Category Archives: transport and communications

Here, There and Almost Everywhere! Jaraa in Sri Lanka

frances-fFrances Ferdinands, in Sunday Island, 19 February 2017, where the authors’s chosen title is “Becuase I Care”

As a Sri-Lankan born Canadian Artist, I have had the privilege of spending time here in Sri Lanka within the last two years. From January – March 2015 I was here on a Canadian Government sponsored project geared towards exploring my artistic heritage and incorporating this experience into my own art practice. I was mentored in the traditional arts and crafts of Temple painting, and Beeralu Lacemaking. I recently returned in early January of this year to study the traditional craft of mask making. Continue reading

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Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, economic processes, governance, life stories, meditations, patriotism, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people

Baddaginnie in Victoria: Its Sinhala Name and its History

Thiru Arumugam, courtesy of The Ceylankan, vol 77, Jan 2017

Introduction:  Baddaginnie (hungry belly in Sinhala) is a small village in north-east Victoria, Australia, about 180 km from Melbourne. Its population was 465 persons in the 2011 Census. This article describes how it got its name, the early history of the place, and a brief biography of the Surveyor, J G W Wilmot who gave Baddaginnie its name.

baddaginnie-4Fig 4-– Baddaginnie High Street in 1905-Museum of Victoria Continue reading

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Elmo Jayawardena in Anguish for His Beloved Land

Elmo Jayawardena, in The Island, 30 January 2017, where the title is “Cry the Beloved Country”

elmo-11I have borrowed the title of this article from the heart-wrenching book by Alan Paton. He wrote about South Africa under the Apartheid regime in 1948. I write about what we face today in Sri Lanka amidst the trumpets that blow heralding progress.

The South African problem was immense and tore the very soul of a country divided by the colour of a man’s skin. It was hideous, to say the least, nothing but modern-day slavery where basic human rights were denied to the majority of a country by a minority that ruled it. That is sadness at its zenith.

parl-buildings  The Parliament of Sri Lanka aka “Diyawanna OOya” in Catain Elmo’s sarcastic and cuastic evalautin of this island’s parliamentary figures over many decades

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A River! A River! A River for the Jaffna Peninsula

Thiru Arumugam,  from the Sunday Island, 30 January 2017 where the title reads “Desalination — Or a Reive for Jaffna?” 

In 2010 the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a total loan facility of 130 million US dollars for the “Jaffna and Kilinochchi Water Supply and Sanitation Project”. The local costs of 26 million dollars were to be met by the Government of Sri Lanka. The project involved providing safe drinking water for 300,000 people in Jaffna Town and surrounding areas and sanitation facilities for 80,000 people in Jaffna Town. The source of raw water was to be Iranamadu Tank in Kilinochchi. Water was to be pumped from here to a treatment plant near Pallai in the Jaffna Peninsula, and treated water distributed to consumers from there.

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Filed under economic processes, energy resources, governance, island economy, landscape wondrous, performance, politIcal discourse, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, transport and communications, welfare & philanthophy

Revelations of Afghanistan as A War Zone: Andrew Quilty’s Photo-Journalism

A series of striking images for the Year 2016 in the local Advertiser newspaper include one by Andrew Quilty which had the caption, ”Shock: a dead patient on an operating table at Afghanistan’s MSF Trauma Center after an attack by an American gunship on the hospital.” I am still searching for this particular image but found a veritable treasure trove in the Andrew Quilty site. I present selections for the benefit of those readers who bask in the comforts of relatively peaceful sites and landscapes. For many Sri Lankans of all ethnicities, of course, these pictures will evoke memories of traumatic times, albeit within landscapes that differ from the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan. For bio-data on Quilty, see http://andrewquilty.com/about/

quilty-33 DAY 17: Sunday 21 August 2016: “I was up early this morning to meet the friend and fixer that Sune, Danielle and I often work with in Helmand, on the outskirts of Kabul. Although Helmand is his home, Rauf is in self-imposed exile at the moment. As an Afghan that worked for several years as an interpreter for the British army (not to mention foreign journalists), had the province fallen to the Taliban as was recently feared, he’d have been a marked man. (Rauf has been waiting more than 18 months for his UK visa to be finalised.)We were waiting to speak with the local commander at a police checkpoint toward the southern outskirts of Kabul when a taxi pulled to a stop. Its boot was open and a pair of bloodied, lifeless feet hung over the tailgate. Inside, a middle-aged man lay on a stretcher. Several bandages barely hid stab wounds – inflicted during what we were told was a family dispute. A younger man held a clear bag of IV fluid to the roof. His hand was rusty with dried blood.” Continue reading

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Sinhalaness in the Middle Period and in Wars Against Colonial Intrusions

Chris Speldewinde, in the The Australian Journal of Anthropology, vol. r19, No. 1, 2008, reviewing  Michael Roberts. Sinhala Consciousness in the Kandyan Period 1590s to 1815. Colombo 4, Sri Lanka: Vijitha Yapa Publications. 2004. Pp.xx +274, bibliog., index. US$60.00 (He), ISBN 955-8095-31-1.

Having spent a considerable period during my undergraduate studies of anthropology concentrating on cultural aspects of Sri Lankan society, I was enthusiastic to have been given the opportunity to read and review this work by Michael Roberts. In this latest addition to his many volumes of work on his native Sri Lanka, Roberts, has provided a rich tapestry of the period pre-dating the formalisation of British colonial rule on the island of Sri Lanka. He examines the forms of reaction of a society affected by migrating Indians from the north and European colonial expansion, beginning with the arrival of the Portuguese in the mid-sixteenth century and later, the Dutch and the British. This book provides a considerable amount of both historiographical and ethnographic material, from a wide range of sources to keep the reader engrossed in the development of distinct ethnic identities on this island nation. The use of verbal history passed on through poems and songs from the period is used extensively to substantiate Roberts’ theories of the development of a definitive Sinhalese ethnic identity.

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Situating Clarance’s Book: Ethnic Warfare in Sri Lanka and the UN Crisis

Michael Roberts, reprinted from South Asia, Sept 2008, 31: 394-96, a review of Ethnic Warfare in Sri Lanka and the UN Crisis (London: Pluto Press, and Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2007), 296 pp.

This is an unusual book and essential reading for those interested in the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. William Clarance was head of UNHCR’s relief mission in Sri Lanka from 1989 to 1992. He kept a diary and has waited until he had left the arena of international administration before recounting his riveting experiences in the field. 

aa-ethnic-warfare-in-sri-lanka-and-the-un-crisis  His brief in Sri Lanka was to cater to the needs of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in India who had chosen to return to their homeland. In practice, however, the local UNHCR’s efforts also embraced some local refugees (IDPs, or ‘internally displaced people’), whether Tamil, Muslim or Sinhalese, who were the flotsam and jetsam generated by the warring turmoil in the island. Clarance sets the pursuit of this venture within its historical context by outlining the temporal stages in the escalation of hostility between leading Tamil and Sinhalese political forces. This competent summary is complemented by a description of the Indian intervention in 1987 and a capsule survey of the events in the period 1987–89, the immediate background to the UNHCR relief efforts.  Continue reading

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