Category Archives: commoditification

Pointers from Singapore towards the Appraisal of the Hambantota Port Scheme

Fair Dinkum

When Sir Stamford Raffles arrived in Singapore in 1819, the British set about creating the Port of Singapore. In time, with much hard work, the port became successful. In the 1960s, the Singapore government set about further expansions of its ports along the south of the island, with five additional gateways operating by the 1990s. It is now one of the biggest and busiest collection of ports in the world. Having visited these ports over the years, the scale of operations is extraordinary. The success of Singapore Ports was built up over time. It didn’t come easily or immediately. The same with the Piraeus Port in Greece, although it became successful and profitable quickly.

  Hambantota — a Pix and a Sketch

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, China and Chinese influences, commoditification, economic processes, export issues, governance, growth pole, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, life stories, modernity & modernization, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, transport and communications, world events & processes

A Versatile Beauty, Yvonne Gulamhusein nee Toussaint

Information sent by Harry De Sayrah, September 2021 …. supplemented by Notes from David Sansoni and Others

El Patio Yveony, Bambalapitiya: The beautiful home and mansion, “El Patio Yveony”, owned and lived in by Onally Gulamhussein and his celebrity wife Yvonne Toussaint starts off the next block of land adjoining Station Road. Onally, nicknamed “Jutehessian” and his wife the socialite Yvonne Gulamhussian, nee Toussaint, was refereed to as Mrs. Ooh La Jute Hessian.

Yvonne weds Onally: Extracted from HI Magazine Online – http://www.hi.lk

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under art & allure bewitching, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, commoditification, cultural transmission, economic processes, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, modernity & modernization, performance, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

Yvonne Between Richard Nixon and Sir John

This striking photo was proably snapped before Sir John Kotelawela led the UNP to Debacle in the 1956 General Elections. [on 23 November 1953 — as kindly pointed out by Sachi Sri Kantha…. see below]

Lord Soulbury is seated on the extreme left –so this snap has been taken before he left Ceylon. It would be useful if other “personalities’ could be identified. The lady looking pensive in her pensive middle postion betwen Kohn Kotelawela and Richard Nixon is Yvonne Gulam Hussein nee Tousaint — a prominent socialite in Colombo.

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under art & allure bewitching, commoditification, economic processes, ethnicity, heritage, landscape wondrous, life stories, performance, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, tolerance, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

Lakshman’s Hambantota Diarrhoeas

Lakshman Gunasekara … with highlights being the intrusion of The Editor, Thuppahi

I recall reading both these articles,[1] or at least parts of these articles just a few weeks ago sent by you.

1) China:- I am an admirer of China (just as much as I am an even bigger admirer of India, simply because of cultural and geographical affinity) and I am specifically an admirer of China’s role in the world today as a relatively civilised and certainly civilisational (in terms of Difference) counter to the old, beginning-to-fade Western imperialism. This is not to say that I do not have problems with China’s internal, unnecessarily repressive, political system. While I am a long-time Communist and I continue to watch with interest the successes and failure of the single-party system (the Communist Party is not at all the typical western-liberal-style ‘political party’), I am surprised at the lack of more dedicated practice of electoral politics within that one-party system, especially at the higher levels of national structures. Theoretically, I prefer the Communist one-party state than the bourgeois-liberal multiparty competitive electoral system as the best way toward greater democracy and consolidating social democracy.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, centre-periphery relations, China and Chinese influences, commoditification, economic processes, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, Left politics, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, transport and communications, world events & processes

Buddhist Revitalization in Sri Lanka in the Early Twentieth Century: Some Thoughts

Uditha Devapriya, in The Island 12th & 19th August in two parts, with this title  “Early 20th Century Buddhist Revival”  …. https://ceylontoday.lk/news/a-short-note-part-1-early-20th-century-buddhist-revival AND https://ceylontoday.lk/news/a-short-note-part-2-early-20th-century-buddhist-revival

The colonial bourgeoisie in Sri Lanka did not form a monolithic class. They were divided horizontally as well as vertically: horizontally on the basis of income and inheritance, and vertically on the basis of primordial attachments such as caste ideology. Various factors, mainly economic conspired as much to unify the bourgeoisie as they did to divide them, distinguishing them by their homogeneity as well as by their heterogeneity.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under art & allure bewitching, British colonialism, Buddhism, commoditification, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, landscape wondrous, language policies, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, paintings, politIcal discourse, sri lankan society, transport and communications, unusual people, world events & processes

From Empiricist Conflation to Distortion: Caste in South Asia

Michael Roberts, responding in 1985 to a Review Essay by Susan Bayly of Cambridge University  on his book on Caste Conflcist and Elite Formation, CUP 1982

Susan Bayly** has done me the honour of reviewing the book on Caste Conflict and Elite Formation: The Rise of a Karava Elite in Sri Lanka, 1500-1931 at considerable length.’ Her essay is appropriately entitled ‘The History of Caste in South Asia’. This title provides a clue to the interpretative pathways which have led her systematically to misunderstand the arguments within the book. No less problematical is her implicit belief in the possibility of constructing a composite picture of the caste system qua system on the basis of empirical data drawn from different regions, regions as widely different as Sri Lanka, southern India and western India. Let me elaborate this charge, and in doing so reiterate the arguments which I presented.

