The Class of 1971
The Class of 1971 represents students who joined S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka in January 1963 (and thereafter) and appeared for the General Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level) examination for the first time in December 1971.
This class group prepared an inaugural newsletter titled A Thread of Blue – 1971 Vintage in September 2010, to commemorate the 5th anniversary of establishing the Database of Contact Details for the Class of 1971.
A copy of the newsletter is attached.
Indran “Kula” Indrakumar (Administrator – Class of 1971)
Auckland, New Zealand
Telephone: +64 9 5247511
A THREAD OF BLUE – 1971 VINTAGE
S. THOMAS’ COLLEGE, MOUNT LAVINIA, SRI LANKA
THE CLASS OF 1971
NEWSLETTER – SEPTEMBER 2010
The Class of 1971 represents students who joined S. Thomas‟ College, Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka in January 1963 (and thereafter) and appeared for the General Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level) examination for the first time in December 1971.
In September 2005, a few alumni of the Class of 1971 embarked to establish a Database of Contact Details for the Class of 1971 and at that time I was nominated as the “Administrator”.
It was a very modest beginning, with contact details available for only six alumni on the first day. Five years later, the total is 149 in September 2010, which, sadly, includes 15 deceased alumni,and contact details are currently being sought for another 42 alumni.
In August 2010, it was suggested that an inaugural newsletter be prepared in September 2010 to commemorate the 5th anniversary of establishing the Database of Contact Details for the class group.
It is very pleasing that this suggestion has now been crystallised, with journalistic talents,creative juices and photographs flowing in abundantly, particularly from the United Arab Emirates. Must be something to do with the sunshine!
The title of the newsletter A Thread of Blue – 1971 Vintage also has a deep meaning. It represents the thread that wove us, the Class of 1971, together.
The articles and photographs in this newsletter have been provided by alumni of the Class of 1971, and thanks are extended to them for their support.
Thanks are also extended to Prof. Priyan Dias and Kesarralal Gunasekera in Sri Lanka and to Ruwan Gunasena in the United Arab Emirates, who provided editorial input and guidance on development of the newsletter.
Feedback is welcome and can be sent to
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Indran “Kula” Indrakumar (Administrator – Class of 1971)
Auckland, New Zealand
30 September 2010[b]
The Rev. W. A. Stone (8th Warden of S. Thomas’ College)
Live for S. Thomas' Do anything for her whenever you are asked to do it; if necessary die for her.
A Thread of Blue – 1971 Vintage
NEWSLETTER – SEPTEMBER 2010
Modest beginnings and progress after five years 3 – 8
Go Thora Go 9 – 10
A bond beyond brotherhood 11 – 13
My thanks to the Class of 1971 14 – 15
Long lost……but now found 16
The first call 17
Brains and statistics 18
The seasons of a school boy 19 – 27
College experiences which meant so much to me in later life 28 – 30
Sowing seeds of peace – the Thomian way 31 – 33
Reunion held in London 34 – 35
Recollections of the inaugural reunion in Colombo 36 – 39
Remember? 40 – 44
The Triangle 45
Just a normal Saturday 46 – 50
Reminiscences 51 – 55
Photographs 56 – 60
The Chapel of the Transfiguration – Mount Lavinia
Mr. S. J. Anandanayagam (13th Warden of S. Thomas College)
Have faith in the boys you teach, even the most difficult ones. Understand them, love them,
sympathise with them and expect great things from them.
Last edited by sriyanjay; 02-10-10 at 01:00 PM.
Modest beginnings and progress after five years
MODEST BEGINNINGS AND PROGRESS AFTER FIVE YEARS
By Indran “Kula” Indrakumar (New Zealand)
In September 2010, the Class of 1971 celebrated the fifth anniversary of establishing the Database of Contact Details for the Class of 1971.This prompted me to put the clock back by five years and think of how it all started.
Database of Contact Details
Most of our class mates, including myself, turned 50 in 2005.
This resulted in a few of us who had been in contact with each other, contacting each other and wishing them on their 50th birthday, and then exchanging banter in the traditional Thomian manner and restarting our school days from where we left in 1973/74.
I received three calls on my special day in September 2005 from Thomian class mates, two of whom were re-establishing contact with me for the first time after I had left college – a vast gap of nearly 33 years. They then took great comfort in reminding me of the ageing process, and never had I come across such enthusiasm to remind a fellow class mate of his age!
Nimal “Coomfi” Coomaraswamy from the UK then followed it up with an e-mail, suggesting that we establish a database of e-mail addresses and telephone numbers for our class mates, so that we could keep in contact with each other, and, as in college days, once again be a general source of nuisance and annoyance to each other!
Coomfi then went further and said, “We must try and form a group e-mail club with the class mates we are in contact with. Who better to organise this other than your goodself. As I remember, you were a very well organised and meticulous person”. Thus, the task to develop the database was unceremoniously foisted on me, combined with varying degrees of flattery,
persuasion and unholy threats! The primary reason given was that, as many alumni were based overseas, contact details would enable us to meet each other when we passed through their respective cities.
On the first day, we had the glorious number of six names and contact details, based on information that was exchanged between the three callers and myself. Some discussion was then exchanged via e-mail on a name for the class group. The term “Class of 1963” was suggested in the first instance, this being the year most of us started schooling at S. Thomas‟ College, Mount Lavinia and S. Thomas‟ Preparatory School, Kollupitiya. Finally, “Class of 1971” was agreed upon, as it was a common year when the whole group sat for the General Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level) examination for the first time.
Meanwhile, an attempt was made to obtain a complete list of names from the class registers of 1971 from S. Thomas‟ College, so that names were not missed out. Unfortunately, this exercise was not successful. Hence, our memories were put to good use and everyone then tried to recollect the names of all our class mates for inclusion on the list.
To get more momentum, I told those six class mates that prizes would be offered by me for the first 6 additional responses!
In order to replicate the types of delicacies that we eagerly sought while at college, the following were offered as prizes:
1st Prize – plate of chicken buriyani at Pilawoos
2nd Prize – plate of string hoppers at the College Tuck Shop
3rd Prize – one cream bun at Patisserie (an outlet of Perera & Sons that was situated opposite the college swimming pool)
4th Prize – one glass of lime juice at Godwin‟s Shop on Hotel Road
(opposite the basket ball court)
5th Prize – two Gunasiri bulltos from “Cartman”
6 th Prize – one amberalla (with salt and chillie) from the “Ammay” outside the Main Gate on Hotel Road.
