Monday, December 28, 2009

Promised, Delivered?

U gotta be kiddin me... the UPFA election slogan should be changed to Rajapakse Promised, Fonseka Delivered. With all the partisanship of the present presidential election its very difficult view facts objectively without falling into any political camp, like Gen. Fonseka said if ur gonna clean up garbage, u gotta be ready to get ur hands dirty.

Thus. in my attempt to try and decipher the happenings leading up to the capture and killing of Prabhakaran, its inevitable that i too should fall in to certain political camp.

In any case as far as the UPFA slogan goes.... yes Mahinda did promise a lot under the Mahinda Chintana, how much of that has been delivered and how much has been delivered by Rajapakse himself.

One of the cornerstones of the '04 election campaign was Mahinda's hardline stance on the LTTE. During the latter part of the war, droves of people supported this approach, as evidenced by the landslide victories for the UPFA in the Provincial elections that were held during the period.

So it seems that apart from the victories in the battlefield, the Rajapakse regime has been deficient at meeting their other promises. Now, the milllion dollar question.. who is really responsible for these victories?

In all honesty Mahinda was nothing more than a political ponnaya that swung all ways possible during the war... he bent so far to expose his rather sizeable backside to the Indians... on one occasion even promising that Prabhakaran would be handed over to the Indians,, if he was captured... so much for the persona he tries to project as being a strong leader that was unshaken by international pressure.

If it wasn't for our boys in the army and the unwavering command they had... and Mahinda was allowed to do what he wanted... then this war would have been over even before it started. Credit should go to the army for taking the war beyond a point of no-return. I use that word literally, and I shall proceed to define it as thus... this time around the point of no-return was not one that was dictated by the itnernational community but rather by the millions of people in this country that voted Rajapakse into power.

So in essence Mahinda had two choices... bow down to international pressure and supposedly stop the war( we are told that the IC wanted the war stopped... bear in mind tho that India wanted it to continue and thus, the so called international pressure actually bears very little significance)... or listen to the people of this country that wanted every last terrorist exterminated... being the shrewd politican that he is Mahinda took the latter option and thus ensured a series of election victories... an aura of invincibility that meant more swindling of public funds for him and his family and ensured that the war would be the foremost election slogan against the UNP for at least another 5 years.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Paraliya Turtle Farm - A Reminiscent of Dec 26th Tsunami

Just several weeks back, I met up with a few old friends and we hitched a ride to Hikkaduwa. On our way back we thought of stopping by at one of the Turtle Hatcheries near Paraliya, just close by where the horrifying tsunami engulfed a train full of passengers.

We went inside the small place, there were around four water tanks which housed few turtles, its owner Nimal guided us through various types of turtles that are there and how hes managing the whole project with donations from visitors. Running a Turtle Hatchery is no easy task, according to him he spends around Rs 30,000 monthly just to buy fish for the turtles that are being kept. He buys turtle eggs from locals who often sell the eggs as a local delicacy.

"Sam the beautiful Green Turtle"

"The eggs need to be brought back immediately after they are dug up otherwise it would be useless and would not hatch". He explained in sinhala showing us a bag full of eggs that he has bought in the morning which he cannot use as they have been kept much longer than they are supposed to.

What was more moving was his story around the Turtle Hatchery. Before 26th December 2004 he was an AC Technician working in Colombo and the fateful day turned his life upside down. The tsunami took away his mother,two sisters, wife and three small children. He returned from Colombo to find out that everything he had including his family, house and the hatchery (which was run by his sister) had washed away to the sea.

Many foreigners and several organizations helped him in rebuilding the hatchery and there are few turtles named after several foreigners who have made contributions. He explains that his knowledge in these turtles are not profound as his sister who was even fluent in two more languages, but showing care and compassion to these animals have helped him much in recovering.

Even now hes having difficulty in maintaining the hatchery as he is not receiving many visitors to the place. If you happen to drive pass Paraliya try to stop by this small hatchery and make a contribution, he also welcomes any efforts in helping him out in cleaning the place out. If you are a student organisation or a group willing to contribute some time and effort in conservation projects you could help Nimal out with his work.

"Lets save more of these cute fellas.."

You can find more information aobut the Paraliya Turtle Farm from here

or contact him from this number
94 777 292738

Friday, December 25, 2009

More Election Tools

Seems the Mahinda Rajapakse camp has found yet another way to campaign for their candidate... phone calls. You just might receive a call on your landline with someone asking whether you'd like to hear a message from the president. If you say yes, you'll get a nice recorded message. What did it say? Well my Sinhala is not that good, but I got the gist that it had to do with elections and the things he had done for the country.

I don't know, but this ridiculously high amount of exposure seems like a bad idea, like maybe it'll actually turn some people away.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Thing about Moshing and Headbanging…

Is that it is a fucking stress reliever. People may perceive it in different ways but being at a gig and forgetting all your life’s problems and letting yourself go is an amazing experience. It is an aggressive expression that helps one to relieve themselves and forget all frustrations or problems in life. This might not be common for all, but I find serenity at a good mosh pit. Contrary to popular belief and stereotyping of metal heads as violent individuals, I see them as a great bunch of personalities who have chosen to express themselves in a very different manner.  It’s great to be at a gig, even though you may not know everyone very well at the pit all are the same. 

