FUTA: How I stopped worrying and learned to love conspiracy theories

No, it’s not the acronym for the football association of Sri Lanka, in case you are wondering. It’s the federation of university teachers’ associations that we are talking about. Why did they suddenly come into the limelight? Because they led one of the longest trade union strikes in recent Sri Lankan history, and have gathered support from more quarters than anticipated. [Read more…]

Invisible subsidies: women’s undervalued contribution to the economy


(It) “takes the work of many people to get the egg from the hen to its consumer” ( Weaver, Rock & Kunsterer, 1997)

Gaya’s intro: I am delighted to include a good-read from a member of the Peradeniya University Faculty. I welcome Dileni’s writings in her plain English style which is easy to read and understand for the non academic readers. iSrilankan would love to feature diverse, informed and insightful writings from independent writers on issues facing women, men and children in Sri Lankan society today.

The idea that women subsidize men by their unpaid work has been around for a long time. Women’s unpaid work includes such work as growing crops in a home garden, helping out at the family “boutique” or kade, or similar unpaid work in a family enterprise. But, what about the housework and child-rearing that women typically do? This work, too has been long recognized by social scientists as unpaid work.

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FUTA Stories: Two university students died this morning


Two University students died this morning in the Gampaha-Imbulgoda area. their names are Janaka and Sisitha.

They were on a motorcycle and were speeding say eyewitness accounts. Both were instantly killed when the motorcycle hit a lamp post and nothing further is clear at this moment.  This is the news report published earlier today.  Janaka and Sisitha are activists in the Inter-University Student Union and were on their way to carry out organisational tasks related to the protests when this fatal accident took place.  Fingers are pointed and outrage is gathering dust. Suspicion as always shrouds the incident which could have been a motorcycle accident, tragic but not a premeditated killing linked to the identity or activity of the two young people.

How will FUTA react? This is a crucial stage in the nonviolent trade union action for better state education.

Even as the temperature rises FUTA would do well to give their colleagues and supporters the reassurance that they are not reactionary. They must keep in focus the main demands that resulted in this nonviolent protest in order to engage the Government in discussions from a position with greater leverage of power.  A violent reaction by the students could only bring discredit to the Union action and a derailment of the overall objective of the action taken by FUTA.

Janaka and Sisitha RIP. Speed may have once again claimed lives mercilessly.  Beyond that we do not know at this moment any other sinister cause of your death.  Yours was an all-too-early death and we mourn you.


FUTA STORY: Open a school door, close a prison !!

VIVIMARIE VANDERPOORTEN Open a School Door, Close a Prison

This is a photoessay of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) – Trade Union Action 2012, Sri Lanka. The wonderful soundtrack with multilingual lyrics was specially composed for FUTA’s campaign by Faculty of Music, University of the Visual & Performing Arts, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

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FUTA stories : The FUTA strike and the conspiracy stories



“All in the FUTA are quite aware of the fact the UPFA is not a weak government that can fall, merely because academics are engaged in a protracted strike. They know that bringing political pressure on the government is a legitimate and lawful strategy to win their trade union demands. Unions usually do such mobilization as a part of trade union politics. However, mobilization can spread to other sectors, not because of the FUTA action, but because of the way in which the government handles it.”

Dr. Jayadeva Uyangoda


The Catch is in : Seeman, Seamen and 150 Fishermen



Above Photo : Fishermen at Casaurina Beach by Indi.ca



Do you remember the parable of feeding the 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes taught to Christian children in Sunday school?

Today I heard a parable of Seeman, seamen from the Navy and fishy fisherman.  Now fishermen from the North have been reported in national newspapers in politically-stigmatising terms.  The Island, Colombo Telegraph and other reports have featured this controversial news that still remains an accusation of one government and a denial by another. [Read more…]

A Cricket Smile Maasai-style ;)




At first I thought it was another inane April Fool’s joke.

But then Getty Images looked pretty impressive and this one pic especially I found arresting cos there is something very familiar in this ‘cricket smile’.   [Read more…]

Walking Down the Hallway with Janet

By Maryanne Kooda

She walked out of the classroom as the lesson ended. I walked alongside her, but I did not reach out to help her when she stumbled and hit a low wall as she missed her turn towards the other corner of the hallway. [Read more…]

On the Bus

By Tulie Muttulingam

Traveling in buses is a tiresome experience most of us endure every day. Crowded conditions, molesters, bus conductors who never bother to return your Rs.1 or 2 but throw you out if you are 50 cents short of the required bus fare…

I don’t know about you but all that and more are just a few of the things that brings me to office minus the bright morning cheeriness and chirrupiness that psychologists tell us we have to start our day with. [Read more…]