On the fast track – or on the road to dusty death?

Views - 2940 Friday, 29 April 2016 00:00

THE WRITING IS ON THE WALLSTRÖM: Sri Lanka is looking increasingly like the prettiest girl on the beach in this region. Here, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallström parley about the i

A time to reflect – and refocus

Views - 2476 Wednesday, 20 April 2016 00:00

GO EAST, YOUNG MAN/ WOMAN/ AND CHILD! As the sun rises over the shallow waters of Passikudah Bay in Sri Lanka’s once war-torn north-east, the mind’s eye begins to envision what a new nation-state consolidated by its new social

Out with the old, in with the new?!

Views - 2311 Tuesday, 12 April 2016 00:01

Sri Lanka is on the cusp of something. Not just #avurudu, which is *aluth* every new year... when the sun transits from the House of Mina (Pisces) to the House of Mesha (Aries), metaphorically showing a new face to a world it supposedly rules. But

The Mãnâpá Papers

Views - 2539 Friday, 8 April 2016 00:00

April is the cruellest month, I wrote in these columns last Friday. Not only usually because *aluth avurudda* is a time when the unkindest cuts (power outages, price hikes, pointless protests, pretty little progress in poverty reduction) affect th

April the cruellest month, after these unkindest cuts

Views - 2249 Friday, 1 April 2016 00:00

THE WASTE LAND: Government resorting to staging protests, Joint Opposition rallies to regroup split parties with splinter groups, mercurial weather gods, a dry and parched populace bereft of both ‘good’ governance and or &lsqu

Ignorant armies clash by night

Views - 2257 Friday, 25 March 2016 00:00

Power struggles are par for the course in developing political-economies (so they say). People power will be exercised at election time to redress power imbalances (so you hope). Problem is no political party is likely to really want to t

More power to the people

Views - 2140 Wednesday, 16 March 2016 00:00

Denmark produces some 140% of its power demand from alternative energy sources such as wind power – so much more than its domestic needs that it exports electricity to neighbouring Scandinavia and even Germany. Sri Lanka once envisa

Occupy Sri Lanka! Be there, or be square?

Views - 2575 Friday, 11 March 2016 00:00

 Occupy The Square – like its inspiration, Occupy Wall Street – was a flash-movement created on social media and driven by the passionate intensity of a few likeminded liberals sensing that an injustice had been done to civilian l

Governance awards: The ‘Oscar’ goes to...

Views - 3048 Friday, 4 March 2016 00:05

  Some things change. Some things don’t. Sometimes, the more things change the more they stay the same. Plus ҫa change. Plus c’est la même chose. The 88th Annual Academy Awards, 2016 – more colloqu

Ravana and his rabid roadhogs

Views - 2564 Friday, 26 February 2016 00:00

    THE KING OF LANKA: Far be it from us to be alarmist! But there may be a move on to tap into the latently mythical psyche of the Lankan soul... And the aggro of road-trippers in a remote village of an ancient kingdom m

The names game

Views - 1917 Friday, 19 February 2016 00:00

  A legendary Aussie PM once said in a speech to the Australian Labour Party: “I do not mind the liberals, still less do I mind the country party, calling me a b*st*rd. In some circumstances, I am only doing my job if they do! But

Flagging belief in freedom’s bells

Views - 2091 Monday, 8 February 2016 00:00

Much ado about nothing? The singing of the national anthem in Tamil on 4 February has generated controversy, constitutional invocations, and no small measure of churlishness, in some quarters of ‘civil’ society. After 68 years of freed

Fourth Estate or Fifth Column?

Views - 1822 Friday, 5 February 2016 00:00

MEN IN THE MEDIA LIMELIGHT: President Sirisena – slated to be Sri Lanka’s last 1978-style chief executive – looks and sounds somewhat uncomfortable under the glare of the unforgiving spotlight these days, despite the pre

Men in not-so-iron masks

Views - 1832 Friday, 29 January 2016 00:00

  TAKES ALL TYPES? There are times when the true nature of leaders leaks through. And then the heart speaks out of the mouth’s abundance. (“Join me, my son!” See copy.) Rest assured however that realpolitik will work wi

Changing the supreme law to shape the culture of society

Views - 1908 Friday, 22 January 2016 00:00

A Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land. But practice has proven that this truism can be subverted, or subject to interpretation detrimental to the welfare of the nation-state. So it remains an ambition of the democratic movement o

“Good Governance” at one year: same lame tame afterthoughts

Views - 2699 Wednesday, 13 January 2016 00:00

  President Maithripala Sirisena, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe. A triad of issues – and not necessarily whether Government brings brigands under past regimes to book – may well en

Grave matters for our maturing Government

Views - 2259 Friday, 8 January 2016 00:00

The plot thickens: Seven years ago, an iconic senior journalist was brutally slaughtered on Sri Lanka’s post-war mean streets. A year ago – on the sixth anniversary of his slaying – an instrumental change was made to th

The force slumbers: in local political theatres last year

Views - 2402 Wednesday, 30 December 2015 00:00

  I have a bad feeling about this. Essaying any form of evaluation or assessment of Good Governance’s first year in office (or power, if you are in that mood) is bound to come a-cropper. Too cynical, and the powers tha

Stymieing hate speech laws: silent night or saturnalia?

