Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas Everyone

A Little something from me to you

Have a Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Of Glowing Pets

Imagine your new pet, an adorable kitten, a white fluffy fur ball. It does all the stuff that kittens are supposed to do and more. In addition to that how would you like if it glowed in the dark. Freaky…

No it’s not the attack of the glowing cats or some other horror movie. This is the story of two cloned cats that glow in the dark. This is the latest feat by the scientists at Gyeongsang National University in South Korea, who managed to successfully clone two Angoran cats with a manipulated fluorescence protein gene. As a result of which they tend to glow when exposed to ultraviolet light.

It’s hoped that these type of research may help scientist better understand human genetic diseases. This is because cats have around 250 of the same genetic disorders that affect humans. Researches hope that this ability to clone genetically altered cats may also help to develop new stem cell treatments for humans. And, using the same technology, researchers say they may be able to clone endangered animals like tigers, leopards and wildcats. Ain’t science wonderful eh?
Unfortunately, it’ll be a long time since these lightshow kitties will make an appearance in you nearest pet store. People are still arguing over the ethics of cloning.

If glowing kitties are not you cup of tea, why not go for a “GloFish®”. These are genetically modified fluorescent zebrafish in a range exiting colors, such as Starfire Red™, Electric Green™, and Sunburst Orange™. According to the company website “They look great under white light, even better under blue light, and appear to glow-in-the-dark under a black light in a dark room! “

These fluorescent fish were first created so that scientists can detect environmental pollutants, by adding a fluorescent gene into the fish, which in turn creates a beautifully colored protein that can be seen when looking at the fish. These fluorescent protein genes are naturally occurring genes which are derived from marine organisms, such as jelly fish. The process of starting a fluorescent fish line begins by inserting the FP Gene into one-minute old fish embryos. Once the gene integrates itself to the embryos genome, the resulting fish can pass on the gene to it’s offspring.

The glowing effect is created because the fluorescent fish absorbs the light and re-emits it. This creates the perception that they are glowing, particularly when shining a black light on the fish in a dark room.

Ok I’m not going to bore yall with more details. Bellow are some links for those who are interested :D

Glowing Cats Article 1
Glowing Cats Article 2

Glowing Cats Article 3

GloFish Site


Thursday, December 13, 2007

To the Hills and Back


Well the old gang of usual suspects and I went on one of our expeditions last weekend, a three day break from work and other dreary things in life. Out on the road and off to Haputale and Nuwaraeliya. We the “gang” have been friends since school and even after *ahem* eight years of leaving the alma mater, we still hangout and go on trips frequently, which is great. Some of the folks that we went to school are, well I don’t know where they are. Now keep getting some info thanks to facebook. Alas some of the usual suspects couldn’t make it so only 8 went this time.

Anyways back to the journey. I was supposed to meet up at M’s place at 4.00 am Friday morning, coz L was bringing the van there. I hit the sack early Thursday night, so I’ll be able to get up on Friday. Unfortunately I woke up around 1.30 and couldn’t get back to sleep, even after counting sheep, cats, dogs and other animals that came to mind. With no sleep in sight I decided to listen to the radio and tuned into one of the Sinhala stations. It brought back memories of those weekly, 7 hour, late night bus journeys I used to take when I was working outstation. Them bus drivers do love to have the radios blaring even in the middle of the night. You’d be surprised at the number of people that call in even at these times for requests and dedications, which are like roll calls out of a telephone book. Glad to know that there are many insomniacs and nocturnal creatures in the country. Ok now I’m getting sidetracked here :D

After picking up the assorted gang members we said adios to Colombo and were off to the hills. Actually this was I think the first ever trip that went on schedule. All the previous ones, if we say leaving at 4.00 we’d ultimately leave around 5.30 or so. Thanks to the punctuality of the guys we managed to reach Belihuloya around 8.30 am.

There’s this new place opened up in Belihuloya, not on the rest house bank, but the other one, called “Diyapanasa Sancharaka Gimanhala” (Diyapanasa Tourist Rest) and I think it’s operated and maintained by the municipality in the area. They have built several sets of benches and tables all along the river bank. These sets are spaced apart so that people at one set of benches have privacy from the others. The ten bucks they charge for entrance is quiet worth it coz they keep the place spick and span. We only got down to have a look around and be on our way, but ended up spending around 5 hours and emptying 3 bottles of OR there. I think this is another record for the earliest time we’ve started a boozing session. :D. After a nice ice cold dip in the river we got back on the road around 1.30 and managed to reach Haputale around 3.00. We booked a holiday bungalow from a government bank, thanks to two of the gang members being employed there. So we practically had the whole place to ourselves with a caretaker, who was also the cook. It was a chilly day and even at 3.00 in the afternoon, the mist has covered the whole town, brrr.

