Friday, December 22, 2006

old water paintings dug up from behind a cupboard..

Art by Chandrika Gadiewasam 1989
this is a water color copy of an absolutely stupendous one by my favourite wildlife art hero , Robert Bateman. However , at 19 I was rrrather happy that I could even produce a copy which somewhat resembles such a master piece. ...then I got married at 20 and never had the time to paint after that.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Seasons Greetings to all my friends!

do take a minute to visit this link - one of my favourite mottos are here-

remember , you are NOT alone , this good earth loves you - treat it right and you will never regret it.

photo © Dananjaya Edirisinghe,2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

a day in the life of the average lankan bus passenger

This morning the bus in front of me, calmly and quietly ran over one if its intended passengers in one of those quiet desperate early morning scuffles , in front of the Maradana halt. I saw a crowd, saw the looks on their faces and as we moved off I saw a half view of someone lying on the ground with his legs broken and his lunch packet scattered around.
That was the saddest part, the lunch packet, some caring mother or wife must have woken early to prepare, the fact that we live in such a rat race that it becomes a part of daily life that you get quietly maimed on your way to work. The fact that in spite of having to dodge prados and jaguars and mercedeses all over the streets of Colombo , we are so poor that we need to pack people in till they fall off and die.
The fact that this is preventable.

It also brings me to the question – what do you do in such a situation ? the already mangled victim is at the mercy of the well meaning efforts of a bunch of o level educated clerks and carpenters from the looks of it – and bad to worse things can happen when you take a casualty like this and fold him in four to get him into a tuk tuk and send it off to the General Hospital (which is something I saw done to a bike accident victim) ….is there at least a National strategy on educating people on basic first aid? is it taught in schools? Is it given sufficient emphasis? Leave aside the clerical class worker population of Colombo , do you and I know what to do in a life and death situation ? or is it left for National Safety Day ?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The bars of my dreams….I think

Can you imagine an odd job johhny who can fix anything around the house,wires, plumbing, masonry yada yada , who gives quotations that do not require you to be resuscitated, and does not ask for more than his initial estimate no matter what unexpected frights he faces in the job? No? neither can I ..but I seem to have picked one up. The kind of man I ve always wanted to meet, (although he has a face that could launch a thousand mortars ) -he even has a celphone –how did I get him you wonder? Well I was in desperate crisis and hung around the nearby hardware kadey whining that my toilets were refluxing and I needed a piyippa bars and there he was.....ah, Al just lucky I guess.

* fingers crossed , next week I may tell you that he ran off with our satelite dish, so stay tuned...I never trust guys who talk too much. Come to think of it I dont trust guys who are quiet either. and so on.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tintin in Tibet?

no its Ally in Kalutara - busy posing and fooling about in the beach when she had set herself the task of reading Chowrya Rajina to find out what all the fuss was about. ..
anyone want to buy my copy ? Im broke and my Superiors at The Kendraya wont fund the copy I bought in the interest of personal capacity building ...(wanted to find out what HRH's secrets were ,of course)
Ill personally autograph it , if it makes any difference ? pwease?and Ill pass on the Vijitha Yapa discount they gave me, a whole whopping 38 /-
I mean it has some interesting photos...better than this here one...

Second Hand copy of Chowrya Rajina Available for Sale ...

the BOOK ,I mean- the BOOK is for Sale.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

at last! a cure for importance!

I was recently going through this frazzled second hand women’s magazine Id bought from a pavement in Bamba, when I found this half page colour advert about a healthy though expensive new vitamin preparation containing some Chinese root or another which is supposed among other things to cure importance. Now that’s the actual spelling they had used, along with a photo of rather obscene looking tuber and a really happy looking couple... I did not have time nor inclination to read thought the whole half page but later on, after a lot of careful thought on the subject I figured it’s a very good idea and long overdue.

Have you noticed what a crippling affliction importance can be in some people? You see it in the way they sit, taking up as much room as they possibly can (ankle crossed on knee to make a little space for pricey Lamborgini Notebook which everyone should notice -), the way they talk (much deep clearing of throats and palpable care with their choice of exact wordings) the cultured accents (mock Oxford or Harvard elocution although they’ve been to third world banana republic schools*) and the generous servings of jargon they introduce into their day to day communications…You wonder if they talk to their dogs like this too? In the first place if a dog could survive around anything as important as this without rolling over and dying of acute inferiority?...words like zeitgeist , raison d’etre (I dont even know how its spelt and Im not apologising) and de facto need to be casually batted too and fro in any gathering of Importants for them to feel, well, important, which is (creek, creek –the echoing of crickets chirping in my comparatively empty head- ) alas actually lost on us lesser mortals and has us groping weakly for our thesauri.

At the Office, the Important cant just meet and talk like normal people, but must brainstorm, rationalise and strategise in hushed tones, then take elaborate minutes of the proceedings, and rework them to about 54 pages of research findings which they distribute to all on their spam lists and which no one spends more than 3 seconds on before junking.

Institutional importance clouds any reading material that originates from the average workplace and results in about 2.5 pages of possibly good ideas being hidden in at least 65 pages of a report in stodgy official jargon, which, lets be honest, no one WANTS to read , even if they had the time. This is not only really bad news for trees , but disturbing for Internet users since it probably grows at the mind boggling rate of billions of gigabytes per day what with people posting stuff on servers for further reference.

Medical and Scientific Importance I wont even go into here, because it would need a whole centre spread to begin on, and the same can be said for shh quietly now- state Importance. The best way to handle incurable individual Importance is to stand back, open your mouth in an awestricken gape and agree reverently with whatever the person says, while at the time coyly gushing “my, my, what a genius you are! Where do you get these ideas? What brilliance! What an amazing intellect!” at regular intervals( And sound as if you mean it!)

Readers or recipients of such Important -cattle waste are just as much to blame for the trend: they consistently continue to be obviously unimpress-able by anything less than a centimetre thick when it comes to documentation, or a speech which has any less than one hundred obscure words. This in spite of, or could it be because of , the fact that it just means they have less time to walk the dog, talk to their parents or spouses or practice Tai Chi, which although everyone agrees is good for you hardly anyone seems to actually provide for. Strange.

I personally envisage,I mean, foresee,(someone hit me with a brick- its rubbing off on me, help!!) a future where people will actually realise the value of keeping things simple(- stupid!) . They will speak and write down what they think in the most basic four or five letter words, accompanying anything written with cartoons and embedded audio clips which get the point across painlessly, with perhaps dormant links to the resource websites they poached it all from. This is so that if you have a lot of spare time and nothing planned for the weekend you can carry out further fact finding to whatever depth you feel you need for your development as a human being with only an average lifespan of 75 years to plan for.

In the meantime I want to find out what that root was and serve it secretly to some people I know- just to find out if it works and they become approachable normal people.

* No offence: They are probably as good as any other ,I’m only referring to the tedious accents.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

the dreaded chocoriano© fever …
...and other serious worries we should be, well, worrying about…

Last week I got a text message from a bloke in office saying to please tell the admin officer that he had got chocoriano fever and wasn’t going to be able to make it …. I spent some time pondering seriously as to what this gruesomely named malady could be, and visions of Mars Bars gone wrong, Cocoa beans taking long overdue revenge on humankind etc clouded my imagination until I figured that the T9 text on his mobile phone had probably spelt chikungunya out like this and he had probably been too delirious to correct the text ( and mind you T9 is one of those other horrors of the modern world I wont even bother to go into here…)chiken what?you ask, hello- don’t we have enough on our plates?

Life in this day and age is full of worries. The average Colombo housewife like me has so many diverse concerns at any one point in time to worry about - leave aside the obvious ones like possible bomb explosions, kidnappings, paedophiles stalking our kids and escalating fuel prices, floods and power cuts , I can worry whether I will get diabetes because I don’t eat enough fruits, whether I’m using enough moisturiser or sunscreen or breast cancer is silently creeping up on me, and now, when not if chikunguniya will strike me and my loved ones. Thanks to regular blasts of well presented paranoia from local TV adverts we can add osteoporosis, cholesterol, MSG, bird flu and a whole gamut of oddly named diseases and conditions to this list- both regular and obscure. The film industry with its serial defamation of innocent dumb fauna adds to our subliminal anxieties about roving Sharks(Jaws), fish (Piranha) Dogs(Gujo), Snakes( Cobra, Anaconda, Anaconda two, Snakes on a Plane, Snakes on a Train, whatever next? Snakes on a bus? Yikes- ) and even Rats (poor persecuted vermin!)- plus the Bollywood spin offs to all of these.

