[APPRECIATIONS - (27-08-2018)] | Daily News


[APPRECIATIONS - (27-08-2018)]

Dr. A.R.L. Wijesekera

Outstanding sportsman

Dr. Asoka Ranjit Llewellyn Wijesekera, affectionately called A.R.L. by his colleagues at the Badminton fraternity and also Asoka or Ranjit by his relatives, passed away after period of illness on Wednesday, July 25, this year, at the age of 88. He was cremated the following day at the Borella Cemetery.

A.R.L. hailed from an outstanding and distinguished academic family. His late father N.B.D.S Wijesekera was a Crown Proctor in Kalutara. A.R.L. and his three brothers, as well as his sons late Ranil, Niranjan and his grandsons Nivanka and Nilesh, are products of Royal College. He entered Royal College in the early 1940’s and was the winner of the De Soyza Science Scholarship at a young age. A.R.L. later entered the Ceylon University in the late 1940’s and obtained a Special Chemistry Degree.

He then joined the Government Analyst’s Department as an Assistant Government Analyst and reached the pinnacle of his career later as the Government Analyst. There was a short time when he held another post in addition to this, when he was appointed the Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI) Chairman.

He was a consultant at the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board’s (NDDCB) National Narcotics Laboratory. His services were always required and used on Scientific, Administrative or Sports matters.

A.R.L. proceeded to the Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland, on a government scholarship for his postgraduate degree and obtained his MSc. During his stay there, he had his training at the Scotland Yard Forensic Science Laboratory and also worked at the Nottingham University. He later obtained his Doctorate.

In addition to his academic achievements, as a sportsman, A.R.L. excelled in badminton. He captained the Royal College badminton team In 1948 and 1949. The Ceylon University badminton team won the Collins Shield at the first Inter-club Badminton Championship held in 1952 by the Badminton Association of Ceylon.

The victorious University team comprised of C. Sri Ananda (Capt.), A.R.L. Wijesekera, C.E (Tim) Nicholas, V. Shanmuganathan, M. Balasunderam and R. Sunderalingam. G. Brant Little was the then Physical Training Director. Four of the members passed out as doctors and one of them was the Deputy Inspector General of Police.

A.R.L. captained the Ceylon team in 1951 against the visiting Indian Thomas Cup team that made a stopover in Ceylon en route to play their final rounds in the Thomas Cup tie against Australia. The Ceylon team comprised of A.R.L. Wijesekera (Capt.), Raife Jansz, S. Selvajeyam, M. Balasunderam and Sam Schoorman. A.R.L. played No.1 Singles and No.1 Doubles, partnering S. Selvajeyam. He, along with N.M. de Silva (President), Basil P. de Silva (Secretary), Arthur Chandrasena, Dinker Muthukrishna, P. Sivalingam, R.P. Nadarajah and S. Selvajeyam, were the pioneers responsible for the formation of the Badminton Association of Ceylon (BAC) in 1950. The BAC was later elected to the International Badminton Federation (IBF)—the control body for badminton in the world, in 1953.

At the Thomas Cup tie against Japan held in 1957 at the Royal College Hall, A.R.L., partnered by Rajalingam, took part in the Men’s Doubles.

A.R.L was the Manager cum Captain of the Ceylon team at the Thomas Cup tie. In 1960, against Pakistan in Lahore, A.R.L and Sam Chandrasena played in the 1st Doubles. The Malayan Thomas Cup team visited Ceylon in 1961 and played two official tests and two exhibition matches at the Central YMCA Indoor Gymnasium Fort. A.R.L., partnered by Gerry Chandrasena, played in the men’s doubles. He and V. Veeraraghavan played in an unofficial test against the two members of the visiting United States Thomas Cup team returning after the Inter-zone Thomas Cup ties held in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 1961.

A.R.L. was the Manager cum Captain of the Ceylon Team at the Inaugural Asian Badminton Confederation (ABC) Championships held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1962.

He was also the Manager cum Captain of the of the Ceylon contingent for the 1st Asian Badminton Confederation (ABC) Championships held in Lucknow, India, in 1965 and also at the 1st Nehru Memorial Badminton Championships held in New Delhi, India. There, he partnered Gerry Chandrasena in the men’s doubles.

