Do you remember Johnny Batta? The irony of it all…

A comment on De-Mining Sri Lanka: A Job for Widows and Survivors

Screen shot 2016-01-19 at 11.40.22 AMRead Smriti Daniel’s article on Al-Jazeera published on 12 January 2016. Enter a world you didn’t know existed, but one which Vimaleswaran Gunamala, Ananda Chandrasiri, Damian O’ Brien of the HALO trust —and even His Excellency the British High Commissioner James Dauris, who previously in Columbia knew de-mining and HALO’s work and visited Kilinochchi last May—are fully aware of.

This is Mahumalai, Kilinochchi in the baking heat of a northern sun.

The LTTE laid a circle of explosives around a well where soldiers might stop for water or in the gardens of homes they abandoned to the advancing Sri Lankan army. Mines have been found in pots of curd and plastic cricket bats.

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Don’t miss out on Kenan Malik in Galle, Colombo or Jaffna!

Screen shot 2016-01-13 at 2.15.12 PMA must-see, must-hear, writer-lecturer-broadcaster is in town—Kenan Malik— the author of the book I am reading right now and one of the cleverest dudes of our times.

Which town? If you glance to the right you will see the ‘what’s on’ listings of  the three listed events in Galle, Colombo and Jaffna as part of the Galle Literary Festival 2016. For the lazies, the Galle literary dinner is on the 16th January at the Galle Fort Hotel, the talk at the British Council Library with Smriti Daniel is on 20th and the Jaffna Public Library event on the 23rd January. How lucky they are; how jealous I am.

I discovered Kenan Malik right after the Paris attacks. His After Paris post on his blog Pandaemonium was refreshingly lucid and plotted the factors that many jihadi-junkies failed to draw together to create the admittedly-grey none-too-clear map of the nature and unknown multi-cause of radical extremism in Europe, today.

Then there was the analysis of multiculturalism. Clever writers you thank from the depths of your non-racist, shocked-by-Trump, non-convert-to-media-bullshit-awe, Self. Thanks for being clever and actually putting it out there from an angle that comes with a background in neurobiology and philosophy and an interest in ideas, race, immigration, religion, the works.

Screen shot 2016-01-13 at 2.13.46 PMI am jealous. Reading The Quest for a Moral Compass, I wished that I had bought a ticket to be there at the GLF to hear Malik on home soil. How amazing Galle is as a backdrop to the arts: the beauty of the snow-white mosque overlooking the coast where the Portuguese named Galle after the proverbial rooster ‘galo’, the Dutch fort reclining on its haunches (claimed by many since), and the crows, rocks, restaurants, peddlar street cafes and sunset waders, all bringing Galle, the southern heel of Sri Lanka, to life.

I wish I were there to hear him. Instead, I am in London. So please do go in my place and read the book if you can lay your hands on it. If not, let me know and I’ll try to bring a copy in April for selected souls who will repay the favour with a nice hopper dinner or crab curry;)  I am sure you will find it stimulating your grey cells, your belief and your desires for your society in this odd phase of human evolution. He wrote others, but right now I am deep in this one, and so you understand.

Screen shot 2016-01-13 at 12.11.15 PMThe GLF as it is known may not have an easy ride—as nothing ever has in Sri Lanka—as the tuk-tuk ride through the years of organised events and exercising discretion, reveals. It takes courage, as ‘Shyam-courage in the time of boycotting’ showed, takes belief and effort and thankless tireless passion and drive. So a vote of thanks to all those who stick their neck out rooster-fashion to crow in another GLF: For a tsunami-flooded, war-battered and post-colonial country, we have another event that brings in the world to a corner of paradise we know so well: Good on you!





MUST-SEE: ‘Meya Thuwakkuwak Nove!’ This is not a gun!


20th August at 7 p.m. at the Lionel Wendt Theatre. Go get yourself and a friend a ticket. Details here !

Seeing Chamila Priyanka’s Meya Thuwakkuwak Nove left me with a flurry of thoughts, moved by the gust of politics created by the play. I still have not fully recovered. It was such a powerful play. I am still in a state of disbelief that this play is directed by an amateur director; that this is his debut.

meya thuwakkuwak nove featured

Genre-wise, the play is close to a political satire, but Chamila has not succumbed to the recent trend in Sinhala theater: very superficial renditions of the contemporary political context in which the audience indulge in a brief spell of thrill and amusement by guessing the play’s characters in real life – “oh this is Duminda Silva”… “no, that’s actually Mervin Silva”, so on and so forth.

Chamila has successfully transcended this calling out for well-deserved appreciation and praise for his political maturity and theatrical acumen.

