Category Archives: transport and communications

The VVT Thonies and Their Mastery of the Oceans Past

Somasiri Devendra, in Island, 13 July 2019, with this title “VVT, Tahiti, and the ghost of the Bounty. The ship from Valvettithurai which sailed the seven seas” and this dedication “Dedicated to the late Mr. Kumaraswamy of Oxonia Institute, Colombo, proud son of Valvettithurai, with whom I was to co-author a work on our northern nautical culture. On him, be Peace.”

article_imageA traditional Thoni showing the backward-coiling Surul and nailed-on occulus.

The story begins …

In 1937 an adventurous ‘Yankee’ sailed a small yacht round the world – the smallest to do so, at that time – stopping awhile in Ceylon. After many adventures, he returned to Ceylon in search of a Jaffna-built ship whose elegant lines had caught his eye. He found her, bought and refitted her in Colombo and sailed for Boston, with an all-Jaffna crew. Boston was as overwhelmed by the vision of this ‘ghost’ of the legendary Bounty, as by its dusky crew and of the voyage itself. But a couple of months later she was sailed again, this time with an all-American delivery crew, to Tahiti. And then, like the Bounty, she disappears.

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Filed under arab regimes, centre-periphery relations, commoditification, cultural transmission, economic processes, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, modernity & modernization, Portuguese in Indian Ocean, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, unusual people, world events & processes

Profound & ‘Coloured’ Insights into Our Environmental Degradation

Prasad Abu Bakr, in Sunday Observer, 7 July 2019, …. http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2019/07/07/art/book-review-slow-cooked-thoughts

This is a ‘must-read’ book for those who lived during that glorious past, which is quietly slipping out of our grasp. It is also one for the next generation, who live in a world of make-believe – thinking that demolition of that glorious past and the pristine environment that was there, in the name of ‘development’ is aimed at making the world a better place to live in.

In her Foreword, Jill Macdonald refers to Slow-cooked Thoughts as a compelling compilation of writings both occasional and various, linked by a common motif of the writer’s passionate and unwavering belief of what constitutes a right relationship with the world around us.

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Filed under accountability, art & allure bewitching, commoditification, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, environmental degradation, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, human rights, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, meditations, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, transport and communications, travelogue, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Cumulus Clouds shroud the Death Penalty in Sri Lanka

Gerald H Peiris, in Island, 8 July 2019, where the title is “To Hang or Not to Hang?: Our Heads in Shame”

Our press coverage of the ‘Capital Punishment’ debate that followed President Sirisena’s announcement on 26 June of his signing death warrants on four persons convicted for serious narcotic-related crimes – I refer to ‘Features’, ‘Opinions’, news reports such as those on intimidatory “orders” conveyed to the government of Sri Lanka by foreign diplomats and spokespersons of INGOs, decisions of trade unions and other civil society outfits, and the seemingly casual statements by political leaders in the course of censuring the president’s wayward performance −  provided no cause for surprise in the sense that they were the expected responses. For instance, those from the regimes of the sanctimonious agents of the ‘West’ and their INGOs were displays of both pretended “humanitarian” commitments as well as economic muscle-power directed at governments like ours that readily genuflect.  Likewise, the more prominent among our political leaders are obviously impelled by electoral considerations. The civil society stances reflect, more than all else, the widespread unpopularity of the ‘Yahapalanaya’ which the president is believed to nominally lead.

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Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, China and Chinese influences, commoditification, conspiracies, economic processes, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, landscape wondrous, transport and communications, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, working class conditions, world events & processes

Sleeper Trains: The Way to Absorb the Landscape

News Item in Sunday times, 7 July 2019, with this title “Sri Lankan Railway revealed as one of most beautiful sleeper trains in world”

Travelling by sleeper train has long been a glamorous and exciting way to see the world – allowing one to fall asleep in one country and  wake up in another feeling refreshed and ready to explore. But which sleeper trains are the best value?

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Filed under cultural transmission, economic processes, heritage, landscape wondrous, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, tourism, transport and communications, travelogue, world events & processes

The De Lanerolles and Sri Lanka

Item in Sunday Times, 7 July 2019, with this title

“Tale of a French ambassador in the time of the Kandyan Kingdom

Author Yasmin Rajapakse

The story of the ambassador from the French imperial court who became a naturalized subject in Kandy, producing progeny who were to make their mark on the island’s history, is an adventure told against the backdrop of an Indian Ocean made dark and stormy with colonial battles and a mountain kingdom at its edge. “The Odyssey and Living Legacy of Monsieur de La Nérolle, The French Lieutenant of the Expedition Escadre de Perse to Ceylon in 1672” by Yasmin Rajapakse was launched last month in the presence of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Eric Levertu, Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka.

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USA’s Infiltration via ACSA and SOFA

Political Editor, Sunday Times, 7 July 2019,where the title is  “Inside story of how Sri Lanka fell into the ACSA-SOFA trap”

Amid mounting opposition, President should appoint expert probe team to identify weakness in the national security system 
Despite denials and clarifications by the US, the two deals give America a major footprint in Sri Lanka
With little or no prospect of contesting presidential election, Sirisena may settle for a portfolio close to his heart

Opposition is mounting over the two defence related agreements between Sri Lanka and the United States, one already signed and another now pending.The first is the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA). For almost two years it was not tabled before Parliament. Nor was there a government statement explaining the contents, on a matter of such national importance to Sri Lankans.

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Sri Lanka in 1988: Experiencing ‘Ordinary Living’ in A Conflict Zone

John Richardson, whose title in this article conveying diary notes runs thus:  “Ordinary Living” in the Midst of Civil War Notes to Family and Friends“[1]  … with highlighting and pics inserted by The Editor, Thuppahi

February 1988: After getting settled in our home at number 5 Bagatelle Terrace, within walking distance of Colombo University, we have begun to fit into our neighborhood and the city.   Already we have made a number of Sri Lankan acquaintances.  Emily knows the city better because she is an inveterate walker.  She covers three to five miles each day on foot; more than any expatriates and most Sri Lankans, except the very poor.  She feels quite safe walking about during the day. We walk about at night, too, but are more careful as the streets are poorly lighted.  “Homeless” people do live on the streets here.  They are about as visible as they are in Washington, D.C., but I think the culture here is more accepting; the gap between rich and poor is much less than in America.  In fact, what strikes me about the majority of Sri Lankans, both rich and poor, is their unfailing honesty, courtesy and decency.  (The principal exception appears to be some of those who deal regularly with foreigners).  They are a considerate, friendly people – and for many, life is arduous.

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