Category Archives: art & allure bewitching

Felicitating English among Novices Through Literature

Sachitra Mahendra, in Daily News, 12 September 2017, where the title reads “Courage that Counts”

They wanted to speak English. Some of them could deliver well. But most of them could not, sadly. For them all – the newly chosen batch of undergraduates – the university offers a course with the English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU). But then these undergraduates were not interested in attending the course either. They were still required to pass the ELTU exam to be qualified for the degree completion. However excellent they may have scored in other subjects, they would not obtain the certificate without the ELTU green light. The fault is not theirs, according to Madhubhashini Disanayaka Ratnayake, who was the ELTU Head attached to the University of Sri Jayawardanapura.

 Pictures by Wasitha Patabendige

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Captain Cook’s Endeavours Revisited: ONE

Trent Dalton,  from The Weekend Australian, 2 September 2017, where the main title is “The Story of Us”

The story was always too big, too complex to fit neatly inside the plaques of big city statues. The story of Captain Cook’s first epic voyage of discovery is too grand, too long to fit neatly inside a tweet or a T-shirt quip or a few cheap words spray-painted in a hurry.

The first man to tell the story was James Cook himself. He told it as it unfolded, the spellbinding tale of his three years aboard a frumpy-bottomed coal boat called Endeavour; three years of wonder, adventure, miraculous survival, navigational genius and breathtaking courage that he detailed in short, sharp sentences scribbled on to a series of cabin papers that would form a doorstopper of a journal that would come to be called “Manuscript One”, the founding document of the National Library of Australia.

  Captain James Cook in a 1775 portrait by Nathaniel Dance-Holland, and HMS Endeavour in a painting by naval historian Gregory Robinson; next year marks the 250th anniversary of Endeavour’s sailing from Plymouth in England on a three-year journey that took it across the world and included the British discovery of Australia Continue reading

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The War is Past. Paradise is Regained

Michael Buerk,  in the The Telegraph, 5 September 2017, where the title is “The war is history: Michael Buerk returns to Sri Lanka” ** Note Editorial Comment at End 

The Tigers’ lair was deep in the jungle. It was difficult to find and tough to get to; two hours jolting, semi-prone, in a trailer dragged by a tractor, watching for mines. This was a war zone for decades. The paddy fields were abandoned long ago to the peacocks and their perpetual courtship, dozens of them everywhere, each male made fabulous by desire. The man-made lake that once fed the fields was covered in lotus flowers. A crocodile basked on a rock in the shallows, jaws gaping as if in wonder at the lonely beauty of it all. Well into the thicker brush, down a maze of paths and tunnels through the thorn trees, we came first to what was left of the Tigers’ guard post. Just rubble now where 30 fighters held part of the perimeter of what was, in effect, a separate state. Their latrine, the only recognisable structure left, was now home to a 15ft Indian rock python.

  Buerk was in Sri Lanka for the BBC at the beginning of the war, in the Eighties

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Dissecting “Liberalism” and the Demons within Its Western Expressions

Uditha Devapriya, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph, August 2017 where the title is Liberalism: Getting Out While You Can”…….. and where this intriguing and thoughtful essay drew fewer comments than normal

In Jordan Peele’s intriguing film Get Out, a White American family lures Black Americans to their house to operate on and then (literally) insert into them the brains of old, disabled White Americans to guarantee immortality for the latter. What gets kicked out, of course, are the brains of the Black Americans (who needs to keep them once they’re no longer of use, anyway?). “Perfect metaphor,” I thought to myself, reflecting on the many instances in history when Black Westerners in general were contorted to become hosts for White Westerners. Incidentally I am not just talking about slavery, outdated or contemporary. I am talking also about liberalism.

 Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mocking Bird

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Sea Battle off Kalpitiya Coast: An Orca Pod versus A Sperm Whale Pod

Philip Hoare,  in The Guardian, 29 March 2017,  “An extraordinary battle between sperm whales and orcas – in pictures”

While observing sperm whales off the Sri Lankan coast, Philip Hoare came face to face with eight hunting orcas who had no fear of the 100-strong sperm whale pod.

I spent last week on a six-metre fishing boat in the Indian Ocean off Kalpitiya, on the west coast of Sri Lanka with the photographer Andrew Sutton and the marine biologist Ranil Nanayakkara. Andrew and I were diving in a marine conservation area under special licence from the Sri Lankan wildlife department. Here, I met a pair of young, sexually mature male sperm whales – cetacean teenagers. Photograph: Andrew Sutt

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Kumar Sangakkara’s House in Galle Fort: The Game-Changer

Juliet Coombe, on “Kumar Sangakkara, Professional Cricketer, Part-Time Philosopher” and The Game-Changer. at 76 Leyn Baan Street, Galle Fort …. in her illustrated book, Around the Galle Fort in 80 lives, (2017) …ISBN 978-955-0000-005

“I am Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim and Burgher. I am a Buddhist, a Hindu, a follower of Islam and Christianity. I am today, and always, proudly Sri Lankan.” …  Kumar Sangakkara deeply moved everyone at the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s Cricket Ground, London in July of 2011, in his speech in which he explored the nature of Sri Lanka. It is this rich mix of religions and nationalities that attracted Kumar to Galle Fort, which has been a part of his life for almost as long as cricket has, a place that captured his father just as powerfully as it has entranced him. It was his father who, he says, “told me one day, if you’re ever thinking of buying property, the Fort is one place you should look at. He had a great appreciation for the Fort and the life of the Fort and the old families living in the Fort and ever since that day it’s stayed with me.”

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Exquisite Camera Timing in the Sports Arena

Pow! Wham! How! … COURTESY OF

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