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Old 26-07-09, 10:46 AM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default My Days at Trinity By Quentin Israel

A painful end to Milroy’s act of folly and bravado
My Days at Trinity
By Quentin Israel
C. E. Simithraaratchy was the first Ceylonese to become Principal of Trinity. He succeeded Rev. Stopford, who subsequently became Chaplain to the Queen and Lord Bishop of London.

Mr. Simithraaratchy was tall and gangly, well over six feet in height. He was of stern disposition and much feared as he was respected. An old boy of the college he had captained Trinity in cricket in the days when the school was in the forefront of all sport, particularly cricket, at which game Trinity regularly got the better of all schools, including the mighty Colombo ones. He was also an astute critic of cricket and would caustically cut down pompous cricketers to size at assemblies, after school cricket matches.

He was a Chemistry graduate and taught the subject in the upper forms. It was our misfortune that he was endowed with a dry sense of humour, which sometimes eluded us, much to his chagrin. It was a similar case to the students in Oliver Goldsmith's poem 'The Village School Master"; "Full well they laughed with counterfeited glee at all his jokes, for many a joke had he".

I remember at an assembly after we had lost to Royal, he analysed the game very critically. "Trinity has a glorious array of bowlers. Opening bowler S. Shanmuganathan, first change bowler, S. Shanmuganathan," he quipped sarcastically. Shanmuganathan was vice captain of the side and in that match, the captain had overbowled him, non-stop at one end.

He clinically analysed the game and berated those who fared badly. He would not accept sub-standard performances. In another incident, again against Royal, Lucky Vitharana who was a good cricketer, though better known in rugby circles, played a rash stroke in attempting a six at long on. Unfortunately for him he got his bat too much under the ball, and though the ball disappeared into the sky for a short while, it started descending short of the ropes in front of the sightscreen. To Lucky's dismay, Alan Henricus, perhaps the best sportsman in Royal at that time, got under the ball.

Lucky realizing he was doomed, left his crease and started walking towards the Asgiriya pavilion, keeping his eye on the trajectory of the ball. To his surprise, Alan spilled the catch, perhaps, as the sun overhead blinded him. Lucky realizing he was not out, ran to Alan, who was also an outstanding rugby player and his friend, hugged him and said "Thank you machang, thank you machang". Alan could have run Lucky out at that time, but being the gentleman and sportsman that he was, he did not do so. Lucky went on to make a good score.

At assembly on Monday morning, Lucky got the works from the Principal. Rubbing the white wristlet strap on his right hand with the fingers of his left hand and pointing an open palm at Lucky, who was moving about in his seat uncomfortably, he said "Vitharana, histrionics, histrionics. Trinity does not need Hamlets on the cricket field" and proceeded to blast him. Despite his big score, he was dropped in the next game. This was the penalty for over-reacting.

Although he was Principal and involved in administration, Mr. Simithraaratchy also taught Chemistry, and one such class was the first year OL class in which we were. It was a common practice for boys who were not up to the mark to be kept back and there were a few of them in this class. These boys kept us informed in advance of all matters that would crop up during his teaching and his oft-repeated jokes.

Mr. Simithraaratchy had just finished teaching us about the metal Copper and was recapitulating his lesson to find out how much we had assimilated. He asked various boys questions and while some were unable to answer, most of them did. He concluded by asking what happens when hot copper is left out in the atmosphere. The second year boys anticipated this question, the preamble and question to follow, and the gentle nudges started their rounds, unknown to the teacher.

Mr. Simithraaratchy gave a broad grin, rubbed his hands together and addressed the class. "Gentlemen, I shall digress for a moment now and ask you a common sense question. If you keep hot gold outside, please tell me what happens to the gold?" The boys knew the answer, but collectively decided to remain silent. He repeated the question, stroking the white wristlet strap on his right hand with the fingers of his left hand, with his open right palm hanging loosely and moving across the class room, he charmingly said "Anybody, anybody, anybody ?" Continuing with the same gesture, he said, "Nobody, nobody, nobody".

