Category Archives: cultural transmission

In Appreciative Memory of Karen Roberts, 1965-2018

Michael Roberts

It has been something of a shock for me to discover that the Sri Lankan authoress Karen Roberts[1] had passed away in USA in 2018 while only in her middle-aged fifties (about the same age as my daughters). What a tragedy!

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The Medium of Learning in Sri Lanka for Sri Lanka: Journeys

Wilfrid Jayasuriya, in Daily Mirror Epaper, 18 January 2020, where the title is “English as the medium of modern education”

We are glad that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa hit the nail on the head about the meaning of education. Not a promising opening sentence? I do not wish to get into a harangue on education but just want to say there is an alternative to the education modus operandi which we practise by and large for more than a century. That alternative is the United States’ system as opposed to the British colonial model which was the foundation of our lay education for the last two centuries. Suffice to say that in my own family history, my maternal grandfather was a postmaster who worked in the English medium and my paternal grandfather was a school teacher who practised in Sinhala and English media. My father passed the Senior School Certificate in both English and Sinhala media and my mother passed the Junior School Certificate in English medium. I have both certificate documents and they are signed by the Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University because education in Ceylon had been allocated to Cambridge University!

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Familial Togetherness!

…. in Contrast

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An Essential Coupling: For A Bilingual National Anthem on 4th February

It appears that there are pressures in motion[1] to return to the old Rajapaksa programme of rendering the National Anthem on Independence Day in Sinhala Only. As Eranda Ginige has contended, this would be a retrograde step. Towards our comprehension of the issues, I present a preliminary and incomplete bibliography of pertinent items — including the work of Kushil Gunasekera and his Foundation of Goodness in fostering the Murali Cup; the endeavours of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene; and Sasanka Perera’s slashing criticism of the parochial responses to Kishani Jaysinghe’s operatic rendering of “Danno Budunge.”

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Becoming and Being Sri Lankan: The National Anthem in Our Mother Tongues

Eranda Ginige, on in Lanka News Web, 6 January 2020, where the title is “The Language of the National Anthem”

The Dominion of Ceylon was formed on 4 February 1948 with the singing of Britain’s national anthem “God Save the King” and it continued to be the anthem for another four years

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“White Christmas” was fashioned by Irving Berlin, A Jewish Immigrant in USA

Rich Tenorio, an essay penned on 24 December 2019 and entitled  How Jewish-American immigrant Irving Berlin started a Christmas revolution”

The best version of White Christmas was done by Elvis. Berlin was highly critical of him for “desecrating” his song. How ironic: A god-fearing Protestant criticised by a Jew for the way he sang a Christmas song. But like a lot of the older brigade, Sinatra included, Berlin felt left behind by rock n’ roll.  Yet Jews like Dylan and Paul Simon, dug Elvis.

  Irving Berlin, at the piano, and friends celebrate the 25th year since he wrote ‘Alexander’s Rag Time Band’ at a banquet in his honor in Hollywood, California, January 20, 1936. Standing behind Berlin, at right, is Joseph Schenck, film producer. In front row singing together are two of the Marx Brothers, Chico and Harpo. (AP Photo) Continue reading

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The Insights etched within Walter Fernando’s Autobiography of an Administrative Career

Gerald H Peiris, in The Island, 1 January 2020, where the title runs thus“Career Challenges of a Public Servant”

Among the treasures in my collection of books there are several biographical works received as gifts ―those of Ediriweera Sarachchandra, Gunadasa Amarasekara, Kingsley de Silva, Usvatte Aratchchi, Jolly Somasundram, Sudath Gunasekara and Walter Fernando. All of us belonged to the Peradeniya segment of the University of Ceylon in the 1950s which, over a brief and exhilarating spell, seemed to fulfill the expectations of its founders in epitomising the long awaited national resurgence, offering an acceptable blend of ‘intellectual’ and ‘utilitarian’ perspectives of higher learning. Since then we have travelled along different paths that merged and diverged at various times. Now in our old age we have shared memories of both joy and sorrow.

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