A.R.L. captained the Ceylon team at the Thomas Cup tie against Pakistan held at the Panagoda Army Cantonment Indoor Gymnasium in 1966. It was a historic occasion when he and Gerry Chandrasena defeated the Pakistani doubles pair. This was the 1st International win in a Thomas Cup tie for Ceylon.

At the third International Schoolboy Championships (ISBC) held at the Panagoda Army Cantonment Indoor Gymnasium in 1967, A.R.L., along with Indian Patiala Institute of Sports National Coach Pitamber Singh, coached the Ceylon Schoolboys squad. It was at these championships that Rudy Hartono (Indonesia), San Myint (Burma), Tan Aik Mong (Malaysia), Sohoichi Tuganoo (Japan) and Lalith Ramanayake (Ceylon) later went on to represent their countries in the Thomas Cup ties.

Tony Perera went on to represent Ceylon at the second Nehru Memorial Championship held in New Delhi, India, in 1967. A.R.L., during his stay in the UK in 1968 and 1969, obtained his advanced Level coaching qualifications by passing the preliminary, intermediate and final examinations conducted by the Badminton Association of England with flying colours.

He was the manager of the schoolboys’ and schoolgirls’ contingent which toured China in 1974. The youngsters improved their standards from the experience gained on the tour and several of them went on to win national titles as well as represent Sri Lanka at the Thomas Cup and the Asian Badminton Confederation (ABC) Championships.

A.R.L. was the Sri Lanka Badminton Association President on two occasions (1991 – 1992 and 2000 – 2001). He was also Senior Vice President and Chairman of the Selection and Disciplinary Committees of the Sri Lanka Badminton Association. He was a member of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) representing badminton. A.R.L. also received the Meritorious Award for Service to Badminton, awarded by the International Badminton Federation (IBF).

He strode as a colossus in the field of badminton. He trained young players who later went on to win several national titles and represented Sri Lanka at the Thomas Cup, Asian Games, Asian Badminton Confederation (ABC), as well as the Olympics. ‘A.R.L.’ is synonymous with badminton in Sri Lanka. May he attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana.

Surendran Veeravagu


Victoreen Hassan

A devoted wife

It is with deep sadness that I write about my loving wife Victoreen M. Hassan. We spent a happy and peaceful wedded life for almost 40 years, and Victoreen passed away peacefully on August 25, 2008, after a brief illness.

Vicky, 10 years have passed since I lost you who were the light of my life. You cannot hear my voice or see my smile and no more will you walk beside me as you did before. I feel the love you showed me, I hear you in my heart; you left your human body, but your soul will never part.

Your gentle, loving and admirable qualities, as well as your sincerity, were evident by the crowds that thronged to your final journey. It broke my heart to walk beside you on that fateful day. I think of you in silence and often speak your name, Victoreen. All that I have now are memories and a photo in a frame. Your memory is a keepsake, from which I will never part.

Today, tomorrow and forever, I will always love and cherish you. In silence I cry as each lonely day passes by. There is only one thought that eases the pain, and that is knowing we will be together again. Loving thoughts till the end of time, of a wonderful wife I am proud was mine.

All you gave me and our children through the years; your time and love, your prayers and tears, your patience, caring and sharing; are unforgettable memories. For all this and more, Vicky, I still love you.

God’s hands touched you as you drew your last breath, closed your eyes and slipped away into a land void of pain. Vicky, God has taken care of you, so you need not be afraid. The pain I feel of losing you will never go away from my mind. Your loving smile, your gentle face—no one can fill your vacant place. You were one in a million, and you meant the world to me. Vicky, each night I shed a silent tear as I speak to you in prayer to let you know I love you.

Thank you for your endless love that helped me through each day. You were the wife I loved, and I was proud to be your husband. Every day, in a small way, I celebrate your life.

Finally, thank you, Victoreen, for the wonderful and generous sacrifices you made for me, our children, as well as all the loving care and affection you showered on us. I remember not what I did for you, but I was for you and you were for me. Thank you for loving me and being the devoted wife you were.

Darling Vicky, our special years will not return, when you and I were together; but with the love within our hearts, you will walk with me forever.

Until we meet again...

M. Kamil A. Hassan


W.T.J.S. Kaviratne

Diligent journalist

With great honour I remember my brother who dedicated his time and energy for the welfare of his fellow citizens. He rendered yeoman service to his motherland. Three months ago, he passed away, leaving inexpressible sorrow and void in our hearts. His memory will linger on in our thoughts forever.

