Alanmathiniyaramaya Temple had a ceremony last night which blasted ear-splitting chanting through loudspeakers all down the street. There was literally a loudspeaker 15 feet from our bedroom window, playing at full volume. They were also loading a poor, terrified young elephant onto a truck under our window, with clanking of chains and slamming of metal. I’m a Buddhist and for the past few days I’ve been unable to meditate because they’re making so much noise. There are two things I really object to in Sri Lankan practice. Loudspeakers, and the use (frankly, abuse) of elephants.
Archive for the 'Sri Lanka' Category
The CHOGM website is making news because it cost Rs. 15 million, which is a lot for a not very impressive looking website. From checking out the delegate login page, it looks like the site was designed by Australian company Centium Software. It also looks like the website is a bit more than a content thing, handling accreditation, arrivals and departures, etc. It’s also the system that was used for the past CHOGM as well as Olympic and other events.
I was reading an article by Thrishantha Nanayakkara which made an interesting point. “There is a mythical belief that “talent leaves Sri Lanka”. This is not true. Talent is there among most professionals already living in Sri Lanka. I can quote not only professionals but also many innovative village youth who would be National assets elsewhere, unseen and unrecognized in Sri Lanka. The issue is that their talent is not visible in the corrupt system till they leave Sri Lanka. Recognition of talent abroad gives the illusion that “talent leaves” Sri Lanka, when in fact those who are already in Sri Lanka are not any less talented.” (Colombo Telegraph).
Kasippu is homebrew, moonshine, illicit liquor. It’s pretty noxious but also very popular in Sri Lanka, definitely accounting for more drinking that booze. We have toddy taverns but most hardcore drinkers go for kasippu, served often in like plastic bags, drunk in poverty and desperation. It’s terrible tasting, potentially quite dangerous, and socially toxic. I also think, as Minister Sarath Amunugama suggests, that it should be legalized.
A Sri Lankan passport is one of the worst for traveling overseas, as ranked by Henley & Partners. We’re in company with Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan, Eritrea, Palestine, Nepal, the Sudan, Kosovo and the Lebanon. As every Sri Lankan knows. Getting visas for anywhere besides India or Singapore is really difficult and places like China don’t allow us individual tourist visas at all. This is largely, of course, because of the toxic war that tied many Sri Lankan emigres to terrorism, arms dealing, financial fraud, etc. But it’s also because our economy is such that people do want to flee.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be having a live chat of sorts today on Twitter at 6:30 PM SL time. His handle is @PresRajapaksa. The Q&A will be moderated by his Secretary, Lalith Weeratunga. Mr. Weeratunga has done a Twitter chat before. This should be interesting. The President will be Twittering from New York, where he is attending the UN General Assembly.
There’s been a lot of talk about violence and hate speech towards Muslims, but it’s going on against Christians too. A lot. According to RSQ, “A mob led by three Buddhist monks attacked a prayer meeting in Colombo last week, beating the pastor unconscious.. On the same day, Praise Prayer Lanka Church cancelled their service after police warned of threats against them. A week earlier, a pastor in Hambantota had a narrow escape when arsonists tried to set his house on fire.”
Is worth a read. She’s taken a thoughtful look around and despite the government’s allegations that she’s biased, she was, well, not very biased. Even in the face of offensive personal attacks from within the government (Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva asking to marry her for example, others calling the South African diplomat LTTE) she’s given a pretty straightforward report. Here, to me, is the money quote:
The choice the US faces, cause it has the bombs I guess, is whether to punish Bashar Al-Assad for using chemical weapons against his own people, as he almost surely did. They’re not invading Syria like they did Iraq and they seem to have no intention of ending the years long civil war there, if they even could. The attacks don’t seem intended to depose Assad, nor are they aiming to overthrow the murderous regime. America is basically deciding whether to give the dictator a slap.
Mahinda has formed a new Ministry of Law and Order which, like when he gave Mervyn Silva the Ministry of Public Relations, may be another joke. The new order is that certain people are above the law. If you have or cite connection to the first family or the defense establishment you have access to your own police, army, etc. As they say about the mob in Goodfellas – “what the organization does is offer protection for people who can’t go to the cops. That’s it. That’s all it is. They’re like the police department for wiseguys.” Now, if you’re connected, you’re above the law.