Time not spent worrying about these identifiable worries can be filled by the vague worry that we may actually be missing out on certain worries just by not being actually informed about them so the key is to spread the word – usually in the form of urgent bulk emails which greet you in the morning when you stagger dazedly into the office (with the top priority ^ symbol of course) about such horrors as what could happen to you if you let your defences down for even a moment by letting your credit card out of sight , sitting on chairs in theatres without checking them and getting a particular unpronounceable worm in your computer. These emails are usually forwarded by someone who personally knows someone to whom this terrible thing has actually happened.
Awareness raising is therefore the keyword and apparently what you don’t know can kill you, so you make an effort to be informed ,sadly ignoring the fact that even if you know it , it will still kill you, the only difference being that instead of breezing through the life you do have , you would have faced it cringing cravenly and guiltily convinced that it was somehow, something you could have avoided if you had just been a step quicker…

It’s the price of civilisation, you see: those days worries were tangible uncomplicated things – the risk of invading Mongolian armies*kidnapping you , rampaging herds of wild mammoths , drought ,famine and the bubonic plague (read the totally yukky description in Wikipedia)are now a thing of the “savage" and “stressful” past . Modern man has organised his environment so well as to take all dangers and discomforts out of it –you forage for food at Cargils, and you usually don’t see saber toothed tigers ,dinosaurs or invading Cholas ploughing through Colombo on your way home - but hey have you noticed that worries are a strangely self perpetuating species – and were designed to never actually become extinct, but, rather like amoebas, simply break in half and mutate into newer and funkier versions…so the next thing you should be worrying about is credit card fraud, ozone depletion and the effect of UV rays, not to mention of course, the curse of that obscure chocoriano virus…

This is, you may say to me, dear gentle reader, exactly why civilised man invented the concept of “Insuarance” – to let us have some measure of relaxation in life and handle some of our more tangible worries for a fee. Seriously have you read through the fine print in any of those policies lately ? the one I have promises 2 million in damages if I lose an arm and a leg on THE SAME SIDE of the body! Try remembering that when you are next involved in a bus collision! (The same side, man- you need to turn with the agility of Catwoman to co ordinate that at a crisis moment -) and if an accident results in death WITHIN 60 days of the event your next of kin gets 2 million smackers . Can you possibly imagine the bated breath and hushed whispers that will surround your bedside on day 59?
Loss of a finger gets you a paltry 5,000/= each which of course means you are more valuable than 50k (SLRs which works out to about 25 GBP)but the next worry is whether someone related will notice this and relieve you of your digits, when they need to pay an instalment on the new home theatre system. Or if you have actually remembered to pay the premium on time , since it would be kind of embarrassing to turn up fingerless and find that the policy had lapsed. And so this list goes on. ..;

* this was of course before cable TV , and Need for Speed 2, they were bored and had nothing in the way of recreation besides plotting to invade neighbouring territories and increase the content and diversity of their harems.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A funny thing happened on the way to work today..

...there was another bomb in Kollupitiya...
Im ok. But I was about 5 minutes near it, and the smell was nasty. I usually get off and walk that way to office. Id phoned in this morning to say Id be a little late. Well ,ok quite late considering Im normally at office by 7 am.I had to check on my bike and do some extreme banking and it was 10.40 by the time I reached this junction.
today I had been tempted to get down in Maradana and get a flyer for the Bajaj CT 100 (drool) after which I got in the NEXT bus and thus was about ten minutes later than I would have been.
Life is funny,eh. I wow to hencefourth give in to sudden temptations more often.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006



Kusumawthie, my faithful domestic and possibly Wellampitiyas’s answer to Mary Poppins, Elisa Doolittle, and Joan of Ark all in one, is back after a month long vacation, spent searching for a glass dot in her sole.
… last Monday I waded home through a sudden evening shower and found my front yard shin deep in a small stagnant tidal wave caused by a blocked drain. Silhouetted against our living room lighting the poor dear was battling the flood valiantly, trying to divert water away from the front door using the bathroom squeegee, and failing miserably, as the drain had a sizeable bolus of polythene stuck in it which she hadn’t thought to remove.

Having lived through the Kolonnawa Oil Refinery blast, regular Dengue episodes, surprise Police raids and instances of all out power blackout, not to mention all night exorcism ceremonies with noisy climaxes, I try to be calm in the face of disasters in general, but this was critical -if I had been another 15 minutes late, the sofas and then my bedroom carpets would have been well and truly soaked. We don’t want that to happen- those carpets contain the combined DNA of about 25 long dead cats and dogs who have been our pets down the ages (plus a crow and a bat who escaped and may still be alive) and they STINK when wet so I wanted, honestly to scream, and demand why she hadn’t called for backups, but since this is was our good Kusumawathie , I didn’t….she lives Ive noticed by rather convoluted logic which I cant begin to understand.

Kusumawathie is fifty five according to her NIC but looks much younger or older depending on whether its a fluorescent, daylight or torchlight (-not recommended) . Although she has taken to going through life hunching abjectly in a long suffering attempt to blend in with the furniture and not attract negative attention from malicious planets spinning light years away- her life story, sad to say, involves enough violence, mishap and excitement to make the average paparazzo gasp in awe.
To my knowledge she has so far been 1) knocked down by a car which affected her spine so she cant lift anything 2) scratched in the cornea by a potentially rabid kitten so she wont go near animals and 3) nearly strangled by another moonshine sozzled Sedawatte druggie cum robber cum potential molester who at the last moment in a flash of self loathing let her go on condition that she wouldn’t tell anyone about him- (which of course she did, with relish, anyone who would listen )not to mention the regular crockery throwing matches with her perpetually inebriated better half, and wrestling dramas in local buses. She has also had at least two serious accidents with firewood and hot kettles.

What doesn’t kill you makes your stronger, they say , but Ive noticed in some cases it just makes you paranoid- I have to admit regular serial misfortune has left poor Kusumawathi with a collection of phobias which she firmly incorporates into day to day work: irons for example are unpredictable death traps only to be approached when chaperoned by a capable English speaking person of responsible adult status possessing a valid driving license and vehicle, in case she gets electrocuted and the iron gets stuck to her( yeow!). Irons during a suspected thunderstorm even if it is 30 miles away, in the Bay of Bengal, are out of the question. Rice and pressure cookers and fridges command (un)healthy amounts of veneration although strangely the liquidizer has been allowed some measure of trust since it makes the coconut milk thick in spite of the ruckus. Gas tap replacement is an awe inspiring technical process to be monitored from a prudent distance, and the microwave is a thinly disguised portal to the netherworld as far as Kusumawathie is concerned: anything that small, square and inexplicable just has to be intrinsically evil.
Household dogs are best heard but not seen, preferably incarcerated behind chicken wire barricades so a lot of indistinct muttering greets any attempt to liberate these unfortunates while she is around. Any new pets are greeted with DISTINCT muttering and threats about going into retirement.
Potential visitors are categorized as regional criminals until proven otherwise, and firmly instructed to return with proper credentials.( I admit they often are so I approve)
Storms have a negative psychological impact on Kusumawathie due either to the Awe Inspiring Spectacle of Unrestrained Power unleashed by Nature in All its Glory, or the fact that she doesn’t like getting her feet wet- so the suggestion of a cumulo nimbus (or even a very small harmless regular nimbus) anywhere on the horizon means you can bet your last fiver she wont be turning up: so no hot dinner.
With all this caution getting in the way of her work, you may be wondering what it is she actually does around the house to earn her keep.
To be honest, now I come to think of it, so am I .
Sometimes there is hot dinner and she does make a mean Soya curry, but that’s not really it. It’s the comforting feeling that there’s someone in the back ground just in case you need her, and that’s nice to know in this day and age. So I’m not actually complaining.

*not her real name, of course
The author gratefully acknowledges that she owes a lot to her domestic assistant without whom she would never have time for the hobbies she enjoys such as: blogging, drawing cartoons, playing pinball on her mobile phone, and going for short dangerous spins in her moped.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


I dont know how old or how new this album is but I want it-

its PASSION by Peter Gabriel who along with Enya , Enigma and Gregorian - is the real meaning of music to me: a point where space, life and time stand still and your being drowns in theta waves..

Any one out there got it ? Ill swap with my giant compilation of 500 titles. Ill actually go out of my way to meet you. Help me!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wellampitiya Revisited

Wellampitiya Revisited...
-or part 2 of the Looney Planet Guide thereto.

