsor in England, north of Windsor Castle, and is one of the original nine English public schools as defined by the Public Schools Act 1868.

It has a very long list of distinguished former pupils, including eighteen former prime ministers. Traditionally, Eton has been referred to as "the chief nurse of England's statesmen",[2] and has been described as the most famous public school in the world.[3] Early in the 20th century, a historian of Eton wrote "No other school can claim to have sent forth such a cohort of distinguished figures to make their mark on the world".[4]

Most of Eton’s 1300 students enter the school at age 13
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __

It appears the protagonists for the 'argument' that STC is the only "Eton" today, base their claim on the fact that Royal:

- is a Government-funded School,

- with over 8000 students on roll

- resembling more a "Village" than an 'College'

while STC - Esto Perpetua Pro Deo et Ecclesia - was, is and always will be a Christian, Church, fee-levying School, with a much smaller number on roll.

If a school's "Etonian" quality (...and, do we know what that is?) is to be measured by:

a) who funds it

b) how many attend it

c) to what extent does it differ from a "village"

...should we be even interested?

I commend to all of you, the 'heart' of Warden Puddefoot, given voice in his inaugural address:

"When in ten, twenty, thirty, forty years one of my successors stands at this lectern – perhaps it will be one of you – and reflects as I have done on this legacy, a legacy that we will define over the immediate future, he – or could it be she? – will judge us by whether or not we succeeded in combining an education fit for the twenty-first century with the values encapsulated in the school song. And to achieve one without the other is simply not an option: to fit you all for an unimaginably technical world at the cost of Thomian compassion, fair-play, determination and grit would be to gain the world at the expense of the school’s soul; to preserve the school’s traditions and ethics but without allowing it to move forward in a way fit for purpose in the same technological world would be to preserve its soul but at the cost of turning its back on the richness of the world the Lord God has made; a richness that we see ever more abundantly in every generation.

In large measure Europe and the United States have given up on the hope that they might combine the “having” and the “being” of human existence, the material and the spiritual, but in Sri Lanka that is not the case, and we should therefore be asking ourselves whether a deep combination of spiritual value and material achievement is not something that Sri Lanka could export to the largely degenerate worlds of Europe and America. For make no mistake, whatever they may say, most of the educational systems in Europe and America have given up on the challenge to combine having and being, the material and the spiritual; and they are both the poorer for it.

It should go without saying that what is good for S. Thomas’ in the weaving together of the work of human hands and human minds is good for Sri Lanka and will play a major part in determining her future prosperity and her response to exactly the same challenge as faces us at S. Thomas’ College: how to move forward in a complex technological world without losing the characteristics of her people and her status as the “beautiful island”.

And I am after all in saying this really doing no more than reflecting in this twenty-first century on words that every Thomian knows by heart: that in the way we embrace technology we must be keen and wise as the serpent, and in preserving our traditions and the humanity they represent – a humanity that this world so badly needs – we must also be harmless as doves.

If we can build the foundations of your lives in a way that allows you, your country and our world to have all that technology can offer while also allowing you to be all that your traditions and the great heritage of this school puts at your disposal, then indeed you will eternally be able to thank S. Thomas’ College “for all you have and are”.

And, these empowering words (an extract from his poem, "Of Motto & Boast") from Dr. Lalith 'B.L.J.' Mendis, my contemporary and friend:

"Eton, Harrow, Royal or STC

It matters not; the fruit we see

Test of the pudding is not

In the recipe (or name) bu in the eating..."


With every good wish and great respect,

Esto Perpetua; pro Deo et Ecclesia

David Sansoni - STC, Mt. Lavinia; Stone House; 1960-1971
4th-generation Thomian; great-grandson of Sub-Warden G. Arndt; great-nephew of Acting Warden G. Arndt (my grandfather's brother); grandson of Warden Stone's Sub-Warden, L.A. Arndt Esq; nephew of LAHA, the legendary L A H Arndt - teacher in the De Saram / Davidson era; Rugby Coloursman
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Old 11-02-10, 05:11 AM
hirancooray hirancooray is offline
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Thumbs up The school motto

Well let see how this motto compares with Learn or Depart ?