There will be the AILD gig happening today and it would be one of the best things to have happened to the Sri Lankan metal scene. Nervecell is an amazing band who I would really like to see perform live. Hoping the small but devoted fan base would turn up for the gig on time at Viharamaha Devi today…

This is Black Label by Lamb of God, a great moshpit track which Tantrum does an amazing cover over here...

See you all at the pit..!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Up Side - Down Side

Very recently my Father had to have an operation after messing up his leg. Straight after his accident he ended up at the General Hospital. They had to operate on his leg and afterward he stayed in the hospital for a little over a week before being able to come home. How much did all of this cost? Nothing. The entire thing could have cost a few hundred thousand rupees.

Everyone seems quick to point out all the flaws of the system we have in Sri Lanka but there are some benefits. At least you're never going to die from not being able to afford medical care. Now I'm sure that someone will say that we are anyway paying for it... true. But those people who can't afford it can still get medical care thanks to that system.

Free medical care is something closer to an Utopian society and I for one think we should never give it up.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Costs of an Election

So in the run up to the upcoming election everyone is desperately trying to get in those votes. One tactic used by the 'incumbent' to win over support is to wine and dine people. Not a bad tactic I suppose, it's been done since the ages.

But really the whole thing really brings about the impression that while we have a Democracy, Sri Lanka still operates on an age old king system. It's like support me and I will answer your grievances. And that's all the voting is about... the grievances.

It doesn't seem like too many people are concerned about the state of the country or anything like that. Its simply, Candidate A promised me this. I will vote candidate A. End of story. In a similar way you might back a King. Let's also not forget party loyalties which are somewhat like loyalty to a line of Kings.

Anyway in the previous months people having been coming to Temple Trees... hordes of people but in the past it was pretty spaced out. But recently on consecutive days with with multiple batches of people. The crowd is always composed of different demographics, most probably profession and residence. They all go in and walk out with a lunch packet and a water bottle. More recently for the lawyers they were given also given a magazine entitled "Justice". But I'm just trying to gauge how costly an election is. Just look at the throngs of people and count the number of water bottles and lunch packs. Assume Rs.40 for a bottle and a minimum of Rs.100 a lunch pack and imagine the number of days.

The shot is of a single batch on that day. There were three batches all pretty large and also consider the past months. Politics is so expensive... imagine what other uses all that cash could have been used for.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fonseka Bubble on Google...

Well…these are interesting times that we are living in. The election heat is felt everywhere, with the announcement of the Presidential Election and a lot of talk is about the Sarath Fonseka from the opposition.

Several months back this would have been something that no one would have even imagined. But Political debate aside, I thought of just simply checking out the how Sarath Fonseka’s entry into Sri Lankan politics affected the online behavior and public search patterns.

A simple trend research on Google Trends revealed how the Fonseka bubble burst into the online community. It’s quite interesting to see the relative increase of search queries for the keyword “Sarath Fonseka”.

If we are able to relate each peak on the graph with actual events from the real world we would be able to easily relate why the search patterns have increased in such a manner.

For example the peak marked by “C” occurred during end of May 2009 is when General Sarath Fonseka was to be made Chief of Defense Staff. The steady increase from October 2009 shows the relative high volume of search queries made with the Generals name just when he was announcing his resignation and his interest in entering into politics subsequently.

The other interesting information to be gathered would be the Google News Results marked at each peak point.

These peak points marked by different letters feature the most relevant Google News result occurred when each peak was created.

It would be really interesting to see how the Search Trend for Sarath Fonseka turn out to be in the coming months, we can see a clear upward trend but have we reached the highest peak yet? The Bubble will subside at some point, and even if he wins or lose it would be interesting to see at which point it would subside…

Friday, December 4, 2009

I Fought the Law...

Even after nearly 50 years the song and its lyrics still reigns true....

This is could be considered one of the most amazing songs which was covered by so many people so many times, that each different version has a character of its own.

The original song created by Sonny Curtis and the Crickets was a popular country hit. However during the 60s Bobby Fuller came up with a brilliant catchy rock and roll cover which gained much public attention. Since then the song has been covered by so many artists and fueled so many movements. During the 70s and early 80s the song became one of the most popular cover songs of the Punk Movement and bands such as The Clash, The Dead Kennedys, Ramones, Sex Pistols and many more had their own version, sometimes with their own lyrics. Even today so many underground punk outfits cover different versions of the song spawned off by the original.

"Bansky having a go - I Fought the Law and I Won.."
The Song is very much alive and kickin’ today with it sill being a part of many political movements, covered in movies and even sung by mainstream bands.

Wikipedia has some comprehensive details about the song and the number of artists mentioned there does not even get close to the number of different uploads that you would find on YouTube.

You would find many different versions of the song crossing over many genres and nationalities that you would be amazed how influential the song has been...

I leave with one of my favorite versions of this song by The Clash. A great political British Punk band from the 80s...