this not withstanding, Nihal de Silva's The Road From Elephant Pass is a
surprisingly well-written work. An army officer's assignment turns into a
nightmare when the Tigers launch an attack on Elephant Pass on the same day
he is to deliver a rebel. The two adversaries are forced to escape together
through the rebel held Wanni and later cross the Wilpattu National Park on
foot. Needless to say, the dangerous and adventurous journey result in some
interesting consequences, both personally and professionally. Sounds a
trifle clich‚? Definitely! That's where the book fails. It is in all
honesty one of those 'read the first page and guess the end' pieces. The
first half of the work is also a bit too dawdling.
does however have some interesting tidbits for campers and wildlife
enthusiasts and is highly recommended reading material for scouts. No
seriously! It is unlikely, for instance the fact that water can be dug out
of shallow holes in the sand is widely known and it is an interesting bit of
information to store up. The book is a treasury of such knowledge.
is also, if one is to be frank, a very pretty love story - of the bandits
and heroes and not so innocent but helpless, victimised maids variety. A
girl meets boy war tale. It is very very sad.
The Road From Elephant Pass is not a bad piece of work at all. It is not
unique or original certainly. But it does explore age-old attitudes with
eye-opening candour. And it successfully crushes most of them --through the
protagonists. Definitely an effort worth commending.
other art forms like cinema, drama, music and painting, modern art is trying
to wiggle its way through and make a mark.
student of fine art, Sudath Abeysekara seeks to help this small nation
produce and contribute to modern art of international stature. According to
him, people have a misconception that contemporary art is an accidental
occurrence. "I believe art should have a purpose, an objective created
through knowledge and experience, and finally it should help the audience
realise how they should face the world in this day and age."
'Media Barbecue' Sudath attempts to analyse and decode the current flux in
media through contemporary art. In its previous avatar, Media Barbecue drew
some mixed reactions. "Is it art?" some people asked. The event
(held as a group event, within a smaller space) also spawned some good,
constructive criticism. That's when Sudath decided to go for an elaborate
display... to express the idea on a larger canvas, so to say. In his own
words, "The first Media Barbecue was done on a small scale. It got
diverse reactions from the audience, some of which were really encouraging.
This spurred in me a desire to do things on my own."
Media Barbecue at the Lionel Wendt centre is totally Sudath Abeysekara's.
Through contemporary installations and paintings it makes people aware of
modern art and more importantly does a reality check on the media scene
today. It shows how the media has influenced the collective consciousness of
every individual and of society at large. Sudath uses usual day to day items
in the most unusual manner to recreate reality as seen, heard and felt by
his own senses.
introspective, provocative and revealing are some of the reactions he is
completely prepared for. And as a critic-turned- sponsor, Edward Schwarz,
head of corporate Communications, Holcim, will be sharing Sudath's belief,
pride and talent with the entire world.
takes the road less travelled
fluff has almost completely overshadowed meaningful dramas, content and
quality are becoming mere words and not something one actually sees on our
television sets, Young Asia Television has come up with a new tele-drama
called Me Paren Enna (Ivvaliyil Vaarungal or Take This Road) which aims to
put meaning back into the whole genre. This tele-drama directed by award
winning director Asoka Handagama, will be telecast on Rupahvahini's Channel
Eye at 8:30 pm from Saturday, January
17 onwards. A repeat telecast of this tele-drama will take place on
Ruphavahini Channel One at 3:00 pm from Sunday the 18th onwards.
Handagama has previously given the public much food for thought in such
controversial tele-dramas as Dunhinda Addara, Diyakata Pahana and Synthetic
Sihina as well as films such as Thani Thatuwen Piyambanna and Me Mage Sandai
on the silver-screen. His new creation tackles the arduous task of
discussing the sociopolitical events of our times. Take This Road takes us
along the post-ceasefire A9 Road to Jaffna and through war, peace, life,
love, hatred, death and makes us peer into ourselves, and make us peer
within ourselves to see if we can stand the test of our times.
interesting the story, however meaningful the theme, the constant
advertisements that interrupt the tele-dramas of today tend to sap the joy
the experience and makes us lose the thread of the story. In order to
prevent this from happening, Take This Road is being telecast without any
breaks. In addition to this, the tele-drama will feature both Sinhalese and
Tamil sub-titles since it is meant for all the people of Sri Lanka.
by Young Asia Television, which has been in the business of entertaining and
educating the people of Sri Lanka for years, the tele-drama features a host
of Sri Lankan acting talent including Grace Ariyawimal, Ranjith Amerasekera,
Tharindi Fonseka, Raj Ganeshan, A. M. M. Mansoor, Sarath Kothalawela, Kamala
Mohankumar, Nishantha Rajini, P. Jeewitha, L. Darshan, Sanjeewa Upendra,
Dhananjaya Siriwardhane. Take This Road also features the music of Kapila
Pugalaarachhi and the vocal talents of Nelu Adhikari, Kapila Pugalaarachchi
and King Rathnam.
hidden frog to dreamer
was Shakespeare who asked: "Tell me where is fancy bred, in the heart
or in the head?" This is the question that B.D.K. Saldin also seems to
pose in his book, Portrait Of A Sri Lankan Malay. I have to be pleased with
the title. 'Sri Lankan' is what I have long pitched for in relation to my
own community. Sri Lankan Burghers --that is what we are - just as the Sri
Lankan Malays do not insist that he is a Sarawak Malay or a Sabah Malay or a
preface also deals with this seeming confusion between 'Malays' and 'Moors,'
and he tells us that "the only similarity between a Malay and a Moor is
their religion, which is Islam."