You have probably heard about all kinds of vice emanating from Wellampitiya – murders, shoot outs, bus arson(oh joy) and occasional hauls of moonshine: well, speaking from the inside I must tell you these people are not really evil ,mostly they have merely given up with pretenses and dislike beating about the bush and hypocrisy. I personally approve, I mean - instead of the malicious gossip ,backstabbing and subtle under cutting you encounter in so called “civilized” joints, I suggest it would be much more straight-forward to challenge someone you have a grudge against to an open shoot out and have done with them- it’s crisp and uncomplicated.Also being shot cleanly in broad daylight would really be a blessedly quick end to all those vague anxieties about the cost of living, the ozone layer and whether mobile phones damage the few surviving brain cells you do have...
Anyway- to continue from last week-
Endangered Fauna-
High on the endangered list is Picky, a local canine citizen I met about a decade back. Among other unspeakable eccentricities, he has a compulsion to mark territory, i.e. pee, on piles of coconuts laid for sale at the local Pola. This would make even the gentlest of meditation-practicing buddhist grandmothers understandably miffed but we are talking about hairy, tattooed underworld beefcakes, so I really don’t know how he has survived this long. True to local tradition, he sports deep manne scars of different levels of freshness on his skull and neck and is blind in one eye; I swear I have seen him chase smaller rivals into the paths of oncoming buses; at the same time, he is very gentle with children and kittens and just yesterday I found him walking around inside a neighborhood pediatric clinic , looking silly and unfocused.
Apart from bats ,kabarayas, visiting troops of grey langaurs, wading birds, water fowl, hoethamboowahs, bandicoots and mongooses, I am rumored to personally harbor a white cobra at the bottom of my backyard, but I have never heard of it harming anyone. If it does exist, it is welcome to stay there. If not, it would mean that the natives have smoked it out, doused it in kerosene and given it a fiery send off, something they do to hapless reptiles, centipedes, scorpions and anyone they suspect of having an alternate sexuality, on the days they don’t attend temple.
Youth activities Little Wellampitians (or Wellampettes as I like to call the precious darlings) are short, shiny and very cute but have sturdy constitutions since their mums went through pregnancy dodging batons, brickbats and bullets and fortifying themselves on exhumed moonshine, instead of regular stuff like Anmum or Preglac: they have fine tuned survival to a happy art, spend the afternoons playing Catapult-The-Town-Idiot, setting fire to the tail tufts of wondering cows and cheerfully riding their tricycles around dodging (and occasionally under) the 40 foot Maersk container-trailers that head in from Orugodawaltta to Peliyagoda.
Garbage Disposal Is an issue here, which the local cattle sadly cannot handle all by themselves though they do try. Some of my neighbors have crossly demanded to know why I carry my garbage long distances and dump it in the local Urban Council collection bins (which are overflowing and stinky) instead of, like them, putting it in my own land since I live on a comparatively large extent of land. I have had to point out that really, I don’t like them putting their garbage in my backyard, either, so will they please stop.
The road watching Wellampitian males are patient and take the security watch matter quite seriously staying up sometimes till about 1 am , doing pretty much nothing except discussing politics ,cracking lewd jokes, chewing things and occasionally hoisting their sarongs into strange arrangements the better to properly air themselves by. There is always a vague air of expectancy but what exactly they are waiting for I’m never really sure.
In conclusion-Wellampitians don’t pretend:if they think someone did something wrong, they tell him so, while ramming his skull rhythmically into a blokgal wall and making him chew on knuckle sandwich.
If they like a woman they appreciate her loudly and enthusiastically.
If they like you as a person you get to attend every festival they can afford to invite you to viz age comings, home comings (after honeymoons or after a stint in jail), funerals and the-after-funeral-but-before-the-anniversary party, you name it, you are welcome. They take Sri Lankan hospitality to new levels. And trust me, as with usual Sri Lankans, there is some darn good cooking at each of these (particularly the funerals ) .
For those of my friends who think this is an article aimed at policy makers,and the local Urban Council I honestly don’t mean it that way and personally wouldn’t suggest changing a thing, except perhaps the mosquito situation. The uncaged writer in me thrives on such excitement as neighborhood flood-outs, vigilante revenges and extreme exorcisms : this beats watching WWF on cable any day. I’m just sorry my article cant be larger, with a colour supplement. :-)
The author does not intend to offend anyone local by this lighthearted and affectionate account of her beloved hometown. (Well…Understandably, in the circumstances…)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Information Professionals Unite

Knowledge is power!

Our friend Chammika’s excellent Colombo Knowledge Centre unfortunately does not seem to pop up on search engines , whereas whatever we say on a blogs seems to . ...

So I thought I would do everyone a favour by refering to it here and store the link so you can just click for info.

The Forum on Right to Information or Civil Society Initiative on Information Sharing, whatever it gets to be called (we are still experimenting ) will also hopefully be hosted here under Consortium’s capable auspices…for info please bug Chammika…

Ps Im wondering if this is a chance for Information Professionals in Sri Lanka to pool resources and get cracking on some kind of Association with its own regulations, qualifications and CPD opportunities. ..

Sunday, November 19, 2006

by popular request....The add that got me 79 calls a day...

…for three days till I had to switch that phone off, plus about 55 texts, mostly with awful spelling which turns me off, 35 insincere expressions of interest from already married dudes, 20 rude suggestions from teenage dudes, 7 really nice new friends , 3 freelance-job offers from advertising sector people and 2 genuine marriage proposals ….in spite of the fact that I had said “please text”.

Above numbers are approximate but certainly not exaggerated and I still occasionally get a call about this add, probably from someone who is reading an old paper wrapping his lunch or just before he cleans up some cat- poo…

In answer to your next question, Im still single and picky.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The concise “Lonely-Planet-like” guide to...

.....Wellampitiya.-part 1
Wellampitiya… rocks! No seriously, I’m not saying this because it happens to be my home town, and I want to help jack up the land prices by at least 10 rupees per square foot in the area-. Its just that I find it one of the most colorful, interesting, downright adventurous places to live in .And its not that I have lived here all my life, no: I do hazily recall comparatively civilized places like Nawala, Manchester and even exotic Nairobi and they honestly bore me, they are refined, predictable , really sane compared with this joint.

Getting there
Located in the suburbs just outside Colombo , beyond Dematagoda on the Kolonnawa Road, you can reach it by making use of that overcrowded very slow, roundabout bus numbered 140 which heads in from Colombo 3, or the 131 from Maharagama: I am constantly surprised to not hear yet that someone has been found suffocated to death in those buses, frozen clawing rigidly at the straps… I think they must be two of the poorest, smelliest most overcrowded buses in Colombo.
It is also a mere 15 minutes drive away from Colombo’s Town Hall – that’s a maximum of $ 3.50 in a Six-Eight-Eight Cab if you can actually convince them to go that way ( we face the same problem with Pizza Huts unfortunately- I cant think what the natives have subjected them to, they do not give reasons but those cute Pizza delivery chaps would rather run their bikes off Lovers Leap than agree to deliver anything to us although we are technically within their allowed mileage: Sad)

The Local Economy
A substantial number of average Wellampitiya blokes do not actually attend day jobs but send their womenfolk out instead. Since I have a day job I too am not really sure what it is the employed ones do but I’m guessing its very macho and involves a lot of noise. Welding, masonry, truck driving – that sort of thing. And of course its more or less a homeland of tuk tuk drivers, those hairy, honest epitomes of lower middle class moral rectitude. Even the comparatively more effeminate Wellampitia bloke who ends up in the local Chinese food outlet, makes a lot of ruckus about it , chopping kottu roti as if it’s the necks (or worse) of rival gang members and actually manually assaulting the stir fried veggies which lends it that wonderful so called “umami” flavour.

Local Hobbies
Most male Wellampitians have excellent roofing in their homes but spend their lives on the road. The crack of dawn finds these ernest over-zealous early birds walking up and down the main road in banians and gym shorts , brushing their teeth, drinking kola kanda and waiting for the morning newspaper(no doubt for updates on the latest local throat slitting incident ).

