BURGHER BUGGERS

“BURGHER BUGGERS”

“BURGHER BUGGERS, TOLL-BELL TUGGERS
THAT IS WHO WE ARE
PORTUGUESE, DUTCH & BRITISH MUGGERS
EVERY ONE A “STAR”
WE HAD TO LEAVE OUR MOTHER-LAND
THE ISLE OF SRI LANKA
BUT WE WILL STILL BE BURGHER BUGGERS
NO MATTER WHERE WE ARE”.(EVEN THOUGH)
BURGHER BUGGERS BECAME BEGGARS
AFTER DRINKING WHISKY (THEN)
BURGHER BUGGERS, ONE & ALL
STARTED TO GET FRISKY(WHICH WAS RISKY)
ENDING WITH MORE BURGHER BUGGERS” &

I could go on & on, but what’s the USE, we are
“Better Burgher Buggers”& in Oz., we cannot LOSE”.

An European group, historically from Sri Lanka, formerly “Ceylon, Seylan, Taprobane or half a dozen others, you could name”, consisting mainly of the male-line descendants of European Colonists from the 16th to the 20th Centuries, mostly Portuguese, Dutch & British, coupled with local Sinhalese.

Today, the Mother-tongue of the Burghers is English but historically, other languages were spoken by the people, in particular, Sri Lanka Indo-Portuguese, a Creole language based on Portuguese & Sinhala. In addition, there were languages that nobody understood, namely “Broken-English & Singlish”.

In the “Census”, some 35 years ago, when I was just a “Kid”, the Burgher population of Sri Lanka was enumerated (numbered) at 39,374 persons, give or take 1 or 2 who unfortunately passed away by sudden heart-attacks due to the exasperation of trying to fill in the “Census-forms”. The current percentage of Burghers in Sri Lanka stand at just 1% (due mainly to the “mass-exodus” in the 50s. The highest percentage of Burghers is in Colombo (0.72%)& Gampaha (0.5%).

There are significant Communities in Trincomalee & a small percentage of “Batticoloa -Burghers” too, but due to conflict during the 2001 Census, exact figures are not available. No wonder!. If I was a Batticoloa- Burgher during that conflict, my quotation would have been “Census be buggered, Armageddon outta here!!”

The World population of Burgher-Buggers (mainly in Sri Lanka, Australia, America & England is probably no more than 100.000 (about 910.000 live in Noble Park, Melbourne and if you aimed in that direction and used your “catapult” the “small” stone would land on the head of a Sri Lankan Burgher there, and that Bugger would have “Diabetes”.So much for the demographics of the Burgher Buggers of Sri Lanka.

My dear Mother, God rest her soul, was a true “Dutchy”. All her people were from Holland and a close male relative by the name of Kriekenbeek was, as a matter of fact, a “founder member” of the very famous Dutch East India Company.The “Dutch” were well-known for keeping detailed “records” of their folk, no matter where they ended up in the World.

Dating back centuries ago, details of all true Dutch-Burghers, like my Mum, Lyn Kriekenbeek were meticulously maintained in the Dutch Burgher Union offices in Bambalapitiya (as I remember) They still are, and will be, forever more. (at the risk of sounding like a priest). But then, Lyn Kriekenbeek went and married Carlo Kelly & simply because of “stuff” like I’ve written in my poem at the commencement of this “story”, IRISH People did not bother to keep detailed records, as a matter of fact, they kept no “records” at all. My Dad, strangely, was tee-total, not because he hated liquor but because HIS Dad, my grandfather Jack Kelly hated water but absolutely loved his “booze”, loved partying, was a good-looking dude, with a square chin and deep blue “smiling eyes” and had to be assisted” from his “rickshaw” practically every day by Carlo Kelly. The rickshaw coolie was’nt much help either because HE was drunk also, my grandfather having a “snort” with the coolie, at every hotel & tavern along the way from Colombo Fort to Wellawatte. One particular evening, Jack Kelly & “Swami” the rickshawman HIT a car at the corner of Bullers Road & Galle Road (the car DID NOT HIT THEM), & both ended up at hospital side by side, totally oblivious to their surroundings.

To make a long story short, the Irish did not bother with “records” . While, on my Mum’s side, we could go back to the 16th Century, on Dad’s side, I think we could only go back to the 1800’s. This meant that, because there were’nt any accurate records kept and there was’nt an “Irish Burgher Union” Office anywhere in Ceylon then, & I don’t think there is one EVEN NOW,
The “KELLYS WERE CLASSED AS “ALIENS” and that is a fact as certain as I sit here writing this.

Please, dear readers, do not think that I am at all ashamed of my name. When my Dad “closed his eyes”
for the last time, the “mould” of the IDEAL husband, father & grandfather was smashed. Carlo Kelly only existed for his FAMILY. No-one else mattered. I am very proud to have been his eldest son, was proud then, is proud now, and will always be very proud to be A KELLY, Alien or not.

More about the ” BURGHER BUGGERS” later.

Desmond KELLY.

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That was an extremely nostalgic trip down the corridors of time, well articulated as only Des Kelly, the raconteur is able to. Talking about Burgher buggers, I remember many years ago in Mount Mary, religiously regarded as the Burgher stronghold, how most of the railway employees who had a close association with Bacchus, could be seen zig-zagging precariously along poorly-carpeted roads, while their children could be often seen with roosters under their arms, proceeding to ”cock-fighting” venues. Those were the days my friend, we thought will never end.