Thursday, May 26, 2005

Children’s festival at Seelamunai-Some Thoughts

Who said flying kites is an easy task? Certainly not, in my humble opinion.
To fly a kite you need to have patience ;
To fly a kite you need to have a stable mind;
To fly a kite you need to have friends;
To fly a kite you need to have strategies,
That’s why children are good at it!

These were the thoughts that wandered in my lonely mind when I was at Seelamunai witnessing the happy children from Seelmunai, Kumarapuram Karuvepamkerny and Navatkudah celebrating the Children’s festival organized by the Third Eye Local Knowledge and Skill Activists group.

In the days old, children were treated as children in our society and there
was a space for them to explore and experience the real world full of
richness and variety. Due to globalization and its shadows on our culture and
society our children are being treated as robots and rote- learning remote
controlled devices .Their daily mechanical duty includes going to school and
tuition, doing home work and attend computer classes ,and doing well in
exams to please their parents no matter whether they are school-going
children or undergraduates.

Children who experience post tsunami trauma have had a space to vomit
their bitter past and rebuild their inner strength through festivals like this.
I was thrilled and indeed surprised to see the enormous talent exhibited by
the children through their own songs and games .

The festival also brought the traditional games which nurtured the children
and used as a tool to develop their personality and perception to the surface
once again.

Flying kites is all about making social relationships and boosting the morals
of children to be self- reliant and sustainable .

Congratulations to the winds behind the wings (kites).

S.Sasitharan, Eastern University, Srilanka

Friday, May 20, 2005

Third Eye Kite festival – Batticaloa, 15th May 2005

Third Eye Kite festival – Batticaloa 15th May 2005

Four groups of young people from Kumarapurum Seelamunai, Karavapunganai and Navatkudah met on a firey May Day for kite flying.

Children’s events in Sri Lanka are often fairly disciplined and ordered affairs. Along with the speeches of dignitaries, there are neat lines of children singing or dancing and it would not be stretching the point to suggest they often have a militaristic rather than creative ethos. This is not too condemn the organizers of these events as it is difficult to escape the assumption that in order to display the work of hundreds of children tight parading is necessary. Although it could be argued that the conflict has produced these disciplinary structures, I would argue that the well-marshaled shape of children’s festivals owes as much to a strict and authoritarian education system as it does to the context of war.

The Third Eye kite festival on a large playing field in the village of Seelamunai on Sunday May 15th was very different. In both structure and content it did not conform to the familiar shape I have seen in past festivals. I would argue that it was because the structure was in many ways its content that the event differed to such a degree.

A certain beautiful chaos ruled the afternoon. The children started – could only start – by flying their kites. Made from palm strips and colored tissue paper over the weeks prior to the festival, they came in different shapes and sizes – and were flown sometimes expertly and sometimes precariously by children of different shapes and sizes. And because the wind and other natural elements partly determined the success of this endeavour, the flying appeared in a range of contrasting forms. Young girls were seen twirling their kites behind them – barely a metre in the air – dancing joyfully in wild circles with the same randomness as their kite’s path. Other children stood in awe as their kites soared, high into the sun. They were forced to stand still, not daring to pull too roughly on the string or shift position too drastically hoping to sustain the precious flight. The franticness of some was therefore matched with the calmness of others. There were so many patterns danced by children during the evening, it is hard to capture them all. There was the solitary – as in the girl above – or the communal as several youngsters worked on the same kite. Also there were collaborations as adults worked with children to lift their constructions into the wind. A father clearly delighted in hoisting his (or his son’s) kite into the air.

So in structure this cultural event offered something different from the tightly controlled spaces that children usually operate within. It was not the strict format of school; it was not the militaristic parade. Children played free form, and that very freedom was a powerful counterpoint to many of the tensions and restrictions of the region.
Some observers might suggest that this event had no content as such – no agenda, no obvious theme, and no educational message. And that the lack of focus was not giving the children any direction, or any sense of a concrete learning experience. I would disagree. First learning to make kites in a traditional manner is worthwhile in and of itself – it provides a creative pastime, it links young people to a traditional activity and brings a joy when a personal creation seemingly develops its own power and flies. The activity brings children into direct connection with their environment and a concentrated awareness of the subtle balances required between weight and wind, shape and aerodynamics. Second the very freedom permitted by this gathering, organised and official, yet free and spontaneous, offered a rare space for these groups of children and adults. As well as the kite flying, children demonstrated songs they had made up and also the groups played some of the games they had been practising in their villages. The fun of the opening kite flying section of the event seemed to pervade these later sections and singing had a certain positive lack of organisation and the games a sense of abandon. This spirit created a space that by being uncontrolled, was a powerful response to the many factors and forces that control the spaces these communities, these children, live within. And they were spaces here that was planted firmly in a playground – but also soared high in the hot sky.
There was a story at the end of the day that there had been an incident in Batticaloa town, and a nervousness descended as the day ended. An important reminder that festivals might create momentary exhilarating celebrations, but the tensions of the context can quickly reclaim any spaces opened up. Kites are wonderful in their lightness and agility, but also fleeting and sadly fragile.

