Elephant transport, always dubious. Note the chains.
Been using the popularizer on Kottu to see what’s hot. Today, seems like animals. Malaka Rodrigo has two pieces, one on humans hurting a baby elephant and one on monkeys hurting humans. Delilah has something on ants in her coffee.
My comments are, loosely, that Buddhist monks – respect to them – need neither elephants nor child monks to pursue enlightenment. I deeply do respect the Sangha because meditation has improved my brain (need some now, actually) and various monks and lay meditators have provided safe places to do this, and preserved Vippassana and the Dhamma throughout the years. I don’t even have beef with the ritualistic side of Sri Lankan Buddhism, but any time monks are acquiring worldly things they are necessarily spending less time finding a way out of suffering.
Even the Perehera (annual parade of elephants in Kandy, and elsewhere) I’m having to have second thoughts about. As a visitor said: “What the World Needs Now is More Dancing Elephants Lit Up Like Christmas Trees. Really.” It’s hard to argue with that, but you have to wonder whether elephants like being in captivity. They generally don’t.
This also makes me wonder about all the development in Hambantota. You know what’s awesome about Hambantota? Yala, and the wildlife. Tangalle is a great tourist spot and Matara, Galle are commercial cities nearby, but if you develop interior Hambantota too much, it messes with the animals. Right now the government is doing stuff on the President’s birthday because it’s his home district, but it’s not necessarily good policy. Actually, I’ll go ahead and say that it’s not. Nearby Matara is already developing, Trinco is a better port and the infrastructure that comes with a Commonwealth Games would be better for Galle or even Jaffna than for elephant territory.
Anyways, monkeys. Vicious beasts, most of them. Perhaps made vicious, I don’t know, but the ones that occupy tourist spots do everything but carry knives and play three card monte. Ants, also I have little sympathy for.
As a note, udaraumd of Sarvodaya Fusion has proposed a novel use of ICTs to track and facilitate co-existence with elephants. They’ve entered an ITU competition to possibly get funding, so login and vote. Note that you have to go thru the whole username/email/confirm cycle to actually vote and comment.