Ajith de Alwis

Exporting rubber and importing erasers!

Views - 446 Thursday, 12 April 2018 00:00

Another year’s growth data has been released and some of us may be red-faced!


Avoiding a Day Zero: Turn on the taps of conservation and innovation for water

Views - 135 Thursday, 29 March 2018 00:00

On 22 March I was reading the supplements in the press over World Water Day. In Sri Lanka it is a matter of pride that in this particular day we can reminisce and claim on our proud hydraulic heritage and even coming to the recent times declare of ou


Analogue mindsets delivering digital leadership: Paradise misled!

Views - 180 Monday, 12 March 2018 00:01

Today there is much hype on digitisation and digitalisation, etc. We have excellent ideas on process digitisation and system digitalisations.


Putting ‘Yaha’ into ‘Palanaya’ – could standards be the trick?

Views - 316 Thursday, 22 February 2018 00:00

I will from the outset indicate that this is not about politics, even though popular terminology cannot be resisted if one is to get the message across. We are driven by emotions and the media is only adding fuel to the fire. If one takes a step back


Giving voice to the young– missing talent for impact!

Views - 104 Thursday, 8 February 2018 00:00

Listening to Science in Sri Lanka over the airwaves as you travel back home after work? Well, all of us know that it is not possible to find such a program easily, if at all. With so many of our citizens out of touch for so many years, mere availabil


The joy of books! Cuddling up with a wish to explore

Views - 284 Thursday, 18 January 2018 00:00

I walked into a small communication shop to discover that you can buy almost anything from rubber seeds and tree leaves to bird feathers to support a student attending a school. I noted that all leaves are properly and accurately (hopefully!) identif


2018 – A year for reinventing Sri Lanka

Views - 328 Thursday, 4 January 2018 00:00

The start of a new year always offer an opportunity for some fresh thinking and among most an opportunity to have a new resolution. The progress of course will depend on one’s commitment and only time will tell.


Victory in Geneva – Lost in Colombo!

Views - 1116 Thursday, 21 December 2017 00:00

I woke up to a call from a good friend and a classmate who was really happy about his daughter Thivinya – currently a student in a Colombo school (Museaus) – winning a Gold medal for her invention in a competition in Taiwan (Kaohsiung Internation


Moving ahead or looking and living in the past

Views - 286 Thursday, 7 December 2017 00:00

We love history and especially our version of it! Someone said that history is what someone wrote and past is what actually happened. Well then for most of the time we will not have an ability to fathom the past the way it actually unfolded. Yet one


Blue Green and scientific! Do we care, are we aware?

Views - 204 Friday, 17 November 2017 00:05

I see many comments on and summaries of the most recent Budget of the State. It is interesting to note that almost all the summaries ignore the provisions for science and technology made by the Budget. It is always


Power of insight and foresight for Sri Lanka: A regional first!

Views - 260 Friday, 27 October 2017 00:00

When Science, Technology and Research Minister Susil Premajayanth and United Nations Development Program Sri Lanka Country Director Jorn Sorensen exchanged jointly signed documents at Waters Edge on Friday, 22


The future that is coming – but we are unaware of!

Views - 595 Thursday, 12 October 2017 00:12

You walk into a public institution and wait for service and you notice the use of meticulously managed cardboard files with corners taped to prevent tearing. There are significant number of staff who would be responsible for a single file and you may


Think, speak, walk and act with purpose!

Views - 231 Thursday, 21 September 2017 00:00

As a nation we are perhaps positioned within a time period where we need our population to act with purpose rather than with discord. We currently appear to find solace in distress and appear to be a nation in waiting for trouble with all the news al


Let us be more responsive and responsible!

Views - 182 Thursday, 31 August 2017 00:00

If one attribute has to be named that is seriously at an all-time low in Sri Lanka, then that is discipline. Discipline of all types may be but one area stands out. That is our sheer lack discipline with respect to waste management, where no amount o


Polythene and plastics: The guilt is ours!

Views - 1827 Thursday, 3 August 2017 00:02

 The Government of Sri Lanka has declared a ban and restrictions on the use of plastic bags and lunch sheets, etc. The new regulations are to come into effect from 1 September 2017.  The lunch sheet and the bag have been around for a lo


We think we cannot, therefore we cannot! Our power of self-doubt!

Views - 2015 Thursday, 20 July 2017 00:00

We need to place a different fuel to drive the economic engine. The fuel that is on everyone’s lips – except ours of course – is innovation and there is hardly any disagreement outside Sri Lanka, that innovation is being


Our tryst with mosquitoes!

Views - 3021 Thursday, 22 June 2017 00:10

This small specie – small in size but quite big in impact – is creating havoc among us these days. The Government has a serious emergency at hand consequent to mosquito bites and specifically the bites of one species – Aedes aegy


Submerged with guilt and neglect!