Safety : D
usk finds numbers of male Wellampitians squatting in little huddles by the road side, chatting , slapping each other on the back, drinking from strange murky bottles and generally taking their civic duty seriously by monitoring all traffic, particularly the younger female citizens who happen to be returning from a days work. Ok I admit this is what most Sri Lankan’s and indeed most human male creatures in general prefer to do anyway given half the chance but Wellampitians take this very seriously- more as a job than a hobby. The result is, its actually very safe for local women to walk the streets at almost any time of the day or night. Women spend the evenings in temples or walking up and down between houses swapping dishes and retrieving children who have got slightly dispersed during the day(See “Youth Activities)

Organised Crime (we’re talking really organized)
But it’s a different story if you are a stranger in Wellampitiya. The silent looks of calculating concentration from the locals and the decidedly hostile snarling of about 15 under-sized, blotchy but vicious looking stray dogs per average road will send any but the most determined intruder back where they came from within a few minutes at most.
I am personally convinced that thieves, rapists and criminal elements do not stand even a remote chance here unless they have actually agreed through prior bookings with the locals on whom to rob/plunder/molest and to what extent, etc.[1]
I also suspect aspiring criminals from other towns are sent here for final year training and if they ever do get out alive it means they are ready to graduate. Most of these resultant “honors” students leave minus superfluous appendages like noses, thumbs and the occasional eyeball but then those are the subject of good drinking stories later on (plus you get landed with short pithy names like Potta Nihal or Sedawatte Sudo). A very good friend of mine, an ex-Wellampitian who has subsequently moved to Nugegoda and reformed[2] recounted to me that after being attacked by half a dozen knife welding rivals, he regained consciousness in a ditch on the “Bundt” at 3 am with his scalp partitioned into three distinct flaps, and thought to himself- “this cant be my bedroom”

Next week: Youth Activities, Endangered Fauna, and garbage disposal in Wellampitiya

[1] Rather like in the fabled city of Ankh Morpork- check the Wikipedia entry.
[2] Honest!

also available at

(illustration property of Daily Mirror )

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Nokia Photography

Something I did using my cheap Nokia 3220 , captured not in a desolate savannah outback but on the Orugudawatte-Wellampitiya route on a blazing island afternoon.Subsequently run through a Photoshop Watercolur Filter. Enjoy.

Why we call Ginger Nuts, Mantal

Mahisha has asked me why we call one of our cats "Mantal"...I thought Id reply here-

Mantal has slight problems - I dont know exactly what its called.He takes time to notice things. For example he may be hungry but he doesnt realise that actually eating some food will solve it. SO he runs around sadly sniffing the air. He also dosnt know that sitting behind the tyre of a reversing car will result in getting his head flattened, so we have to keep rescuing him from our car. He does not know what fire is and sometimes sniffs the gas ring and loses all his whiskers in one go. Needless to say we dont let him go out onto the road and in fact he has no interest in going out. As for mating season, the poor dear doesnt know which side of a female cat he should approach if its actually worthwhile so he doesnt bother. He is a cat in a million and very sweet, but I know he will come to a sticky end someday.

One day soon I shall tell you about Mantal and the resident guarandiar...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

TNA parliamentarian N. Raviraj shot dead.

...this morning. Check the news: -in theory you should be able to find live radio streaming here:

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

feeling suicidal ?

if you are a wabbit this should just about push you over the brink....

and Im sorry Im doing this- I know I shouldnt I just cannot resist it.
please someone buy that book, its worth it ,trust me.

Monday, November 06, 2006

another fantastic photo

I totally love these cartoons. This person doesnt know me but is getting me spot on! Wonderful style. Yes, for those of my friends who need something substantial and real to hang on to - my rain story is in wow, (with a few adjustments in the tense ) and thats a wow feeling for me :-) heres the photo of yours truely with the five cats.
speaking of which, why do so many Sri lAnkans hate the poor things? I love cats- I think they are walking feng shui,the majority of people I meet actually shudder at the idea. Why ? I mean what have they ever done to you ? Being afraid of dogs I understand (altho I love them too) - they are clumsy, smelly and bite you suddenly and absentmindedly in spots you dont want to show the local GP. But cats? why do some people REALLy hate cats? They are clean, quiet* and smell lovely when they come in from sunning themsleves. Is it because they look as if they know something we dont ?for example - how to really really relax and take life easy?

* except for Pitchy (aka Boogie Nuts) Blak ,who must compulsively rear-squirt my rice sack. Marking territory I think the scientific explaination is, but then at our place no one really disputes his ownership of the general area. Not Mantal anyway(the only other male feline around,the one living life at a tilt)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

medical reports are in again..

well I dont normally do the cheap trick of copying funny stuff off other websites and pasting here- but for just once I will make an exception possibly because these were so priceless, I dont want to ever lose them (plus I must rememeber never to have myself autopsied without my explicit verbal consent...) (the brackets are mine..)

She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life until 1989 when she got a divorce. (I actually personally relate to that one)
The patient was in his usual state of good health until his airplane ran out of gas and crashed (must check on that black box!)
Rectal exam revealed a normal size thyroid. (Long fingers?)
Between you and me, we ought to be able to get this lady pregnant. (gulp)
A midsystolic ejaculation murmur heard over the mitral area. (scientific but it sounds pleasent whatever it is)
The patient lives at home with his mother, father, and pet turtle, who is presently enrolled in day care three times a week. (lugubrious-probebly because it takes the turtle two days to travel)
Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.
She is numb from her toes down.
Exam of genitalia was completely negative except for the right foot.

The patient was to have a bowel resection. However, he took a job as stockbroker instead. (what with the prices at Apollo and all I quite understand-)
When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room. (is that what you call an Out of Body Experiance?)
Examination reveals a well-developed male lying in bed with his family in no distress. (who did this exam, did he pass?)
She has no rigors or chills but her husband says she was very hot in bed last night. (wonderful, appriciative men like this are hard to find)
She can't get pregnant with her husband, so I will work her up. (gulp , again)
Whilst in Casualty she was examined, X-rated and sent home. ( oh, the disappointment! )
On the second day the knee was better and on the third day it had completely disappeared. ( I often wish mine would too-it would be another decidedly bloggable incident)
The patient has been depressed ever since she began seeing me in 1983. (Im guessing this lady isnt insured.)
I will be happy to go into her GI system, she seems ready and anxious. (these people must be Chinese)
Patient was released to outpatient department without dressing. (no comment)
I have suggested that he loosen his pants before standing, and then, when he stands with the help of his wife, they should fall to the floor. (Im at a total loss for words here- think I shall stop now and let you enjoy the remaining reports...)
The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.
Discharge status: Alive but without permission. (I couldnt resist comenting - I know the feeling...)
The patient will need disposition, and therefore we will get Dr. Blank to dispose of him.(thats got to be Dr Who's nasty psychotic cousin)
Healthy-appearing, decrepit 69 year old male, mentally alert but forgetful.
The patient has no past history of suicides.
The patient expired on the floor uneventfully. (How LUCKY can you get? )
Patient has left his white blood cells at another hospital.
Patient was becoming more demented with urinary frequency. (who wouldnt,poor sod)
The patient's past medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40 pound weight gain in the past three days. (jeeze!)
She slipped on the ice and apparently her legs went in separate directions in early December. (ouch!)
The patient experienced sudden onset of severe shortness of breath with a picture of acute pulmonary oedema at home while having sex which gradually deteriorated in the emergency room.
Patient has chest pains if she lies on her left side for over a year.
By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart had stopped, and he was feeling much better.
The patient is a 79-year-old widow who no longer lives with her husband. (phew!)
The patient refused an autopsy. (Remind me,I must put this on my "to do" list)
Many years ago the patient had frostbite of the right shoe.
The bugs that grew out of her urine were cultured in the Casualty and are not available. I will find them.
The patient left the hospital feeling much better except for her original complaints,....

Gallantry getting kicked in the guts...

Sad to say in this day and age of equal rights, women who want special treatment are becoming just as selfish as men sometimes worse. You hear a lot of cribbing about selfish guys but occasionally when a guy tries to be decent he is trodden down anyway. Today in the 140 bus about 3 rows ahead of me there was this school kid maybe about 16 yo who had his hand in a plaster. A heavily built young mother with a six yo kid came down the aisle and the boy gave up his seat for her and the kid, in spite of the fact that his hand was bandaged and he was obviously wincing holding his school bag no one offered him a seat (mostly women and school kids nearby) and the woman he gave the seat to ignored the fact that he had a massive school bag to hang on to, and took the set as if it was her God given right . I was 3 rows back squished into the corner of the bus so it would have been rather conspicuous me interfereing but when I nudged the person in front to take his heavy school bag, she actually took it off him and sent it back to where I was! Really thoughtful! Then the person sitting near the mother-and-kid stood up and left and instead of the mother giving the seat to the poor kid with the broken hand, she simply took her chubby little kid off her lap and placed it there. This mind you in a bus stuffed to choking with people and hardly breathing room.
And most of the time I think that I’m a gernally slow unobservant dufus, but the fact is that our average sri lankan woman on the road will quite easily only spot the things they WANT to see , for example illicit affairs 5 rows away , how many bed bugs live next door etc but not a person with a broken hand right near your seat: no one at all seemed to want to notice …kind of typical.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Oops I did it again, again…

Let’s talk about public bloopers… Total, hair raising, absolute, community-witnessed embarrassment. We all have those nightmares don’t we of being well and truly and totally mortified in front of a crowd. (And kindly leave Janet Jackson out of this – she did it on purpose as you all know)
Well, dear gentle readers, ever since I can remember my nightmares normally come true…
Perhaps it was the encaged extrovert exhibitionist hiding in me: I remember trying to sing when I was about 12, the song was the Carpenters’ one which begins “Such a feelings coming over me…” Well, I was just into the first line when my voice choked up and refused to work – in front of a class of 40 7th graders and the resulting silence was astounding, but nothing compared to the following sniggers and snorts- children, precious darlings, are very honest and open about their unfeeling and un empathetic opinions about other children– so that was effectively the cruel abrupt end to my career in song.

