Category Archives: Presidential elections

Sri Lanka in Limbo … A Tortoise on a Fence Post

Citizen Silva, in Sunday Times, 16 June 2019, where the title is “The Tortoise on the Fence Post”

While indulging in my usual musings this weekend, pondering over the happenings in our land over the past few weeks, I was reminded about the story told to me by one of my friends a few months ago.

“I say Silva” he began “do you know that our president’s position these days is just like that of the famous tortoise on the fence post?”

I looked at him quizzically. “What tortoise? I cannot remember you telling me that particular story of yours. Remind me – I am all ears.”

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In Honour of Professor Kingsley M. de Silva: Scholarly Excellence

Gerald H Peiris. Island, 3 April 2018,where the title is  “The Pursuit of Scholarly Excellence: Professor Kingsley M. de Silva’s Impact on University Education”

“Honour whom honour is due” (Epistle to the Romans, Holy Bible)

Professor Kingsley de Silva resigned from the academic staff of the University of Peradeniya in 1995. That premature retirement must have been a painful termination of a cherished institutional link, made in the context of those in charge of university affairs at that time making it difficult for him to continue in university service without jeopardising his research commitments.

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Filed under cultural transmission, education, education policy, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, life stories, literary achievements, nationalism, patriotism, performance, politIcal discourse, Presidential elections, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, teaching profession, unusual people, world events & processes

Universal Suffrage in Ceylon and Lanka from 1931-81

Kingsley M de Silva’s edited collection of articles on Universal Suffrage … has been  a neglected work . As Sri Lanka struggles today and as many cast reviews on the island’s history perhaps this event in 1831 and its repercussions should receive more incisive attention from analysts. Apart from KM de Silva himself, the authors include RA Ariayaratne, CR De Silva, Tilaka Metthananda, Vijaya Samaraweera, SWR de Samarasinghe, Neelan Tiruchelvam and AJ Wilson …. by and large a Peradeniya University consortium.

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No Surprises with Sirisena. Challenging Mike Roberts

An Introductory Note from Michael Roberts

 Gerald Peiris and I were undergraduates at Ramanathan Hall Peradeniya in the late 1950s and met on occasions when we were pursuing postgrad studies in UK and I visited Cambridge. Thereafter we were colleagues in the Arts Faculty at Peradeniya University from 1966 to 1975. Quite vitally, we were active members of the Ceylon Studies Seminar. During those seminars and at times in private tête-à-tête over drinks the two of us occasionally engaged in discussions, sometimes with sharp disagreements on specific issues.

 

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A Rajapaksa Cloud looming over Lanka’s Democracy

Sam Samarasinghe aka SWR de A Samarasinghe of Tulane University, in Sunday Observer, 27 January 2019, where the title isGotabaya’s alternative vision challenges Sri Lanka’s democracy” …. with highlighting emphases in different colurs imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

Gotabaya Rajapaksa recently announced at a meeting of Viyath Maga, of which he is president that he was ready to contest the next Presidential Election that must be held this year.In his speech to the assembled professionals and business people he asserted that Sri Lanka must have national unity (jaathikathwaya) and rejected sectarian division (jaathiwaadaya). The Viyath Maga website makes all the right statements on good governance such as “steer the country in the correct path with accountability; inculcate democratic values…”, and so on. Rajapaksa also stressed the importance of solving ‘social problems’ focusing on poverty reduction. All of the above are desirable political goals for the country. They are also not new. The UNF in 2015, and earlier leaders, made similar promises that were largely ignored once in office.

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The Presidential Stakes in the Near Future in Sri Lanka

Sanjana Hattotuwa, Sunday Island, 20 January 2019 where the title is “Puppets, Pawns and Presidents”

Sirisena, Wickremesinghe, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, his brother Chamal and Karu Jayasuriya. The last week saw media frame prospective candidates for an office that the incumbent said, nay, swore on 9th January 2015, he would never seek re-election to and would be the last to occupy. Evidence of Sri Lanka’s sickeningly bankrupt political culture is again to be found in how, leaving aside unequivocal promises four years ago, even the catastrophic events of late 2018 and its entrenchment have not resulted in any meaningful measures to abolish the Executive Presidency. While the government continues bizarrely, blindly and blithely with business as usual, the names paraded as Presidential aspirants offer some interesting insights.

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The Political Struggle in Sri Lanka: Three Pugilists … Hattotuwa … Chandraprema … Philips

ONE. Sanjana Hattotuwa:  “Musical Chairs,” Island, 12 January 2019

The appointment of a new Army Chief of Staff. A fresh denial around the use of chemical weapons. The denunciation of a civil society protest against mainstream media supportive of the constitutional coup, not by members of the SLPP, but by those in the UNP and government. A photograph of a former President, the incumbent and the Prime Minister, comfortably seated next to each other, enjoying or at least at a musical show. Newspaper headlines and reports framing dire warnings by the former President, who true to form, relies on the capture of emotions over fact or principle. In just the second week of January, we are presented with the template for what the year ahead holds. It is not looking good, but despite the obvious anxiety, I continue to maintain, is counter-intuitively rather beneficial. The greatest contribution of the constitutional coup to conversations around the grasp of Sri Lanka’s democratic potential was to place in the open and very clearly, who stood for what and where. This endures.

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