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Wednesday, May 27, 2015


It happened this morning at the local Supermarket when we were doing our shopping. I spotted a bargain when I saw two of my favourite 'tipple'---- namely "Lagavulin" and "Talisker" which are Whiskies from the Island of Islay and Isle of Skye off the west coast of Scotland. Those who have tasted these whiskies will know that they have a unique taste of their own.They were at almost half price----- I do not miss such a bargain!!!  I bought a "FEW"  and along with the rest of the shopping, went to the check-out.
While waiting to pay for the items, somebody from behind said" Salam-u-alaikum" in Arabic meaning --'Peace be with you' I looked over my shoulder and to my horror I found the IMAM -- high priest from the local MOSQUE!!!!  I uttered " wa -alaiku- salam" meaning 'Peace be with you too'
Now I was in a "SPOT" --- to say the least. Quickly covered the shopping with carrier bags and turned around my trolley -- it was all great amusement to my wife!!! I beat a quick retreat saying that I had forgotten something and not before glancing into the Imam's shopping to see if he too had not missed out on the bargain of "BARLEY WATER" and watched from a distance till the Imam finished at the till and went away and ......  I paid for my shopping.
It WAS a CLOSE SHAVE indeed!!!
Then we came to the car park to get home when I found the Imam had parked next to me!!!--- cannot get rid of the bugger!! He was talking to two young men with long beards and a woman fully covered all over in black so called "dress" with only a slit for the eyes --- she resembled a BLACK POST (PILLAR) BOX. I just wondered if they were being preached  or at worse radicalised!!!! 
The Imam wanted to know from me if I got what I wanted? I replied that I got my" BARLEY WATER" cheap and carefully packed our shopping into the boot of my car with a chuckle and making sure that they were out of sight from prying eyes!!
Came home and had a good 'shot' of the "BARLEY WATER" IN CELEBRATION!!!.. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Scotch with 2 drops of water - Sent in by Sriani Dissanayake Basnayake

A lady  goes to the bar on a cruise ship and orders  a Scotch with two drops of water.  As the  bartender gives her the drink she says 'I'm on  this cruise to celebrate my 80th  birthday and it's today.'  The  bartender says 'Well,  since it's your birthday, I'll buy you a  drink.  In fact,  this one is on me.' 
As the  woman finishes her drink
  the woman  to her right says 'I would  like to buy you a drink, too.'  The old  woman says  'Thank  you.  Bartender,  I want a Scotch with two drops of  water.'  'Coming  up' says the bartender .

As she  finishes that drink,
the man to  her left says 'I would  like to buy you one, too.'  The old  woman says  'Thank  you.  Bartender,  I want another Scotch with two drops of  water.'  'Coming  right up' the bartender says.

 As he  gives her the drink, he says 
'Ma'am,  I'm dying of curiosity.
  Why the  Scotch with only two drops of  water?' The old  woman replies  'Sonny,  when you're my age,  You've  learned how to hold your liquor... holding  your water however, is a whole other  issue.'

'OLD' IS  WHEN.... 

Your  sweetie says 'Let's go  upstairs and make love' And you  answer: 'Pick one,  I can't do both!'

'OLD' IS  WHEN... Your  friends compliment you On your  new alligator shoes And you're  barefoot!

'OLD' IS  WHEN... A sexy  babe or hunk catches your fancy .... And your  pacemaker opens the garage door!

'OLD' IS  WHEN.... You don't  care where your spouse goes .. Just as  long as you don't have to go along.


'OLD' IS  WHEN... You are  cautioned to slow down By the  doctor instead of by the police

'OLD' IS  WHEN... 'Getting  lucky' means you find your car .. In the  parking lot.

'OLD' IS  WHEN... An 'all  nighter' means not getting up To use the  bathroom.

AND 'OLD' IS  WHEN..... You are  not sure these are jokes!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Madeline's Hens,,,,,,,, Sent in by Sriani Dissanayake Basnayake


Madeline was in the fertilized egg business. She had several hundred young 'pullets' and ten roosters to fertilize the eggs.