Views - 2600 Wednesday, 23 December 2015 00:10

Today is >Saturnalia, an ancient Roman festival of feasting, mayhem, madness. (Sometimes, still, subtly or subversively, it is observed in Colombo’s bacchanalian quarters!) Tomorrow night, choirs – around Sri Lanka as much as the re

The fast track to lawfulness or a slower lane to legalism?

Views - 2355 Wednesday, 16 December 2015 00:00

THE LONG MARCH: Government is good at walking the talk on anti-corruption drives and is no doubt sincere in the main about stemming the rotten tide. However, civil society together with the genuine elements of the powers that be, have to do more t

4Cs to lead Country, Cabinet, Councils, and Committees

Views - 2825 Wednesday, 9 December 2015 00:00

Leadership can be a sinking ship as long as only driven, darkly charismatic leaders who are lacking in character but are very strong-willed and even temperamental do helm the project – without sufficient regard for relational leader

“Model leaders” – and models of leadership

Views - 3759 Wednesday, 2 December 2015 00:00

 Legendary model leader Roman republican Cincinnatus prioritised his agricultural acres over the affairs of state – until his country had need of his services. Duty done, this exemplary Consul then laid down his fasces – a symbol

Dissing budgets, dodging bullets, becoming a more grown-up polity

Views - 2696 Friday, 27 November 2015 00:00

Radical budgets call for reinvigorated critical engagement by Civil Society. Governments that dodge bullets and clampdown on media commentaries by their mandarins – culpable of conflicts of interest (or not); or worse, chicanery &nd

Avant-Garde, ISIS, and the Agatha Christie Syndrome

Views - 2875 Thursday, 19 November 2015 00:00

While the skyline of the modern French Republic, Paris, was recently shrouded in a veil of grief and tears, storms clouds may be hovering over the political hub of a distant island-republic’s ancient commercial port city, as a long-drawn-out

Needed: A new dynamism for ‘Democratic Republicanism’

Views - 5757 Wednesday, 11 November 2015 00:00

    Today, a nation is still struggling to assess the significance of his loss. Tomorrow, many if not most of us will officially mourn his return to the ocean of Samsara – with some aspiring seafarers suspecting tha

Lapdances with boars: Why is law enforcement so boorish?

Views - 2953 Friday, 6 November 2015 00:00

    The hero seems strangely familiar. He brandishes his weapons of choice in each frame: effortlessly: fearlessly. Built like a nondescript, he wields his truncheon like a ninja.  In one, he’s a Spartan hold

On media freedom, of media fiefdoms

Views - 2357 Thursday, 29 October 2015 00:00

Say “media freedom” to a seasoned journalist and she will roll her eyes at you. Say it to a veteran editor and it might be your head that rolls. We’ve (all) been there, done that. We’ve (some of us) bandaged war wounds shou

In defence of nepotism

Views - 3120 Thursday, 22 October 2015 00:00

   Did the headline confuse you? Good… because, if you’re going to read this article to its end, and to its logical conclusion, keep in mind that everything is not what it seems. There needs to be a slightly satirica

Of Scarlet Pimpernels – and other red herrings

Views - 3088 Thursday, 15 October 2015 00:00

 Now, I’m not sure what names the PM and/or the MP is/are calling each other in their un-Parliamentary thoughts right now. Or, more likely, with what encomiums in their own minds they are congratulating themselves – and, perhaps,

Caesarean Republicanism: The silence of the lambs?

Views - 2678 Wednesday, 7 October 2015 00:00

  Shall the taxpayer have to see and bear a reinstitution of the lionising of local politicos that was par for the course under the previous Caesars?     A funny thing happened on the way to the UNGA for

Today's Columnists

Constitutional paradox: There is no such thing called Election Commission

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Our Constitution, which was certified by Parliament on 31 August 1978, has 19 amendments; the First Amendment to the Constitution was certified by the Speaker in the same year on 20 November. By the end of 1988, there had been 14 amendments made to t

‘So Sri Lanka’ – upgrade staff, processes, infrastructure at BIA arrivals to be world’s best!

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

24 October, time 12:47 p.m., place – my residence in Colombo My phone buzzes with a WhatsApp message from my old colleague Prasad Fernanado now with Saudi British Bank in Saudi. I am thrilled to see the message ‘Sri Lanka top country for travel i

Qatar crisis: From the Sri Lankans’ point of view

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

The aim of this article is to examine the Saudi blockade over Qatar and its impact in the past 17 months on the country. A special focus will be given to the Sri Lankan workers who have been living in Qatar for the past two decades. The reason why th

The reality of Sri Lanka – household end!

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Whilst Sri Lanka is debating what is right and wrong on the governance of the country, the Sri Lankan household is falling part due to escalating costs, as per the latest data released by respected research agency Nielsen. For the seventh quarter in

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