Belihuloya Rest Place

Belihuloya good place to chill

Haputale Town

The second boozing session of the day got underway at around 7.00 that night. It kind of went slow coz we were still reeling from the effects of the morning session. We were also waiting for one of the guys to turn up as well. K couldn’t make it early morning coz he had some business to attend to in the morning so he said he’ll take the bus and join us later. He had gotten into a bus at Colombo around two, but the bus has only left Colombo around 4.00. For those who are unaware, SL buses do not have a schedule, especially some of these long distance runners. They’ll stay put until the last seat is filled up, even if it takes half a day. So K only managed to get to Haputale around 10.30 in the night.

The next day we were off to Nuwaraeliya. Left Haputale around 10 and came to Nuwaraeliya around 1.30 / 2.00. We’d booked a house, well half a house, which came with 3 rooms with attached bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen. Unfortunately there was no cook so, as K and I got stuck with the cooking, we being the only ones in the gang who knows how to and willing to take up the job  FYI we do make some mean bites dishes he he :D. So ended Saturday evening and night, same as on the day before, if you get my drift. :D

Sadly Sunday morning it was time to say goodbye to the hills and head back to the dust and smog of Colombo. We came back along the Kandy road and stopped at the newly built Ramboda Tunnel to have a look around. We took a walk to the other side and back, and after that little trek we got in to go. However the van apparently had different ideas and refused to start up. It had been acting up since getting to Nuwaraeliya, must be the cold. It usually starts up after leaving it for awhile but this time nothing. With nothing else to do, we got together with three little kids from the area, and played some Cricket with them. Hey after all how many can say that they’ve played cricket inside a tunnel eh? After some two hours later we thought we’d better go find a mechanic or we’ll be spending the night inside the tunnel. What do you know? The van decided to start up. We were happily on the way again. No more stops, but straight home, which was another first for us. Managed to get home around 8.00 pm.

Now back to dreary old work…After all the fun I’m coming down with a cold too :(

Choo Choo train

Ramboda Tunnel

Anyone for tunnel cricket?


Monday, December 03, 2007

Puss Wins by a Landslide

Prominent politician, Chaminda Pusswedilla has won a landslide victory in the recently concluded presidential elections in Sri Lanka. This marks the dawn of a new era in Sri Lanka. His Excellency, president Pusswedilla has promised to make Sri Lanka an economic powerhouse in the world.

For those who are not tuned on to current affairs, do not worry. You did not sleep your way through an election. I’m talking about the newest drama that was staged at the Wendt during the past few days. “Thank you for Voting” by Stage Light and Magic, under the excellent direction of Feroze Kamardeen.

The plot line wasn’t something new actually. The same old story of the business of politics, stupid, corrupt politician and misgovernance, nothing new to us is it? The same can be said about the jokes as well. However Chaminda Pusswedilla did manage to steal the show.

It didn’t matter the storyline or the jokes were familiar, because it was hilarious. A big round of applause to Dominic Kellar, for his superb portrayal of the quintessential Sri Lankan politician. I think this was a role made for him and would not have had the same effect if played by some one else. Not forgetting the other actors did a great job as well.

It was a good production, which I enjoyed a lot. Had a good laugh to last awhile :D. Although I was expecting a more bang of an ending.

To all those who missed it, Too Bad :P

Good work guys!!!

“My name is Chaminda Pusswedilla, mata jayawewa”
H. E. President Pusswedilla

Friday, November 30, 2007


This feels oddly like one of those grade 1 essays you were given to write about “Mage Surathala” or “My Pet”. It just shows that I’m running dry these days…This annoying little thing called works is getting in the way of life :P. It sucks…

Hi my name is Azrael and I am a cat lover…There I said it. I’ll never match up to the Mad Cat Woman over here but I might get there some time. No surprises there, after all Garfield is my hero. He he he :D

I am an animal person in general, but have this special spot in me heart for Kitty Kats. I guess it’s their attitude. Independent, aloof, and doesn’t give a shit about the rest of the world. After all cats were worshiped as gods by the Egyptians, so there must be something to them. The other thing that is appealing is that they have a certain evil magical mysteriousness about them.

Ok, why am I going on this pointless ranting? I have no idea, but I do want to introduce the newest member of the family.

This here is the eighth feline to own me. No it’s not a mistake. Cats choose and own the humans, not the other way around. The last one to rule, went to kitty heaven about two years back and well, I wasn’t in the mood to have another one for a while. Then a couple of weeks back, this little fur ball lands on my lap.

It was one of those rainy mornings and I was dragging myself to work. I was walking down our lane, cursing the rain gods, and what do I hear? A heart-tugging little mewling sound coming out of nowhere. After a bit of investigation I found out the cause. The little fur ball was hiding under a bush, trying to keep dry. I’m not sure whether someone left it there, or just wandered out from somewhere, but I just couldn’t leave him there now could I? What else to do but take ze fur ball home.

His official name is Osiris, after the Egyptian god of life, death and fertility. Actually there’s no point in naming them, coz I can never stick to a name. I just call them whatever takes my fancy at any given time. The result? A very confused critter with a personality disorder.