Unfortunately for you, dear friends, I bounced back. Resilience is another characteristic of 12 year olds. But years of undaunted, shameless, liberated exhibitionism later I continue to get myself into potentially humiliating situations which would crush a lesser mortal and freeze her in sheer paralytic agonies of discomfiture. Imagine falling off your motorbike in front of Nalanda collage(at school opening time). …been there, done that. Imagine accidentally scratching the paint off your best office buddy’s brand new Primera, and then being stupidly honest enough to owe up to it … Imagine gesticulating absentmindedly sideways at a totally blank whiteboard while lecturing to first year Econ students. They start blinking lugubriously like in Southpark, slowly and seriously. Almost as bad as being ragged into shouting out the name and description of your favorite Family Planning device in the middle of a crowded Colombo pharmacy?(“no, no please not the one with studs-the plain one-!) and imagine if you will, organizing a surprise office staff birthday party and forgetting to drag in the person whose birthday it is…ouch, now that’s got to make you wince, for years …Can people DO this, you wonder? Relax, folks-and remember to keep Al as a benchmark, set against which any of you normal folks can Feel Good about your selves and say –“Well, at least I haven’t XYZ. .like al did in 1996…”
How can she keep doing it, surviving the sheer mortification time after time, you wonder?
It’s the bigger picture, you see. The average human attention span being approximately 3 seconds, and what with larger issues such as the ozone layer, Ruwandan genocide and whether mobile phones make you impotent, being higher on peoples’ worry lists, the truth of the matter is that it’s really difficult to make a lasting impression on anyone anyway. Ie: no one actually gives a flying f***.
To be honest, in spite of the fact that the human population is swarming, people have never been lonelier or more self centered than the present age! We are all over the place and yet people are constantly dying alone, frozen solid in front of their televisions with a boring supermarket dinners on their laps! So if you are as embroiled in today’s rat race as you claim to be, the chances are that whatever foot in mouth situation made me wince yesterday will be generally forgotten by next Friday and definitely out of public recollection by this time next month- so I take heart!
And if it isn’t, well, look on the bright side: I actually scored and will be the filler subject during those awkward pauses in pre dinner conversations when a circle of drunken people are groping desperately for something to talk and choke about!
Now that’s what you call win-win. ..

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Its here again: that time of the year when you wish you were anywhere else but damp, sticky, moldy smelling Sri Lanka. Its monsoon time- or to use less exotic terminology “drippy, grey, rainy days are here again”

My cats are frozen into catatonic lumps- you see them lurking like watchful gargoyles, on sideboards, in the ceiling ornaments, on cupboards, too cold to shake a limb but occasionally blinking balefully at the podgy geckos they are too lazy to catch.
The half Persian has swollen to twice her size because she is cold and her bristles are sticking out, and taken to answering the calls of nature indoors, ie, in the kitchen sink.

And the Ally living room is permanently damp and dotted with empty plastic Cargills ice cream tubs strategically positioned to catch stubborn leaks. Friends are compelled to fend off the damp feline advances of kittens who are trying to poach body heat from them, and have to sit across from me on the couch and make themselves heard through the gentle tymphany of heavy tropical droplets of water landing on plastic. To the optimistic feng shui enthusiast, this may have its special charm but I personally hate the whole idea. Leave aside the limp underwear and tea cloths with things growing on them, rugs so damp that you have to actually fight them to get your shoes back, reeking feline foot prints patterning across the tiles in livid muddy shades- there is the Smell: take old army boots , a second hand chicken coop , manky towels, a lot of rotting wood and a generous dollop of pulsating tropical lichen (and this mind you is after the household dogs have been banned and cruelly locked out to fend for themselves!)- and you come somewhere close to this, keeping in mind that its not very strong, just a faint whiff, since we have got used to it anyway and if it were stronger we would have to root it out some how: no- the damp atmosphere does not smother – it just hangs about sheepishly.

But the smell does get to me – so once I land at home in the evenings I need to light two Ninja coils and 3 Dhoop sticks before I can even begin to think straight. –that’s after the trip home since I need a little time to “unwind” and recap that journey home-

..oh, did I forget to tell you how I actually get home? Well, I cant use the moped because my spectacles get foggy in the rain and don’t have wipers- so I have to travel in bus like all the other normal middle class peeps, which means squeezing in with about 85 other damp wheezy people who have just folded their dripping umbrellas and found a spot to stand in that’s not half an inch under water on the bus. Then we spend 45 minutes in the compulsory company of all kinds of droplet infections produced by the copious hacking and sneezing and occasional snorts from people who forgot their kerchiefs and are using their sleeves instead (or even perhaps your shawle if you doze off a minute-) …

Anyway having survived that theres the lovely tropical trek, home depending on how far you live from the bus halt. Wonderful Serendipity! Ten to fifteen minutes trudging cheerfully up those rustic, winding little side tracks that lead to home,if you think about it carefully :these puddles are SCAREY. Never mind the typhoid and gonorrhea that must lurk in them I personally have a horrible phobia ( due to watching too many horror flicks like Jaws , the Deep and Lake Placid) that if I put my foot in the wrong puddle I may not actually get it back!

And here at last is a problem that we cannot blame on the GOSL,LTTE , globalization or the IMF!So theres no point ranting about it on Kottu – unless Waruna* gets His own blog running and allows us to post comments and suggestions to him. So till then, happy sloshing,while I go off to microwave my undies.

*Balinese deity of Rain, Oceans (and thus tsunamis) and other water related issues..

Thursday, October 26, 2006

At last! a Full lenght photo of Aljuhara!

At last, for all my new online friends who complained that my mugshot was too small and blurred (-and deceptively young looking-) heres the full lenght photograph, courtesy Daily Mirror. I honestly love this ! the artist has actually managed to visualise me perfectly right down to the mildly bemused head scratching ...:-)hee.hee.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sadism alive and well in Colombo

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has written to President Mahinda Rajapakse highlighting what the organization called the blatant mistreatment and violation of basic human rights of psychiatric patients in the mental health wards in Colombo and elsewhere in Sri Lanka. In the letter, the human rights watchdog highlights several such violations as follows:
The AHRC says that patients are systematically given shock treatment (Electro-convulsive Therapy -- ECT) as it is cheaper than giving them antipsychotic drugs. Whenever psychiatrists are asked what they want from overseas the response is "a new ECT machine". It is said that this treatment settles the patients for about 3-4 days and then they are back to being shocked.
Patients are beaten when perceived as unmanageable. Patients are also tied to their beds or wall hooks when seen as difficult to manage. Food that is given by visitors is taken away. Patients walk around with a 1/4 loaf of bread in their hands as their evening meal when the government provides adequate money for a better meal.
The AHRC also says that items given like sewing machines for occupational therapy are used by staff to run their own small businesses from the ward for instance patch work, quilt making. Meanwhile patients remain unoccupied, and their behaviour is not managed, and then they are subjected to inhuman restrictive practices.
Food that is provided by the family on a day out is taken away by staff. Any meat is confiscated and plain buns are given instead as the staff say that the meat will not agree with the patients. But observers have noticed that the meat is not thrown away but taken away by staff in bags.
Then, soap and basics provided to maintain hygiene are taken away by staff and pieces of inexpensive soap like Sunlight is provided instead which reacts badly with the skin of the patients giving rise to added problems. These things are actually happening within these wards and the information is reported by credible NGO staff, mental health professionals and support persons.
What is worse is these atrocities are happening to an extremely vulnerable section of the community who cannot advocate for themselves. All they can do is plead with their relatives to remove them from the wards. However they are not believed and considered delusional by their families. Also the families are afraid to remove them as they are not sure how to handle the patient at home.
What becomes clear from this information is that the psychiatrists, nurses and attendants are abusing these patients and obviously see this group as anything but human. On several occasions mental health organisations have taken up these issues but the results have been negative. What happens in the end is that the staff of such organisations are prevented from visiting the wards and hence are unable to monitor the situation or act as a deterrent against this behaviour.
As a result the organisations stopped pursuing legal action in order that they would be able to continue visiting the wards. However, sadly they believe that there is much that happens when they are not around.
The situation of the treatment of psychiatric patients needs to be urgently investigated and the practices that prevail at the moment need to be prevented immediately. The AHRC has thus urged that appropriate action be taken on this matter as an urgent priority.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dentists had it good those days too!

