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Review of ‘Kandy at War’ by Channa Wickremesekera

Image courtesy Sri Lanka Travel Guide “When we think of it, we see at once what the confusion of thought was to which the Western poet [i.e. Rudyard Kipling], dwelling upon the difference between East and West, referred when he said, ‘Never the twain shall meet.’ It is true that they are not yet showing […]

A-Z of Sri Lankan English: R is for rubber slippers

Image courtesy Odel They’re called thongs in Australia, jandals in New Zealand, Hawaii chappals in India and Pakistan. According to Wikipedia, they’re known as slip-slops in South Africa, go-aheads in the South Pacific, japonkis in Poland, and vietnamkis in Russia. The standard term in the UK and the US is flip-flops. Here in Sri Lanka […]

Arthur C Clarke’s World of 2012: Insights from his Titanic Novel

The year was 1989. Margaret Thatcher and George Bush, Snr., were in office. Mikhail Gorbachev was slowly but surely dismantling the Soviet Union. The infamous Iron Curtain was crumbling under pressure from ‘people power’ across Eastern Europe. On the technology front, Personal Computers (PCs) had entered the market only a few years earlier: they were […]

A-Z of Sri Lankan English: Q is for quazi

Equality before the law? I’m no lawyer, but I have always wondered how this fundamental principle is possible in a country with several different legal systems operating alongside one another. The main systems are Roman-Dutch law and the British legal system, bequeathed by the colonial administrators. But three other systems also survive – Kandyan law, […]

Some Comments of Udayasiri Wickramaratne’s ‘Suddek Oba Amathai’

Photo courtesy Suddek Oba Amatai Facebook page It is Lakshman Piyasena, introduced to me by my friend Jayantha Dhanapala, who first told me of Udayasiri Wickramaratne’s play. Piyasena urged Dhanapala and me to see a performance of Suddek Oba Amatai and kept us informed of dates when the play was due to go on the boards […]

Five Precepts of Identifying a Sri Lankan Traitor

Image courtesy Transparency International Recently an air of nervousness has insinuated itself in to the Sri Lankan psyche. Doubt and uneasiness seem to be seeping like moisture through invisible social capillaries, carrying a message of treachery.  Evident is an alien concern; being branded foully on this island, which suddenly seems to have become a wellspring […]

In conversation with Shashi Tharoor at Galle Literary Festival

As part of the Galle Literary Festival, I had the opportunity to speak with Shashi Tharoor, whose writing I’ve immensely enjoyed read since my University days in India. As the festival’s website notes, Shashi Tharoor is the prize-winning author of twelve books, both fiction and non-fiction, including the classic The Great Indian Novel (1989), India: […]

A-Z of Sri Lankan English: O is for our people

Boys will not always be boys! Photo credit: National Geographic The possessive pronoun “our” is deceptively simple. But who are the “we” that it refers to? The expression our people is a remarkably high-frequency term in Sri Lankan English. On a search of the Groundviews website, the phrase gets around 400 hits, compared to just […]

Good English skills over a University education?

Image courtesy Seven myths about English Education in Sri Lanka, by Ajith P. Perera It was not so long ago that the post-nominals B.A. (Calcutta) Failed was a sure route to employment in the administrative cadre of the  Government of India, in addition to being a matter of distinction in their own right. Even a decade ago, the university degree […]

Clouds of Deception: Jeyaraj anoints and cloaks Niromi Tigress

Writing from a Tamil nationalist position which occasionally earned the LTTE monster’s ire, David Jeyaraj has provided the world with invaluable service over the years. He had considerable information on both the Tiger operations and behind the scene events in the Tamil north. I have utilized his articles on numerous occasions.[i] However,  in jumping to […]

Niromi 2009 versus Niromi Tigress 2011

Niromi de Soyza’s so-called autobiography, Tamil Tigress, has received extensive coverage in Australia and has traversed the world now because of critical reviews by several personnel and devoted defence from others. It has been described as “part memoir, part compelling reportage, part mea culpa” by Nikki Barrowclough in the Sydney Morning Herald’s weekend magazine.[i] Gordon […]

The singer might change but the song remains the same: A critical look at Roberts and Sarvananthan ‘outing’ Niromi de Soyza

“….. Everybody believed them to be solid and inanimate – to be true facts. No one yet understood that life would become an uncomfortable, endless walk down a sea shore laid thick with facts of all sizes and shapes. Boulders, pebbles, shards, perfect ovals. No one had begun to imagine that these facts were without […]