So far he’s getting a deal of a life time. Three warm meals a day brought to his feet, an adorable biped to play around with, and a whole household to rule over. If that isn’t a royal life, I don’t know what is. *sigh*

Oh well back to doing slave labor…I have to keep his majesty fed don’t I?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Green Ratings

A recently concluded research study aimed to rank 141 nations of the world according to the most greenest and most livable places. The study was carried out by an environmental economist form the University of California, in Los Angeles, by the name of Mathew E Kahn PhD. He and his team analyzed data for 141 nation of the world from two main data sources. These were

1. United Nations 2006 Human Development Index
2. 2005 environmental Sustainability Index

Their analysis looked into social factors such as education and income and into environmental measures.

The following chart shows a summary of some of the categories and how our dear old SL fared.

Category Rank of Sri Lanka #1 #141
Air Quality - Rates concentration of several pollutants in urban areas 102 Moldova Guatemala
Water Quality - Rates pollutant levels as well as other factors that affect water purity 90 Norway Morocco
Energy Efficiency - Rates conservation efforts and use of renewables such as hydrocarbon 36 D. R. Congo Trinidad & Tobago
Green House Gasses - Rates carbon emission per capita and GDP 37 Chad Turkmenistan
Environmental Health - Rates childhood mortality, diseases and deaths from intestinal infections 36 Austria Turkmenistan
Overall - Rates the greenest, most livable countries based on social and environmental factors 66 Finland Ethiopia

The study also revealed 5 key lessons tha can lead to improvements.

1 You can always get greener
2 Don’t stop thinking about the future
3 Save forests and trees
4 Manage progress for the benefit of all
5 Turn things around while there is still time

A ranking of 66 out of 141 is actually better than what I would’ve thought we’d get. We are already half way there and with a little more effort we can certainly improve on things. Let’s just hope that things don’t go the other way :D

Source: Reader’s Digest

PS - Oops... guess my table experiment didn't go off that well. Will fix it when i get some time :(

Monday, November 12, 2007

Baa Baa Black Sheep: The Unionized Version

Baa Baa black sheep have you any wool?
Yes sir yes sir three bags full
But you’ll never get any at all
Until you meet our union demands,
All these years you screwed us all
Getting the wool right off our backs,
A handful of grass and a barrel of water
Was all that we got in return

Well not anymore,
We are the new generation,
Sheep of the world
Thanks to a little thing called education,
No more the dumb nuts at your beck and call
No more will you screw us around,
To make your fat asses even fatter,
We got ourselves a little union now
And the rules are clear,
We have the right to make demands,
If you want to have our wool
Talk to my agent, talk to my lawyer
Let your people deal with my people,

We don’t ask for much, our needs are simple,
Imported grass and Evian water, just to start
A manicure, pedicure and a spa treat,
Once a month is more than enough
A big ass HD TV for our pad
A cable connection with five hundred channels
That is all we ask for now
About later we don’t know
The sooner you meet our demands
The sooner you can go back,
To your little farm house and comfy life
Deny us our rights and see what happens
All the wool goes to the little boy who cries down the lane

All characters featured on this post are fictional. Any resemblance to any person living or dead is not my problem…

Friday, November 02, 2007

One Year On

Well it’s been one year (+ couple of days) since I started this little blog of mine, and it is a surprise even to me that it lasted this long. Before that I was just a reader of blogs, not a writer. It was my friend Harshadewa, who first got into it and invited my to start a blog as well, so I guess I owe him a thanks .

First of all, I was someone who hated writing essays during school, and I really didn’t think that I’ll have anything worth writing about. I pondered about this on my first post, oh so long time ago. I just started this for fun, but it is a surprise to see that I’ve made 73 posts (including this one) over the year. Now this may not sound impressive considering there are people who put out a post each day, but to me it is something :D. The main reason I see for not liking essay writing during school is because they grade you on that. What I write and what the teacher has on mind are two completely different things, so my grades were, let’s say not good. However in the world of blogging it’s all open season. No one to grade and criticize. If you don’t’ like it, don’t read it he he.

On the whole, this blogging business is a good thing. I’ve learnt many new things by reading them and writing on mine. Little tit-bits of information that is stored in the recess of the old noggin. Who knows, they might come in handy sometime. I’ve made some new and interesting friends, even though I have no idea who they are. It has also made me take up a new hobby, writing, and to polish up my writing skills too.

A big thank you goes out to all who have put up with my little ramblings and left their comments on them.

Cheers to all!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat

It’s the night when all the spooky creatures come out to play. When witches prepare magic potions in their black cauldrons and get ready to feast. The night when the headless horseman goes looking for his lost head. It’s all part of Halloween…The modern day one that is.

The origins of Halloween goes back to the ancient times of the Celts in Britain and Ireland. The Celts are an ancient race that occupied the areas of Ireland and Northern France over 2000 years ago. It is from their ancient festival of Samhain (pronounced Sow-in) that the modern celebrations of Halloween came about.

According to the Celtic calendar, their new year fell on November 1st. It was the day that marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark cold winter, a time of the year associated with human death. The believed that on the eve of the new year the boundary between the dead and the living became blurred and ghosts of the dead returned to earth. They also thought that the presence of these spirits made it easier for the Druids to make their predictions This was what was celebrated on the night of October 31st as the Samhain.

