Dynasty and Double Standards: Women Leaders in South Asia

courtesy Roar.lk

This article was published by Roar.lk. Full article here: http://roar.lk/features/of-dynasty-and-double-standards-women-leaders-in-south-asia/

While the U.S. has arguably shown the world that it would rather have a leader that grabs pussies than has one, in South Asia only the Maldives and Bhutan (which is a patrilineal monarchy in any case) have not had a female head of state. Political scientists have been fascinated by this exceptionalism of female leadership in Asia but much of the research says the same thing.

“… the easiest way for a woman to enter politics is to marry a politician”[i]

Continue reading

Education pipedreams 2017

I used to have a nuanced view about the problems around employing foreign-educated graduates in Sri Lanka vs. encouraging locally-educated graduates. The protests by university student unions, medical students, and a host of other youth who had bought into the free education rainbow only to find no pot of golden jobs at the end – I sympathized with them and would advocate their position amongst acquaintances who complained about these ‘ever-protesting, ever-complaining, ungrateful students’. I advocated for the matching of local graduates with jobs straight out of university, even if it came at the cost of more difficult procedures for foreign graduates. Not anymore. Continue reading

Sri Lanka – a Bibliography on arts, culture and politics

I compiled this bibliography for The School of Oriental and African Studies where I was a Chevening Scholar completing my Masters in 2015-2016. My major was in the Politics of Culture and my research focused primarily on the nexus between arts, culture, and politics in 20th and 21st century Sri Lanka.

Contents are as follows:

  • Politics and History: Civil War, Ethnicity, Insurgency
  • Politics and Theatre
  • Language, Politics, and Linguistic Nationalism
  • Literary histories, overviews, and the politics of literature
  • Cinema
  • Culture, Arts and Violence
  • Miscellaneous anthologies

Document here: sri-lanka-a-bibliography-compiled-by-annemari-de-silva

On Mother’s Day 2016

Here’s to those who choose to and do not choose to become mothers
to those who are trying to or trying not to
to those who can and those who can’t
or who still wonder whether to
to those who know they don’t want to
to those who are but didn’t choose to be
to those who are but didn’t expect to be
to those who are and wanted to be
to those who are.
Here’s to the women who are people too
and would like not to be defined by being a mother
or not being one
Here’s to the people and institutions and legislations and communities supporting whatever choice is made.
Here’s to the people who have to make that choice.

 

This poem was later submitted to and published by the Kavithé Collective here. Kavithé Collective ie ‘a collective of writers from Sri Lanka scattered across the world who want to see more creative writing engaged with social and political realities.  Kavithé is also a space for work that is identifiably of Sri Lanka: its sounds, smells, situations…’. See more about them

Church bells

She runs down the cobblestone street, hand reaching blindly forward, the other clutching the copious tulle of her gown. Blackened tears streak her face, joining freckle-dots as they flow towards the corner of her reddened lips. Daisies and yellow dahlias line the streets, her hand grazing the stone wall and she runs.

That is how you picture her when she ran away from you. Like you want her to be hurt the way it hurt you.

There are church bells in your memory, from some long-ago. You were there once, almost.

 

(from an experimental exercise with Jason Beckman)

Playing with majoritarian fire

A friend of mine in the US mentioned that Trump standing for elections and being extremist is some tactical political manoeuvre for very different aims (than getting DT elected). Whatever the motive is, it is truly terrifying to see the US using the same shameful tactics used in Sri Lankan politics where majority prejudices are toyed with for political gain. Whatever comes out of this, no foresight from the US players can control the beast they’ve unleashed on their society.