Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Ive said it before and Ill say it again- this April New Year thing gives me definite mixed feelings. There is a lot of hype about it , but what it boils down to is a oddly placed holiday at almost the hottest time of the year , and lots of strange rituals and firecrackers. My beloved pets are consistently reduced to gibbering silent wrecks from the trauma of constant explosions. Which strikes me as particularly odd for a country were bombs go off all the time- you would think our citizens have reached a saturation point where it comes to explosions but no, it would seem, the obsession with gunpowder goes on…
Some problems we had around New Year time never seem to leave us; one of my good friends was in a bus accident (due to a case of too much holiday spirit in the driver) and needed four stitches to her chin., she still has a dimple in her chin and a horrified shudder when ever she thinks about the New Year. Another Person I Know was involved in a sandwich accident where a drunk vagrant jumped into the road in front of him and the over enthusiastic young SUV driver behind him braked too late. …the vagrant is dead, but the court case is likely to go on for a few years…

Traditional New year is supposed to be “women’s time” I once heard someone say cheerfully on Radio….the time when Mother takes Pride of place around the home, organizing ,providing food for you ,lighting the hearth, and being in charge. Mother is now the Goddess in the household…well, actually nice try but Ive seen through it all. Call me a lonely rebel but I have realized its actually just another cunning Sinhala (-and Tamil-) strategy for the guys to sit around doing nothing as usual (except getting drunk and lighting fire crackers) while the women (as is usual in any festival time around the world) break their backs shopping, sewing, frying, cooking, cleaning and trying to out do each other.
However oddly the guys do join in shopping. Ladies, do us all a favor, don’t drag them out shopping. Never have I seen such a collection of bored, morose, tortured looking male mugs in one location at one time, as at the famous Colombo Dept Stores I visited just before NY, clutching sadly onto armloads of female apparel , being constantly elbowed and shoved around and not being allowed to openly ogle the other ladies, either , such a cheerless, unhappy bunch they look, one wonders that they have done to deserve this misery. Plus it just doubles the crowd, so please do consider sending them off to the pub or something instead in future, that way you are both happy…

And what is Traditional New year in Sri Lanka about ,you say? Well, the crux of the matter is doing things at the RIGHT time , or the auspicious time, even if the right time falls at a very odd time. So you have times when you drag the complaining groggy kids to the dining table to have breakfast at about 1.30 am…and then you believe everything will go right for you, that you will succeed…. That prosperity and success will follow.
And yet a most notable fault about sri lankans in Sri Lanka, to visitors, is that they never seem able or willing to honor an appointment. If they are supposed to meet you at 3 pm ,they will walk in calmly at about 3 45 with some pathetic excuse, and without even bothering to call and tell you that they were running late. (this is something that totally annoys my aunt who was a manager with Lloyds in London, and she has taken to summarily discontinuing any ganu denu with someone who does that to her with or without good reason, because it smacks off complete un-professionalism ) Office events are a nightmare with trying to get lots of people to congregate at the correct time and weddings usually are over by the time half the people come in, since this country seems to be entirely alien to the concept of doing anything at the correct time, except for this midnight binging. And the worst stand ups I have experienced are from people im waiting to meet who call and say they are “almost there” but don’t mention that they are stuck in some traffic two towns away …why do people undertake things if they cant follow through?

The traditional New Year is rife with exchanged wishes for prosperity. And yet we end up calling our selves a poor country (and expecting aid from foreigners whom we subsequently insult and accuse of hidden agendas…) Poor in what, is what I often ask my self. Tell me honestly; is Sri Lanka poor in natural resources? Then what do you call Somalia and the Chad. Half of Kenya is just sand. Most of China is freezing cold. Australia is mostly desert. Human Talent? There’s now 20 million of us and Sri Lankan students consistently turn out the best in universities all over the world. Are we an ugly looking peoples? Are we poor in Opportunities? Only the ones we lost ourselves. We were given the wealth of the English language by our colonists although we threw it away. We were given a culture of tolerance through Buddhism and we reject it. ………Are we disadvantaged in Global positioning ? Where would that put Iceland, Greenland and Japan which is almost off the world map? What exactly are we poor in, except discipline perhaps, so that we cant seem to do anything on time unless it’s the New Year? Face it, we are not a poor nation. . Corrupt, drunk, stubborn and set in our ways maybe and socially unjust, but certainly not poor…

Meanwhile, I personally had only two days of leave from office after ages, and so I wasn’t in the mood for frying Kavum and Kokis but instead since the time for eating was scheduled at 7pm which was logically dinner time, and the kids wanted something different ,we decided to order pizza instead. And, man, that was good.
So here’s hoping you had a prosperous New Year absolutely swimming in milk and honey and lots of pizza if you prefer alternatives!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Topless photo...

