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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 […]

A-Z of Sri Lankan English: N is for na tree and nil manel

The national tree and the national flower were both in the news this year. In August the uprooting of the Indian willows lining Independence Avenue to be replaced by indigenous na trees as part of Colombo’s beautification programme provoked angry reactions, as reported on Groundviews here. The na tree (English name: ironwood; botanical name: mesua […]

Reply to the Rebuttal of my article by the SJC87 Initiative

I welcome the statement by the SJC87 Initiative rebutting my aspersions about this charity. The primary focus of my research note was the contents and the publicity material of the book by Niromi de Soyza (nom de guerre). The SJC87 Initiative came into scrutiny because of the claim by the author of the Tamil Tigress […]

Separating Fact from Fantasy on the ‘Research Note’ by ‘the Principal Researcher’ Mr. Muttukrishna Sarvananthan

Editors note: Also read Reply to the Rebuttal of my article by the SJC87 Initiative by Muttukrishna Sarvananthan. ### A Response by the SJC87 Working committee to Mr. M. Sarvananthan’s ‘research note,’ titled Outing a Counterfeit Guerrilla: A tale of lies by Tamil Tigress by Niromi de Soyza published on Groundviews (19 Nov, 2011) and Sunday […]

Rebellion, Repression and the Struggle for Justice in Sri Lanka: The Lionel Bopage story

This is a book that documents the life story of Lionel Bopage, who was one of the highest ranking leaders of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP- the Peoples’ Liberation Front) and a major figure in the JVP led youth insurrection of 1971 in Sri Lanka, drawing on a series of personal interviews with him. After […]

Outing a Counterfeit Guerrilla: A tale of lies by Tamil Tigress Niromi de Soyza

The objective of this research note is not only to uncover the truth or otherwise of the “memoir” by Niromi de Soyza (nom de guerre) titled Tamil Tigress: My story as a child soldier in Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war, but to go beyond and investigate the purpose/s of publication of her “personal story” and […]

A-Z of Sri Lankan English: M is for monitor lizard

Sunimal Fernando, speaking from the audience at my presentation on Sri Lankan English at the recent conference on Language and Social Cohesion (Colombo, 17-19 October), confirmed my own conclusion, that while the “English as a Life Skill” programme continues, Sri Lankan English has been quietly dropped from the agenda. This may be welcome news to […]

Reflections on Issues of Language in Sri Lanka: Power, Exclusion and Inclusion

Photo credit Dinuka Liyanawatte / Reuters, from Time magazine. Keynote address delivered on 17th October 2011 at ‘Language and Social Cohesion: 9th International Language and Development Conference, Colombo co-organized by the Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration, Ministry  of Education, GIZ, AusAID and British Council. ### Approach Language is never a simple issue of […]