Columnists,Wijith DeChickera,Opinion and Issues

What price reforms now that progress rules?

Views - 169 Friday, 13 December 2019 00:30

It was a famous victory. A shadow of a doubt persists after an election commission member spoke up recently, after the event, about an alleged irregularity somewhere in the voting system works. But this would be churlish, buffoonish and academic to t

The twin tower trends of today’s politics

Views - 186 Wednesday, 11 December 2019 01:20

I live in two worlds. In one, everything is clear, sharp, light. The new President has lots of potential to boost Sri Lanka into the developmental stratosphere. He has spoken out strongly on national sovereignty and set a personal....

Nine-point-five theses for a new Sri Lanka

Views - 375 Thursday, 31 October 2019 02:20

WE HOLD THE TRUTH TO BE SELF-EVIDENT. That Sri Lanka is still a sovereign state despite power-hungry eyes watching us. And its people are paramount over political playbooks despite the worst efforts of its would-be despots and woeful demagogues. It s

Post-4/21 PSC: Past imperfect, future tense

Views - 156 Tuesday, 29 October 2019 00:20

What is past is past … except when it makes the present – and future – tense. The findings of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the Easter Sunday attacks of April 2019 has set several cats among the pigeons. On one hand, it feels

A 4D presidential ‘laugh-a-thon’ that’s not on

Views - 337 Thursday, 24 October 2019 00:16

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum. Where once we had a paucity of presidential candidates, we now have a superfluity of them. You would think that from this panoply of contenders who’ve thrown their hat in the ring, we’d be spoilt fo

“How dare you?” – A Sri Lanka edition!

Views - 901 Friday, 27 September 2019 00:30

I AM NOT SURE IF my readers have realised that I’m not a 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl bent on saving a crooked world from a sticky end. But it is fairly certain that a discerning readership – and viewership – would realise and acknowledge tha

The dark tower – a lighter loftier look after its initial illumination

Views - 694 Thursday, 19 September 2019 00:50

WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE LIGHTS CAME ON AT THE LOTUS TOWER? Wait, what? Are you being serious? Do you mean in the midst of our sea of troubles – from addressing poverty to abolishing presidencies – a singular erection has stolen their thunder? (I

Not good news!

Views - 662 Thursday, 12 September 2019 00:30

THERE ARE THREE KINDS OF PEOPLE: those who make things happen; those who watch while things happen; and those who wonder what happened! The first of these are perhaps evenly split between the best and worst of them… while most of us fall squarely i

‘50% plus one’ captures public fancy but have we forgotten about abolishing EP?

Views - 258 Friday, 6 September 2019 00:30

IF ALL GOES WELL, in a little over three months from now the voting population of Sri Lanka will go to the polls to elect the country’s next executive president. Now the focus of the polity seems to have shifted to the numbers game, as some early n

Change of heart and mind could upset presidential race apple cart

Views - 445 Thursday, 5 September 2019 00:57

I AM BY NO MEANS SANGUINE about politics as the practice of the possible. We have invested too much over the years in this art of the attainable to let it go to rack and ruin now. But time and again the men, the machines, and movements we have truste

The room in the elephant: a space, the potential, some strange destiny

Views - 288 Wednesday, 28 August 2019 00:30

Politics used to be the art of the possible – at least in days gone by. It was so in 1971 when Butler popularised the phrase. And it was certainly the art of the attainable when Bismarck made an obscure Prussian prince the Emperor of all the German

Will the real JVP – Joke; Vital cog; Party poopers – please stand up?

Views - 944 Thursday, 22 August 2019 00:20

THE REDS ON THE GREEN HAVE TAKEN THE LIE OF THE LAND – and it is a highly-publicised stand, being the largest political rally of late. It’s a red flag planted claiming a space in the electoral pantheon, which is open to a plethora of interpretati

Me, that’s who: I’m afraid of Gota!

Views - 1553 Thursday, 15 August 2019 00:30

NO OFFENCE, BUT THE QUESTION BEGS ITSELF. In a piece titled ‘Who is afraid of Gotabaya (sic) Rajapaksa?’ Daily FT contributor Sarath de Alwis made a cogent argument as to why he was not reassured by Basil’s brief about his brother’s “inhere

Civil strategies contra presidentialism: has political society run out of steam?

Views - 204 Wednesday, 7 August 2019 00:20

SRI LANKAN CITIZENRY AT LARGE HAVE A MIXED BAG OF CHARACTERISTICS. In adversity, we’ve garnered a reputation for being resilient: surviving wars, surmounting insurgencies, emerging from chaos to try and rebuild a broken nation. Under pressure in th

Presidential polls: when the head knows not what the heart wants?

Views - 408 Thursday, 1 August 2019 00:30

SOME THINGS ARE HARD TO GET RID OF. Bad habits – like Bruce Willis in the eponymous movies – ‘die hard’. Even good stuff lurks, in one’s fridge for instance, well past its expiry date. Ugly bits and pieces float around after a night of fat

More power to the people; and more people to power!

Views - 280 Friday, 26 July 2019 00:20

IN THE LEAD UP TO THE PRESIDENTIAL POLL… several trends persuade me that, this time, “something’s gotta give”. Change is in the air; and it’s conflicting with custom, ritual and tradition. First, there’s “the usual suspects”: the arr

Reimagining our reality: the last best hope for us?

