Dharmasiri Samarakoon Gopallawa Kempitiya
My best friend, Dharmasiri Samarakoon Gopallawa Kempitiya (USP,
ato,Rtd) passed away on Tuesday, February 28, at the Military Hospital
He was ailing for some time due to a terminal illness. I was shocked
when my wife, Mallika conveyed the news to me.
Kempa joined Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala in 1964 and was in the
hostel with me. His ambition was to join the Army as a cadet officer.
Kempa was a brilliant cartoonist. We used to draw swords, guns and
fights of legendary stories which were much appreciated. As a sportsman,
Kempa was very strong, clever, ambitious and courageous.
Both of us were trainees at the junior cadet platoon and he told me
one day, “Atu, I’ll become an Army Officer some day” and I knew he would
He was an all-round sportsman. He played football for the college
team as an extreme right player. He was an athlete and champion
In 1965, he became the champion at the All Ceylon Wrestling Meet. He
was a jovial and good-hearted person, loved by all.
During the holidays he stayed at my home for several days, enjoying
bathing in the tank and drinking kurumba.
I visited him several times when he was ill. He phoned me, one day
saying that his daughter should get married to someone from a Kandyan
family and wanted me to find a suitable partner.
I convey my heartfelt sympathies to his wife Swarna and two children.
May he attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana.
Sithy Riwa Singhawangsa Latiff
Wangsa (Aunty) as she was fondly called passed on to her heavenly
abode on February 11, 2016 and was laid to rest on the February 12 which
date if the creator had so willed would have been her 80th birthday.
A complete life of a noble Muslim lady – a Moomin-by the highest
standards, she led an exemplary life and Allah rewarded her with so much
love and respect from all who knew her as that which befitted a queen,
for she was really fit to be a queen as she was born to a clan with
royal blood line.
A proud heritage and pedigree of the bluest blood.
She married her cousin of the same bloodline in 1956 and had six
children – the eldest who passed away at infancy and five of whom are
living. Her husband, Haji (uncle) as he was fondly called, predeceased
her a while ago.
Their ancestors were the royal Javanese exiles banished to Ceylon in
the 17th century by the Dutch. She was born and raised in the lap of
After marriage while maintaining their ancestral ‘Manor’ home she
travelled around with her husband who was in public service.
My close association with her was shortly after she was widowed. She
grieved silently for her beloved husband but took it in her stride and
went ahead in deep faith with the pluck and courage that was
characteristic of her noble lineage. My family and hers’ were closely
associated for generations.
Her five children, their spouses her grand-children and her two
great-grandchildren adored her.
All their friends, her employees, relatives and anyone who came to
her at any time of need never went away disappointed.
This great lady was a rare human being who was ever so often
described as a living saint, by so many, even her own family.
They respected and loved this great lady as the patrician-matriarch
of the Singhawangsa-Latiff clan.
She and her husband together have taught and handed down the most
noble of traditions and values to their offspring and their descending
generations as her children have so often displayed.
Her eldest son hit the news headlines, not so long ago in Sri Lanka!
Her funeral spoke a million words as the numbers who came to pay
their respects from all walks of life came to pay homage to her for the
May Allah grant you Jennathul-Firdhouse with your princely husband
and siblings who predeceased you.
Goodnight great ‘Queen’ may the angels sing you to rest. I am
honoured to have been called friend by you!
Dr. Raihana Cassim – Dean
You have not really gone away
We feel your presence every day
We hear you speak and laugh with glee
At every turn, your face we see
Your footsteps follow us everywhere
Death does not part it reunites
You still dwell in our hearts and minds
And always will till the end of time
We try to be brave and hide our sorrow
Smile through tears and face to morrow
We know life has to go on somehow
But without you it won’t be the same so me how
Lord help us to carry on each day
And cope with whatever comes our way
We love you, we miss you and always will be
Fondly treasured in our memory
We will meet in heaven above
United in God’s divine love
Affectionately remembered and missed by
your grand parent s
Dennis Pappa and Chrissie Mamma.
Gajaba Perera Gunewardena
One of Sri Lanka’s best known management specialists and trainers,
Gajaba Perera Gunewardena passed away after a brief illness on February
An honours graduate in Public Administration from the University of
Sri Jayawardenapura, he was active in student affairs and was Secretary
of the students union.
He started his career as a sub editor for the Aththa newspaper and
later worked for the World University Service (WUS) Sri Lanka.
After completing his MSc in Management Learning from the University
of Lancaster, he worked at NIBM from 1990 to 1996 as a management
trainer, consultant and lecturer.
He later worked as project director and senior consultant for several
donor projects including the Fisheries Sector Development Project, Road
Sector Assistance Project and the Port City Project.
He was also a lecturer for the MBA program at the University of
Colombo. Known for his sharp wit and insightful presentations, he was a
very popular trainer for numerous private sector training programs. His
funeral was held on Wednesday, February 24 and cremated at the Welisara
He leaves his wife Dr Indrani Gunewardena (Retd Director, Ministry of
Agriculture and Livestock Development) and daughter Harini who is a
student at the Centre For Professional Studies.