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K.S.Sivakumaran's columns!
K.S.Sivakumaran


THE ANNUAL : TAMILS' 
INFORMATION, 2004 (Canada)!

by K.S.Sivakumaran

K.S.SivakumaranSince ' Gleanings ' is a column and not a space for full length review of  books or films, my purpose here is to highlight only a few of the articles included in the bilingual publication - Tamils ' Information. The 14th number was released in Toronto, Canada on February 14 last. Established in 1991, this monthly bulletin and the annuals are a  valuable source of information to and of Lankan Thamilian Canadians. Edited by senior bilingual journalist Thamilian Canadian  Thiru S.Thiruchelvam ( ' Esthi ' ).he is assisted by his wife Ranji Thiru and a staff of dedicated enthusiasts - Vijay Anand, Sasi Pathmanathan, Anton Kanagasuriyarir and published by Ahilan Associates. Thiruchelvam emigrated to Canada, when his son of brilliant talent  ( student, cricketer among other things ) Ahilan was killed in Yaalpanam. The above  publication is a compendium of readable articles. The 164 page  Annual is available from P.O. Box - 3, Station -F, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 2L4, Canada.

The editor writes: ' This is the only Tamil digest in the world with contents of information entirely for all Tamil expatriates...Aside from providing information we function as ' record keepers ' of our life and times, for future reference. So, no one can dispute our meaningful success in all walks of life in our adopted homeland '

One interesting feature in this annual is the allocation of a few pages for the youth. The children of emigrated Lankan Thamilians  born in Canada naturally use the English language for their expression and they are weak in their own mother tongue for obvious reasons. They write on a variety of subjects. Take for instance some of the subjects: Rebels Without a  Cause (Nimal Navarathinam), Experience on a Tour of University of Toronto Museum (Siva Vijenthira ). Youth Violence -Society's Making (Swarna Nagarajah ), A Typical cure for Diabetes (Gowsic Thevendran ), Beat Stress ( Thanuja Sabathipillai ), Frosh Week -an intro Uni Life ( Vaithegi Vasanthakumar ), Changing the Bad Image on Tamil youths (Vaishnavie Gnanasaravanapavan ), Making the Transition  (Sangeetha Nagarajah ), Listen, Understand, Smile and Move on ( Kulamahan Kulasegaram ), Challenging Racial Profiling ( Harini Sivalingam ), Canadian Borders- Immigration )

While most of the articles by adults from Canada and the U.K. are in Thamil a few articles in English may be of interest to readers in Sri Lanka. Such articles include  Immigration Litigation by Jegan N Mohan, Orthodontics by Dr M Ilango, The Tamil Canadian of 21st Century by Anton Kanagasooriar and Chelva Kanaganayakam. 

Literary Reviews!
Academic Chelva Kanaganayagam writing on  ' Reviewing Literary Texts ' gives a wealth of information. and welcome concerns on the subject. This my be of special interest to students of English Literature in English departments of higher educational institutions in Sri Lanka.

"... Whereas long articles tend to be more comparative and comprehensive, reviews are often the first point of reference for most readers...From the time that Virginia Woolf wrote her monograph on reviewing to the more recent essays by authors such as Booth and Jonathan Culler, there has been a consistent attempt to evaluate the practice of reviewing... postcolonial  literature as a corpus is a recent phenomenon, going back only to the sixties. Even today, after postcolonial studies has been acknowledged as a legitimate discipline  in all universities, critical studies in the field tend to be relatively few, with the consequence that academics, authors, critics and students rely heavily on reviews to decide what to buy, what to teach, and what to include in the canon... In addition to the relative infancy of colonial or postcolonial studies, there are other considerations: the field has grown in ways that emphasize interdisciplinary... Historians reviewing novels are likely to focus  on aspects that are not always germane to literary critics... Even a cursory reading of the reviews of Michael Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost reveals that reviewers were more conscious of their own stances regarding the ethnic strife in Sri Lanka than the literary merit of the text itself....Reviews and reviewers are here to stay as a constitutive aspect of the manner in which a text establishes  a relation with the reading public."

