Category Archives: modernity & modernization

Sam Samarasinghe’s Postscript to the Raging Debate in Colombo Telegraph on His Previous Essay

 Sam Samarasinghe aka Stanley WR de Samarasinghe, with this NOTE in Colombo Telegraph: Some of you may have read my article titled “A Way Out of the Crisis to Save Sri Lanka’s Democracy” that appeared in the Colombo Telegraph on December 7th. It elicited a fairly significant response. The format of Colombo Telegraph allows for dialogue and discussion of a topic. Making use of that I prepared a response partly to answer some issues and questions that some of the correspondents raised. Colombo Telegraph has published my response. …. A Response presented here with highlighting emphases imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

I am thankful to all those who contributed to the dialogue following my article published in the Colombo Telegraph on December 07. I will not attempt to respond to individual comments. But taken in its totality the discussion raises some important issues relating to governance in Sri Lanka in the context of the present crisis.

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Vibrant Lifeways in Sri Lanka via Its Literary Figures and Places

Uma Mahadevan Dasgupta  in The Hindu, 8 December 2018,  where the title is “In Sri Lanka, Life imitates Art”

As we travel through Sri Lanka, its strong literary voices come crashing in like waves, and life seems to imitate art

I sit in the huge living room of the old governor’s home in Jaffna. The walls, painted… a warm rose-red, stretch awesome distances away to my left, to my right and up towards a white ceiling. When the Dutch first built this house egg white was used to paint the walls. The doors are twenty feet high, as if awaiting the day when a family of acrobats will walk from room to room, sideways, without dismantling themselves from each other’s shoulders. —Running in the Family, Michael Ondaatje

 Hectic colours: Second Cross Street Pettah 

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Rescuing Sri Lanka’s Ailing Economy: Pathways Now

W. A. Wijewardena,* delivering the Professor H A de S Gunasekara Memorial Oration 2018 — entitled “Sri Lanka’s Economy at a Crossroads: The Way to Rescue the Ailing Economy” …. also available at http://www.ft.lk/columns/Sri-Lanka-s-economy-at-crossroads–The-1972-76-Five-Year-Plan-and-its-diagnosis-of-economic-ailments/4-668469

ABSTRACT: Sri Lanka is at a crossroads today because it is snared in what is known as the middle income trap. It was easy for Sri Lanka to move up from a low income country to a lower middle income country by using its abundantly available cheap labour resources. However, moving up further to an upper middle income country was challenging since the country had to spend about 24 years in the lower middle income country category before making a breakout. Unless it attains an economic growth rate of about 9% per annum in the next 15 year period, it is unlikely that it will be able to beat the middle income trap. The way to do so is to produce for a market bigger than the market in Sri Lanka and supply goods that are demanded by that market. It requires the country to convert its production system from a simple technology based one to a complex technology one and join the global production sharing network to keep its presence in the market. The flipside is that these are challenging targets but not impossible since there are many countries that have done so with appropriate investment in science and technology leading to research, development and marketing.

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Wickrema Weerasooriya leaves Our World

Rohan Pethiyagoda, Daily News. 6 December 2018, where the title is “Wickrema Bida Adieu

Sri Lanka is the poorer due to the passing away last Tuesday of Dr Wickrema Sena Weerasooria. There were so many aspects to his life, and he was so many things to so many people, that it is difficult to know where to begin. Most Sri Lankans who can yet recall the J.R.Jayewardene presidency remember Wickrema as the all-powerful Secretary to the Ministry of Plan Implementation, one of the few ministries of which the President was the subject minister.

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Sunil Vijayapala’s Terse Comments on the Crisis in Lanka & the Samarasinghe Article

Sunil Vijayapala, in Email Memo to The Editor, Thuppahi …. partly a response to the article which SWR de Samarasinghe presented in three outlets including Thuppahi

A= There is no solution other than going for a general election, which might materialise.

B = Tourism is not a solid dependable income, it depends on so many factors – a single bomb going off in Colombo is all that takes to reverse the flow.  Besides it’s all cheap shit arriving here – lower end tourists – hardly a good investment.

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The Grim Prospects Sri Lanka Faces Today

SWR de  “Sam” Samarasinghe, Island, 3 December 2018, where the title reads  The Crisis in Governance: Likely Economic Consequences and the End Game” ….. Also presented in Colombo Telegraph, https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-crisis-in-governance-likely-economic-consequences-the-end-game/

The crisis of governance that Sri Lanka is currently facing is unprecedented in post-war Sri Lankan politics. Two individuals claiming to be prime minister and one major party boycotting parliament illustrate the point. There is no need to recount in detail the events of the past five weeks that are publicly known. The purpose of this article is to note some of the serious implications of this crisis for the economy of the country and to stress the importance of resolving the crisis in a manner that would reverse these adverse trends.

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How Sri Lanka missed the Chinese Path to the Cutting-Edge in Today’s World

G. Usvatte-aratchi, Sunday Island, 2 December 2018, where the title is “Sinhala and Tamil as languages of instruction and administration”

There have been several letters to the Editor in The Island, on these themes. I want to correct some mistakes that recurred in these interventions and present a perspective that has not been presented so far.

Solomon Bandaranaike had little to do with the language of instruction in school. The credit goes to J.R. Jayewardene and V. Nallliah who moved a resolution in the State Council in 1943 that the language of instruction in schools shall be Sinhala and Tamil. The resolution was carried. I read somewhere that the moving spirit for the initiative came from Jayantha Weerasekera, who was an official in the Sinhala Maha Sabha, of which at that time Jayewardene was a (the?) leader. Jayantha Weeraekere was a close friend and collaborator of Kumaratunga Munidasa, a powerful voice for Sinhala language. The Resolution was not acted upon until January in 1947.

  Jayantha Weerasekera  CWW Kannagara

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