The voice of sanity is often drowned* The next time you are on a crowded street at the busiest time of the day, close your eyes and listen. What do you hear? A lot. You hear so much that it’s like you are not hearing anything. Sometimes you can’t hear the person right next to you. Sometimes you can hear yourself. And yet, every single sound you ...

Freedom of information a must in a democratizing process The Right to Information Act (RTI) was passed recently. Late, but better late than never, as they say. So kudos to the Government. In June 2011 I wrote about the relevant issues in an article published in the Daily Mirror. Worth a re-visit, I believe. In May 2009 and for a few months thereafter Colombo appeared (as it has appeared ...

While we plot SLexit… In November 1917, as the Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Republic, Leon Trotsky was tasked to negotiate the nature of the peace with the German Imperial High Command. The delegation led by Trotsky, even as it was negotiating the terms of the peace treaty with the German Government in Brest-Litovsk that December, distributed leaflets to the German troops ...

On prisons (hellish and heavenly) and death-escape Between February 27, 1992 and March 17, 1992, I lived in two separate heavens. One was in Wadduwa and the other in Longdon Place. I was not only served heavenly meals but my parents were allowed to bring me equally heavenly food. I just sat around talking with my heavenly co-residents. Whenever I felt like it, I read. I had ...

No man is an island, they say. No island is an island either in these globalized times. Indeed, it can be argued that islands never existed and if they did their numbers were very small. The reference is of course to human collectives and not land masses surrounded by bodies of water. Complete isolation has always been the exception. Throughout ...

Spare your kisses Ki-moon! It's 2016 and not 2010. Things are different here in Sri Lanka. Out there, it's same-old, same-old. Today it's the time for the resurrections of ghosts and myth-models, the re-run of the Eelam drive, a regurgitation of old claims and half-truths, the celebration of selectivity. In this context it is not out of place to revisit the politics and the ...

The UN ‘Family’, its business and surname Neil Buhne, the UN resident coordinator, we are told, has conveyed a message from UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon to the Government of Sri Lanka. Ki-moon apparently has, ‘strong expectations for better treatment of the UN family in Sri Lanka’. He desires, also, ‘progress on Sri Lanka’s commitments regarding the resettlement of IDPs, political reconciliation and accountability’. Thoughtful of him, I couldn’t ...

I do not understand image but I am glad others do I have never really understood ‘visuals’. I realized this most acutely when I started working as a part time copywriter at Phoenix Ogilvy. I could put word to image but could never imagine appropriate visual for text. Years ago, when I was working in the Sunday Island, Nihal Fernando, Lanka-lover who saw, worked, loved, respected and was through and of ...

There are mirrors that stop us Did the night notice how the mirror looked at you while you were asleep? There are times I feel that there is nothing more fascinating than a mirror. No, I am not talking about the vanity-element embedded in mirrors and what they do, meaning ‘reflection’. Take mirror and use it as metaphor and I believe a can of worms is ...

The approvers are leaving the Yahapalana building A few days ago a diehard UNP loyalist shared a story on Facebook. The claim was that First Phase of the Colombo-Kandy Expressway will be completed in 36 month. There was a comment along with the post: ‘For the bayyaswho are saying that the Yahapalana Government is not doing anything’. The post captures the essence of this Government: promises. It’s ...

I can’t remember what the paper was. Perhaps Economics. Maybe Political Science. This was the final term exam before the A/Ls. The year was 1984. June 21, 1984. Exactly 26 years ago (when this appears in print). Even the most focused student would surely have been distracted for a few seconds at least. There was a billow of smoke rising ...

A double-crossing regime arrests a double-crosser Udaya Gammanpila is a politician. That’s as bad a character certificate that one can get. He is a pompous, self-righteous politician whose principal edge is the ability to justify any position (even the total opposite of the one taken a day before) with a turn of phrase, random examples taken out of context and pure and simple gumption. He’s a ...

Sequence matters, dear rebel When I was working at 'The Nation' I wrote a column for the FREE section of the paper which was dedicated to youth. The title of the column was 'Notes for a Rebel'. I wrote a total of 52 articles in this series. I have resumed by 'Notes for a Rebel', this time writing for the website www.nightowls.lk. Scroll down ...

Stop and say hello to an angel One of the greatest delights in my brief career as a journalist was writing for the kids' section of 'The Nation'. I wrote over fifty articles in my last year at that newspaper. I have resumed the series, which is now published in www.nightowls.lk. Scroll down for other articles in this series. Pic: www.ridethebuses.comClose your eyes and think of angels ...

Somawansa Amarasinghe left a mark Somawansa Amarasinghe returned to Sri Lanka late in the year 2001. He was returning after more than a dozen years in exile and did so in the thick of an election campaign. The JVP, which had returned 10 members to Parliament in 2000, upped it to 17 on that occasion. Whether or not Somawansa’s arrival played a part it this ...

අර්ජුන මහේන්ද්‍රන්ගේ ප‍්‍රශ්නය: රනිල්ගේ සුපිළිපන්භාවය පරදුවට මේ දිනවල හැමෝම පාහේ පාවිච්චි කරන මුත් ඔවුන් පවා මීට කලකට ඉහත අසා නොතිබුණු සහ අවබෝධ කරගෙන නොතිබුණු එක් යෙදුමක් තිබේ. ඒ, යහපාලනය යන්නයි. මේ දිනවල බහුලව පාවිච්චි වෙන මුත් මීට පෙර අසා නොතිබුණු සහ හරි අවබෝධයක් නොතිබුණු තවත් වචනයක් තිබේ. ඒ, බැදුම්කර යන්නයි.මේ යෙදුම් දෙක සම්බන්ධයෙන්ම වන දැනුම සහ ඒ ගැන වර්තමානයේ ඇති හුරුව කෙසේ වෙතත්, ඒ යෙදුම් දෙක ...

Cometh the hour, where’s this man Ranil Wickremesinghe? There’s a term that even those who use it at every turn these days hadn’t heard or understood not too long ago. Yahapalanaya (Good Governance). There’s another word that is now being used a lot which was almost unheard of and which, even now, is not quite understood: bonds. Regardless of familiarity or knowledge there are certain definitive statements that ...

Alavi Mowlana’s other ‘departure’ in 2001 Ramzeen Azeez remembers Alavi Mowlana thus: “He came for my daughter's wedding and for once, sat down to dinner. So I said to him ‘so good to see you at the table Sir’. He replied ‘yes, I normally meet, greet and retreat, but today I've got to sit and eat’.” Alavi was a party man, but more than that a ...

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