Category Archives: welfare & philanthophy

The Plantation Economy in British Ceylon: The Downtrodden Indian Tamil Labour and the Dispossessed Kandyan Peasantry

Uditha Devapriya, in SAT MAG” of The Island on September 19 and September 26, 2020.

PREFACE: This essay does not present a complete history of plantation slavery, which anyway has been covered many times before by scholars of repute, including Professor Asoka Bandarage, whose Colonialism in Sri Lanka went through a second edition recently. Rather, it counters Sinhala nationalists and those opposed to Sinhala nationalists who equate the position of African-Americans with that of Tamils and Muslims, indicating a failure to distinguish between minority communities which thrived under conditions of colonialism (and neocolonialism) and those which suffered under those conditions. It also counters certain “Marxist” and rightwing academics who see the plantation system as capitalist, and who, while either sympathising with the plight of Estate Tamils or ignoring them outright, single out Kandyan Sinhalese peasants for what they allege to have been their innate laziness under British colonialism, a myth demolished by S. B. D. de Silva in his underrated and unread magnum opusThe Political Economy of Underdevelopment.

Tea Plantation labour in Ceylon – circa 1890s

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under British colonialism, British imperialism, caste issues, centre-periphery relations, commoditification, economic processes, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, island economy, land policies, landscape wondrous, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, social justice, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world events & processes

Dr RL Spittel: A Learned Man for the Väddās and the Wild

Richard Boyle. in Serendib, October 2013 where the title runs thus “Dr. R. L. Spittel: City Surgeon, Jungle Doctor, Wildlife Crusader”

In the late 1880s, a boy with the ambition to become a leading physician stood in a jungle clearing watching his surgeon-father perform an autopsy. From the undergrowth a member of the aboriginal people, the Veddahs, suddenly appeared. Their eyes met for one brief moment before the shy Veddah hastily withdrew. It was Richard Lionel Spittel’s first experience of a Veddah; an encounter that profoundly affected his life.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, ancient civilisations, art & allure bewitching, centre-periphery relations, charitable outreach, communal relations, cultural transmission, education, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, medical puzzles, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Sri Lankan Expressiveness: Warm Gratitude and Vicious Vituperation

Michael Roberts

I did not see the article that highlighted the manner in which the Tamil people of Vishvamadu feted and lamented the departure of the Sinhalese Military Commander of that arena, Ratnapriya Bandu, when it was originally placed in the public domain in late 2018. This striking presentation was the result of a combination between Shenali Waduge in Lanka and the SPUR organisation in Melbourne, an alliance that immediately indicates orientations laced with sentiments of a chauvinist Sinhala hue.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, atrocities, charitable outreach, communal relations, cultural transmission, disparagement, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, meditations, politIcal discourse, prabhakaran, psychological urges, religiosity, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, unusual people, vengeance, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Chinese Ambassador Hu Wei in Q nd A with Kelum Bandara

Acting Chinese Ambassador Hu Wei speaks to Daily Mirror about the present status of bilateral relations. He responds to questions about controversial issues involving China with India and the United States at the moment…. 14 September 2020

  • Debt moratorium from China to Sri Lanka might only solve a small percentage of existing problems but with huge prices.
  • Some subsidiary companies of China Communications Construction Company are blacklisted
  • China never says China First and force Sri Lanka to choose sides
  • Legacy of “Rubber-Rice Pact” Safeguards China and Sri Lanka’s Cooperation against Foreign Threats
  • China provided  a loan of  US $ 500 million in March when  Sri Lanka needed some urgent loans to settle external borrowings and fight the pandemic 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, China and Chinese influences, economic processes, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, transport and communications, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

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.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, art & allure bewitching, caste issues, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, cultural transmission, democratic measures, economic processes, education, ethnicity, gender norms, heritage, historical interpretation, human rights, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, meditations, modernity & modernization, patriotism, performance, photography, politIcal discourse, reconciliation, rehabilitation, religiosity, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, social justice, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions

Epitaphs in Memory of Elmo de Alwis of Kalahe

Nihal De Alwis

Elmo was born on the 29th Of November 1935 in Galle to my loving parents FELIX DE ALWIS and ENID BERYL DE ALWIS. He was the seventh in our family of eleven He was my closest brother and friend throughout my schooling career until he left Sri Lanka with his family to Germany. But he never distanced himself from me and my family though he did not come very often to Sri Lanka having ensured that he was in Sri Lanka at least once a year especially in February. He was the most intelligent out of our family except for Fidelia our eldest sister, who had passed the senior matriculation in the early forties and my other eldest brother Chandra, who excelled as an entrepreneur being the managing Director of Lankem and Lanka wall tiles and becoming Founder Chairman of Royal Ceramics.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, British colonialism, chauvinism, communal relations, cultural transmission, education, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, meditations, performance, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, tolerance, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

A Long Life … Without a Car

This is a wonderful piece by Michael Gartner, editor of newspapers large and small and president of NBC News.  In 1997, he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.  It is well worth reading, and a few good chuckles are guaranteed. 
 My Father
My father never drove a car.  Well, that’s not quite right.  I should say I never saw him drive a car. He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.
Overland Whippett 1926

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, historical interpretation, life stories, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Colombo Port City via Chinese Alliance

News Item in Colombo Times, 18 September 2020, with this title “Colombo Port City … has attrcted 16 billion dollar investment ….”

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said the Colombo Port City Project will become the main source of income for the country and the project will generate more than 83,000 employment opportunities.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, architects & architecture, centre-periphery relations, China and Chinese influences, commoditification, economic processes, export issues, foreign policy, governance, growth pole, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, propaganda, Rajapaksa regime, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, transport and communications, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Stepladders in Learning at St. Aloysius College in Galle

Daya Lelwela, in Sunday Island, 2 May 2010

Having lived past the biblical span of three score years and ten, I thought it opportune now for me to make this reminiscent journey back in time to my days in school [viz. S. Aloysius College] before my fading, patchy memory were to rob me completely of those golden moments that I have cherished all my life and wish to share with you.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under accountability, economic processes, education, education policy, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, language policies, life stories, performance, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, teaching profession, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world events & processes

The Democratization Process in Ceylon, 1832-1948

Michael Roberts: “The Democratization Process in Sri Lanka,”  being the text of an Illustrated Lecture on Video presented to The May 18 Memorial Foundation in Korea in early September 2020 …. as part of a series encompassing several countries — organised by Professor Inrae You. The Lecture was, as I understood it, for highschool students.

The democratisation process began in the period of British rule in the 20th century. It would however be unwise to start with the early 20th century. One should look at the prehistory of the island of Ceylon before that. Ceylon, Ceilão, Sihalē had forms of autocratic kingship well before the European colonial powers came to Asia and set up their colonies.

Rajasinghe II of Sihale ruling from Mahanuvara and receiving homage (dakuma) from the Dutch

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, British colonialism, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, constitutional amendments, democratic measures, devolution, economic processes, electoral structures, female empowerment, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, nationalism, parliamentary elections, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes