Columnists

Noah’s Albatross and Postdiluvian Politics

Views - 2710 Friday, 27 May 2016 00:00

 APRÈS MOI, LE DÉLUGE! In the aftermath of the Great Flood of 2016, if Sri Lanka is to Build Back Better, the political leadership must be instrumental in syncing Government actors and State agencies in working together with gre


Presidential sonatas in five not-so easy pieces

Views - 2419 Friday, 20 May 2016 00:05

    There’s a nip in the air these days … and I don’t mean the depressive cyclonic weather that we’ve been flooded by. It’s the windy, heady, overflow of adrenaline that comes once in a whil


Has our whole House gone with the wind?

Views - 2600 Friday, 13 May 2016 00:10

 CAPTAIN SRI LANKA: CIVIL WAR – While the nation struggles to transform itself from a post-war to a post-conflict society, our elected representatives appear to have set an ironic agenda for themselves – to bicker and brawl like t


Who let the war-dogs out – again?

Views - 2492 Saturday, 7 May 2016 00:00

We hear with some interest the recent argument of the Prime Minister that the free media has a fair share of the blame to bear for the spread of anti-republican “scare-tactic type” rumours. Speaking on the occasion of a day to commemor


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

Views - 2958 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 - 2491 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 - 2330 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 - 2554 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 - 2265 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 - 2274 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 - 2155 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 - 2602 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 - 3069 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 - 2677 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 - 1930 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 - 2109 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 - 1837 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 - 1843 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 - 1926 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 - 2722 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 - 2284 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 - 2420 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 - 2626 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 - 2371 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 - 2841 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 - 3860 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 - 2708 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 - 2894 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 - 5771 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 - 2972 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


Today's Columnists

Our Cricket Board simply cannot deliver – why not they all quit honourably?

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

“It is necessary, therefore, for the Government to pay serious attention to the doings of Sri Lanka Cricket [board] and take immediate action to lift their game for the progress of our glorious game.” Question for Sri Lanka Cricket (board) Sri La


Yesterday Tamils, today Muslims and tomorrow who?

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

From the time of S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike’s election victory in 1956, one and only one issue had dominated political party campaigns in this country; and that was communalism. The Tamil community was the main focus of these campaigns for over 50 years


Those who go by social proof are easy prey to crafty schemers

Monday, 17 June 2019

Going after social proof Swiss writer and novelist, Rolf Dobelli, in one of the essays in his 2013 book ‘The Art of Thinking Clearly’, has given a fine warning to his readers. He has warned against going by ‘social proof’ or ‘majority view


Poson ponderings on positional power: ‘Authority vested’ vs. ‘authority wasted’

Monday, 17 June 2019

We witnessed a serene Poson Poya, in a far more improved security setting in Sri Lanka. Whilst the Sri Lankan life slowly returning to normal, political fronts do not appear to show the same. Has the political power become the people ‘pava’ (sin)


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