Led by the Druids they celebrated the festival by building huge sacred bonfires, where they burnt crops and made animal sacrifices. During these celebrations the Celts wore costumes typically made out of animal heads and skins.

Then in AD 43 the Romans conquered the Celts and ruled them for 400 years. Two Roman festivals became integrated with the Samhain celebrations. One was the Feralia, a day to commemorate the passing of the dead and the other was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees.

Later Christianity made its influence on the Celts. They declared November 1st as All Saints Day, to commemorate saints and martyrs. This day was known as All Hallows or All Hallowmas. Subsequently the day before, October 31st was referred to as All Hallows Eve, which through the year turned into Halloween. Later the church declared November 2nd as the All Souls Day, a day to honor the dead and it was celebrated similar to Samhain.

Later as people migrated to the new worlds they took with them these traditions, which have evolved into the celebration that we see today.

To us SL people there is no significance of Halloween, except maybe to throw another party.


Links for the interested:

Halloween Wikipedia
Halloween History
All Saint's Day
All Soul's Day
The Goddess Pomona

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Beast

She slumbers patiently
Till the time a rider will come
Brave at heart and an adventurous soul
To awaken her spirit
And take her out into the world
Her black coat shines
Where the sunlight hits
With a hint of chrome
To give that extra glint

A tiny spark is all that it takes
To ignite the inflammable blood
That courses through her veins
Blood of fire that will pump the heart
To bring the iron maiden roaring to life
Open roads beckon forth
Break the chains and taste the freedom
An Iron maiden and her rider
Goes forth towards the setting sun

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Night Fishing

Last Saturday night I was nicely settled with a book when two of my buds, K and R called up saying they were going fishing and were picking me up too. So half and hour later I was in back of the K Mobile and heading towards our usual place.

The “Usual” place is a small park on the banks of a river, where there is an unfinished pavilion of sorts with steps leading down to the water. I say unfinished because I think the initial plan was to have a roof over the thing, but I guess they ran out of money before that. Now there are only some concrete pillars standing there. The place is cool, most of the time deserted at night, but with lights for illumination. This is where we normally end up when we want to throw back a few beers and just chill.

When I say river, it is not your clear-blue-water, can-drink-straight-out-of-it sort of river. It runs through a city so it’s basically brown in color, and while you can drink out of it, you’d better be prepared to stay inside the loo for a couple of days. However there’s plenty of fish in it. Whenever we are chilling out here, we see local fishermen out on boats, who catch loads of fish, and some even put lines from the bank and goes home with a bag load for dinner. So we thought we’d also try our luck at it.

I have gone fishing with my dad a couple of times when I was small, but never caught a thing, not even a malnourished sprat. The only things that got caught were some twigs. That kind of put me off the whole fishing experience. R on the other hand has some experience at it. So armed with some lines and hooks, no rods mind you, we tried our luck that night. For bait we used this Barnacle like critter with a conical shell that gets washed up on shore during low tide. I have no idea what they are called though. You have to crack the shells to get the critter out of it.

With hooks thus baited we cast out the lines and waited. We opened up a couple of beers and ate some munchies. After about ten minutes or so what do I see? My line has a bite on it. Reel it in and there is an unlucky bugger attached to it. My first ever fish, in a life time. Ok it wasn’t a big one, but a small fry the size of my finger, but hey it’s still a fish ain’t it? Oddly enough, before I could celebrate, it started to rain. You think maybe someone was trying to send us a message? Hmm I wonder…

Anyway when the rain settled down we continued with renewed excitement. Within another half hour or so R managed to catch two more. We thought we were in for a big haul. Unfortunately that never happened. After nearly five hours of standing in water, what do we have to show for it? Three measly fish no bigger than your fingers and a crab, which R found hiding in an old tire. The annoying part was that there were plenty of fish, some were even pecking at our legs and jumping out of the water, but they weren’t just taking the bait. They have gotten smart. I swear I could hear them laughing as we got out of the water. Darn critters…

After awhile we got fed up with it and around one o’clock Sunday morning, we headed back home. Ah but we are not deterred. We will be back, with a rod next time, and maybe try our luck from the bridge. You wait and see, we’ll get you yet…

What happened to the fish we caught? Well they weren’t even worth to make a soup out of it, so we gave them to a cat that hangs around the park. Lucky kitty had a right royal dinner that night. All three disappeared inside its tummy in less than a minute. As for the crab, he went back into the water, where he must be regaling his buddies with his adventures.

I learned a valuable lesson from this little expedition? Thank god for supermarkets :D. I don’t think I’ll be able to catch anything even if my life depended on it. There must be some kind of art to it, privy only to the fisher-folk or, everybody else except me…

Monday, October 15, 2007

National Parks of Sri Lanka

The long awaited day is here at last. Today (Oct 15th) is Blog Action Day, where bloggers worldwide unite and write for a common cause, the environment.

Our environment is an essential part of our lives, without it we can not and will not survive. This fact seems to be lost on many people today. Rampant destruction of the environment is slowly killing off the planet.