This ignited them in to action and within two weeks, the number increased to around 20.The increase in numbers was quite regular from then onwards and we reached 34 by March 2006.
Thereafter, on 3 January 2007, we reached the magnificent number ONE ZERO ZERO (100), with the main sources of information during this period being Ruwan Gunasena (United Arab Emirates), Satchi Suresan (Canada) and Trevor Mendis (Australia), together with Manilal De Mel, Rohan Jayasinghe, Kesarralal Gunasekera, Fazal Issadeen and Chrishan Ferdinando from
Within a month thereafter, we reached a total of 163, made up of 105 alumni with contact details, plus 45 alumni for whom contact details were being sought and 13 names of alumni who, sadly, were deceased.
The current position at the end of September 2010 is as follows:
Class mates with contact details 134
Class mates with no contact details 42
While the database was being developed, “kasilla” (the itch) was also developing amongst many and it was suggested that a reunion of the Class of 1971 be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2006.
Coincidentally, the year 2006 happened to be 35 years since we sat for the General Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level) examination for the first time. The action snowballed and the inaugural reunion dinner was held at the Raffles Restaurant in Colombo on 15 September 2006 and the Warden, Dr David Ponniah, was present as well. A total of 57 alumni, including 4 from overseas, attended the inaugural reunion dinner of the Class of 1971 in Colombo on 15 September 2006. This was a good turnout, considering that we had a pool of 95 names on the database with contact details in September 2006, 40 of whom were based out of Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, 7 alumni from overseas cancelled their travel plans closer to the date of the reunion, in view of the adverse security situation that had developed in
Informal reunions were also held in 2006 in Australia (combined with New Zealand), Canada and the United Kingdom. A regional reunion dinner comprising of alumni of the Class of 1971 residing in Australia and
New Zealand was held in Sydney on 9 May 2009.
One of the former masters of S. Thomas‟ College, Mr. Lionel Staples and his wife, Rathna, also attended the reunion dinner. Details of this reunion were notified to alumni of the Class of 1971 living in other countries as
well. This resulted in Rohan Jayasinghe from Colombo being present at the reunion. Rohan's bond to his alma mater and the Class of 1971 was so strong that he revised his travel plans to be present in Sydney on 9 May, thus demonstrating that he was a true Thomian.
All alumni were pleased to meet Mr. Staples after nearly 35 years and he lavishly imparted compliments about S. Thomas' College and its illustrious students. Jonathan Gasperson from the Class of 1971 made the arrangements for the reunion in Sydney and went to the extent of getting the menu printed with the crest of S. Thomas‟ College, together
with a special flower arrangement for the benefit of the better halves of his class mates!
The latest high profile reunion was held at the residence of Manilal De Mel in Colombo in December 2009. This reunion was well attended and included 7 alumni from overseas, together with a traditional papare band, courtesy of Rohan Jayasinghe. One of the first timers at this reunion, Punnya “Tikka” Wickremasinghe from Perth, Australia, was so enthralled and overjoyed that he reproduced a DVD of the proceedings, copies of which were thereafter circulated to the 9 countries in which alumni of the Class of 1971 were resident.
Reunions are now a standard feature and each time one of our alumni is on a visit to a city in another country, the alumni based in that city organise a reunion.
Mr. N. Y. Casie Chetty (Headmaster of S. Thomas’ Preparator School,
In a day when we cynically and despairingly observe all around us, that a decadent and degenerate society has spawned human beings of mediocrity, myopic vision, duplicity,mendacity, venality, warped values and sycophants who flourish and thrive supinely conforming to the dictates whilst slavishly doing the bidding of their political patrons, such noteworthy values as idealism, integrity and independence inculcated and ingrained in
Thomians over generations, to always think critically and with unblinkered vision, to always be honest and incorruptible in ones personal and professional activity and always to act boldly and independently devoid of petty considerations of political correctness and personal advantage, assumes special and heightened significance.
Cont.Modest beginnings and progress after five years
Archives and Archivists
Many archives and archivists surfaced over the past five years, the core group being Chrisantha “Cidda” de Fonseka from Nevada, Ruwan Gunasena from Dubai and Punnya “Tikka” Wickramasinghe from Perth.
This motley quartet obviously hold boxes full of Thomian memorabilia that were transported from Sri Lanka across the oceans to overseas destinations!
The items shared with class mates by “Cidda” Fonseka were a college timetable and his diaries dating back to 1970 (referred to as “Cidda‟s Diaries”) which recorded homework, the names of every film he had seen on the respective day and some awesome caricatures of academic staff!
Ruwan Gunasena had a collection of photographs dating back to the concerts held in the Lower School in 1964, which are absolute classics and collectors items, together with some excellent black and white photographs of our final year at S. Thomas‟ College, such photographs being taken on his last day at college…...when he walked around the full area where most of us
reigned for 13 years.
Punnya “Tikka” Wickramasinghe was “located” by the Class of 1971 in Perth, Australia in January 2010 and his contribution was very historic in nature. “Tikka” was in Winchester House (boarding for the Lower School) and had photographs of the dormitory and boarders dating back to 1963/64!
These photographs were highly sought after by alumni of the Class of 1971 who were boarders in Winchester House in 1963/64, some of whom even had difficulty identifying themselves on the photographs! The photographs were copied on to disks by “Tikka”, and were thereafter circulated to the 9 countries in which alumni of the Class of 1971 were resident – an excellent
display of Thomian fellowship.
A poem titled REMEMBER? was composed by Roger Hatch of the Class of 1971 and circulated amongst alumni in November 2008. The poem is a masterpiece. It comprises of 36 extremely humourous verses and is still the topicof much laughter at social gatherings of Thomian alumni of all age groups all over the world. The poem is reproduced in this newsletter.
The popularity of this poem was so high, that it featured in the newspapers in Sri Lanka as well.
The Class of 1971 has a veteran sportsman in its midst, namely Manilal De Mel, popularly referred to as “Maaluwa” by his class mates, meaning fish.
Manilal was an excellent swimmer while at college, and is currently a regular participant at swimming events for veterans.
He participated in the two mile swim for veterans in Mount Lavinia 2009 and 2010.
