He could move with royalty, yet never lost the common touch
A recent article about Susil Moonesinghe on his 90th birthday by my Aunt Sumi Moonesinghe, made me wish to share a few personal memories as a tribute to him.
Uncle Susil was my father’s first cousin. I first got close to Uncle Susil and Aunty Sumi in 1975 when I was just 12 years old. Their daughter, my cousin Anarkali was just born around that time. I was in a private boarding while schooling at Royal College and I would spend most weekends with Uncle Susil and Aunty Sumi. I was picked up on Friday evening and dropped off on Monday morning back to Royal.
I used to look forward to the weekends as I enjoyed having good food and caramel for dessert. Then subsequently, during my O’Level and A’Level years, I moved in with them. I even had my own room! This is the time I really got very close to them both.
Uncle Susil was a person with a lot of class. He enjoyed good living. But at the same time, he was very humble and extremely kind to people from all walks of life. He could move with royalty, yet never lost the common touch.
That was one of his strengths. He was very generous and helped anyone who reached out to him. His command of the English language was outstanding. He was very witty and was full of humour. I recall the times when he used to keep us in fits of laughter at the dinner table when he narrated stories of family members or friends of Aunty Sumi. His mime was hilarious.
Uncle Susil was my mentor. He advised and guided me at all times like a father. I know he loved and looked after me like a son. He told me of the importance of living a meaningful life without harming anyone. He also taught me good values and to enjoy the best, but mostly all he wanted was for me to study and do medicine. He was so proud of me when I graduated as a doctor.
I recall the time he had a brief illness and I accompanied him to Singapore. After recovering from his illness he took me to the best of shops in Singapore and got me an entire new wardrobe of clothes and accessories. We spent quality time together and went to some amazing restaurants. From thereon, after returning to Colombo, I was his family doctor on call. Uncle Susil was a man of many parts. He was a politician, a diplomat, a lawyer, but most of all he was a man of generosity, that touched many lives.
May he attain Nibbana!
Dr. Loshan Moonesinghe