Well I’m not going ramble on about the causes and effects of environmental destruction. You can find more than enough articles about it on the net and other media. Instead I’m going to put the spotlight on the National Parks of Sri Lanka, which are playing an important role in nature conservation and protecting whatever wildlife that is left from total destruction.

Although we are only a tiny island with only 65,610 sq. km of solid ground to stand on, we can proudly say that we have set aside 12.4% (8135.64 of that land mass as protected areas. That may not be much, but considering the land area and the population, it is significant. With the growth of the population, this is also getting threatened.

All of these protected areas are administered by the Department of Wildlife Conservation, which was set up just for this purpose. There are 18 such national parks established up to now. These are from a range of ecological zones and they are designed to preserve and protect a variety of flora and fauna that is unique to these particular areas.

Conservation of nature has been a part of our tradition, since the ancient times. We should be proud that one of the world’s first wildlife sanctuaries was established in Sri Lanka, as far back as the 3rd century BC. This was established by King Devanampiyatissa, during his reign. It was during his reign that Buddhism was introduced to the country.

The first legal provision to protect wildlife through the establishment of wildlife sanctuaries was the Forrest Ordinance, enacted in 1885, during the colonial period. The Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance of 1937 abolished game sanctuaries. This ordinance also introduced 4 categories of national reserves.

1. Strict Nature Reserve
2. National Parks
3. Nature Reserve
4. Sanctuaries

Presently there are 18 national parks established around the country. They are as follows:
(Please note all area values are approximate)

Ruhuna (Yala) National Park

This park consist of 5 blocks.
Block I – est. 25th February 1938
Block II – est. 3rd September 1954
Block III – est. 28th April 1967
Block IV – est. 9th October 1969
Block V – est. 5th October 1973

The total area covered by this park is 960, but only 138 sq km is open to the public.

More Details

Yala East National Park

Consists of two blocks

Block II – est. 26th December 1969
Block I – est. 2nd January 1970

Total area covered is 178 sq km

Udawalawa National Park

Declared as the 5th national park in the country on 30th June 1972
Total area cover 302 sq km

More Details

Willpattu National Park

One of the oldest parks in the country, it was established as a sanctuary in 1905 and upgraded to national park status on 25th February 1938. Willpattu North Sanctuary was declared on 7th November 1947.

Now there is also a marine extension to the park with the Dutch and Portugal Bay areas also declared as protected under the reserve.

Total area of the park is 1290 sq km

More Details

Wasgomuwa National Park

This park probably has the least amount of human disturbance and infrastructure, being isolated by large rivers on all sides except one. It probably has more wildlife and diversity among the wild fauna and flora in any park.

This was originally established as a game sanctuary in 1902 and part of it declared as a strict nature reserve in 1938 and the rest as an intermediate zone in 1945. These two areas and additional areas ware brought together and decaled as a national park on 7th August 1984.

Total area of the park is 385 sq km

More Details

Somawathiya Chaitiya National Park

This park has the largest concentration of wild elephants in the country, together with the adjacent Flood Plains National Park.

This was initially designated as a sanctuary on 9th August 1966 and declared a national park on 2nd September 1986. it was later extended on 12th May 1987 with the addition of Block II.

Total area of the park is 370 sq km

Flood Plains National Park

This park was created along part of the River Mahaweli, the largest river in Sri Lanka, with the river flowing along the middle of the park. Its importance is because it creates a link between the Wasgomuwa National Park and the Somawathiya Chaitiya National Park, providing a safe corridor of passage for migrating wildlife, especially elephants between the two parks.

Declared as a national park on 7th August 1984

Total area of the park is 170 sq km.

Minneriya National Park

This covers an uninhabited area of the country’s most diverse natural systems. The park basically covers the Minneriya Tank (Reservoir) and the surrounding areas. This tank was built during 3rd century AD by King Mahasen.
The Minneriya – Giritale area was initially declared as a sanctuary on 29th July 1938 and declared as a national park on 12th August 1997

Total area of the park in 87 sq km

More Details

Lahugala Kitulana National Park

One of the smallest parks in the country, it is in the basin of the Heda Oya (River). It covers three tanks (reservoirs) Lahugala, Kitulana and Sangamuwa.

Initialy declared as a sanctuary on 1st July 1966 and upgraded to national park status on 31st October 1980.

Total area of the park is 15 sq km

Maduru Oya National Park

Created to protect the catchment areas of five reservoirs of the Mahaweli Project.

Declared as a national park on 9th November 1983.

Total area of the park is 576 sq km

More Details

Gal Oya National Park

Established to protect the catchment areas of the reservoir Senanayaka Samudraya on 12th February 1954.

Total area of the park is 253 sq km

More Details

Horton Plains National Park

Probably the most scenic of the park and is situated in the hill country. It covers the Horton Plains and the surrounding forest and Peak wilderness, which has the county’s most important catchment areas of almost all the major rivers of the country.

Initially declared as a sanctuary on 5th December 1969 and upgraded to a national park on 16th March 1988.

