Hilal Suhail in Facebook
If you have invested in Sri Lanka’s tourism and hospitality industry, then it would serve you well to keep up with the international media coverage of Sri Lanka in recent weeks. The island nation’s reputation has taken a massive beating and it’s unlikely tourism will pick up any time soon. There is no point blaming the foreign media and claiming there is some conspiracy against Sri Lanka, and puff pieces promoting tourism by the Ministry of Tourism and other social media campaigns are pointless and won’t convince many outsiders to take the risk in visiting.
The international media is highlighting the terrible actions of some in the Sinhalese majority, and the violence and discrimination unleashed by Buddhist extremists for decades. The Easter bombings aren’t being solely blamed on Muslim extremists by the international media, they are focusing on the incompetent Sri Lankan police and military who failed to prevent the attacks, despite possessing intelligence beforehand to do so, and also for having caused a situation in Sri Lanka where religious and ethnic minorities are not protected.
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Somasiri Devendra, in Island, 13 July 2019, with this title “VVT, Tahiti, and the ghost of the Bounty. The ship from Valvettithurai which sailed the seven seas” and this dedication “Dedicated to the late Mr. Kumaraswamy of Oxonia Institute, Colombo, proud son of Valvettithurai, with whom I was to co-author a work on our northern nautical culture. On him, be Peace.”
A traditional Thoni showing the backward-coiling Surul and nailed-on occulus.
The story begins …
In 1937 an adventurous ‘Yankee’ sailed a small yacht round the world – the smallest to do so, at that time – stopping awhile in Ceylon. After many adventures, he returned to Ceylon in search of a Jaffna-built ship whose elegant lines had caught his eye. He found her, bought and refitted her in Colombo and sailed for Boston, with an all-Jaffna crew. Boston was as overwhelmed by the vision of this ‘ghost’ of the legendary Bounty, as by its dusky crew and of the voyage itself. But a couple of months later she was sailed again, this time with an all-American delivery crew, to Tahiti. And then, like the Bounty, she disappears.
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“The Portugese, the Saviours of our Culture?” = This is the title of a scholarly article written in the Ceylon Historical Journal in the 1950s by B. J. Perera BA (History) University of Ceylon who was our teacher in the University Entrance class. It was of course “dead against” the version given by nationalist historians after independence. However his interpretation simply put was that the Mughals had conquered Hindu India and ruled it for a couple of centuries and converted a large part of the Hindu population to the Muslim religion as had happened in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia and the Maldives, which had been either Hindu or Buddhist. The evidence in Bali and Java of the existence of Buddhist and Hindu relics supports this view.
Mattayaas in the Gal Oya and Eastern Province interior
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