Category Archives: travelogue

“What Ails Sri Lanka?” — Daya de Silva’s Scathing Analysis

Jayadeva Hettiarachchi, in Sunday Times, 17 February 2018, where the title is “Genuine desire to find the truth about what ails our country.” .…. a review of Daya de Silva:  Pearl to a Tear Drop”

There couldn’t have been a more opportune time for me to read and review this book written by Daya de Silva: namely, that moment when Sri Lankan parliamentarians were vying for power, pushing and shoving, throwing chairs, chili powder and even attempting to stab their opponents.


ISBN Number 978-955-30-8985-4

We humans have a deep association with our motherland even when we live in other parts of the world. A person born and bred in a given country can be separated from that country, but that country cannot be completely eradicated from that person’s mind as clearly seen in the sentiments expressed by the author of this book about her life in Sri Lanka.  As is always the case, foreigners/expatriates do perceive things quickly and more comprehensively than those who live in a country. Of course, the interest, passion and a genuine desire to find the truth beneath what appears on the surface has prompted Daya de Silva to write this book as I see it.

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A Letter from Alice — Outback Australia Stories

Rob George

Frank Rees George, was a government geologist around the turn of last century and took part in a number of explorations in the west and north of the state. In the summer of 1906 Frank was in an exploring party in the Peterman Ranges area when they were attacked by aborigines and the leader of the group was speared through the eye. Frank George took over leadership of the team and managed to get them all safely back to Alice Springs but after a day or so Frank collapsed and died – he was in his early 30s. – it is assumed from peritonitis. He was buried in the cemetery at Alice Springs and a road is named after him. It’s a sad story but there is a particularly poignant element to it. After his death the team’s camel driver, George Edginton, wrote a long letter to Frank’s mother in which he detailed the events leading up to Frank’s illness and then describes Frank’s final hours. It’s a beautifully written letter, sensitive, heartfelt and moving – an extraordinary achievement especially given that the writer was a camel driver.

Photo taken on expedition by Frank Rees George.  I assume the person in the photo is George Edginton who wrote the letter to Frank’s mother on his death.

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1948-2019: Intertwined Trajectories summed up …. Sri Lanka and Personnel

  Michel Nugawela, in Daily Financial Times,  4 February 2019

In search of a story: Professor Simon Anholt, who coined the term ‘nation brand’, once asked, “If the hand of God should accidentally slip on the celestial keyboard tomorrow and hit delete and Britain went, who would notice and why?”  I would like to ask the same question of Sri Lanka. After all, good leadership is largely about providing people with a meaningful narrative – a cohesive story that weaves together the significant characters and events of a community or country into a plot that articulates who they are, and who they strive to be.

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Kilchurn Castle in Scotland

Because born and bred within a Fort with around 5oo dwellings, landscape for games and sea for swimming and games, castles and forts have always fascinated me … Michael Roberts

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Requiem at Trinity College Chapel with Errol Fernando

I  was introduced to a mild mannered visitor to the Chapel by a school officer when I came in for choir practices today. I was told his surname and that he is an old boy. The visitor started by saying If I were offered a ticket to go to a place that I loved, it would not be any other place in the world but the Trinity College Chapel. 

He soon go on talking about the choir and went on to describe the carol service in his days. Then he asked “Do the boys know ‘Where River Lake and Mountain Meet’, and would they sing it if I played it for them?” In reply I asked another question: “May I know your first name sir”?

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Jim Corbett National Park in Northern India

Jim Corbett National Park, India ….

Known as Hailey National Park when it was first established in 1936, this nature reserve in northern India was renamed in honour of Jim Corbett. A British hunter who felled many Bengal tigers and leopards in India in the early 20th century, Corbett later became a wildlife conservationist. He worked to establish the country’s first national park as a place of protection for its dwindling number of big cats and other endangered species. Today the park covers more than 200 square miles full of dense forests, grasslands, rivers, lakes and naturally, wildlife both great and small

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Chettinad’s Palaces in View

T. S. Subramanium,in Frontline, 7 December 2018, with photos by Velankanni Raj …. where the title runs “The Palaces of Chettinad”

The palatial decorated homes of Chettiars in the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu are symbols of a colonial-era architectural heritage marked by opulence. The stately mansions of Nattukottai Chettiars of the Chettinad region in Tamil Nadu are a statement of the affluence the mercantile community enjoyed at the height of its prosperity during the British Raj. The palatial houses, with the built-up area measuring anywhere between 20,000 square feet (1,858 sq. metres) and 70,000 sq. ft (6,503 sq. m), were mostly built in the period between the early 1800s and the 1940s. The Chettiars had set up flourishing trading and business enterprises in Burma (now Myanmar), Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia (including Java and Sumatra), Vietnam, Mauritius and the Philippines.

       At the Chettinad palace, a large patio with “thinnais”

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