I dipped into the book at first, I was struck by the manner in which the
older generations of Malays in this island (and that could include the
author too) had to relate to politics, economics and to the Malay mind. An
on-going process of change for better or worse has baffled the mind - any
mind - born into and brought up in steeped traditions and a restrictive
environment. We see how well the author tries to understand and readjust to
these new boundaries and possibly opportunities.
can I put it? It is the shift from kampung to condominium that can
destabilise the traditional sense of both space and time.
is relevant at this point to also try, in my own way, to answer the
question: Who are the Malays? Actually, this can be a most complex question
that has received some most curious answers - for in different contexts, the
term 'Malay' has multiple meanings. The average Sri Lankan will say that the
Malays captured Sardiel and just imagine Prince Moggallana brought in a
strong force from Malays for his showdown with Kassapa (so Paranavitana
tells us). But taking a wide social and cultural definition, 'Malay' refers
to an extremely large ethnic stock over a wide area of the Earth's surface -
from the Malay Archipelago and moving westward to South Africa.
Malaya today, a good Malay friend tells me, a Malay is a person who (a)
professes the Muslim religion: (b) habitually speaks Malay; (c) conforms to
Malay customs. This can be most flexible. It could mean that any non-Malay
who converts to Islam and speaks Malay and observes Malay customs, can be a
Malay. Yet, this is the definition of Malay's Federal Constitution although
there is no such flexibility in Sarawak where a Malay is only a Malay if he
or she is born in Sarawak.
this is putting me in a stew, so let me simply add that what we see of the
Malays, the whole Malay race from as far away as the Philippines to Malaya,
Sri Lanka and South Africa, is the form of their language.
warm-hearted poet from Sarawak, Abang Yusef Puteh, once told me of the
progression of the Malay from an inward-looking, highly traditional way of
life. He gave me four typical Malay images:
dibawah tempurung - A frog beneath a coconut shell. It is the tiny world of
the kampung. The perception of life was inward-looking. A world of their
own, so to say.
masuk kampung - Deer entering the village. New experiences and ideas.
Contact between village and urban centres. It causes some chaos in the
conservative mind, but change has to come.
naik gangsa - Frog on a brass tray. The Malay mind becomes a newcomer to
power and wealth.
janin - In Malayan folklore, this is the dreamer. It tells of fantasies of
glory and prosperity.
as Abang Yusef told me, the imagery can also demonstrate, in order, the old
contented Malay; the bewildered Malay as change sweeps around him; the new
Malay who wishes to forget his humble beginnings; and the long wait for the
dreamer to awake, find the world he has dreamed of.
has not tried to analyse or give us an in-depth treatise on the Malay mind
but he has given us extremely valuable information in telling of the origins
of the Sri Lankan Malay. For instance, the Dutch exiled many troublemakers
from Java. Also into this island came Indonesians from Sumatra, the Mollucas,
Madura and Tidore. These people all spoke Malay but, as the author says,
they were "ja minissu" -not Malays.
the British found here a Malay speaking community and dubbed them Malays.
Later the British did bring in true Malays to their Malay Regiment but the
terminological error has stayed. Everyone considered only Java when thinking
of the old Dutch East Indies - and the author insists that it is also most
reprehensible to keep grouping Moors and Malays as Muslims in Sri Lanka. The
correct method, ethnically and not according to religious groups, would be
to recognise Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors, Malays and Burghers.
Baratha Natya Arangetram of Devika Ganeshamoorthy is to be staged on January
24, at 5.30 p.m. at Ramakrishna Mission Hall, Colombo.
is a versatile dancer and the disciple of Senior Baratha Natya Teacher,
Directress and Guru, Baratha Natya Dance School, Kalabooshanam Shrimathi
is the daughter of Ganeshamoorthy and an old student of
Ramanathan Hindu Ladies College, Colombo. She will be leaving to
Australia soon for higher studies.
Sri Ponnambalavaneswaram Temple Colombo, D.M Swaminathan will be the chief
guest at the function and Kamba Varithi Shri E. Jeyaraj (Kamban Kazhagam)
and Roopawathi Sivagurnathan (retired principal, Rmanathan Hindu Ladies
College Colombo) will be present as guests of honour.
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