This is what a best man looks like in Sri Lanka – always surprised and never sure what is going to happen next…Also, wearing a suit like this instantly turns you into a holy person. Besides tending to my best man duties, I also managed to turn water in wine, heal the sick, charm various snakes and walk on curry.

A few days before my scheduled appearance as a best man, it was mentioned that I would be expected to deliver some sort of speech at the reception.

No other details followed, and in fact, it was never mentioned again – not even on the wedding day. Not sure why, but no speeches were given at all. Maybe they were worried about what I’d say? Maybe they just forgot?

Sadly, and likely luckily for the audience, the speech I sketched out never saw the light of day, until now…

From the pages of my notebook, I am proud to present the best, best man speech never told.


The Golden Age of Mark Chamberlain – A Toast to the Groom

By Shaun “His Holiness” Humphries

Good evening. Aiyobowan.

Mage nama Shaun. (My name is Shaun) Mang volunteer-kinek. (I am a volunteer). Mang tourist-kinek namey (I am not a tourist).

Sinhala chutak, chutak pulowan (I can speak a little, little bit of Sinhala)

Oh, oh, oh…hari, hari, hari (yes, yes, yes, okay, okay, okay)

I am very happy to be here today as the best man on this very special occasion.

Normally a best man has the luxury of years and years of background material when preparing a toast for the groom. Unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury. There have been no crazy road trips or late night gallivanting.

The only Mark I’ve ever known is Sri Lankan Mark. And as far as I’m concerned, the Sri Lankan Mark that I know is living the ultimate dream. He is, in fact, living in the middle of his own Golden Age.

Of course, the best evidence to support this assertion is his timely meeting, falling in love with and marrying of Sewwandi.

But there have been many other things that have happened to Mark over the past year that also support my argument. In no particular order, here are the top five reasons why this is the Golden Age of Mark Chamberlain:

  1. I think the Golden Age officially became clear to me when he announced his engagement to me in person a few months back. Showing up unannounced one Tuesday evening, I actually thought he was there to tell me that he was in trouble with the law and had to disappear into the night. When he announced the engagement and I saw the goofy grin on his face, I knew the gold was spreading.
  2. To become truly golden, your house must be clean. And ever since the engagement, Mark has been cleaning his house. This is a direct quote from him that I’ve heard many times – “I never knew getting married meant so much cleaning.” Yep, it sure does, Mark.
  3. Fame is a must and Mark recently appeared on the silver screen starring in a documentary film about mental health support groups in Sri Lanka. Although it hasn’t been picked up yet by the Sri Lankan movie houses, I’m sure the premiere is right around the corner.
  4. Hosting powerful people is also old hat for Mark as one day the Transport Minister arrived on his doorstep to use his living room to tape a TV interview. Knowing Mark had the best view in Kandy, the minister showed up with camera crew in tow just as Mark was finishing ironing his undies.
  5. Lavish parties are also a must in a golden age and Mark’s stag didn’t disappoint. A silent movie, your wife, Pizza Hut and ginger beer – a recipe for the craziest bachelor party this island has ever seen.

So, as we gather here tonight to officially recognize the next phase of Mark’s dream, join me in raising a glass to toast the groom and the new Golden Age of Mark and Sewwandi.

Bohoma Istituuti