English Lit and Science, 70’s Sri Lanka

This is a lot of reminiscing, and hopefully some  guidance for young people who read this blog.

I think I am a Science guy, and became IT/Finance guy in my 50’s.
I loved Chemistry, specially Organic Chemistry, Benzene Rings and all that. By the age of 14  (O/L) I wanted to be a Chemical Oceanographer.  I had a cousin (Ranjan Perumal) who was one of the early divers in SL.  Arthur C Clarke and Mike Wilson (Siva  Kalki) were some of the first modern divers in Sri Lanka.  Mike Wilson became a hermit, my cousin Ranjan is an Evangelical Pastor, in my opinion a real Christian (or people person).

Anyway, back to Science and English Literature.   In year 8 (age 12)  we had to chose between Science and Arts.  For O/L (year 9 and 10 in 70’s) we had to do 8 subjects.  English, Sinhala/Tamil, Math and Divinity (religion).  The smart Buddhists and Hindus did non RC (Roman Catholic) Christianity.  It was easy, almost like Geography/History. No necessity to remember stanzas.

So for O/L  (age 14) my optional subject was English Lit. I did Macbeth, Emma (Jane Austen) and some book of poetry.  Vaguely recall John Dunne (?) and Ozymandias.  Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, I had read a few years before bcos my father had it on his bookshelf.

To be honest Shakespeare did not rock my boat, possibly bcos my father liked it too much.  Emma was not OK either, though a few years later I read Pride and Prejudice and liked it.
Vanity Fair by Thackeray (?), Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.

The punch line, I was an alcoholic/heavy smoker by the age of 12-14. I worked around my Protestant work ethic parents.

Photo below, I am the guy in the middle with the big grin, probably when I was 22. My classmate on right of me in photo Lakshan Amarasinghe  (RIP), long dead (1998).  On left of me Dayananda Kapuduwa.  A another drinking pal.  In the US married to an First American.  He paid  for 3 of my US Grad Uni Application fees (about USD 25 in 1987).  And the other 3 applications by my maternal cousin, Ranjans Sister.

I was not much different in size/looks when I got into the US.  The Uni guys were cool, but not at my level of alcoholism.   So hooked up with some eastern Long Island red necks.  Greg Linka, Jim, Kevin, Isaiah Brown (the Jamaican guy), give a shout if you see this.   I would drink these six footers under the table.  Then I lost funding and stopped drinking  for 10 years.

Anyways, there has to be some moral to the whole story.
So
a) a goal in life, and the goals can change
b) A privileged background. Many/somebody to step in and help upto a reasonable screw up.  More important than a)

 

 

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11 dead in Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) Protests

Multi nationals are the same all over the world, exploitative.

10 persons were shot dead when police opened fire on a rally against a Sterlite copper plant.

As anger and resentment against Tuesday’s police action continued to smoulder, the Tamil Nadu government ordered several measures to control the unrest. Internet services were suspended in Thoothukudi and neighbouring districts of Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari .

Tuesday’s violence came on the 100th day of demonstrations against the plant, which environmentalists and residents claim is contaminating water sources — a charge the company (Vedanta Resources) denies.

The plant, one of India’s largest such facilities, has had a troubled history since it began operations in 1996. People have blamed it for their failing health and a major gas leak in 2013 led the Supreme Court imposing a Rs 100- crore fine. The plant has been closed down repeatedly in the past two decade, the last time by the Madras high court in 2013 over similar pollution concerns.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/thoothukudi-tense-as-another-anti-sterlite-protestor-killed-internet-services-suspended/story-CQcIpFdA0BdFG2LTta1rYP.html

https://thewire.in/rights/tuticorin-sterlite-copper-plant-vedanta-modi-human-rights

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Harlem (NY) as I knew in mid 1990’s

This is Harlem in NY as I knew it in the mid 1990’s.

Now its so, gentrified.   My friends from upper Harlem (145th Street) are my family in the US.  I am no citizen or Green card holder of the US.  Hopefully, I will get my Social Security that I paid into with 3 H1B  Visa Employment.  I am not holding my breath for another  3 years.

With my wife Chandra Wimalasiri (RIP, 2018; we separated in 2004) in Stony Brook, NY, 1991.  USD 600 for the 1975 Ford LTD  station wagon with 150K miles.  Went to Louisiana, and another time to Florida.

Then got  Chevy Celebrity for free (Prof Akira Akubo thank you) with  160K and crossed the US three times.  Life and reminisces are great

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQewMLnXX7I

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A must watch

For those who like world/ethnic music + Rock. This is the entire movie, just saw clips 10 years ago. Something for all. WWF (wrestling), Child Birth, Travelogue, ethnic and rock music. My favorite clip is at 00:42, the Bauls.  Whats with the Afro of the Baul singer.  The young Baul kid is Paban Das Baul.  He is quite well known in Europe. (YouTube search here).   Maki Kazumi in the Baul Clip I posted a few days back is still a Baul performing/evangelizing, monar manush. (Dont understand the words except manush which I assume means man).

