Category Archives: modernity & modernization

The VVT Thonies and Their Mastery of the Oceans Past

Somasiri Devendra, in Island, 13 July 2019, with this title “VVT, Tahiti, and the ghost of the Bounty. The ship from Valvettithurai which sailed the seven seas” and this dedication “Dedicated to the late Mr. Kumaraswamy of Oxonia Institute, Colombo, proud son of Valvettithurai, with whom I was to co-author a work on our northern nautical culture. On him, be Peace.”

article_imageA traditional Thoni showing the backward-coiling Surul and nailed-on occulus.

The story begins …

In 1937 an adventurous ‘Yankee’ sailed a small yacht round the world – the smallest to do so, at that time – stopping awhile in Ceylon. After many adventures, he returned to Ceylon in search of a Jaffna-built ship whose elegant lines had caught his eye. He found her, bought and refitted her in Colombo and sailed for Boston, with an all-Jaffna crew. Boston was as overwhelmed by the vision of this ‘ghost’ of the legendary Bounty, as by its dusky crew and of the voyage itself. But a couple of months later she was sailed again, this time with an all-American delivery crew, to Tahiti. And then, like the Bounty, she disappears.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under arab regimes, centre-periphery relations, commoditification, cultural transmission, economic processes, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, modernity & modernization, Portuguese in Indian Ocean, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, unusual people, world events & processes

Profound & ‘Coloured’ Insights into Our Environmental Degradation

Prasad Abu Bakr, in Sunday Observer, 7 July 2019, …. http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2019/07/07/art/book-review-slow-cooked-thoughts

This is a ‘must-read’ book for those who lived during that glorious past, which is quietly slipping out of our grasp. It is also one for the next generation, who live in a world of make-believe – thinking that demolition of that glorious past and the pristine environment that was there, in the name of ‘development’ is aimed at making the world a better place to live in.

In her Foreword, Jill Macdonald refers to Slow-cooked Thoughts as a compelling compilation of writings both occasional and various, linked by a common motif of the writer’s passionate and unwavering belief of what constitutes a right relationship with the world around us.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, art & allure bewitching, commoditification, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, environmental degradation, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, human rights, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, meditations, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, transport and communications, travelogue, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

The De Lanerolles and Sri Lanka

Item in Sunday Times, 7 July 2019, with this title

“Tale of a French ambassador in the time of the Kandyan Kingdom

Author Yasmin Rajapakse

The story of the ambassador from the French imperial court who became a naturalized subject in Kandy, producing progeny who were to make their mark on the island’s history, is an adventure told against the backdrop of an Indian Ocean made dark and stormy with colonial battles and a mountain kingdom at its edge. “The Odyssey and Living Legacy of Monsieur de La Nérolle, The French Lieutenant of the Expedition Escadre de Perse to Ceylon in 1672” by Yasmin Rajapakse was launched last month in the presence of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Eric Levertu, Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, Kandyan kingdom, landscape wondrous, life stories, military strategy, modernity & modernization, power politics, sri lankan society, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

Canadian Cha-Cha-Cha: Genocide Claims

Chandre Dharmawardana, in Colombo Telegraph, 5 July 2019, where the title “Two Alleged Genocides – And Canada’s Claimed Support For Conflict Prevention In Sri Lanka”

David McKinnon, Canada’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka  has stated, on Canada’s National Day  that  “Canada would continue to support conflict prevention efforts in Sri Lanka, where  it has been seen how hate speech and media can entrench communal divisions”.  Meanwhile back in Canada, successive Canadian governments have failed to understand how this very “hate speech” is being entrenched in Canadian municipal discourse and even in parliamentary proceedings by militant diaspora groups. They wish to replay the old ethnic animosities of their homeland  in Canada too.

fervent demonstrations in Toronto mounted by Canadian Tamils in 2009 … presaging recent claims

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under accountability, asylum-seekers, communal relations, disparagement, doctoring evidence, economic processes, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, immigration, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, press freedom, propaganda, Rajapaksa regime, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, Sri Lankan scoiety, Tamil migration, tamil refugees, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, vengeance, war reportage, world events & processes, zealotry

Andrew Fidel Fernando’s Encounters and Travels in Sri Lanka

 Arjuna Ranawana reviews “Upon a Sleepless Isle” by Andrew Fidel Fernando

Fans of Andrew Fidel Fernando will be surprised, and those who are new to his writings, delighted. The well-known Cricket writer, a returnee to Sri Lanka, has written a book, “Upon a Sleepless Isle,” in which he travels through the country, crisscrossing the island on buses, tuk-tuks, scooters and bikes. In doing so he reveals a deep love for this land and its peoples as well as its most exasperating idiosyncrasies.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under architects & architecture, art & allure bewitching, citizen journalism, cricket for amity, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, modernity & modernization, patriotism, photography, pilgrimages, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, tourism, transport and communications, unusual people, working class conditions, world events & processes

A Review of the Book BUDDHISM TRANSFORMED

Premkumara De Silva,** in The Midweek Review of The Island, 17 May 2005, where the title runs ” Anthropology of ‘Sinhala Buddhism’ “

The disciplinary identification of “Buddhism” in Sri Lanka as an anthropological object began in the late 1950s as part of a growing field of “peasant” or village studies in South and Southeast Asian societies. In Sri Lanka, the work of Gananath Obeyesekere, Edmond Leach, Michael Ames, and Nur Yalman is central to this inaugural moment. These anthropologists have identified the integration of the diverse beliefs and practices of Sinhala Buddhists within a religious worldview that is in accordance with fundamental Theravada Buddhist teachings. Within this academic exercise Obeyesekere insisted on the term “Sinhalese Buddhism” to convey the idea of full variety of religious practice, popular and esoteric, in Sri Lankan Buddhism. He argues that Sinhala Buddhism should be seen as “a single religious tradition”, and not as composed of separate “layers” to be analysed in isolation from each other.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under British colonialism, Buddhism, communal relations, cultural transmission, education, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian religions, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, language policies, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, religiosity, sri lankan society, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Washington’s Arm-Twisting via Trade exposed by Daya Gamage

Daya Gamage, in Asian Tribune, 14 June 2019, where the title is “”GSP as a ‘bait’, Pompeo in Sri Lanka to push the (SOFA) military deal”

Washington – quite obviously to fulfil one of its foreign policy objectives in the Indo-Pacific Region – is sending a high-level delegation next week to Sri Lanka to discuss the ‘continuation’ of the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) with the government when the Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is scheduled to visit Colombo in the following week on June 27 at a time Sri Lanka has expressed some skepticism of several (highly questionable) terms of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) the US wants Sri Lanka to accept.

Mike Pompeo 70th incumbent Secretary of State

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, centre-periphery relations, economic processes, export issues, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, life stories, modernity & modernization, power politics, Sri Lankan scoiety, transport and communications, world events & processes