Category Archives: European history

The Trump-and-Modi Fandango: Imperial Arms in the Indo-Pacificic

This article, entitled “Two State Hypocrites—The Indo-Pacific Humbugs” – written by one “Pettibandige” in Asian Tribune annoyed me greatly when I glanced at it first: in part because it is a slashing hack job steeped in bile and excess; and in part because of its glossing over of the Japanese imperial expansionist programme in the first half of the 20th century via its assertion “Possibly Pearl Harbour was a result.”

However, the stream of stridency adopted in the essay seems to be a literary device that is (A) in step with its play on the Sinhala ge name “Patabändige” – modified here to “Petti” as in box; and (B) in line with its continuous mockery of the two leading actors, namely Trump and Modi. I have therefore inserted my own imprint by marking those points I question in black and those jibes that have some foundation in red …..  Michael Roberts

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Hugh Karunanayake: A Pioneer for Ecumenical Ceylonese Studies in the Sydney Circuit

Our First Chairman” being the lead essay in the latest CEYLANKAN published in 2020

Hugh Karunanayake was elected Chairman of our Society at the public meeting held on 28th February 1998. It was Hugh together with his friend Chris Puttock who took the original initiative to form the Society. The foundation meeting held in the evening of 30th August 1997, was at his residence and it led to the eventual formation of the Society.

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The Yellow Peril! Coronavirus sparks an Aged Refrain

 Palitha Kohona, in Indepthnews, March 2020, with this title “CORVID 19 – The Insatiable Urge to Bash China Surfaces Again!


The writer is former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, and former Foreign Secretary.

Historically, the West has always had an equivocal attitude towards China, not to mention the non-white world. A fear, a suspicion, a fascination, an uncertainty, a sense of superiority and even a loathing reserved for an undeserving competitor pervaded its dealings.

Passengers wearing face masks and disposable ponchos get their passports checked at Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. UN News/Jing Zhang

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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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Mockery: Veils and Subterfuge in the High Mountains of the Swiss Embassy

Lalin Fernando,* in Asian Tribune, 9 December 2019, where  the title is  “Swiss strike Gold and Salman in Sri Lanka”

When God on his final inspections round the world visited Switzerland he dropped in on a Swiss farm house. The Swiss farmer was overwhelmed. He invited God in, asked him to sit and rest. He offered God a glass of delicious milk. God thanked him for it. The Swiss farmer said ‘God please don’t thank me. You have given us everything people can want. We live in the most beautiful and richest country in the world. There are beautiful lakes with plenty of fish, high snow capped mountains that give us protection, green fields for us to farm and provide fodder for cattle, gushing rivers and an invigorating climate. I have a large family and everything we need. Thank you God’.

NOTE — my attempt to place photos of Herr Ambassador Herr Hanspeter MOCK drawn from web were defeated by the embargo attached to his PIX on web. Wow! Halleluyyiyah! Swiss barriers on free speech?

After a short rest, God got up to leave. The Swiss farmer said ‘excuse me God, you forgot something’. God checked and said ‘nothing’s missing. May I go please’? The Swiss man said ‘Of course but God you haven’t paid me for the milk’.

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Superstition meets Science in Early Modern Europe: Ulinka Rublack’s Path-breaking Studies

Lilo Berg, in Humboldt Kosmos  2019, pp.3033 ** where the title reads as “Witches, Fashion Fiends and Cabinet Curiosities”

Ulinka Rublack’s book about the astronomer Johannes Kepler, who defended his mother in a witchcraft trial, caused a stir. Drawing on old sources, the historian reconstructs a fascinating image of the Early Modern Era in which superstition meets science

The Historian Ulinka Rublack at work in Wolfenbüttel
The Historian Ulinka Rublack at work in Wolfenbüttel (Photo: Humboldt Foundation / Jörg Scheibe)

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