26th July 1998
By Roshan Peiris
This is the story of seven local girls and boys who have been adopted at various times during the last seventeen years, and have now returned with their four sets of parents from Holland.
These children might well have sung that moving song I am nobody's child.
They were as young as two months, some seven months when they were adopted. Indira, the oldest, had been eleven months old when she was taken by her new parents.
They were from various orphanages. Some from the Good Shepherd Convent Nayakakande, while others came from the Salvation Army and State receiving homes.
Ms. Tiny and Frana Vergonet adopted Ranil and they also have a son of their own Frank. Tiny said smiling ,"We have one son brown and the other white, our own child. They are a very good team. They play football together and are very close, though like all children they do quarrel and settle their quarrel themselves."
Ranil dark and well built attends school and also follows cookery classes. "I like preparing Dutch food and hope to find a slot for myself when I am ready at a hotel," he says.
Shirani and Indira were adopted by Ms. Carla van Drenth. "I love them very much," says Carla. Indira was only eleven months when she was adopted. She attends a secondary school and loves dancing classes which are her favourite at school.
Indira and Shirani speak better Dutch than English. "We couldn't be more happy and we learn musical instruments and dancing," they said gleefully
Shemyla, adopted by Idske and her husband Jelle Tennema, hopes to be a beautician. She was only six weeks old when she was taken to Holland with her adopted sister Nirmalie. Mr. Frans Vergon and Maryln van der Kirshaff have adopted Hishan and Shantha. Their own child is Marylyn.
Some of the girls now sport a pottu and even a nose ring and some wear their long hair in plaits. They all seem to be a very happy group exchanging banter in Dutch. There is no difference shown because of their colour. These four sets of Dutch parents have brought their adopted children on a nostalgic visit.
"They must know their country and see how kind the people are and how beautiful it is," the parents said.
"It is because we heard that Sri Lankan people are basically kind, that we came all the way here seeking children for adoption. We are by no means sorry after almost seventeen years," they said. The children naturally after all these years have no idea of their biological parents. But thanks to their parents from Holland they have a feeling of security and as they chorused together "We are very very happy in Holland. We know the language which was the first one we learnt, we know English too and we love Dutch food and their way of life," they meant it.
Mr. Parmeswaran an Attorney-at-Law and Lanka Sports Reisen have been responsible for the visit. Mr. Parmeswaran who brought this large crowd over to our editorial office. It was a happy mingling, certainly a salutary lesson in ethnic integration at its best.
Lylie Godridge, the man with the golden voice is lying seriously ill requiring renal dialysis three times a week at the Sri Jayawardanepura Hospital.
Well-wishers have set up a Lylie Godridge Fund-Account No. 384101010 at the Pan Asia Bank, Kollupitiya Branch, 450, Galle Road, Colombo 3, to raise funds for his treatment. Godridge who was honoured by the State for his services to music with the title Kalasuri some years ago has become a legend in his lifetime.
In his own quiet, dedicated way he has promoted the art of singing as conductor of the 42-voice YMCA Male Voice Choir. In 1962 he formed the LG Singers Quartet which later expanded into the LG Singers.
He is the conductor of the Colombo Philharmonic Choir and has helped to promote an interest in singing in many schools in Colombo and the provinces. Godridge throughout his life never sought to exploit commercially his talents and his circumstances are therefore modest. His friends and admirers have got together to set up a fund to help care for him. Contributions are welcome, they said.
The 50th Anniversary of the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo is being celebrated this week with a conference on the the theme "Transition, the Post-Independence Changes and the Future: Critical Issues of Law and Justice in South Asia."
The conference was inaugurated on Thursday 23rd July at the Galle Face Hotel with Justice C.G. Weeramantry delivering the key- note address. The Chief Guests at the inauguration ceremony were two former Deans of the Law Faculty, Professor T. Nadarajah and Professor G.L. Pieris.
The 50th Anniversary Conference which has been organised in association with the International Women's Rights Action Watch (IWRAW Asia Pacific) includes academic sessions that are being held from Friday 24th - Sunday 26th July at the Transasia Hotel. The sessions include a day's session on "The United Nations Womens Convention: A Strategy to Make National Jurispondence more Gender Sensitive" and half day sessions on Public Law and Human Rights, Family Law, Law and Development, The Future of the Roman Dutch Law in Sri Lanka and Information Technology and the Law.
