Colombo weather and identity politics of exile


Gaya’s intro: Cerno is not exactly a blogger in my opinion but a writer who chews up and spews out down an internet stairway some stuff from the attic of that mind of his. He doesn’t write often but his stuff does not expire as blog posts should cos his writings largely are a mix of ruminations on phenomena that will repeat themselves and resonate with the reader even years later. Thanks for giving us the chance to delve without bothering about the rummaging bit. Send more down the stairway when you got something in the attic and happy 6th year Anniversary Cerno whoever you are !!



I love the Colombo weather — particularly from a non air conditioned car stuck in the blaze of afternoon traffic. The people who cannot venerate such a glorious climate are obviously a bunch of ignorant ungrateful whiners. I say this without sarcasm and despite the risk of being lynched by an enraged mob. Because the many avatars of Colombo weather is a central symbol of my identity and love for this mad, wondrous island. Yes the explanation starts in the next paragraph.

I admit that complaining about the city’s heat, humidity, and rain has a critical social function. It is among the few remaining strands of shared ordeals that unites the city’s — perhaps the country’s — fragmented society. Weather whining is also a safer valve to let off steam than bemoaning another form of communal suffering we cannot change : politics. Consequently only the insane would attack such a fragile pillar propping up social order and public peace.

Yet too many (you know who you are) abuse the social utility of weather whining. I have no sympathy these self proclaimed victims of meteorology. I am unrepentantly deviant in my celebration of Colombo weather. I switch off the blasphemy of air conditioning whenever I can. I leave windows decadently open for the warm, sticky breeze or to share the sweet joy of YFM with fellow road sufferers. Let the ignorant whisper in the corridors about my sanity. I KNOW with almost religious fervour how privileged we are to sweat in the tropics.

I consider myself a tropically bred person. Colombo’s weather – particularly humidty and its associated reeks – is central to my identity. It packages the infinite facets of my sense of home into a single primordial sensation. A sensation that has been sharpened by centuries of exile in other climates. Read more here on Cerno’s blog

Photo credit: Len Theivendra, Colombo Jan 13

Armoured trishaw book banned


Armoured Trishaws – three wheeled Light Armoured Infantry Close Support Vehicle (LAICSV) — are the most recognisable icon of the Sri Lankan wars. These ungainly yet lethally nimble vehicles were instrumental in decisively ending the conflict. Military analysts have labelled them the “most significant paradigm shift in ground warfare since the tank”. Yet Lucian Hergie’s ground breaking book about their rise, “Scorpions of Paradise; the Role of Light Armoured Infantry Close Support Vehicles in the Sri Lankan War” (Lavanthian Global Press) is about to be banned.

The INGO directing reconstruction efforts, the Centre for Peace Implementation, has labelled the book “a threat to peace, stability and reconciliation”. It has taken the unprecedented step of instructing the newly elected post war federal government to ban the book. According to analyst Goliath White, “The book opens too many wounds and unpalatable facts too soon”.

How a book on a piece of military technology could inflame such a harsh response is surprising. The root of the controversy is that the book goes beyond its brief of documenting the history of a piece of military hardware. The mammoth two volume work stands to become the first in-depth and definitive historical analysis of the war in general and the siege of Colombo in particular. Its narrative is supported by a volume of verifiable primary sources included as a digital media database. Yet it is officially marketed to a non academic audience. The combination according to Mr. White, makes the book a political Pandora’s box of bad memories for the governing coalition.

Read More…

iSrilankan Disclaimer: If you think you have missed something important like “when did CMB go under siege” or you are about to believe in the Scorpions of Paradise ….relax and read the writing of Cerno , a perfect read for the times as well as being a rare good piece of writing. Await more from this space and no, I don’t have a clue as to who Cerno is !!