I think, just intellectualizing by reading books about the world does not cut it.  Travel (wish I could do more) and into the hinterlands.  I have crossed the US three times with a tent, in an old Chevy Celebrity (had 160K miles when a Professor (Akira Akubo) gave it to me.   Montreal/Toronto to Florida and New Orleans at least 3 times. The Bronx before it became gentrified.  Camden/Baltimore.
Plus Myanmar backpacking in 2005 when the county just opened.

Vagabunden Karawane: A musical trip through Iran, Afghanistan and India in 1979 (1 hr 28 mins)

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Stolen Loot in British Museum

Any artifacts out in the UK that should be returned.

Gilded bronze statue of the Tara Bodhisattva, from the Anuradhapura period (8th century).

The Bodhisattva Tara. Gilded bronze, Sri Lanka, 8th century CE. With her right hand, the bodhisattva makes varadamudra, the gesture of charity or gift-giving, while her left hand may originally have held a lotus. The image is solid cast and would once have had semi-precious stone or crystal inlaid eyes. The niche in the head-dress would have contained a figure of a Dhyani Buddha. This sculpture was found on the east coast of Sri Lanka between Batticaloa and Trincomalee and is evidence of the presence of Mahayana Buddhism in the Anuradhapura period of Sri Lanka. These doctrines are generally more associated with the north of India. Given by Sir Robert Brownrigg.

I like the word “Given”.  Robert Brownrigg, was Governor of Ceylon who finally captured the Kandyan Kingdom

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_in_Sri_Lanka#/media/File:British_Museum_Asia_45_(cropped).jpg

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Carbon Steel and Zinc in India

Inspired by a comment by bharata bharatavanshi.

Zinc: 
The production of zinc by conventional smelting methods presents considerable difficulties; instead of a liquid metal forming at the base of the furnace, zinc forms a highly reactive vapour (with a boiling point of 913°C) which exits the top of the furnace and promptly re-oxidises. Clearly, some method of containing and condensing the vapour out of contact with the air was needed
1217CW - Science in India - Plate 6.12
By the early second millennium AD, these descriptions had become more detailed. The retort was to be shaped like a brinjal, or aubergine, the condenser shaped like a datura, or thorn apple flower, and the zinc ore was shaped into small balls, still using the exotic organic ingredients.

Carbon Steel (Wootz)

The Carbon steel from India and Sri lanka are thought to be source for the famed Damascus Steel Swords, used by Saladin to defeat the Crusaders.

It is the pioneering steel alloy matrix developed in Southern India in the 6th century BC and exported globally. It was also known in the ancient world by many different names including Wootz, Ukku, Hindvi Steel, Hinduwani Steel, Teling Steel and Seric Iron.

Wootz steel originated in India. There are several ancient Tamil, Telugu, Greek, Chinese and Roman literary references to high carbon Indian steel since the time of Alexander’s India campaign. The crucible steel production process started in the 6th century BC,[citation needed] at production sites of Kodumanal in Tamil Nadu, Golconda in Telangana, Karnataka and Sri Lanka and exported globally; the Tamils of the Chera Dynasty (Kerala) producing what was termed the finest steel in the world, i.e. Seric Iron to the Romans, Egyptians, Chinese and Arabs by 500 BC. The steel was exported as cakes of steely iron that came to be known as “Wootz”. Wootz steel in India had high amount of carbon in it.

The Chinese and locals in Sri Lanka adopted the production methods of creating wootz steel from the Chera Tamils by the 5th century BC. In Sri Lanka, this early steel-making method employed a unique wind furnace, driven by the monsoon winds. Production sites from antiquity have emerged, in places such as Anuradhapura, Tissamaharama and Samanalawewa,

http://wilpattuhouse.com/MiscStuff/juleff-monsoon-steel.html

Steel

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1900’s: Betrayal and change in China’s Perception of the West

To China: a few excerpts from a moonofalabama post.  Link is at bottom of post.  Short on words.  Read somewhere, Chinese appear to be rude and abrupt.  Apparently in China, it is rude to take up another’s time.  Once you know Chinese well they can be quite chatty. In Sri Lanka (and SA I assume) ask for direction, and they want have a long conversation on random stuff. Ahh, cultural differences.

I was under the impression the Chinese did not have westernized elite like South Asia (e.g Jinnah,Nehru, SWRDB). I had read about Sun Yat Sen, first President/Prime Minister and about his being kidnapped in the UK from one of my fathers book.  From the short article and little more digging, there was an Westernized Chinese elite.  However,  the west did not honor agreements (whats new) brokered by this Westernized Chinese elite.  I think as a result the influence of this Westernized Chinese elite was marginalized and repudiated.  Here are two examples of Westernized Chinese elite.  Wellington Koo, International law and diplomacy PhD (1912) from Columbia University. His wife Hui-Lan ‘Juliana’ Oei (Madame Koo) apparently was one of the first ladies to indulge in civilian flying and drove her own motor car about London…a little grey two-seater Rolls Royce.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/carlzha/cz02.jpg

To the excerpts
99 years ago, on May 4th 1919, the original Tiananmen student protest broke out. The students protested the Allied Powers’ betrayal at Versailles: The German Shangdong colony was given to Japan instead of returning it to China. This despite China’s sending of 140,000 men to work on the Western front.