In 2009, he was the oldest participant on record for this event. With traditional Thomian grit and determination, he defied nature, age, and strong currents and completed the course, although the spectators nearby had some anxious moments! He persevered in 2010 as well, and despite the sea being unusually rough, unlike many of the younger swimmers who gave up and got in to rescue boats, the “No Quitter” Thomian went all
the way to the finishing line. Manilal also participated in Royal Thomian swimming relay (Old Boys Event) in May 2010.
Oldest and Wisest Team on the day
A six a side cricket tournament (limited over match) for Old Boys of S. Thomas‟ College is held at the Big Club grounds in Mount Lavinia each year.
The cricket tournament comprises of the year groups of the old boys of S. Thomas‟ College in Mount Lavinia, Gurutalawa, and Bandarawela and S. Thomas‟ Preparatory School in Kollupitiya. With extensive use of its database and network, the Class of 1971 has successfully fielded a team every year since inception of this event in 2008, with the team being referred to as the
“oldest and wisest team on the field” for three consecutive years!
The sole criteria for selection was that the players from the Class of 1971 should be able to last more than one match of six overs! The most recent tournament was held in September 2010 and the team from the Class of 1971
had the luxury of having “3 rd year coloursmen”, whose experience from previous tournaments was of great help.
The Three Professors
The Class of 1971 is proud to have three of its alumni achieving professor status in their respective fields of expertise:
Professor Priyan Dias – Former Head of Department of Civil Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka
Professor Samantha Hettiarachchi – Former Head of Department of Civil Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka
Professor Rohan Mather – Director of Research, School of Accounting, Faculty of Law and Management, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.
Alumni Network for Professional Development
Dr. Ranil De Silva (Sri Lanka) and Dr. Dhammika Amaratunga (U.S.A) are two of our alumni who share common professional interests.
They linked up though the network of the Class of 1971 in November 2009 and met in Dr. Ranil De Silva‟s Genetic Diagnostic Laboratory in Colombo for the first time after leaving college – after nearly 35 years and are in collaboration in medical research and data analysis. This is anexcellent example of the Class of 1971 network being used across vast distances!
A joint article by them is included in this newsletter.
Dr. Ranil De Silva was also awarded the National Award for Research 2006, which was presented to him in Colombo in July 2010 at the ceremony covering Presidential Awards for Scientific Research.
An article titled “Sowing the seeds of peace – the Thomian way" was prepared by Kesarralal Gunasekera of the Class of 1971 and published in the Daily Mirror on 24 January 2008. The article was based on the reunion of alumni of the Class of 1971 that was held in Colombo in January 2008 and was a positive reflection on S. Thomas‟ College and fellow Thomians.
The contents of this article reflected on ethnic harmony and the friendships established whilst at S. Thomas‟ College, disregarding all forms of racial bias. This article was widely circulated amongst international Thomian alumni and was hailed as a benchmark for strong friendships devoid of racial groupings and also featured prominently in the magazine published by the STCOBA of New South Wales, Australia for their annual Dinner Dance in May 2008.
The article is reproduced in this newsletter.
Felicitation of Past Academic Staff
The inaugural Teachers Felicitation Dinner for past staff of S. Thomas‟ College was held in Colombo in December 2007 and was hailed by the media as the first of its kind in Sri Lanka
The 2nd Teachers Felicitation Dinner was held in December 2008.
Alumni of the Class of 1971 have been in the Organising Committee for this event since its inception. Kesarralal Gunasekera was in the Organising Committee for this event in 2007 and 2008 and Ananda Welikala in 2008.
The 10th anniversary of construction of the helipad at the Royal Perth Hospital was celebrated in March 2010. At the time of construction, it was the first roof top helipad in Western Australia and it currently serves approximately 200 patients each year.While researching the history of the helipad, the media identified the person who made ithappen. It was a Thomian from the Class of 1971, “Tikka” Wickramasinghe, who is the Manager
– Facilities Development for the Royal Perth Hospital & South Metropolitan Area Health Service.
The Rev. Canon R. S. De Saram (10th Warden of S. Thomas’ College)
We have inherited from the past something very good. It is something to be proud of and to be thankful for. But that's not enough. We in our day must preserve it, keep it alive, increase it, carry it on and hand it on. We come and go but S. Thomas' – Esto Perpetua. In the present day and they are difficult days – it all rests on you. Do your best in the classroom and in your
games, but above all in the way you conduct yourselves in the ideals you set before yourselves. There is much that is vulgar, cheap and tawdry and loud and raucous in contemporary ideas. You come to a school like this to get a right judgment of these matters.Wardens come and go, boys come and go, but the School goes on, and that is what matters.You will be here most of you to carry it on. Make a good job of it. I know you will. We have
something in this school which is good and precious. Guard it well, keep it bright. If wouldn't be at all a bad guide for life if each of us says: I shall never do anything that will bring shame to S. Thomas'.
Go thora go
GO THORA GO
By Prof. Priyan Dias (Sri Lanka)
I can't remember whether this was a frequent rallying call during our days at the school by the sea, but it certainly is now. I claim to have inside information, having two boys in college. Although it sounds a bit jingoistic, I can‟t say I don‟t like it – sounds good at rugby matches, and after all we are a school next to all the thoras in the sea. My distinguished ancestors probably made a living by giving them a run for their money (or life, I suppose).
Anyway, we are all proud of STC and the slogan also stands for what we do or have done after we have left the school. Most of us like to feel that we have been the first to go places, to achieve. The first swimming pool in schools, the first gymnasium, the first (and many other) Prime Ministers of our land, the first international cricket captain (Anura Tennekoon in ODI's).
Becoming first is a matter for pride but also a responsibility stemming out of the privilege of being part of a school like STC. Becoming first does not make us exclusive (for very long anyway). Our pool is now the smallest among schools, we have not produced many Heads of State recently or even national cricketers – others have overtaken us. In some ways, that is the
price of being first. Look at England – pioneers of cricket, rugby, football and tennis, but nowhere near the top in any of those sports. Nevertheless, Lords, Twickenham, Wembley and Wimbledon still remain the most prestigious venues for those sports. We can be happy that we pioneered things that others have taken on – we just have to look for new things to pioneer.
Maybe we could look back to our pioneers – our founder and early Wardens. They certainly went places even if they were not Thomians. In fact the guidelines under which STC was set up indicates that the Warden should be a graduate of Oxford or Cambridge. The point is that those Wardens were willing and able to immerse themselves in what must have been the backwater that was Ceylon, because they felt the urge to “go” – perhaps seeing it as a responsibility after the privilege of receiving an Oxbridge education. This then is a model worthy of emulation.
