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Slums, shanties or stories?

Image courtesy Sharni Jayawardena and Tarika Wickremeratne, Walkabout: Slave Island An article titled A slum and shanties free Colombo by 2020 recently published on the infamous defence.lk site notes that, “Our effort is to see a slums and shanties free Colombo in year 2020″ said Mr. Weerasena Adikari, Senior Consultant of Urban Development Authority speaking […]

From shanty to home : Myth vs reality of Colombo’s Urban Regeneration Project

Photo by Abdul-Halik Azeez, courtesy The Picture Press The ambitious Urban Regeneration Project (URP) launched by the Ministry of Defense and Urban Development aims to transform Colombo into a world-class destination for tourism and investment. Central to this eliminating “shanties, slums and other dilapidated housing from the city of Colombo by resettlement of the families […]

“Where are the Sri Lankan Female Scientists?” A Case of Democratizing Science

Photo by Reuters, courtesy International Business Times In recent decades, many researchers, education specialists and policy advocates have paid increasing attention to the issue of gender bias in science. While several successful attempts have been made to increase female participation in science, a dearth of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields still […]

Tiananmen Square, Egg Wash and Tank Man: Reflections after 25 years

AP Photo/Jeff Widener, courtesy The Atlantic‘s terrific photo essay ‘Tiananmen Square, Then and Now‘ In 2009, Canadian author Denise Chong published a book called “Egg on Mao: The Story of an Ordinary Man Who Defaced an Icon and Unmasked a Dictatorship”. The main subject of the book is a friend of mine, exiled Chinese dissident […]

War, Peace, Pluralism and Prosperity

Image via Whole Planet Foundation “The victor belongs to the spoils” F. Scott Fitzgerald observed, and this is being played out in Sri Lanka as it tries to find its balance five years after the war ended. In the meantime, politics feeds itself by conveniently pandering to the masses, the Sinhala majority who looks at […]

Erasing Identities: Tracing Sri Lanka’s Post-war Journey through the Changing Realities of Trincomalee

Introduction When I went to Trincomalee last November with a few university friends I noticed a distinct unfriendliness in the air. While growing up, I often visited Trincomalee, because my cousins lived there. Now the Trincomalee I knew and loved from my childhood was no more. Something else had taken its place. Trincomalee today is […]

Keep Off the Grass

Photo courtesy Pri’s blog Colombo has been blossoming under the keen watch of Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, who, in his self-appointed role as Godfather, presides over a grand plan of urban beautification that will ultimately, we suppose he believes, turn Colombo into a first-world city like any of the world’s greatest cities; high-rises crowding the […]

Colombo’s changing cityscape

Introduction Since the end of the war in 2009, reconstruction and development in Sri Lanka has centred primarily on rapid economic development (Bopage, 2010; Goodhand, 2011). This can be seen in the current drive to transform Colombo into a “world-class city”, as a “preferred destination for international business and tourism” (Secretary of Defence and Urban […]

Will the space between lagging development and devolution be occupied by ‘Prabahakaranism’?

Photo credit Amantha Perera, IPS The current dialogue between development and devolution is taking too much time, getting too drawn out.  Very little information on the process is available for effective public dissemination.  In the meantime the space between the two positions is beginning to be occupied by ‘squatters’ with the Prabhakaran ethos.  Having spent so […]

An economy that unites, reconciliation that divides in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Vikalpa There are some issues that divide Sri Lankans and there are some issues that unite Sri Lankans. While the cost of living, unemployment and education bring the opinions of the four main communities together, topics such as reconciliation and identity continue to divide. On the economy, the cost of living is what […]

Innovating Under Duress: Implications of the Global Innovation Index for Sri Lanka

Science writer Nalaka Gunawardene in conversation with Dr Ajith de Alwis, engineer and public intellectual Sri Lanka was ranked at No 98 among 142 countries worldwide in the Global Innovation Index 2013 (GII 2013) released in July. The ranking in 2012 was 94. GII 2013 looks at 142 economies around the world, using 84 indicators […]