The School Motto Eton’s motto is often thought to be Floreat Etona, which can be translated as “May Eton Flourish” or “Let Eton Flourish”; but Esto perpetua ("May it last forever") came into usage if anything a little earlier. In fact, neither phrase is officially a motto; they are unofficial creations that, over time, have stuck.
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Old 11-02-10, 06:50 PM
sriyanjay sriyanjay is offline
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From: Dilsiri Dassanaike <dilsiri@msn.com>
Date: Feb 9, 2010 7:47 PM
Subject: Re: ...having said that...
To: Sriyan Jayasekera <sriyanj@gmail.com>

David Sansoni,

I'm shocked and dismayed at your attitude! "jump up and down with Justifiable Thomian fervour"? Have you and did you take leave of your senses? You have not witnessed me exercising my "Thomian Fervour", however you have the audacity to refer to my statement as "Thomian Fervour". My statement was indeed more an unbiased, balanced statement of absolute facts and figures compiled with responsibility. You in your eagerness to prove a point, insulted the intellect of a fellow Thomian and indeed insulted the very alma mater that hopefully made you into "a man and a gentleman."
You had the added distinction of insulting two great human beings in Sir Robert Horton and the Rt. Rev. James Chapman D.D, when you, to prove a dismally poor point compared their ages," Sir Royal and S.Thomas'. Both Sir Robert and the Rt. Rev. James Chapman contributed not just to the respective Colleges but in total to Sri Lanka. Age is not a criterion. Whilst you may have missed the point, in your shocking display of a nonsensical statement, you have indeed agreed with me in total!!! (I hope you will have the intellect to sus that out!).
Communication, Is the the very fundamental of human behaviourism. Alas! The lack of it is quite apparent in the world now and hence many misunderstandings, both nationally and internationally have created untold misery to the human race. This is the very reason why the likes of you and I and many thousands more are sent to super great private educational institutions such as S. Thomas' to take advantage of its' enormous educational capabilities. With your given statement, you have "missed the boat," as they say. Communication is when one assimilates and digests and then totally understands the subject that one would communicate with and then provide objectives and or objective information to the relevant subject. Should you stray from the straight and narrow as you did, the entire statement becomes a nonsensical collection of garbage!
You should have read and now should re read my statement. For your benefit I quote from my statement as follows,"Royal is a great and highly rated educational institution................"
In the subsequent factual sheet, I carefully compare the very essence of a government funded educational institution and a privately funded educational institution. Every single one
of my eight facts is a factual statement of Government funded as opposed to private funded educational institutions. The advantages of a Thomian education is no more elaborately stated by HE the late J. R. Jayawardena, when he stated Royal is now a village and not a college. This statement has been quoted by me in fact #3, of my fact sheet. I'm sure he did hurt a great deal when he uttered those words about his alma mater. However, he knew it was the truth! To further my point, I will also inform you that the remarkable difference between Royal and S.Thomas' from their very inception is
a). Sir Robert Horton and the Rt. Rev. James Chapman's dreams and aspirations were originally similar, however, b) With the passage of time, in its 175 years, Royal lost its Etonian Character completely, as a government funded institution, whilst STC (159yrs) not only maintained, but advanced its true Etonian Character by pursuing a more rounded education and strengthening itsthe Thomian/Etonian age old relationship(the present warden is living proof ) which alas! Royal forfeited when it was converted to a government school. You would now understand that time scales do not matter.
In conclusion, as a member of a third generation Thomian family we boasts a Victoria gold medalist, the late A.C.'Boxer' Dassanaike and the priviledge of having an 'old girl' at STC the late Mrs. Kusuma Bandaratilleka (my late dad's sister) and a Head Master at STC Guru, my uncle the late Kingsley Dassanaike. Of course, as a graduate in economics and marketing and having five sons educated outside Sri Lanka and having lived, studied and worked in Europe(my last job in England was Marketing Manager BMW GB) and North America(now retired) for more than 30yrs, I can inform you that I have studied and compared the educational systems in both Europe and North America and can comfortably state that the educational system followed at STC is indeed second to none and in many an instance far superior to most. I now live in the city of Santa Clarita in Southern California and as the disciplinary situation in the schools in California has rock bottomed, I have on many an occasion redirected American parents to our STC web site. They have studied all aspects of the web site and are now using the STC concept as individual families to enlighten their children and strengthen discipline amongst them.
Finally you audaciously and arrogantly state that this will be the final word! That's a load of BS! my friend. Let me tell you I will decide when I stop, it is certainly not when you say it! Your obnoxious statements insulting the founding father of STC is by far vitriolic and your shameful mentality towards your own Alma Mater elevates you to the number 1 position in the hall of shame. I hope you have had a learning experience from the above.