Views - 3099 Thursday, 8 June 2017 00:00

  Sahana software (www.sahanafoundation.org), which was developed after the tsunami by a few Sri Lankans, is an open source disaster management software and is identified as the world’s most popular open-source information manag


Tiny commitments from a thousand homes – mind separating matter!

Views - 3625 Thursday, 25 May 2017 00:00

     Some may be wondering after Meethotamulla where all the Colombo waste is going. However, I do have a feeling that most had no idea whatsoever where things were disappearing into until the pictures of Meethotamul


Colombo garbage: The smell of death and the despair of inaction!

Views - 4200 Thursday, 4 May 2017 00:09

    Colombo woke up to a rude reality when on Aluth Avurudu day at around 2.45 p.m. the accumulated heap of garbage at Meethotamulla gave way, resulting in the death of 33 with more than eight missing. The number of hou


Joining the greatest hunt in science – Sri Lanka with CERN

Views - 4608 Thursday, 20 April 2017 00:00

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha and the CERN Director General Rolf-Dieter Heurer sign an Expression of Interest Agreement to begin cooperation between CERN and the scientific c


March with intent and research with impact – SLAYS, you are important!

Views - 6154 Thursday, 16 March 2017 00:00

  Young scientist Shalini Thiruchittampalam was quite eloquent and with subtle humour articulated her research work ‘Probable chemical compounds from Sri Lankan flora for the treatment of neurodegeneration’ at the


Data that we have, situations that we do not see, decisions that we may not take…

Views - 5817 Thursday, 16 February 2017 00:00

A boy going to school on a misty morning up country. More than 500 schools in Sri Lanka are without basic sanitary facilities and only around 1,200 schools have science education going beyond Ordinary Level, while only 1.9% of GDP was use


Look, my streetlights are on!

Views - 6295 Thursday, 2 February 2017 00:10

I remember late Arthur C. Clarke used to write to the press quite often when we had power shortages – and there were many such instances I must say, indicating lit streetlights in Colombo in the middle of the day even in times of power short


Loosening ties and strengthening the economy

Views - 6219 Thursday, 19 January 2017 00:00

The Cabinet recently approved the guidelines for maintaining buildings in public institutions as green buildings and the proposal was made by President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment.&


A year in and a year out! What to do?

Views - 6906 Thursday, 5 January 2017 00:00

Dubai hosts one of the most expensive New Year’s Eve displays. Fireworks are launched from the Burj Khalifa,  the world’s tallest building     December 31st and January 1st are just two


Servants as Masters: Clouding judgment, stifling real growth

Views - 7001 Thursday, 22 December 2016 00:00

    Today we do have to ask some questions quite seriously from ourselves and others. What exactly are our goals that we have accepted and are supporting?  In Public Administration is it sacred conformance to circu


Researchers and elephants – we have a problem!

Views - 7122 Thursday, 8 December 2016 00:01

 John Dewey said that “every great advance in science has come from a new audacity of imagination” and these acts of imagination have to come from researchers. The numbers for Sri Lanka appear to be really worrying as the critica


From rhetoric to reality: Hot air to a hot climate!

Views - 7117 Thursday, 24 November 2016 00:01

Chunks of sea ice, melt ponds and open water are all seen in this image captured at an altitude of 1,500 feet by the NASA’s Digital Mapping System instrument during an Operation IceBridge flight over the Chukchi Sea on Saturday, 16


A City of Prosperity: A Tale of Two Commitments

Views - 8499 Thursday, 10 November 2016 00:00

It is interesting to view the Pittsburgh skyline at night from after going up the Duquesne incline, the means to which too is designed and provided. The sight and sounds demonstrate a city in business and today it is one of the most livable cities


Today's Columnists

The glyphosate story – CKDu, food security and national economy

Thursday, 19 April 2018

We in Sri Lanka have a history to be proud of. According to our historical record, the golden age of Sri Lankan agriculture production centres around Polonnaruwa during reign of King Parakramabahu the Great (1153-1186 AD).


President is powerless to remove the Prime Minister

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Some commentators have persistently advanced the proposition that, notwithstanding the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, the President’s power to remove the Prime Minister is intact. It is a view that relies on a literal reading of the Sinhala te


The ‘Trafficbathgoda’ town of Kiribathgoda

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Getting through Kiribathgoda town particularly in the evening after work is a real nightmare. Even the morning is equally bad, creating a huge pileup of vehicles along the main road. In particular, in the evening, to move from Tyre Corporation Junct


Beware of evidence-independent recommendations from academics in positions of power

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

It was just over a year ago that I wrote in this newspaper about the need to fact check politicians and pundits (http://www.ft.lk/article/592541/Fact-checking-politicians-and-pundits). That column was triggered by an evidence-independent claim made a


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