Curfew, moonlight, and Sri Lanka’s War


Curfew. An adult word. Floats across the power cut dark to the veranda. To us kids sitting around the carom board. Lit by a candle on an upturned Milo tin. Curfew. A thrilling word. It means no school. Waking late. Street cricket. Assorted fun with the gang along the lane. My ears pick up other … Continue reading Curfew, moonlight, and Sri Lanka’s War

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Original Sri Lankan Hackers


They built Sri Lanka’s bridges, roads, power grid, dams and other infrastructure we take for granted. You may have heard a few names - Wimalasurendra, Kularathne - in passing. The rest never got the recognition required to be forgotten. Yet their work still stands. Despite a decaying state bureaucracy poisoned by Sri Lanka’s feudal politics. This … Continue reading Original Sri Lankan Hackers

My Nationalist Paintings


I painted endless variations of the same sunset at school. The powers that be approved. I was capturing the offical ideology in pretty pictures. Celebrating beliefs we kids were expected to swallow without question. The pictures themselves looked harmless. The sky was always a lush water colour gradient. Descending from a fringe of deep evening … Continue reading My Nationalist Paintings

Controversial colonel’s return creates another political crisis in Sri Lanka


Rarely does the return of a famous son plunge a land into such a slow motion crisis. On the face of it the crisis appears to centre on emotional arguments about historical trivia. Yet it's divisiveness has frightening implications about the future post war stability of the island. To understand its significance, it is essential … Continue reading Controversial colonel’s return creates another political crisis in Sri Lanka

Whoever wins this election, we will be OK


Whoever wins this election, we Sri Lankans will be fine — or the very least manage OK. There will be no apocalypse. Life will go on. Sri Lankans will try to make life better with or without the government and NGOs. Not having a war will help. This is a naive sounding feather ruffling U … Continue reading Whoever wins this election, we will be OK

Coup theory


Sri Lanka's forth coming election date has one uncomfortable historical association. Election day falls on the day before the anniversary of the 1962 coup attempt was supposed to happen (January 27th). Fact that a former general is contesting the election has elevated this ignored anniversary into annoying prominence. It creates a cocktail of superficial symbolism … Continue reading Coup theory

Pillar of the establishment


The carving on this pillar is supposedly the emblem of a local cheiftan in King Parakramabahu's Sri Lanka (1153–1186). The pillar is part of the King Parakramabahu's audience hall (highlighted in the Google Earth screen-shot below) within the Royal citadel of Polonaruwa. Despite it's elegent stone carvings, the audience hall is not a grand monument … Continue reading Pillar of the establishment