Category Archives: gender norms

In Defence of a Voice from the Grave, That of Sunila Abeysekera

Jane Russell presenting “a reply to unjustified criticism ” …. * …. [see endnote]

Foreword: I first met Sunila Abeysekera at a joint exhibition of sculpture and poetry which my Sri Lankan partner, sculptor Malathie de Silva, and I held at the Lionel Wendt Gallery in 1976. Sunila was twenty-four; I was two years older. She brought her father along and he purchased one of my poems which I‘d produced as wall-posters.:

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Valentine Gunasekara: His Architectural Virtuosity and Heritage

Anoma Pieris, with highlighting emphasis imposed by The Editor of Thuppahi

Architect Valentine Gunasekara passed away peacefully at sunset on Monday 4, September 2017; and I felt it was important that his passing did not go unnoticed. The ebook version of Imagining Modernity: The Architecture of Valentine Gunasekara published 14 years after my 2007 book is an effort at ensuring he would not be forgotten. He mirrored the struggles of my parent’s generation across the hard years of import-substitution and Socialist policies when every bag of cement was purchased with a special permit.  In fact, even attempting to build with concrete appeared foolhardy. However, he persevered, leaving a small coterie of buildings that are comparable to the works of Van Molyvann (1926-2017) in Cambodia or the Malayan Architects Co-Partnership (1960-67) in Singapore.  These buildings have not garnered the attention and care that is afforded mid century modernism elsewhere, largely because their attempts at design synthesis are overlooked. The tropical climate is also hostile to pristine architectures and plastered concrete surfaces are high maintenance. But if one is willing to look beyond everyday tolerances to the aspirations behind the aesthetic responses that surround us in our rapidly growing cities, one needs to engage with Gunasekara’s repertoire.

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Yvonne Gulam Hussein …. between Sir John and Richard Nixon

Courtesy of Firazath Hussain of Wellawatte and The Fort, Galle …. who noted:  “Nixon Floored. Ceylon then & style of the times !  In Tuxedo…..Richard Nixon as a state guest … with Sir John Kotalawela. Richard Nixon, US Vice-President made a visit to Ceylon in November 1953 & stayed at the Galle Face Hotel…. Love the Lankan ladies ever so elegant in their Kandyan Sarees / jewelry… and of course stylish Yvonne Gulam Hussein seated between Sir John Kotalawela and Nixon.”

A COMMENT from ASOKA KURUPPU of Brisbane, 4 January 2021

Photograph taken at Kandalama Estate at a banquet hosted by Sir John Kotalawela.

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ADDITONAL PIX from SIDATH ABYEWICKRAME

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A Poignant Farewell at Vishvamadu in 2018: Rathnapriya Banda’s Work of Reconciliation

Shenali Waduge. in an article presented in June 2018 and entitled  “LTTE village & a Sri Lankan Military Officer show the world what Reconciliation & Peaceful Coexistence is all about” …. ith highlighting emphasis added by The Editor, Thuppahi

It was a farewell that has shocked & left plenty of critics speechless. It has put to rest & completely nullified the lies that have been spread against Sri Lanka’s Army. The culprits include foreign governments/envoys, INGOs/NGOs, UN & even the present government in particular the Tamil leadership & the LTTE diaspora who must be startled at the pictures emerging of an entire village weeping as they bid farewell to a military officer who had played the role of their mentor, their father, their brother, their advisor & virtually their leader. Col. Rathnapriya Bandu has done what Prabakaran, Wigneswaran, Sivajilingam, Sumbanthiran, Sambanthan or even Tamil Nadu politicians could not do & do not want to do. In a world that plays divisive politics of divide & rule he has shown that it takes a hero to unite & Col. Bandu is one hero that we must all salute. No former LTTE village would ever carry a Sri Lankan Military officer on their shoulders & weep as he bid goodbye if he was no hero in their eyes.

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Australian Nationalism and the Ideology of Sacrificial Devotion

Michael Roberts, being an abridged version of an old article presented in the Library of Social Science run by Richard Koenigsberg and others.