James Thompson
Professor of Applied and Social Theatre
Centre for Applied Theatre Research
Martin Harris Building
University of Manchester
Oxford RoadManchester M13 9PL0044 161 275 3357

May 2005

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Silver flowers all over the sky

Silver flowers all over the sky

Silver flowers all over the sky,
No hands to gather them.
Refugee children all over the world,
No one to embrace them.

Birds chirp all over the open field,
No one to listen yearningly,
Voices of children on the way, on the streets,
No soul to feel compassion.
(Silver flowers….)

Shoals of twirling fish in the sea,
No one enjoy lovely sight.
Refugee children drifting in the boats,
No way to reach the coast.
(Silver flowers….)

Supreme justice all over the world,
With sermons plenty.
Night and day alternate,
No radiance for refugee children.
(Silver flowers….)

Poem in Thamil: M. Ponampalam

Translated into English: S.M.Felix

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Children’s Festival in Seelamunai, Batticaloa,Sri Lanka

Children’s Festival in Seelamunai, Batticaloa(Sri Lanka) on 15nth of May 2005

Third Eye Local Knowledge and Skill Activists Group is organizing a Children’s Festival from 4.30pm to6.30pm on 15nth of May 2005 in Seelamunai Batticaloa. The Children’s Clubs of Third Eye in Kumarapuram, Seelamunai, Karuvepamkerny and Navatkudah will participate and perform in this festival.

Demonstration of Traditional Children’s games and Children’s Theatre Games by the children’s who are involved in the Children’s program of the Third Eye with the Tsunami affected children from the 27nth of December 2004.

The special feature of the festival is the Festival of Kites.

Kites are very popular among people and very special among children. But now it is very rare to see people with kites or children are playing with kites.

Why it’s lost its popularity and what is the importance of kites?

Education and Electronic Media cut short the leisure time of the people and especially the children.

Children are sitting in a class room (may be in a school or in a tuition centre) in front of a teacher and studying matters which are rarely connects themselves with their environment or in front of the television box and busying themselves with popular entertainments which were designed to make the people to live in a crazy world.

Time to free mobility is very limited for children now.

Reviving the entertainment of playing with kites among children is a kind of liberating children from their oppressive nature and provides them with creative atmosphere.

Playing with kites is an exiting entertainment and an energetic creative exercise.

Popularizing it among the children is another kind of Education.

The process of playing with Kites is an aesthetic experience, physical exercise and an exercise for concentration.

It will function as a tool to connect the children among themselves and with their own environment and it will function also as a tool to build-up gender equality from the childhood.

Third Eye celebrates the creativity and skills of the children of this world of domination and control.

Children’s Festival will be followed by screening of KITCHAN; a 26 minutes short film was produced by Neithal Media Vision. The short film was scripted and directed by
A. Vimalraj based on a short story Krishnapillai by Riyas Ahmad (Amritha A.M.)

This is Kitchchan…
Kitchchan is the story of a boy who has lost his primary education.
Our families are patriarchal centered.
When the male heads of the families became victims of war, a large number of families became women headed households.
In a large number of families, children were compelled to become breadwinners for the livelihood of their families.
Naughtiness and merriment at home, play and mischief outside,
Wandering timidly………..
Children – stars twinkling on the ground have become the carriers of unbearable burdens.
Law considers child labour as offence.
Law is reasonable.
But reality is complex, full of challenges.
To relieve children from their heavy burdens
is connected to facing the challenges of complicated realities.
Kitchchan is the manifestation to face these challenges.

(Translated By: S.M Felix)

Children’s festival of the “Third Eye” will be extended to the other villages with the support of the communities and friends.

The aim and objective of the “Third Eye” is to strengthen the self sustainability of the communities.

Let’s depend on our knowledge,
Let’s depend on our skills.
Let’s sow in our fields,
Let’s live on our yields.
Let’s awake by removing
Living practices that control.
Let’s revive
Ways of living in harmony
With environment.
(Translated By: S.M Felix)


Monday, May 09, 2005

Hey Friends!
Why the changes in Mind Chemistry?

Hey Friends!!!!
It’s not a dream
Or it’s not an imagination
And it’s definitely not a rumor
It’s fact!!!!
Because it’s appeared on the news paper!
Words on print!!
Not from word of mouth
By the ordinary people

Hey Friends!!!!
Its words on print
And scientifically proved
By specially trained people
So, it’s truth
In the modern sense!

The English Daily captured it
On the front page,
“Sri Lanka to lose another Chinese gift?”

“It was a tall and huge building
With all modern facilities
Designed according to a total Chinese architectural model
But it was disapproved
Because a Chinese model cannot be accepted for a national building”

“Even our architects did not accept it
Because the building did not suit
Our traditional architectural styles”

“It’s rejection due to the absence of a national identity in it.”

