Plus - Appreciations

He did yeoman service for the upliftment of ANCL newspapers

R.H.M. Chandrasekera

R.H.M. Chandrasekara, former Company Secretary of the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd., passed away peacefully whilst he was on a visit to his daughter’s residence in Sydney, Australia in January this year. He had a fall and did not regain consciousness consequent to a stroke. He was 82 years at the time of his demise.

Mr. Chandrasekera was the Secretary of the ANCL group for 37 years and was a dedicated staff officer who did yeoman service for the upliftment of the newspapers published by the group.

He was an old boy of Dharmaraja College, Kandy. He was a brilliant student and keen sportsman. He was a product of the golden era of the college under the principalship of the late L.H. Mettananda.The college excelled in sports and studies.

His children were also brilliant students. His daughter Dr. Samara, is a physician in a prestigious hospital in Singapore and his son Mahesh is a mechanical engineer, having his own enterprise.
His wife Chandra was married to him for 55 years and devoted her time for the education of his children.

He was a devoted Buddhist. May he attained the Supreme Bliss of Nirvana.

V.K.J. Ramanayake

Aviation ace who flew back to give his motherland the best

Thillayambalam Sivasamboo

I came to know Thillayambalam Sivasamboo when I enrolled for a diploma certificate course with the Sri Lanka dealer for Caterpillar earth-moving products. Mr. Sivasamboo was overseeing the training programme.

Born and educated in Trincomalee, Mr. Sivasamboo joined the Royal Air Force after completing his secondary education. Trained as an aircraft engineer and a licensed pilot, he enjoyed a distinguished career with the RAF, holding many high-profile positions in different countries. His longest stints of service were in the UK and Germany.

Aircraft and aviation were his passions. Tall and big in stature, Mr. Sivasamboo was also a fine sportsman. He had a privileged and comfortable life in the West but chose to return to Sri Lanka to make a contribution to his motherland. He joined the Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS), and served as a Director of Civil Aviation.

He was credited with laying the foundations for modernising air travel in Sri Lanka. His reputation in the field was such that even after his retirement, he was consulted in international investigations involving air accidents. Many of his findings and recommendations have been published in British aviation journals.

Mr. Sivasamboo was an eloquent speaker, with a fine command of the English language. He was knowledgeable in a variety of subjects. He could explain the most difficult subjects to be understood by the layman.

He was a perfectionist, and had high expectations of his students. He encouraged them to use their potential to the fullest. As a result, many of them went on to enjoy rewarding careers as pilots and aircraft engineers, while others hold powerful positions in aviation around the world. They all owe their success to Mr. Sivasamboo.

Mr. Sivasamboo was a role model to me. In his last years, his health began to deteriorate. His wife Josephine looked after him to the very end. He will be greatly missed by his family, including his wife and son Ravi and Ravi’s family, and all of us who knew him.

Sathasivam Milroy Anandaraj

His inner life and spirituality made him what he was

Ven. Joseph Sarvananthan

From the time I was told by Sarva’s personal Physician that Sarva was terminally ill, my mind went back to the long journey we have travelled together. My first meeting with Sarva was in January 1965 when I as a part of my ordination formation before going to Calcutta was sent by Bishop Lakshman Wickremasinghe of Kurunagala to be tutored by the Archdeacon of Colombo, Cyril Abeynaike.

If Sarva had lived till December 5 this year, he would have kept the Psalmist’s span of life. Sarva’s earthly pilgrimage began in the Northern Province of our country and terminated in the Western Province.

During this period of almost 70 years, Sarva had his formation in that home in the Jaffna Peninsula, through Jaffna College Vaddukkodai and then his formation for ordination.His formation for ordination in a sense began in Ratnapura where he did his field work under the supervision of the then Vicar of St. Luke’s Ratnapura, Jabez Gnanapragasam.

Thereafter, he perhaps belonged to the golden era of the then Divinity School in Colombo under the supervision of Bishop Harold de Soysa and Cyril Abeynaike as Principal.

He was ordained Deacon in 1966 and as a priest in 1968. His work as an ordained person is a journey from the Uva Hills to Christ Church, Galle Face. During this period he also served Chilaw, Nallur, Chundukuli, Kynsey Road, Pilimatalawa and after the death of Fr. Donald Kanagaratnam in 1996 as the Archdeacon of Jaffna, which work he did from Kynsey Road. After his resignation as the Archdeacon of Jaffna in 2001 he served the Parish of Mt. Lavinia and thereafter spent short periods in Borella and at the Cathedral. He spent his last few years before retirement in Galle Face.