Dilsiri Dassanaike
STC Prep and Mt. Lavinia
(1954-56) (1957-1968)
56years a Thomian.
Wood House.

NB. If I were to add the three generations of Thomians, I'm sure I will run out of gigabytes!

Dear Kari & Milroy,

Please see how best you could resolve this issue.( Dilsiri vs David)

Thanks Sriyan

from Milroy BERENGER <milroy.berenger@gmail.com>
to Sriyan Jayasekera <sriyanj@gmail.com>
date Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 2:33 AM
subject Re: ...having said that...


Could you have not given me an easier challenge?!!!!

However, difficult as it may seem now it has a lot of opportunity. It gives people an opportunity to bring our christian values and traditions to the fore. It gives us a public opportunity to live the best traditions of our school.

Differences of opinion are a normal part of life. Differences of opinion are a healthy aspect of life. Interpretation of historical fact can sometimes be an individual thing.

Opportunity abounds let us see how it pans out for the moment.

Keep the faith,


Dear Dilla,

With all sincerity, may I say I see no reason to get drawn into a debate on this issue when, in my perception, all those who have expressed thoughts on the BBC version have only sought eventually to emphasise the supreme stature of STC in producing men of integrity, strong values & character. Anything that would distract from this objective would be inimical to that cherished Institution which we all consider as the greatest of all.

Best Regards.


rom Ajit Jayasekera <ajitjay@gmail.com>
to "Sansoni, David" <David.Sansoni@hlag.com>
cc Fibre <fibre@mackwoods.com>,

Friends, Thomians, Gentlemen,

Let's put this another way - Eton is England's S.Thomas'. So, for Royal to be compared to Eton is an extension of the respect they have for S.Thomas'.
We should, therefore, Be Bloody Chuffed.


On Thu, Feb 11, 2010 at 4:44 AM,
Sansoni, David <David.Sansoni@hlag.com>

Dear Kari,

G'day Sir!

Thank you for your message.

I am particularly grateful to you for imparting to me an appreciation of a word quite unfamiliar to me. "Inimical". Thank you very much. Spoken in true Thomian (and dare I say, Etonian <smile>) spirit.

I would like to end with a beautiful line that was shared with me and which I hold dear to my heart...to be used on special occasions.

Oba veni shreyshta puthgalayan kihipa denek nisaa magey jeevithaya nisekavama mee peniyen pirilaa etha.

Esto Perpetua pro Deo et Ecclesia

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Old 11-02-10, 06:51 PM
sriyanjay sriyanjay is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,673

Dear Mr. Dassanaike,

Your email has been forwarded to me by Sriyan , via Milroy Berenger.

As a courtesy to them both, I have included them in this reply.

Thank you for your letter.

Sir, I have caused you pain and that was never my intention.

For the hurt I have caused, I tender an unqualified apology. I am sorry.

I am very pleased that you have 'made the connection' with:

A) 'Boxer' Dassanaike - a dear friend of my mother and father
B) Mrs Kusuma Bandaratilleka - my very much loved teacher

I wish you and your family, well.

Sincerely yours,

David Sansoni

Dear David,

I am truly flattered by your sentiment, it does warm my heart. You have in abundance all the pristine qualities of a true Thomian (notwithstanding that infamous grubber!). You have always been & will continue to be a sincere friend.

I am very sorry for the nasty remarks you had to endure. Making inflammatory remarks is nothing new for this classmate of ours. At one time or another during the past 20 years or so, even close friends like self, Ajit & YS have been at the receiving end of his outbursts. We don't take him seriously, neither should you.

May I humbly apologise on behalf of all other classmates for this totally uncalled for aberration.

Warmest regards.


P.S. Milroy - No more permission required my friend.

