Category Archives: transport and communications

Aussie News-Editor wants China kept out of the Pacific

Paul Maley, in The Australian,18 June 2018, where the title is China can’t be allowed to expand it’s influence in Pacific”

Australia cannot make the same mistakes in the Pacific that it made in the South China Sea, where Beijing militarised the area quickly and without serious challenge. China was successful because it moved incrementally and with a finely judged sense of risk. Sand was dredged, islands were created, runways were built, and, lastly, weapon systems were deployed. Individually none of these measures warranted much more than mild protest, but collectively they changed the strategic balance in the region.

Beijing has militarised a lot of the South China Sea

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under australian media, authoritarian regimes, China and Chinese influences, military strategy, power politics, security, transport and communications, world events & processes

SBD de Silva: Marxist Scholar Extraordinary … Sharp Mind, Simple Life-Style

Gamini Seneviratne,  courtesy of The Island, 18 June 2018

SB who passed away last week at the age of 93 was undoubtedly the foremost analyst we have had of what his principal work defined as “The Political Economy of Underdevelopment”.  In that work, first published in 1982, as the blurb puts it, Dr. de Silva dealt with the theory of underdevelopment as he attempted a synthesis between the internal and external aspects of underdevelopment. In the Marxist tradition he focused on the impact of the external on the internal as the dominant reality.

Front Cover
RoutledgeMay 23, 2012 – Business & Economics – 646 pages

First published in 1982, this reissue deals with the theory of underdevelopment, as Dr. de Silva attempts a synthesis between the internal and external aspects of underdevelopment and, in the Marxist tradition, focuses on the impact of the external on the internal as the dominant reality.Viewing underdevelopment as a problem in the non-transformation to capitalism, this analysis is in terms of the character of the dominant capital and of the dominant classes. Underdevelopment thus encompasses the ‘traditional’ peasant economy and also the export sector where the ‘modernizing’ influence of colonialism was felt. The book finally considers how the contemporary internationalization of capital affected the economies of the Third World.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under British colonialism, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, export issues, historical interpretation, island economy, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, population, power politics, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, transport and communications, unusual people, working class conditions, world events & processes

Protecting Sri Lankan Rights: The Modern Saga of Shipwreck “Avondster”

Somasiri Devendra, in Island, 13 June 2018, where the title is “Under the Waters of Galle:  A Prelude to the “Avondster’ Project”

The curtain rises: One morning in 2002 I received a call from the Additional Director General, Central Cultural Fund (CCF), Mr. H. D. S. Hettipathirana, to discuss a glitch in the Avondster project which was due to get off the ground. I was, then, wearing several hats: Consultant (to the CCF) and Special Advisor (to the Director-General, Archaeology) on Maritime Archaeology; and member of the Advisory Committee to the Ministry. I was also a member of ICUCH (the ICOMOS International Committee on the Underwater Cultural Heritage) and had been involved in the formulation of both the ICOMOS Charter and the UNESCO International Convention on the Underwater Cultural Heritage. Neither I – nor anyone else in the country – had had any maritime archaeological training: I was the proverbial one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind! But, in all these honorary positions I strove to balance national and international interests.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, centre-periphery relations, economic processes, foreign policy, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, security, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, travelogue, world events & processes

Caste Relations over Time: Challenging Frank Conlon’s Reading of My Work on the Karava

CONTEXT

In the academic circuit most books are sent to reviewers by journals in the field of study encompassed by the book. My work on Caste Conflict and Elite Formation: The Rise of a Karāva Elite in Sri Lanka, 1500-1931 published by the Cambridge University Press in 1982 was sent to Frank Conlon, a historian at the University of Washington by the Journal of Asian Studies. His review appeared in 1985. It was, and remains, a serious reading that is not informed by any personal animus, while being obviously guided by his own work on caste interaction in India.

 

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under British colonialism, caste issues, commoditification, cultural transmission, discrimination, economic processes, education, governance, historical interpretation, island economy, land policies, landscape wondrous, life stories, modernity & modernization, sri lankan society, transport and communications, unusual people, working class conditions, world events & processes

Sri Lanka as Hub in China’s Expanding Silk Road Outreach

Mirror News Item 19 May 2019, with title  “China claims Sri Lanka hub in Silk Road strategy””

China hinted Sri Lanka’s growing importance in its ambitious US$500 billion One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative claiming Sri Lanka is a ‘hub’ in its OBOR strategy.  Sri Lanka meanwhile stressed of its own role in OBOR, and revealed that the Colombo Port City project despite the 25-year long timeline, is ‘progressing at great speed’.

Minister Bathiudeen (right) is joined by Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region’s (GZAR) Director of Department of Commerce  Diao Weihong (second from left) at the event. Pic by Kithsiri de Mel

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, China and Chinese influences, economic processes, export issues, foreign policy, island economy, landscape wondrous, security, sri lankan society, transport and communications, world events & processes

KM de Silva’s Short History of Lanka reviewed critically by Charles Sarvan

Charles Sarvan aka Ponnadurai, in Colombo Telegraphreviewing K. M de Silva’s The Island Story: A Short History of Sri Lanka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka, 2017

EPIGRAPH: “Sri Lanka in the first few centuries after the early settlement was a multi-racial, multi-ethnic society: a conception which emphasises harmony and a spirit of live and let live” (K. M. de Silva, op. cit., page 13)

It’s said that fools rush in where the wise fear even to walk. I tiptoe hesitantly, conscious that I am no historian (my discipline was Literature) while the author is perhaps the most eminent of Sri Lankan historians writing in English. The hope is that what I write will be taken as a layman’s perspective and contribution to discussion. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, British colonialism, British imperialism, communal relations, cultural transmission, disparagement, Eelam, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, island economy, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, modernity & modernization, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, riots and pogroms, security, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, transport and communications, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes

The Golden Age of Motor Cars in Ceylon

Hugh Karunanayake, courtesy of The CEYLANKAN

My previous piece on the “Early Years of Motoring in Ceylon” ( The Ceylankan  # 60 Nov 2012)  evoked a level of  interest  which has since prodded me on  to reflect  on motoring in more recent times. The decade of the 1950s – mid twentieth century Ceylon, could verily be described as the “golden age” of motoring.  The early 1950s especially were years  when the country  enjoyed the “Korean boom”;  export commodities mainly  rubber were fetching record  prices, income tax relatively low, all  leading to  consumption going on at a gallop. There were no national investment projects of note to capture  the surplus that was generated, and most  of the money that flowed in, went towards conspicuous  consumption largely in the purchase of luxury goods such as automobiles.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under commoditification, cultural transmission, economic processes, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, modernity & modernization, sri lankan society, transport and communications, Uncategorized, unusual people