Q and A with the Legendary Hussein Cassim

marinne-davidMarianne David for Daily FT, 14 October 2016, under title “Hussein Cassim;’s Legendary Journey”


Q: Could you tell us about your childhood – your family, where you were born and where you grew up?…….A: I was born on 9 September 1925 and turned 91 last month. I was born the eldest in a family of six children, in Galle Fort during the Great Depression. My father was a wealthy bachelor who went bankrupt. Then the war followed. It was hard times with food and other essentials being rationed and sometimes even suffering the ignominy of not having a decent place to live. My mother’s strength and piety was what united our family and gave us courage. Our house was near the old lighthouse where a cannon had been installed. One day when they fired the cannon, one of the walls in the house cracked from top to bottom. The next morning the captain came and told my father that this would keep happening and advised us to shift. As a result, the family was splintered and I was sent to Kurunegala to live with relatives when I was 14. Continue reading

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The Man with Nine Lives, Frane Selak

SEE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZyUWLW7kEI for the TALE of FRANE SELAK = The luckiest unlucky man to ever live (Frane Selak)

An You Tube seen so far by 2,711,109 views

Published on May 1, 2014

Strange but true, this is the story of Frane Selak…… unfinished story.

selak Pic by Anomalien.com

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Lavan Tharmarajah: From Tamil Refugee to Major in Australian Army

Kresant Mahilal, 16 October 2016, whose title stressesSix Life Lessons in Self Leadership” … see http://www.kminspires.com/how-a-sri-lankan-refugee-became-an-australian-army-major-six-life-lessons-in-self-leadership/

I couldn’t be happier and prouder of one of my best mates Major Seralaadan Tharmarajah aka Lavan.  This week, he became a Major in the Australian Army. 19 years ago we both landed on Australian soil to call this land home. Both from single parent households, both from developing countries with a history of racial tensions and violence and both of us looking to find our place in multicultural Australia. We had a lot in common as we sat next to each other in our Homebush Boys, Year 10 ESL class!

Lavan is not one who usually talks about his journey. However his journey has taught me many lessons and I believe it’s important to share it.  At a time when many question the value of letting refugees into a country, when racial tensions everywhere are high and when people give up hope on their dreams and following their passions because of a fast changing world and an uncertain future– the lessons I have learned from Lavan, and now Major Tharmarajah stick with me because of its simplicity and his walking the talk on his life philosophy.

alavan-1  Major Seralaadan Tharmarajah alavan-2 alavan-3

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Tilak Samarawickrema’s 50 years of Art

Piero Trionfera, the Italian architect reflects on Tilak Samarawickrema’s 50-year retrospective held last month, and speaks of being “Immersed in Tilak’s work” .. .. Sunday Times, 16 October 2016

When a wall becomes a work of art

I met Tilak about a year ago, at a celebration for Bawa, together with other Sri Lankan architects. I was perhaps the only foreign architect there.We started to chat and I rediscovered some of my roots: there is not a large age difference between us, and in the 70’s he lived in Rome, my city. It was inevitable that we would have similar memories of when Avant-Garde Italian design and architecture had reached a level of international standing, especially in Milan, a hot bed of intellectuals and emancipated industrialists, where Tilak had maintained close relations and interests.

So it was impossible for me not to be present at his 50-year retrospective as an artist, which he himself curated. It isn’t so much of a retrospective but a projection of a futuristic perspective.The choice of venue, the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery, implies a clear desire in Tilak to place himself in a modern, international niche, and this venue was absolutely perfect for his works and thoughts.

Right from the preview of the exhibition, the hall is full of interested and interesting people and I find myself immersed in his world. I am ready to admire his films, sculptures and drawings.

The welcome I receive at the entrance, the gallery, the people, the “Mythical Bird” opposite me, all bring up in me, a sensation of tranquil familiarity. Then, I reflect and think, but of course, I am at an international-style exhibition, a type I hadn’t seen for a while in Sri Lanka.To the left, an audience sits admiring and commenting on the animated films of timeless quality as well as a series of photos of the artist in his youth. I am also enthralled by the backgrounds of the photos (I am biased, sorry). Besides being a historic testimony of his formative years, they are insights into “my” Rome.

I wander around the exhibition, amongst intellectuals, people of all kinds, elegant and middle-aged as well as sporty youngsters, locals and westerners. It is wonderful that at an art exhibition you can meet all sorts of people with different backgrounds and this is a tangible indication that the exhibition was a success. Continue reading

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Past in the Present: Deciphering the Cosmological Threads in Sri Lankan Politics

Michael Roberts,  being a re-print of a review of Roshan De Silva-Wijeyreratne’s book in Groundviews in February 2015 entitled “Review of ‘Nation, Constitutionalism and Buddhism in Sri Lanka’,” … including here  the comments in Groundviews from devoted critics of the reviewer Roberts.

This treatise encompasses a vast span of time and straddles both the pre-modern and modern periods of Sri Lanka’s history down to the present moment. It engages, deploys, transcends and weaves through a vast array of scholars: Berkwitz, Chakrabarty, Collins, Duncan, Greenwald, Kaviraj, Kemper, Obeyesekere, Rampton, Roberts, Smith and Tambiah among others, with Bruce Kapferer as the guiding inspiration. As such, it is an ambitious tour de force that seeks a synthesis. The book is heavy reading and not a task for those weak or impatient. They have to comprehend a battery of difficult concepts in noun and adjectival form: ontology, episteme, refraction, governmentality, hermeneutic, telos and cosmic sovereignty for instance.

bu-p-_sri_lanka_buddha aa-roshan-pic

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Sinhala Buddhist Cosmology and Its Politics via Roshan de Silva Wijeyeratne

Kalana Senaratne. being a review article, entitled “The Politics of Sinhala-Buddhist Cosmology” from Polity Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.54-58 sent to Thuppahi by Senaratne and reproduced her with emphases (via highlighting) imposed by The Editor

Although Buddhism does not believe in a Creator-God, many Buddhists believe in a cosmology, made up of myriad realms of existence and world systems, a large number of heavenly beings, deities, and demonic spirits, and even a heaven and a hell.[1] In Theravada Buddhist countries, different gods – some local, some imported – play important roles in various rituals and practices: such as in the popular practice of transferring merit to good gods in exchange of protection.[2] These practices have been part of the life of the majority Sinhala-Buddhists too, with the origins of such practices being traceable to pre-Buddhist Sri Lanka.[3]

aa-roshan-pic Roshan aa-roshanbook aaa-kalana Kalana Continue reading

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Tirimanne’s and Kohona’s Talks at GENEVA AND YOU …..for You Sri Lankans

Supplementing the previous presentations (see Bibliography at end) and presenting textual versions of speeches also available on YouTube…. Emphasis has been tacked on by the Editor via highlighting.

geneva-and-you gyou-11

ONE:  Fr. Vimal Tirimanne

“There is neither legal nor moral justification for ‘War Crime’ probes in Sri Lanka” In this presentation, I wish to point out that the so-called “international” probe on the internal affairs of Sri Lanka, namely, the defeating militarily of what the FBI called “the most ruthless terrorist organization in the world” has neither legal nor moral justification. Thereafter, a word about the need to be doubly cautious when we use negatively loaded terms such as “genocide”, “war crimes”. Finally, I would point out that the enigmatic role played by the present Sri Lankan government at the UNHRC with regard to the “war crimes” episode is bound to boomerang on Sri Lanka as a nation, sooner or later. Continue reading

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