He then chuckled mischievously and said, "Gentlemen, I will make the question easier. "If you keep cold gold outside, just cold gold, what happens? Anybody, anybody, anybody? Yes, Stuart Silva ?" "Don't know, Sir!" replied Stuart. "Yes, Balthazaar ?" "Don't know, Sir!" replied Rex, "Yes, Lamb ?" repeated the Principal. "Don't know, Sir!" said Douglas.

The Principal then gave a cherubic smile and said, "Gentlemen, when you put gold out; whether it be hot or cold, it will be stolen." Some boys forced a laugh, emulating 'The Village School Master's' students, but the brave Milroy Perera, whose senses must surely have momentarily left him, raised his right arm and with the fingers of his left hand, tickled his right armpit and forced a sham laugh.

Simith immediately turned livid and roared "Perera, no sense of humour, no sense of humour, to my office, to my office." Milroy Perera, who subsequently changed his name to Milroy Bulathsinghalage, paid for his bravado and folly. He told us he got a good berating for want of a sense of humour, but we suspected that he was at the receiving end of two strokes of the cane, not for his lack of humour, but for his insolence.
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Old 29-09-09, 03:00 PM
sriyanjay sriyanjay is offline
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Default Quentin Israel: a true ‘Trinity Spirit’

Nation Sunday Nov 18 2007
Quentin Israel: a true ‘Trinity Spirit’

I was deeply grieved to hear of the demise of Quentin Israel, ex-member of staff at Trinity College Kandy, my alma mater. He was a wonderful humanist and an invaluable asset to the College. Quentin coached rugby at Trinity for many years. Those were great years when the team enjoyed many successes and toured abroad. He was a charismatic man of many parts, with an outstanding personality.

On a personal note, he was my mentor, not in rugby but in my involvements with the Trinity College Literary Association (TCLA). He was extremely helpful during my short stint as Assistant House Master at Lower Ryde House in 2001/2002. He was the kind of man who was ready to sit down and discuss any problem, with a fine capability of reaching equitable solutions. As a researcher on international mediation and conflict research, I can appreciate Quentin’s qualities as a listener and a man who cared about people.

An outstanding scholar, Quentin was a real Athenian in both physical strength and his outstanding level of scholarship in many areas. He spent hours in the College library reading and re-reading Western Classics, literature and international affairs. A meal with Quentin was like reading an informative and interesting book, and I always looked forward to discussing various topics with him. He was also a man with a true ‘Trinity Spirit,’ seen only in a handful of my TCK colleagues.

A familiar scene unfolds before my eyes while writing this, from age-old memories at Trinity: when I was about 12, I used to walk up to school on the road that leads to the Chapel, and every morning, Quentin would walk up from Alison House to the Chapel, totally empty at that fresh and misty hour of the morning. He would go right up to the altar, bend before God portrayed on Paynter’s paintings, and say a quiet prayer. Quentin was an extraordinarily kind-hearted man, and an exemplary Christian.

Quentin was a man of high calibre, who always carried himself well. I am reminded of the rivalries and criticisms raised against him during his stay at TCK. Quentin always faced such situations with remarkable sang-froid; he made such attacks a fine opportunity to showcase his genuineness. Quentin’s views on such issues, expressed over meals in the College Dining Hall still echo in my mind.

Lanka has lost one of her illustrious sons, and Trinity has lost a man who deeply loved Trinity and devoted the best part of his life to her. I have lost my mentor and senior colleague, and the man whom I appreciated the most out of all TCK staff members I have ever known during the 15 years spent there as a student and a teacher.

I extend my sincere condolence to the Israel household at this moment of grief.

Chaminda K. Weerawardhana
University of Paris


Shakespeare..... "Never Play With The Feelings Of Others Because You May Win The Game But The Risk Is That You Will Surely Lose The Person For A Life Time".

Last edited by sriyanjay; 14-06-11 at 10:18 AM.
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