Doctor’s Advice from Mannar




In Mannar,  a relationship requires  a lot of pedalling…

I’m inclined to say that all of us, Mannar boys, owe it to the Europeans for the invention of the bicycles.  If a boy is serious about a relationship, this could be a busy schedule.  The boy will have to escort the girl of his dreams to school, to tuition classes and, of course, the Sunday mass at the cathedral.  That’s seven days a week.

If it’s a mutual relationship, it means, yes you guessed right, even more pedalling.  The lady would use her mother’s phone to inform her travel plans, and the gentleman is expected to drop everything and follow her at a safe distance – protecting her from any potential back stabbers.  I must admit that the boys are bent on taking it to the next level nowadays.  A few months ago, my friend hit the streets at 11.30 pm to wish his girlfriend “good life” on her birthday.  She lives some 4 kilo meters away. Make no mistake!  He cycled, there and back.

This is why doctors in Mannar advise diabetic patients to ‘fall in love.’



Elijah Hoole in his own words : 

I was born in Mannar and lived in Mannar for 18 of the 20 years of my life. Now I’m involved with SLU as a junior team member I have always stood for a united Sri Lanka since my childhood.  I love photography and guitar. you can read more of my stories at Stories of the Wind

Long-Read Podcast : Sarvi on Competition or Monopoly in Education

Your random good-read this week is a provocative piece on privatisation or not of education in Sri Lanka.

He is outspoken and challenges those who call for greater investment in ‘State’ Education.

About the Author : Muttukrishna Sarvananthan or Sarvi was born and is working in the Point Pedro Institute of Development and is Ph.D. (Wales), M.Sc. (Bristol), M.Sc. (Salford), B.A. (Hons) (Delhi). He has been an Endeavour Research Fellow at the Monash University (Melbourne, Australia) and Fulbright Visiting Research Scholar at the George Washington University (Washington D.C, USA.) as well. He can be contacted at

“The paranoia against students of international schools (beginning with the agitation against the erstwhile North Colombo Medical College during the 1980s) is part of the much larger POLITICS OF ENVY towards citizens who are entrepreneurial, independent (of public ‘free’ hand-outs), and upwardly mobile. According to this politics of envy, only the students passing-out of public schools and graduating from public universities are bhumiputras (daughters and sons of the soil) and “patriots” who deserve the patronage and privileges of the state”. Read more  

Listen :



iSrilankan picks up a good-read and converts it into a podcast read-aloud for those younger members and busier people who could possibly listen on the commute to a well-articulated writing by an author who is making an informed proposal in his writing. This is the first Long-Read Podcast. Disclaimer: As someone who has lived for years among non-English speakers my language and pronunciation has suffered. Excuse any errors.

Happy Diwali to all our friends celebrating the festival of lights

Kovil Hindu Temple, Colombo, Sri Lanka

தீபாவளி வாழ்த்துக்கள் !! I sincerely hope this means Happy Diwali in Thamil as I was not taught the language but in English the proper wish would be “iniyia deepavali nal vaazthukkall” as was told to me. If you have an improvement please suggest and have yourself a peaceful celebration in Sri Lanka and all over the world.

A hindu kovil in Colombo. I do not know which one it is but loved the light and colour captured by a Flickr photographer called Migration Mark.

A MUST-READ Editorial : Lamborghini vs Badagini




Bishop: “I’m afraid you’ve got a bad egg, Mr. Jones!”

Curate: “Oh no, my Lord, I assure you! Parts of it are excellent!”

– From Maurier’s cartoon, True Humility, (1895)

Another budget has come and gone. It is already as good as passed because the government commands a two-thirds majority in Parliament. The debate that has commenced is of little use; nothing much will be discussed.

Described as growth-oriented, Budget 2013 has elicited a positive response from a section of the business community while others have expressed displeasure. It has left the people trying to figure out what they have got and what they haven’t. What is given with one hand is dexterously taken away with the other. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, or whoever prepared the budget, has demonstrated his adeptness at sleight of hand. After all, that’s the name of the game!

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.

[Read more…]

Image of the Week

RIAZ CADER : Mugger Crocodile among the Lily pads in Wasgamuwa
Riaz Cader is Assistant Manager – Nature & Community Projects at Jetwing Hotels and on and off-the-job continues to visit Sri Lanka’s wild places to pursue his passion of wildlife photography. Riaz is a self-trained photographer and uses a Canon EOS 7D body predominantly with a Canon 100-400mmL series lens for wildlife images along with a Canon 24-105mm L series lens and Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lenses for landscapes and portraits.

