Saturday, May 30, 2009

Its been awhile

18 months is about as close as I can figure, 18 months since I've actually taken a break from work and I think I'm starting show the effects of that.

It was fine till October I guess, there was always my "little shack by the pond" to get away to every Friday evening, to wind down, re charge the couple of grams of gray matter before Monday came around again.

Thats no longer possible and I can only dream about lolling the afternoon away on a hammock drinking Mojito's engrossed in a book or just watching the play of light on the water.

I'm tired, and it shows in my inability to focus on the work at hand, the lack of any creativity in developing POS material or designing a carton. Nothing.

Realization dawned only after I sat down to draw up a new business card for myself - this should be a straight forward exercise, requiring no more than perhaps 30mts of thought; but no, rien, 无, ništa, nichts, nothing!

Think I need a break?

Tagged I've been

Delilah's got me in the spot light, tagged me to come up with five words that encapsulate my thoughts on the recent events in SL...

Rules of play are

a) Five words to describe what you feel about events

b) Tag five bloggers and

c) Sit back and watch the fun (AKA 'relax')

So with no further ado

1) Saddened

2) Relieved

3) Apprehensive

4) Watchful

5) Hopeful

And now DeeCee, Paan Waati, Sachs, Shades of Jade and Gutterflower

A pleasant weekend all!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In the Buddha's footsteps

For quite sometime I've been disillusioned in my faith, primarily due to the antics of the Buddhist Priests of today - The ones who march screaming in protest, the ones who are chauffeur driven in fancy European cars, the ones who somehow seemed to have millions to invest in financial companies that offer fantastic returns, the ones who preach fire and brimstone, nationalism and intolerance,these monks have shaken my faith to the extent I no longer worship the robe as we are taught to, rather holding back till I know the monk and what he stands for.

It was therefore a pleasant experience to meet a monk who seems to walk along the path as it was laid out by the Buddha.

He is about to take Vas, isolating himself from the general community to spend the next three months in meditation. He sleeps on a mat, touches no money, is a vegetarian, and each day, walks the roads on "Pinderpathaya" - walking in search of alms for his meal.

His demeanor is serene and calm, soft spoken, contemplative. Listening to him, conversing with him an experience, and insight into a life that is pure in its purpose. At the end of this year he will move to a forest, to live in a wattle and daub hut he is building little by little, to spend the next five years in retreat.

All this strikes me as being the exception rather than the norm - I'm sure there must be more monks out there who live their life in a similar manner, sadly we meet so few of them. But there are a few more things that make this monk an exception and one to restore one's faith.

This monk was not always a monk. In another life he owned a very successful business, in the USA. Today this Caucasian man who speaks a few words of Sinhalese, ordained as a Buddhist Monk, walks barefoot, possessing nothing more than his robes, umbrella and begging bowl, conducts himself in a manner in which I suspect the majority of monks born in Sri Lanka no longer do so.

I kneel to worship him, humbled and a little sad, that in this Buddhist country, the exemplary example of what a monk should be is a man from another land, another culture who has embraced the teachings of the Buddha in such a pure way

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rain

The Monsoonal rains of Asia are spectacular down pours sometimes lasting for hours as the very heavens seem to take on the guise of a waterfall in full spurt. As a child I've danced in them, blocked up the central courtyard to make a swimming pool, dammed up little streams to make ponds.

But I have to tell you that a West African thunder storm is a spectacular thing to see.

Perhaps its the extended period of dry weather, perhaps the heat that scorches the very air, but the build up towards a shower is filled with anticipation.

The skies gradually darken,a little gusts of wind begin to blow, initially an almost solid block of hot air that pushes up against you.

The skies get cloudier, the wind becomes more incessant till suddenly, with a whoosh, the entire sky is filled as bits of garbage get caught up in the sudden rush of air to get thrown all over the place. By now there is an audible sound in the air, gusting winds, driving dust, paper, discarded bags everywhere, the air turning cooler and now the first sounds of thunder.

The rain comes then, rushing in from one direction... heavy drops, cluttering against the tin roofs, drumming louder and louder... Little explosions of dust as the first drops hit the dry earth, then little river-lets as the water begins to run across the surface, coming down faster than the earth can soak it up.

Thunder and lightening, wind blowing, the sound of rain everywhere... uncontrolled, wild, AFRICA video

Monday, May 18, 2009

The guns have fallen silent

A chapter closed

A new page turned

Happier days ahead

For all Sri Lankan's

Sunday, May 17, 2009

And after the glory, what next?

I read this morning that another holiday is to be added to the cards - National Liberation Day.

