Re-visiting PWC

Commendation by an Old Cambrian

August 12, 2016

I never expected to write so much on our school day pranks, but the nostalgia among old Cambrians who had red the series became  interested and infectious. This was revealed by judging the number of stories and incidents that have been pouring in as feedback out their individual experiences at Prince of Wales College.

I  am ever so grateful to the 82 year old Cambrian who wrote to me from overseas as follows;

“These are small remembrances, which bring broad smiles to our aging faces”!

Equally, I am grateful to all those old Cambrians, known and unknown, from many parts of the world who responded positively to the series. I was overwhelmed by the fact that it enabled to raise a smile or two of the very teachers too, mentioned in the series,  who are still amongst us,  and especially those teachers who wrote back to me complimentary remarks, including some  additional amusing stories to enrich the series.

One such unpublished story I thought of writing to my latest Blog is about our famous mathematics teacher, the late Mr. Eric Perera  (Bless his Soul).

As I mentioned earlier in the series, Eric Perera was a tough nut when it came to teaching. He looked very stern and adopted an extremely no nonsense attitude during his teaching hours.  While describing in detail about how the fractions work, and how fractions are converted into decimals etc, he picked up a dimwitted boy who could not possibly grasp the lesson.  After being exhausted in trying to put some sense into the boy’s thick head , and getting exasperated and angry, Eric Perera  ran out of his patience, but he  was determined to get some  sense into the boy’s  head. So, he used a loaf of bread as an example.

He said to the boy: “Visualize this as a loaf of bread” (pointing out to an object at hand).

“Den kiyapan methana keeyak  pan gedi thiyenawada? (tell me now, how many loaves of bread are here)

Only one loaf sir. Any fool can see that no sir”! The boy said.

Correct, now If  I  were to cut this loaf in the middle,  how many pieces will be there?

“Two sir”

Very Good, indeed!  If I were to cut another piece from the loaf of bread, then tell me how many pieces will be there altogether now”?

“Three Sir.”

“Very good.  Ok ! tell me then,  how would you describe in another form about  the pieces of bread?

“Sir, there are three parts altogether” .

Referring to the pieces of  bread in the imaginary example, Mr. Perera said:

You can  also say it is half of the loaf;  the third piece can be referred to as one third of the loaf. Get it?

In other words, my dear boy, the big  piece  becomes half and the small piece  becomes one third of the original loaf of bread”.

“Yes sir, its simple no” !

Ah! You get it now! Fractions are also similar to this. Instead of naming  pieces, we call them either  half, one third  or quarter in numbers”.

“Thank you sir, I get it now”.

Exhausted mathematics teacher immediately quipped:

Umbata ganan walin nam beha, namuth  Paan Walin nam puluwan” (you can’t do it with figures but can only with bread),

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