The altitude of the park ranges from 1800 m to 2400 m from sea level, and the plateau at 2100 m is the highest in the country.

More Details

Bundala National Park

An important wetland for birds and one of the most important wintering areas for migratory shore birds.

Initially declared as a sanctuary on 5th December 1969 and declared a Wetland of International Importance on 15th October 1990, during the time of Sri Lanka ratifying the Ramsar convention.

Total area of the park is 60 sq km.

More Details

Lunugamvehera National Park

This is the immediate catchment area for the Lunugamvehera Reservoir and provides a link between the Yala National Park and the Udawalawe National Park, for safe passage for migrating Elephants.

Established on 8th December 1995.

Total area of the park is 198 sq km

More Details

Kaudulla National Park

Recently created by covering the Kudulla Tank and surrounding areas. This tank is one of the oldest in the country.

Established on 1st April 2002.

Total area of the park is 70 sq km

More Details

Horagolla National Park

The youngest and the smallest of the parks, it was established on 28th July 2004 and cover only 33 acres.

More Details

Hikkaduwa National Park

One of the two marine parks of the country, it protects the coral reefs along the western coasts Hikkaduwa area.

Created as a marine sanctuary in 1979 and upgraded to a national park on 19th September 2002.

Total area of the park is 0.5 sq km in the sea.

Paravi Dupatha National Park

This covers part of the Indian Ocean on the Eastern coast of Sri Lanka, near Trincomalee

Established on 4th June 2003.

Total area of the park is 4.6 sq km.

With the growth of the population, the battle between humans and the wilderness is on the increase. The need for land for agriculture and human habitation is taking away whatever wilderness that is left. The aim of these nature reserves is to protect at lest some of these wilderness areas from total destruction. This way we can ensure that future generations too can enjoy the beauty of the wonderful fauna, flora and the wilderness of the beautiful island we call home.

Sorry can’t provide any good online links since I sourced the details from a book

Source: A Guide to National Parks of Sri Lanka
Published by: Department of Wildlife Conservation, Sri Lanka

Other Links

Nature Reserves - Wikipedia
Department of Wildlife Conservation, Sri Lanka
National Parks - InfotravelSriLanka
Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Case of the Disappearing Fish

I have this small fish tank that I keep in my room, with six little fishies in it, four gold fish and two Scavengers. Last night I came home and went to say hi to the buggers and what do I see? There were only five of them swimming around. One dude has gone AWOL. One of the Scavengers was not in the tank. I checked with me dad, and he say all 6 were there about an hour ago. So the mystery deepens. How can a fish disappear from a tank in a closed room?

I was brooding on this and looking around the room and what do I see? Mr. AWOL lying on the floor all the way across the room. It seems like he has jumped out of the tank and gone for a little stroll. He was on the other end of the room from where the tank is. I thought the dude was dead, but when picked up he was still alive and kicking, so quickly put him back. I didn’t bother to cover up the tank earlier, but with these adventurous dude around I might have to reconsider :D.

Most commonly known here as “Scavengers” they are also known as “Plecostomus” meaning “folded mouth” or “Plecos” for short. Other common names include “Suckerfish” and “Suckermouth Catfish”. Their scientific name is “Hypostomus plecostomus”.

Generally peaceful animals, so they can be kept with other species without any trouble. It seems that the grow up to about 18 inches, which means I might have to get a bigger tank in the near future.

Pleco Profile

Pleco Profile - Wikipedia

Fishy Jones aka Mr. AWOL
Ain't the greatest pics, but the dude wont stay in one place :D

(Got this off the net)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Oasis of Silence

Photography exhibition “Oasis of Silence” by Beat Presser will be shown at the Lighthouse Hotel & Spa in Galle, from the 7th to the 27th of October. The workshop exhibition "My Oasis of Silence" by the 26 Sri Lankan photographers, who participated in Beat Presser's workshop, will also be displayed.

The book entitled “Oasis of Silence: will also be available during the exhibition and in all leading bookshops.

Beat Presser

Friday, October 05, 2007

World Teachers Day (WTD)

October 5th is designated as World Teachers Day, celebrated since 1994. According to UNESCO, WTD represents a significant token of the awareness, understanding and appreciation displayed for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development.

As I see it, teaching is one of the most important professions in the world. Ok you may disagree saying that doctors or scientists and even, god forbid politicians are better, but a doctor wouldn’t be a doctor if someone hadn’t taught him/ her in the first place. All of us have had teacher in our life, and still do, and we wouldn’t be where we are if not for them would we? Yet somehow the profession of teaching does not get the due respect which it deservers.

In the good old days, at a time when knowledge was held in high esteem (yes, there was a time like that), teachers were held in high regard. However as the world became more money mad and where wealth, instead of knowledge got you respect, teachers have been reduced to mere servants to look after kids. Dumbass politicians, drug lords and others of their sort are the one’s getting the “respect” now. It’s a sad world today. Most teachers get paid in peanuts, and we wonder why they complain and have strikes. In my perfect world teachers and the profession of teaching would be held in high regards, with pay scales to match.
Ok during the school years (a long time ago :D, a time which I sadly miss), nobody likes their teachers and will make fun of them behind their backs at every given chance, but the respect was there. While in school you don’t realize it, but teachers does play a big part in how you turn out in life. I am not saying that all teachers are saints, there are some despicable ones around, but the majority is truly concerned with nurturing the minds of the young.