Susan Bayly

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under British colonialism, caste issues, centre-periphery relations, commoditification, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, ethnicity, historical interpretation, Indian religions, Indian traditions, island economy, Kandyan kingdom, land policies, landscape wondrous, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, Portuguese imperialism, sri lankan society, transport and communications, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world events & processes

Sinhalaness in Pre-British Ceylon: Issues and Pathways

A Review Essay by Alan Strathern** dissecting a Book by Michael Roberts published in 2004

This item was located by Thuppahi in the web-site Colombo Telegraph on 26 December 2012 (see https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-royal-we-sinhala-identity-in-the-dynastic-state/). However, it appeared initially in 2005 in the prestigious journal Modern Asian Studies,  39: 1013–1026.

AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE by Michael Roberts, 7 August 2021

This item is a review essay not a standard review. Alan Strathern is an accomplished historian who happens to be the son of a leading social anthropologist, viz., Marilyn Strathern of ANU and Cambridge University. You will find that his prose is as refined and clear-cut as demanding. After some hesitation, I decided to adhere to my normal policy of highlighting some parts of the text with blue colourfor the benefit of readers facing the difficulties posed by complex issues in historical sociology. On occasions I have also imposed a break in extra-long paragraphs. The illustrations too are my impositions intended to promote reader interest.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Aboriginality, ancient civilisations, architects & architecture, authoritarian regimes, British colonialism, British imperialism, Buddhism, centre-periphery relations, commoditification, cultural transmission, economic processes, ethnicity, hatan kavi, heritage, historical interpretation, insurrections, Kandyan kingdom, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, military strategy, modernity & modernization, nationalism, patriotism, performance, pilgrimages, politIcal discourse, Portuguese imperialism, religiosity, Saivism, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, Tamil migration, unusual people, violence of language, world events & processes

The Skeins of Class bearing on the Threads of Sinhala Cultural Revival under the British

Uditha Devapriya, in The Island, 24 July 2021, where the title reads “Colonial Bourgeoisie and Sinhala Cultural Revival”

The colonial bourgeoisie in Sri Lanka did not form a monolithic class. They were divided horizontally as well as vertically: horizontally on the basis of income and inheritance, and vertically on the basis of primordial attachments, such as caste ideology. Various factors, mainly economic, conspired as much to unify the bourgeoisie as they did to divide them, distinguishing them by their homogeneity as much as by their heterogeneity.

Panadura Vaadaya

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under architects & architecture, art & allure bewitching, authoritarian regimes, British colonialism, Buddhism, centre-periphery relations, commoditification, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, historical interpretation, island economy, Kandyan kingdom, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, nationalism, paintings, patriotism, performance, politIcal discourse, religious nationalism, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, unusual people

The Conquista: A Book on Sri Lanka’s Portuguese Period

Avishka Mario Senewiratne

Fr SG Perera who translated the work of Queiros

In an island nation which has more than two thousand five hundred years of written history, no book has provided a more detailed account of any period of Sri Lanka’s history than the Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon[1] authored by the Jesuit Father Fernaó de Queyroz.[2] This work covered the 150 years of Portuguese involvement in Ceylon. Ironically, this 17th century Jesuit Priest, had never visited the island of which he was researching and writing in the final two decades of life. This brief essay gives an overview of Queyroz the Historian, his cause and objective, the long and eventful delay of his work in reaching its readers, the controversy around it in the early 20th Century and its splendid translation by Fr. Simon Gregory Perera of the same Society.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under accountability, atrocities, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, commoditification, cultural transmission, discrimination, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, Portuguese imperialism, Portuguese in Indian Ocean, power politics, religiosity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

Dry Zone Peasantry and Chēna Transformations in Sri Lanka

Gerald Peiris [i]

Chēna is an anglicized rendition of the Sinhala term hēna. Chēna cultivation is widely regarded as being equivalent to ‘shifting cultivation’ which is described as a form of agriculture engaged in by people living in sparsely populated areas with easy access to scrubland or forest that could be used as venues for rainfed farming which may, depending on circumstances, constitute their only, main, or supplementary source of livelihood. In conventional perceptions, moreover, ‘shifting cultivation’ is a subsistence-oriented economic activity of poverty-stricken peasant communities. It should, however, be noted that in most parts of Sri Lanka, the term hēna connotes a plot of land devoted to rainfed cropping, regardless of whether the farming practices pursued on the plot involves “slash-and-burn” and/or “land rotation”.

  Precipitation & Irrigation Map of Lanka — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Sri_Lanka

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, commoditification, economic processes, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, land policies, landscape wondrous, life stories, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, travelogue, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes