Rugby humour in Sinhala – very interesting

Just the other day I came across a book written by Ferdie and Edno that contained some interesting stories, titled “From Havelock Town ... From Longdon Place….”
The book is written in Sinhala, the sub line says: “Humour like in the Rugby Jokes Book”. It is no secret that the game of rugby, and the crowds associated with it, enjoy and often narrate what was termed Rugby Jokes. To date there is laughter and merriment as jokes are shared when rugby folk meet. Some are retold while new stories are added. Rugby jokes are on the internet as well as in hard copy in the form of books. If you were to search for books on rugby you will invariably find some titles on rugby jokes.

I was surprised when told there was a book written in Sinhala: “Humour like in the Rugby Jokes Book.” All stories are not related to rugby but can be the centre of chatter as rugby folks meet. While the game has spread far and yet we don’t find any work in Sinhala either on coaching or Laws there is a book closer to rugby jokes. The authors of the book appear quite familiar with the game as they title, “From Havelock Town..... From Longdon Place…….” The stories are mostly adult focused while some are ribald.
We have at heard of rugby stories of a local flavor. The story, of the player who got on to a lift and was asked to press the button to the ground. His friend wondered why the lift was stuck. On inquiry he was told that he pressed to go to ground and showed the number 9 and said I pressed simple “G”. This guy was sent for an interview. Short of being good in English, what he said was not understood by the interviewer. When the interviewer said come again the man went out of the door tapped and asked permission to return.

We have also heard of the guy who was recruited and sent to work under a rugby crazy Bank Manager. In the evening he was told that he cannot finish all his counting and he could take the cash home and bring it back the next day. The Bank Manager alerted the security and the money and the player was brought back while all had a good laugh.

What caught my attention is one in the book by Ferdie and Edno . This was about ‘Sira’ who was a good rugby player, but had no permanent employment. His handicap was that he did not know much English. While all his team mates were doing well ‘Sira’ had no job and this worried the captain. He arranged for a job as a security officer to a lady who was a millionaire. Sira was however reluctant as he thought that a lady from that background will want somebody who speaks English. The captain convinced him to go and said that he had told the lady about the drawback. They waited for Sira in the evening to have a drink on his account. They were disappointed that he did not come. Next day Sira came to the club with bruisers and had one hand in a sling. Everybody was worried and inquired as to what happened. He said that he spent the night in the police station. The lady had asked him, what is your name? He reply was, I am Sirisena. When asked about his age he said I am twenty eight. He then said all went well as he was coached on the questions till the lady asked “can I see your testimonials. “When I showed them she shouted that I was indecent and called the cops.”

I begin to wonder whether Ferdie and Edno thought the title is appropriate it seems rugby is becoming a joke. Otherwise how would one say, “The selectors manage to put a team of twelve together?” Once again we find players keeping out of practice and a depleted team taking off to the Commonwealth Games. A couple of stories are doing the circuit and is the butt end of laughter. There was a story that the Captain of the Shanghai Sevens had not come for practice and also not asked to be excused. When questioned the answer was: “Am I to play alone?”. It sure seems that we have managed a team when you look at its composition with so many missing.

There is also the story of the under twenty team being given only 23 jerseys and shorts the exact number including the reserves. During the match when the shorts tore the boy was given something to wear and it turned to be the under garment of a lady spectator!

Another story is of a seven-year-old boy was at the centre of a courtroom drama when he petitioned court for a ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy had a history of being beaten by his parents, and the judge awarded custody to his sole aunt. The boy protested that his aunt beat him more than his parents and refused to live there. When the judge suggested that he live with his grandparents the boy claimed that they beat him more than anyone. The judge dramatically allowed the boy to choose who should have custody of him. He requested that custody be granted to the *$@#*^! Rugby team, as the boy firmly believes they are not capable of beating anyone.

*Vimal Perera is a former Rugby Referee, coach and Accredited Referees Evaluator IRB

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