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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ananda College Cricket team 1957

Seated L-R: AP Jayasinghe, Palitha Premasiri, Anuruddha Polonowita, Daya Amarasinghe, Ananda Ranasinghe.
Standing L-R: Palitha Wijesekara, Anura de Zoysa, SP Ekanayake, Sonny Yatawara, NG Ekanayake
On the ground: Ranjith Thabrew, Sirisoma Wijeggonewardene, Neville Ratnayake

APJ entered the Eng Faculty and worked as an engineer. Passed away early. Palitha Premasiri (my classmate) never studied. Owned Southern Drapery Stores at Borella Junction. Deceased.
Anu Polonnowita joined the Colombo Municipality. Married Chitranganie (daughter of the late Prof. PB Fernando who was Professor of Medicine before Prof. Rajasuriya.
Daya Amarasinghe joined the Prisons Dept. Ranasinghe was at Ceylon Insurance.
Palitha Wijesekara (deceased) was the elder brother of athlete Vijitha Wijesekara and Dr. Rohitha Wijesekara (our junior batch).
Anura de Zoysa also died some years ago.
SP Ekanayake also did a Physical Science degree in the University and joined the Army. Died a few years ago as a Major.
Sonny Yatawara joined Ceylon Tobacco soon after leaving school. Died early in life.
NG Ekanayake too died some years ago.
Thabrew was in the Science Faculty. Wijegoonewardene joined the Army as an Officer Cadet and retired as a Major. Neville Ratnayake was another classmate of mine who joined the Ventral Bank.

Almost 60 years later, the 1957 captain Anu Polonowita is second from left in this picture with Suren Iyer.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Academics Vs Sportsmen

By Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

I remember Bryan Claessen as one of the finest sportsmen of my era at Wesley College. Although he was eight years my senior we struck up a friendship when he contacted me after reading my article in the 125th Anniversary School Souvenir. He spoke to me many times about the lack of recognition given to academics from school compared to sportsmen. He felt this was grossly unfair. Coming from a sportsman of his calibre I gave serious thought to this issue.

I have maintained the Double Blue International website for 20 years. In the DBI there is a whole page for Sports but no pages for Academics or their achievements. So I am partly to be blamed for this ‘willful neglect’. Even in the daily newspapers there is a section for sports but none for academia although they get a mention in the general news items.

During the school years we always gave respect to those who were clever and did well in their studies. The end of term reports and the year end promotions to the class above depended on the academic performance. The Annual Prize Giving made awards to those who performed well academically. The Medals and the Scholarships were special awards for bright students. So the academics too got their fair share of applause and acclaim.

Over the years I have enquired from many sportsmen and academics. I have also asked sportsmen who are academics. I asked my son who played cricket and hockey for a British Public School and followed a course in medicine at Cambridge where he was awarded the Cambridge hockey blue. He said on looking back he was more proud of his achievements in sports than his academics. He said academic achievements were for his personal gain and career, whereas the sports were for his team and his school and University. This perhaps explains the extra recognition and adulation one gets from the school and friends.

Bryan Claessen was a gentleman in every sense of the word and I appreciate his concern. Team Sports have been in existence since Greek and Roman times. We live in a world that loves sports. Bryan is right, Academic awards are very few even when inventions and discoveries benefit humanity and the society. The recognition is disproportionately poor. Such are the ways of the world.

We all enjoy sports and remember sportsmen more than academics. The clever clogs at school do get their recognition. I will continue to manage the Double Blue International without a page for Academics. They fit in well in the rest of the DBI pages.

Bryan Claessen passed away in Adelaide Australia  on 16th March 2010, at the age of 74.

(This appeared in Double Blue International administered by ND)

Monday, September 26, 2016

St. Joseph's College Cricket eleven 1957

St. Joseph’s College 1st XI Cricket 1957. Standing (L to R) – Ranjan de Almeida, Neville Athukorale, Ranjit Malawana, Emilton Fernando, Claude Perera, Priya Perera, Derrick Francke,
Joe Mustapha, Angelo Rayer, Jerry Fernando, Tissa de Soyza, Neville Jayawardena.
Seated (L to R) – Michael Berman, Zacky Mohamed, Kirthi Caldera, Mr. Joe Ekanayake, Rev.Fr. Peter Pillai (Rector), Mr. John Pulle, Fr. Lucien Dep, Carlyle Perera, Peter Leanage.

 Ranjith Malawana later played for Bloomfield. Michael (aka as Brian). Both of them were my neighbours at Manning Town up to 1956. Michael/Brian entered the Engineering Faculty and is now in Australia. Priya Perera also did so but later did Physical Science. He died very early in life. Angelo Rayer was in the Science Faculty and I knew him well when I was doing the 6 months course. Kirthi Caldera was in the Air Force and died early. Carlyle Perera captained the University team that won the Sara Trophy in 1963. He was in the "300 Batch" and I knew him well. Tissa de Soysa was a good athlete. Zacky Mohamed later played for Saracens.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A bit of nostalgia

This post is mainly for cricket fans who have been following the game from early days. There are well known names among those who had played for their respective schools in 1957. Among them Prof. AH Sheriffdeen (no introduction needed here), the late Lasantha Fernando (National tennis champion) who married our senior Dr. Manel Bogollagama and father of former internationally ranked tennis player Lihini Weerasuriya, Sports journalist Elmo Rodrigopulle, former Army Commander the late Gen. Cecil Waidyaratne (whose brother Dr. Kulasiri did the 6 months course with us in 1961), the late Major General Lucky Algama who died in a bomb explosion during an election rally.

