My lovely Chinese friends – by GEORGE BRAINE In the late 1960s, Peoples’ Publishing House, in Slave Island, advertised a list of Chinese periodicals at bargain prices, and I dropped in and bought a subscription to China Pictorial, a large, colorful, monthly magazine. The annual subscription was only Rs. 10, and even I could afford that! In those days of black-and-white newspapers and magazines, when most news stories came from the West, China Pictorial was a welcome change. Filled with colorful, large photos of dancing troupes, farmers in their fields and fish ponds, young “pioneers” in red scarves, soldiers and ballet dancers in heroic poses, steam powered trains and their drivers, and – the main attraction for me – young, smiling, Chinese women, all in pigtails. It was pure propaganda, of course, but I had no inkling how this knowledge would come in handy 40 years later. Shumin The first ...

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A migrant’s story – By Ron Pieris I was preparing to migrate to Sydney from Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in 1974. I was invited to a home in Moratuwa for a meal. I remember it was a sunny day in the summer of ‘74. I took a bus from Bambalapitiya to Moratuwa and walked down to my friend’s home. I was greeted at the entrance by his wife and children who warmly welcomed me. After a bit of small talk, I was requested to move to the dining room. This was a Sinhalese family from the provinces. I noticed that on the dining table was placed a bowl of rice with a saucer for serving and three vegetable curries, and on the centre of the table was placed a single egg. We all served food onto our plates. And all of those present were staring at the egg! I was ...

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THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC –  By – Algi Wijewickrema When you have an email address like “noproblemperera” I’m sure you readers would expect an out of the ordinary person. Out of the ordinary is an understatement really for arguably Sri Lanka’s most versatile and entertaining musician. He is the leader of a band that is not only popular among Sri Lankans living here but also popular with Sri Lankans abroad. He is none other than the leader of the “Gypsies”, Sunil Perera. When I visited Sunil at his studio in Ratmalana where their family business has existed for decades, he was ready to accommodate us but the interview was inevitably disturbed by many telephone calls that kept coming which to me proves how busy this man can still be and how the popularity of Gypsies has not diminished. Beginning with his school days at St. Peter’s College, Bambalapitiya, Sunil ...

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