Thieves, secret excavations and long forgotton curses.....Now you know why the Middle East never ceases to fascinate me! Some things are so happening even though the story is 4000 years old.

SAQQARA, Egypt - The arrest of tomb robbers led archaeologists to the graves of three royal dentists, protected by a curse and hidden in the desert sands for thousands of years in the shadow of Egypt's most ancient pyramid, officials announced Sunday

Sunday, October 22, 2006

hear Kitty!

FMM decries bombing of the Voice of Tigers (VOT)

The Free Media Movement (FMM) decries the bombing of radio station Voice of Tigers (VOT), the official radio station of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ( LTTE). Fighter jets belonging to Sri Lankan Air Force bombed the station in Killinochchi, an LTTE held town in Northern Sri Lanka on 17th October 2006. The attack destroyed broadcasting towers of the station and injured two workers.

find the balance at

well..hello, this is the Voice of Tigers, we are talking about, and they have been banned in the pretty much the rest of the civilised world (not just had their broadcasting licenses revoked! )although the GOSL has not yet come around to noticing this .but-
how cruel is bombing Tigers! - surely there are more civilised ways of making them conform.... Revoke their permits!Tax their stamps ! FINE them! or something-

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Where have all the beggars gone?

Uh, well, I know I should actually be asking the Central Bank or Ministry of Poverty Alleviation or whatever, but I was personally facing this question last week as I cruised the blazing tarmacs of Maradana under a blistering midday sun looking for these beings of legend because of a little plan I had to “Do good” (Further embarrassing details below- )

You hear people griping about the economy, the cost of living, the sheer exhausting poverty of this third world city we live in – and you’d think logically that the number of destitute people (ok ok Financially Challenged Fellow Citizens) would be an excellent indication of the levels to which we have sunk , but goodness, have you noticed there just aren’t any when you need them! Deserving looking ones I mean, not those unshaven intense looking ones with bloodshot eyes who reek of alcohol, and twitch suspiciously when they talk– I’m talking about real deserving honest-to-God cases of serious “Have.Not.”

Now why, you may ask, would Al, actually “need” beggars? Well, the truth is I’ve been well brought up on some serious Buddhist theory and occasionally when someone close to me conks off, or when I go through some narrow scrape, a prickle of unease nags at my conscience: a positive inclination to go fourth and do something “meritorious” so to speak.

Since I personally hover delicately at the edge of lower middle class penury, large scale organized charity like saving herds of cows(!) or donating prime land for orphanages is beyond me, but I do pride myself on the occasional “Food- Packets- For-Hungry- Beggars” thing, duly arranged on Saturdays in auspicious quantities of 3,7,9 or 21 which hopefully will keep Saturn happy and keep me out of serious trouble for just a little bit longer( And I have given up trying to even begin to figure out how an entirely gaseous planet billions of miles away may possibly directly affect things like my education, my marriage and the sporadic bouts of eczema I suffer. I just accept it like death, taxes and server outages)

So, to cut the cackle, last Saturday found yours truly cruising slowly through the Dematagoda /Baseline/Maradana route in the cornea-frying noon sunlight with a “dicky” full of lunch packets, looking for tatty deserving looking beggars poor people who would kindly take these things without actually insulting me about it – yup, I was getting pretty desperate.

Trust me this is an excellent way to get sunstroke, migraine and a lot of *fishy* looks from the army. A fat woman on a rusty moped is odd. Same woman going really slowwwwly looking left and right, is just pushing it. You get my drift.

Well, the sad conclusion I came to last week (or the happy one, from the National Policy making point of view-) was that there just are not enough really deserving beggars in Colombo!

I mean, sure, under the Baseline flyover there were people blissfully sleeping it off in little happy bundles of rag and newspaper but I was too afraid to actually go and tweak them for lunch, since you never know what they could be sleeping off.

Three( 3) of the more coherent ones relieved me of the (by now really silly looking) rice packets (possibly for the resale value= one cigarette?)with condescending grunts and walked off insouciantly without so much as discussing the attendant blessings and fortunate afterlife that I was hoping would accrue to me as part of the bargain.

Two (2) people asked me for money and would not budge until I parted with cold hard cash and one of them mumbled something about the fifty (50!) buck note I had given him (eh ,did I hear that correct? 50 bux wasn’t enough? Raising cost of living ? but ,erh-these people didn’t actually DO anything , they just sat there- what kind of bills did they have to pay anyway?- )

Well , I admit I was here for a totally self centered and petty personal-gain reasons, so yes I would have liked a “bohoma isthuthy” even if “pinsiddhawechaawe” is now out of fashion, even “jolly decent of you,old gal " would have been ok, but these cool, nonchalant shrugs were kind of , how shall I put it, bloody annoying, sorry - rather discouraging, actually.

Finally in Maradana near the Police station , under some leafy trees I stumbled upon an endearing young old lady beggar with a really charismatic smile who along with her hubby (ok here I was assuming it was the hubby unless they were not married and just begging- in – sin-) at least bestowed gracious smiles upon me when I handed out the final packets – and yes, there was even a brief hands clasped moment too so I must bookmark that spot for future reference in case I need beggars again. (Alternatively, I think I will start practicing Tonglen, instead. At least it doesn’t involve making the long suffering STF uneasy)

But then it happened , near a Base line Road temple , at last , I came upon that One True beggar who finally made my whole Sunday worthwhile, a wonderful character of enduring fortitude, the memory of whom still brings tears to my eyes- a speech challenged ,shivering, gibbering octogenarian on a crutch who actually smiled widely and toothlessly and mumbled the old fashioned intonations I had wanted to hear, thanking me, blessing me, referring to my parents in a positive light, wishing me the best in life and the hereafter, (for eons actually) -perpetual, everlasting cosmic success and eternal beauty in return for a 50 buck packet of Kowloon Take Away’s Delishes Fish Curry Special .He sure knew the words and he sure made my Saturday, and although I bet he was as well fed as the rest, I guess he was one for keeping to traditions!

Well -that task completed finally, I rode back home, kind of glowing in the sunlight, not only because I felt I had done something worthwhile at last ,but also I did honestly feel that ,here at least on my track, there aren’t so many truly desperate people and things couldn’t really be that bad. Well, I wish anyway….

The author lives in Wellampitiya with 5 cats named: Patchy, Scratchy, Serious, Curious and Mantal.
And yes, she rides a moped.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Fed up with the general consensus that I am an empty head with a loud voice box, I have decided to edufycate myself further in my current field of work (Current Affairs ) by drawing on the books in my library, at least on the odd rainy days when I cant take a bike to work.

This weeks read was a book by Dr Vellaithamby AMeerdeen titled : ETHNIC POLITICS OF MUSLIMS IN SRI LANKA, a subject about which I think not that much has been written.

Let me hasten to add, I did not have time to read the book from cover to cover but did one of those new age speed reads within about 45 minutes ,which coupled with the motion sickness brought on by my 140 bus winding around in Maradana and Norris Canal road, (whopeeeee!) may have given me not the entire picture but I do have a ROUGH idea of what the book is about and I can recommend it.

Dr Ameerdeen’s presentation and language is GOOD: plain, crisp and straightforward, and Im not just saying this because I ve met him personally and he’s got lots of charisma, but because I could actually UNDERSTAND what I was reading without having to read sentences thrice. This is his Phd Thesis and it’s written in plain English! some of you Policy Maker Academics out there should try doing that for a change!

There are chapters on the Muslim culture in Sri Lanka (pretty much on par with any of the other cultures we have here, what with dowry issues and women being left uneducated etc muslim’s apparently are not too thrilled about marrying their sons to their sisters’ daughters which is such a relief. This leads to inbreeding and imbeciles which may explain us Sinhala) a lot about the Muslim Congress,(bit stodgy) lots of useful statistics (if you are doing your own thesis on anything remotely similar) one or two interesting documents like a SLMC –LTTE MOU in 2002(where they agree on a few mundane day to day things but rather fundamental things like “we agree not to kill Muslims” have been surprisingly overlooked- ….anyone else want to sign an MOU with the LTTE? ) and admittedly a lot of interesting facts on recent political history of Sri Lanka from a Muslim viewpoint.