He courageously treads a dangerous minefield by discussing the politics of religiosities in Sri Lanka, particularly the contemporary twists and turns in the institution of Buddhism in a hyper ethno-nationalistic backdrop colored by an aura of triumphalism and a militarized culture that permeates every nook and corner of our society.4

I hesitate to call this a ‘youth play’, though Chamila, as well as his cast and the production team, are in the prime of their youth. The reason is that they do an excellent job of work, almost on par with the so-called “seniors and professionals” in Sri Lankan theater. Though we have not heard their names before, these actors appear reasonably trained and definitely serious in what they do. Their acting is refreshingly good and makes a lasting bond between the players and the audience throughout the play.

What an ingenious idea to have an old yellow Lambretta scooter as the main prop of the play? It conjures up multiple meanings and symbolic values related to the plot of the play, and adds a sharp visual irony to the stage.1

Chamila seems to be a visionary as he had coined the name of the play as far back as in late 2012, which precedes the recent ‘playful act’ by a Mayor in a Southern city. Chamila Priyanka needs to be congratulated for his achievement and thanked for giving us a wholesome theatrical treat.

Chamila has indeed made his debut with a big bang but he remains humble and modest with his characteristic coy smile.

Udan Fernando, PhD Researcher Visiting Academic, Open University of Sri Lanka.

Photocredits: Achintha Dahanayake

“இனிய புத்தாண்டு நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள் & ශුභ අළුත් අවුරුද්දක් වේවා”

It’s Avurudu time. We live in Italy where there is no koha, alas. Other avurudus were sad and void of hope; in short, pretty hopeless. There was no end in sight. Kohas sounded hollow and Avurudu only meant that Southern Colombo people could leave the city for a long weekend confining themselves to safe cities outside the war zone.

kokisWe managed pretty well though, as we did all our lives, to make Avurudu a time of celebration with friends and to eat some kavum and aasmi type stuff with ripe bananas. The more traditional of us would have a ‘gama’ to go to and at this time would return to the walawwa or some relative who stayed behind. A friend, Dileepa, once said to me in Sinhala ‘ Avuruddata yanna gamak nethi kenaa duppath manussayek’ ‘those who do not have a village to return to in the time of Avurudu are truly poor’.

I am in the global village and so I went to Pali kade to wish Pali and family from Matara a happy Avurudu. He had not got kavum this year cos his mother had just passed away and there were no celebrations…

I called my mother’s carer who is living in the old house and looking after her and she said she had made kiribath for my mother that morning…

Times have changed and are changing. It takes a lot of imagination and creativity to bring Avurudu in its truest meaning alive. But I think it is not impossible. Maybe we should focus less on the Kavum and external manifestations of the traditions and focus on the values themselves.

Yesterday I read this super post by a friend of mine whose family goes back to Moratuwa, where mine is. Udan Fernando returned from the Netherlands to Sri Lanka and lives there now. He writes about Diversity being a Blessing as he finds a Muslim eatery that is still open at Avurudu, but there is a subtle plea in that post if one detects it.

Avurudu_SwingHere is another beautiful thought at avurudu and strangely, this too is from someone who happened to live his childhood at some point in Moratuwa. Thereafter he lived in other countries and is a rather unique human being if you read his blogs and literary interests. Sereno Barr-K as I call him in my mind, went to school with a brother of mine. I hope I meet him personally at some point in this life. Here is his writing  and remembering what it was like to have three swings made by his Thamil father in the garden and how traditions are dying out: Best wishes for a Sri Lankan New Year ! Yes, Sri Lankan.

It’s not the swing, or the semantics in the end, it is what and who we would like to be and how we would like to evolve, what we keep and what we improve on that will make the Sinhala, Thamil and Sri Lankan including Muslim avurudu values truly worth celebrating both in Sri Lanka and in the Global Gama-Village  where, Seeni Sambol and Katta Sambol doesn’t always come in MD bottles and red rice and Maggi coconut milk can make a nice kiribath!

“இனிய புத்தாண்டு நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள் & ශුභ අළුත් අවුරුද්දක් වේවා”

Image of the Week

Bludge at The Good market

The Good Market


Content below is reproduced from the Facebook page of The Good Market-Colombo.
You need to be healthy & happy to trip properly 🙂 Be informed & eat healthy!! If your BLUDGEING around in Colombo, Sri Lanka do check out the The Good Market – Colombo happening today!! Good Market

Good for the Planet. Good for the Country. Good for You.

The Good Market is a weekly festival of natural food, local arts and crafts, and live entertainment. It’s a place to meet friends, enjoy a meal, and find a range of healthy, environmentally friendly products that are not readily available anywhere else in Sri Lanka.
Check out the bludge website – t shirts for the tripped out!!-) ♥
Check out The Good Market on Facebook



Were you at the Galle Literary Festival 2012?

A photoessay by Gary Paramanathan
A walk through the 2012 Galle Literary Festival from the perspective of a middle-of-the-road reader, and a bit of gossiper. [Read more…]

Please let us know of special Srilankan events around the world !


WHAT’S ON : It’s time to look around the world at the diverse, oomphy events that draw iSrilankans together in creative spaces. Who’s doing it and why is very important. We would like to hear more and give your work and events a shout-out.

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