Category Archives: British colonialism

Footsteps across Continents: Hedi Simon and the Stadlens of Austria and Britain

Matthew Stadlen, in The Telegraph, 11 November 2013, where the title is “Family history: retracing the steps of a romance disrupted by war”

In 1938 my grandfather, the pianist Peter Stadlen, was returning to his native Austria from a concert tour of Ireland when he happened to meet a girl on the ferry home. As a result he caught a cold from chatting to her on deck, and had to stop over in Amsterdam. The fates were with him, because the following day – 75 years ago – the Nazis marched into Austria; Peter was a secular Jew. He was able to communicate with his mother and sister, who were still in Vienna, and urge them to leave by the next train to Holland. From there, all three made it to London as refugees, and that is where my family has been based ever since. They were lucky.

 Hedi Simon … also known as Heidi Keuneman before her second marriage to Peter Stadlen

My great-great-uncle, known as Onkl Friedl, did not escape. He was one of the very first to die at the hands of the Gestapo when they moved into Vienna. He had been chief economic adviser to pre-Nazi Chancellors of Austria, and was immediately put under house arrest. A paraplegic, he always kept cyanide in his ring in case he should ever be caught in a fire, unable to escape. He tricked the Nazi guards into leaving his room and took the poison. I have red hair but neither of my parents do: Onkl Friedl was a redhead and I’ve always believed it comes from him.

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Filed under asylum-seekers, British colonialism, cultural transmission, economic processes, heritage, human rights, immigration, landscape wondrous, life stories, meditations, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, women in ethnic conflcits, world events & processes, World War II

Caste in Sinhala Society

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Filed under British colonialism, caste issues, communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, gender norms, heritage, historical interpretation, life stories, politIcal discourse, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, working class conditions

Sri Lanka’s Ethnic Achchaaru … or Racial Pickle

Michael Roberts

 Re-discovering this chat with Alex Van Arkadie today [2017] I think it is pertinent for all Sri Lankans …. And should be read in conjunction with my recent selection of material n “Sinhala Mind-Set” and “Why Thuppahi” ……. included in efforts to widen the exchanges in the following posts

…… Capped thereafter with a reading of Pon Kulendiren’s lovely tale of “Sinhala Nona”

https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/where-music-transcends-ethnic-divisions-sinhala-nona/#more-24614…… perhaps with background baila music such as Dingiri Dingare Le Menachchi!


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Filed under British colonialism, caste issues, cultural transmission, discrimination, disparagement, ethnicity, governance, heritage, life stories, politIcal discourse, racist thinking, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, world events & processes, zealotry

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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Filed under British colonialism, commoditification, economic processes, foreign policy, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, sri lankan society, unusual people, world events & processes

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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Filed under accountability, Australian culture, British colonialism, commoditification, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, historical interpretation, Left politics, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, unusual people, world events & processes

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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Filed under Australian culture, British colonialism, economic processes, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, world events & processes

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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Filed under accountability, Australian culture, australian media, British colonialism, cultural transmission, democratic measures, heritage, historical interpretation, Left politics, life stories, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, psychological urges, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, world events & processes, zealotry