Brothers one and all,

One of the greatest resources we have under the OBA umbrella is a lively, intelligent and entertaining quorum.

Differences of opinion and expression are cause for celebration as they make us think, something some of us found a tad hard to do at STC!

Ajit and Kari (the latter used with permission!) thanks for providing us with two masterly strokes of wisdom on this matter.




date Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 4:47 PM

I'll 'pay that'...as we say over here! Salaam. David

From: Dilsiri Dassanaike
To: fibre Kooriya
Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2010 7:07 AM

Dear Kooriya,

What a surprise! I guess you didn't have a choice! Absolutely and with all sincerity may I say that I had no reason and never dreamt of getting drawn into a debate on this issue.(Read the first line of my email).I was the guy defending the truth!!! I totally agree, all those who did indeed express their thoughts(excluding this individual) not only did they emphasise the supreme stature of STC, but voiced their utter shock and dismay at this freelancer who indeed distorted the truth.

In fact Sriyan's action was absolutely spot on and we now know that this freelancer had no respect for any rules and regulations of a reporting agency like the BBC. This is a very poor reflection on the BBC! Believe you me, during my time in the UK large organizations had very strict rules and regulations and operating ethics which had to be adhered(freelancer or otherwise). Alas! that appears to be lackadaisical now!

Kooriya, you had the opportunity of reading my two email. However I will summarize for the benefit of all concerned.

1. On reading this report, I realised this report was totally untrue and consequently emailed my first account emphasising the true essence of the Thomian/Etonian relationship.

2. This individual having read my account, then decided to(it appears write anything) that entered his mind throwing in a few dates and names that really had only a secondary relationship to the bigger picture. This action of his started off a chain reaction from me.

3. It was quite apparent from his email that by deviating from the main issue and referring to names and dates he would 'out perform' anyone who defended the truth. In his first email he writes about Royal and Etonian character. He little realised that the Etonian aspirations of Royal died with the demise of Sir Robert and was totally buried when it was taken over by the government.I quote him," Doubtless The Colombo Academy was in the Eton mould, and being ahead of STC by 17years, could well claim to be Etonian." unquote. Is this guy NUTS? Because RC was 17yrs ahead of STC.............??? How could he write such garbage? It is not time scales that matter, it is indeed QUALITY that matter. This is common sense.

4. Knowing all the facts, this individual relentlessly continued his audicious, arrogant behavior when he, in his second email said that his statement should be the final authoritative statement?? "Fate Accompli"???? Translated this means "Fact Accomplished"!! Whose facts has he accomplished??
He then writes on 9th Feb. I quote," This must surely rank as the authoritative word on the subject." Whose authority? is it his!!! He has the audacity to make a statement of that nature having given his fellow Thomians incorrect information.

5. This individual must understand that all email may be subjected to scrutiny by all and sundry. Consequently subject matter therein must be absolutely accurate. He as an individual was hell bent on insulting the founding father of our great school and demeaning his alma mater for his own gain. Hence the GARBAGE!!

6. I take this opportunity in congratulating and wishing Sriyan(taking the lead) and the DSA group, all the very best in all there endeavors in uplifting our alma mater. Especially the wonderful gesture of felicitating all past tutorial staff of STC. What a magnanimous gesture. Sriyan I do follow your efforts very carefully.

More than 35yrs ago when I first went to England as a young man, I used to visit Aunty Kusuma Bandaratilleka at her home in Middlesex.
I accompanied her at times when she, as the chairperson of her church community would lead the discussions with the rest of the community. I was a listener and how proud I was. She would time and time again inform the various groups of people about our resplendant isle and that beautiful school by the sea, with strict disciplines, which had its heritage at Eton in England. She indeed was a Thomian much longer than anyone of us(28yrs) and how eloquently she communicated her point and held her audience in absolute awe! At that time I promised myself that I will continue her good work where ever I live. That is exactly what I'm doing now and have continued to do so for so many years. Then comes along an Individual trying his best to destroy all the good work! I say to all and sundry, you can try and disrupt my work, but I will for the sheer love of my school by the sea take you to task and I will be VICTORIOUS.



Dear Sriyan,

What a great outcome and what marvellous gentlemanly reactions.

Before we thank our school we must thank our families for sowing the seeds
of tolerance and patience in our minds.

