Tag Archives: mp

In Sri Lanka Women May Not Be Allowed To Buy Alcohol, But They Can — And Have Been — President Or Prime Minister.

by Anura Guruge


Click image to access ABC News original.


Click to access the UK “Daily Mail” original.



I did not know about this ban — or its reinstatement — until a friend e-mailed me a link Monday morning. It was all news to I. I never knew that there was such a ban — primarily because I have never tried to buy alcohol in Sri Lanka.

Anywho … anybody who thinks that this ban reflects badly on Sri Lanka’s treatment of women obviously is not familiar with what makes Sri Lanka truly GREAT.

The World’s first democratically elected female Head of State (i.e., Prime Minister)
— in 1960. My aunty Bandaranaike.

Got that. FIRST female Prime Minister in the World.

We have also had a female President.

I am sure Hillary Clinton would have gladly forgone her right to buy alcohol if she could have been President. {Smile}

Something else to consider. This ban is said to have been instituted in 1979 — by Sri Lanka’s increasingly rabid Buddhists.

OK. Since then there have been two female Heads of State (albeit mother and daughter). They obviously did not see this as a major women’s issue — i.e., being precluded from buying alcohol.

Yes, Sri Lankans are funny — real funny — about everything to do with alcohol.

It is a Buddhist thing — though all that Buddhism asks from you is that you TRY and refrain from partaking in intoxicating substances.

Growing up in Ceylon (the prior name of Sri Lanka) in the 1950s and 1960s, alcohol was a taboo subject among middle- and upper-class Sinhala buddhists (such as my adoptive family).

My adoptive parents (and grandparents) were genuine teetotalers. Alcohol was never served at our house — even when my adoptive father was an Ambassador in Paris (France) and Washington D.C. My parents really frowned upon those that drank and had a hard time coming to terms that I was basically a hopeless wino.

Some of my uncles drank — and we all knew of their penchant for drink. But, they drank in private! It was a crazy society.

Yes, women not being allowed to serve or make alcohol is a problem.

But, not being able to buy alcohol should not really be a problem. For all of our faults, Sri Lankan males tend to be a gallant, chivalrous and RANDY bunch of buggers. We would never dream of letting a female buy a drink. We would always get them one. {Smile}

So …

Not good, BUT not the end of the world.

Yes, Sri Lankan Buddhists are a dangerous bunch. I have said that before.

But, do NOT extrapolate this to mean that women are downtrodden in Sri Lanka.

Just remember. Just remember: Sirimavo Bandaranaike — the World’s first female prime minister.


Related posts:
Search ‘Queen’.


by Anura Guruge


THE Queen, My Mother & The Queen’s Phone Number.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE.




Doing the post on the Queen’s Christmas address yesterday, and then a couple of comments that ensued on Facebook, reminded me of a cute story involving my adoptive mother and the Queen.

My adoptive mother over the years had met the Queen socially on a number of occasions — and there is a possibility that my mother spent some time with the Queen. That would have been in 1954 when the Queen visited Ceylon. My adoptive father was at that time the private secretary to the Prime Minister and as such was heavily involved with the visit and would have been at all the events and receptions — often with my mother. I was but 7 months old at the time and do not remember any of it. But, from what I recall from later snippets, they might have gone to Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa with the Queen — on the official train. ‘They’ (i.e., the ‘government’) would definitely would have wanted my father around. He, though only 25 years old at the time, had a Ph.D. and was an acknowledged scholar and history buff. My mother and the Queen would have been 4 years apart in age, my mother born in 1930.

Anywho … my mother met the Queen, at least a few times. starting in 1954.

To say that my mother was a people person would not even get close to the truth. She had an exceptional capability. She has been compared to Mother Teresa and Princess Diana in that respect. There was something about her — it was organic and chemical. People were drawn to her and she to them. She was rarely without a smile and people somehow detected this amazing warmth she had for all — strangers in particular. All her life she had this child-like quality of innocence. She was totally without guile and people recognized that. She, from a young age, collected people’s contact information and birthdays. She had bulging address books and was diligent at sending birthday and Christmas cards. In her 40s she would send out 400 — 600 handwritten Christmas cards per year. She would start in mid-November.

OK … Somewhere during these meetings with the Queen she believes that she got the Queen’s personal contact information. It is possible. She might not have got it directly, but it is likely that it was given to her by one of the Queen’s staff. I never asked, but it is likely that the Queen got birthday and Christmas cards from my mother.

From 1968 when my father joined UNESCO to her death in 1992 she was very much a part of the European diplomatic circle. She socialized with Heads of State on a regular basis and to her they were always friends first and Heads of State second.

In late 1984, when my father was the Sri Lanka Ambassador in Paris, my mother answered the phone, in their official residence, in a fancy apartment block, very early in the morning. A stranger on the line informed her that this was going to be my father’s last day on earth and that he planned to assassinate my father before the day was done. He then hung up. Threats on my father’s life were not new and we had lived with it since the 1960s — given that he was a highly political figure. She did not rush off an and tell my father. Instead she calmly made one phone call — and this was around 7:30 in the morning. My father got out of bed because he could hear a lot of commotion around the building. He looked out. There were armoured cars and military personnel with heavy weaponry. Police cars with sirens followed.

