Category Archives: British colonialism

Decolonization in the Rubber Trade, 1946-54

Rohan de Soysa

Tony Donaldson’s essay in valedictory recognition of Tony Peries generated a short memorandum[1] from one of my friends in Colombo, namely Rohan de Soysa, son of Terence de Soysa.[2] This note adds significant information on early steps in the process of decolonization and the breaking away from Britain’s stranglehold over the commodity trade. It is therefore presented as an essay in its own right –a move welcomed by Tony Donaldson. I have taken the liberty of imposing highlights by way of emphasis. Michael Roberts as Editor Thuppahi.

sl-china-stamps Picture shows the Commemorative Stamp issued to mark the 50 years of signing the Rubber Rice Pact.
The Terence de Soysa referred to [in Tony Donaldson’s article] as a ‘very clever rubber trader’ by Tony Peiris, was my father. He had organised a consortium and bought CWM {CW Mackie & Co] in 1946 or so, before Independence, the first major British company to be Ceylonised. Continue reading

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The Tea Business in Ceylon and the Life and Times of Tony Peries

Tony Donaldson. in a Vale for the  Late Tony Peries of Colombo & Sydney, courtesy of THE CEYLANKAN, 2017 edn , where the title is “Remembering Tony Peries” … with emphasis added by The Editor, Thuppahi.

My first encounter with Tony Peries took place in 2003.  By chance, I stumbled upon a meeting of the Ceylon Society in Melbourne one Sunday afternoon at which Tony was giving a talk about his book George Steuart & Co Ltd 1952 – 1973: A Personal Odyssey, published in 2003, a copy of which occupies a prominent position on my bookshelf.   He made an immediate impression on me as a gifted speaker with a natural stage persona that drew audiences into his world.

tony-peries

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Baddaginnie in Victoria: Its Sinhala Name and its History

Thiru Arumugam, courtesy of The Ceylankan, vol 77, Jan 2017

Introduction:  Baddaginnie (hungry belly in Sinhala) is a small village in north-east Victoria, Australia, about 180 km from Melbourne. Its population was 465 persons in the 2011 Census. This article describes how it got its name, the early history of the place, and a brief biography of the Surveyor, J G W Wilmot who gave Baddaginnie its name.

baddaginnie-4Fig 4-– Baddaginnie High Street in 1905-Museum of Victoria Continue reading

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Against Extremism: In Defence of 26th January Australia Day

Greg Sheridan, in The Australian, Thursday, 2 February 2017, where the title is “If Australia day is Illegitimate, so are We”and visit http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/greg-sheridan/if-australia-day-is-illegitimate-so-are-we/news-story/eded818b24fa646b643829177fb1c6fa …..where there already are 155 comments

a-oz-day-22 a-oz-day-33Australia should celebrate Australia Day on January 26 because it is right to do so. It is the day modern institutions, in our case British institutions, entered Australian life. They have brought with them the entire institutional and indeed ethical framework of modern Australia. They brought the rule of law, individual human rights, independent courts, free media, multiple centres of power in government.

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Disappearing Burgher and Malay Surnames in Island Lanka

Tuan M. Zameer Careem,  initially extracted from  https://sirimunasiha.wordpress.com/about/sinhala-names-through-out-the-ages/rare-ethnic-surnames/ where the title reads “Rare Ethnic Surnames” … but I have since been informed that Mr Careem published it in Ceylon Today . Since it has received a record number of hits over the last two days, Careem can be well pleased.

The multi ethnic Sri Lankan society has since recent decades witnessed
innumerable changes and many of the most notable ethnic communities are now
on the brink of extinction, with the population dwindling to a noble
handful. Some of the most colourful surnames that once stood as a beacon to
help distinguish the ethnic backgrounds of locals have now gone into abeyance.
The ethnographers are of the opinion that the frequent intermarriages with
members of the prominent ethnic groups and the death of male line descendants
have gradually airbrushed the identities of many minorities. It is sad to
note that there is hardly any material written on the subject of Lankan
Onomatology. However, it is unmistakably clear that many of the Lankan
patronymics and surnames have European roots.

burghhers-11 Pic from www.burghersuk.com

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A Rejection of Reconciliation via Namo/Namo: Weeraratna’s Hardline Sinhala Majoritarian Statement*

Senaka Weeraratna … See Note ** at end

senaka-weeraratnaThe primordial national identity of this country is Sinhale and religious identity is Buddhist. These two historical identities should not be allowed to be dispensed with in order to embrace an artificial secular identity (Sri Lankan) that has neither roots to the soil of the country nor been shaped either by history, common values, heritage or destiny. Continue reading

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Looking Back at DS Senanayake and the Gal Oya Project

Ajit Kanagasundram, courtesy Sunday Island 18th & 25th September 2016, where the title is “The Gal Oya Project 60 years on” … an essay supported by personal experiences and his father’s key role in this pathfinding development project. ALSO  go to http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2016/10/10/the-gal-oya-project-60-years-on/ for the same essay and significant blog comments therein. … Emphasis by highlights is my imprint Editor, Thuppahi

Not many people today remember the Gal Oya Project but for 20 years it was the showpiece of modern independent Ceylon. It was later overshadowed by more grand (grandiose?) projects like Mahaveli where billions more were spent but the Gal Oya Project remains the standard by which all other projects should be judged. The Gal Oya Project, moreover, stands as an exemplar as to how things should be done under ideal circumstances. The project was done and paid for within our own resources, managed by local administrators and completed on time and all major objectives relating to the clearing of forest, settlement of colonists and irrigation of land were accomplished.

kanagasundramK. Kanagasundram Continue reading

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