Got to be ready for those setbacks Pic by Rukshan AbeywanshaYou might have come across this famous quote which, like all quotes, is often used out of context: the revolution is not a tea party. That’s Mao Zedong. Whether you’ve heard that or not, if you’ve ventured out of virtual space and took your radicalism into the real world, it’s a reality that you would quickly encounter.Things ...

In June 1981 I threw a game. That’s in chess. This was long before match-fixing and spot-fixing entered sports vocabulary. In chess circles it was called ‘cooking’, i.e. predetermining the outcome of a game. It happened between players, one helping the other to qualify to play at a higher level, secure a ‘board prize’ (in the event of a team ...

The role of the state in the amorphous and varied activity, process and objective called ‘development’ has been the subject of many a doctoral dissertation. The literature on the subject would fill quite a large library, in fact. States are sometimes ‘interventionist’; they have an overbearing presence in the affairs of a country, especially the economy. Some argue that states ...

Ready for time travel? At some point in your life you would have heard of traveling through time. When you read about a faraway place, enchanted lands, fascinating characters, there’s a part of you that wants to visit, wants to meet these amazing people in the flesh and so on. That’s natural. It’s not about stories only. We learn history and we learn geography. ...

Shortcuts to becoming a Kolombian This was taken by Indy Samarajeewa in January 2012People are asking me about Kolombians. Not Kolombians – they generally approve and appreciate. Kolombians thank me for getting the word out, in giving them voice etc. It’s the non-Kolombians who ask the questions. That want to know how one becomes a Kolombian. Someone asked if there’s a Kolombian Handbook. Someone else ...

Reflections on a ‘radical’ of our times Champika Ranawaka has emerged as a key spokesperson in Maithripala Sirisena's presidential campaign. Some of his former critics have now become admirers. Even his foes grudgingly acknowledge that he is not just eloquent but backs rhetoric with substance. This is a revisit of sorts; an article written for the 'Daily News' of December 17, 2009, five years ago to the ...

Mahinda, Maithree and the floating voter In all elections people talk of the floating vote. The undecided. Those who may be swayed one way or another. In some elections the floating vote can decide an election. Naturally, come election time all kinds of theories are floated about the floating vote. Some say it has expanded and some say it has contracted. Some say ‘won’t count this ...

The Soma Hamuduruwo who remains eleven years later A little over ten years ago, there was a General Election. This was in April 2004. It was an election that was won by the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) but was one that was marked by the entry of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) and through them a visible and decisive presence of bikkhus in parliamentary politics. What happened ...

‘We are not in the business of issuing character certificates to those who cross,’ JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said. The past few weeks have seen a lot of politicians crossing party lines. These moves have been received with jeers and cheers, depending on whether the person left or arrived, respectively. Interestingly, if you took names of the ‘movers’ and ...

Udaya Gammanpila and the Principal Principle උදය ගම්මන්පිල ගේ මම වෙනුවෙන් මම මොහොත?[Udaya's 'All About Myself' moment?]Udaya Gammanpila’s historic ‘double-cross’ topped all crossover stories last week. Just days after lambasting the President and the Government when his party left the ruling coalition, Western Provincial Council member of the Jathika Hela Urumaya rubbished the positions he himself had previously defended. All those who crossed party lines pleaded ...

Devánjali: A window unto the permanence within impermanence Devánjali. A word, a poem, description of a way of being, a dance performance. This is the latest production put together by the Chitrasena Vajira Dance Foundation, especially choreographed for the Sydney Festival and scheduled to be presented to the Sri Lankan audience at the Lionel Wendt on December 19, 2014. On Wednesday, December 11, 2014, the Chitrasena Dance Company ...

Yudisthara, the Pandava Prince, so the Mahabaratha says, once had to answer a series of question put to him by a demon who had concealed his 4 brothers who had gone to fetch water from the pond that the creature lorded over. At one point the demon had asked, ‘what is the strangest thing in this world?’ Yudisthara, famed for ...

Appreciation There was a Sunday unlike any I can remember. It is a Sunday I do not wish to revisit but which continues to visit me. And others. June 8, 2014. It was a Sunday, the stay-home day of the week for those who work at ‘The Nation’, but it was a Sunday that dawned for many in the form of ...

A couple of days ago I was discussing poetry with a Turkish friend. She asked me if I had read a poem by Nazim Hikmet about painting happiness. I had not. She quickly translated the first few lines and emailed it to me. "Can you paint happiness Abidinbut without the easy way outnot the rosy cheeked mother breastfeeding her childor ...

Puddles look back at you, did you know? Muddy days are slosh-days. Sloshing around barefoot. Cool. Refreshing. Muddy days are also puddle days. If it rains enough to make mud there’s bound to be places where water has gathered. Puddles come in all sizes. Shapes depend on the terrain. Most importantly, puddles are about water. And once the rain ceases puddles become mirrors.Sure, you can still slosh around. ...

The rebel must calculate or perish You are a rebel. This would mean, in most circumstances, that the enemy or the forces that create and defend conditions that agitate you are stronger than you. You can’t obtain change by hitting your head against a brick wall, obviously. But not all walls that are brick-made last forever. Neither are they unbreakable. There are soft spots. And there ...

Some people ask me if I ever run out of things to write about. I give two answers. To some I say something along the following lines:‘If a universe is contained in a grain of sand, then everything is contained in everything else; the world is bursting with metaphor and there are innumerable things to write about.’Most times I don’t ...

Mahinda and Maithripala compare headaches Everyone talks about the candidates. The candidates themselves talk about each other. In a parallel universe they actually talk WITH each other. And so we ‘heard’ Mahinda Rajapaksa comparing notes with Maithripala Sirisena. It was almost as though each was discussing an election that the other was contesting.‘How are things going, Maithri?’ Mahinda opened with a question.‘You know how it ...

All the violins are playing for you Aunty Eileen Simon Navagaththegama once related a story about a radio. It was the first radio his village, Navagaththegama, had seen. It had amazed everyone. It had stopped working. Since it was the first such machine the repair industry had yet to be established. After much amateurish fiddling and a lot of ear-shattering crackling, it had come to life. Everyone had been ...

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