Riaz Cader can be found on facebook and  flickr 

REVIEW: COMING HOME – The books of R. K. Narayan




I discovered R. K. Narayan sometime in the mid nineties when I was in my early twenties. I couldn’t believe no one had turned me onto his books before that, was upset even. Our family could not return to Sri Lanka due to the war and though we had distant relatives here, I was cut off from our family. Missing were the indulgent grandparents and avuncular uncles and aunts necessary to round out the harsh and often demanding experience it is to grow up Tamil. Living in England and then Canada, I had read British, American, and Canadian novels. I vaguely realized I wished to be a writer but had no clue how to go about it. Not just get published, but write itself.

[Read more…]

Are you being threatened? For Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri and all who doth protest

Gaya’s intro: “We don’t agree, my friend and I” are Malinda’s words and that is precisely how I feel when I read some of Malinda’s writings on the FUTA demands from the State. I do not agree with his tone, perspective, and though he raises valid points, I differ on how he communicates what I see as an opportunity for both the GoSL and FUTA which could lead to better things. However, as I said to a new Toronto friend on FB yesterday “I don’t choose friends based on their opinions” and so I consider Malinda and all those who opine different, friends.  For on some things, we all agree.

This post was first published on June 23rd and I think it is timely to re-post it as a reminder of what protestors face on a daily basis and especially after a protest is over and the media turns the cameras away.


We don’t agree,
my friend and I,
we don’t agree to disagree
but we intersect
at commonalities
respect and decency
the worth of scholarship
the privileging of debate;
we have different premise-platforms
and so,
my friend and I
we disagree.

But he is a father and so am I

he has a daughter, I have two
some third rate punk snoops around
and he gets upset;
I would too.

They’ve come with a claim:

‘From the top’;
they’ve come
and it matters not
if claim is true or false,
it matters only
that claim is a possible,
it matters also
that my friend is friend
but more than this,
he is citizen
and even more than that
he speaks his mind.

He speaks

and therefore
I can speak too;
and so I speak here
so he can speak louder.

[I will not stand shoulder-to-shoulder
with every chip-shouldered
out-of-power, want-power
loud-mouthed objector;
for I pick and choose my company,
may I add?]

My friend and I

we disagree
but there’s never been
and never will be
one word in anger.

I stand with him,
without hesitation,

and with utmost pride.

From Malinda Poems



Image of the Week



Do you know this Lady ?

Do you see yourself in her?

Is it possible to say if she were Thamil or Sinhalese ?

Do we know what she knew and do we have the right to speak on behalf of her life and cause ?

Dr. Rajini Thiranagama (née Rajasingham) (February 23, 1954 – September 21, 1989)

We will remember.

Never Again !
Her husband Dayapala Thiranagama writes on returning to Jaffna :
This summer, after 23 long years, I drove to Jaffna from Galle with my eldest daughter. We travelled through the heart of Sri Lanka on the A9 road, passing Kandy, Matale, Dambulla and Kekirawa. We drove past areas where I had worked in 1986 as a member of the Vikalpa Kandayama (Alternative Group), laying down an underground political structure. At the time, I had left my academic job in the university to do fulltime political work and was confronted by two great dangers: increasing political repression from the UNP government on the one hand and the JVP’s second insurrection on the other. In my journey from the place of my birth, Galle, to Jaffna in the north, I retraced my own political journey in Sri Lanka to its conclusion, the grave of my wife Rajani.
Starting a family in Jaffna with Rajani, in the midst of the Tamil community was a life enriching experience. Having two young daughters added happiness and an extra stability for us. However, the apparent tranquillity in Jaffna could not be taken for granted. The subsequent years the situation began to change from bad to worse.  We never expected that the life was going to be smooth but we never envisaged what was to follow. The war and its horrors that tore apart so many family lives made a lasting impact on the whole community.  Returning to Jaffna again to painfully revisit the past was a difficult experience.

This time I found myself listening more… talking less.


So I went home to childhood and memories. They were all there where I had left em, though many unexpected changes made it impossible to do all what I had planned to on holiday.  You go home and your mother has aged while you were away and needs a different pace, more care. Then relatives pass away with no warning, not one but two sometimes.  You see things that need care and repair, homes, relationships and you are outside looking in. You have to be careful not to ruffle feathers and know your place as an outsider.

[Read more…]