Category Archives: language policies

Tamil Demonstrations and Thommo’s Thunderbolts: Sri Lanka at Kennington Oval at the 1975 World Cup

Michael Roberts

While some of these striking photographs have been presented before in Cricketique or in Thuppahi, they have not been assembled under one roof before. They are significant both for political and cricketing reasons.  

In cricketing terms we had a talented troupe of players back home so that the final choice of fourteen left very competent players out of scene. The preparations were quite remarkable. The larger pool of players was sent to Nuwara Eliya in order to acclimatize themselves while practicing at Radalla.

Standing left-to-right: David Heyn, Roy Dias, Sarath Fernando, Neil Perera (Asst Manager), Raja Wickremasinhe (Fitness Trainer( and KMT Perera (Manager)  Squatting left-to right: Duleep Mendis, Bandula Warnapura jit deSilva, Anura Ranasinghe, Lalith Kaluperuma, Dennis Chanmugam, DS de Silva, Ranjit Fernando, Tony Opatha, Anura Tennekoon, HSM Pieris ….. Missing because traveling to Nuwara Eliya by car:  Michael Tissera and Sunil Wettimuny

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1948-2019: Intertwined Trajectories summed up …. Sri Lanka and Personnel

  Michel Nugawela, in Daily Financial Times,  4 February 2019

In search of a story: Professor Simon Anholt, who coined the term ‘nation brand’, once asked, “If the hand of God should accidentally slip on the celestial keyboard tomorrow and hit delete and Britain went, who would notice and why?”  I would like to ask the same question of Sri Lanka. After all, good leadership is largely about providing people with a meaningful narrative – a cohesive story that weaves together the significant characters and events of a community or country into a plot that articulates who they are, and who they strive to be.

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Pathos. Comedy. Revelation. President Sirisena’s Sermon to a ‘Captive’ Cabinet

Michael Roberts

Having been forced to accept an UNP government by a Supreme Court decision in December 2018 after he had attempted to ditch them in a coup from above in late October, President Maithripala Sirisena utilised the opportunity provided by the swearing in of a new UNP Cabinet under Ranil Wickremasinghe on 16th December 2018 to deliver a sermon to a captive audience of ‘enemies’ who were, ironically, about to enjoy the fruits of victory and destined to assume state power.[1] Sirisena’s Address was delivered in Sinhala and is marked by pathos, recrimination and selective biographical tales from the past that illuminate aspects of Sri Lankan politics.

 

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The Suntharalingam Family’s Journey: Sri Lanka to Australia

Matthew Westwood, in The Weekend Australian Review5-6 January 2019, where the title is  “Counting and Cracking: a family’s journey” … with some snaps and a partial bibliography added by The Editor, Thuppahi

In the complicated and at times bitterly divided history of Sri Lanka in the 20th century, one man’s story may be emblematic of the nation’s changing fortunes. C. Suntharalingam was born in 1895 into a Tamil family, the son of a poor farmer. The boy was a whiz at maths. Sent to a boarding school in Jaffna, he went on to study at the universities of London and Oxford.

Chellappah Suntharalingam

Belvoir’s Eamon Flack  and playwright S. Shakthidaran –Pic Hollie adams

Like other educated Tamils he sought “trousered employment” in the colonial public service. He was called to the bar to practise law and later entered politics, serving a term as minister for trade and commerce in what was then the colonial Ceylonese government. He built a beautiful house in the heart of Colombo on a street with views down to the ocean, and held court on the porch where he discussed politics and affairs of the day. Continue reading

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Internet Assassins: Deciphering Their World

 Michael Roberts

On different occasions friends have indicated that I should not bother to address personalized and vituperative attacks. In this instance I am disregarding this well-meant advice. For one the instances I am addressing are those arising from an essay in Colombo Telegraph which was inspired by Bill Deutrom’s observation that my analysis in another article “[would] not convince people who have already made up their mind based on emotion, ethnicity or with a hatred for Rajapaksa.”

Several of the comments provide ample evidence for Bill’s summing up. But we can decipher them more closely to read the lines of thought driving some of these individuals (mostly guys). That is my inquiry here – deciphering hardcore prejudice in what is necessarily a conjectural manner. I stress that I am addressing the Colombo Telegraph comments that reached the world up to 16th December (Dayan Jayatilleka’s note being the last embraced — one not pertinent to this essay).[1]

 

Vanderpoorten  Sankaralingam

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Anne Abayasekara’s Sturdy Witness to Our Troubled Times

Suvendrini Kanagasabai Perera, in Island, 26 December 2018, where the title reads In the thick of it: Anne Abayasekara, Unfaltering Witness. Review of book – ‘Telling It Like It Is’emphasis via highlights below being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

Reflecting on her life at an address to the Rotary Club in 2012, Anne Abayasekara made a telling comparison between the life of the creative writer and what she described as her own “enduring love affair with journalism”: “The distinctive feature about journalism … is that in writing for newspapers, you don’t sit in solitude, but have to be out on the street, in the thick of people and events.”

Anne Abayasekara spent over 65 years in the thick of it, thoroughly enmeshed in a world she relished and clearly loved, but nonetheless viewed with great clarity. Her extraordinary career spans Independence in 1948 (she attended the festivities as a young reporter for the fashion pages), the three grim decades of the war and the unpromising peace that has succeeded it. Through it all, she held up a mirror to the society she loved, bearing witness to its atrocities and most egregious failures, as to its small acts of grace and moments of beauty. This carefully distilled selection of her writings provides an important snapshot of this period. At the same time, emerging from its pages is a picture of the writer herself: a spirited, large-hearted, deeply humane woman, characterised, above all, by a rare, sustained courage. Continue reading

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De facto sovereignty and public authority in ‘Tigerland’: governance practices and symbolism

Niels Terpstra & Georg Frerks, in Modern Asian Studies, Vol 52, No 3, Special Issue, May 2018, pp 1001-42 … Article entitled   “Governance practices and symbolism: ‘de facto’ sovereignty and public authority in ‘Tigerland’.”…. SEE https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/modern-asian-studies/article/governance-practices-and-symbolism-de-facto-sovereignty-and-public-authority-in-tigerland/C8984207208087BF88EB93882D480FE3

Abstract: This article focuses on how the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) insurgency performed de facto sovereignty and public authority in Northeastern Sri Lanka. It is situated within the wider academic debate on governance by state and non-state actors. We venture to unravel the complex linkages between the LTTE’s governance practices and legitimation strategies by looking at narratives, performances, and inscriptions. While monopolizing the justice and policing sectors, in other sectors the LTTE operated pragmatically in conjunction with the state. The organization tried to generate and sustain public authority and legitimacy through a variety of violent and non-violent practices and symbols. It ‘mimicked’ statehood by deploying, among others, policing, uniforms, ceremonies, nationalist songs, commemorations of combatants, and the media. This not only consolidated its grip on the Northeast, but also engineered a level of support and compliance. We conclude that the LTTE’s governance included practices that were created and carried out independently from the Sri Lankan state, while others took shape within a pre-existing political order and service provision by the state. The article elucidates the LTTE’s mimicry of the state, as well as the operation of parallel structures and hybrid forms of state-LTTE collaboration. This facilitates a nuanced understanding of rebel governance beyond a simple state versus non-state binary. Continue reading

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