Category Archives: unusual people

Yunupingu dies at 46. Devastating Loss for World Music

I have heard him play and sing at Womadelaide and have many of his tapes to stir me with his haunting music and lyrics. The world will sorely miss this blind Aboriginal artiste from the Yolngu people whose heart and music reached beyond his clan. Michael Roberts

Acclaimed indigenous musician Dr G Yunupingu dies aged 46

The world acclaimed blind indigenous music artist Dr G Yunupingu has died aged 46 at Royal Darwin Hospital. Dr Yunupingu’s record label, Skinnyfish, posted a brief statement on Facebook on Wednesday morning remembering Dr Yunupingu as “one of the most important figures in Australian music history”. Continue reading

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Scots in Planting and in Ceylon

Tom J Barron: Scots and the Coffee Industry in Nineteenth Century Ceylon” in Tom Devine and Angela McCarthy (eds)

The Scottish Experience in Asia, c.1700 to the Present ……………………..pp 163-185

Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)

Chapter First Online: 23 November 2016

Abstract   This chapter examines the role of Scots in the coffee enterprise in Ceylon in the nineteenth century. It finds origins for the Scottish contribution in fields where Scots were established: West Indian planting, engineering, the colonial civil service, the army, business and mercantile activity and banking as well as agriculture. Family ties and chain migration are seen as elements in the recruitment of Scots for employment in Ceylon along with targeted campaigns and press appeals. How and why the social basis of migration changed in the late nineteenth century is outlined along with the difficulties which arise in estimating how large was the Scots presence. The chapter ends by indicating that their experiences in Ceylon offered Scots the means to seek further employment opportunities elsewhere. Continue reading


Filed under British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, land policies, landscape wondrous, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people

Rakhita and Senel: Transforming Lives

A SUNDAY TIMES Feature, 23 July 2017 entitled “Young and Unafraid,”…

A month ago two young Sri Lankans were in London to receive the Queen’s Young Leaders Award. Established in 2014, the programme is aimed at discovering, supporting and encouraging exceptional young people between the ages of 18-29 across the Comonwealth for their contribution to their communities. This year, 21-year-old Rakitha Malewana and 26-year-old Senel Wanniarachchi were honoured for their work with HIV/AIDS and social activism respectively.

   Rakitha Malewana, raising awareness about HIV/AIDs. Pix by Indika handuwala

  Social activist Senel Wanniarachchi. Pic by Sameera Weerasekera

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Fire-Storm Images, IV: Tamil Commitment to Their Cause

A road junction memorial for Annai Poopathi in Batticaloa District, Annai Poopathi, a mother of ten  children and aged 55, fasted unto death in protest against the IPKF presence in Sri Lanka, breathing her last on 19th April 1988.  –thereby backing Thileepan’s fast-unto-death earlier in Jaffna in 1987. A permanent memorial in her homage was also constructed at Kiran … but the tsunami  destroyed it. Her memory is evoked to this day.  Her sacrifice is remembered and hallowed today among Tamils in many lands –Germany, Netherlands, UK et  cetera –see

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Narrating Tamil Nationalism: Subjectivities and Issues

 Michael Roberts,  being a reprint of a review article in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, s., Vol. XXVII, no.1, April 2004 …… with a review of this essay by Bandu de Silva having appeared earlier Thuppahi. The version here has highlighted emphasis to aid the reader –clearly a ‘work ‘in 2017.


Alfred Jeyaratnam Wilson, now regrettably with his maker, remains Sri Lanka’s leading political scientist, with numerous books associated with his name. He had secured eminence as early as the 1970s, when attached to Peradeniya University, and this reputation enabled him to move to a Professorship at the University of New Brunswick around 1972. It was his considerable scholarly reputation that encouraged the president of Sri Lanka and leader of the right-wing United National Party, J. R. Jayewardene, to utilise his consultative services in the political negotiations and constitutional engineering that occurred in the period 1978–83. His participation was facilitated by K. M. de Silva, a confidante of the president as well as Wilson’s long-time friend.

 Wilson     KM dde Silva Continue reading

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July 19, 2017 · 3:39 pm

Fire-Storm Images, III: LTTE Leaders


Velupillai Pirapaharan in his presentation of self in Che Guevara mode

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Filed under accountability, historical interpretation, island economy, language policies, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil migration, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, war crimes, war reportage, world events & processes, zealotry

Fire-Storm Images, II: The Indian Intervention, 1987

Naval rating Wijemuni Rohana de Silva attempts to hammer — deliver guti, so to speak — Premier Rajiv Gandhi for the humiliation imposed on Sri Lanka Through the insertion of an Indian Peace Keeping Force  as the main pillar of the Indo-Lanka Accord.  This incident occurred during the guard of honour on his arrival  to finalize the Accord.  Note that after serving his period of imprisonment for this act WR de Silva contested parliamentary elections under the JVP banner in his home area down south. I have been reliably informed that The cameraman was Sena Vidanagamage — what a camera strike!

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