She kept records, and any rooster not performing went into the soup pot and was replaced.

As this took a lot of time, she bought some tiny bells and attached them to her roosters.

Each bell had a different tone, so she could tell from a distance, which rooster was performing.

Now, she could sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report by just listening to the bells.

Madeline's favourite rooster, old Butch, was a very fine specimen, but this morning she noticed old Butch's bell hadn't rung at all!

When she went to investigate, she saw the other roosters were busy chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing, but the pullets, hearing the roosters coming, would run for cover.

To Madeline's amazement, old rascal Butch had his bell in his beak, so it couldn't ring! He'd sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to the next one!!

Madeline felt so proud of old Butch, she entered him in the Dowerin Show. He became an overnight sensation among the judges and the judges not only awarded old Butch the "NoBell Piece Prize," but they also awarded him the "Pulletsurprise" as well.

Clearly old Butch was a cunning politician in the making. Who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the unsuspecting populace and screwing them when they weren't paying attention.

So, vote carefully at the next election, you can't always hear the bells.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Gynaecologist's Assistant - Sent in by Sriani Dissanayake Basnayake

 A man went to Harley Street in London having seen an advertisement for a Gynaecologist's Assistant.  
 Naturally interested, he went in and asked the clerk for details.

The clerk pulled up the file and read;

"The job entails getting the ladies ready for the gynaecologist. "  
"You have to help the women out of their underwear, lay them down and carefully wash their private  
regions, then apply shaving foam and gently shave off their pubic hair, then rub in soothing oils so they're  
ready for the gynaecologist's examination."
"The annual salary is £65,000, and if you're interested you'll have to go to Manchester "

" My God, is that where the job is?" asked the man. 
"No Sir, she answered. 

That's where the end of the queue is..."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

"TAKE AND DOUBLE TAKE"!!!. - Sent in by Razaque Ahamat

Sriani's posting and Mahendra's reply prompted this one. Or is it TWO?
Firstly,TAKE ONE.. most of you may have heard this one as it was in all  the News Media, the world over.
This really happened during the 9'11 event when the Twin-Towers in NY became "Ground Zero "!!
The husband of a married couple had gone to work as usual at the Twin Towers. The wife had attended to household chores /shower etc... and switched on the TV and to her horror saw the carnage that had happened. She immediately rang her husband on his mobile --more in hope!! ..... in tears.!! Out came the reply saying that he was at his desk and wanted to know what the problem was. He was "blissfully"!!! unaware that his work place and his desk were now just RUBBLE. He was "hard at work".... with his MISTRESS.!!! 

Secondly is an innovation of mine!!!---DOUBLE TAKE.....
There were two "best mates"--- in fact childhood mates called Ivan and Stephen. The families were very CLOSE...TOO CLOSE Indeed. One day Stephen rang his wife and said that he was playing POKER with Ivan's at Ivan's place!!!! His wife very eagerly replied to carry on" POKING and to take his time" and phone back when he is leaving Ivan's that she could 'warm' up his meals AND OF COURSE GET RID OF IVAN!!!!!. 
IN fact Stephen was BONKING Ivan's wife the same time Ivan was doing the same ...BONKING Stephen's!!!!!!...... ONLY Stephen's wife knew the exact "set-up"
I suppose Alls well that ends well!! AND HARMONY PREVAIL.
 May be "IT IS IVAN'S -- STEPHEN'S" !!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Que Sera Sera - Whatever will be, will be!

By Nihal D. Amerasekera 

When I saw the Alfred Hitchcock film “The Man who knew too much” (1956), the song Que sera sera sung so beautifully by Doris Day struck an immediate chord. It had the most appealing and honest lyrics. Its message rings true even now after so many years. 