When we are looking for places to go, maybe we could consider paths less often trodden, areas less resourced and situations more difficult than the ones corresponding to our comfort zones.
The idea of “going” can also refer to social mobility. This I suppose is what the mission schools gave us, however mixed their interventions are now perceived to be. Currently though, a large number of boys in college are in fact sons of old boys – whose families have themselves achieved such mobility, perhaps even in a previous generation. The question arises then as to what extent the college contributes towards social mobility.
There is however one of our brother schools that does this now more than any other – that is S. Thomas‟ College, Gurutalawa. Guru has been going through a bad patch and is still far from being out of the woods. Its main problem, among others, has been an inability to attract boys to
the school for a variety of reasons. It still has the potential for providing an excellent boarding school experience in the hills, but needs funding to enhance its attractiveness. Fortunately we now have as its Headmaster the Rev. Marc Billimoria, himself a distinguished product of Mt. Lavinia. He is a clergyman with a postgraduate diploma from Oxford University and a historian
who was commissioned to write up the history of STC at Mt Lavinia just after he left school, when STC celebrated 75 years at Mt Lavinia (1918-1993). Anyway, the boys at Guru are those who would fully benefit from the social mobility that would arise from attending a Thomian institution.
Could we, as the ‟71 batch, think of supporting this process?
(Mount old boys supporting Guru – A path less often trodden, perhaps?)
More details about Guru can be found
I have been informed by the Headmaster that the urgent need at
present is to raise around Rs. 1 million to upgrade the Primary School, but there are other needs too. I am sure we can easily meet this together. Please let me know if you are interested (email@example.com) and I will send you the necessary information.
Esto Perpetua is Guru‟s motto too. Guru needs that motto – it has got to be there and not fold up. College needs the motto as well, so that it can serve many more generations of Thomians.
But as for Thomians themselves, we can't forever be in the same place.
Go Thora Go.
College Rivalry – extracted from Wikipedia
Pairs of schools, colleges and universities, especially when they are close to each other either geographically or in their areas of specialisation, often establish a college rivalry with each other over the years. This rivalry can extend to both academics and sports, the latter being typically more well-known to the general public. These schools place an added emphasis on
emerging victorious in any event that includes their rival. This may include the creation of a special trophy or other commemoration of the event.
Royal-Thomian rivalry refers to the competition, both in academics and sports between Royal College, Colombo and S. Thomas' College, Mt Lavinia in Sri Lanka. Both colleges have rich histories of academic excellence, as well as sport competition and college pride. Both were founded in the nineteenth century, and between them they have produced a large number of
Sri Lanka's most prominent scientists, writers and politicians, as well as noted figures in many other fields.
The oldest rivalry is in cricket. Known simply as the Royal-Thomian, cricket has been played by the schools from 1838 onwards. The annual cricket match is the longest uninterrupted cricket match series in the world, played for the D. S. Senanayake Memorial Shield, and is affectionately known as the “Battle of the Blues” due to the college colours. The original match was played between the Colombo Academy and S. Thomas' College in 1879, thus was known as the Academy College match until 1881. The first match was played with schoolmasters participating as well as schoolboys. From 1880 onwards, only schoolboys were allowed to play in the match.
As of 2010, the tally stands as Royal having 33 wins and S. Thomas' with 34 wins. This is regarded as the most prestigious cricketing event in the country. This is also preceded by the legendary Cycle Parade which usually happens on the day before the big match, with the official objective of visiting the captain's house to encourage him.
Following the annual three day long match, known as the “Big Match”, the colleges meet two weeks later for the limited overs match. This series has been played for the Mustangs Trophy since 1975.
In 2010, as part of Royal College's 175 th anniversary celebrations, the first ever Royal Thomian Twenty-Twenty cricket match was organised for the J. R. Jayewardene Trophy and was played at the P. Saravanamuttu Stadium (The Oval).
Similar rivalry is also shown in other sports such as Rowing (T. N. Fernando Trophy), Rugby (Michael Gunaratne Trophy), Water Polo (Dr R. L. Hayman Trophy), Boxing (Senator Sir Cyril de Zoysa Shield), Tennis (E. F. C. Pereira Memorial Cup) and Swimming (Creon Corea Memorial Challenge Trophy).
A bond beyond brotherhood
A BOND BEYOND BROTHERHOOD
By Kesarralal Gunasekera (Sri Lanka)
‘Kula’ brought us here. Five years ago when my friend, Indrakumar Kulasingam, affectionately known as "Kula" started creating a web based network culling together the scattered data of the Class of '71, I was still
new to the concept of social networking via the internet. I know you are nodding in agreement right now, because for the mere fact that we did not grow up with computers. We were not the computer nerds and we still aren't and we are mighty proud of that fact. However, what the database did to us, cannot be expressed in a few words. Hence, I write my thoughts:
I exaggerate not when I say that "Kula" brought us here. First and foremost, it was his concept to create this database. It started initially as a collection of data of our contemporary college mates. What it did unwittingly is that it brought back and revived old friendships from our school days. Our friends have travelled far and wide and conquered many fields both conventional and
unconventional. From traditional aspiration of being doctors, lawyers, engineers, our brothers have achieved great heights in information technology, arts and even fashion designing.
Imagine that! How we all have created our own destinies. Not only that, our class of friends have settled in countries across the world. Without this database, we would not have known how well our friends have excelled in their chosen professions. The database reunited us in no time. We started communicating with each other much more frequently and made it a point to
meet whenever we could. From a sheer surreal cyber experience, we made it so real, every time we met. It also reminded us that although years have passed since the time we left college, the bonds of true friendship that went beyond being just Thomians, has remained. True, that we have made many friends since we left college, while engaging in higher studies, during our
professional lives and through in-laws (and sometimes even outlaws!), but the one friendship that has truly etched into our hearts and souls were the ones we have embraced during the college years. What bliss it is to reconnect with the same guys and make the friendships even
stronger? We had not met each other (most of them) in 25 years, when we first began five years ago. But eventually when we did meet, the friendships were safely intact. I still remember once when we all went to the Jawatte cemetery to pay our last respects to the mother of a friend, who
has passed away. We heard that C D Fonseka (Cidda) as he was affectionately known in school, (probably because CD roms were not invented at the time!) was in town and would be attending the funeral. We awaited his arrival so eagerly. I still can see in my mind's eye how he
walked through the gates of the cemetery. We all felt an immediate connection with him. So did he. Why? Because the friendships that we have developed during our college days were for life.
