Category Archives: travelogue

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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Talaivar Pirapāharan embodied in Notebooks: One Mark of the LTTE’s Remarkable Propaganda Machinery

Michael Roberts

prabha-22 prabha-33 prabha-11

These three images adorn the cover of little notebooks, each 4 inches in height and 2.7 inches breadth, in my possession. They were purchased by me at Kilinochchi on 27th November 2004 when I visited the administrative capital of the state of Thamilīlam[1] during the ceasefire. The tale is recounted below as entry-point to a portrait of the LTTE’s remarkable innovations.

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Disappearing Burgher and Malay Surnames in Island Lanka

Tuan M. Zameer Careem,  initially extracted from where the title reads “Rare Ethnic Surnames” … but I have since been informed that Mr Careem published it in Ceylon Today . Since it has received a record number of hits over the last two days, Careem can be well pleased.

The multi ethnic Sri Lankan society has since recent decades witnessed
innumerable changes and many of the most notable ethnic communities are now
on the brink of extinction, with the population dwindling to a noble
handful. Some of the most colourful surnames that once stood as a beacon to
help distinguish the ethnic backgrounds of locals have now gone into abeyance.
The ethnographers are of the opinion that the frequent intermarriages with
members of the prominent ethnic groups and the death of male line descendants
have gradually airbrushed the identities of many minorities. It is sad to
note that there is hardly any material written on the subject of Lankan
Onomatology. However, it is unmistakably clear that many of the Lankan
patronymics and surnames have European roots.

burghhers-11 Pic from

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Traditional Drum Making In Sri Lanka: Beats down the Ages

David Blacker, courtesy of SERENDIB, December Issue 2016 …

drums On display (L-R) a Tabla, Hand Rabana, Bummadiya, Thammetama, and Geta Bera

The hands and fingers seemed to work to an inner beat, to a pulse, only the drum-maker himself could hear. As wood was smoothed, leather cords tightened, and cowhide stretched, they would be periodically tested, plucked, tapped, thrummed by the fingers, searching for a quality defined by sound. Ironically, in the gloom of the small stall that doubled as a workshop, there was no music whatsoever; not even a transistor radio. The only sounds were those of the tools, the muted conversation, underlined by the tapping.Nimal Wickramasiri is an artist. And his art is the beat. Nimal is not a musician, but the drums he makes are sought after by musicians all over Sri Lanka. Now middle-aged, Nimal has been making drums all his life. His father, awarded by three Presidents, had done the same, as had his grandfather, and for generations before, now lost in the rhythm of time. Nimal’s son, Kasun, is a skilled drum-maker in his own right. The beat in this family’s blood shows no sign of drying up.

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An African Safari: Fred and B ev Leaney Lens


mostly shot in Botswana and Namibia Continue reading

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Leonard Woolf as An Accidental Civil Servant in Ceylon

addendum:Joe Kovacs in Literary Traveller,  23 June 2005, …. where the title runs The Accidental British Servant: Leonard Woolf in Ceylon”

When I joined the Peace Corps and went to Sri Lanka in 1997, I took a leave of absence from a graduate program in English literature at Fordham University. I was unhappy with academia as an aspiring creative writer; I wanted to make literature, not analyze it. I had no idea how international development work in Asia could help, but at least it would provide a long-overdue vacation from education. I’d never left the United States before, and after an exhausting trip west from New York through San Francisco, Tokyo and Bangkok, the third flight of my trans-global journey arrived in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo at two in the morning. I spent the rest of those benighted, pre-dawn hours in a retreat center in the jungle, trying to sleep. But the dense heat drenched me in sweat, even as I lay still in bed, the uncompromising mattress made my back sore and a swooping blue mosquito net left me entombed. Had I just made a mistake? From the jungle outside came a sudden high-pitched screech, convincing me that I’d come to a land of monsters. llw-222 lw-11

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A ‘Parachute History’ of the Sri Lankan War and the Island’s Circumstances Today

Robert Draper, courtesy of the National Geographic, November Issue, where the title runs thus: “Can Sri Lanka Hold On to Its Fragile Peace?” …with photographs by Ami Vitale … …. ….… with the title here being the Editor’s imposition – see Note below.

The photograph the young woman holds is barely the size of a postage stamp. But it is the only one of her husband she could find here in her parents’ house. They had not approved of her marriage, given that he was just a fisherman from the coastal town of Mannar, while her family has lived in Jaffna, the capital of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, for generations. But as the photo attests, her husband, a Tamil like herself—is broad-faced and confident. Staring at the tiny image of the man who went missing a decade ago, her mahogany eyes brighten as she loses herself in memories.

draper-11 A military color guard lowers the national flag on Galle Face Green, a popular park in Colombo. The country’s largest city shows few signs of the strife that divided the Sinhalese and Tamils for 26 years.

They’d fallen in love at a refugee camp in southern India in 1999, when she was 17. Both had escaped Sri Lanka’s wantonly vicious civil war, pitting the army, controlled by the majority Sinhalese, against Tamil rebels. She had fled Jaffna with her family, leaping over the corpses of neighbors as the military’s bombs plummeted from the sky. He had escaped Mannar after he saw an army officer shoot his youngest sister to death in their home. They had married under the withering glare of her mother. Continue reading


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