David that was a wonderful response from you. It had all the standards and hallmarks
you aspire to in life.

What an opportunity and how you seized the moment!



Milroy Berenger
(O) 61 2 9258 5255 (H) 61 2 9908 4247
6A Undercliff St
Neutral Bay
NSW 2089
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Old 13-02-10, 11:22 PM
sriyanjay sriyanjay is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,673
Default Eton of Ceylon.

Dear Kari,
Thanks very much, everyone had behaved like true Thomians.
Best regards

Dear Mr. Sansoni,

Many thanks for your email. For unknown reasons Kari emailed me on this issue! copying same to Sriyan, Ajit, YS, and Milinda. Consequently, as a courtesy to them I have copied same. I accept your unqualified apology. It takes more than a "man and a gentleman" to apologise. To err is human, to apologise is divine! Thank you. Whilst the hurt was excruciating, the recovery will indeed be swift and satisfying. As the Sansoni's and the Dassanaike's have been age old family friends, let me host you when we next meet and let us enjoy and celebrate the longevity of our family friendship.

I wish you, your family and the DSA group a very happy, peaceful and prosperous 2010.


Dilsiri Dassanaike

G'day Kari!

It is noble of you and I am humbled.

And I was was truly pleased that he spoke of 'Boxer' Dassanaike. My Pater and Mater used to meet 'Boxer' in church, regularly. He was a good friend. And as for Mrs Kusuma Bandaratilleka...while so many dreaded her booming voice and D.I. Shoes(!!!), she had a heart of gold! I was genuinely fond of her and. No doubt, my 'status' as nephew of LAHA went a long way! It's not WHAT you know, but WHO you know! - as you WELL know!!! My Burgher parents used to use (lightheartedly) an English translation of a famous Sinhala saying...and it went like this: "KNOWING PEOPLE KNOW WHO ARE WE! THEY DON'T KNOW WE ARE WHO!!" (?!)

Oh! My goodness!! Here comes that 'grubber' again...back to haunt me!!!! Pakka form!

At first I thought that Mr Dassanaike was one of the two sons of Raja Dassanaike - Odeon Road. Remember them? But then I realised...they were a tad older, weren't they? And they were 'milder' and more 'temperate'...

Once again; greatly obliged.

Very good wishes.


Gentlemen at large and even larger than life, after a tipple or two or more…

We must thank the ‘young lad’ who has been the catalyst for this wonderful creation of genuine camaraderie across frontiers!

It has the hall marks of greatness achieved by just electing to turn the other cheek!

I guess we are all never too old to learn, to smile and of course to share our thoughts, feelings and views.



G'day Mate,
THAT's THE WHO! The younger son of Raja Dassanaike.

Dear Ajit,

Thank you.

I confess to some surprise...in that case...

Not to worry...all is well.

Thanks Mate!

Good wishes...blessings.


Today is the OBA / AGM and tomorrow is the Old Boys Lunch , Garden Party etc at Mount .

Esto Perpetua & Cheers David & Dilla ................. !!!


Dear Dilsiri,
Thank you.
Your good and wholesome wishes are heartily reciprocated.
David Sansoni

Dear Dilsiri,

Thanks very much for the great complement paid to me in organizing the Teachers Felicitation Ceremony.This was possible mainly because several old boys rallied round me.Your kind words are greatly appreciated and I am really encouraged by them.

With regard to the Eton issue two facts were highlighted. Firstly, every one of us who were involved in the exchange of e-mails and all the others who were very concerned displayed in small measure their Thomian spirit and behaved up to the expectations of our founder father.

All Thomians in diverse walks of life have not only learnt of Books & Men and how to play the game but also to be Gentlemen.S. Thomas’ College is therefore much more than just a school. It is an institution rich in tradition, characterized by nearly one and a half centuries of hard work, dedication and achievement, all imbibed with the legendary Thomian Spirit. A pioneering institution which has understood and nurtured the very best in youth; where mere boys went in and great men came out to be "men and gentlemen always" men who beat the odds with the legendary "Thomian grit" and gentlemen who up held the motto of the school - Esto Perpetua!

Here, I need not remind any one that our founder father modeled our beloved school on the lines of Eton of England regarded as the best public school in England.

