Threatened

The primeval forest

Does seem to loom

Above this little brook.

The cool brook

Where age old rocks

Stand as if sculpted by nature.

And these fluttering butterflies-

are they heading towards

Adam’s Peak?

But …

The cool water

The breezes that give goosebumps

All these fade to a headache

of a sudden

For above the forest

Loom the transistors:

Like huge iron monsters that

Ate a child’s Christmas up.

 

Yomal Senerath Yapa (University of Kelaniya)

 

What desserts me

Is my gender

You are a boy

While she is a girl

But I am more floue,

Indefinable,

My gender floating

Like round specks of uncollectable

Light inside my body.

Some say I can collect them

And make up a façade

Through needles and forceps

In skilled hands.

But I am left non-plussed.

 

Yomal Senerath Yapa (University of Kelaniya)

SOCIOSCOPE: Expanding Horizons

As of 2012, the socioscope blog seeks to invite the collaboration of students and academic professional from other universities as well. Selected articles will be published under the newly formed ‘guest’ category. The editors for the Sociology Students Association retains the unqualified right to decide on the work that will be published. If amendments are required to be made for any selected piece of writing, the editors will contact the author and discuss the feasibility of the amendments. Please refer to the ‘about’ pages on how to contact the blog management.

We Remember: Interview with Tamara Nissanka

  • Name: Tamara Nissanka
  • Started University in: September, 2007
  • Graduated in: May, 2011
  • Present Sphere of Employment: Qualitative Market Researcher

 

What was life at university like in general?

It was, overall, time well spent! I’d heard quite a lot about the SL universities of course, especially the University of Colombo, and had read about it frequently, but the experience of actually attending university as an undergraduate was very different, and a lot more enjoyable than reading about it in print. One of the best things about university was that you come into contact with students from diverse parts of Sri Lanka and of different ethnicities and cultural orientations; being interested in people from an early age, this proved to be a satisfying encounter for me.

In my first year, I chose to pursue International Relations, English and Sociology, later I opted to specialize in Sociology. On the whole, I felt that I grew up, literally and figuratively, at university; I feel that I developed a more mature outlook about life.

What made you opt for Sociology as your specialization?

From an early age, people and the many facets of social interactions fascinated me. I loved the social-studies unit on the school syllabi, and my passion about unraveling the nature of the society was with me throughout. Once I was done with my G.C.E. A/L exams, I took to roaming online searching for sociology related articles, to orient myself with the discipline. As yet, I didn’t have a clear understanding of what the discipline constituted per se, but I was still interested in the content of the subject. I also read about the undergraduate programmes offered by the UOC department of sociology and was attracted. In a way, then, I had my heart set out on specializing in sociology, if I ever got the opportunity. From a more practical standpoint, I also searched for what career paths would open up for me, were I to major in Sociology, and I satisfied myself on that head as well. Looking back, I’d say that the decision to specialize in sociology was both sentimental and practical at the same time.  

Have your experiences with the Department of Sociology affected your career choices?

Immediately after graduating, I joined the Ceylon National Chamber of Industries – the CNCI – for a project of comparatively short duration. Later, I found work at a market research company which specializes in qualitative research; I’m completing a year with them coming July. Yes, my degree in sociology, along with the multitude of experiences gained as sociology undergraduate was a definite asset. For instance, I had good grounding in empirical research – both quantitative and qualitative although I wasn’t too keen about overwhelming myself with numbers! – which proved to be invaluable since I had to work in research; I was expected to engage in focus group discussions with consumers and was required to condense and analyze their responses in order to develop better market strategies. I also had plenty of hands on experience concerning the same at university, what with the research I had to undertake to complete my dissertation and the superior foundation I obtained through field research training programmes. Also the limited number of psychology based courses I took helped me gain insight into the aspect of consumer psychology.

You were the first ever editor for the editorial branch of the resurrected UCSSA. Tell us a little about the intended breadth and depth of this division and the founding of ‘socioscope’.

Technically the idea for socioscope – a blog to harness the sociology related contributions of the academic staff and students at the university – came before the idea to resurrect the UCSSA. Our main purpose was to give the sociology department an online presence and after the UCSSA was resurrected we brought socioscope to life under the editorial branch. Fellow undergraduates within and without the department were enthusiastic contributors, and so were the academic staff. I also received help with the IT aspects of it and the technical elements required for the blog to function smoothly. The socioscope was actually part of a larger arrangement; we expected to couple it with a printed version, a magazine to be published quarterly or annually. We hope that the future generations of the UCSSA would one day make our dream a reality. 

Socioscope is not delimited to articles of purely sociological orientation. For instance, the blog recently featured several creative pieces of work by novel contributors. What are your opinions on this subject?

Interesting question. We do publish articles with an academic orientation of course – it is meant to be a university centered blog after all! – but we discourage copious quantities of technical jargon in the work we publish. The whole idea of the blog is to demystify the discipline of sociology and make it accessible to the lay person without risking oversimplification. A helpful analogy would be to compare the blog with our intended counterpart, a magazine. If you observe carefully, you’ll see that the archives and categories are organized so as to complement the layout of a magazine. A magazine should harvest creativity and to this end poetry, photographic essays and such like becomes invaluable. We want the tenuous students about to start life as an undergraduate help decide if sociology is right for them. In SL at least, they are not likely to have encountered sociology as a separate discipline before university entrance and so are unlikely to be familiar with the intricate workings of the subject. This being the case, their job would certainly be thankless were they forced to sift through mounds of technicalities in sociology, no matter what brilliant intellect they might convey to the specialist!              

