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A Tale of Resistance: The Story of the Arrival of the Portuguese in Sri Lanka

Michael Roberts, a reprint of an article published in 1989 in Ethnos, vol. 55: 1-2, pp.69-82.

  This essay decodes a sixteenth century folktale which records the Sinhalese reaction to the arrival of the first Portuguese. Where the historiography has interpreted this tale as benign wonderment in the face of exotica, a piecemeal deconstruction of the allegorical clues in the ‘story is utilised to reveal how the Sinhalese linked the Portuguese with demons and with Vasavarti Mārayā, the arch enemy of the Buddha. In this fashion the Portuguese and the Christian sacrament of communion were represented as dangerous, disordering forces. The piecemeal reinterpretation of this short text, however, must be overlaid by a holistic perspective and the realisation that its rendering in oral form enabled its purveyors to lace the story with a satirical flavour: so that the Portuguese and Catholicism are, like demons, rendered both disordering and comic, dangerous and inferior—thus ultimately controllable. In contending in this manner that the folktale is an act of nationalist opposition, the article is designed as an attack on the positivist empiricism which pervades the island’s historiography and shuts out imaginative reconstructions which are worked out by penetrating the subjective world of the ancient texts.

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Asela from Adelaide explores Sri Lankan Affairs in Chats with Six Committed Lankans

Courtesy of Asela aAtukorala and his blog site …. … where the title reads: “Six Sri Lankan Specialists Discuss Sri Lankan Issues”

I travelled to Sri Lanka in May this year and had the opportunity to meet several specialists to discuss Sri Lankan issues that were mostly related to politics and economics. In this article, I’ll be sharing the highlights of my meetings with the 6 people I had the privilege of talking to.    

Monday 8th May 2017 ….This was the first meeting which was at Verité Research. Their workplace was an old house re-done as an office and it had great architecture.

Janeen Fernando

That afternoon, I met Janeen Fernando who’s the Head of Politics at Verité Research. As part of his role, he’s in charge of the Sri Lankan trilingual political tracking site I’ll now list some highlights from our discussion.   Continue reading

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52 Tea Parties to boost Ceylon Tea …and swamp that in Boston

THE Sri Lankan High Commission will celebrate 150 years of the tea industry in its country with a global tea party across time zones.

High Commissioner Somasundaram Skandakumar says the invitation-only tea party, which will be held on July 6 at the Sri Lankan High Commission in Yarralumla, will be echoed at all 52 Sri Lankan diplomatic missions at precisely 5pm in each time zone around the world. It’s been organised by the Sri Lanka Tea Board, which is the government’s main arm for promoting Ceylon tea, in collaboration with the Colombo Tea Traders’ Association. Continue reading

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Islamic Jihadists and Their Twisted Beliefs

Anthony Bergin,  in The Australian, 9 June 2017 — with title “Twisted Beliefs driving Islamic Butchers”

Terrorists operating against Western targets claim their acts are inspired, and in many cases required, by Islam. Federal Social Services and Multicultural Affairs Assistant Minister Zed Seselja should be commended for his plain speaking when he argues we have tolerated extremism too often and that the Muslim community should now do more to call out Islamic extremism (“Minister tells Muslims to call out terrorism”, The Australian, June 8). “Those who believe in this Islamist ideology are a small minority of Muslims, but there are still far too many of them. So it’s on the majority — including the moderate, peaceful Muslims of our world — to rise up against this,” he said. Seselja suggested his colleagues should stop dancing around the issue and “call it for what it is”, saying it was an insult to suggest terrorism wasn’t religiously motivated. “Pretending that Islamist terrorists are simply mentally ill and not driven by an extreme ideology is not only dangerous, it is insulting to all Australians … “We are surely mature enough as a nation to have an open discussion about the inspiration for Islamist terrorism in Salafist jihadist teaching, while acknowledging that most Muslims in Australia are good citizens who reject this extremism.”

Seselja   Bergin

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“By the Will of Allah” — Fahad Jabar’s Last Will before Kill

Emily Ritchie, in The Australian, 2 May 2017, where the title is “Curtis Cheng Killer’s ISIS-Style Salute” … Note that emphasis has been imposed by the Editor, Thuppahi.

Just 15 minutes before teenage terrorist Farhad Jabar shot and killed NSW police accountant Curtis Cheng, he stared into the security camera at a Sydney mosque and ominously raised his index finger in an Islamic State-style salute. For the first time, a Sydney court heard details yesterday of alleged plotting between a group of young men accused of supplying the gun Jabar used to carry out the October 2015 ­murder.

  Pic from Daily Telegraph 

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Remembering Professor Neil Dias Karunaratne

Aloysians ALL

Born: 28 April 1937; Matara, Sri Lanka….Died: 19 December 2016; Brisbane, Australia

Neil was born in Matara, Sri Lanka, the second child to Peter and Emelda Karunaratne. Neil grew up in Matara, a beachside city on the southern tip of Sri Lanka, in a large family with three brothers and three sisters. Neil was enrolled at SAC on 17 January 1950 and was admitted as a hosteller. It was during his time at St Aloysius that he developed a lifelong drive for academic achievement and excellence. He obtained a 1st division in the Junior exam in 1952 and a 1st division in the Senior exam in 1954. He was a bronze medalist of the Royal Life Saving Society and a Queens Scout and Troup Leader for a short spell. He passed his Voucher exam in the St John’s Ambulance brigade and was a member of the Under 16 athletics team. Neil was the holder of the Abeyesundere Memorial Scholarship. Continue reading

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An Early Plea in 1990: Ban Verbal Assaults within the Cricket Field

Michael Roberts

Sin-Bin for Verbal Intimidation” is the title of a plea in an article presented by me in Essaying Cricket. Sri Lanka and Beyond, in 2006, pp.98-102. It embodied a set of arguments that I have held since 1990 wherein I contended that (A) the practices pursued in rugby and soccer should be introduced in cricket and (B) not legitimized by arcane arguments which  refer to instances of clever banter on the cricket field to cover-up the instances of abusive intimidation that seek advantage for the fielding side — in effect permitting  verbal acts that would face charges or cause fights if they were expressed  in a pub or on the street.

Happily, the  ICC’s recent adoption of the MCC recommendation for “penalties” on this score in effect introduces the practice of sin-binning, though — typically conservative and circumspect – they avoid  the term.

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