Lionel Fernando  was in the famous Nomads cricket team under DH de Silva  that scored some 900 runs in an innings in a Sara Trophy match. DH's brother DP and  Anu Polonowita also played in that team. DP and DH were brothers of Sri Lanka cricketer DS de Silva. I think Lionel Fernando also played a few matches for All Ceylon. Allan Gunasekara and Rayen were good hockey players as well. Together with Elmo R and Neville Casiechetty, both of them played for Tamil Union later.

Anton Rambukpotha and Ranjit Doranegama were at the Peradeniya Arts Faculty.
Click on:

Saturday, September 24, 2016


Sanath Lama has sent in this with a "justification" for inclusion as a blog post.

Professor Sanath P. Lamabadusuriya

06:48 (7 hours ago)
to me
 Dear Lucky,

Would you consider posting this on our blog spot? After all 33 in our batch were old Royalists and quite a few of the girls (Swyrie, Sriyanee, Sura,etc) are married to old Royalists!

Kind regards,


Creative Spot by Indra Anandasabapathy

TWO DIFFERENT ORCHIDS IN BLOOM- below the moth orchid, phalaenopsis, above Odontoglossom.
                            Odontoglossum, the Kandyan dancer orchid belongs to this group.
BUDDLEIA- the butterfly bush. Summer bloomer, commoner in the UK than the USA.

                                          TRUE TO ITS NAME- the butterfly bush

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality. What is it and what are its uses?

Virtual Reality is a computer technology that uses realistic images, sounds and other sensations to  replicate a real environment or an imaginary setting to make the user feel he is really present in the simulated environment so that he sees, hears  and is able to interact with this space.

How it is done
It is made possible by the use of a head set incorporating video, sound and other technology using computer science. It owes its availability to the computer age and is one of the most important methods of the 20th century. Two companies, HTC and Valve Corporation, produced it.

Its history
Its concept has been there and used in films in the mid-1900s but it really owes its advancement to the computer age. We can all remember the early ‘infant’ of 3D viewing by View master glasses. With the advent of computer technology the method improved by leaps and bounds but strangely it never ‘took off’ as predicted. However its use is expected to be more and more sought after in the future with the relentless advancement of computer technology and its use in cinema production and games.

Its uses and applications
Its commercial use in films and games for entertainment, and its use in games arcades as found in California are well known. We can also socialise by VR, we can do business, we can have a prior view of, for example, where we shall go on holiday and we can even ‘meet’ our relations on the other side of the world with a realistic effect of them being in the same space as ourselves and with modern equipment even the sensation of touch can be brought into the experience.

In Medicine, it is used in the treatment of pain. Morphine is said to relieve 20% of pain but VR uses scenes of ice and snow to immerse the patient in, so that his or her pain is felt as a cold sensation with immediate and complete relief without the disadvantages of drug therapy.
It can be used in the treatment of drug addiction and phobias where VR is used to put the subject in such an environment that he can imagine a completely different situation, for e.g. a phobia for flying being cured by VR bringing the subject to get into the plane and experiencing safety and comfort and absence of danger. Hence in phobia treatment it is done by repeatedly exposing the patient to the feared situation and showing that no harm takes place. 
It has been used in the training of surgeons where a 360-degree view of the operation is provided by VR thus allowing subject to get a closer and more realistic appreciation of the operation. The fist VR surgery took place in Oxford. Remote control surgery has been performed by VR using a robot doing the surgery in one place and the direction coming from a real surgeon in a remote situation, even another country. For anxiety disorders it is equivalent to seeing a therapist face to face but cheaper. Why has it not been used to a greater extent? It has been the cost to some extent but in 2 to 3 years it is expected to be cheaper and more freely available.  Your smart phone can also deliver it!
Work has been made easier by VR where a person could work from home while feeling he is in the office environment with colleagues giving one the benefit of being in the same space. Thus one can be in two places at once with VR.
It is used in immersive Journalism where VR makes the reporter feel that he is, for instance in a jungle with a bear in front of him and hearing the roar making it more realistic for the reporter and viewer.
The Travel Industry is going to use it to sell e.g. Holidays where the customer is shown the actual place with scenes, sounds and touch e.g. feeling of the breeze on oneself and seeing the sun shine using VR to give him a 360 view plus a physical experience.

What are the disadvantages?
We’ll end up living in a virtual world. The personal touch the eye contact, the feedback are all going to be lost to some extent. The projection however is that it will not have the take up of the level of smart phones. The latter was one and a half billion but VR take up is projected to be in the tens of millions range.  But the potential is great.
It has been used in the present time to give subjects a virtual trip tothe past for example to be virtually transported to a Museum of 500 years ago to experience looking at art of that era as if it were happening now.
It is expected that VR, which is a technique of the late 20th century, is about to take off in the next 2 to 3 years!

Sent by Zita Perera Subasinghe

References: Programmes on BBC Radio, Accounts on Wikipedia and other Internet sites.


I would like to acknowledge and thank Mahendra (Speedy) for his expertise in formatting text, converting the image to correct format and even correcting mistakes in my article. It is not often that one can get this sort of service and I am truly grateful to him.