Category Archives: communal relations

Frank Rees George: Intrepid Cameleer & Pioneer in Outback Australia

Rob George to Anne Scherer, 25 September 2022

Hi Anne, Michael has passed on your request to me and I am delighted to respond!  George was the camel driver on a geological expedition in 1905/6 led by my great uncle Frank Rees George that led ultimately to Frank’s death in Alice Springs in early 1906.  George wrote a letter to Frank’s mother, Ediva, (known as Nora) and my great grandmother, explaining to her the details of Frank’s incredible journey and his final hours.  It’s a wonderful letter made even more poignant by the fact that it was penned by a man who cannot have had a lot of education.  Please find a copy of the letter attached together with a photo that I think is George with the camels on the expedition.  The letter was originally in a box of family memorabilia that we carted around rural South Australia (my father was a bank manager so we moved frequently) and which he donated to the State Archives in the mid 60’s.  The letter is available at the archives.

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Deeply Wounded. Also Divided? Sri Lanka Today

Neloufer De Mel, in History Today, Vol 72/8, September 2022, where the title reads “Sri Lanka’s Deep Wounds” **

On 31 March 2022 a public protest occurred in the vicinity of the home of the Sri Lankan president Gotabhaya Rajapakse. The protest marked frustration at the shortages of essential commodities (gas, medicines, fuel) and the gruelling ten-to-13-hour power cuts imposed by a cash-strapped government with insufficient dollars to pay for imported fuel. The protestors also sought answers as to why certain neighbourhoods (such as Mirihana, where the president lived) continued to enjoy uninterrupted power.

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Schoolmates in Mourning Haka for the Christchurch Muslim Dead, April 2019

Michael Roberts

My attentiveness to the poignant power of the funeral march for Queen Elizabeth on Monday September the 19th for those attuned to the cultural modalities embodied therein that was presented in an article  immediately afterwards[1] referred to the New Zealand Maori mourning ceremonies involving specific haka performance.[2] Let me illustrate this point by a summary account of one such moment – a poignant moment when New Zealanders assembled to remember the 51 Muslim personnel[3] who had been killed by a White Australian racist as they worshipped at two mosques in Christchurch in South Island on Friday 15th March 2019.[4]

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Thoughts on Planter Lifeways in Ceylon evoked by the Braine Biography

Joe Paiva[1]

Camellia sinensis is a species of evergreen shrubs or small trees in the flowering plant family Theaceae. Its leaves and leaf buds are used to produce tea. Common names include tea plant, tea shrub, and tea tree. Wikipedia. If allowed to grow freely can reach up to 6 ft or more. For commercial agronomic purposes they are maintained as a compact shrub at approximately 4 ft, to increase productivity. And to suit the stature of female tea pickers.

Tea plants grow at the tea plantation in Trabzon, Turkey on June 27, 2022. (Photo by Resul Kaboglu/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Ratnapura, Sri Lanka – April 23: R. Chitrakumari (left) and K. A. Punchimeneke pick tea leaves in a tea garden on April 23, 2022 in Eheliyagoda, Sri Lanka. 2022

BOP = Broken Orange Pekoe, the very best grade of marketed tea. Flavour. Aroma, Colour. A very refreshing brew.

 

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Charles S. Braine: A Rajah of a Planter in British Ceylon

One of the Braine Progeny presenting an Item in the History of Ceylon Tea website, entitled “Charles Stanley Braine (1874-1944) – The Rajah of Mawatte”…. https://www.historyofceylontea.com/ceylon-publications/feature-

Charles Stanley was born in Ceylon on 25 December 1874. He was the eldest son of Charles Frederick Braine and Adeline Mary Becher, who had married in London earlier that year.

   

  Charles Stanley Braine: rajah-of-mawatte.html

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In Appreciation of Professor Riaz Hassan: Two Accolades as Vale

 

 

 

 

 

 

ONE …. Joanne Barker: A Memory about RIAZ HASSAN

From 1992-2006 I worked at Flinders University in various positions, finally leaving in 2006 as the faculty general manager of one of the four faculties. In around 1993-4 when I was still in my early 30s and quite new at the university, I came to know Riaz Hassan as one of the professors. He probably didn’t know my name, but he was always kind and smiled and said hello if we passed on campus.

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Exposing Sachi Sri Kantha: A Tangential Tamil Sniper

Michael Roberts

In presenting an article on Duncan White’s achievement at the World Olympic Games held in London in August 1948, I limited my focus to the 1940s. Sachi Sri Kantha in Japan has often entered comments on Thuppahi items and on this occasion ventured a point-scoring set of remarks on this item. At times these comments have proceeded tangentially to topics straddling the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

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A Critical Appraisal of Michael Roberts’s Writings on Eelam War IV

Gerald Peiris …. where the original title was Michael Roberts’ Writings” [1]

Unlike the reports compiled by the ‘UNSG PoE’ and the UTHR-J, the writings by Professor Roberts (hereafter, ‘Michael’ as ’Gerry’ has I have known him during the past 66 years) demonstrates the possibilities and the limitations of the ‘Sporadic Information Method’ in its application to situations such as that of the Vanni war-zone, and how a committed scholar with no axe to grind and no personalised political cause to promote could weigh a mass of information gathered from a miscellany of sources, and arrive at reasonably plausible findings (not that I agree with all such conclusions) without being judgemental and obdurate. His application of this method (in combination other methods of research) in many of his writings has two features worthy of special mention – one, his avid use of photographic records as both embellishments attractive to the reader, as well as evidence meant for reinforcement of what he wishes to convey in the text; and the other, an extraordinarily wide range of personal contact in his sources of information some of which have been conveyed to him orally. Adding to this comment that ‘graphics’ and orally conveyed information have both been prominent ingredients in documentation of information from time immemorial sounds almost banal.

 Analytic Map composed by the Daily Mirror on 24 April 2009 [depicting the battle situation at atime when Tamil civilians were fleeing in droves after the SL army penetrated the last stronghold on 19/20th April 2009]

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Celebrating Duncan White in Pictures and Words

Michael Roberts 

The recent TV broadcasts of the Commonwealth Games at Birmingham and the Athletics Championship at Eugene in Oregon stimulaed thoughts of the breakthrough for Ceylon aka Sri Lanka initiated by the Trinitian athlete Duncan White in 1948.  In securing the second place  in the exacting 400 metre hurdles in the London Olympics on 31st Ju;y 1948, Duncan White carved his name in silver in the annals of Sri Lankan sport.

 

 

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Standing Firm: Authoritarian Forms of Governance challenged by Sri Lankan Professionals

Item in Colombo Telegraph, 19 August 2022, where the title is as follows … “Saying no to Authoritarian Governance”

We the undersigned individuals from academia, the professions, the corporate sector, the clergy, and civil society organisations, join all those citizens and groups in condemning the abduction, arrest, detention without due process, and other acts of abusive Presidential and State authority committed against persons who participated in the Aragalaya Peoples’ Movement. We condemn the acts of violence that occurred during this time.  However, we reject the narrative that the Aragalaya was responsible for the violence and that it has been transformed into a “fascist,” “anarchist,” “terrorist,” group, that has destroyed State and private property, and is determined to destabilise our country. 

Ranil Wickremesinghe

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