At St. Thomas‟ friendships were never based on ethnic, religious or social standing, friendships were formed for friendships' sake and nothing else. But we would not have realised this fully if not for this database. Kula's efforts indeed made that possible. So, I tell no lies when I say that
"Kula" brought us here. One lesson that we, as truly bonded friends can share with the rest of Sri Lankans is this unconditional and unswerving friendship. At a time when we need to make an effort to build
bridges of peace, this is one lesson that we all can turn to and draw from. To trust each other without reason and to believe in each others goodness.
New Age – New Page
As the Class of ‟71, we have got together many a time, and it has occurred to me a number of times, that we are indeed a very strong group of people, capable of making a significant difference in our society. I therefore have this to share with not only my school mates, but with every adult in Sri Lanka.
Almost every school with a significant history in Sri Lanka has a past pupils association, may it be girls' school, boys'school or co-ed school. It is a wonderful system to support the school and develop it. Let me talk about what I am mostly familiar with, the Old Boys' Association (OBA). It
is a fact that OBA's do so much for their alma mater. This fraternity sometimes becomes the lifeline of the school. The OBA's in every school has the same structure – a patron, a president, a few vice presidents, secretary, treasurer and other committee members. The working committees meet and plan out events, there is an annual general meeting (AGM) and election
of office bearers take place in the very same way of proposing and seconding and going in for a ballot, if and when necessary. Within that structure, I have observed that there are groupings according to age. OBA's are great in number and follow a constitution with one goal – to serve
the alma mater. But since the early 80's, the inevitable formation of groups and classes have come to being; probably because with the vast number of old boys, there is a need to bond with those of the same age. These class groups are not part of the OBA unfortunately, yet they
conduct their own programmes, and execute them very well. The like-mindedness and the friendships help them to plan and implement programmes easily, especially because there is no formal structure in these groups.
We are in a new age. Traditional (formal) structures are required in certain instances, but informal groups are increasingly becoming effective. I believe that we all need to review the formal and sometimes bureaucratic structure of our OBA's. Does it really help or hinder the programmes that are well meaning? Is there a way to co-opt the class groups themselves into
the main body of the OBA, in a way to involve larger groups? I believe that it is very possible. The constitution of the OBA needs a minor amendment to accommodate at least 10 to 15 most active class groups into the main OBA Committee (i.e. only the nominated representative of each class group will attend the OBA meetings). These representatives from class groups
undoubtedly are committed and are supported by their peer groups to achieve more not only for the school but for the community as well. Therefore, the concept of traditional and formal structures of OBA's should under go rapid and dramatic changes to accommodate more meaningful participation from all groups.
Cont. A bond beyond brotherhood
Rivalry no More – Chivalry to the Fore.
Going one step beyond, I feel that it is time to shed the traditional rivalry and limit it only to encounters of sports and other competitions. Traditionally St. Thomas' and Royal are known to be arch rivals. This rivalry is only in the spirit of games and sports. However, Royal and St. Thomas' have been linked with each other for nearly a century and a half by now. Except for
some exhibitions and fun fairs, it has been rare to see these rival schools working together to achieve something greater. Imagine what a lot we can achieve if St. Thomas' and Royal OBA's got together for a long lasting smart project for the society. That would certainly be path breaking and innovative for others to follow. If these two schools lead the way in doing something for society, I am certain that other schools such as Ananda and Nalanda, St. Peters and St. Josephs, Thurstan and Issipathana, Trinity and St. Anthonys and even girls' schools and outstation schools will follow suit. The possibilities of such unity and the power of such harmony will be unparalleled and will step up to rebuild the country. In this new day and age, it is high time we turned a new page and explore ways in which to serve society.
Serve those who Served Selflessly.
We, in the Class of ‟71 have been toying with an idea to best honour our teachers. Our teachers have given us some of the best lessons and unforgettable memories during our college days. They took upon that noble profession so seriously. Teachers of that era were a cadre that is well
worth the worship, for they served selflessly. I have been much perturbed by the fact the teachers of today can even contemplate going on strike and placing children's education and future at stake. In comparison, the teachers who taught us everything they knew and guided us to find ourselves are truly remarkable. They were so committed to their profession and the
school. They have done so much to make the school proud. But in the sunset years of their lives, some of them are not doing so well, some have health issues and linked to that there are always financial setbacks. And we cannot turn a blind eye to this. They are our teachers, artists and sculptors who moulded us into worthy citizens.
During the last five years, the suggestion came up within the Class of ‟71, to establish a Trust Fund to support the retired teachers from college, with the support of the Warden. We held several rounds of discussions in this regard within the Class of ‟71 and went in so far as to draft the trust deed. It came to light that at least an initial sum of 15 million rupees is required to
ensure that the most needy teachers are provided with a substantial monthly allowance to ensure their general health and well being, to live a life of dignity. After all we owe it to them.
Raise a Million Hands
Now, 15 million rupees may sound like a lot of money. But in fact it is not. Like we all raised our hands in class when we knew the right answer, it is time now to know the right answer and raise our hands to raise 15 million rupees. I doubt not for a moment that our class mates and school
mates will not support this cause. Contributions from those of you who are gainfully employed overseas, and those of you who are so successful in your chosen professions in Sri Lanka, can make that difference.
As I congratulate the Class of ‟71 in reaching the fifth anniversary of our revived friendships, I leave you with this thought:
We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give – Anonymous
The Rt. Rev. James Chapman (First Bishop of Colombo and the founder of the College)
The real end of all education is not to sharpen the intellect or improve the mind alone, but to form the character of the future man to mould his habits, to fix his principles, to make him good as well wise, and no system which aims at less than this, which would take any standard short of it can be worthy of our esteem and service. May it be our care to provide, under the guidance of God's Holy Spirit, that all that is here taught may rest upon the foundation of Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner Stone. In building for God, in working, in spending for God, we run no venture, we hazard no loss, we cherish no vague or uncertain hopes. Though unseen, when founded on true faith, hope is never unreal. Enduring works are often of humble beginning. The few fishermen of Galilee were the evangelisers of the world; the noblest cathedral was once but unhewn masses of stone. England, whose mission now encircles the globe, was once a
nation of idolaters; the greatest university was at first no more than an Alphabetical School; the Son of God Himself had but a cradle manger.