That was when my mother informed him of the call. He asked her if she had called the police — though that is NOT what diplomats are supposed to do. They have a special ‘diplomat protection’ number to call. My mother hadn’t not called that number or the police. She had called President François Mitterrand, at home — on his personal line! I kid you not. She knew him and he had told her to call him if she ever needed anything. She took things like that literally. Appears that Mitterrand, her friend, was cool. Told her not to worry and that he would deal with it himself. Hence the army presence ahead of the police. I gather he called up later to make sure all was OK. Over the next few weeks he would have received a stream of flowers, chocolates and other gifts from my mother. So … my mother did not hesitate about calling Heads of State.

This was 1983. I had finally got fed up of trying to travel on a Sri Lanka passport — especially since I had to make business trips, on no-notice, on a regular basis. So, I decided to apply for British Citizenship. That was not going to be problem. I have lived, full time in the UK for 15 years, had an unlimited work permit and had been married to a British citizen for 9 years. So, I applied. And it dragged on.

One day, in late 1983, my mother, as was her wont, had called from Paris to see how things were.

I happened to mention that I was getting frustrated that I had not heard anything about my citizenship.

And she then says, quite casually: “Do you want me to CALL the Queen?

I kid you not. To her this was nothing. No big deal. She would just call up the Queen. And she would have.

I was mortified. “Amma, NO. NO. It is OK. Don’t call the Queen. That might be overkill”.

She eventually decided to call a MP (i.e., Member of Parliament) she knew. He called me to ask for details!

I did get my citizenship paper, in the mail, shortly afterwards THOUGH I am not sure whether the MP had any hand in that.

But, I still remember: “Do you want me to CALL the Queen?

There is no shadow of a doubt that she thought she could get through to the Queen. But, we will never know.


Related posts:
Search ‘Queen’.


by Anura Guruge


First ‘Dotard’, Now ‘Daft Twerp’ — Do They Both Apply & Fit?

by Anura Guruge


From “The Hill”. Click image to access original. Google ‘Nicholas Soames’ for more.


Click to ENLARGE.


Having grown up in Britain, and having gone to Public School (i.e., private school) there, I am extremely au fait with all three words: ‘daft‘, ‘twerp‘ & ‘dotard‘.

Both ‘dotard‘ and ‘daft twerp‘, though alluding to different personality traits, apply in this case. I am sure he was a ‘daft twerp’ most of his life and then as he got older he also became a ‘dotard’.

Unlike ‘dotard’, which goes back 500-years or more, ‘twerp’ is a relatively recent word and is NOT even hundred years old as yet.

The Oxford English Dictionary‘, the final arbitrator on all words English, believes that ‘twerp’ was a creation of the famous,  by J R R Tolkien (of “Lord of the Rings”). In a letter to his son in October 1944 he talks of his times with T.W. Earp, a one time President of the Oxford Union, and refers to this T.W. Earp, as ‘the original “twerp”‘). Get it? T.W. Earp, who probably was a right royal twerp. Interesting.

So what do YOU think? You think ‘they’ got it right? I think so.


Related posts:
++++ Search on ‘Trump’ for many, many related posts >>>>


by Anura Guruge


Olympus Stylus SZ-16 One Heck Of A Point-and-Shoot For $149 (or even less).

Taken with Olympus SZ-16. CLICK.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
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by Anura Guruge


Other Related posts:
** Fujifilm X-T1: low ISO.
** BuyDig
offering Sony RX10 II pre-orders.
** Sony RX10 II
vs. Canon PowerShot G3X.
**
I bought Sony stock, rather than RX10 II.
** Sony’s
2 new cameras: A7 RII & RX10 II.

>> Search ‘camera’, ‘Panasonic’, ‘Canon’ & ‘Samsung’ for other related posts >>>>


OlympusDeanna now swears by this $149 Olympus Stylus SZ-16 we got from BuyDig.com. She thinks it is the BEST point-and-shoot she has ever had. She loves that she can take good, IN FOCUS pictures with it, in ‘IA’ intelligent mode, while she is a passenger in a car. When we were in Arizona, in April, (where I did all of the 1,490 miles we drove in 5 days), Deanna shot hundreds of pictures while we were moving. Most came out well. So we have a good record of the road trip thanks to this little camera.

It is a 16 MP (megapixel) camera with a 6.16 x 4.62 mm (1/2.3″) sensor. That is a small sensor BUT it takes very decent pictures especially IF all you intend to do with them is display them on the Web or look at them on a screen.

That it has a 24x zoom, with a max. f/3 aperture is a bonus. The autofocus is good and it does panorama.

Deanna took these two pictures with her Olympus. Click to ENLARGE. As you can see it is NOT bad at all. There is good detail. Yes, you will not get a very good LARGE print but that is not what these cameras are for.


The sensor in this camera is surprisingly small. But you can’t argue with the quality. Here is a comparison. So the APS-C sensor in my much, much larger Canon T3i, is of course, much, much larger. 

sensorsizeolympus sensorsize


Bottom line: For $149, with free shipping, it is hard to beat this Olympus, for practical use, especially when travelling, for all-round versatility and very good image quality. After we got back from Arizona Deanna managed to lose her Olympus with a 32GB memory card in it. We searched for weeks. We now think that somebody took it! Given that she previously had a Panasonic I got her a new Panasonic ahead of our trip to Acadia in June. She hated that Panasonic — and that is another post. She returned it to Amazon telling them she didn’t like the picture quality. Then she ordered another from BuyDig.com. Olympus used to be a STORIED name in photography. In the 1970s I owned an Olympus Reflex camera. Loved it. Now after Deanna’s experience I am going to start looking at some ‘larger’ Olympus camera.