I was a ‘pimple faced’ teenager in the 1950’s. Life was rapidly unfolding before my eyes. It was a troubled time for Sri Lanka and its people. The SSC and the University Entrance examinations were looming large in the horizon.  I was often asked “what are you going to do when you grow up” for which I didn’t have a coherent answer.  In those days the school and our parents decided for us most things and often we accepted their decision.  They provided a form of reassuring security having our welfare foremost in their minds. That had its benefits. Unlike nowadays the teenagers were less well informed and were far less independent and streetwise. I knew so little about careers when I embarked on my journey into medicine. Today the sky is the limit and there are so many choices. The schools have careers advisors and there are computer programs to tell us what we should be doing!!  With the privilege of hindsight I would say, do your own research on careers and trust your own instincts. Let the mistakes be your own. If one had reasonable ability, the traditional wisdom in the 1950’s was to drift towards medicine, engineering, law or accountancy.  

Retirement gave me the free time to think and reflect, a luxury that was in short supply all through my training and professional career. Although I enjoyed a career in medicine it would not be my first choice, if I am to choose again.  I would prefer to study the Arts to become a Journalist. From the time I can recall  I have been a dreamer, ever willing to create pictures with words. I loved putting pen to paper. The plays, short stories and essays I wrote as a teenager were commended by my peers and the school.  Reading was my hobby. I got the best grade available for English in the SSC ,  far superior to any of the sciences. This perhaps should have made me think further about my choice of profession. Becoming a journalist was my recurrent dream but I lacked the courage to make a stand. My knowledge about Journalism as a profession wasn’t adequate to be bold enough to go against all the advice. 

The rough and tumble of a career in medicine with sleepless nights and a life amidst death and disease was not what I wanted. Its onerous routines of weekend work and oncalls  were restrictive and encroached on my own cherished space.  Life is too short for such long years of study.  My best years were lost burning the midnight oil. As a teenager I wish I knew what was in store. Like most things in my life I sleepwalked into the unknown. I was fortunate to have carved myself a career within medicine to suit the way I wanted to live. It came at a price with a further 5 years of study and more exams after the MRCP and the long years before that. 

Journalism too has undergone enormous change due to the digital revolution.  A TV or radio news reporter is not what I would have wanted.  I fancy digital journalism of newspapers and magazines.  A life of a journalist is not for the faint-hearted. In some countries press freedom depends on the whims of politicians. Where Human rights are non-existent journalists disappear off the face of the earth. Those who report from war zones and areas of natural disasters take enormous risks. The journalists bring to the attention of the public the problems and the possible solutions to make the world a better place. Journalists who report on sports or review music and films have a different lifestyle although the industry is not less cut-throat.  So it is not an easier option to medicine but that would be my first choice. 

In the United Kingdom many of those appearing for the A-levels do not know what they want to do in life. They study a general subject in the University. Then 3 years down the line decide on their careers. Even after several years in their chosen career path some find out they want to change and they do. There are doctors, solicitors, architects and politicians who have done this and made it a success. Watching a TV program recently about the Chelsea Flower show there was a lady presenter who qualified as a hospital doctor and then changed course to become a landscape gardener. 

Sometimes it is cathartic to air one’s feelings if done in the right forum. Honesty is the best medicine!! I am immensely proud I was given the opportunity to follow my “chosen path” as a teenager. Then I knew no better.  Much to my surprise, I am still happy, sometimes sublimely so.  I don’t feel like a disgruntled doctor as I have had a most satisfying professional career. I have enjoyed the public respect of the noble profession. It is wonderful to know how my body works and the solutions to some of its problems. I also know when nothing much can be done.  Above all when I go to my doctor he cannot pull the wool over my eyes. I feel enormous pride in my achievements in medicine. After all it was a career which would not have been even in my shortlist of future vocations. I only wish I was better informed and better advised. Perhaps it was my destiny that prevented me from becoming one of the disappeared journalists during those dark days in Sri Lanka. 

