Category Archives: teaching profession

Felicitating English among Novices Through Literature

Sachitra Mahendra, in Daily News, 12 September 2017, where the title reads “Courage that Counts”

They wanted to speak English. Some of them could deliver well. But most of them could not, sadly. For them all – the newly chosen batch of undergraduates – the university offers a course with the English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU). But then these undergraduates were not interested in attending the course either. They were still required to pass the ELTU exam to be qualified for the degree completion. However excellent they may have scored in other subjects, they would not obtain the certificate without the ELTU green light. The fault is not theirs, according to Madhubhashini Disanayaka Ratnayake, who was the ELTU Head attached to the University of Sri Jayawardanapura.

 Pictures by Wasitha Patabendige

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Dr. Anupa Herath and his Breakthrough Invention in Intubation

Kumudini Hettiarachchi, in Sunday Times, 18 June 2017, an article entitled “Lankan doctor’s life-saving intubation invention wins gold”

It is not an easy task — and as he assisted many an anaesthetist to ‘intubate’ numerous people, lying on the operating table before an operation or in emergencies, he wondered why it could not be made less challenging. As they wielded the laryngoscope, a metallic gadget with a handle and a blade, to carry out endotracheal intubation, the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital’s Senior Registrar in Anaesthesia, Dr. Anupa Herath, allowed his inventive mind to dwell on it.

Dr. Anupa Herath performing intubation with his invention – the Video-Laryngoscope with Extended Functions. Pix by Anurada Bandara

Going beyond the call of duty which is to assist in intubation and keep the vitals of the patient under general anaesthesia at the required levels, Dr. Herath has now come up with a ‘Video-Laryngoscope with Extended Functions’ which can be handled easily, to international and local commendation. Continue reading

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Jane Russell on Sri Lankan Political History in Debate with Kumarasingham’s Readings

From London the historian and scholar  Jane Russell has entered an extensive set of comments on Harshan Kumarasingham’s Heidelberg essay of 2013 –reprinted in Thuppahi in 2014. Given its length and Russell’s background (see below) it deserves wider exposure in the hope that debate will be promoted. I am therefore deleting its original location and posting it as a separate item.

 Russell  Kumarasingham

  1. HARSHAN KUMARASINGHAM”s “The Deceptive Tranquillity surrounding Sri Lankan Independence: ‘The Jewel of the East yet has its Flaws’,”  is an interesting paper with which I broadly agree, despite a tendency by the author to sacrifice judgement in favour of rhetoric. However, Dr. Harshan Kumarasingham has gone for the elegant historical narrative rather than seeking to explore and analyse some of the more nuanced, underlying factors that may help to understand the spiralling of Ceylon, cited by the British as ‘ the Premier Crown Colony” at independence in 1947, into Sri Lanka, characterised by the west at the turn of the 21st century as a terrorist-riven semi-failed state. I hope the following will help to redress this.

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Revisiting the Sins of Leslie Gunawardana (Part lll)

 

 Darshanie Ratnawalli. Q & A from  Saturday, 21 March 2015 … with emphasis by highlighting being  impositions by the Editor, Thuppahi

Professor KNO Dharmadasa, the present Editor in Chief of the Sinhala Encyclopedia goes down in history as mounting to date, the only direct, authoritative academic challenge to Professor Leslie Gunawardana, an ancient period historian of Sri Lanka who became a darling of certain social anthropological circuits through his “The People of the Lion: The Sinhala Identity and Ideology in History and Historiography”– (1979) and “Historiography In a Time of Ethnic Conflict, Construction of the Past in Contemporary Sri Lanka”– (1995). This is the third and last installment of Prof. K.N.O’s conversation with Darshanie Ratnawalli continued from 08 March, 2015.    

 

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The Historian’s Craft via Lakshman Perera’s Deciphering of Lanka’s Ancient Inscriptions

Sudharshan Seneviratne, reviewing Lakshman S. Perera: The Institutions of Ancient Ceylon from Inscriptions, (from 3rd Century BC to 830 AD) Volume I ….. with Introduction and supplementary notes by Sirima Kiribamunne and Piyatissa Senanayake, ICES, Kandy 2001, … 322 pages … reviewed in http://www.infolanka.com/org/srilanka/cult/45.htm

 

The Antecedents: My first encounter with the historian was in 1974 when I visited the University library at Peradeniya as a postgraduate student. It was never a formal introduction – not even a personal meeting. Yet, it was close enough for me to admire the man and his work. The silent space afforded by the Ceylon Room at Peradeniya was ideally suited for a dialogue with the past. I reached out to the past through the volumes of a doctoral thesis – so immaculately completed a year before I was born! Page after page three volumes of information unfolded a dimension hitherto less known in the history of Sri Lanka. This study I thought, will always remain as a testimony to the ‘historian’s craft’ (apologies to Marc Bloch) so purposefully executed by a scholar with a sober perception to the study of history. Continue reading

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Vale Jim Gair, Sinhala Enthusiast, Linguist Extraordinary

A Valedictory in American Academia

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James Wells Gair, Ph.D. ’63, professor emeritus of linguistics who throughout a long and distinguished career produced groundbreaking work on South Asian languages and their relation to other languages, died Dec. 10 in Ithaca. He was 88.“Jim Gair was in many ways the paradigmatic Cornell linguist,” said John Whitman, chair and professor of linguistics. “He had a language passion for Sinhala, the language of Sri Lanka, and he threw himself entirely into it, teaching the language, writing textbooks for its learners, and analyzing both the colloquial language and its classical texts.

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The Rajasingams and Their Profound Legacies

Rajan Hoole, being the text of speech delivered at Trimmer Hall, Jaffna, 22 September 2016… and reproduced in the Daily News with the title “The Rajasingam Legacy: A Quest for Quality”

  rajasinghamsin1990parentsofdrrajani aaa-rajasingambavinck-rajasingham

After nightfall on 21st September 1989, Rajasingam Master called on his bicycle at my mother’s home quite unexpectedly and delivered his pithy message, “Rajini has been shot.” His voice showed no evident emotion. After a brief exchange of words, he turned back. He was stoic, incorruptible, who lived by his strong sense of duty. Master, his wife MahilaAcca, and their daughters, Nirmala, Rajini, Sumathy and Vasuki were familiar to us from childhood days in the St. James’ Church choir. Had Master been more ambitious during his university days, he would have left his mark as an outstanding mathematician in our university. What he did as a school master at Hartley and Jaffna College was no less important. His zeal for catching hold of students who seemed to be in need of inspiration and getting them to work Mathematics problems remained a passion with him to the end of his life.  rajani-t Rajani Thiranagama nee Rajasingam

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