Salad Days at St Benedict's College

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


17 May 2006

A member of the "Team", The Platypus (aka MG), has delved into his memory bank and retrieved some recollections of 'Ja-Mudukkuwa' in response to the enquiry by 'bultoe' about the origins of the name. Here it is:-

'Ja - Mudukkuwa' was the narrow little lane that was 'no-mans land' and ran between the walls of the Good Shepherd Convent and the backs of the houses of the residents of that 'famous' part of Kotahena. It was called Ja-Mudukkuwa by local residents and others who frequented this part of Kotahena because in years past the people who lived in the houses that backed on to the strip of land were predominantly of Malay ancestry; and the Sinhalese word for Malay was 'Ja' .

The lane was 'infamous' as the rendezvous for young school going lovers of varying orientations and also the arena where 'scores' were settled by fisticuffs between warring schoolboys both individually and in 'gangs'.

The `Mudukkuwa' was also the `escape' or secret route that truant schoolboys, and perhaps schoolgirls, took when they `cut' classes to scaraper to the cinema, another rendezvous or other secret assignation. It was also a place where an unsuspecting person was likely to get 'mugged' and relieved of their trinkets and possessions if they wandered alone through that deadly strip of no-man's land.

I was present at the 'Mudukkuwa' when Renton Batcho (he of the "Ballad of Welikada Gaol" fame) spectacularly knocked the daylights of one of his opponents and also when one of the Melder boys fought a great fight against two or three 'thugs'.

The Melder and the Batcho clans lived off Wasala Road, that other unforgettable access way which wound a path from its intersection with Kotahena Street at the top to it's tail that linked up with Pansala Road and it's right fork that slid down to meet Blomendahl Road.
- The Platypus

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Fancy contributing your knowledge to Wikipedia?

16 May 2006

Following bultoe's comment about the origins of Ja Mudukuwa I went to Wikipedia to see whether anyone had already provided an answer to this question. Apologies to those in the 'know' but for the rest "Wikipdeia" is a free online encyclopaedia that anyone can contribute to and/or update.

Sadly nothing was available. So click on the 'link' to Wikipedia that has been provided in the right hand column and let the world benefit from your knowledge.

Anyway, here is the list of places waiting recognition in Wikipedia:

Night Life In Colombo, Fort, Galle Face Green, Slave Island or Kompannaveediya , Colpetty or Kollupitiya, Bambalapitiya, Havelock Town and Kirulapane South, Wellawatte, Pamankada and Kirulapane North, Cinnamon Gardens, Borella, Dematagoda, Maradana, Panchikawatte, Pettah, Hulftsdorp, Kotahena, Kochchikade, Grandpass, Mutwal, Modara, Mattakuliya, Madampitiya, etc.

The spellings are not mine and neither are any pronunciations based on them (because as George Abeydeera recently said "you knew a person was a Burgher in the old days if they referred to Maradana as 'Marandine'!).

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Old Bens UK

May 13 2006

I have received an email from someone who signs himself (I assume it is a male) MWijeya: he has asked for his email address to be withheld. It is a response to a comment by tyger. Here is tyger’s original comment followed by MWijeya’s response (with a little editing by me!).

tyger said...

Why are old bens in uk reluctant to join the old bens uk? come on chaps rally round the flag

MWijeya said….

Hey Kolla, who are you?

Is tyger LTTE? Is he in UK?

Tell him Old Bens UK is dead. Bring back Anton Olivelle and Melville Perera - I hope they are around.

Please don’t give my email to anyone

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Report from Ontario, Canada

9 May 2006

Team member MM, in Australia, received the following report from Old Ben Johnny the Kid in Ontario, Canada.

My very dear dear Platypus alias Simple Simeon or Simon was it?

Anyway, that doesn't matter either way, my simple mind doesn't understand what these things called blogs are, but here’s some news about my most recent escapade.

I, or rather we, my youngest daughter and I, went for the Old Ben’s Dance on the 22nd of April which was held at the Holiday Inn in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, with a Goanese Band with the moniker "Naked Flame" to swing things up for the night - which they really did.

We were at the table in the company of Mohan Fernandopulle and a few others whom we did not really know as they were either Old Bens who were senior to us or others who were junior to us and yet others who were not even a twinkle in someone’s imagination when we were at College. Anyway, we had a great time dancing our cares away for the night and inevitably I danced with quite a few attractive partners before the day was done or rather the night turned to day.

Blastoff was at 7 in the evening and the last Baila session ended at 2.30 in the morning when all good things came to an end and I was dropped off at home for a good nights sleep or rather a day’s sleep now that the ball bearings are a bit rusty at this day and age.

I enjoyed the waltzes and cha-chas the most before finally calling it a day.

All in all I had a really good time: since we're here today and gone tomorrow so why not make the best use of the present time.

Unfortunately, there are not very many Bens of my age group here. I did miss Isaac Wenaden and George Direcksz but all my other pals are in good old Blighty, down under in Kangyland or in God's keeping.

Anyway old pal how's the going? As for me I landed a desk job in my youngest daughter’s office way back in November last year and I am quite happy and coping. My greatest pride and pleasure is that I beat a few other guys years younger than me to land this job.

My next move is to plan a vacation to good old Sri Lanka maybe sometime in March next year and I’m trying to put away some money to save up for my ticket and spending money on the trip.

How have you been keeping you old hound dog? Learnt any new tricks? Beware of all these new adverts on "Viagra" because what goes up has invariably got to come down: these new miracle pills may kill the going up permanently and make it as dead as a "Dodo".

I hope you're healthy and happy my dearest buddy, all the best till I have the time to write next.

Wishing you and yours happiness always, love and God bless

Johnny the Kid