Sri Lanka’s oldest and arguably most popular big match, the Battle of the Blues between Royal College and St. Thomas’s College, is currently under way. Tomorrow will be the third and final day of the famed test encounter. Whilst this is a very joyous event for the Royalists and Thoras, the same cannot always be said for others, especially other students.
During the past two weeks, my school (an international school) was visited by truckers from Royal College almost everyday until the actual days of the match. They visited us during both intervals of the school day, from last Thursday up to this Wednesday.
This is quite usual for my school as well as other international schools and national schools in Colombo. Most of the schools are used to the visits, and there is little trouble as long as the truckers time their arrival for the interval (as they seemed to do for my school). Of course there was help from inside at first, and that is possibly why the first few visits were completely harmless. It should be noted that the Joes, Petes and Thoras also visited the school, once each, and again no harm was done.
Initially the Royal truckers simply entered the school premises and harmlessly shouted slogans supporting their school. This was accepted as normal behaviour by the teachers and staff of my school, who made no move to stop them, and instead enjoyed the show. On the first day, the Royal truckers celebrated the birthday of one of their former students (now studying in my school) by smashing a cake in his face.
But things changed for the worst this week. The truckers became more notorious and began lighting firecrackers in the schools they visited, including my school. Since my school is bordering the SSC grounds where the match is held, the truckers are able to enter through the SSC complex and climb over the fence. This week they threw crackers over the fence and into the crowd of watching students. Fortunately the students were not hurt as the area near the fence was cordoned off. We were protected by the teachers and prefects, who would have stood little chance against the truckers had they chosen to attack physically. Next, the truckers attempted to enter from a side entrance to the school, and upon being unsuccessful, lit crackers there as well.
On Tuesday, four police officers were sent to protect my school. But our principal told us that the police were sent to all schools in Colombo, and were not requested by the school (usually they were). So that means other schools were attacked by the truckers too. Sure enough, after the truckers visited our school, we heard more crackers at a distance, presumably at another nearby school. The police did try hard to catch the truckers as they lit crackers, but all attempts failed. However, since the match began, the truckers were a no show. A rumour soon spread that around 60 truckers had been remanded by the police when trying to enter another international school.
Today there were the four police officers standing guards around the school, as well as at least one plain clothed officer outside the school gate (given away by his police-issued radio phone). But there were no more visits. Unfortunately the roads were completely blocked, and the traffic police refused to allow students’ vehicles to park on the road even for a few minutes. Royalists and Thomians were travelling up and down the road in fancy cars, blasting the entire city with loud music.
I was personally angered when the Royal truckers began lighting crackers in the school, and they seemed to do even more stupid things after being chased off by the police several times. It turns out that the IGP of the police had ordered truckers to be arrested, and hence the police officers were sent to schools. If any truckers were really arrested, I am happy about it, and I hope they stay in prison (or remand) until they figure out their mistake and realise how much they shamed their parents and their schools. Most of the truckers were current students, not old boys, so they must have cut school everday to take part in the trucking. Unfortunately I doubt that many of the truckers will actually understand that what they did was wrong, and probably even the biggest troublemakers will not be expelled or suspended, so my hopes are likely in vain.
I wish that the trucking would stop. Or at least that it would remain enjoyable and tolerable for other schools. Then again, these students should not be outside of school in the first place. The truckers bascially cause trouble for the schools they visit, and now for the police as well. Their activities can be unsafe for other people. After all they are a large group of teenage students who think highly of themselves and are quite unpredictable.
Some of you may figure out which school I attend, but please don’t mention it here.