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    Donate to help Afghan earthquake victims

    With the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, stock market crashes, and the possibility of a rise in COVID cases in India, we all have many things to worry about. The world is not what it used to be. Yet, we need to do what little we can to help those in need. Right now, it will be the unlucky Afghanistan people. After a devastating civil war of two decades which followed another one a decade earlier, last week they suffered a massive earthquake in one of the poorest, most remote terrain in the world. BBC World News reported that the victims have received no foreign aid. Seeing it, I was…

  • திரு ப.சிங்காரம் அவர்கள் எழுதிய "கடலுக்கு அப்பால்"
    Book Review,  தமிழ்

    Kadalukku Appaal by Pa.Singaram

    கடந்துவிட்ட வேறொரு நூற்றாண்டிற்குச் சென்று அந்தச் சூழலில் வாழ வேண்டுமென்றால் அறிவியலால் காலக் கப்பலேதையும் தரமுடியாது, ஆனால் அதற்கு மாற்றாக அந்தக் காலத்தில் வாழ்ந்த திறமையான எழுத்தாளர்களின் படைப்புகளால் முடியும். அப்படியான ஒரு புதினம் தான் திரு ப.சிங்காரம் அவர்கள் 1950 இல் எழுதிய “கடலுக்கு அப்பால்”. என்ன ஒரு மகத்தான படைப்பு இது! முதல் வரியிலேயே 1945 இல் தமிழர்கள், அதுவும் செட்டிமார்கள் கொடிகட்டிப் பறந்த மலேயா நாட்டின் பினாங்கு நகரத்திற்கு நம்மைப் புலம் பெயர்த்து, அங்கேயே வசிக்க வைக்கிறார் ஆசிரியர். ஆங்கிலேயர்கள் வசம் இருந்து, ஜப்பானியர்களிடம் சென்று, ஆங்கிலேயர்களிடமே திரும்பும் சூழ்நிலையில் (1941-1945) செல்கிறது கதை. பினாங்கு நியூ லைன் வீதியில், போருக்கு முன்பு பினாங்கு தெருவிலும் “லேவாதேவி”, அதாவது வட்டித் தொழில், செய்துக் கொண்டிருக்கும் வானாயீனா என்கிற ஆ.சி.வயி.வயிரமுத்துப் பிள்ளையவர்களின் மார்க்காவில் “அடுத்தாள்” (மேலாள் என்கிற மேனேஜருக்கு கீழே இருக்கும் ஆள், பெட்டியடிப் பையங்களுக்கு மேலே இருப்பவன்) வேலையில் இருக்கும் “செல்லையா” என்பவன் தான் கதையின் நாயகன். கதை ஆரம்பிக்கும் போது…

  • Movie Review

    Wadjda (2012)

    What a simple yet inspirational film this was! The first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, that too by a female Saudi director in her debut film: Wadjda (2012). It was about a little girl who wants to buy a cycle and race with it against her neighbour’s boy. In a conservative society like Saudi, this was not so easy. The film traces her journey. Wadjda is a 10-year girl living in Riyadh with her mother who works in a school that requires a long commute and her father visits them once in a while. She is friends with a boy named Abdullah of the same age next door.…

  • Movie Review

    Nimtoh (2019)

    Nimtoh (2019) aka Invitation is a Nepali film that was screened at the Cannes Film Festival 2019 and was made available online by ICAF. Tashi is a 10-year old boy living with his grandma in the outhouse of a small farm in a village near Darjeeling. His grandma is a servant taking care of the cardamom orchard, Tashi does the odd-jobs around when he is not going to school.  The film starts with the duo making noise in the night to scare off the wild animals that come inside the farm. In that first five minutes, we are transported to the thick night inside the forest region. The farm owner’s…

  • Movie Review

    Let Her Cry (2016)

    Let Her Cry is a Sri Lankan Sinhala adult drama directed by Asoka Handagama. FFSI Online Film Festival has made the film available for free streaming from Vimeo.  The story is a familiar one, but the narration has been an engaging one. There are only four main characters in the film with the story revolving around them. The story is about a deep romantic desire (infatuation?), a young lady student is having on her elderly professor. The professor, in his 60s, is well-respected, is happily married with two children – a boy studying for his graduation in America, and a girl studying in a local school. Did the professor succeed…

  • Alpha is a 2019 Bangladeshi film
    Movie Review

    Alpha (2019)

    Alpha (2019) is a Bangladeshi film, that shows the lives of the underprivileged living in Dhaka City. The film is made available online for free by the Federation of Film Societies of India. The story is about an “artist” (painter) living in a small hut in the middle of a dirty lake in the city. Alamgir Kabir has done the role of the artist well. His life is surrounded by labourers and the poor, who share a bonding in their struggle to make their ends meet. His character reminded me of the 1970s and 1980s Tamil movies that were about poverty and a talented hero struggling to make his living.…

  • Book “Sojourners to Settlers” introduction at Roja Muthiah Library, Chennai
    Events,  Lounge

    2000 years of Tamil connections with Singapore and Southeast Asia

    Today evening, a fascinating book introduction event took place at Roja Muthiah Research Library (RMRL), Taramani, Chennai. Titled “Sojourners to Settlers“, the two-volume book documents the lesser-known history and stories of the Tamil community in Southeast Asia and Singapore, which researchers now believe dates back over 2000 years. Slide-Deck: You can see the slides of the talk, thanks to Mr Arun Mahizhnan who readily shared me a copy.  ‘சஞ்சரிப்பவர்கள் முதல் குடியேறிவர்கள் வரை – தென்கிழக்கு ஆசியா மற்றும் சிங்கப்பூரில் தமிழர்கள்’ Edited by my well-wisher and friend Mr Arun Mahizhnan, Deputy Director of Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and Ms Nalini Gopal of Indian Heritage Centre (இந்திய மரபுடைமை நிலையம்) the book has several…

  • Jewel Changi Airport
    Travel Review

    Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore

    From the time you set foot in Singapore, the Island city impresses you with their urban planning and world-class infrastructure. This continues till you leave the city through the Changi Airport. Recently, Changi Airport had constructed a new attraction called “Jewel Changi”, it is a nature-themed entertainment and retail complex in Changi Airport, Singapore, linked to three of its passenger terminals. Its centrepiece is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, the Rain Vortex, which is surrounded by a terraced forest setting.   Early this week (13th May 2019) on the day we were leaving Singapore, we reached the Changi Airport, 6 hours earlier than our flight departure so that we can…