H. L. Seneviratne reviewing Your Obedient Servant: The Fate of the Bureaucrat in Sri Lanka by Suren Sumithraarachchi, Sarasavi Publishers 2019 …. Courtesy of Colombo Telegraph = https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/book-review-politics-the-bureaucracy/
This book deals with the higher bureaucracy in Sri Lanka, and its focus is bureaucratic behavior. It is about local bureaucrats, not those of British origin — bureaucrats who historically inhabited the bureaucratic terrain with decreasing density as colonial rule waned. It considers loyalty to a set of rules, rather than to a person, the marker of ideal bureaucratic behavior, one that the vocabulary of sociology calls “rational-legal”.
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H. L. D. Mahindapala, in Colombo Telegraph, January 2020, where the title is
Any critical assessment of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa must take into consideration the salient characteristics that make him stand out from the run-of-the-mill politicians who had occupied the peaks of power.
The first notable characteristic is that he is the first head of state to come from the Sri Lankan diaspora. Initially it was a disadvantage tangled in legalities of citizenship. Later it smoothened out and has been an invaluable asset to him. His existential experiences as an expat in America had widened his horizons and opened up new vistas in his thinking and strategizing. He has acted so far as a leader who had seen the future and is bent on taking the nation in that direction. It has all the signs of being influenced by the American efficiency in delivering goods and services. The new breed of intellectuals he had recruited to run his state indicates clearly that he is in a hurry to modernise the sluggish nation and usher it into the 21st century. His first-hand knowledge of an advanced nation would hasten him to mix tradition with modernity without deracinating the nation – a critical issue in modernising Afro-Asian countries.
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Item in NewsInAsia, 19 January 2020, where the title is “Veteran columnist C.A.Chandraprema appointed as Lankan envoy at the UN in Geneva”
Veteran Sunday Island columnist, C.A.Chandraprema, has been appointed as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations in Geneva, within which is located the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
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Shenali Waduge has a long history as a defender of Sinhala interests within and beyond the island of Sri Lanka. In quite a few minds she would be classified as a Sinhala chauvinist. One must, however, not throw the baby out with the dirty bathwater. Her essays should not be dismissed out of hand. Indeed, there were several striking claims in an essay she presented recently in two outlets for me to include it within Thuppahi under this imposed heading: “To Your Face: UN and UNHRC challenged by Shenali Waduge.”
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