Mohsin Hamid, author of How To Get Filthy Rich In Rising Asia, has a nice op-ed in the Guardian
. Money quote for me was ‘Individuals are undeniably real. Groups, on the other hand, are assertions of opinion’. If you go buy news reports Muslims or Jews or Sri Lankans or any number of groups can appear monolithic and uniform. When you meet people, however, you find that they’re not. If you meet enough people you hopefully become aware of that tendency and judge people less by group identity in advance. Muslims, however, are quite publicly tarred with the same brush these days, and it really isn’t fair. Or accurate.
I’m happy to be featured in Echelon magazine’s 40 Under 40 feature, profiling young people who contribute to the economy in some way, mainly in business but also in terms of innovation and thought leadership. It’s an interesting article not just in that I’m in it (mainly for work on indi.ca and Kottu
but also YAMU
) but also in that the magazine takes a bit of a critical stance. It’s worth reading the editorial (which I can only find in print) where they describe that only a few women are included and that all of the 40 are from middle to upper middle class backgrounds.
I won’t add too much commentary, but just read I guess. The youngest Rajapaksa, Rohitha (Chi Chi) has given an amazing interview to the Daily Mirror Life section
, which is well worth a read. In other news, he also recently slapped a referee around
in full public view at a rugby match. At least it seems that his elder brother restrained him.
In 2009 this strange character appeared on the Sri Lankan Internet scene, getting angry, flaming, trolling whatever. Then he started naming anonymous bloggers, posting comments as people’s kids, nasty stuff, for which I removed him from Kottu
. He also published some plagiarized stuff on Groundviews
. He flamed out a bit more then disappeared. Until now. Now he’s back hosting a rather expensive social media event in Colombo, which is a bit ironic, seeing as he was known for being the most anti-social person the blogosphere had seen at the time.
The chutzpah of this government knows no bounds. Every government since Independence has had to balance placating Sinhala nationalists (AKA racists) while at the same time actually running a sensible, inclusive nation that doesn’t send minority citizens, capital and foreign investment fleeing. Basically, they’ve had to pay lip service to nationalists while at the same time trying to run an actual nation. Every government has also generally failed, SWRD being killed by a nationalist monk and everyone after almost losing the country to various rebellions. In that context Mahinda is actually doing a better job by virtue of not being dead and not losing control of the country. But he’s still not doing a good job.
Sunil G. Wijesinha has an interesting article
in the Mirror about Sri Lankan service culture, or the lack thereof. He’s got some interesting stories from his times at the ETF and Dankotuwa Porcelain. Sri Lanka is strange because you can get excellent service at streetside kades or dodgy bars and then awful service at much more expensive places. I will say that most 5-star hotels have gotten better, but not commensurate with their cost.
Buddhist mindfulness meditation has changed my life in many good ways. Basically if I don’t meditate in the morning I’m a grumpy and depressive ass. If I do, I’m less so. I’m also aware that this isn’t the point, that it’s not meant to be a crutch for this life but rather a way out, but I do use it to live this life as best I can. And it does work for me, and many other people, as brain scans and a lot of solid research shows. Sitting down for 10 minutes to an hour and just breathing does reduce stress and generally chill you out.
At these middle class peace rallies I never know if 15 people are going to show up or what. I’m happy to say that the Rally For Unity this weekend saw about 500 people turn out. The rally was also well coordinated with the Police, MinDef, Municipal Council, everything. Unlike the farce outside BBS headquarters, this rally was a stand for something rather than just standing against some extremists, letting them define the conversation. There was a good swath of people and ethnicities and languages at this thing, standing for a Sri Lanka composed of the same.
I’ve been going to Electric Peacock since it started (three years ago) and it’s really grown. Last weekend’s show with Tinie Tempah and the New Young Pony Club was huge. A lot of people have doubted whether Sri Lanka could host international quality shows, you know, with the sea of people all rocking out. Well, we can.
A group of young people is holding a Rally For Unity today at 10:45 (AM) near Nelum Pokuna, on Green Path. I know the last rally was a bit poorly organized and too confrontational for being right in front of the BBS headquarters. This is more neutral and organized by a few young people I know. Can’t promise that it’ll be huge or awesome, but this is how movements start, and it is important to stand for a united Sri Lanka no matter how many people you’re with. The rally is in about an hour. There’s deets on YAMU