What can I say , I found the book good and I would read it more thouroughly if I had time.
But Im at work , it’s a busy Wednsday morning and I have just got news that my beautiful ancestral town of GALLE IS CURRENTLY UNDER ATTACK , so I shall stop blogging for now. What a life.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Als first day in print

well: thats the cover page of the Daily Mirrors WOW magazine of 17th October - and my story is in it on page 2 with a reference to this site.

and thats a first for me! :-)

Friday, October 13, 2006

those burning questions

Here are the answers to pretty much all the most important of those serious philosophical questions you have ever asked yourselves on decrepit sunday did the universe evolve? who made us ? and why do we have pubic hair ?

Boardroom notes from that first roundtable discussion on how to create the upright biped- and make sure he stays around....;-An-Eyewitness-Account-Part-One-of-The-Invention-of-Everything/132/

“I don’t know. I think having some hair here and there might help them feel more at home with the other creatures.”
“Instead of all by their lonesome selves on some otherwise desolate planet?”
“Good insight. Very harmonious. I want you to know that. OK, so let’s recap it and take a vote. Here it is. The male has a tube. Can we agree on that?”

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

all that trouble with the anti abortionists and then this:

It may sound morbid, even bizarre, but Sri Lankan scientists are going ahead anyway. In a bid to unravel the mystery behind Lanka's soaring suicide rate highest in South East Asia anatomists will soon start picking the brains of the dead

"An alarming 70,000 people have committed suicide from 1990 to 2000 in Sri Lanka, with an estimated 14 million suicide bids. The rate has increased by 10 times between 1950s to 1990s. To get to the root of the problem, we have decided to adopt a two-pronged approach. While the first would be an epidemiological study, the second one would involve taking brain cells of cadavers to zero in susceptible genes"

here are the stats in comparision with our poor neighbours,proving that its not totally for economic reasons that we die:

and for details of a totally sucidal family read this

yup, Sri Lankans are an inbred bunch but then does it mean we got to kill ourselves due to odd genes...seems so unfair on those lovely parents who take a lot of trouble in bringing us up, a slap on the face to your mother ....pregnancy, lactation ,stretch marks and sleepless nights , schooling ,education etc all thrown to waste.
Perhaps better family planning is the key so that we dont breed kids who wish they had never been born...

or maybe its just the price of petrol driving us round the bend...

pls comment at the entry below too...

tell me WHY.

Sri Lanka is reportedly worlds number one for
* suicide
*alchoholism and
* child abuse

thats what I hear. Now, what I would welcome, is for all you Colombo bloggers out there to visit my blog and put forward your theories and creative ideas as to
1)whether this is true and
2) if so if there is any link between these three and the general social situation that makes up sri lanka.

meanwhile off I go to Kalutara for a residential course in improving my understanding of something important or another, and I shall be back with all the photographs (of the brainstorming of course) on Monday.Happy blogging.

ps personally I think the root cause of all of this is Sri Lankans dont get laid enough.
or let anyone else get any.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Domestic Bliss- the Kusumawathie Files

Much has been said about the domestic assistant in Sri Lanka, that smokey eyed kitchen beauty the 'ammey" or the gaunt grizzled garden jonson who has been around since forever,and provided support and stability to our lives1[1]..
There are actually Yuppies in this country who could earn millions in greener pastures but do not leave because they would have to say good bye to their domestics and for those of us under-privilaged society snobs who don't have one ...-up there in our wish lists right between "buy private yatch "and "get bust lift" is a small entry "find honest servant[2]"..
Let me tell you from personal experience - Ive been there done that - and you are not. missing. much.

Consider my Kusumawathi:
She comes from an impoverished Colombo slum where she has to wait hours near a community water pipe, fighting for her place among local women of ill fame, to drag up some mouldy slush which looks like water for the daily cooking , then forage for hours in Kabaragoya infested suburban thickets for firewood, for same and she sports an impressive collection of batter and burn scars on her body made by a cross eyed drunken carpenter bass whom she married by mistake a half a century ago and stubbornly insists on staying with "for the sake of the kids"(who ehem, are in their 40s now and earn better than me, mind you)
But: I invite her to work gently two hours per evening in my spartan studio apartment (sans microwave and washing machine and things i have accumulated through years of toil,mind you )and she has the dubious luck to stumble upon a microscopic sediment of glass from a long forgotton beer mug, which lodges in a crevice of her callused bark like, sorry, delicate feminine, sole, and thus begins three MONTHS of reproachful limping, pointed self pitied sighs and the mumbling, groaning and general apathy more reminiscent of a terminal case of what the Victorians called "the Great Depression"
The usual gist of normal doctors prod and poke her while she grimaces heroically but cannot find anything wrong with her so its more general groaning, grumbling and self appraisal , until along comes that perennial champion for lower class[3] human rights, that all around safe haven for poor sri lankans, the General Hospital which decides (after 4 days of visits ,standing in queues and absence from work )that this dot of glass may even Lead To Cancer and to avoid this she needs an "operation"
I swear this is the word she said they used.on this imaginary dot of glass...and they give her a date for the great event:the 4th of October.
So to picture the run up to this, imagine, if you will, the self pitied mumbling, animated purchases of hospital gear, pillows and plastic lunch boxes etc, the writing of wills ,tearful visits from long forgotton relations and a general aura of martyrdom leading to the great day ...(Let me never be accused of callous bourgeois indifference to the sufferings of the underprivileged- but no matter how hard I tried I could not bring myself to show fake sympathy for an operation on a "veeduru katta") ..General hospital staff then proceeded to ensure that this operation hurts a great deal to prove that they are doing something of seriously life threatening import , so from her own groaned cellphoned report, the injection made her scream "a lot"(let me get this clear , that's the Novocain injection, mind you - for the lay person -the "hiri vattana" jab-)and she is currently in great suffering and may not be able to turn up for work indefinitelly: to add insult to injury the supposedly free health system had also landed her with prescriptions of stuff running to "Rupiyal Panseeyaka vithara!!!" which is ehem not really free if you get the drift...
by mobile phone, she also makes it a point to notify me of all the support she is receiving from the local drunkards, kuddas, sundry Sedawatta neighbours, and various ex employers who in their efforts to get her to come back to them, are now showering her with one off bribes and incentives so that I end up feeling like a blood drinking villain-ess for not being able to bring myself to actually say anything sympathetic - and notifys me that she will not be able to come to work for the next.two.weeks.

So that's why this article is short, and unfocused- Im looking forward to making that kitchen habitable again…

Foot Note Wait a minute - I just thought of something: maybe she wants a raise...

[1] Not to mention the occasional requirement for a strong sedative...

[2] "servant" is a very bad old fashioned word from the Feudal times,.so I promise not to use it again. We are supposed to call them Domestic Assistants.
[3] another bad way of saying things.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Land of Lala

Our lady of Vanga had trouble on her brow.
Trouble brewing darkly on the fair and lovely brow of a beautiful principal consort of the sovereign of Vanga: and no amount of sandalwood paste nor costly unguents couriered in from far away Alesandra could erase the creases that were taking up permanent residence on her fair brow.
It was, of course on account of a Beautiful Daughter.

But then this was nothing new in the Great Chronicle, where most of your Royal Seehala problems could be roughly categorised into:
a) Randy beautiful daughters who must be incarcerated effectively else they would duly elope with the neighbourhood despot and ruin your reputation
b) Calculating parricidal male offspring who couldn’t wait the ten or twenty years of reign an average Sinhala king could expect those days (what with antibiotics and the Hiemlich manoeuvre still being about two thousand years away from being discovered)
c) Drought, famine and a general shortage of war elephants
d) and invading Cholas,[1] usually in that order.

Queen Maya , the herself Beautiful Daughter of Kalingha was now seriously worrying on subject(a)
She had just had this mother – daughter chat with her glowing offspring and this most radiant of princesses had admitted to some of the most scandalous desires she had ever lent Royal ear to.
The princess was of course one of those endearing, mixed up and misunderstood nymphos that dot the Great Chronicle and as this story was written by a few serious minded and generally disapproving monks, in a secluded hermitage in Ceylon, the only possible reaction to her honest confession, was shock(!) horror(!!) and shame… (!!!)
She for her part was a feisty young thing who would not be restricted and demanded her independence unlike the unfortunate Ummada Chitta[2]…and this resulted in her finally being allowed to go for walks in the jungle alone.
That’s what the Chronicle says although it is difficult to imagine that the King would not have sent a pose of body guards at least a safe distance behind her – if he cared, I mean: it was his daughter and his reputation and all that not to mention, a matter of National Security if you look at the facts ….

