Re-visiting PWC

Sinhala Grammar & Bisection

June 20, 2016

I am thankful to those old Cambrians, Sebastianites, one Thora and another Rajan, who responded to the series with some of their own experiences, which go to show youthful fun we shared, as much as the quality of the teaching staff we were privileged to learn from during our era, are being rekindled. E-mail interaction in this respect, certainly goes to show how the series has managed to hoist a different kind of dormant ‘Kundalini’ among old Cambrians!

The dedicated members of staff at the PWC did not concentrate blindly on a syllabus alone, but their dedication extended towards inculcating morals, ethics and values in pupils’ future lives which helped to transform many boys in Khaki shorts to men of the world.

This fact has been reinforced in one of the emails as follows: “Talking of men of value, PWC has produced many men of the world especially Senior Police officers at home who have earned people but not wealth”!

Some old Cambrians, while paying tribute to their favourite teachers did come up with few names such as Messrs. A.P.M Peiris, Tilan Perera, Eric Perera, Oliver Martin, Tissa Gunawardena, Godahewa, Chandrasoma Rajapaksa, Santhanam, Miss. Israel, Oliver Martin, Wijemanne, Norbert Dias, Mrs. Lakshmi ( Wijesekera) Perera, Mrs. Indrani Peiris, Mrs. Pastsy Fernando, Mrs. Greata de Mel,  Ms. Kanakasundaram, the late Mrs. Senaratne and Mrs. Uluwita. This should not leave room for any misunderstanding about the missing names of other erudite teachers of a by-gone era.

Public caning

The late Mr. A.P.M. Peiris had a personal interest in my studies when he was the Headmaster, perhaps because of my family connections. I had private English tuition lessons from him when he was the editor of the PWC magazine – The Cambrian – and he made me sit and write an article to the magazine during a tuition session, which he edited and published later, under the heading ‘  My village’.

‘APM’ visited middle school classes after every fortnightly test to monitor student performances and warned students who failed to achieve set standards. Once, my position went down from first to the second, and he spared no time in giving me a severe warning with a remark, “Pull up your socks next time“. Fortnight later I had descended to the third position, consequently I was subjected to a caning session on my buttocks with a few others.

As much as engaging in fun and a trace of boisterousness, on and off, we collectively respected all our teachers in a mixture of discipline and exuberance. Similar to assortment of students in our class, equally we had a choice of teachers too of diverse personality with a mixture of excitement, amusement, discipline and diplomacy, barring of course   the odd one or two who always pretended to be serious.

Grammar and bisection

The following story I picked up from a feedback, which relates to an experience of one of our excellent teachers who taught us Sinhalese during a grammar lesson.

The Master had been interrupted by a student halfway through, before he completed a written sentence on the blackboard which red as:

“Aayathanya Pihita aththey” ……….. (The Institution is situated at ……………….)

The cheeky student bisected the first word Ayathanaya (Institution) into two sections to read as ‘Aya Thanaya‘ (Servant Woman’s breasts) and queried the teacher thus:

“Excuse me Sir,  Aya ……..Thanaya ……….Pihita…….. Atthey …..Koheda?” (Where would Aya’s breasts be)?

There was a roar of laughter inside the classroom, but the teacher turned a Nelsonian eye to impudent behaviour and remained as cool as a cucumber and quipped “Eka nam ahanna owne Ayagen thami” (that of course, you need to ask Aya) and continued with his lesson as if nothing had happened.

As I was writing this column, I received some email pictures from my nephew that had appeared in the ‘Gossip’ website under the caption “Happy Old Boys day at Prince of Wales College’ with an appropriate comment: “You are not to be seen anywhere”! Even I could not recognise any of the faces there, after a long spell of about three decades being away from the country, but one of the old Cambrian names what Merrill mentioned (as Clinton) in the pictures took me straightway back to an interesting episode.

picture credit: google pictures

Reproduced in tilaksblog

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