Category Archives: landscape wondrous

Momentous Changes in Ceylon instituted by the Donoughmore Commisison

Leelananda de Silva, in Sunday Times, 5 July 2020

The Donoughmore Commission which came to Sri Lanka in the late 1920s made far reaching and far seeing recommendations, which changed the political, economic and social landscape of Ceylon. The present generation is largely unaware of its role and it is time that they refresh their understanding of the tremendous changes brought in by Donoughmore.

The Earl of Donoughmore

It was a commission consisting of three Britons — the Earl of Donoughmore, Drummond Shields and Burrows. They were political personalities well known in Britain at the time and were not colonial civil servants. They had the political and social vision to overcome the objections of both the colonial masters in Sri Lanka and the local dominant political personalities who were also not in favour of radical reforms.

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Bouncing into the Unknown Seas …. and Cliffs … to meet Lord Shiva

Michael Roberts

About 500 yards north of the hotel Trinco Blu at Nilaveli is a small rock promontory where a river inlet streams into the ocean. The inlet connects with the Tamil village of Thalli which is adjacent to the renowned temple of Thalli abutting the rock promontory on its northern side.

When I wandered down that way one morning with camera in hand, I was greeted warmly by an imposing 6ft/4 gentleman who introduced himself as Naguleswaran. He ushered me into the small lagoon crowded with shallow-bottom motorized fishing boats and showed me his boat.

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Canines in Defence of Lanka via the SL Air Force

Dishan Joseph, in Daily News, 10 July 2020, where the title runS   SLAF Air Dog Unit: Canine ‘Scentsations’”

For seven decades the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) has strategically guarded our nation’s aerial domain. Whilst most of us understand and recognise the air defence role of the SLAF, they have played an equally important role in ground operations. This covers a wider spectrum of protecting airfields, bases, training schools and air assets. Unnoticed by many, one of the silent stakeholders actively engaged in this protective function are the dog handlers and their robust canines.

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A Whiff of Tourism at Nilaveli via Trinco Blue at Cinnamon

Michael Roberts

The covid pandemic has, as we know, decimated the travel and tourist trade since March all over the world. Hardly any foreign tourists have visited Sri Lanka since then and Bandaranaike Airport has hosted only a few airline arrivals and departures (e.g. Qatar Air) — other than SL Airlines’ mercy flights. In this arid climate John Keells are to be complimented on opening its premier line Trinco Blu hotel at Nilaveli to tourists from 26th June 2020. While such top-drawer hotels as Palm Beach Resort and Jungle Beach remain under lock and key in this stretch of coast, Trinco Blu and Anilana have opened their doors.

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The Threads of Intolerance within Contemporary Liberal/Radical Fervour

A Letter on Justice and Open Debate …. Harpers’ Magazine, July 7, 2020 ……………..
……… The letter below  will be appearing in the Letters section of the magazine’s October issue. We welcome responses at letters@harpers.org

Our cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial. Powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts. But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity. As we applaud the first development, we also raise our voices against the second. The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy. But resistance must not be allowed to harden into its own brand of dogma or coercion—which right-wing demagogues are already exploiting. The democratic inclusion we want can be achieved only if we speak out against the intolerant climate that has set in on all sides.

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Fresh Insights on the 4/21 Salafi Bombings in Sri Lanka

Samanth Subramanium, in New York Times, 2 July 2020, where the title reads “Two Wealthy Muslim Brothers became suicide Bombers, but Why?”

There’s a video of the exact moment Inshaf Ibrahim decided to abandon his life as a rich young man and turn into a mass murderer. In one sense, he had made up his mind weeks earlier, which was why he was loitering in the Cinnamon Grand hotel’s breakfast buffet on Easter Sunday last year in Colombo, strapped into a knapsack of explosives. Once he arrived, though, he appeared to dither. Later, investigators picked him out of CCTV footage, standing near a vacant table, wearing a baseball cap and a T-shirt, his back to the camera. In the footage, he moves like a perplexed penguin. Two steps forward, half a step back, a turn, another turn: a choreography of hesitation. Perhaps he is reconsidering? But no, the investigators concluded; he is waiting for more people to come in. Finally, a microsecond of stillness, arms heavy by his side; then his hands reach toward the front of his waist, and the film goes dark.

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Passing the Covid with the Cricket Ball?

Simon Kolstoe, in The Conversation, 6 July 2020, where the title reads Do cricket balls really spread coronavirus

Cricket is now back on in England, despite Boris Johnson declaring cricket balls a “natural vector of disease”. His statement has frustrated cricket fans and players, but has also raised the wider question of which activities spread COVID-19. After all, unlike other activities that the UK government is actively encouraging, such as visiting pubs or restaurants, cricket is an outdoor sport where players are very unlikely to come into contact with each other.

Cricket balls showing various amounts of deterioration after play. Acabashi/Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA

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Andrew Fernando’s ‘Innings’ runs away with the Gratiaen Prize for 2020

Dimitri Wijesinghe, in The Morning.lk, 5 July 2020, where the title reads “Andrew Fidel Fernando 2019 Gratiaen Prize Winner”

Andrew Fidel Fernando was awarded the 2019 Gratiaen Prize for literary excellence for his work, the travelogue titledUpon a Sleepless Isle’

The Gratiaen Trust went digital for the 2019 edition of the awards and things kicked off with the live stream at 6.30 PM on July 4, streamed on the official Facebook pages of the Gratiaen Trust, John Keells Foundation, and their media partner.

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The Exiled Malays, Javanese et al in Ceilao and Lanka Today and Yesterday

Greg Fealy reviewing Ronit Ricci, Banishment and Belonging: Exile and Diaspora in Sarandib, Lanka and Ceylon, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2019, 282pp, ISBN 978-1-108-72724-2…… https://www.newmandala.org/book-review/banishment-and-belonging-exile-and-diaspora-in-sarandib-lanka-and-ceylon-2019/

For well over a century, Sri Lanka was the Dutch colonial administration’s main site of exile for troublesome Indonesians. From the late seventeenth century, hundreds of ‘natives’ from the Netherlands East Indies who were deemed rebellious were consigned to the island, many never to return. They were a diverse community, including members of royal families from across the archipelago and their retinues, as well as soldiers, convicts and slaves. Among the nobles were kings, sultans and princes from Java, Madura, the Moluccas and Timor. Revered Islamic leaders were also banished there. Conditions for the exiles ranged from tolerably comfortable to miserable, with often tight restrictions on their ability to socialize and travel within the island, and also limited communications with family and peers in the Indies. The psychological toll of separation from their homeland was immense. Many felt humiliated and personally diminished by the experience. Today, the descendants of this exilic community are known collectively as ‘Sri Lankan Malays’ and they have a distinctive culture and identity borne of their peculiar historical experience.

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The Special Forces in War … and the Sri Lankan Tale

Dishan Joseph, in Daily News, 29 June 2020, where the title is A confluence of courage and stealth”

The Greek philosopher Aristotle has said, “You will never do anything in this world without courage.” Boldness is a vital attribute of a soldier. In the global military arena, most countries have an elite unit of Special Forces that represent the ultimate military warrior trained and forged with an indomitable will.

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