As I do the finishing touches to these notes that old adage flashes across my mind “ the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”. Actually, the grass is greenest where it is watered and cared for.  I take the wisdom of the Buddhist teaching “the way to happiness is to learn to want what you have and not want what you don't have”. 

In summary my choice of medicine as a career was a mistake. I blame no one else for this. Despite the hardships and setbacks, I turned it round to make it a success. Be it random chance, destiny or the will of God, good fortune has smiled on me most of the way. 

Cest la vie – “Such is life”

Monday, May 18, 2015

Five unshakeable facts - Sent in by Sriani Dissanayake Basnayake

   1. A girl is said to be grown up when she starts wearing a   bra.  A boy is grown up when he starts removing it.
2. We all love to spend lots of money buying new clothes but we never realize that the best moments in life are enjoyed without clothes.

3. Having a cold drink on hot day with a few friends is nice,
 but having a hot friend on a cold night after a few drinks - PRICELESS.

4. Breaking News: Condoms don't guarantee safe sex anymore.
A friend of mine was wearing one when he was shot dead by the woman's husband.

5. Arguing over a girl's bust size is like choosing between Molson, Heineken, Carlsberg & Budweiser.
     Men may state their preferences, but will grab whatever is available.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Interesting Experience at the Supermarket - Sent in by Razaque Ahamat

Sometime back, Rick Stein --- the Chef, published a book on his tour through India that included some interesting recipes he came across on his travels through that country.
I decided to buy Four (4) of these books for my wife and three daughters -- mainly as it was going at half price at  the Tesco Supermarket ---catch me not missing out on a bargain for a Christmas Present!!!
There was only one available on display, so I asked a Shop Assistant to check if there were any more in their backroom store. She came back with a trolley load and put them on display. I took 4 of them to the check-out counter and presented them. The cheeky girl at the till inquired why I need so many copies of the same book?? I said, without thinking, "they are ONE FOR MY DAUGHTER AND THE REST FOR MY THREE WIVES"!!!I
------instead of saying "one for my wife and the rest for my 3 daughters"
There was laughter among the other customers and this cheeky girl at the till replied with a smile, " you must have been very BUSY". Then I realised what I had uttered and got my composure back and said "that's how I fathered so MANY children ....I am a MUSLIM, you know!!" -- of course with a straight face and there was a blushing young girl at the counter..

Friday, May 15, 2015

For $100,000 Prize Money - Sent in by Sriani Dissanayake Basnayake

 For $100,0000 prize money

A woman was on the way to winning $100,000 on a game show, but her final question was suspended for the next night. Her husband sneaked into the studio and found the question and answer.
He raced home and told his wife "Your question is 'What are the three main parts of the male anatomy', and the answer is 'The head, heart and penis.'
The woman thinks about this throughout the night, but keeps forgetting the answer. Her husband keeps reminding her, "The head, heart and penis."
Come the game show she has forgotten again, and the presenter asks,"For $100,000, what are the three main parts of the male anatomy?
You have ten seconds."

"Um... The head."
"Good. Eight seconds."
"Um... The heart."
"That's right. Five seconds."

"Oh... Um... Damn My husband drilled it into me last night and I
had it on the tip of my tongue this morning..."

"That's close enough! You've won $100,000!"--

Lakshman Jayasinghe in Town

Our old friend Lakshman Jayasinghe (now domiciled in Brisbane, Australia) and his wife Jecintha are on holiday in Sri Lanka. A few pictures taken when old friends met.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Guts or Balls - Sent in by Sriani Dissanayake Basnayake

There is a medical distinction between “Guts” and “Balls”.

We've heard colleagues referring to people with “Guts”, or with “Balls”.
Do they, however, know the difference between them?
Here’s the official distinction; straight from the British Medical Journal: Volume 323; page 295.

GUTS - Is arriving home late, after a night out with the lads, being met by your wife with a broom,
and having the “Guts” to ask: “Are you still cleaning, or are you flying somewhere?”