Kanaganayagam continues : " The danger with subjective positions is that reviewers of postcolonial texts often are labeled as experts, not because they have published extensively or been immersed in the field for a long period of time, but because they have ethnic or religious or national affliations that give them legitimacy... Reviews  are, in the final analysis, about standards, even if there is no easy agreement about what constitutes a standard. Reviews have contributed substantially to the process of establishing a measure of sophistication in critical response... At its best, reviews have fostered intellectual debate, cultural sensitivity, and depth of understanding. They recognize the  power of literature in a global culture that confuse literary truth with referential accuracy..Reviewers have served as a necessary filter between author and reader, to ensure that the author does not falsify or distort empirical realities to a point that destroys the integrity of literature."

The writer concludes befittingly that ' The notion of ideal review as both a mirror an a lamps as valid today as it was twenty years ago. '

Articles in Thamil!
Turning to the Thamil articles, I was  happy to read  a reproduction of an article by Mattakalappu - born,  emotionally charged poet of emotion,  Kasi Ananadan, after a long spell of time.  He has written a short piece of prose in Thamil on the duties of uprooted Thamilians.  His prose is still as fiery as his poems of  Thamil nationalism. Another poet of significance in the same strain is Puthuvai Ratnathurai..  While the former lives in Chennai in Thamilnadu the latter is in Vanni, Sri Lanka.

"  While 2000 Portuguese who came down to settle in Mattakalapu 500 years ago speak Portuguese in their homes, the Thamilians who settled 150 years ago in Mauritius have forgotten their language and  now speak Creole "  informs Kasi Anandan and deplores the reality of the young Thamilians born in western countries adapting western style  of everything and forgetting their language and their roots. He cautions them  of rootlessness. The same sentiments is echoed in Dr A.Shanugavadivel's article on Migration. This writer favours the return of the professionals to Sri Lanka and serve there when the clouds are cleared. 

Nakeeran reminds that  Lanka born Canadians  of  earlier generation lack skills. He also quotes ' The Jewish Post ' of December 6,1994, which said that  " Jews dominate Hollywood today as they did in its infancy. The Jewish presence in Hollywood is a historic fact. A majority of the producers and directors are Jewish while the Writers Guild is practically 70 % to 100 % Jewish "  The allusion is to show that the Thamilians could be an influential lot in Canada. He too regrets that the language spoken in the homes of the Thamilian Canadians now turn out to be English. He advocates the return of the Thamilian Culture amongst the younger generation. He points to the UNESCO report that among the languages that would not be in use within the next 100 years would be Thamil. Ponniah Vivekananadan rightly points out that the older generation fails to understand and recognize the varied talents of the younger generation and  therefore  should channel them to foster the best values of the earlier lot through new modes of expression. Dhanalakshmi Sabanadesan desires that the younger people appreciates and practises the best of Thamilian arts.

Former Thinakaran journalist Pon Balasundaramn informs that the latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary has included an entry on Tamil Tigers and defines  them as Eelam Militants. He suggests research on Eelam as the present world leaders are familiar with that word than Sri Lanka. Asai Sivathasan says that world peace can come about only when there is a society that has not lost it senses. P.Kanagasabapathy stresses on understanding the younger generation better. Poet V.Kandavanam explains the importance of punctuation in writing. Poomani Thuraisingam  writes  about productive impressions in childhood. Some basics of counselling is outlined by S.Pathmanathan, who has written a few books on the related subjects. Quintus Thuraisingam proclaims that the Computer Thamil is the fourth category in Thamil. The other three being writing, music and drama.. These were earlier classification. A technical advice is given by T.Vasnthakumar on control of the  indiscriminate usage of the Internet by young people. Similarly, Rajah Chokkalingam gives hints on maintaining a computer.

Another former Thinakaran journalist  and columnist and editor of  a journal in London, Baama Rajagpal recounts the Life and Style of the London Thamilians Reforestation is the subject of Vijay Kulathungam.  Very senior woman writer in Thamil and a knowledgeable person in the field of drama, Kuramagal writes on  Child Care. Guru Aravindan poses the question whether Thamil really lives in Ontario. Bala. Sivakadadcham talks about food and medicine.  A critique on the language used in Thamil Oasai ( BBC ) is subject of analysis by Mani Veluppilai. The problems of translation is illustrated by Jawaharlal Nehru. Workplace Security information is given by Naga Ramalingam