Addressing the practices of remembrance in Australia, Richard Koenigsberg has noted the irony that a battlefield defeat at Gallipoli in World War One, 1915, served a people as an emblem of nationhood: the “Australian nation, came into being on the foundations provided by the slaughter of its young men.”

There is more irony. The commemoration of Australian courage, sacrifice and manliness at Gallipoli (and subsequently on the Somme) was threaded by tropes of youthful innocence that drew on classical Hellenic motifs. While the monuments and epitaphs that were crafted in Australia to mark this event were manifestly Greek in form. The gendered masculine metaphor, in turn, was often embodied in the seminal image of a full-bodied blonde young man. “Archie Hamilton” in Peter Weir’s classic film Gallipoli was/is one such trope (and he died of course).

“Archie”

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From SILENCE to MADNESS …… Pauline Schokman

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Fighting LTTE Women …. Looking Back from 2016

Kim Wall and Mansi Choksi, in Longreads, May 2018 where the title is “A Chance to Rewrite History: The Women Fighters of the Tamil Tigers” …… How during a brutal, 25-year civil war in Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers failed the women soldiers who sacrificed everything to fight for a sovereign state for the Tamil minority [with a NOTE from the Editor, Thuppahi at the end]

“We went on our first reporting trip together to write about an emerging Chinatown in Kampala in 2015,” says Mansi. “And then the next year, I moved to New York, where she was living, so we would spend our afternoons working together.” Mansi and Kim traveled to Sri Lanka in 2016. Mansi recalls Kim’s dedication to telling the story of the women who fought with the Tamil Tigers during Sri Lanka’s brutal, 25-year civil war. “Kim genuinely fell in love with the women we were writing about,” says Mansi. “You can hear it in her voice, in the tapes of our interviews.”

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Understanding Yes People: Ehemai Hamu!!

Michel Nugawela in Daily FT, 8 January 2019, where the title runs thus “Why followers follow bad leaders” … ….. with highlighting emphasis added by The Editor, Thuppahi — who has also deployed images at the end in step with Nugawela’s argument

Maithripala Sirisena. Mahinda Rajapaksa. Ranil Wickremesinghe. We’ve had different leaders with the same unhappy results for decades. At the core of this country’s political gridlock and dysfunction is a failed leadership culture and not a few men jockeying for power. Our existing model of representative leadership and behavioural conduct urgently needs fixing, as does fast tracking the empowerment of a new generation of leaders in the UNP. And yet we often forget that leadership is also a two-part equation. Followers have their own identity, just as leaders have theirs. In fact, Michael Maccoby, a leadership expert who has advised, taught, and studied the leaders of companies and governments in 36 countries, says: “Followers are as powerfully driven to follow as leaders are to lead.”

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Umpire Ramos was on the Mark — A Consummate Professional Umpire

Steve Flink, in Tennis.Com, 12 September 2018 in  where the title reads “Carlos Ramos was Correct– and A Consummate Professional at the US Open

Lost in the swirl of controversy surrounding Serena Williams and her altercations with umpire Carlos Ramos during her final-round loss at the US Open to Naomi Osaka is this: despite the fact that Williams felt so aggrieved by the way Ramos applied the rules in penalizing her, he is an outstanding umpire. He was well within his rights to make hard decisions that did not meet with the approval of Serena or the multitude of fans who wanted so fervently to see her tie Margaret Court’s record of 24 major singles titles, as well as break a tie for the women’s US Open singles title record she shares with Chrissie Evert. Both Williams and Evert have garnered six crowns.

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Revelations: Oppression of the Dalits in India via A Family History

Tariq  Ali’s essay entitled THE UNSEEABLES  in the London Review of Books Vol. 40 No. 16 · 30 August 2018   …. reviewing  Ants among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India by Sujatha Gidla Daunt, 341 pp, £14.99, May, ISBN 978 1 911547 20 4

  

This is a family biography that encompasses a history rarely told: despite its longevity, caste, and caste oppression, is not a popular theme in India. Sujatha Gidla writes of poisoned lives, of disillusionment, betrayed hopes, unrequited loves, attempted escapes through alcohol and sex. What distinguishes her book is its rich mix of sociology, anthropology, history, literature and politics.

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