My brother received his education at St. Mary’s College, Elpitiya. His favourite subject was English. At an early age, he read lots of books and mastered English language and literature. Those old days, the atmosphere in our home in Batapola was always lively and busy with literary activities. Every day began with reading books, writing articles and learning different languages.

Our father, Dr. Harischandra Kaviratne, was a renowned author of many Sinhalese books, including the internationally-acclaimed Wisdom of Buddha. Father’s library was filled with books on Eastern and Western philosophy, cultures and civilisations, religion, and many other subjects. Brother was influenced by our father’s literary talents and it paved the way to his career as a writer and a journalist.

Because of his excellent results in the English language, brother received his first job as an English teacher in the Badulla district. He later worked as a proofreader at a printing press in Colombo for a short period of time. After working as a teacher of English for many years, his interest took another direction: it was journalism. He had a successful job as a journalist and was also the Southern Province Media Association President. My brother received many prizes for his journalistic talents.

He held many seminars to educate people on important subjects such as how to protect the environment, journalism, tourism, as well as nature. He worked hard to achieve the best results of everything he took on.

Brother had a broad knowledge of many subjects such as cultures and civilisations, history and world religions. By writing articles to leading newspapers in Sri Lanka, he shared his knowledge with the public. His articles often appeared in the Daily News. When he wrote articles, he researched on the respective topics.

He went to remote places to gather information and interviewed people and experts on the subject to make his articles detailed and educational. He wrote on local beliefs, handicrafts in Sri Lanka, tourism and other interesting topics. When he was in Denmark, he wanted to write on vikings and Norse mythology. He visited many museums in Denmark and gathered material for his writings. A series of articles on Scandinavian mythology appeared in the Sunday Observer.

My brother was interested in writing on everything he happened to see. He was energetic, and never thought about himself: he worked tirelessly for the benefit of others. It was never his desire to amass great wealth for his work.

I can name my brother as a journalist, writer, teacher, guide and a cosmopolitan. I am proud of him.

Everyone can remember my brother’s innocent and friendly smile, as well as his polite approach to people.

Brother loved his family so much. He always wanted to be with them. Just before his last days, he accompanied his family to many places in Sri Lanka. His wife, children and grandchildren were always with him. They visited him every weekend, and he enjoyed their company.

May he attain the Supreme Bliss of Nirvana!

Savitri Kusk


E. N. R. Premadasa

He stood for justice

Robust, Hefty
Looking majestic.
Could have been a king,
If worn a crown.
Draped with clothe and coat,
Had been an active
Head under English
And Sri Lankan attorneys
More than half a century.
Most loveable grandpa
To all of us
In a way, my saviour
Found me a job
Made me a man of qualities,
A scholar and loyal citizen.
Not at all worried
To introduce me or any
Of his relatives
Sans rich or poor,
Educated or uneducated, to say
My kith and kin
Leitching and Lee,
The British company
Having earned a good name
Centuries to centuries unending.
Maternal uncle of my mum
Helped us in need, indeed
Monetarily or spiritually
Ardent Buddhist, kept all qualities,
Lived as a teetotaler.
Hated the drunkards
Not to mention gamblers, culprits
Never entertained misdeeds
Even before millions and millions, bribes.
Justice of Peace
To the very letter.
Be kind, please accept my gratitude
From haven far from me
Bliss Of Nibbana
May you attain before long
That is my humble plea.

E. N. Jayarathna


Soma Wimalasundera

Loving mother

One year ago, on this day
You left us forever,
Leaving a void never to be filled
You were unique in so many ways
Hard to describe
And at times, to understand
Born to a family of prestige from down South
You led a happy life till the age of ninety-six
When your mother passed away
All of a sudden,
Your life changed completely
Home-schooled from then on,
You missed all the fun
But you grew up to be a beautiful maiden
Attracting the attention
Of a handsome young man
You entered wedlock and raised ten kids,
Supporting thaththa in all his endeavours
You stood by him to guide him along,
Being versatile in all aspects of life
Your common sense proved always right
With courage and determination,
You mothered us ten
Sometimes strict and at times, not
Securing futures for us all
Was foremost in all your deeds
With all that done, you turned your attention
To the love of your life,
To care for him till he passed away
Looking back, what strikes me most
Is your dedication to us
An example you set
In no uncertain terms

May you attain the supreme Bliss of Nirvana, dearest amma.


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