Well,um …not really… but you can always paste this onto some nude greenish torso and try to blackmail me…. see if Id care…

Firstly this is not a Janet advert but yes, I bought one of her “home facials” and “did it myself”
This is the most pampering I have ever had for just 125/= bux and it left the bathroom smelling lovely for hours afterwards.
You will agree the photo leaves nothing much to the imagination- that there is avocado, and the eyes are red because Im bathing –(something I don’t do often) – and one bit of advice , do this at home by all means but not on an empty stomach , because it is torture.
The orange mud pac is ssso delicious to smell and at the point where you reach strawberry mask you are pretty much incoherent with wanting to eat this stuff. (But I suggest you don’t because after all it’s a facial, ie, for your skin, get it?)
Meanwhile the Home Facial must have worked because lots of people were saying that I looked, well… cleaner.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

0774 343791

Free Media Movement Treasurer receives threats and asked to pay ransom

18th April 2008, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Free Media Movement (FMM) is appalled to place on record that its Treasurer, journalist K. Rushangan, has received threats demanding the payment of a ransom before 25th April 2008.

K. Rushangan is the Editor of the Tamil language news and information website and the Tamil journal Saamadana Nokku (Peace Monitor) published by the Center for Policy Alternatives. He also edited the Tamil language daily Thinakkahir published in Batticaloa from 2000-2002.

On Sunday, 13th April at around 4pm, a person who claimed to be “Ealaventhan” from the LTTE demanded that Rushangan handed over a motorbike or the cash equivalent of 1,500 US Dollars. The first deadline given was 16th April. The phone number registered on Rushangan's mobile phone was 0774 343791. This phone number is still accepting incoming calls. When Rushangan refused to pay saying that he is not in a position to do so, the caller threatened to abduct the journalist.

Though Rushangan lodged a complaint at the Dehiwala Police on 16th April, no one has been questioned or arrested by the Police to date, a situation the FMM finds wholly unacceptable in light of the seriousness and urgency of the situation.

The FMM does not have any information on the reasons for or the persons behind these threats. However, given the impunity with which extrajudicial killings and abductions take place in Sri Lanka today, the FMM hold the Police responsible for the safety and security of Rushangan and urge them to take immediate action to bring the culprits to book.

Monday, April 07, 2008


Ever wondered what it seems like from their point of view?

Yesterday one of my overzealous office buddies forwarded to me a sensational photograph (as she thought) of half of a mangled bomb victim who happened to have been a prominent public figure; I told her off for it but when I walked around the office I found clumps of my colleagues staring at this photograph on office computers and commenting over it.
Im sorry but I really don’t get it, Im missing the point here. I honestly don’t have any thing against cheery powerpoints of smiling orangutans that you receive in your email in the mornings, or heck, even a bit of quality pornography ( actually its called erotic art-) but hello, dead bodies? Before breakfast? And of Sri Lankans? Somehow, just like in porn, the fact that these are people of our own nationality is an added jar to the system.
Its not that I don’t find dead bodies quite fascinating, I admit I did my odd share of impromptu scientific experiments with ghekhos in Marmite bottles when I was a kid, and resignedly cut off the head of one of my beloved pets who had died of suspected rabies ( mind you my shoulders were aching for days afterwards, but a woman’s got to do what a womans got to do ) and I did actually have an odd ambition of being a forensic pathologist like Temperence Brenan, which didn’t happen because I got married early and had kids and in laws etc.
But leaving aside how much I love to gaze at other peoples gutted and charred earthly remains, I honestly baulk at the thought of forwarding them to friends on my spam list, simply because there is a sneaking suspicion in my mind that I would not like to find one of my loved ones stripped and hung on display on the internet, because I figure in my heart of hearts that apart from the misery of having lost someone you love to a terrorist attack, the second human rights violation would be to have your fellow citizens standing in little groups ooohing and aaahing over the naked dead and burnt torso of your husband/brother/son or father…are you ever going to be able to put THAT picture out of your mind?
Im left wondering , since I want to try hard to understand them, who these journalists are who grab that brief moment of desperate fame by attaching their names to this kind of cheap thriller. And what kind of people continue this cycle by forwarding this mail around to their friends and relations. Do they think that they are immortal ? that they will never find themselves at the other side of this lens/ or in the subject line of such emails ? you have to wonder.