Category Archives: modernity & modernization

St. Thomas’ College: A Wide-ranging History of the ‘School by the Sea’

David Sansoni, whose preferred title is “STC – an unauthorised history of Lanka’s greatest Public School”

Richard Simon’s ‘history of Lanka’s greatest public school’, is an epic poem!
Epic, in its reach; poetic, in its lyricism, this towering, magnificent opus is a pearl, of both history and literature. “STC” touches the soul and core, of historophile, linguaphile and bibliophile; Christian, Lankan and, above all, Thomian.


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From Rural Poverty to Peradeniya Professorship: Vale for Prof. N. D. Samarawickreme (1943-2022)

Sachchitra Samarawickreme, in The Island, 7 January 2023 

We owe our existence to a string of unforeseeable events, repeated arbitrary fortune. My father was born in a rural part of the country. He was the eldest of ten siblings, who survived the circumstances and transitioned out of the village. The privileged upbringing and opportunities I had stand in stark contrast to his experience. That I exist is a tribute to his journey.

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Female Attire in Sri Lanka and AK Coomaraswamy

Laleen Jayamanne, in The Island, 28 December 2022, reviewing Ayesha Wickramasinghe’s ‘The Dress of Women in Sri Lanka’

Dr. Ayesha Wickramasinghe, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Textile and Apparel Engineering, at the University of Moratuwa, has recently published her doctoral research on sartorial styles, The Dress of Women in Sri Lanka (2021), in a handsomely designed hardcover book. The historical information, which spans the colonial and the postcolonial periods, with glances at the ancient past, is presented as a cultural survey, in an engaging manner, with a large number of photographs embedded, in the text, as illustrations. It has been published by The National Science Foundation and has recently received a national award as well.

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St. Joseph’s College in Colombo: Its Early History

Following up on Till the Mountains Disappear, Dr. Srilal Fernando (Melbourne) and Avishka Mario Seneviratne have authored a new book Fruits of Virtue: An Early History of St. Joseph’s College.

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The Potency Borne by Pictures

Michael Roberts

This little presentation is a DEDICATION. It illustrates the potency and power of friends in producing an academic booklet in 2011. As it happens, the booklet bears the title Potency, Power & People in Groups and was financed by the good friends Godfrey & Amar Gunatilleke of the Marga Institute.

The “Acknowledgements” and the “Foreword” taken together spell out the names of those friends who assisted this project. But let me single out Anura Hettiarachchi for his aid in this project and in the endeavours leading to my book on Sinhala Consciousness in the Kandyan Period (Colombo, Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2004) because he was struck down by heart failure recently.

To Anura, then, in gratitude I place this item in my website.

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The DRS Technology as Idea: Senaka Weeraratna’s Inventive Mind

Senaka Weeraratna 

Both the DRS in Cricket and Goal Line Technology in Soccer have a common origin in the ‘Player Referral’ concept conceived by Senaka Weeraratna in 1997.

This was the first occasion in world history that a case was made (in 1997), using the analogy of the apellate function of the legal system, to press home the point that we needed to adopt it on the playing field in a modified form in combination with modern technology, i.e. video play back in the hands of Third Umpire, to determine the accuracy of a decision made by an on field or ground umpire by way of a Review System.

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Fraternal Polyandry in Ceylon in Dutch Times

Jan Kok, Luc Bulten and Bente M. de Leede:

“Persecuted or permitted? Fraternal Polyandry in a Calvinist colony, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,” a work published by Cambridge University Press, 2022 … presented here in Thuppahi in synopsis

Abstract: Several studies assume that Calvinist Christianity severely undermined or even persecuted the practice of polyandry in the Sri Lankan areas under Dutch control. We analyze Dutch colonial policy and Church activities toward polyandry by combining ecclesiastical and legal sources. Moreover, we use the Dutch colonial administration of the Sinhalese population to estimate the prevalence of polyandry. We conclude that polyandry was far from extinct by the end of the Dutch period and we argue that the colonial government was simply not knowledgeable, interested and effective enough to persecute the practice in the rural areas under its control.

 

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Re-ordering Sri Lanka’s Debt: The China-Lanka Relations Now

Demystifying China’s Role in Sri Lanka’s Debt RestructuringChina’s President Xi Jinping, left, waves as he walks with then Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa upon arrival at the airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sept. 16, 2014 ….. Credit: AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena
Currently, Sri Lanka is in the process of restructuring its foreign debt after announcing the country’s first sovereign default on April 12. As the largest bilateral creditor, China is playing a key role in Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring process.

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Gunaratne Twins Receive Melbourne University Doctorates on the Same Day

Item in the Daily Mirror [of Sri Lanka], 20 December 2022, entitled  “SL twins become Melbourne Uni’s first twin PhD graduates” 

For the first time in its 168-year history, the University of Melbourne has awarded simultaneous PhDs to identical twins, the University said in a statement. Nadeesha and Thejani Gunaratne commenced PhDs with the University in 2016 following studies in Food Science and Technology at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in their home country of Sri Lanka.

 

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Forging Revolutionary Paths. In the Sea. Tamil Females ‘breach’ Arugam Bay

 “The Rise of Sri Lanka’s Female Surfers,” — An Article by Zinara Rathnayaake with Snaps by Tommy Schultz, ….

Introduction by Glenn T Goodwin:  “A new, all-women Surf Club in Sri Lanka is enriching the country’s burgeoning surfing scene while defying cultural expectations.

I had a chance to live in Sri Lanka for three weeks doing humanitarian relief work after the 2004 tsunami. The tragedy of lost lives and communities just made the harsh vibe of a chronic politically torn culture even more tense. Although much of the east coast was obliterated, I did get a chance to surf at Arugam Bay, (one of the favorite spots for Aussie surfers and one of mine too, my memory still reminds me of the sweet waves at Arugam).

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