Oh, my dear patriotic and nationalist friends
We will celebrate the power of National Identity
And will raise the national flags
To establish the country’s sovurinity

But our common sense asks within ourselves,
Authorities are being brave enough
To lose the “gifts”
To safe guard the national Identity
But, why are they behave differently
When dealing with economic issues?

Accepting and implementing the programs and models
Of World Bank and IMF and the new ally the WTO
Are universally recognized as
Negative social elements and elements of domination

What are the scientific backgrounds and
Especially trained qualities
Made the authorities behave differently?

Why the changes in Mind Chemistry?

Hey Friends!
Why the changes in Mind Chemistry?


(Based on a news item appeared on Daily Mirror, Monday, April 11.2005)

Saturday, May 07, 2005



Morning bell has rung,
morning roosters all have sung.
Happy kids flood school gates,
eager to learn, eager to learn,
eager to learn the lessons of life.
Master walks in. Books in arms, smile on face.
Master walks to desk, brown box, covered with lace.
They stand up, and say ‘Good Morning, Master,’
She replies with, ‘Thank you, thank you,
Thank you for saying hello.’
They sit down, smooth out their dress,
bright cotton white beaming from their chests.
Jasmine flowers flow in and out of pleated braids.

How perfect, just perfect,
How perfect to be right there, like that?
Master walks to blackboard.
Children take their blackboards.
Master takes white chalk, writes cat on board.
Children take white chalk, write cat, cat,
Children write cat for 50 times to come.
Master writes 2 x 3, 2 x 4, 2 x 6.
Children shoot hands in the air, waiting to see who
she picks.
Master says, ‘You!’ points to tiny girl.
Tiny girl stands, stands, stands,
tiny girl stands, brown feet on dirt ground, hands by
her side.
‘Six, master,’ ‘eight, master,’ ‘twelve, master.’
‘Well done, but do a little faster.’
Tiny girl stands and repeats,
repeats, repeats,
repeats with rhythm, and red beats on her hands.
Tiny girl sits, with smile in no sight,
Master goes on, with only sunlight.
Children stand up and sing their prayers,
prayers, prayers,
children sing their prayers of worship to achieve
happiness soon.

Master dismisses the children to home.
How fast these times must go.
As the crickets soon begin to chirp their night song,

it is my time to say, ‘So long,’
‘so long, so long.’
So long to this magical world of numbers and words,
which I wish to be a part of, as do songbirds,
and I leave this window of hopes and dreams,
dreams, dreams,
as I part from this window of hopes and dreams, and go

This poem, ‘Just Another School Day,’ was
written from the perspective of a little village girl
in India, as she recounts the wonders she sees of the
‘magical world’ called school. As she watches through
the school window the exciting and fun things that
occur, she longs to be a part of it, however, she
unable to be a part of it because she needs to have a
uniform in order to have an education and go to
school. This is a situation that occurs frequently
around the world, especially in the third-world
countries, and needs to be addressed.

Damayanthi Paul

Monday, May 02, 2005

Economic Identity…What?! Noooo!!

Economic Identity…What?! Noooo!!

Cultural Identity… Yes!
National Identity… Yes!
Economic Identity… What?! Noooo!!

Is there any connection
Between Culture and Economy
Between Economy and Culture

What about Marxist talks of
Super structure and base structure

Oh, let's forget it
Don't you know?
All that nonsense collapsed
With the Soviet Union and its blocks

Oh, what brave thinking?
By the way,
Do you know?
Sri Lanka is going to lose another gift?

It's a gift from the Chinese government
Like that earlier one, the BMICH*.

Authorities rejected it
Not because of the suspicious gift of Greece
But because of "The architectural design
Of the National Performance Arts Centre
doesn't suit the traditional styles"

"Chinese model cannot be accepted
For a national building"
And the Authorities added
"Even our architects did not accept it"

Oh, what great arguments!

Long live Cultural Identity
Long live National Identity

Oh, what about Economic Identity?

Sri Lanka hasn't an Economic tradition?
The economic models of the World Bank
Suits our Socio-cultural traditions?

Architects of the country
Running for the World Bank models
Because of its appropriateness
to the socio-cultural traditions of the country?

Cultural Identity… Yes!
National Identity… Yes!
Economic Identity What?! Noooo!!


*BMICH: Bandaranyake Memorial International Conference

**News Resourse: Daily Mirror, Monday, April, 11, 2005.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Privatization too is violation of human rights!

Privatization too is violation of human rights!
If privatization is unavoidable
Then violation of human rights too is unavoidable!
Basic health needs
And Education is human rights.
Privatization of basic health needs
Privatization of water
Privatization of education
Are all human rights violations
Do those who argue
Privatization is unavoidable
Violation of fundamental human rights is unavoidable?
Third Eye
Local Knowledge and Skill Activists Group

Text in Thamil by: S.Jeyasankar
Translated into English by: S.M. Felix