When one looks back at Sarva’s work as an ordained person there are a few salient trends.

  1. His concern for education
  2. Ecumenism
  3. Women’s Ordination
  4. Interfaith relations

Therefore it is no surprise that Sarva took education in its entirety and totality seriously. Hence his contribution in Chaplaincy work in Jaffna, in Pilimatalawa and in Colombo. Also the leadership provided by him as the Director of the Cathedral Institute. In this area of education one must not forget his lifelong interest as student, teacher and preacher. In all the other areas of his interests mentioned above Sarva with others worked tirelessly to make Ecumenism, Women’s Ordination and Interfaith work come alive.

Reflecting on the life and work of Sarva what strikes me most is his commitment to his people, a part of the minorities of this country. Therefore his work in Jaffna at a critical, crucial time during the war, and also later on from the South looking after Jaffna in several ways was important. Sarva like the assassinated Southern Baptist, Martin Luther King Junior felt strongly for the suffering of his people.
Soon after the military end of the war, when the Lectionary that we use called for a certain type of service to remember the 1st anniversary, Sarva shared with the Colombo South Deanery his thinking on this subject.

During the war, Sarva and I have had numerous one to one conversations about the plight of the minorities in Sri Lanka today very specially the uprooted people of our times. So I would like to remember Sarva for his passion for his people. Also certainly as a very good friend, although after the initial years in the then Divinity School in Colombo we went our separate ways our bonds continued.
During my many years in Colombo after Kurunegala whenever I was in the midst of a crisis or controversy in the Church, it was to Sarva that I turned. Not only did he spend time on the telephone but he used to visit me thereafter and spend time. Sarva was one person who made time for you.

To my mind Sarva was what he was because of his formation at the then Divinity School in Colombo. That formation was deeply rooted in the daily Eucharist and the daily office. So I for one am not surprised that when a person has that inner life and spirituality that Sarva had he became what he was to all of us.

During the last few weeks of Sarva’s illness and after his death on February 16, this year, I met many a person who testified about all that I have stated in this personal reflection of Sarva.

We must thank Iris, Sudarshan now Priest in the Church of England and Chrisanthan and their families for having shared Sarva with us. We assure them of our prayers and may Sarva’s soul with all souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace and rise in glory.

Sydney Knight

Mum was always ready to help people, and always with a smile

Florence Taylor

Mrs Florence Taylor passed away on January 27, 2011. Mother of four boys and three girls, she worked hard to bring us up in harsh and difficult times. Our father worked in the police for many years before he retired in 1969. He too gave of his best to his wife and children. We were grateful for what our parents gave us, and we have passed all these valuable lessons to the next generation.

Florence Taylor was a devoted wife, a loving mother, and a kind and compassionate human being – not only to her family but to the many others she took under her wing to love and care for. She was always ready to help people, and always with a smile.

Mum taught us life’s lessons and values. Dad told us never to be afraid to do what was right, and Mum told us to always do the right thing. She gave us love and affection and never complained. She was mother, teacher, doctor, counsellor and everything anyone ever wanted or needed.

Those were days when there were no dish washers, microwave ovens, and washing machine to make life easy. Mum would wake up at 4 a.m. to prepare our school lunch and get our brothers and cousin ready for school.

Words cannot express the love she dispensed as a mother and a wife. Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace.

Sheron Anandakrishna

His noble work will remain

Pon Vallipuram

Pon Vallipuram the Managing Trustee of the Mayurapathy Temple Wellawatta is no more but his memory will live on. When the temple administration was taken over by him the statue of godess Durga, the chief deity was housed in an incomplete shed with a leaking cadjan roof. He rebuilt the temple and was able to install the statues in the limited space.

He also built a multi-storied building adjoining the temple which had a spacious well furnished reception hall. It was rented out for weddings and other functions bringing the temple a sizeable income. The top floor housed all the statues of the Hindu Pantheon of gods.

He got the statues crafted by skilled artisans of India. It is such a beautiful sight. There is also a bookshop with religious books. The Temple was maintained well even though hundreds of devotees thronged there daily. It was kept very clean. The Brahmin priests and staff worked in coordination and respected him.

He was a good family man and our deepest sympathies go to his wife and family. There is no need to wish him Moksha as he must have already achieved it !

Ranjitham Ilakunathan

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