So I say a heartfelt thanks to all my teachers who have taught me something along this potholed road of life. The truth is that I haven’t seen or heard about many of them after leaving school, but where ever they are they do deserver a big thank you.

Something from the official site:

We, teachers of the world, demand

* A decent working environment - a safe and healthy learning environment for teachers and learners, appropriate class-sizes and adequate pedagogical resources in the classroom;
* Living wages - salaries that allow for decent living conditions and that are regularly paid;
* Equal pay and equal rights for women - female teachers should not experience discrimination of any form and governments should ensure the empowerment of women in the education setting, in decision making and in the workplace;
* Initial and ongoing professional development - the opportunity to gain and to develop professional skills, to be kept uptodate with new information and pedagogical techniques, and to develop a career;
* Involvement in policy-making - to ensure that new policies reflect the reality of the classroom, social dialogue should be an integral part of education planning and policy formulation;
* Collective bargaining to defend and enhance teachers’ rights - working conditions, as well as quality assessments of teaching procedures, must be negotiated between representatives of the government/employers and the representative education unions.

The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence.
Amos Bronson Alcott (1799 - 1888)

Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.
Chinese Proverb


Thursday, October 04, 2007

50 Years of Sputnik

On a day like today 50 years ago, a revolution took place. A revolution that changed the way people saw the world and ushered in a new era of technological development. It all started because a hunk of metal the size of a Basketball, weighing 183 pounds was hurled into space where it orbited our lovely little planet in an elliptical path.

October 4th 1957 was the day that the first ever artificial satellite was launched into space. It was named Sputnik and was launched by the Russians, the former USSR, from their Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. To make sure that every one back on Earth knew that it was up there, the equipped it with transmitters that broadcasted on 20 to 40 MHz frequencies.

Now these were the days of the good old cold war. A time when the US of A was the self-proclaimed capitalist good guys, and USSR the commie baddies, who were basically worthless. So when the so called bad guys were the first to launch a space satellite, the good guys blew their tops off and vowed never to let the baddies win again. This gave birth to the “Space Race” between USA and USSR, on top of the existing race of “Bigger and Better Nuclear Weapons”. (The term WMD hadn’t still caught on). They kept on building bigger and better stuff to keep ahead of the others. In a way it was good, in that it speeded up the technological development.

Years went by, USSR became capitalist Russia and became pals with USA. Now they work together, instead of against each other to further space exploration. A result of this cooperation is the “International Space Station (ISS)”.

Even though many countries have some sort of space program, only USA, Russia and China have successfully put a human into space.

"In 1957 while anxiously awaiting a successful launch of Vanguard I, I was listening to Radio Moscow on the evening of Oct. 4 and heard the original announcement to the world of Sputnik, the first successful space satellite. Listening on the 27MHz frequency announced on Radio Moscow, I heard the Beep, Beep, Beep that was heard around the world. It was not there at first and I had to listen for a while to get it, gradually building up then dying out. Thus I heard the actual Sputnik before it was even announced on American radio and TV news. Some thought it a hoax at the time but I knew better. Listening to the Beeps getting stronger then fading with a Doppler shift quite evident. 27 MHz was a strange choice of frequency, never figured out why the Russians chose it."

Rich Tweedie – An amateur radio operator who was one of the first people to hear Sputnik

(Pic source Wikipedia)

External Links

NASA History Page


Space Exploration

Space Agencies

International Space Station

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ask a Stupid Question Day

Yes there is a day for it and today is it. So ask all the stupid questions you have and nobody will call you a dumbass. Just for today that is. They might call you a dumbass tomorrow but that’s a different story. Go on don’t be shy, ask away!!!

Ask a Stupid Question Day

On a more serious note, today (September 28th) is also “Freedom from Hunger” day. The first event was held in 2006 to increase awareness about global hunger and promote Freedom from Hunger's empowerment of women around the world.

The Freedom from Hunger organization was founded back in 1946, with the goal of fighting hunger with innovative self help programs. It’s a non profit, non governmental, non sectarian charitable organization operating in 17 countries around the world.

For more information, you can visit their site

A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.
Jack London (1876 - 1916)


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Primordial Dwarfism

Dwarfism is defined as "… a condition characterized by short stature. Technically, that means an adult height of 4 feet 10 inches or under, according to the advocacy group Little People of America (LPA)." In most cases short stature is caused by skeletal or endocrine disorders. The most common type, which accounts for 70% of all cases of short stature, is called Achondroplasia. Currently there are more than 200 identified types of dwarfism in the world, and one of them is "Primordial Dwarfism".

