Mr. Uthayakumar Selvanayagam’s daughter and son-in-law visit to St. John’s
1st March 2017
Mr. Uthayakumar Selvanayagam who hails from Vavuniya studied at St. John’s College Jaffna about forty years ago with the present Principal, the Rev. N.J.Gnanaponrajah. He migrated to Germany about three decades ago where he got married. Aged 57, he is now a proud father of three children, all of whom were born in Germany.
One of the three children, Abija Tonne came with her husband, Samuel Nikolaus Tonne to visit St. John’s on 01.03.2017. ‘The knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, habits and cultural values he possessed wanted me to come all the way here to see what kind of a place he grew up in.’ ‘This is the first time in Sri Lanka. We have only seen pictures and heard stories of my father’s childhood days. Now that we are here, we can imagine more vividly how his life had been. The stories he shared are now more meaningful,’ says his daughter.
‘My uncle was mostly moulded by St. John’s. This College had a big positive influence over him - from getting up in the morning to the way he studied and conducted himself. He is quite intelligent and I believe that the roots of his intelligence stem from the educational grounding he received in this institution. The force and direction of his life is wholly because of St. John’s,’ says his son-in-law, a German national.
‘It is very interesting and surprising to see the cultural differences. The ‘bucket –bath’ was a new thing for us,’ he laughed. The students here are very disciplined. It is really surprising to see them waking up so early in the morning to study. They respect one another and it was heartening to see the respect they offered us as foreigners. In Germany, the students enjoy more freedom and are less obedient. In Sri Lanka, students seem to enjoy less freedom but are more disciplined,’ he observed. When asked which he thought was better, he replied, ‘We need to strike a fine balance in between.
’ Samuel Nikolaus Tonne, a Sports Scientist got a chance to see sports and a few games being coached at St. John’s. ‘This is a well-equipped school. It is very positive,’ he remarked. He went to the gym and shared his ideas with the person in charge. ‘How to train correctly is a field of Science – not everyone can be a trainer. Being a gym instructor is hard work though it looks easy on the outside. If a child exercises the wrong way, it will affect him badly in later years. A professional trainer is a must! Besides, he has to be always on the lookout for new machinery and new techniques.’
‘My father was a member of the 2nd Hockey team in 1976. While leafing through the College magazines, we came across a team photo – the Principal was too in it,’ said the daughter proudly. ‘We have been here for only two days but we are struck by how outstandingly friendly the people in the North are! It’s a beautiful country and the people are beautiful! We are really looking forward to four more weeks of spending time with our family members in Vavuniya and then holidaying in Sri Lanka.’