Justice Albie Sacks of the South African Constitutional Court delivered the main presentation at the session on Public Law and Human Rights. Papers are also being presented by Prof. Alfredohan Edrisinha.
Panellists who will respond to the papers include Messrs. H.L. de Silva, R.K.W. Goonesekere, Romesh de Silva, K. Kanag Iswaran, D.P. Kumarasinghe, Nigel Hatch, Kolitha Dharmawardena, Justices Sabihuddin Ahmed and Mukul Mudgal, Ms. Sapana Malla, N.Selvakkumaran, Dr. Deepika Udagama, Dr. Sumudu Atapattu, Ms. Shyamala Gomez and Dr. Mario Gomez. The Chairpersons include Justices Mark Fernando, Dr. A.R.B. Amerasinghe, Dr. Asoka de Z Goonewardena and Ms Mere Pulea, University of the South Pacific,ohan Edrisinha.
Panellists who will respond to the papers include Messrs. H.L. de Silva, R.K.W. Goonesekere, Romesh de Silva, K. Kanag Iswaran, D.P. Kumarasinghe, Nigel Hatch, Kolitha Dharmawardena, Justices Sabihuddin Ahmed and Mukul Mudgal, Ms. Sapana Malla, N.Selvakkumaran, Dr. Deepika Udagama, Dr. Sumudu Atapattu, Ms. Shyamala Gomez and Dr. Mario Gomez. The Chairpersons include Justices Mark Fernando, Dr. A.R.B. Amerasinghe, Dr. Asoka de Z Goonewardena and Ms Mere Pulea, University of the South Pacific, Fiji.
The academic sessions are part of a programme of work initiated by the Faculty of Law in celebration of its 50th anniversary.
The Faculty of Law remains today, the only institution in Sri Lanka which prepares students for a law degree using conventional methods of education. The Faculty of Law was established in 1947/8 mainly due to dissatisfaction with the quality of legal education at the time. As early as in 1924, Chief Justice Sir Anton Bertram, realising some of the limitations of the largely vocational training given by part-time teachers at the Law College, and acknowledging the importance of the broader objectives and the wider horizons of an education in the environment of a university, proposed to the Council for Legal Education that the main part of the instruction of law students be transferred to a Faculty of Law at the proposed University of Ceylon, leaving the Law College to provide a postgraduate course of instruction in so called practical subjects, like Procedure, Evidence and Conveyancing. The original intention, therefore, was that all aspiring lawyers should first obtain a law degree and thereafter proceed to the College for practical training. But in 1935, the Council reversed its earlier decision and decided that, whether the proposed Faculty of Law came into existence or not, the Law College should continue to provide a complete course of study and training for prospective lawyers.
However, in 1947, when it was proposed that a Department of Law be established at the University of Ceylon in Peradeniya, the Law College supported the new venture and the Council made a financial grant towards the endowment of a Chair of Law. Sir Francis Soertsz, a retired judge of the Supreme Court, was the first Professor and was followed by Professors Nadaraja, C.F. Amerasinghe, G.L. Peiris and Savitri Goonesekere. It further provided recognition to the university degree and exempted holders of that degree from several subjects at the Law College examinations. This practice has continued ever since.
The Department of Law moved to the University of Colombo in 1965, where it was subsequently upgraded to a Faculty. Professor Nadaraja became the first Dean and was succeeded by Professor Peiris, Dr. Anton Cooray and Professor Shirani Bandaranayake and Sharya de Soysa. The Faculty of Law has since the 1980s conducted academic programmes leading to the LL.M., M.Phil., and Ph.D degrees. It is also probably the only law school in the world that offers instruction at undergraduate level in three languages.
Apart from the Professors and Deans several other distinguished academics have taught at the Faculty of Law. They include Sir Ivor Jennings, R.K.W Goonesekere, A.R.B. Amerasinghe, Mark Cooray, M. Sornarajah, Nirmala Chandrahasan, Shirani Ponnambalam and Anton Cooray.
The Directory of Alumni of the Faculty of Law As part of its 50th Anniversary celebration, the Faculty is compiling an Alumni Directory. The Faculty of Law invites all Alumni of the Faculty to have their names included in the Directory to send the following information to Indira Nanayakkara, either contact on the phone (500942, 075 343568) or Fax (502001) by 27.07.98. Name, Address, phone/fax or e-mail, Year of Graduation, Current Designation
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