Kalinga Seneviratne, Director of INPS Southeast Asia, has left no stone unturned in 2016 not only to explore funding sources but also to widen the outreach of IDN-INDPS in Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Crossing the frontiers, he has been sounding out potential sources in India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and even the South Pacific. In Vietnam and India he has been drawing young journalists’ attention to Western prejudices, which very often tend to get implanted in the minds of the youth – much to the detriment of their independent thinking.
Commenting on his report SDGs in Asia Risk Hijacking by Western Activists, he warns on his Facebook: “We need to be alert. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the new fad in the UN system and many ‘donor’ agencies are pouring money into this. We cannot afford to let a bunch of westerners to monopolise this funding especially in Asia and throw some crumbs to their Asian partners who will do the bidding for them.”
He calls these people “dollar chasing democracy vendors”, who might perhaps soon become “dollar chasing SDG vendors”. He adds: “What is ‘Sustainable Development’ needs to come from the Asian grassroots not something to be imposed from the West. The Asian media need to monitor such attempts and be able to critically report about it. Unfortunately most of the Asian media is unable to do it. Not because they don’t have the media skills …they don’t seem to have the critical thinking skills. Lets wake up.”
As he took different countries and communities in his stride, Kalinga has been contributing at least two articles a month that found their way into numerous newspapers among others in each of those countries. It was a fascinating mix of off the beat reports and analyses – challenging the mainstream media.
Notable are his Lotus News Features and a series of features on the South Pacific produced in collaboration with Wansolwara, an independent student newspaper of the University of the South Pacific:
Steeped in Buddhism, politically alert and a sharp analyst, Kalinga has known to talk to his interlocutors about supporting IDN-INPS in whatever way they can.
Kalinga never rests – and plans his contributions in the blog THROUGH ASIAN EYES to yield a book Globe Trotting though Asian Eyes “to counter all these travel books from Anglo-Saxon perspectives”, he says.