Monday, 22nd December 2014

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Today, Colombo, Sri Lanka

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Editorial

Christmas, in this island where Christians are a small minority tending towards an even smaller slice in the population pie, is celebrated as though it is the religion of the majority. Well, at least in the major cities. It helps when countless retail outlets use Christmas to move stuff off the shelves. Come Christmas time, in this tropical island that...
Full Article Sunday, 21 December 2014 00:00
‘We are not in the business of issuing character certificates to those who cross,’ JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said.   The past few weeks have seen a lot of politicians crossing party lines.  These moves have been received with jeers and cheers, depending on whether the person left or arrived, respectively.  Interestingly, if you took names of...
Full Article Sunday, 14 December 2014 00:00
Phil Hughes.  Mahinda vs Chandrika.  Feguson, Missouri.  Eric Garner. Akai Gurley. US hypocrisy.  Yes-we-can Obama to We-are-blind Obama.  These are all possible headlines for an editorial comment this week.  We go with something else.  Someone else, to be precise. Rukshan Abeywansha.
Full Article Sunday, 07 December 2014 00:00
‘Podu Apekshakaya’ (common candidate) screams one set of people. ‘Podu apekshaawa’ (common hope) screams another. We are in ‘podu’ or ‘common’ days. The days of the people. Common people. Voters, to be precise. The ‘commoners’ have got their once-every-six years (well, every four years, since of late) moment. They will be salaamed. They will be placated with promises. They will…
Full Article Sunday, 30 November 2014 00:00
After weeks of speculation the Opposition has come up with a name. A solid one too. Maithripala Sirisena. It’s a name calculated to split the major partner of the ruling coalition, i.e. the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). Some MPs have already crossed over. Other defections are on the cards. It is a time of speculation, of risks and of…
Full Article Sunday, 23 November 2014 00:00
Former TNA leader and veteran politician R Sampanthan has raised important concerns that are shared by many outside his party’s constituency  China.  He is worried that ‘Chinese influence on Sri Lanka has grown exponentially’.  This goes counter to a foreign policy that has ‘followed non-alignment for decades,’ he says.
Full Article Sunday, 16 November 2014 00:00
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is upset with the Government of Sri Lanka. He said, ‘The Government has refused point blank to cooperate with the investigation (into allegations of human rights violations in the last phase of the war); such refusal does not undermine the integrity of an investigation set up by the Council...
Full Article Sunday, 09 November 2014 00:00
How many deaths does it for something to be called a ‘tragedy’? What is more tragic, a long-drawn-out war that takes more than a 100,000 lives, an insurrection that takes 60,000, a tsunami that kills 50,000, Dengue or CKDu that affects tens of thousands, a flood or landslide that takes away a hundred or a child who has just learned…
Full Article Sunday, 02 November 2014 00:00
The JVP’s Sunil Handunnetti captured the Opposition’s sentiments with regard to Budget 2015 best. He said ‘අද අය වැය දිනය නෙමෙයි...වඩා හොඳයි මේකට අල්ලස් දිනය කියල කිව්වා නම්’ (this is not Budget Day…it would be more appropriate to call it Bribe Day). There was at once dismay (at the political impact of the budget) and acknowledgment that at least on…
Full Article Sunday, 26 October 2014 00:00
During the heady days of the Ceasefire Agreement between the then Government and the LTTE, the advertising agency Phoenix O&M organized an exhibition titled ‘The Other Side,’ featuring the creative work of its staff outside of advertising briefs.  Harith Gunawardena, a Creative Director, came up with a simple cardboard box carrying the legend ‘fkda¾fõ rdcHfhka ñ,skao fudrf.dvg ;E.a.laa’ (A gift…
Full Article Sunday, 19 October 2014 00:00
The Minister of Higher Education S.B. Dissanayake doesn’t mince his words, this everyone knows. Integrity is not his strongest suit. He has a loose tongue which has got him into trouble many times, even earning him a jail sentence on one occasion. Just the other day, after students of Sabaragamuwa University tried to block him from attending the opening of…
Full Article Sunday, 12 October 2014 00:00
It was reported that the United States of America had softened its stand on Sri Lanka.  This was after President Mahinda Rajapaksa met US Secretary of State John Kerry on the margins of the UN General Assembly.  Jen Psaki, spokesperson for Kerry and the US State Department has since said that the US position on Sri Lanka had not changed. 
Full Article Sunday, 05 October 2014 00:00
Addressing the UN General Assembly last week, President Mahinda Rajapaksa subsequent to what can be called a pointed but relatively mild critique of the movers and shakers of the organization, reiterated the bottom-line of Sri Lanka’s foreign policy: ‘Friendship towards all and enmity towards none.’We live in a world where it is not easy to distinguish friend from enemy or
Full Article Sunday, 28 September 2014 00:00
In his classic work of historical sociology, ‘The long twentieth century,’ Giovanni Arrighi uses the term ‘long century’ to connote eras of domination, tracing the unfolding of capitalism through the fortunes of Florence, Venice, Genoa, the Dutch, English and finally the USA. The twentieth century, the last of the 7 centuries long relationship between capital accumulation and state formation, belonged…
Full Article Sunday, 21 September 2014 00:00
We live in a world of blurred boundaries and deliberate misnaming. We expect words to mean something, but in their activation we discover that they are taken to be something quite different. The much celebrated ‘Arab Spring’ comes to mind. The harshest winter is what that particular ‘moment’ has morphed into, but few, if any, will call it that.
Full Article Sunday, 14 September 2014 00:00
Thanks to social media and the widespread use of mobile devices, which can take pictures, we’ve seen quick dissemination of horror stories in various eateries. In time, hopefully, those who operate and work in restaurants big and small, well known and nondescript, those in Colombo as well as those far away from the capital, will get their act together or…
Full Article Sunday, 07 September 2014 00:00
There’s going to be an election in a few weeks time.   On the face of it yet another provincial council election in the now to-be-expected staggered format that gives the ruling party an inside edge should not excite anyone.  On the other hand, the Uva PC election is being held amid widespread speculation that it will be followed by a
Full Article Sunday, 31 August 2014 00:00
The faith of South Asian people in dynastic rule is astounding considering all the braggadocio about democratic traditions.  There have been the odd ‘outsider’ of course but by and large the political stories of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and as of late the Maldives have been about fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, brothers and sisters.  It’s not a two generation
Full Article Sunday, 24 August 2014 00:00
It has been an incredible run.  The word can be used considering how quickly Sri Lanka became a force to be reckoned with after achieving Test status.  The word ‘incredible’ is apt for many other reasons.  Just check the records chalked up by Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans over the past few years.  Sri Lanka is not one of the…
Full Article Sunday, 17 August 2014 00:00
If you have a persistent headache you might rub some medicinal oil on your head or take a Paracetamol tablet. If you have aches and pains, there’s peyava, there’s koththamalli with some venivelgeta or Siddhalepa. Even a cat medicates itself, chewing on kuppameniya when feeling out of sorts. A little boy trips and bruises his knee and his friends will…
Full Article Sunday, 10 August 2014 00:00

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