The princess taking a solitary walk, unattended and disguised ….(pg29)decamped under the protection of a caravan chief who preceded to the Magada country…

And then along comes this lion..

She observed him and recollecting the prediction she had heard of the fortune tellers, freed from all fear , exciting him, caressed him…(pg 30)

We all agree we need to learn from history. My personal observations then are that :
(a) Fortune-tellers are darned dangerous: they tell you this sort of stuff and you take it seriously and then you go and do this sort of thing. If this lion had’nt been randy enough Ms Kalinga would have been just another statistic and there would not have been any Sinhala at all.
(b)If not for how poetically it was drafted, the Great Chronicle would be the oldest document to be rated triple x, considering that this is technically zoophilia we are discussing here.

…by her having thus fondled him, his passion being aroused the lion then…

more next time,folks...

[1] This was of course before the invention of Cable TV and the only recreation these poor dear Cholas seem to have been able to come up with was constantly but half heartedly plotting to invade Ceylon…
[2] another story in its own right

Sunday, October 01, 2006

more corny gardiyawasome humour

It actualy took me years to find this site- which either says Im a terrible googler or the author was very discrete.But I always knew this was out there somewhere and here it finally is

you know,this sumna charachter has just got to be related to me. ..Ill let you be the judge of that

ps it came as a shock to me,but it hit me from a recent wedding invitation, that me and another 8 of my family members have been spelling our names wrong for the last 30- 60 years. Thats unnerving to say the least.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

why this cow went off milk is not a site for the faint hearted, nor should you visit it if you want to continue enjoying your burghers. and if you want to visit a website which actually worked on me, a simple bit of http which totally changed my life, then step where angels fear to tread.
its nasty, its pukish and its logical. .True hell is a place on earth,in fact ,if you are a lactating bovine mammal- its earth . You will never be able to forget these sites, so be warned.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Why I love Sri Lanka...

Yo peeps yo always hear me bellyaching about Sri Lankan buses, trafffic and sexual harrasment but I just read about why there is no rape in Pakistan and at the end of that, tremendous feelings of adoration for my smelly mother land and its despotic Buddhist Government flooded my heart: I take back every word I ever said abuot GOSL , here I am on my knees kissing the dubiously shaped rubble of my office driveway :- Im glad Im a Sri Lankan cow and not governed by :

The Hadood Ordinance subsumes adultery, fornication, rape and prostitution under the rubric zina and treats them as offences against the State. With the adoption of Hadood laws, for the first time in Pakistan’s history, fornication (extra-marital sex) was rendered illegal and along with adultery, non-compoundable,1 non-bailable2 and punishable by death (Human Rights Watch, 1992: 34).

The level of proof required to convict a man of rape is extremely high *and in effect the same as that required to convict for adultery. In the absence of the necessary proof of non-consent, the accused is released for lack of evidence while the woman who has alleged rape is vulnerable to being convicted of adultery. Under the terms of these laws, the rape complaint is itself a confession of zina. If convicted under the Ordinance, the rape victim is sentenced to one hundred lashes if she is unmarried and to death by stoning if she is married.

*if the accused a) confesses (in which case- stoning !) or b) there are four adult, pious, male muslim witnesses to the act of penetration

English translation : FOUR(4) religious old MALE geezers have to COMFIRM that rape occured IN FRONT OF THEM otherwise the woman gets executed...

For the record :when I say I love Sri Lanka I DO NOT mean literally.I am EXTREMELY monogamous by nature.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

of primates and pachyderms

Yes, about the Horror photo post, you were right - it was a grey languar.and this is the same one caught with the Minolta last Saturday from my balconey and I live only 20 minutes away from Flower Road, so either Im using a truely fantastic zoom or there are gray languars near Colombo.
Another of my favourite subjects, as you know, is elephants and I came across this curious bit of news on the net about using Chilies in the human elephant conflict in Africa.
has it been done here and how come it seems to be working with these great big extra nasty Africans - perchance the Asians actually like chillie? anyone got any info on that ?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Perils of travelling without an ID in Colombo

I got "copped" twice yesterday - first time cos I couldnt produce my ID , (and 3 blokes from my office have spotted me being interrogated on Greenpath) and the second time...welll, the guy actually came to my office with this great big "Special Task Force " badge pinned on his lapel

Ok ,Im kinda joking, I admit- this, at last, is AP , my favourtie Law Enforcement person (the coffin- on- toes episode and the ten points about dating a cop,remember ?) and this time he condescended to pose for a photo.
He is unfortunately unable to smile having suffered loss of nerve signals to one side of his face, but this is nothing really unusual as he does not smile much anyway- in his profession wondering if he will see the next Sunday there is nothing much to smile about. I totally understand.
The trouble with me is no matter how good looking a bloke is I need to be around someone smiley. So you see why this wont work.

Girls , never forget that ID in the morning and
ladies...if this is your husband nows the chance to start questioning him..

Monday, September 25, 2006

only in Sri Lanka?

Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
SRI LANKA: The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has stopped investigations into 2000 disappearance cases to avoid having to pay government compensation to the victims
In a very strange move that will surprise anyone concerned with the global effort to eradicate disappearances and gross human rights violations, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL), which claims to be the country's prime agency for the protection and promotion of human rights, officially decided to stop further inquiries into disappearance cases unless an order is received from the government to continue with the inquiries as the findings may result in the "payments of compensation etc".
more reading:

I guess this would actually be funny if it was happening to some other peoples- ....say the Swazilanders or Inner Mongolians....but this is the same lovely Sri Lanka which is pushing a one Mr Jayantha Dhanapala ( forward to audition for UN Sec Gen,isnt it?

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Had a rather odd vaguely erotic nightmare of the “Bug man” in X files trying to do something invasive to me( and succeeding). This involved being pinned down by a giant upright insect with a million eyes and a huge proboscis which was doing something to my *forehead* which felt awfully good and tickled at the same time.
This proves I am something of a pervert since most normal woman would have dreamt of Mulder, if the nights theme was X files.

Note to self : Must cut down on the usage of “SOFFEL “ in the evenings .

Worth a thousand..

Yes that is the finger he is showing there.
This is from my treasured copy of The Last Hero (Terry Prattchett) the art is by Paul Kidby, an artist truely in tune with Pratchettes vibes.
wikipedia has an entry on this work of art
you can also read about the
The Thieves' Guild which "was established early in Lord Havelock Vetinari's rule of Ankh-Morpork. Lord Vetinari realised that what people crave is stability, and that, while it is impossible to stamp out crime altogether, it is possible to regulate it. The major gang leaders of the city were therefore called to the Patrician's Palace, where they agreed to be held responsible for ensuring a socially acceptable number of thefts."
and lots more about Ankh Morpork, one of the most interesting cities after Colombo for people who like living on the edge...
note "While initially the main money-making venture of Thieves' Guild members remained theft, albeit under strict guidelines and leaving a receipt, more recent books show a system of "insurance", whereby people may pay a fee directly to the Guild and therefore become immune to robbery for a specified period."

ps Part of the Code of Conduct :
Members are required to carry their membership cards during all offcial activites (i.e. crimes).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

the Truth about Saladin

Growing a 12 inch beard and changing you religion officially seems a lot of trouble to go to to be able to cheat in peace but one of Colombo's online MBA*s has successfully pulled it of. More details at the Grand Kapuwa Expose

* the term refers to people who have officially registered themselves as married but are still widely available. So widely it would impress us normal puny mortals

999 visitors

Thanks all of you for stopping by !Next month , I promise you ....its going to be more interesting,more visual , and I promise Im going to work on my own website too, so please do keep visiting !

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

funny thought for the day

Pottuvil killings: Govt. rejects call for UN probe
By Easwaran Rutnam
The government said yesterday there was no need for international assistance to investigate the Pottuvil killings and the trend which took centre stage following the killing of aid workers in Mutur should be avoided.
Defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told a news conference, Sri Lanka had the expertise to carry out a full probe and assured the truth would be revealed once a statement was recorded from the lone survivor.

Sri Lanka ? Expertise ? dont make me laugh.
on second thoughts ,make me laugh,since it releases endorphins and all that ,but leave that poor Lone Survivor alone.Please.