Category Archives: charitable outreach

The Sangakkaras Erudite & Charitable: At Home and Abroad

An Accidental Encounter ….  and An Illuminating Outcome

When I was in Sri Lanka at some point in the late 1990s on research work, my cricketing links with such individuals as PI Pieris and Michael Tissera encouraged me to take in some of the international cricket matches taking place in the capital city of Colombo. On one occasion I witnessed a match at the Khettarama Stadium where Sri Lanka A took on a West Indian side. I was in the BCCSL section at midwicket where the spectators were few and quite interspersed. I heard an elderly gentleman behind me explaining some of the finer points of the unfolding match to his wife beside him. At one point I turned round and amiably indicated that he understood the finer points of cricket. It turned out that he was a venerable lawyer from Kandy named Kshemananda Sangakkara. Kshema and Kumari Sangakkara were watching their son Kumar playing for the A team.

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Swinging Christmas in Olde Ceylon

 Roel Raymond, in The Roar, 31, December 2017, where the title runs thus: “Christmas In Ceylon In The ’50’s: Swing Bands And Grand Galas”

History records social transformation. It is through the lens of historical narrative that we see the ages and eras of the past and learn of the people, places, and events that made an impact. Documented history throws a light on the customs and rituals of people as they wend their way through time, leaving their mark on a particular epoch. In the 1950’s, Ceylon has just gained independence from the British Raj, the fruits of which were yet to be seen. Many of the cultural influences of the British were still apparent, including speaking the English language, clothing styles, and partaking in English customs and holidays.

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Dhammika Thera’s History of Bodh Gaya

S. Dhammika

The town of Bodh Gaya in the north Indian state of Bihar is the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment and the most sacred place in the Buddhist world. For over 2000 years pilgrims have made their way to Bodh Gaya from every corner of Asia, often leaving records of their visit in inscriptions, memoirs, travelogues and even graffiti. Using these and other sources the book chronicles the place’s long and fascinating history. It recounts the magnificent ceremonies that once took place there, the saints and scholars associated with it and the various legends that grew up around it. Including previously overlooked information it also challenges the popular belief that Bodh Gaya was destroyed at the end on the 12th century and was forgotten and unvisited by Buddhist pilgrims for the next 700 years. This book should prove to be of interest to Indologists and social historians as well as to Buddhists.

Catalogue No.  BP630s  Language:  English
Publisher:  Buddhist Publication Society………

e-mail: bps@bps.lk.……….Tel:  .94 81 2237283 …. Fax: +94 81 2223679

Type: Book  Category:
ISBN:  978-955-24-0433-7  (2018)  (Paperback)
Pages:  146   Size: 145 x 226 mm

Price: $4.00     Rs. 225

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Tony Blair and Family in Galle, Mid-August 2015

Michael Roberts

In August 2015 Tony Blair and family visited Sri Lanka  on a private holiday trip[1] and during their stay in Galle resided at the upmarket boutique hotel known as “Amangalla.”[2] When a Sunday dawned on 11th August 2015 they adhered to their Catholic faith and attended mass at the little low-key Catholic Chapel in Lighthouse Street around the corner from Amangalla. So, we now witness a picture of an informal gathering after the service where the Blairs are chatting with Moninna Goonewardena of Parawa Street, Fort Galle, Charmaine Fereira of Galle and Fr. Tharanga Saminathan of the Jesuit Order — a lovely moment etched in ecumenical space.

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Honouring ALL the Dead in War. Somasiri Devendra’s Ecumenical Epitaph

Somasiri Devendra 

It’s a hundred years since the World War One ended.

It was called “the war to end all wars”, a war “to preserve Democracy”. It was, in fact, fought for nothing more than the needs of a handful of European countries wanting yet bigger pieces of the global pie, fighting each other for it or to deny it to others.

a war cemetery in Europe

British Garrison Cemetery Kandy

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In Appreciation and Memory of ER de Silva of Richmond College, Galle

A. S. Wirasinha

It was an important day in 1914 when two brothers E.A. and E.R. de Silva left the Wesleyan Mission Boys’ High School at Ambalangoda and enrolled as pupils at Richmond College. Galle. Arthur, the older brother, proved a quiet and steady worker and later worked his way to posts of high responsibility in the postal department of Sri Lanka. It was the younger brother, Richard, who was to make a vital contribution to the school.

... with DS Senanayake

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Vale: Remembering & Appreciating Professor PB Meegaskumbura

     KNO Dharmadasa, in The Island,  2 October 2020, …. https://island.lk/prof-meegaskumbura/            

   

Professor P.B.Meegaskumbura, who passed away on the 20th of October after ailing for sometime, is well known among Sri Lankan scholars as an academic who has contributed immensely to expand the vistas of Sinhala Studies. His research and publications include studies of the many branches of Linguistics, the study of Sinhala Classics, Buddhist History, Semantics, Stylistics, and the Society and Culture of the Veddas. Whatever he wrote, whether in Sinhala or English, bore the hall mark of high quality.   

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From Galle Across Oceans: The Talented Joseph Family

An Introductory Note from Michael Roberts, 30 September 2020

This ramified tale begins with the wedding photograph sent to me my old playmate Adrienne Ranasinghe nee Conderlag displaying the elegant couple and entourage in front of the All Saints Church in the fort of Galle. This spark has set Joe Simpson, a Galle lover who taught at Richmond College for a while and is back in Canada now, off-and-running. He saw that the best man at the wedding was Louis Joseph and sent me an old article he had composed on the Joseph family. This essay is now adorning the Thuppahi web site as well.

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The Joseph Family of British Ceylon: Service to Mankind across the Oceans

Joe Simpson. reproducing his article in http://www.worldgenweb.org/lkawgw/sid.html

This dashing military-style portrait is of Sidney Percival Joseph (1873- 934) who was one of 15 children of Arthur Francis Joseph’s younger brother Eugene (1839-1915) and his wife, Georgiana Jemima (nee Ohlmus) (1848-1906). Sidney would thus have been a nephew of Arthur Francis Joseph (“AFJ”) and Eugenia, and a first cousin of Lawrence Joseph and his brothers. As the two cousins were almost exactly the same age, Sidney and Lawrence were probably childhood friends and remained so after Lawrence Joseph (later Joseph Lawrence) moved permanently to Scotland in the early 1890s.

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Dr RL Spittel: A Learned Man for the Väddās and the Wild

Richard Boyle. in Serendib, October 2013 where the title runs thus “Dr. R. L. Spittel: City Surgeon, Jungle Doctor, Wildlife Crusader”

In the late 1880s, a boy with the ambition to become a leading physician stood in a jungle clearing watching his surgeon-father perform an autopsy. From the undergrowth a member of the aboriginal people, the Veddahs, suddenly appeared. Their eyes met for one brief moment before the shy Veddah hastily withdrew. It was Richard Lionel Spittel’s first experience of a Veddah; an encounter that profoundly affected his life.

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