BALLS - Is coming home late after a night out with the lads, smelling of perfume and beer,
lipstick on your collar, slapping your wife on the bum and having the “Balls” to say: 'You're next, Chubby.'

I trust this clears up any confusion.

Medically speaking, there is no difference in outcome; both are fatal.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Place Names in New Zealand

By Razaque Ahamat
Firstly let me start with some place names in New Zealand that I encountered during my 6-year stint there that would tickle the people conversant with Sinhala!!
There is a place north of Auckland where we normally stop for rest on the way to Whakatane (where my son was doing his elective from Edinburgh Med School..-- ( by the way WHAKATANE is a Maori word pronounced as....... "FUCK-A TARNAY"!!!) ....  for rest & refreshments is called TE PUKE---- pronounced "THAY PUKAY!!!)---- where I bought "MY COCK"-- the larger than life-size cockerel carved from a single block of Jade.-- "JADED COCK"
On our way back, we take a route back via picturesque Taupo and a few miles south of here is a waterfall called HUKA FALLS!!! Then further north is a place where the Maori Queen lives in place and Maori sounds as NA RUWA WHAHAYA . I suppose in Sinhala may sound a bit rude!!
Further up the motorway, we pass the Anchor Butter Factory in a place called PUKE KOHI. Some of you may remember the Waidyaratnes--- Siri and Chula from the 6-months Course who have/had their practice.  In the surrounding valleys and hills --- PUKE VALLEYS AND HILLS the Gujarathies from India have large farms of milch cows supplying milk to the near-by Anchor Butter Factory. Now we know from where we get our Anchor Butter from --- the PUKE HILLS AND VALLEYS.

The above, I think have said at different times in the past... yet it is worth re-writing!!

Now for another part of the world. I refer to YEMEN, where all of you may be aware there is a conflict on-going at the moment, to put it mildly. The two main parties in conflicts are the SUNNIS and HOUTHTHIES!!! The Houthies are from an area called HOUTHTHA  and they mostly Shia- a Sect of Muslims. The other being SUNNIS and to which Sect I belong!!!.. In Tamil the word SUNNI means ----- wait for it .... the MALE GENITALS!!! This means, Metaphorically speaking, they are all ...... PAKAYAS in Sinhala!!! I think it is time for me to CHANGE SEX..........SORRY I mean CHANGE SECT, thank you!!!! So dare not give me another "Nick-name"... I have TOO MANY.....thank you,  to cope with.!!!!! 

Friday, May 8, 2015

The awesome force of destiny

By Nihal D. Amerasekera

I was not born with a burning desire to save the world from disease. All I wanted in life was a stable job and a stress free existence. I never had a driving ambition to be rich or famous. The desire to help came to me seeing the suffering at the General Hospital, Colombo. All through medical school, it was my wish to remain in Sri Lanka for the rest of my life. Patriotism never entered the equation, but my being an only child did.  

All I knew from school and medical school was examinations. What I wanted from the rest of my existence was the complete opposite. We choose our careers when we were teenagers, knowing nothing about what lies ahead. Five years of grueling study and examinations robbed me of my youth.  Its intensity and harshness was never to my liking.  There are better ways to learn a trade.  Having said that, I respect my teachers enormously. In the Faculty, the teaching was of the highest calibre. In the wards, the Visiting Physicians and Surgeons taught us their craft much beyond the call of duty. I consider myself fortunate to have been a student during those golden years. Despite the hard grind, I have happy memories as a medical student, mostly of friends and friendships. After the “finals”, what I wanted was a life without examinations.  I thought that was not too much to ask, but I was proved wrong.  

The internship came and went as swiftly as a hurricane.  Then I got a job as MO/OPD Kurunegala. This was in preparation for a life as a DMO in some remote corner of Sri Lanka.  During those years, I developed a great love for the simple people of the Vanni. After a couple of years in the job, I was ready to move on. I applied for a small peripheral hospital near Chilaw to begin life as a real doctor. I have vivid memories of a visit to that hospital in preparation for my move. The DMO post was vacant. I met the apothecary who managed the hospital. He was young and enthusiastic and I felt we could work together and have a happy partnership in providing a service to the community. The rejection of my application came as a surprise.  I was new to the machinations, maneuvers and conspiracies of the decision makers in Colombo.  I learnt early in life we cannot always get what we want.  

