Sri Lankan book 'fills important gap'

Sri Lankan book 'fills important gap'
DPM Tharman (then Health Minister) talking to a fisherman and residents of Moratuwa, a town south of Colombo about the impact of the tsunami on their village and living conditions in 2005. Next to him is Mr Ravinath Goonasekara, the town mayor of Moratuwa. Mr Tharman was in Sri Lanka to get a first hand view of the devastation caused by the tsunami, as well as ascertain the specific types of aid that would be most beneficial to the country.

SINGAPORE - A new book on Sri Lankan Indians is a study of an untold story of how the community settled in host countries as small minorities but achieved and contributed out of proportion to their numbers, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

In a foreword in The Encyclopedia Of The Sri Lankan Diaspora, he wrote: "This book, the first comprehensive study of the Sri Lankan diaspora, fills an important gap in social history."

There are about three million people in the Sri Lankan diaspora.

Launched by President Tony Tan Keng Yam at a gala dinner on Thursday, the book project was coordinated by the Institute of South Asian Studies in Singapore.

It traces the migration of Sri Lankans, which began during the colonial rule of the island. Many headed for Singapore, Malaya and other parts of the British empire.

That wave of migration was influenced by pull rather than push factors, and this factor distinguished the surge of migrants from Sri Lanka to North America, Europe and Australia, after the 1970s, said Mr Tharman, who is of Sri Lankan Tamil descent. The book has a nine-page chapter on Singapore.

mnirmala@sph.com.sg


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