Category Archives: education

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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LLRC advocated Bilingual National Anthem and Other Cultural Paths towards Reconciliation

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National Anthem

8.291 Several views were expressed concerning the use of the National Anthem as a unifying factor, and in bringing about greater understanding among the communities. One view was that it would be advisable to reflect the two national languages policy by symbolically introducing at least two lines in Tamil to the National Anthem.172 It was pointed out that this would be a major step towards healing the wounds of the past.

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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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Vale Jim Gair, Sinhala Enthusiast, Linguist Extraordinary

A Valedictory in American Academia

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James Wells Gair, Ph.D. ’63, professor emeritus of linguistics who throughout a long and distinguished career produced groundbreaking work on South Asian languages and their relation to other languages, died Dec. 10 in Ithaca. He was 88.“Jim Gair was in many ways the paradigmatic Cornell linguist,” said John Whitman, chair and professor of linguistics. “He had a language passion for Sinhala, the language of Sri Lanka, and he threw himself entirely into it, teaching the language, writing textbooks for its learners, and analyzing both the colloquial language and its classical texts.

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Ceylon in the Rainer Schickele Papers

Rainer Schickele served with the Dept of Agricultural Economics  Peradeniya University in the 1960s and lived in Kandy. He was committed to the agricultural development of the island. On the 21st January 1969 he presented a paper on Land settlement Policy in Ceylon: A Tentative Proposal,” I note here that all the cyclostyled CSS papers are available at Peradeniya University >Librar and several university libraries in USA. 

Alas I do not have a photograph of Rainer (1905-1989). But it is with considerable pleasure that I note the availability of the SCHICKELE PAPERS at  NDSU, Institute for Regional Studies and University archives,  the North Dakota State University Libraries.  Note the followiing summary.”The Sri Lanka (Ceylon) Series consists of reports and papers Schickele wrote while helping the university and government build agricultural economic departments. The series consists of twelve progress reports that Schickele wrote in order for the ADC to monitor the progress of the program.The series also contains papers Schickele wrote regarding the current agricultural situation in Sri Lanka and how to rectify some of the problems.” Continue reading

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Traditional Drum Making In Sri Lanka: Beats down the Ages

David Blacker, courtesy of SERENDIB, December Issue 2016 … http://serendib.btoptions.lk/article.php?id=1914

drums On display (L-R) a Tabla, Hand Rabana, Bummadiya, Thammetama, and Geta Bera

The hands and fingers seemed to work to an inner beat, to a pulse, only the drum-maker himself could hear. As wood was smoothed, leather cords tightened, and cowhide stretched, they would be periodically tested, plucked, tapped, thrummed by the fingers, searching for a quality defined by sound. Ironically, in the gloom of the small stall that doubled as a workshop, there was no music whatsoever; not even a transistor radio. The only sounds were those of the tools, the muted conversation, underlined by the tapping.Nimal Wickramasiri is an artist. And his art is the beat. Nimal is not a musician, but the drums he makes are sought after by musicians all over Sri Lanka. Now middle-aged, Nimal has been making drums all his life. His father, awarded by three Presidents, had done the same, as had his grandfather, and for generations before, now lost in the rhythm of time. Nimal’s son, Kasun, is a skilled drum-maker in his own right. The beat in this family’s blood shows no sign of drying up.

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Constitutional Issues via Architectural Form: Sharp Interest from People, Somnolence from Politicoes

Sanjana Hattotuwa, courtesy of The Island, 3 December 2016, where the title is “Corridors of Power” … with highlighting emphasis inserted by Editor Thuppahi.

I do not recall the exact moment, but I do remember a time when I was so frustrated with the Rajapaksa regime’s blatant disregard for the constitution that I wondered how best I could communicate a critique of power to even those who would vote for, and loved him. This was after the 18th Amendment, late 2010. I was interested in a way to engage with what I hated to see come about, in full knowledge, at the time, that those opposed to what Mahinda Rajapaksa did were in a minority. I had one relatively successful previous attempt which suggested when instead of presenting a contrasting opinion, which can be variously, violently and immediately dismissed, a way to debate the substance of a contentious issue is created, a rather different timbre of engagement ensues.

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