Education must be the great work for me to look to, to lay the foundation if I can and leave others to build it hereafter.
My thanks to the class of 1971
MY THANKS TO THE CLASS OF 1971
By Ruwan Gunasena (U.A.E)
The starting of this Seventy Oners Alumni, I think was one of the greatest achievements of our post school period, so initially let me thank Indran profusely for it. The request by Indran to contribute an article on the 5th
year anniversary was gleefully accepted by me, but after I isolated myself from my family and the cat and began to think on what to write,
I found it difficult to find a topic.
I then looked at the Roll Call list……....what a list. Still nothing.
Then I looked at the names individually, each time closing my eyes.
Memories flashed against most of you. I could even picture you.
I did this for all names……..
Some of you have (admittedly, most shamefully from my side) faded from memory, but most of you remain fondly stored in the memory cells.
At the end of going through all the names, I realised that I had to write about what I felt about all, in a summary.
For those who did not know, my parents were Buddhists, I hailed from Panadura and we did not have any old boys of STC in our family, but being the only child, my father (bless him) pulled whatever strings he could and got me to STC. I must have done something good in my afore birth to have been granted this prized opportunity.
I was an only child, who longed for a sibling. Meeting over 100 of you was like opening a treasure trove. Who could ask for a bigger and more diversified family with different cultures and upbringing to learn about life?
As the years passed, each one more eventful than the previous, each of you gave me something to remember you by. If it was good, I have learnt to follow it. If it was bad, I have learnt to stay away from it. I hope I have, in some way, done the same for you.
I have laughed with you, fought with you, competed with you, cried with you and sometimes looked on helplessly – when in College – as you have with me.
I have laughed for you, fought for you, competed for you, cried for you and sometimes looked on helplessly – whenever I have got news about you after College – and I am sure you have done the same for me.
But the bond I feel has not diminished and it remains as strong as it was 40 years ago. I believe that after being together from 6/7 year olds to at least 15/16 year olds, 9 months of the year, 7 hours of the day, our characters were no doubt moulded to a great extent by what we learnt from each other, what we saw in each other.
Academically we may have reached different levels but the man in us, no doubt, belongs to all of us.
There is some part of all of us in each of us……………
I have had a few unforgettable moments in College, being appointed Captain of Tennis and Athletics, being awarded College colours, walking into the Cop Shed (Prefects Room) on the last day and having all the Cops in the room stand up (I remember P.L. Munasinghe was one of them, the others I cannot remember, as I broke down), giving the vote of thanks at the 1975
Prize Giving (I asked for two holidays instead of one!) and winning the Victoria Silver Jubilee Gold Medal for the Best All Round Student in School for 1975.
The pinnacle of course was being appointed your Head Cop. I was the youngest amongst you but on that day, I was indeed a proud boy and to this day remain a proud Thomian.
I bow my head and say a silent payer for those who have gone before us. We will remember them at all future reunions with a minute's silence. I know you will bow with me for them.
Now I bow my head to all of you for all that you have shared with me.
In 1963, a small boy in blue shorts and white shirt, white socks and black shoes walked into the Form 1 C class in the Best School in the World, with 37 other boys of around the same age.
He did not know then what a journey he was embarking on.
He did not know then that in the next 13 years, his life would be shaped by a great set of teachers and over a hundred “brothers” of different nationalities, religions, sizes and shapes.
In 1976, this boy left the Best School in the World, in a white shirt, white long trousers, white socks and black shoes, a wiser and a knowledgeable man carrying the un-erasable mark of a proud Thomian of the Class of 1971.
Long lost…...but now found
LONG LOST…...BUT NOW FOUND
By Chrisantha “Cidda” de Fonseka (U.S.A)
I must give thanks to our friend Weli (Ananda Welikala), since it was he who first contacted me from out of the blue back in 2006. The last time I had met him was back in 1986, when I was on a visit to Sri Lanka. Needless to say, I was very happy to hear from him and also learn that a Class of 1971 database was being formed by a guy by the name of "Indran". I wrote back and asked him who is this "Indran" guy……I do not seem to recall him from College!
He then told me that he was also known as "Kula". Of course, then I remembered him……but just could not put a face to the name. He then sent me a photograph of Kula. As I am very much better with faces than with names, I was able to recognise him immediately, although I had left
Sri Lanka back in 1976 and the last time I had possibly seem him would have been while at College in 1973. The fact that he had not changed much also helped, despite the greying hair and the lack of it in certain areas!
Since then, as you might say……the rest is history. I have made contact with so many long lost class mates since then, and we also had a great time at a reunion held at Manilal De Mel's house last December where over 35 of our class mates attended. One of the highlights of this reunion was meeting “Tikka” Wickremasinghe with whom I was in the Lower School boarding in
Winchester House from 1963 to 1965. We met after about 40 years! I could not believe it when he told me that he has some old photographs of us taken while at Winchester House.
Looking at those photographs brought back a lot of memories and reminded me how far we have all come since then……I am sure “Tikka” would agree. If it can be arranged I would love to see a Winchester House reunion sometime in the near future. And not to mention meeting Kula the man himself in 2008 in his adopted country New Zealand (along with another classmate I had not seen since leaving College, Dr Peter Vanniasingham) was indeed a great highlight.
An interesting observation I made after meeting several class mates for the first time since leaving College is that, even though all of us have changed physically, most if not all of us are basically still the same!
Thanks to the database and the dedication of Kula over the past 5 years, I have made contact with class mates about whom I used to only wonder for so many years. Due to my departure from Sri Lanka 34 years ago, I had lost regular contact with many of my class mates except for Katta (Mahes Katugaha). I am very happy that now I am in regular contact with several of our class mates due to the Kula's tireless work and dedication and the database he envisioned which is now a reality.
Mr. W. M. N. de Alwis (15th Warden of S. Thomas’ College)
Our College has not reared us without expecting from us in return some nurture fee. She has given us nurture in order that she might engage for herself our best energies and talent, permitting us to use for our needs so much and so much only as she does not require for her own. The College needs your help to survive. Every Old Boy must give the College the
nurture fee he owes.
