H. L. Seneviratne reviewing Your Obedient Servant: The Fate of the Bureaucrat in Sri Lanka by Suren Sumithraarachchi, Sarasavi Publishers 2019 …. Courtesy of Colombo Telegraph = https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/book-review-politics-the-bureaucracy/
This book deals with the higher bureaucracy in Sri Lanka, and its focus is bureaucratic behavior. It is about local bureaucrats, not those of British origin — bureaucrats who historically inhabited the bureaucratic terrain with decreasing density as colonial rule waned. It considers loyalty to a set of rules, rather than to a person, the marker of ideal bureaucratic behavior, one that the vocabulary of sociology calls “rational-legal”.
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H. L. D. Mahindapala, in Colombo Telegraph, January 2020, where the title is
Any critical assessment of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa must take into consideration the salient characteristics that make him stand out from the run-of-the-mill politicians who had occupied the peaks of power.
The first notable characteristic is that he is the first head of state to come from the Sri Lankan diaspora. Initially it was a disadvantage tangled in legalities of citizenship. Later it smoothened out and has been an invaluable asset to him. His existential experiences as an expat in America had widened his horizons and opened up new vistas in his thinking and strategizing. He has acted so far as a leader who had seen the future and is bent on taking the nation in that direction. It has all the signs of being influenced by the American efficiency in delivering goods and services. The new breed of intellectuals he had recruited to run his state indicates clearly that he is in a hurry to modernise the sluggish nation and usher it into the 21st century. His first-hand knowledge of an advanced nation would hasten him to mix tradition with modernity without deracinating the nation – a critical issue in modernising Afro-Asian countries.
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The South Asian island nation of Sri Lanka is as ancient as it is beautiful; as complex a civilization now as at any time in its 2,000-year history. Despite recent tumult (the horrific terror attacks last Easter), Sri Lanka remains an essential destination, an epicenter of history, with relics and ruins, temples and palaces, wildlife running free.
The ancient city of Polonnaruwa, which was Sri Lanka’s capital in the 12th century is a UNESCO Heritage site…. Jorge Fernández/LightRocket/Getty Images
Roy Ecclestone, in SAWeekend, 17 January 2020, ….”Trapped in a bunker and hoping for a miracle: The destruction of Southern Ocean Lodge” ……..
It was after the firestorm swept over Southern Ocean Lodge for the fourth time that one of the staff decided it was time to leave the concrete bunker beneath the world-renowned Kanga roo Island hotel.“We can go out now,” the man said, sure the danger must finally have passed. But John Hird, the lodge’s general manager, was having none of it. “No, no – you’re staying for two hours,” he insisted, sticking to their fire plan. And just then, the inferno struck again.
Southern Ocean Lodge before the fire.
It has been something of a shock for me to discover that the Sri Lankan authoress Karen Roberts had passed away in USA in 2018 while only in her middle-aged fifties (about the same age as my daughters). What a tragedy!
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Item in NewsInAsia, 19 January 2020, where the title is “Veteran columnist C.A.Chandraprema appointed as Lankan envoy at the UN in Geneva”
Veteran Sunday Island columnist, C.A.Chandraprema, has been appointed as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations in Geneva, within which is located the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
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