Compassionate human being with diverse interests
I read the Editorial in the 'Daily News' of September 20, a few
minutes before sitting down to write this appreciation of Lakshman
Perera, Surveyor/Land Management Consultant of the Colombo Municipality.
Lakshman passed away, after a brief illness, at a relatively young age
of 65. He had the best medical care at the hands of cancer specialist Dr
Balawardene and the doctors at the Maharagama Cancer Hospital during
short spells in hospital in the past few months.
In between, at home, his wife, Pushpa rarely left his side, except
for a few hours each morning to teach at the Asoka Vidyalaya, Colombo.
She was supported by his son Chandima, who immediately on hearing of his
father's illness, transferred the writing of his MA thesis on Networking
and Internet Systems to Colombo, from Lancaster University in the United
Kingdom, to the SAPNA Centre, where he had been an intern prior to
leaving for the UK.
I have known Lakshman and his family for nearly two decades. We not
only shared the same fundamental values, which came from our respective
religions and common culture, but also from our common mission to ensure
that the benefits of development and use of resources were enjoyed by
all the people, not merely by a few.
Lakshman was not only a compassionate human being, but one who had
diverse interests. Despite the low profile he always maintained, I found
he had a sharp intellect and nerves of steel. He never gave
unsubstantiated opinions and never deviated from his advice. He was a
rare public servant.
Before the obituary notice appeared, his family was visited
personally by the Special Commissioner of the Colombo Municipality,
representatives of nearly all political parties, as well as, by his
close friends, representing all communities. The present and past
principal and staff of Asoka Vidyalaya provided a constant source of
support to Pushpa.
Lakshman Perera had a passion for maintaining and enhancing the
Colombo Municipality's physical and financial assets. It was this memory
and passion that also led to the Colombo Municipal Commissioners to
unanimously extend his services by appointing him as a consultant, after
retirement at age 60.
He knew every file in the municipal archives. For instance, it was
because of this passion that he knew how the underground drainage system
built over a 100 years ago functioned to ensure essential flows of water
to avoid health hazards, such as the dengue menace.
Let me end this brief appreciation by calling for the creation of a
Trust Fund to be called the Lakshman Perera Trust Fund, where two
deserving students from Asoka Vidyalaya, will be given a scholarship
each year to make a transition from high school to a sustainable
livelihood. The Fund will be announced at a suitable occasion after
consultation with close friends of Lakshman.
Desamanya Dr Ponna Wignaraja
The news of the sudden demise of my good friend Camillus Weerasinghe
on August 26, 2011, (Cami) came as a shock and caused immense grief to
his family members and friends.
Cami was the epitome of a devout Catholic who lived his life
according to the true spirit of his religion. He used to begin the day
by attending daily mass at St Mary's Church, Dehiwala. He believed that
this practice gave him the strength and courage to face the daily
challenges of life. Cami's simple, quiet and friendly disposition
endeared him to his relations and friends alike.
I used to meet Cami almost daily at Pala's kade where we purchased
our newspapers and other provisions.
May the turf lie gently over your mortal remains and may your soul
rest in peace.