I am writing this column as one who has been closely associated with all the major events connected with the College during my six years in College and the six years I was Secretary of the O.B.A, and having closely worked with 3 Wardens … M.L.C.Illangakoon, Neville De Alwis and David Ponniah. I have been Treasurer of the Centenary Royal-Thomian Cricket Match and spared the Chairman and the Secretary who were senior in age by handling some of their functions as well, whilst concurrently being the Joint Secretary of the Royal-Thomian Centenary Fair & Exhibition. In the following years, thereafter, I was twice Secretary and 3 times Chairman of the Match Committee which record has not been equaled so far. I was also 6 times Chairman of the Thomian Nite Dinner-Dance which I revived to raise funds for the Bishop Chapman Scholarships and also revived the Garden Party for Old Boys and their wives after I was elected Secretary of the O.B.A.
Sri Sangabo Corea
I think the most frightening day in a schoolboy’s life is his very first day in the boarding not knowing the type of reception that awaits him. The college quadrangle was a hive of activity with new entrants coming into the boarding. As my father and I walked to the centre where there seemed to be the place where the action was I saw Warden R.S.de Saram walking towards us. After a warm greeting and an exchange of enquiries he wanted to know what dormitory I had been assigned to. When I said it was Chapman Junior the Warden called one of the prefects on duty and requested him to escort me to my dormitory whilst the Warden kept company with my father. After leaving my belongings I went back to join my father and shortly afterwards he left for Chilaw. Being the very first time that I was separated from home I felt homesick and absolutely miserable so much so that I felt like running behind the car forgetting that Chilaw was fifty miles away !
Left with no other choice I slowly made my way to Chapman Junior, sat on the bed thinking of the miserable time I was going to have when 3 seniors walked up and asked what my name was. When I said I was Corea they shouted for all to hear that Chapman had a Korean and some of the seniors came running to find out whether I was from North Korea or South Korea. Questions were asked as to why I came to STC without going to a school in Korea. After a little bit of teasing they went to tease the other new entrants. Feeling utterly lonely and miserable I decided to write to my mother and threaten to run away if I was not removed.
Scared that I would carry out my threat she had pleaded with my father to bring me home but my father merely explained to her that the first few days will be like this after which I would make friends and begin to enjoy boarding life. He had assured my mother that it was only a temporary setback and that it would cease to exist with time. After the initial teasing, life in Chapman Junior
became bearable sooner than I expected and making friends turned out to be enjoyable. Everyone in the dormitory had one common objective … to do better than the other dormitories since our dormitory was named after the Founder of the Best School of all !
Sange’s ice breaker
A man stumbles to the only patron in a bar and asks if he can buy him a drink.
‘Why of course’ comes the reply.
The first man then asks, ‘Where are you from ?’
‘I’m from Galle’ replies the second man
‘You don’t say. I am from Galle too ! Let’s have another round to Galle.
‘Of course’ replies the second man.
Curious, the first man then asks ‘Where in Galle are you from ?’
‘I can’t believe it’ says the first man ‘I am from Boossa too’
‘Let’s have a drink to Boossa’.
‘Of course’ replies the second man.
Curiosity again strikes and the first man asks ‘What school did you go to ?’
‘Richmond College’ replies the second man. ‘I graduated in ’62.’
‘This is unbelieveable. I went to Richmond College too and I graduated in ‘62’
‘Let’s drink to that’ they both say.
About this time one of the regulars comes in and sits down at the bar.
‘What’s been going on ?’ he asks the bartender
‘Nothing much’ replies the bartender ‘The Silva twins are drunk as usual !!
TWO BROTHERS, THE ELDEST, A ROYALIST AND THE YOUNGEST, A THOMIAN
TOGETHER, WERE A FORCE TO RECKON WITH
Sri Lanka celebrated its 71st Independence Day on the 4th of February 2019
and this write-up is connected with this important event
It will always be a matter of pride and gratification to the People of Sri Lanka that the struggle for political emancipation was launched, supported and sustained by a long line of patriots and leaders so fired by their devotion to a common cause that they never flinched, never wearied and never despaired in their efforts to make this country a better place to live in, rid of the shackles of alien rule. The road to Independence has been a hard and rugged one. Immeasurable, therefore, is the country’s debt to those intrepid pioneers of the Reforms Movement for the courage and determination they showed in the face of almost insuperable odds to launch and carry out their campaigns. Two such pioneers were Charles Edgar Corea (popularly referred to as C.E.Corea) and his youngest brother Charles Edward Victor Senewiratne Corea (popularly referred to as Victor Corea).
