ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday February 24, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 39

He did his best to make society a better place

Herbert Perera

Any human being born on this earth has a sacred duty. His sole endeavour should be to live and die without becoming a burden to Mother earth. The man who dies after fulfilling this noble task is not dead. Although we may not see him physically, he lives among us. Herbert Lionel Perera, whom we fondly called ‘Our Herbert Uncle’ was an exemplary person with very rare qualities.

‘Our Herbert Uncle’ lived a very fruitful life for 83 long years, fulfilling all possible family, social, religious and other duties expected of him. Certainly he did more than what was expected of him.

He was the fourth child of Mr. and Mrs. L.P. Perera, born on July 20, 1925. He had his education at Ananda College, Colombo, an institution which became a living symbol of Buddhist revival in this country. His alma mater taught him all the essentials of being a good citizen. Like a fragrant flower that wafts its scent throughout the length and breadth of the area, he carried that example in all directions of society.

‘Our Herbert Uncle’ occupies pride of place in our hearts because of his selfless dedication to society. He was a true friend to me, my wife and daughter. He was a great neighbour. He extended his friendship to all - his relatives, neighbours and others. He was like a massive tree with a wide canopy giving shelter to all.

He started his life as a draughtsman at the Railway Department and retired as an Assistant Draughtsman of the Ratmalana Office. Integrity, dedication and skill were his hallmarks. A clever entrepreneur, "Our Herbert Uncle" launched his own company, "Rail Quip" after retirement. It was a success, thanks to his untiring efforts, determination and commitment.

He was an active social worker and a member of the Wijayawardhanaramaya, Kandewatta, Nugegoda who worked hard for the development of the temple and the Dhamma School. He was also instrumental in planting a sapling of the historic and sacred Bo Tree of Anuradhapura at the Kethumathi Temple, Madiwela. We will always remember and acknowledge his pious efforts towards enshrining our Buddhist heritage with shouts of "Sadhu".

We will remember him as an exemplary man who tried to make our society a better place. He was a social worker and was made a Justice of Peace by the late Minister Dr. Anandatissa de Alwis who was a close associate. It is a comfort to the family that his two sons and two daughters are following in their father’s footsteps.

Until the end, he maintained his great qualities. "Our Herbert Uncle" departed, proving once again the emptiness and transient nature of the cycle of Samsara.

By Siri Ranasinghe

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