Columnists,Wijith DeChickera,Opinion and Issues

A new ‘sun of righteousness’ over a ‘thrice-blessed isle’?

Views - 601 Friday, 3 January 2020 00:30

I didn’t get a new year’s greeting from the President this year. But I’m not complaining because it’s rather reassuring that our Chief Executive won’t stoop to conquer, unlike many of his presidential predecessors. Since our new Head of Sta

‘Best warm-weather isle’; or barmy in wonderland?

Views - 378 Friday, 20 December 2019 00:30

It’s that time of the year again. God’s in his heaven; Gota’s star is high in the sky, and still on the ascendant. Sri Lanka is the prettiest girl on the beach once more. Tourists note and visit. Its ports are safe in state hands rather than th

What price reforms now that progress rules?

Views - 229 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 - 205 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 - 383 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 - 162 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 - 340 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 - 917 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 - 735 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 - 668 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 - 266 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 - 449 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 - 297 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 - 966 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 - 1578 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 - 210 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 - 412 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 - 286 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 - 119 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 - 363 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 - 573 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 - 764 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 - 1145 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 - 633 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 - 430 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 - 859 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 - 468 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 - 190 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 - 168 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 - 287 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

Today's Columnists

Autocatalytic descent from plural democracy to supremacist authoritarianism

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

In a few days, Sri Lanka will celebrate its 72nd year of independence from colonialism. But behind the pomp and pageant of that celebration is a sad reality of an autocatalytic process – a small initial event triggering a chain reaction that evolve

Trump destroying brand USA: Implications for Sri Lanka

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

There is an old adage that ‘politics and tourism’ has a positive correlation. Many have tried to disprove this aspect but the relationship is coming out very strongly, the latest case study to the world being in the United States. Trump cost $4.

Freedom! Freedom! Where art thou?

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Freedom: who could object? Yet this word is now used to justify a thousand forms of exploitation. In the name of freedom – the freedom of the powerful to exploit the weak, the rich to exploit the poor. The definition of freedom is, the condition of

Development project information: Public expectations and their right to know

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Infrastructure development will be at the centre-stage during the next five years, irrespective of which mainstream political party will be in power. This writer has previously had articles published in the Daily FT on building regulations, infrastr

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