We Remember

‘We Remember’ is a project which explores the beginnings of the UCSSA: its renovation from the original association for sociology undergraduates. Through a series of interviews conducted by undergraduates of the Department of Sociology, the founders reveal their impetus, vision and inspiration for the formation of the UCSSA and their designs for its future. Stay tuned to ‘socioscope’ for frequent updates.    

The Marx / Engels Library Online

The collaboration of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels has been one of the most illustrative pairings in the history of sociology. Their contribution to what today is generally acknowledged as the ‘classical tradition of sociology’ is immense. Marxism and associated concept form part and parcel of the sociology curriculum in many universities offering qualifications in sociology. In our experience, it is indispensable for the aspiring sociologists to view the primary drafts of the works published by Marx and Engels. Concurrently, it is also relatively difficult to obtain easy access to much of these materials in physical libraries.

The URL: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/ leads to the Marx/Engels library online; a veritable mine of information for students wishing to access Marx’s primary texts and materials. Moreover, the library itself provides many useful links to websites which contain more exclusive materials.

Keep tuned to SOCIOSCOPE for similar updates in the recent future!

Happy hunting!

TO LOVE IN IDLENESS

Sit here, beside me. On this downy bank
The heather grows soft, star-sprinkled
With purple. Our Persian carpet.
Look close and you will see the ring
Where the fairies used to dance..
But that was long ago.
 
We will dip our bare feet in the cold,
Shimmering light, and try
To catch the sparkles. The silence will
Ripple; and the glimmering silver,
In slow, sleepy circles,
Casting the world in a trance.
Look how your soul has fallen, dark
Upon the heather. Merging
With mine..
The sunshine on your lips
Will taste of milk, tinged bitter
With buttercups and fresh green grass.
 
The willows are weeping, drooping
With sadness;
Quietly the river sighs,
Sorrowful and sweet.
Let me lay my head on your shoulder,
Drowsy-eyed, and listen to
The gurgling water, lapping
Up the lazy hours. Drink in
This rapture, your soul
Is sobbing out for peace.
 
Dearest, your eyes
Are liquid, like the night,
Flecked with colour, like crystals
Of water;
Dreamy and strange,
Overbrimming with sunshine..
Like my soul.    
                
Pawan Madri Kalugala

SANCTUM

Spin me like the earth
As raindrops come splashing,
Lashing and thrashing my soft-sodden skin,
Spin me drunkenly, out, then in.
From the sky to the ground, a curtain of sound;
And you and me within..
The sodden earth churns into muddy soft batter
We’re lost in the rain, and nothing else matters;
Spin me drunkenly,
Out, then in.
 
Your skin smells of earth, of red dust new-drenched
With the first drops of rain, new-washed
Like the watery sky
Your hair dripping silver in small
Transparent sparkles,
The sun is the light in your eyes.
 
My skin is like paper.
Soon I will turn into soggy soft pulp
And melt into nothingness in thick
Gooey orange batter.
 
So sway me, one last time, before
I slip from your grasp and become
One with this earth, this cleansing rain,
This vast bowl of sky the colour of
Sadness; and sink in a sea of warm
Chocolate mud
A tiny paper boat, lone, sodden
White.

Pawan Madri Kalugala

A TREE SPEAKS TO THE RAIN

Lay me bare. Strip me of my leaves, green innocence,
As I struggle to grow, to breathe in this pain,
Eat at my heart!- my disease. My pestilence. 
 
Wet hard bones, brown and cold- do I tempt you again?
Naked, glistening, arms outstretched to an unseeing sky.
You whore. Cleanse me, then! -your insanity keeps me sane
 
Through your strange sadistic pleasures. I do not cry
Beat me livid till I’m numb, whiplashes on my face
My veins turn black but I do not bleed. Frozen like my soul, my
 
Yellow blood has hardened- and my skin cracks in place,
Peels in stiff brown pieces, but I do not bleed. Your hate in slivers
Slice through me, cutting me clean. I sway, breathless, in a daze
 
Of searing pain. And you flow through me in rivers,
In torrents, floods, glorious inundation of self-hate, quivering
In my wearied pores, creeping into my roots- O Life-giver! 
 
 
In the amber light after your storm I stand shivering
under a gray sky, swollen with your soul.
 
 
But I grow from you.
I grow from you.
 
and, beaten, 
broken, 
ravished by your hate,
I break into flower
with flourish.

Pawan Madri Kalugala

I WILL DANCE

I will dance to remember; I will dance
To forget.
I will let the moonlight dry my tears
With its fiery heat; I will let the trembling night
Lay its head upon my breast
And weep.
I will let the lark of silver wing rest, here, upon my arm,
I will let the stinging wind be bold and reckless
In its charms.
I will let the icy rain fall down and pierce
The sullen night; I will let the distant past embrace
Without its painful fight.
I will let the sultry silence hold me
Close in poignant sorrow; I will let the ghosts of Love
Come near, and haunt
The undawned morrow.
I will let the shadows touch; and their velvet black entrance,
I will let Pain, the hungry lover, bring to Life its bitter romance,
I will let my soul be carried free, with Passion’s fiery glance,
And to dwell within the wistful past,
This lonesome night,
I will dance.

Pawan Madri Kalugala

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