The Burgher Community in Sri Lanka

The term 'Dutch Burgher' is used to identify the ethnic group involving the descendants of Dutch Origin, who settled down in Ceylon after the British took over the Southern and Western coastal areas. In the early 17th century, Portuguese and Ceylonese Kingdoms ruled the country constantly, by battling with each other. Although the Portuguese were never able to hold full autonomy in the administration of Ceylon, their ruling was somewhat oppressive. The Dutch remained continuously engaged in a protracted war of independence from the Spanish rule.

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Tolerance in opposite order

Dilshani Palugaswewa highlighted in the Ceylon Today (Sunday Edition), the discourse made by Ajitha Wickremesinghe, the Financial Legal Equality Advisor and Director of iProbono, and the Founding Trustee of Think Equal, at a function held at  the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies, on 21 November, to mark The International Day for Tolerance.

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Exploration to help the Needy

We arrived at the Angunna Badulla Junior School in Matara, where 139 students from poor village families get an education. The school Principal M.A Jayasiri introduced us to three deserving students in need of medical attention.

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Journey in Search of the Deprived

Sirasa TV1 initially stimulated the writer and wife to visit Habarana, when a little seven-day-old girl was mauled by a dog and died. Upon arrival in Habarana, it was found that the entire area, consisting three villages, Asirigama, Eppawala, and Haba Divul Wewa, did not have pure water for consumption, as a consequence the number of chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients was on the increase. It was revealed further, that these villages require a water purification unit (RO Plant) that is normally installed by the Sri Lanka Navy. In this respect, a detailed report indicating the current percentage of the CKD patients and so forth (covering all villages), is being prepared with the help of the Samurdi Officer, Dhanapala. He has undertaken the responsibility to obtain signatures from the full gamut of villagers, and post the petition direct to the Gammedda Secretariat, for onward transmission to the Sri Lanka Navy for their vetting purposes.

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PETROL FIASCO - VIP'S FLAGRANT BEHAVOUR

The precipitous petrol crisis in the country emerged, on 3 November, from rumours by word of mouth, while the line Minister and the Petroleum Development Resources Secretariat kept mum until the delinquency hit a crisis level, and the exasperated motorists started to go on a rampage. The Minister's request to the public, 'not to panic' later, was akin to ‘shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted’.

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Promoting Gender Equality

On 10 October 2017, South Asia's Policy Makers gathered in Colombo to discuss the success and failures of women, who appear to be disregarded in society. A current issue under discussion in Sri Lanka is to have a guaranteed quota of 25- 30 per cent of women in politics, in future elections.

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Downgrading Politics

Politics appears to be a 'dirty game' throughout the world. In Sri Lanka, it has stooped to gutter level with corruption spearheading like a contagious disease. Many Sri Lankan politicians entered the political arena, in the past, out of sheer patriotism and the yearning to work for the people. Besides, many of them were icons of wealthy families, who died after spending all their fortunes in trying to serve the country.

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Over Whelming Response HUMANITY AT ITS BEST

Last Saturday, this column highlighted how helpless Asirigama villagers in Habarana have been 'Deprived and Discarded'. The news went viral on the Internet to generate overwhelming responses from fellow Sri Lankans and the expatriate community living aboard. The main story revolved on the seven-day-old baby Kavishka Sandaruwan, who was killed by a dog, but the plight of the villagers too seems to have touched many a heart.

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Deprived and Discarded

On the 19 September 2017, the writer started on a journey from Colombo to Habarana, following a tragedy that was highlighted by Sirasa News First programme on a heartbreaking new flash about Kavishka Sandaruwan, a seven-day-old baby who died due to an “unprecedented dogguzzling.” She had been wrapped up with some “rags” (the only sheets parents could afford) and placed the baby on the clay floor and covered with a mesh inside the family’s “shanty.

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Remembering Vivien Gunawardena

Vivian Gunawardena has gone down in Sri Lankan politics as a dynamic woman who embraced politics long before 'Women's lib' was heard of in the West. Being fearless and outspoken, a quality that she inherited from his uncle, the late Phillip Gunawardena (Boralugoda Lion), she pioneered and set up Sri Lanka's first Socialist Women's Organisation – The United Women's Trust. Vivian Gunewardena's 101st birthday or the 31st death commemoration falls on 3 October 2017. As a tribute to this outspoken, fearless female politician, the writer wishes to reminisce about a personal interview he had with her in London, at the time she cut short her holiday, purposely to take an active role on the political platform in Sri Lanka, prior to the general elections on 16 August 1994.

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