Germany took the port city of Qingdao (Tsingtao) on the Shangdong Peninsula where they brought over beer tech giving birth to Tsingtao Beer.

In 1890 Germany played a leading role in attacking the Chinese capital Beijing to suppress the Boxer Rebellion together with the 8 Nation Alliance of Britain, France, United States, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan and Austria-Hungary.

As World War I wore on longer than anybody expected, the Allied Powers faced acute labor shortages. Britain came up with a scheme to recruit Chinese labors. But China was neutral so she had to be persuaded to join the war.  China wanted to have the German Shangdong colony returned. Entered U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson asked China to join the war and promised support for China to gain Shangdong back after Germany’s defeat.

While the young republican China sees Britain and France as ruthless Imperial Powers, it has an enormous regard for the U.S. which it hopes to model itself after. Top Chinese diplomat was the American educated Wellington Koo. Madam Koo, an international style icon, popularized Cheongsam/Qipao dresses.

China did as Wilson asked, entered the war against Germany and send 340,000 men to help with the Allied war effort. 140,000 went to the Western Front, 200,000 went to Russia. Chinese comprised the largest non-European labor force on the Allied side during World War I. On the Western front, the 140,000 Chinese labor were know as the Chinese Labour Corp. They dug trenches, worked in timber yards, build steamers, repair railroads. 6,000 were even sent to Iraq to work in Basra.

Unbeknownst to China, while China joined the war on the allied side at the U.S. urging, hoping to gain back Shangdong province, the U.S. and Japan signed the secret Lansing-Ishii Agreement in 1917 where they recognized each other’s special ‘interests’ in China. Japan’s interest is the German colony Qingdao. Fully believing Woodrow Wilson’s promise of self-determination, the top Chinese diplomat Wellington Koo, who won the Columbia-Cornell Debating Medal in his American school days, argued passionately for the return of the Shangdong Peninsula at the Paris Peace Conference.

The Soviets saw a chance to draw China away from the West and into their camp. They leaked details of the secret U.S.-Japan Lansing-Ishii agreement to Eugene Chen in Paris, who then leaked it to the Chinese press. Furious Chinese students took to street to protest at this betrayal especially by the U.S.

Japan then threaten to veto the League of Nations, which would not work without Japan, unless … the U.S. agreed to give Germany’s former Shangdong colony to Japan. Wilson dutifully complied and decide to honor the Lansing-Ishii agreement, selling the Chinese down the river.

Disillusioned with the West and seeking for an alternative political model leads some to look to the newly found Soviet Union. Two leading intellectuals of the May 4th movement, Li Dazhao (left) and Chen Duxiu(right), co-founded the Chinese Communist Party. While heading the Peking University library, Chinese Communist Party co-founder Li Dazhao would influence a young student working there. His name was Mao Zedong.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/05/the-historic-background-of-chinas-perception-of-the-west-by-carl-zha.html#more

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The Philippines Genocide: 3 million Filipinos Killed

I guess “Holocaust Deniers” all over the world.

Just the excerpts from the reports during the period (Spanish American War 1898).20 dead filipinos

General Bell himself, who said “we estimated that we killed one-sixth of the population of the main island of Luzon—some 600,000 people.” (There is another Bell, George who also fought in the Philippines ).  Also see Gore Vidals reply on comment questioning the numbers.

The Philadelphia Ledger November 1901 their Manila correspondent wrote “The present war is no bloodless, opera bouffe engagement; our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of ten up, the idea prevailing that the Filipino as such was little better than a dog…

Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to make them talk, and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later, without an atom of evidence to show that they were even insurrectos, stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses.”

Another Marine officer described his testimony.

The major said that General Smith instructed him to kill and burn, and said that the more he killed and burned the better pleased he would be; that it was no time to take prisoners, and that he was to make Samar a howling wilderness. Major Waller asked General Smith to define the age limit for killing, and he replied “everyone over ten.”

 

Mark Twain wrote

“…I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the philippines. we have gone to conquer, not to redeem… and so i am an anti-imperialist. i am opposed to having the [american] eagle put its talons on any other land.”

On 15th of October 1900 Twain wrote the New York Times.

We have pacified some thousands of the islanders and buried them; destroyed their fields; burned their villages, and turned their widows and orphans out-of-doors; furnished heartbreak by exile to some dozens of disagreeable patriots; subjugated the remaining ten millions by Benevolent Assimilation, which is the pious new name of the musket; we have acquired property in the three hundred concubines and other slaves of our business partner, the Sultan of Sulu, and hoisted our protecting flag over that swag. And so, by these providences of god — and the phrase is the government’s, not mine — we are a World Power.” Mark Twain

 Please read the whole Post.  Interesting pictures.  Also President McKinley ‘s Christian reasons for the war.

The Philippines Genocide 3 million Filipinos Killed

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