Category Archives: commoditification

The VVT Thonies and Their Mastery of the Oceans Past

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.”

article_imageA 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.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under arab regimes, centre-periphery relations, commoditification, cultural transmission, economic processes, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, modernity & modernization, Portuguese in Indian Ocean, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, unusual people, world events & processes

Profound & ‘Coloured’ Insights into Our Environmental Degradation

Prasad Abu Bakr, in Sunday Observer, 7 July 2019, …. http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2019/07/07/art/book-review-slow-cooked-thoughts

This is a ‘must-read’ book for those who lived during that glorious past, which is quietly slipping out of our grasp. It is also one for the next generation, who live in a world of make-believe – thinking that demolition of that glorious past and the pristine environment that was there, in the name of ‘development’ is aimed at making the world a better place to live in.

In her Foreword, Jill Macdonald refers to Slow-cooked Thoughts as a compelling compilation of writings both occasional and various, linked by a common motif of the writer’s passionate and unwavering belief of what constitutes a right relationship with the world around us.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, art & allure bewitching, commoditification, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, environmental degradation, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, human rights, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, meditations, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, transport and communications, travelogue, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Cumulus Clouds shroud the Death Penalty in Sri Lanka

Gerald H Peiris, in Island, 8 July 2019, where the title is “To Hang or Not to Hang?: Our Heads in Shame”

Our press coverage of the ‘Capital Punishment’ debate that followed President Sirisena’s announcement on 26 June of his signing death warrants on four persons convicted for serious narcotic-related crimes – I refer to ‘Features’, ‘Opinions’, news reports such as those on intimidatory “orders” conveyed to the government of Sri Lanka by foreign diplomats and spokespersons of INGOs, decisions of trade unions and other civil society outfits, and the seemingly casual statements by political leaders in the course of censuring the president’s wayward performance −  provided no cause for surprise in the sense that they were the expected responses. For instance, those from the regimes of the sanctimonious agents of the ‘West’ and their INGOs were displays of both pretended “humanitarian” commitments as well as economic muscle-power directed at governments like ours that readily genuflect.  Likewise, the more prominent among our political leaders are obviously impelled by electoral considerations. The civil society stances reflect, more than all else, the widespread unpopularity of the ‘Yahapalanaya’ which the president is believed to nominally lead.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, China and Chinese influences, commoditification, conspiracies, economic processes, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, landscape wondrous, transport and communications, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, working class conditions, world events & processes

Remembering SBD de Silva: A Scholar in Every Fibre

Krisantha Sri Bhaggiyadatta, in Sunday Island, 16 June 2019, where the title reads “One Thing Leads to Another – Memories of a Great Guru”

SBD de Silva, at 92, acted like he would live forever. To the very end, he kept drafting in almost imperceptible scribble – with pen or pencil, whatever being handy, glasses falling off his nose, peering over some text or daily/weekly newspaper – filling an A4 until no blank space was left, and then, so as not to break his concentration or the sentence, without looking, reach for another blank…

Like Scheherazade of the 1001 Nights who had to keep narrating to save her life until each dawn, so did SB, by day and by night, keep writing as if fresh insights, expressed in perfect words, would make him immortal. Yet, ambushed he was by impermanence. But such dedication to his craft and to the country was sheer dream to witness, let alone to hope to emulate, yet must be upheld as a beacon of scholarship for future generations.

 SBD de Silva (1926-2018) at a diplomatic reception in the 1950s. His classic, The Political Economy of Underdevelopment, tracks our own economic history midst that of the world.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, British colonialism, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, commoditification, disparagement, economic processes, historical interpretation, island economy, land policies, landscape wondrous, Left politics, life stories, modernity & modernization, transport and communications, unusual people, working class conditions, World Bank, world events & processes

From Individual Atom to God Almighty

From Individual Atom to God Almighty

Michael Roberts

 With the growth of Western civilization from the 16th century onwards and its sweeping sway in the world today, we have seen the power vested in the individual atom known as “man” in its non-gendered sense. Individuation, and its blood-brother, egoism, is the warp and woof of everyday living in most parts of the world and is most pronounced in the states identified with the “West.”

Christchurch killer in court

It is imprinted and glorified in many sports competitions: say, surfing, marathon-running, motor-cycling, gymnastics, et cetera. Its imprint has been expanded by new technology such as skateboards and fancy bikes. There are also age-old sports which sustain the emphasis on intense individual action: for instance, fishing and hunting.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under accountability, australian media, commoditification, cultural transmission, economic processes, historical interpretation, Islamic fundamentalism, legal issues, life stories, martyrdom, meditations, politIcal discourse, psychological urges, racist thinking, religiosity, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, vengeance, world events & processes

Dushni and Sisira shoot down Western Picture of Chinese Debt Trap

Dushni Weerakoon and Sisira Jayasuriya

Global media and numerous ‘experts’ routinely assert that Sri Lanka was forced to cede a strategically important port to China after being lured into a debt trap by easy Chinese loans. This story has now become part of the wider narrative of how China is using the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to achieve its diplomatic and strategic aims through debt diplomacy. But it is a story based more on fiction than fact.

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, centre-periphery relations, China and Chinese influences, commoditification, economic processes, governance, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, legal issues, news fabrication, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, transport and communications, truth as casualty of war, world events & processes

Shipwrecks as Tourist Allure around Sri Lanka

Randima Attygalle, in SUNDAY TIMES SPOTLIGHT, 8 July 2018, with this title

With hundreds of shipwrecks found around the coast, the country can be a divers’ paradise, say experts who call for measures to protect these wrecks from illegal salvagers and the dynamite fishing mafia… Randima Attygalle reports

Battery Barge: From shipwreck to sleeping beauty. Pic courtesy Dharshana Jayawardena Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under art & allure bewitching, commoditification, economic processes, island economy, landscape wondrous, sri lankan society, tourism, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes