I have just recorded a short (3.5 min) video for Purawesi Balaya (Citizen Power) advocacy group as part of their citizens’ campaign demanding a new Constitution for Sri Lanka to replace the existing one adopted in 1978.
Here is what I say (not a verbatim transcript, but an approximation):
On 15 February 2017, I served as main speaker at a public forum in Colombo on Sri Lanka’s newly operational RTI law and its wider socio-cultural and political implications. The event, organized by the National Media Forum (NMF), was attended by a large number of journalists, social activists, lawyers, government officials and other citizens.
In this week’s Ravaya column, (in Sinhala, appearing in issue of 20 Sep 2015), I share some excerpts from my recent book on the childhood of Sir Arthur C Clarke (1917 – 2008), author, undersea explorer and futurist.
Clarke’s accomplishments are known much more than his humble origins and early inspirations in life. He was born in rural England as the First World War was ending, and spent his childhood years in Minehead, Somerset, close to the sea.
Arthur was the eldest in a family of four, who were raised by their dynamic mother, widowed at a young age. Despite cycling 20 km to school and back and helping on the farm, he excelled in studies and pursued serious hobbies – star gazing, mechanical experiments and nature observations.
His experiences were shaped largely by growing up on the family farm, exploring the local beach, and working part-time at the village post office. Early on, he cultivated habits like good time management, thrift, careful storage of everything and multi-tasking – all of which lasted a lifetime. He knew the value and limits of money, respected the dignity of labour, and appreciated honesty and hard work in everyone.
The book is widely illustrated with 74 photographs including many drawn from family albums preserved by the Arthur C Clarke Trust that now manages the Clarke Literary Estate. It also carries some original caricatures drawn by cartoonist and artist Dharshana Karunathilake who designed the book.
Vidusara, Sri Lanka’s only weekly science newspaper, carries this news item in its issue of 10 December 2014 on my latest book, just published by Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS):
Lakbima Sinhala daily newspaper has just published my long interview with S M Banduseela who is widely recognised as Sri Lanka’s foremost translator of science and science fiction. He is best known as Arthur C Clarke’s Lankan translator.
Those segments are not repeated here. Lakbima has also carried my questions related to Clarke’s views on traditional knowledge, and on religion. Banduseela answers them in his capacity as a leading rationalist and free thinker in Sri Lanka.
As he often said: “One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion. So now people assume that religion and morality have a necessary connection. But the basis of morality is really very simple and doesn’t require religion at all. It’s this: “Don’t do unto anybody else what you wouldn’t like to be done to you.” It seems to me that that’s all there is to it.”