On the other hand, Colombo Academy was started seventeen year earlier as stated by David Sansoni but the actual fact is that it was the converting of Marsh's Private Hill Street Academy to a Government School and was solely due to the efforts of Sir Wilmot Horton. If I remember the history correctly, this school was at St Sebastian Street, Hulftsdorf before they moved to the present location.

Reverend Joseph Marsh (1835-1838)
"Other may be celebrated…. but the name of Marsh as having developed the genius of this country,…as having in fact been instrumental in causing the permanent welfare of the island…while millions yet unknown will lisp his name with glowing lips and hearts thrilling with gratitude… may the almighty be with him." Rev. Joseph Marsh, M.A. (Edinburgh). Born 1803 at Bonsall, Derbyshire, England. Died 2nd February 1839 at sea off cape of good hope Colony (now South Africa) Headmaster, Hill Street Private Academy in 1835.Headmaster Colombo Academy 1836 to December 1838. Mathematics and Classical Tutor at Church Missionary Society Cotta, Actg. Colonial Chaplain, St. Paul's Church Colombo, January 1835.
Secretary schools Commission July 1835 to 1836. Secretary friend in Need Society Colombo (Patron H.E. the Governor). Marsh arrived in Colombo in 1831 from Madras.

Now gentlemen from the the above facts you could easily determine which school is Eton of Ceylon.

Secondly, names of three prominent teachers of our vintage were mentioned in the exchange of e-mails. One was Mrs Kusumar Bandaratileka and the other two Mr Festeus Mendis and Mr L.A.H Arndt. I am quiet sure if I am to make a request, to do an article about Mrs Bandaratileka, Dilsiri will gladly accomplish it.
I can still figure out Mrs Bandaratileka rushing in to the lower school block, usually with the morning bell with a Tennis racket tucked under her armpit in her customary leather shoes. In connection with the other two legendary teachers I am sure Milroy and David will oblige.

Finally I wish to state that about seventy five had gone through our e-mails with regard to the Eton episode and all of them could be seen by clicking on the following lines.


Thanks very much
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Old 14-02-10, 05:20 PM
sriyanjay sriyanjay is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,673
Default Another eton you say? My foot


Dear members,

This is what appeared in the LAKBIMANEWS of today.The Editor beyond an iota of doubt explained which school is the Eton of Ceylon. However, to all Royalist it must be said that we have been rivals yet friends over the years. We have known each other's weakness and strength. We also have many traditions in common and there is no S.Thomas' without Royal. However, the only public school modeled on the lines of Eton and having the best campus out of all public schools in the world is, I believe, S.Thomas' Mount Lavinia.

Esto Perpetua


Since this column began a couple of years ago it has recorded the many haps and mishaps in our society and abroad.
That is what it was intended to be and that is what it will be. We have commented on the political aberrations that we have witnessed here and elsewhere.
We have had our say on the efforts of sections of the international community and international organizations to tell us what we should do in our country and how they expect us to conduct ourselves as though we were still some distant part of their colonial empire.

All this was being said and done while they themselves were behaving elsewhere in a manner unbecoming of such preachers of moral righteousness.
We have said quite unambiguously what we think of those efforts by outsiders to poke their dirty fingers into our affairs without first cleaning their several fingers that would do with a damned good scrub.
Why, we have referred often to the antics of the foreign media-western to be exact- as they tried with the usual twisting and turning of the facts to malign this country before the world.
It was just the other day that we wrote about our old friend Jeremy Page of the Times of London who delved into his bag of dirty tricks and tried to coerce the Commonwealth’s Election Observer Mission to Sri Lanka into writing a critical report on the presidential election campaign and the conduct of last month’s election itself.
Having failed miserably to get anybody to listen to him or act on his ex cathedra statements relating to Sri Lanka in the past he tried to pre-empt the Mission report by his heavy-handed demand that the report states what he believes it should state-that it was a hoax as a democratic election.

