- Posted April 27, 2014 by
Fort Myers Beach, Florida
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Tell us the Good Stuff!
My Life at Trinity - The Best School of All
Current Affairs and Electrical Affairs
Sometime in 1989 or 90 an Englishman by the name of Cooper joined Trinity College staff. I believe that Mr. Cooper was a member of Anglican mission in London and he perhaps wanted to travel and work with the schools belonging to the mission elsewhere other than the UK. Church of England would have recommended him to join Trinity College, Kandy, Sri Lanka. This is purely my personal assumption but for Trnitians presence of foreign teachers was not so foreign as many foreign nationals served Trinity teachers guild time to time.
I was in Year 12 commerce class during this time and as many of you know we were in the prestigious “Chicago Block” bordering the Ryde house. The Principal at that time, Capt. Leonard De Alwis was extremely concern of the substandard knowledge of international current affairs among the senior students and was looking for various ways to uplift this area of education. This was an era when the internet was not available. In addition every student was pressurized either with A/L exam related studies or with major sports events squeezing available time to read on world affairs to a minimum. The only source of information was the local Television which did not carry much international news and the school library. The time we spent at the library was spent mostly on things that you should not do inside a library. Trinity College library which perhaps the largest owned by a school in Sri Lanka had all types of magazines like Time, Newsweek etc which would have been quite adequate to update students with what was going on around the world. But most of the time in the library everyone was murmuring things about the Librarian. Mrs. Herathge was a pretty woman with a stunning figure at her age and was graded “A” in a questionable league by the boys. Looks of the librarian, her ratings and Byran Fernando always took away the library time without any significant enhancement to our international current affairs knowledge. The Principal being a prominent old Trinitian was adamant to draw our attention and interest on to the subject in order to make us prepared to face the world with an edge as we were leave college after A Level exams to pursue our lives.
At this time young Mr. Cooper arrived at College and The Principal finally found the solution for current affairs teaching issue. Mr. Cooper being an Englishman living in England undoubtedly would have had more access to BBC and other print and electronic media at this time than any one at College Staff and above all he did not have any other teaching assignment. Capt. De Alwis decided immediately that Mr. Cooper should teach Current Affaires to senior students. The batch of 1990 could never be found in their respective classrooms; as they were top seniors and not accountable. One next to 90 batch was us who had two free periods on every Wednesday which were allocated for swimming at the college pool. We were kicked out of the swimming pool premises by then the master in-charge, Mr. Karunaratne, who is widely known as “Beedi Kota”, who hated us with a passion due to series of incidents which I hope to write in a another chapter. We used these free periods for sing songs and illegal activities such as scooting out of school. All in all we were disrupting the school work of others during this time and by Mr. Cooper taking our class during this time would be killing two birds with one stone as far as the administration was concerned.
We had firsthand information that Mr. Cooper was given the free periods to teach us Current Affairs and the whole class grouped together to make sure that he gives us up enabling us to resume our illegal activities. The prominent members of our class reiterated that we being senior Chicago Block members should have no difficulty in making Cooper stop teaching us. “So many people have given up on us and one more will not be a problem” was what we thought then. We underestimated. Cooper was a hard nut to crack. He was well experienced to handle a bunch of difficult to manage students like us and he got us working in no time. At the end of the first day of teaching which he mostly used to measure how much we knew about what was going around in the world, he asked us, not knowing that we were never taught Current Affairs prior to his arrival, who was in-charge of teaching “Current Affaires” before him. Almost immediately after he asked the question someone from the back of the classroom stood up and said that it was “Mr. Paul Rodrigo”. I was at the first row and did not pay much attention to this but I noticed that Mr. Cooper wrote the name down on his note book.
A few days after this the electrical maintenance manager or the foreman who is well known as “Electric Bada” ( he had a big tummy – and people who have big tummies are called Badaa in slang Sinhalese)stormed in to our class and kicked the door open. “you good for nothing basterds, shamed to call Trinitians and do u think you can insult me and expect electricity inside your classroom?” We were taken quite by surprise Electric Bada’s actions and we could not comprehend what the hell he was talking about. He continued shelling for another minute and retreated at the same speed he stormed in. He was pretty mad and no one could fathom what was going on in his mind to react like this. Later in the same day our beloved class teacher Mr. Premasiri with a grin on his face asked us “who told that Sudda (whie man) that Electric Bada was the master in-charge of current affairs?”
OMG. The real name of Elecric Bada is “Paul Rodrigo” and only a very few knew this. When Mr.Cooper asked us who was teaching us Current Affaires prior to him someone from the back of the classroom gave him this name. Mr. Cooper had been looking for Paul Rodrigo to talk to him about poor knowledge we had on the subject and had been inquiering about him from other staff members at the staff room. Who is Paul Rodrigo? Why would he not be at the staff room as other teachers? And after a few days most staff members knew that Mr. Cooper was looking for Mr. Paul Rodrigo. One day he came in to the staff room to fix some electrical issue and Mr. Cooper happened to be there. Mr. Premasiri called Mr. Cooper and introduced Electric Bada to him. Cooper was extremely happy to see Mr. Paul Rodrigo and loudly said “helllooo Mr. Rodrigo I was told you were in charge of Current Affairs of Trinity College and I shall congratulate you for doing a good job under difficult conditions” and had started shaking his hand vigorously. According to Mr. Premasiri, Paul Rodrigo’s face had started getting dark and gloomy at this time. Whole staff had started laughing their asses out hence this man was unpopular across the college for some reason. He grabbed his motorcycle helmet and immediately left the staff room straight to our class once he got the information that we were the culprits who told Cooper that he was the ex Master in Charge Current Affairs. The story travelled to all corners of the college in minutes.
As soon as Mr. Premasiri left the classroom we all gathered around the man who gave Paul Rodrigo's name to Cooper. It was very funny. We do not like Electric Bada no matter what. We were congratulating the guy for coming out with some quality humor. Then to our surprise we began to understand that it was no joke that this man gave Electric Bada’s name to Mr. Cooper when asked who taught Current Affaires prior to him. My classmate did not understand English that well. You know what an impediment for life that could be for anyone who is a student or a teacher at Trinity. He was shy to ask anyone what was going on. He had thought The Principal who was always talking about how we should face the future after college was interested in teaching us Electrical Wiring and related work to make a living in case if we fail AL exam. He further thought Cooper was a special foreign instructor of Electrical related work. When most students were answering the questions asked by Mr. Cooper he had to be silent hence he did not understand the questions or even if he did he wouldn’t have known the answers. At last he understood one question and he answered right. He thought Current Affairs and Electrical Current Affaires was the same.
(The atrocities we had to face from Mr. Paul Rodrigo after this incident were many. I shall write on some of them soon. Against all odds my classmate on the story is a very successful businessman and speaks fluent English)