Views - 114 Friday, 19 July 2019 00:00

Imagination can be a powerful tool for shaping everyday reality. We use it to construct everything from the mundane to the mystic. A down-to-earth example would be our subscription to the idea of the intrinsic value and worth of every human being. I

The legal fiction of law and order

Views - 359 Thursday, 4 July 2019 02:10

I am watching the high charade unfold. No matter how many important people know the difference between right and wrong – or should – it is criminal the number of times the law collars the wrong person – or the right ones for the wrong reason

11 times ‘Game of Thrones’ got it right about Sri Lanka’s state of politics

Views - 558 Friday, 31 May 2019 00:20

All good things must come to an end. Good Governance, ‘Avengers,’ ‘Game of Thrones’. While the first was not very good and the second went mostly well but was bad in bits with a sad endgame, the last of these got ugly in the season and series

17 things ‘Avengers: Endgame’ teaches us about the state of our superheroes

Views - 749 Friday, 24 May 2019 00:10

Art imitates life. Even movies do. Maybe especially so. In these lean times, there’s nothing like a little laughter to stop the press, stem the blood pressure, ease that stress in life. So here goes. Trust you’ll take these tongue-in-cheek. Or pe

Black Easter’s aftermath: dark ‘narratives’

Views - 1140 Monday, 29 April 2019 00:20

As heads roll (or not, in a prime case), and political ambition among other ignoble motives sees state responses to last Sunday’s carnage descend from the supercilious to the surreal, many questions remain in the minds of Sri Lanka’s average citi

Come, let us build!

Views - 627 Friday, 26 April 2019 00:20

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Best because Sri Lanka was united in what it did well: being at peace, on an extended sabbatical, pursuing the absence of conflict – even mindlessly – and enjoying the fruit of island life. Wor

The worst time in this global war: healing in failure and brokenness?

Views - 422 Thursday, 25 April 2019 00:20

These are the worst of times for us all in our belovéd blesséd battered bruised broken bleeding isle. And I’m thinking dark thoughts that the twitterati and other tender-minded philosophers would deem unprintable. But will be publish and be damne

No more stones to break Sri Lankan bones

Views - 854 Friday, 19 April 2019 00:10

Trial by fire is not a new ordeal to Christian community. It predates Notre Dame and Nazism by millennia. In fact, a decade or so before Nero torched believers to light Roman avenues, Jewish religious leaders put Jesus-followers to the test as the Ch

The last straw in local politics today

Views - 461 Friday, 15 March 2019 00:10

I don’t despair easily. But a sense of desolation has overtaken me. Since it is abundantly clear that the last of the statesmen is dead and gone in Sri Lanka today. However much you may hold out hope that some knight in shining armour or street-wis

Religion in politics: RIP to good sense, decency and the democratising spirit?

Views - 184 Friday, 8 March 2019 00:20

I read recently that the problem with failed societies is that they listen to their politicians and not their poets. Not once did I read it, but thrice, and in as many forums. There must be something the universe is trying to tell us? Just hope the p

Cry salt tears against Govt. complicity in crime

Views - 161 Friday, 1 March 2019 00:20

What’s worse? A. A hit-and-run where the perp flees the scene; only to surrender himself to the cops the next day; after any evidence of allegedly DUI has been flushed down the tube; literally; or the local constabulary reviews surveillance camera

The chainsaw massacre and other ‘lawful’ horror stories

Views - 279 Friday, 22 February 2019 00:20

Admit it. The headline hooked you. Hope you won’t be disappointed. There are no gory scenes featuring dismembered limbs here. However you might read about the long arm of the law being truncated. Perhaps a chilling scene where the mask of the murde

Discipline and the devil’s disciples

Views - 440 Monday, 18 February 2019 00:55

That coach who repeatedly slapped a boy under his care has generated a storm of controversy on social media. On one side are aunties, bleeding hearts, civil rights champions et al who are outraged or at the very least shocked or surprised. On the oth

Money is the root of all politics

Views - 137 Monday, 18 February 2019 00:21

It is true, politicians have an extremely poor reputation - but if you assume that every politician is like this, then sad to say, it is devoid of good sense or judgment. If they were, then whole infrastructure would collapse before you could even sa

Today's Columnists

Roots of the crisis

Saturday, 14 December 2019

The candidates who had genuinely contested the Presidential Election had elaborate and attractive election manifestos. But none of them had a pragmatic program to address the basic question of how to overcome the extensive crisis Sri Lanka is facing.

What price reforms now that progress rules?

Friday, 13 December 2019

It was a famous victory. A shadow of a doubt persists after an election commission member spoke up recently, after the event, about an alleged irregularity somewhere in the voting system works. But this would be churlish, buffoonish and academic to t

Assessment of fitness and propriety of directors and officers

Friday, 13 December 2019

In the early ’80s, a businessman turned financier from the hill capital started a public deposit canvassing drive by offering 20% interest per month. The depositors were offered on the spot payment of 20% as interest for the first month for their d

How to select top officials to public corporations

Friday, 13 December 2019

It is commendable that the President wants to select suitable decision-makers to public corporations without them being mere and ad hoc political appointments. However, the process thus far seems somewhat weak. Various people are complaining about th

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