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

Views - 3055 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 - 2609 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 - 1922 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 - 2099 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 - 1827 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 - 1835 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 - 1917 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 - 2710 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 - 2272 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 - 2408 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 - 2614 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 - 2360 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 - 2832 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 - 3808 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 - 2701 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 - 2884 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 - 5763 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 - 2959 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 - 2362 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 - 3141 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 - 3091 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 - 2688 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

UN, Uncle Nepo, and once more unto the breach, unbelievers

Views - 3121 Wednesday, 30 September 2015 00:00

  By now all of Lanka knows the President was accompanied to the UNGA forum by his son, who had no official standing in the Sri Lankan delegation, and that the young man in question was a visible part of the President’s entourag

Rationalising the “Third Republic”

Views - 3598 Tuesday, 22 September 2015 00:10

A little thinking – like a lot of learning – can be a dangerous thing. An excess of it can be downright subversive. The trinity behind a recent exhibition <Corridors of Power: Drawing & Modelling Sri Lanka’s Tryst with Dem

There’s viral life in the new political “culture”

Views - 3461 Thursday, 17 September 2015 00:00

What has come to pass in the Republic in the name of constitutional game-changing cannot be allowed to pass – to pass into time past by default, and opportunities bypassed by design – without rigorous engagement  

Big government – bad for good governance?

Views - 3356 Friday, 11 September 2015 00:00

Did you feel that democracy is the worst form of government? Except, of course, for all the others that have ever been! Could it be, though, that we have seen too little of it, of late, to appreciate it least when it works best... We ha

Why National Govt. is not the new political culture it’s meant to be

Views - 3440 Wednesday, 2 September 2015 00:00

The Government wants the real Opposition to be part of the Government. A minority party with a minor fraction of our house of commons to its name wants to sit as the main Opposition. And the Legislature is looking increasingly like a char

When winners lose out to runners-up

Views - 2869 Friday, 28 August 2015 00:00

Now it looks as if the next two years at least will be a much more but still compromised benevolent oligarchy in which ‘national government’ means precious little in terms of accountability to the people  

Election exam done; a return to reality!

Views - 2580 Friday, 21 August 2015 00:00

There is every possibility that the UNP and its partners in constituting the new government might interpret the people’s will as a mandate to implement the plans spelled out in its election manifesto. That would be missing much of t

As you vote, think on this...

Views - 2603 Monday, 17 August 2015 00:05

By the time you read this, most probably, the die would have been cast – together with your vote.  Or is there still the faintest glimmer that you’ll catch a vision of what I’m envisaging, before you rush off to your frien

Today's Columnists

MMDA, ACJU, politicians and women

Saturday, 16 February 2019

It is 10 years since Justice Saleem Marsoof (JSM) and his committee was appointed to review and make recommendations to reform the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA), passed originally in 1951 and amended in 1954, 1955, 1965 and 1969 before becom

President Trump looked for the failed idea of a wall

Saturday, 16 February 2019

The talks over the “Wall of Trump” between the US-Mexico Border Security broke down with Congressional leaders over the weekend. After the renewed call for a wall at his second State of the Union, President Donald Trump attended a political rally

‘The Man Who Would Be King’: Remembering Anura Bandaranaike on his 70th birth anniversary

Friday, 15 February 2019

‘The Man Who Would Be King’ is the title of a long tale written by Rudyard Kipling in 1888. This very popular story was made into a successful film starring Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Christopher Plummer by the well-known director John Husto

Of pseudo-democrats, discipline and the coming death of liberty?

Friday, 15 February 2019

I despair of our politicos and would-be politicians. Not that they are not all honourable men. From the honourable prime minister to the former defence secretary discharging his duty honourably after premature retirement! But that honour often dresse

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