This is not to detract from the news that these terrorists have finally been militarily defeated, but surely, to commemorate this every year hereafter as a day of Liberation?

My grasp of the Queens English is mediocre at the best, perhaps that's why I associate the term 'Liberation' as to something a nation would use freeing its self from a foreign tyranny or something along those lines, rather than an internal issue with a small group of terrorists. The implication surely at the least is a tacit acceptance that the LTTE held this entire nation, all 65000 sq km of it in their hand after all?

Surely not!

So why I ask are there plans afoot to give the LTTE such recognition? Are we so short of holidays we are to add another, or are we trying for a listing in the Guinness World Records as the ONLY nation in the world to celebrate Independence from a foreign country AND liberation from a group of terrorists?

But these are minor matters, and its what comes after all the celebrations that should be of greater concern to all.

The Tiger Supremo we read about for the last 30yrs maybe dead, about to be killed, captured, perhaps even have already escaped. Its not really relevant for the future.

Relevancy lies rather in what we, what SRI LANKA consisting of the we the people and the GOSL representing us do next.

We have seen more sustained violence in the last three months than in the last 30yrs, violence in which civilians bore the brunt of of that violence, displaced in their 1000's, numbers which should appall everyone of us, and no amount of justification that it is necessary for a final solution make us ignore the suffering.

And from what I hear those Sri Lankans who are not from the majority community are facing even greater discrimination almost as if just as the terrorist are being eliminated we are determined to give cause for more dissatisfaction.

Destroying the LTTE, militarily is not the end, merely an means to wards the end, the end to all of this can only come about when all Sri Lankans, irrespective of ethnicity can walk from corner of this land to another without feeling discriminated for any reason - be it language, culture, name. WE ARE ALL SRI LANKAN's

But I am less that sure this will happen, I am concerned, that we and I mean the Sinhalese majority, drunk with victory will fail to understand the point and rather presume that this is instead a license to enforce more rather than no discrimination.

A political solution, an addressing of the issues of discrimination is a must- along with a few more things like stamping out corruption, reducing the heavy financial burden this government places on its people; more on that perhaps later.

Perhaps I am a pessimist, but I doubt that there really will be a will for a political solution - that requires greater sacrifice than what has been made in the last 3 decades

PS
Perhaps it could be Unity we could celebrate rather than liberation. Cultural differences add to the greater good, the sum of the whole bigger than the individual parts...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Whats going on?

I'm no mainstream blogger, my blog started of as a way to vent and eventually became more a diary of events that crossed my mind.

Eventually I got start reading some of the other blogs around and being a creature of habit it was no surprise that sooner or later I tended to read a select few, occasionally venturing outside the comfort zone

An advocate of individual rights it was a pleasant change to see people voicing multiple opinions, having those opinions criticized, people meeting half way, or not at all, agreeing to dis agree, all really nice, civilized, mature, all that the world could be.

It was therefore rather disappointing to see bloggers resorting to the kind of tactics I've come to associate with those honorable members of parliament that we Sri Lanka's see fit to vote into power.

The threats and actions of some of these bloggers is saddening indeed, what happened to respecting someone opinion, someones privacy?

It takes all sorts of notes to make a tune but a bad note kind of detracts from the whole experience right?

This post is just random thought on a single theme... I don't like the way things are going, but I don't think that the way things are going should scare people either. Its giving in that lets those few go around creating even more mayhem

What next?

Cant eat pork - Swine flu

Cant eat chicken - Bird flu

Cant eat beef - Mad cow

No eggs - Salmonella

Fish is out too - Heavy metals in the water

Fruits and vegies - Insecticides and Herbicides

That then leaves....























CHOCOLATE AND ICE CREAM!

(I wish I had thought of all that, alas no)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Grand Marché



The Grand Marché in Ouaga was renovated following the fire that destroyed it a few years ago. The result of that fire was to disperse the traders across the town, reducing a significant part of the turnover of the commercial area.



Now its open and it is indeed a grand structure, though still far to go in terms of occupancy as I discovered walking around; the number of empty shops still out number the occupied ones.



During the last couple of days a couple of promotions have been going on, thumping out popular music conducting contests - dancing, singing, the winners getting branded prizes. All pretty effective given the enthusiastic crowds.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Wiki Ceylon

Came across LankaWiki surfing the net, a branch off those Kimbula people

Kindda nice really, a site dedicated to all that SL has to offer, short on content at the moment, perhaps why there is an open invite for contributions. Any takers in the lankan blogsphere?

All in all, a site I'll have an eye on