Category Archives: transport and communications

Escaping to Sri Lanka on Holiday

Mal Chenu in Sunday Mail, 15 April 2018 ….. where the title runs “Why Aussies love Sri Lanka Right Now”

Venetian adventurer Marco Polo described Sri Lanka as “the finest island of its size in all the world”. Sure, that was in the 13th century and young Marco hadn’t seen Tasmania but the myriad wonders of this tropical nouveau-paradise are as varied and exotic as the scents in the spice gardens of Matale and Kegalle. In short, Sri Lanka is a potpourri of unpredictable pleasures. Once a flyover location, eschewed by travellers for years because of civil war, Sri Lanka is fast emerging from its travails, posting sharp rises in tourism since the 26-year conflict ended in 2009.

Sigiriya is a World Heritage site

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Gregory Peck in “Purple Plain” in Sri Lanka …. and Elsewhere

ITEM in Thinkworth  = https://thinkworth.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/when-gregory-peck-had-flu-in-sri-lanka-during-purple-rain/

Gregory Peck’s flu was cured by ginger-coriander tea when filming in Ceylon (Original Title)

TW has embedded a 7+minute Utube clip of the film “Purple Rain” shot in Sri Lanka …. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjOmbJK_4-k

http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-the-purple-plain-1954-gfdtwo-cities-film-with-gregory-peck-19484850.html from 

The ‘Spotlight’ column returns after a lengthy interval. The focus this time is on American actor Gregory Peck. There is no particular reason other than nostalgia for writing about this former Hollywood idol at this time. Born in 1916, Peck passed away in 2003. So this year 2015 does not mark any significant anniversary in his life or of his death. Continue reading

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Saving Tamil Civilians by Sea: More on the ICRC-cum-SL Navy Operations: Admiral Travis Sinniah Speaks

Michael Roberts

I sent my article “Gash Files III” to Admiral (Retired) Travis Sinniah as soon as it was placed on web and was able to conduct an extended Skype-Chat with him on 12th April.[1] He had no major quarrels with the gist of that article. However, he stressed that the whole exercise was an extremely difficult one – involving difficulties that words cannot quite capture.

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The Roots of Kandyan Dancing

DBT Kappagoda, in Daily News, 4 April 2018, where the title reads thus How Kandyan dancing began”

Kandyan dancing is popularly known as Udarata Natum derived its name from the traditional dance forms peculiar to the central region of Sri Lanka. The origin of Kandyan dancing can be traced back to the time of the Nayakkar rulers who ascended the throne of the Kandyan Kingdom 300 years ago.

In Kandyan dancing Vannam forms as a special  feature. In Tamil and Telegu Vannam means a description. When the dancer performs he recites the Vannama and according to the description when he has recited and begins to dance displaying a Tandava style of dancing. The dancing is done in a rigorous way while describing the movement of the cobra (Naiyandi), elephant (Gajaga), peacock (Monera), eagle (Ukussa) showing the onlookers a description of the animal. In the course of the recitation, adoration to the Buddha and the great qualities he had possessed is highlighted.

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The History of Caste in South Asia via a Work on the Rise of the Karava in Ceylon

Susan Bayly  in 1983, reviewing  Caste Conflict and Elite Formation: The Rise of a Karava Elite in Sri Lanka, 1500-1931 by Michael Roberts Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1982.

The literature on the south Asian caste system is vast and contentious and the current war of words shows no sign of abating. This book conforms to current trends both in focusing on the experience of a single caste group under colonial rule, and also in adopting a polemical tone towards other historians. Roberts’ subject is the Karava population of Sri Lanka and his first aim is to explain why this group of poor fishermen and artisans managed to throw up a disproportionately large elite of businessmen, lawyers and other western-educated professional men by the end of the nineteenth-century. The discussion is set against the background of works on comparable Asian business communities such as the Marwaris and Parsis. An important theme, then, is the relationship between individual enterprise and the corporate structure of caste: did the Karava magnate class emerge because of, or in spite of, their roots in a hierarchical caste order? Continue reading

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Is there a Chinese Dragon Looming over Sri Lanka ?

 in Hambantota and in The Guardian, 26 March 2018, with this titleThe biggest game changer in 100 years’: Chinese money gushes into Sri Lanka,” … with highlights being the imposition of  The  Editor, Thuppahi

Little disturbs the serenity of Guan Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion, as her statue sits in contemplation at the centre of Mattala Rajapaksa international airport. The last flight from the airport departed at 7.50am. The next is scheduled for 7.50am tomorrow. In the meantime, check-in counters are empty, car rental desks deserted, and the only sign of life a handful of staff laughing around an information desk who disperse when a visitor arrives.

Mattala Rakapaksa airport, built with Chinese loans, handles 50,000 passengers a year, a fraction of its capacity of 1 million. Photograph: Michael Safi

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Introducing Prophetic Indictments by Mervyn De Silva

Noel Ranjith

Regular readers of “The Island” newspaper over the twenty year period from the 1980’s will remember the almost weekly columns written by Dr. Mervyn D. De Silva, who was in those years a Deputy Director of the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, followed by being appointed as the Director of the Ministry of Plan Implementation, and later becoming a Member of Parliament through the National List. His most profuse and provocative period was during the tenures of four Presidents from Mr. J. R. Jayawardene to Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. His writings covered a wide range of public and national concerns and took their cue from what the controversial American journalist I.F. Stone believed was the purpose of good journalism  –to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”.

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