One of the finest short story writers in Thamil,  A.Muttulingam in his own inimitable humorous style recounts his personal experiences in buying a pair of pants in Canada. Personality types are explained by Lalitha Broodie. The Astronomy of the early Thamilians is elucidated by A.P.Chelliah. Former SLBC broadcaster and  Rupavahini newscaster, V.N. Mathialagan in an interesting piece reminisce his early days. Another woman broadcaster from Thirukoanamalai, Vasantha Nadarasan advises us to live within our means. Kanages Nadarajah describes Taj Mahal on her return from a visit to Agra in India. Vijaya Raman suggests negation of self-pity and negative thoughts 

.Former SLBC broadcaster, actor and BBC broadcaster, Vimal Sockanathan castigates the Thamilnadu business oriented mass media  trying to exploit the talents of Lankan Thamilians and thrusting their own bad taste in entertainment to Lankan  recipients. Similarly Canada Moorthy exposes the bad influence of a Thamil TV Channel from Thamilnadu  relayed by a Lankan TV channel. Another talented broadcaster, actor and writer, K.S.Balachandran underpins that through English the best of  Lankan talents should be introduced to the west and it's high time that we should come out of the circle ( box ). P.Sriskandan  talks about the performing arts in Thamil in Canada.
Art and Sculpture should have a movement within their matrix is the view of  Vettimani M.K.S.Sivakumaran. New creations in Bharatha Natyam is essential says another actor and singer V.Thivviya Rajan.

Thamil Cinema and the fans in the matrix of ' Masala ' cinema is the topic of discussion by Kathir Selvakumar. The labour involved in mass media in Canada is pinpointed by Thamil Pitiyan. Laughter and Humour is the title of an interesting piece by K. Navam, a writer of repute. Chitra Felix talks about elocution.  Thangarasa Sivabalu discusses the culture and stance of the print media. Maharaji underlines  self-searching. Canadian Thamil radio presenter Kaladharan engages in nostalgia of his boyhood in his village in the north. Malini Aravindan  speaks about the importance of physical exercises. The agony of loneliness is reminded by Fred Balasingam.

On Varied Interests!
Racial Profiling  in Canada by P.Kailasanathan. Parents's Separation and Children's Reaction by Deiva Mohan,  Taking Title to the Property by Yaso Sinnathurai, Divorce and the Dowry by Manuel Jesuthasan, Medical Check-up by Dr S Yogeswaran, immunization in Canada by Dr Victor J Figarado, Naming And Changes among the Thamilians by Arul S Aruliah, Capitalism by Augustine Jeyanathan, The Importance of Estate Sales Agent by Thiravi Murugesu, Buying a New Home by Karu Kandiah,  On Driving by Peter Joseph, The National Games of Canada by S.Ganesh, On Wealth by M Selvarajah Alexander, On Yoga by Raj Rajathurai, Solution to Democratic Differences by Ilankaiyan, On Savings by Siva Kanapathipillai, Employment Towards The Third World by I. Senthilnathan, On Capturing Successful Days by Ambalavanar Yogan, The Sweet Thamil and the Expatriate Thamilians by I.Shanmuganathan, The First Medicine Man Saragar by S.Nagarajan, On Resumes and Interviews by I. Sri Raghavan are the rest of the useful articles in Thamil.

A botanical exposition of the flower 'Kaarthikai Poo ' ( Glorious Superba ) is given by Gowri. This emblem is printed in the cover page of  the Annual, which also portrays  pictures of this year's Award Winners. 

Award Winners!
They were : Yogi Thambirajah, Shantha Ponnuthurai, Ratnesh Shanmuganathan, V.Thuruvashankari, Dr Shan K.Sundar, Maathalai Somu, Vasanthan Pathmanathan, Sridharan Selvanayagam, Jeyakumar Paramanandam, Radha Krishnasamy, Sivakami Vijendra, Anuraghavan Keatheeswaran, Durgha Sinnathamby.

One should congratulate Thiru S Thiruchelvam for the publication of the  monthly bulletin and the Annual for the past 13 years and the Presentation of Award to  outstanding personalities of Canadian and others of the Thamil community. An efficient organizer and enterprising activist Thiru has successfully imprinted his stamp on the Toronto  soil.

contact : Kssivan1@juno.com 

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