The Department of Health in their wisdom, gave me a post as MO/Central Blood Bank, Colombo. It was not a job for life but just a stepping stone. I made the best of what was on offer. There was plenty of free time and lots of travel.  Like a vampire, I crisscrossed the country at government expense, reaching every corner of Sri Lanka collecting blood. In Colombo, I kept in touch with  many of my friends from school and Medical school. I was happy in my job with fine colleagues at work. The Health Department Sports Club in Castle Street was a popular watering hole for doctors. We gathered in the evenings and shared the amber nectar putting the world to right. It was tremendous fun on which I look back with much fondness.  

The good life came to an abrupt end when in 1972 I read the Medical College Notice Board . The MRCP part 1 was to be held for the first time in the following year. My dream of being a DMO had ended in despair a couple of years previously.  If I were to remain in the Blood Bank, I had to qualify further or continue cross matching and collect blood for the rest of my life. The latter was not an inviting prospect. After much thought, I went against the grain and decided to sit for the examination. I worked hard like never before. Studying now had a purpose and I could do it in my own time. Medical College library was close at hand.  I never felt that passing the exam was a matter of life and death. At the same time, I was relaxed about it. To my great surprise, I passed. It was then that I decided to go to the UK. 

After the MRCP, I continued to work in the UK. It was my desire to see more of Europe and also earn some money to buy a car and other household goods. Such “luxuries” you may recall, were not available back home. My wish to return was delayed further when I met my future wife. Sri Lanka was then at war and the conflict was rapidly escalating. We then decided to bide our time and continue to work in the UK in the hope the climate would change. The longer one stays in a country, more difficult it is to uproot oneself. By then, I had decided to change course and start my training in Radiology which meant more study and many more exams. The time passed relentlessly. After completing my Radiology training, I returned to Sri Lanka and spoke with an eminent Radiologist in Colombo with a view to finding a job. He is a person I respect  enormously. He gave me many good reasons why I should remain in the UK. We discussed wide ranging issues from seniority in the Health Service to the political climate. By then, the war had made life in Sri Lanka more difficult and at times dangerous. There went my desire to return home and be close to my parents. 

It was indeed a pleasure to work in the UK. While training in Radiology, I had the great privilege of working at Kings College Hospital and the University College Hospital in London.  Learning and studying in England is a great pleasure in stark contrast to what I had back as a medical student in SL. Above all, I was treated with respect. The National Health Service gave me their top job despite being a foreigner. This is much more than what I could have achieved back home.  I worked hard to maintain it.  To remain and work in the UK is a decision I do not regret. I do have regrets about not being with my parents in their hour of need.  

I have missed my family in Sri Lanka enormously and have paid a heavy price for my desire to live and work abroad. I wasn’t present for the births, weddings and deaths of those most dear to me. I am now a stranger to the new generation born during my absence. I feel a foreigner in the country of my birth as Sri Lanka has moved forward in leaps and bounds, despite the destructive forces of a long ethnic conflict. Although I live happily in England, I have left my heart in that beautiful island of my birth and the land of my fore-fathers. 

To stay or leave Sri Lanka is a decision we make when we are young with our hormones raging. Then marriage, bringing up a family and developing a career is uppermost in our minds. There are many other factors that influenced my decision which are of a very personal nature. I had gone from a person who wanted to spend my entire life in Sri Lanka to a permanent exile in a foreign land. I never thought this transformation was ever possible. The way it all happened to me, is a minor miracle. I now call it the awesome force of destiny.