CHARLES EDGAR COREA (C.E.COREA)
Proctor of the Supreme Court * Founder President of the Chilaw Association *President of the Ceylon National Congress (1924-1925)
It is to his lasting credit that he saw from the earliest years of his political life the importance of building the country’s future on the foundations of both political and economic advancement, and strove valiantly for the realization of this objective over a period of four decades.
Born in Chilaw on October 16, 1866, C.E.Corea was the eldest son of Charles Edward Corea, a lawyer-politician and one of the co-founders of the famous Ceylon League, which carried on the campaign for popular control of the Budget and espoused other causes affecting the interests of the country.
At the tender age of six he lost his father and came under the sole guidance and upbringing of his mother (Henrietta Senewiratne) a young widow of 21, who sought to implant in him the spirit of his father and to nurture him in the traditions of a family since the days of Portuguese rule for the relentless fight it waged to free the country from the incubus of an alien yoke.
Then came his years of schooling at Royal College, where he shone both as a scholar and debater, and demonstrated his all-round excellence by playing for six years in the college cricket eleven, making his mark as one of the best schoolboy bowlers at the time. He wound up his school career when he ran a close second to C.M.Fernando for the University Scholarship. He passed out as a lawyer and was an apprentice to A.de A. Seneviratne, Advocate. As a proctor he wrote to the newspapers under his name to spotlight public grievances and bureaucratic ineptitude.
He exerted himself professionally on behalf of the victims of oppressive laws, and made his services freely available to villagers in case after case brought against them under the Forest Ordinance. His castigation of the land laws in a series of cases against the British Government was marked by such skillful marshalling of facts and arguments that the courts invariably found in his favour.
All this made him thoroughly convinced of the urgent need to create an organization for the purpose of safeguarding the rights of the villager and working for the promotion of the country’s political aims. This brought the Chilaw Association into being. It was organized by him and attracted some of the ablest and most prominent men of the district, with the result that before long it became the most powerful political body in Ceylon.
It is extraordinary that Chilaw should have been able to make its voice heard to such effect in the political councils of the nation, but the fact remains that what Chilaw thought and said today, Colombo thought and said tomorrow. So high was the standing and prestige of the Chilaw Association that its role was equated almost to that of an Opposition party in a land where officialdom was paramount.
That it was able to attain a position so unique in the political annals of this country was due unquestionably to the ability, energy and devotion of C.E.Corea its founder and organizer. His polished weighty, cogent utterances in the Chilaw Association made that body a force to be reckoned with in the political sphere. Its pronouncements on all public matters commanded respect even in official circles and made C.E.Corea a thorn in the side of the bureaucracy.
In 1899, he was elected by associations in Ceylon to proceed to England as a delegate from Ceylon to present his case against the Waste Lands Ordinance to the Secretary of State. He was a friend of Lord Stanmore and stayed some days with him.
Uncompromising Opponent of Communalism
As President of the Ceylon National Congress, C.E.Corea led a delegation to Jaffna in an endeavour to heal the Sinhala-Tamil split on the question of reserving a seat for the Tamils in Colombo. It was a mission quite in character with his lifelong role as an uncompromising opponent of communalism. He was held in such esteem that he was elected President of the Jaffna Association with the entire Tamil Membership showing their implicit faith in him.
He was a versatile and gifted personality. His eloquence of the English language was such that Warden Stone of S.Thomas’ College and Principal Woodward of Richmond College, both outstanding British educationists were of the opinion that C.E.Corea was one of the finest speakers worth listening to. The British Bureaucracy wilted under his elegant thrusts and even the Governor, Sir Hugh Clifford was rattled by the force of his stinging diatribes.
Advocate of the Supreme Court * Member for Colombo North in the Legislative Council of Ceylon * Executive Committee Member of the Ceylon National Congress * First President of the Ceylon Labour Union – The First Political Party formed in Ceylon * President of the Young Lanka League * Named a NATIONAL HERO by the Government of Sri Lanka
Tower Hall Meeting in 1924
At this meeting which was chaired by Victor Corea all the leaders of the Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim communities met and pledged to be united in a Nation Building Effort. The speakers all acclaimed Victor Corea as a great national hero and the embodiment of racial, religious and communal unity. He was commended for being head and shoulders above all politicians for his relentless effort to unite all communities to respect one another and act as one united force. Whenever a rift occurred between the North and the South Victor Corea crossed the Elephant Pass and stretched his hand of friendship to the Tamil leaders and the rift became a bedrock of goodwill