Category Archives: working class conditions

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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Filed under Australian culture, cultural transmission, economic processes, heritage, historical interpretation, life stories, photography, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, working class conditions

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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Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, British colonialism, Buddhism, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, insurrections, island economy, landscape wondrous, language policies, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, meditations, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, working class conditions, world events & processes

The Split within the JVP in 1983 and the Programme of State Repression in the 1980s

Lionel Bopage, in Sri Lanka Guardian, 29 March 2019,where the title is The Frozen Fire’ — Art and Political Reality

There are diverse views about the politics of the JVP and the inherent limitations contained in their political discourse. In particular, many of the views that exist regarding the politics of comrade Rohana Wijeweera and his assassination have contrasting narratives. In such an environment, even coming forward to produce a cinema work like ‘The Frozen Fire’ is a matter that needs commendation and appreciation.

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No Surprises with Sirisena. Challenging Mike Roberts

An Introductory Note from Michael Roberts

 Gerald Peiris and I were undergraduates at Ramanathan Hall Peradeniya in the late 1950s and met on occasions when we were pursuing postgrad studies in UK and I visited Cambridge. Thereafter we were colleagues in the Arts Faculty at Peradeniya University from 1966 to 1975. Quite vitally, we were active members of the Ceylon Studies Seminar. During those seminars and at times in private tête-à-tête over drinks the two of us occasionally engaged in discussions, sometimes with sharp disagreements on specific issues.


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Economising via Gleaning. Ancient Practices for Today’s World

Item in THE ECONOMIST,  Christmas Special, entitled Gleaning. The return of gleaning in the modern world. How much can an ancient practice do to alleviate hunger?”

AT THE SALON in Paris in 1857, Jean-François Millet exhibited a painting called “Des glaneuses” (“Gleaners”). It caused a scandal. Millet had long made a point of painting peasants at their labours, but this big canvas was his strongest provocation. Into a decorous world of silks and parasols it introduced rough women, plump in their homespun skirts, rumps in the air, grubbing for ears of grain dropped after the harvest. One critic complained of “ugliness and…grossness unrelieved”. Another said it made him think of the scaffolds and pikes of the Terror of 1793.

Millet had seen the women differently. He found them dignified, doing their work in a sanctifying late-summer light, companions to his peasant “Angelus”. In this, as well as their humble roughness, he caught the essence of gleaning.

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Filed under charitable outreach, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, female empowerment, heritage, landscape wondrous, life stories, modernity & modernization, self-reflexivity, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world events & processes

Lakshman Gunasekara’s Reflections on the Political Turmoil in Late 2018: Three Essays

Lakshman Gunasekera

ONE. Lakshman Gunasekara: “Politics vs Constitutionalism,” in Horizons, 9 December 2018 …

When the Bandaranaike International Memorial Conference Hall (BMICH, what a mouthful) began hosting conferences in those old-fashioned 1970s, we, the ordinary citizens hadn’t a hope of freely strolling into its premises (let alone its halls). One needed a conference invitation to enter the gates and some ‘delegate’ or ‘media’ tag to enter the main hall or ‘committee rooms’ (as they were quaintly termed then). Today, in our lower-middle-income country comfort zone, people are constantly streaming in and out of the BMICH, for weddings, exhibitions, conferences, convocations, concerts and seminars, all at the same time (and I am sure there is romance in those verdant gardens).    Continue reading

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Kussi-Amma Sara and Citizen Silva in the Present Political Situation: Arun confronts Chandre

Arun Dias Bandaranaike … being an Email Memorandum to Michael Roberts.,19 December 2o18 in response to a Comment in Thuppahi from Chandre Dharmawardena …. presented  here with highlighting imposed **

Dear Michael, thank you very much for sharing the reply or response from Prof. Chandre Dharmarwardana, which apparently is a quickly drafted return, and does not betray the same careful thought and penmanship as was discernible in the prose composed by Sam.  He does however include some salient points for consideration, and directs a question that has some validity viz. “What is your yardstick?” 

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December 19, 2018 · 12:17 pm