The First Call
By Nimal “Coomfi” Coomaraswamy (U.K)
It was middle of September 2005, when most of us were already 50 or turning 50, when out of the blue I received a call from Indrakumar Kulasingam (“Indran” to some and “Kula” to others), and he said “Nimal Coomaraswamy do you remember me, I am Indrakumar Kulasingam, your class mate from S. Thomas' College”. I replied “Of course I remember you, but please call me
Ever the diplomat Indran said, “That was your nickname at school, now that we are all grown up we must have respect for each other” and I replied “Calling me Coomfi is the greatest respect you can give, as it makes an old man with grey hair feel like a 15 year old youngster again”.
From then on, the conversation was like the good old school days and Indran was never at a loss for banter and humour when he spoke to me regularly from New Zealand.
Prior to Indran's call, a gang of us (not the brightest of sparks then or now!) headed by Mohan Rajkumar (also known as Soma or Raji), Ranjan Sundararaj (Sundi), Sri Pathmaraj (Pathu), Dushy Ratnasingham, Jegan Kanagasabay (Jega) and myself were trying to trace and get in touch with class mates to build a database. All we had to show for a years work was about 10
names with contacts written on the back of an envelope, and that too Raji managed to lose on his way from London to Chicago. Such was our efficiency and diligence for the project!
On hearing Indran's voice, it occurred to me that here was the right man for the right job. I suggested to Indran if he could take over the task and he said “are you sure”, because he did not want to upset any one who was currently working on it. But when I explained what we had to show for over a year's work, I guess out of pity he agreed to take it on. Within a week or two of undertaking the task, he had almost 20 names and contact details on the database. The rest is history.
My words of exclamation to Indran at that stage were, “This has moved too soon and too fast for me”.
I am so grateful for that first call and the great job that has been done. Whilst we reminisce, rejoice and renew our friendship and camaraderie, let us take out a couple of minutes and spare a thought for our alumni who are no longer with us, they have received the final call and gone to a better place to do a better service.
The Rev. W. A. Buck (7th Warden of S. Thomas’ College)
You belong to one of the best schools in the world, a school with splendid traditions and the most honourable name and I charge you to try and hand down those traditions and that name untarnished and unimpaired. Be proud of being Thomians and make the college proud of numbering you amongst its sons. Remember that what ever you do and where ever you go your life and actions will reflect either credit or discredit on the College where you were and to which you owe so much. You have learned the best lessons in the world at S. Thomas' College. I trust not only English and Classics and Mathematics but true manliness and truth, courage purity and all those things that make a man and a gentleman. Try never to forget
them but be men and gentlemen always.
College experiences which meant so much to me in later life
COLLEGE EXPERIENCES WHICH MEANT SO MUCH TO ME IN LATER LIFE
By Neil Goonetilleke (Sri Lanka)
Each one of us Thomians, gained so much in so many diverse ways from varying experiences during our student days at the great “School by the Sea”. The lessons we learnt, whether in the class rooms, in the sporting arena, the boarding, during our day to day interaction with fellow students and teachers, helped us so much when we bid good bye to school and moved on to face the world as adults. These experiences are so wide and varied and impossible to list out in detail but every one of us would, indeed, have a particular experience or two which really stands out, never to be forgotten.
To me, there are two aspects of college life which had a major impact towards a successful career in the tea industry, both in Sri Lanka and abroad.
The first which comes to mind is being appointed a College Prefect, a much sought after goal in the school life of a Thomian.
The responsibilities, the recognition, enhancement of one's personality, the self assurance one would acquire, are some of the many benefits a Thomian gains when made a “Cop”. We all know what it means being a prefect so I do not wish to indulge in an explanation of being a “Coll Cop” but would prefer to elaborate a bit on the funnier side of being a cop, especially when just appointed.
What I wish to write about is the famous “freshers rag” and here again, I will not go into detail about what the “rag” in the Prefects‟ Room entailed because all activities which happened in there are for “cops only”! Instead, I will briefly relate my experience about the part of the rag which is open to the public, this, too, being very enjoyable and deriving much fun, a part and parcel of college life.
The newly appointed “cops” had to travel by bus in fancy dress to the Majestic cinema and, thereafter, to the Head Prefect's home (Yevindra Illangakoon at that time) for a sumptuous lunch. I had to dress like a pregnant member of the fairer sex, saree, lipstick, polkatu, bra and all! It was on a Saturday morning that we had to clad ourselves in the “cop shed” and then walk to the bus stand, first past the amused gaze of the boarders and staff and then in front of the amazed eyes of the public, amidst cheers, hoots and catcalls. By the time we reached the Majestic, we had lost our sense of shyness and self consciousness! It was the heyday of English cinema in the country when Colombo was fortunate to be able to watch the best of Hollywood films, and as expected, the Majestic was packed, all queuing up to watch one of the greatest war films ever, Alistair McLean's Where Eagles Dare. The cinema goers never bargained to witness the added attraction of seeing the Thomian “Coll Cop rag” on display, which to some may have been even more interesting than the film itself. We freshers, who had to occupy seats in the gallery, were not left in peace even during the interval, as we had to wade through the massive crowd to buy refreshments for the seniors who were occupying much better seats!
Well, after Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood were through with destroying the enemy, when we thought the crowd would quickly depart, we were in for a rude shock as most of them stood around to amuse themselves in watching us freshers making a hurried exit to the bus stand. In the middle of all this, the exertion, tension, stress and strain had its toll which resulted in my delivering my baby then and there on the pavement; my pillow, which I had been frantically trying to keep in place for over three hours, fell on the ground!!! So with the “baby” in hand, my saree pota somewhere else, I ran behind my other co-freshers, who were all dressed up in other amusing costumes, to catch the first bus which appeared at the stand, not bothering where it went as long as it was moving in the direction of Rosemead Place, our Head Cop's home!
It was all good clean fun, enjoyed by us all. It taught us to be humble, to communicate as a team, to get over our shyness and to be confident in public whatever the circumstances might be, a far cry from the sadistic rags one hears of nowadays. We felt no divisions amongst ourselves, no difference in religion or race, we were all one, we were all Thomians.
The other experience which meant so much to me was being appointed as Sergeant of the Senior Cadet Platoon.
