Invited by Anukshi Jayasinghe to write for Ceylon Today’s Celebrity Bookcase section, these are five books I love and keep returning to. ### Buddha in the Attic, Julie Otsuka A compelling novel based on the indentured labour from Japan, mostly young women, who came over to the West Coast of the United States. This is
Braving catcalls, they walk around the boundary, waving College flags as staunchly as their male counterparts and often, with more aplomb and confidence – for history proves that not a single female has been entreated by an empty beer bottle to shut-up and get lost (as is the fate of many men who try the same feats) in over a century…. Men rescued by women, women fighting women, brothers fighting for their sisters, sisters fighting for their brothers, fathers, sons, mothers, lovers, grandfathers and more, all engaged in a ritualistic dance to the strains of a kaffringa, the Royal-Thomian brings with it a sense of strange togetherness – that the chaos has its own logic, the cricket its own pace, the spectators their own music, the females their signature cadence, the males their own rhythm.
There is something about the rain that emboldens us to think more charitably about the world around us.Something in the footfall of hasty droplets that reminds us of our childhood, of the siestas looking upwards at branches and green leaves bend with the fecundity of a monsoon, of the smell of rain upon gravel, grass and sun parched earth, of the overcast skies that compelled us into bed and into the arms of a spine that held within its arms words that transported us to far away lands.It beckons us to remember a time of innocence, a time before the warts that coloured our worldview became evident amidst the wrinkles of wisdom we collect as we grow up.I am most unproductive in the rain.
A monolithic hegemon brings grief upon itself – the LTTE, unable to accomodate change, diversity or plurality, counters with the one action it knows best – violence aimed at abject submission.Jars somewhat with the work I’ve been doing all morning in drawing up a proposal to help set up a Peace Secretariat for the Muslims.Walking down the street mid-afternoon, warmed by a lzy sun battling a cool breeze, it is easy to forget to the chaos back home and the hopelessness that every bullet fuels…. I would imagine that this would be a trifle difficult if you are more versed in ‘Footy’ rules than the dynamics on the ground in Sri Lanka, though of course, that doesn’t stop the Aunties and Uncles here coming up with very imaginative conspiracy theories.Don’t see any easy path for peace in Sri Lanka – though through violent meanderings and setbacks, I do believe that in the years to come, through many lost opportunities, there is still a semblance of a promised land that for many of us is the one hope which keeps us going.
The frustration of an unfulfilled desire to have the one person you actually want to make love to only in an imagined presence…. Perhaps the Full Moon is too.This is madness.I love her.
In addition, there must be a direct and immediate connection between the expression and the likelihood or occurrence of such violence’ .The public interest in having information at all times must remain a priority consideration in any FOI Bill, and that any denial of this right be subject to independent review.Along these lines, in a seminal judgement in 1982, the Indian Supreme Court held that, ‘The concept of an open Government is the direct emanation from the right to know which seems to be implicit in the right of free speech and expression…disclosure of information in regard to the functioning of government must be the rule and secrecy an exception justified only where the strictest requirement of public interest so demands’…. The plethora of conspiracy theories in Sri Lanka also stem from a dearth of accurate information regarding the peace process.“The Sri Lanka people bear the human and financial cost of the conflict, but government and military policies and practices regarding the conflict are inaccessible to the public and remain largely shielded from public scrutiny and challenge, precluding citizens from participating in a meaningful way in promoting a solution to the conflict.
And yet, an exploration of alternatives to years of under-development, bad governance and poverty requires that one is able to link the varied problems and find strands of commonality – strands that bind, define and highlight the socio-political realities that for too long have escaped the attention of the world.The events of September 11th, 2001 overshadowed many changes that were already taking place in the polity and society of countries in the Gulf States, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, North and East Africa and the Levant…. While Colonial histories and legacies have long been blamed for the present state of affairs in the region, it is difficult to posit the squalor of refugee camps in Sri Lanka, the insufferable living conditions of slums in Calcutta, the starvation of peoples in Ethiopia, or the illiteracy that ravages the entire region on colonial policies alone.Above all, countries in the region must both not fall back on crude anti-Americanism and have greater self-belief, as well as greater self-respect.