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Comment on "The Wind of Change" by Mahendra (Speedy) Gonsalkorale

I am publishing this as a new post although it was originally meant to be a "Comment" under ND's "The Wind of Change". Mahendra (Speedy) found it to be too long to be accepted in the comments section (there is a limitation to something in the order of 4800 characters). He has therefore sent it to me to be published as a separate post.
Seasoned  Bloggers may have noticed that MG had not commented on this thought provoking post by ND, and wondered why. Well, the explanation is simple. I have been rather preoccupied with arrangements for the Spring Meeting and Dinner Dance of the SLMDA (Sri Lankan Medical and Dental Association in the UK). It was held yesterday and was a great success. OK, now that is out of the way, let me get down to business.
The period ND is referring to was perhaps a watershed time. As noted  by ND, Sri Lanka (Ceylon then), entered a transition period following independence. The “In” crowd in this early post-independent phase, (speaking in general terms with particular reference to the Urban population), were English speaking, more aligned to Christianity and with more than a touch of disdain for the Sinhala speaking, “can’t speak good English; hot-pot, post oppice” type. People tend to follow what is trendy and feel comfortable, either when they stand out for behaviour regarded as desirable, or when they are unnoticed. For this reason there were many devotees of this attitude.
With resurgence of National Pride and increasing rebellion against whatever was identified with our Colonial Masters, factors such as Buddhism, Swabasha and the National Dress became the new culture. The inability to converse in English, or converse with mispronunciations, was gradually ceasing to be a liability but almost a virtue.
During this period of evolution, the education in schools reflected this changing pattern.  The elite Colombo schools adapted and moved towards a sensible model of recognising, retaining and fostering some of the undoubtedly desirable “Western” values (not unique) such as punctuality, discipline, respect for elders, respect for knowledge, while embracing the long suppressed indigenous culture and values of a resurgent Ceylon. I always maintain that the emphasis on discipline, respect for values and appreciation of others points of view, as existed in my years at Royal College, which I consider one of the best schools in the Island, helped me to become what I am today. Of course my home environment and the influence of my wonderful parents were the biggest factors. Even then, there were some who turned up their nose at those who could not speak “proper English (aren’t there such people even now?). How often do we still see famous personalities struggling in English when all they needed to do was to speak in their mother tongue and use an interpreter, as so many International dignitaries from non-English speaking Countries do?
“I think therefore I am “ – Descartes.   I am using this famous expression with my own interpretation, i.e. we are what we think we are. Part of the problem with those who feel that some of the Colombo schools were snooty  (ND, Lucky, I am definitely not referring to you!) is their own perception of themselves within that context. If you feel that you are regarded as inferior, even well meant actions and words may be misinterpreted. Communication is a complex process and when people talk to each other, language is just a part of this process. Body language, interpretation of words and actions, the context, all these matter. I can think of a striking example of this in my own personal experience. I returned from Amsterdam with an English colleague of mine and one of us was searched and most of my Sri Lankan friends thought I was the one subjected to the search whereas in fact it was my English friend because I was Asian.
I have nothing but praise for the way Royal College educated us. Dudley de Silva, our Principal at the time, was a far thinking and wise man. He promoted communal harmony by having Classes where we were not segregated according to our language; all the Forms had a mix of pupils and we started the day in one class room as one Form. For some subjects which were taught in Sinhalese, Tamil or English, periods were formed for the relevant lessons according to the language used. The result was that from a very early age, I had friends from all communities and I never had a problem with ethnicity. We had an English Literary Society as well as Tamil and Sinhala, with equal importance. Swabasha was never looked down on. Any superiority we felt among schools was purely because of the strong sense of identity we had, just as football fans regard their favourite club. Other Schools were regarded as lower than Royal in the League within our own minds. St Thomas’s had prime status as enemy No 1 through a long tradition of rivalry, but Ananda and Nalanada were below us not because of language or religion but purely because Royal was the best. I can’t deny that some had the superior “we are not godayas” mentality but such an attitude was certainly not fostered by the School.