Colonial pilferers

We in this part of the world have been amused over the years at the attempts of western media to dictate the political and economic direction of our countries having for centuries stolen their wealth and denuded them of their riches.
That we have come to expect from the descendents of colonial pilferers and robber barons armed with lifelong peerages and other remnants of a distant past.
If today this column turns away from its regular interests it is not because we are tired of the madness of politics and the comic interludes often bordering on farce that politicians have provided us with over the months and years.
It is because we have received some angry interventions from the alma mater of a distinguished educational institution in this country following an article in the BBC website.
They referred to what they call an “ill-informed article written by an ignorant reporter of the BBC.”
Nothing that anybody could say about the quality of BBC journalism could shock us any longer. We have in recent years witnessed its steady decline as a reliable and authoritative source of news and information, a position that it once held in international journalism.
We did not think that there was anything particularly newsworthy in the complaint until we heard what the angry interjection was all about.
The complaint is about the BBC Colombo Correspondent Charles Haviland’s verbal exuberance over the 175th birthday of Royal College during which he had made some remarkably foolish claims on behalf of the school.
Sending us the link to Haviland’s article some old boys of S.Thomas’ College have taken understandable umbrage at the false claims made by Charles Haviland, comparing Royal College to the UK’s most prestigious public school Eton.
Just in case there might be confusion later on it must be stated right now that a “public school” in the context of England actually means a private school.
Unfortunately the old boys of S.Thomas who have been visibly upset by Haviland’s faux pas did not mention his nationality but we hope we are not wrong in assuming he is from the UK.
If that assumption is correct then his ignorance is all the more unpardonable.
In his piece on Royal he says: “This boys’ school in the heart of Colombo, has been dubbed the Eton of Sri Lanka (after Britain’s most famous private school, but in fact Royal College has been a state school since 1961.”
For a journalist Haviland strangely lacks curiosity and the penchant for the well-rounded story. Anybody else, more so a newsman and a stranger to Sri Lanka, would have asked who dubbed it so and then examined the validity of that assertion.
But no, not Charles Haviland! Unlike his namesake Charles the First whose challenging personality lost him his head, this Charles has tamely bowed to prevailing orthodoxy and repeated the absurdity.
If Haviland spoke to the principal of Royal College and his deputy how is it that he got his facts wrong?
To say that Royal has been a state school since 1961 shows absolute ignorance. Royal College has always been a state or government-run school with even its principal appointed by the Education Department.
On the other hand the Warden of S. Thomas’ (not St. Thomas’s College as stated by Haviland) is appointed by the Board of Governors of the College.


One can understand Haviland being ill informed or misinformed about educational institutions in Sri Lanka. But if he is a Briton, as we think he is, he should at least know about what he himself calls Britain’s most famous private school.
Eton is an Anglican school. Royal College is a secular school; certainly not an Anglican school.
It is S.Thomas’ College, Mt Lavinia which was established on the lines of Eton and its long traditions by Rt Rev. James Chapman, the first Bishop of Colombo in the Church of Ceylon, that is the real inheritor of the title the Eton of Sri Lanka.
Rev. Chapman in whose memory Chapman House was named, was an old Etonian. That is why he wanted to ‘transplant’ an Eton College in Ceylon as it was then called.
In fact the present Warden of S.Thomas’ Rev. James Puddefoot is himself an old Etonian says our correspondents .
It is a pity that Charles Haviland did not spend a day or so visiting S.Thomas’ and speaking to the Warden and some old boys. If he had done so he wouldn’t have made the blunders he has, says the emails from angry Old Thomians.
How Haviland could have unquestioningly repeated the spurious claim that the state-run Royal College is Sri Lanka’s Eton, an English private fee-levying school, shows once more the superficiality of BBC journalism, albeit in less politically-charged circumstances, yet on a matter of emotional importance to past and present students and staff of S. Thomas’ College.
Haviland ends his piece saying that in the next 175 years too Royalists will live by the school song: “we will learn of books and men and learn to play the game.”
Well, if after 175 years they still have to “learn to play the game” what makes Haviland so optimistic that they will do so in the next 175?
Had Haviland the curiosity of the average journalist he would have also inquired about the opening line of the school song as much as the last one.
“School where our fathers learnt the way before us......”/
How on earth could the very first students of Royal College have sung these words with any conviction knowing only too well their fathers could not have been at an institution that has just begun and they were the first pupils?

Last edited by sriyanjay; 01-01-11 at 04:02 PM.
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