I was very much attracted to the uniformed services and it was with great enthusiasm that I joined cadetting as a Junior Cadet. I was generally soft spoken and quiet, I still I am, unless it becomes necessary to be otherwise!! But I was so soft spoken then, even after attending so many cadet camps previously, that one would wonder how I commanded the cadet platoon in my final year, as Sergeant. For moulding and training me to fit the role, (I can proudly quote an extract from my school leaving certificate,“one of the smartest Senior Cadet Sergeants the College produced in recent times”) I must be thankful to our erstwhile Cadet Master, Mr Ananda Weerasekera, better known a “Thamuse”.
What he got me to do was, during the height of the South West Monsoon, when college did not have the high seaside boundary wall and other buildings on the beach which now act as wind breaks, to position me near the two famous Kottamba trees in front of the Lower School, place the cadet platoon on the sea side of the cricket pitch and then get me to command against the wind!! Well, when I shouted a command for the first time at the top of my voice, no one moved!!!
Finally, I succeeded to the extent that I was able to command the platoon when placed even near the sea side wall!! My commands even caused a disturbance to, (probably the afternoon nap), our then Sub-Warden Patrick Gunawardena (father of our classmate, Gamini) at Thalassa and I was so proud of myself when one day, he came up to me and congratulated me on my commanding ability!
It was after many enjoyable camps that I got the top post, but not before being almost barbecued when in the previous year, we cadets had to be part of the army which appeared in Lester James Peiris' film, The God King. For this purpose, the cadet camp, that year, was shifted to Anuradhapura and Mannar. As usual, we made preparations for the camp, getting our
uniforms ready, boots, belts, etc, all spit and polish, little realising what we were in for. The moment we got off the train at Anuradhapura, we were herded into army trucks, quite unlike the reception we were used to in Diyatalawa where we had to march in full regalia from the Railway Station to the camp, bands and all, the parade of the 3 rd Battalion of the Cadet Corps, which comprised of schools in the Western Province. In this instance, we were driven along a bumpy road and then quite unceremoniously, were dumped in a makeshift camp in the middle of nowhere! We were then stripped of our uniforms and were each provided with half a sarong and turban. Then onwards to the dried up tank beds around Anuradhapura and to even drier, dusty and hotter areas around Mannar. We were barefoot and not only did we feel we were taking part
in fire walking, the ground was full of shrub and thorn. All we got for the day was a slice or two of bread with a pol sambol for breakfast at 4.00am, then on to the desert like filming locations, a bit of rice and a curry for lunch around 3.00pm and back to the camp when bad light ended the day's filming. All this, with stars such as Vijaya Kumaranatunga, Ravindra Randeniya and foreign actors having a great time under tents just a few yards in front of us, all the time sipping ice cold coca-cola and indulging themselves in sumptuous food! We were given a half a cup of lime flavoured warm water twice a day to quench our thirst!
Back to the camp in the evening, a quick truck ride again to the nearest tank for a bath in muddy water so we became dirtier than before the bath, and back again for dinner, which comprised of “two slices of bread with watery curry”. Well, this went on for about 10 days and by the time we retuned home, our skin was pealing off. No health and safety regulations, no labour laws, no protective gear, no air conditioning, no mobiles, and most importantly, no mollycoddling; we were merely insignificant film actors. We overcame our hardships with Thomian grit and returned tougher and wiser!
Once again, as immature teenagers, we faced all this together, we were all one, no difference in race or religion, we were all Thomians, together facing a unique situation, something no cadet had experienced before, or probably would ever experience in the future, something we were not prepared for, or even been trained for.
Last edited by sriyanjay; 02-10-10 at 10:24 PM.
Cont. College experience
Events such as this, to be part of it, to hold office, to be part of a great institution such as STC, helped me so much when I embarked on a planting career in 1975 under another Thomian, senior Planter, Maurice Hermon, in Nuwara Eliya.
In later years, during the Southern insurrection, whilst planting on an estate in the Uva, when a group of armed terrorists walked into my bed room at the dead of night, with my pregnant wife lying in bed, all I felt was confidence; confidence to open the front door, to invite the intruders in as cordially as possible and talk straight. Well, it worked, at that moment I felt no fear! Thinking back now, a slight error in judgment and anything could have happened that night.
Later, when I moved to the tea plantations in Africa, thanks to another old Thomian, G. D. V. “Donga” Perera (incidentally he married Yevindra‟s sister), I found it so easy to adapt to the different and tough life style in the “Dark Continent”. I must proudly mention that it was a Thomian team, G D V (who returned to Sri Lanka shortly after I took over) and myself, who commenced clearing a forest of abandoned tea bushes/trees growing over 30 feet tall and turned around 2000 acres of abandoned tea in the middle of a snake and malaria infested rainforest into a garden of tea. When I first arrived in Tanzania, with my family and two kids, one aged 2 years and the younger only 3 months old, we lived in a tiny house bordering the jungle until the infrastructure was restored. My office for the first three months was the bonnet of a Land Rover! Six enjoyable and great years in Tanzania and then on to Uganda for another fantastic two years where I was stationed close to the Congo border, at the height of the Congo war, with army units, police posts and armed guards around my bungalow in addition to the baboons and a black mamba which lived in a tree in the garden!
What was so unique about these experiences was that I felt no fear, no tension, no worry at all, surprisingly only enjoyment and loving the challenge!!!
I can very truly say, my experience of being a Thomian Prefect and a Thomian Cadet Sergeant contributed immensely to building my character, to my very open attitude to life in general and my ability to interact and work with so many people in various locations and countries, people of different cultures, religions, races, nationalities, tribes and gender.
An important lesson one learns at STC is to interact together, have no divisions, be fair and treat everyone equally on their own merits.
I am indeed proud to have been through the great halls of learning at the best school of all!
from gdv perera <firstname.lastname@example.org>
date Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 9:12 PM
subject Re: Fwd: COLLEGE EXPERIENCES WHICH MEANT SO MUCH TO ME IN LATER LIFE By Neil Goonetilleke (Sri Lanka)
Many thanks for forwarding the article. It was Sriyan J who first told me about it and mentioned that it is indeed worth going out of the way to locate and read. I cannot agree more with him. You indeed drove happy memories a couple of decades back - nostalgia at its best !!
Well done !! Coming from a fellow planter and just like you, having been a former cadet sergeant and "Col Cop" I fully share the joy of your experiences. Well written and it is indeed time well spent.
Dhamitha / Donga.
Last edited by sriyanjay; 12-10-10 at 11:49 PM.
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