This condition, primordial dwarfism is defined as, “…a diagnostic category including specific types of profoundly proportionate dwarfism, in which individuals are extremely small for their age, beginning from their conception.” It is a rare form of dwarfism, which results in a smaller body size in all stages of life, beginning from before birth. So this makes it possible to identify the condition even in when in the womb. There are only about 100 estimated individuals in the world with this particular type of disorder, which makes it one of the rarest forms of dwarfism. It’s is also unlikely that sufferers will live past the age of 30.

The first recorded case of primordial dwarfism was a girl named Caroline Crachami, who was born in 1815 in Palermo, Italy. Her measurements were published by a journalist named William Jordan, shortly before her death in 1824, aged nine. Her height was 19 ½ inches. That is just a few inches more than the height of your average computer casing. Length of her foot 3 1/8 inches and the length of her forefinger 1 7/8 inches. Her head circumference was 12 3/8 inches and waist 11 ¼ inches.

William Jordan described her as follows, "Only imagine a creature about half as large as a new-born infant; perfect in all its parts and lineaments, uttering words in a strange, unearthly voice, understanding what you say and replying to your questions. Imagine I say, this figure of about 19 ½ inches in height and 5 pounds in weight, and you will have some idea of this most extraordinary phenomenon."

I first came across this on an episode of the Tyra show. (Ok Ok so I watch the Tyra show when I get a chance, so sue me :P). All her guests were people suffering from primordial dwarfism and their families. The great things about all of them was that they hadn’t let there condition keep them from succeeding in life. One of them was a 25 year old named Kristin who is 42 inches tall and weighs 38 pounds. She works as a consultant while studying towards an associate degree. She even has a driver’s permit and a specially modified car with higher seats, a smaller steering wheel and pedal extensions.

The reason I wrote about this is that after watching how these people have succeeded in life overcoming their problems, you kinda wonder about your own life. Most of us are of sound mind (Although I seriously doubt that…) and health, but we take that for granted. Are we thankful for them? Oh no, all we do is bitch and moan about the things we don’t have. A little bit taller, little bit thinner, more fairer and many other things. It’s not just about your body, it’s about you life, your job, your relationship and whatever. We are never satisfied. I too am part of this group. I guess it’s a part of human nature and it’s a habit that is difficult to break.

There are many people in the world who are not as lucky as we are. Many people suffer from various disorders and disabilities that prevent them from leading a normal life. Do they complain about it? I don’t think so. No matter what the hardships, they have overcome them and succeeded in leading a full life. It seems to me that it is the people who have everything that is never happy with their lot and cry over what they don’t have. Differently able people put us to shame and we should admire the strength and courage they have.

For those who are interested, visit the following links


Primordial Dwarfism

Tyra show episode on Primordial Dwarfism

Kenadie Jourdin-Bromley's Official Site

Tyler White’s Website

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
Anais Nin (1903 - 1977), The Diary of Anais Nin, volume 3, 1939-1944


Monday, September 17, 2007

Blood Brothers

This is the story about two brothers, born as twins, but grew up separately. One in a poor family, one in a rich family. As time passes fate brings them together and they become the best of friends, without ever knowing what they are. So what does fate have in store for them?

Blood Brothers” is the story of the Johnstone twins and their lives, whose lyrics and music was done by Willy Russell. The first production went on boards in 1983, with the 1988 West End production still running after nearly 20 years, which makes it one of the longest running production up to date. It is an intriguing story, and unlike many other plays, does not have a happy ending.

Sri Lankan theater goers can now enjoy this superb play thanks to the hard work of Jerome L De Silva and the Workshop Players. I caught the last night show and what a show it was. Another excellent Workshop Production. Ok I’m not a critic, and I maybe biased coz I have friends in Workshop, but no matter what, it was a superb performance. The acting as usual was great, on par with any Broadway Production. Kisholi De Mel gave a powerful and emotional performance as Mrs. Johnstone, the mother of the twins and a pivotal character in the play, so hats off to her. (The role is played by three actors on different days, so my apologies to the other two coz I only saw one show. I’m sure all of you are great :D. The same goes for the other roles as well). The character of Mickey was also superbly portrayed by Mario De Soysa. All in all I give 5 out of 5 stars to the whole production.

Well I’m not going into detail, because it’s a play that you must watch, and I urge all to go. It’s on for another 7 days, till the 23rd Sunday at the Lionel Wendt from 7.30 pm onwards. Parking is available at Maitland Crescent car park (near Clancy’s), and they have arranged for a shuttle service to take you from the car park to the theater and back again. So you don’t have to worry about that.


Hats off to Jerome and all the guys and gals of the Workshop Players on putting out another excellent, two thumbs up production. Your hard work has paid off. Cant’ wait for the next one.

Cheers to you all!!!




(Wiily Russell – Blood Brothers)

Article on Sunday Times

Poster on Shehals Kanabona blog.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thotupola Adventure

The people from my previous office which went bust decided to have a small get together, mainly as a treat for the individuals who worked to get the settlement, and to keep old friendships alive. So on the 8th of September we all got together at the Thotupola in Piliyandala for the bash.

After a democratic voting process a date and venue was chosen. Unfortunately the place chosen initially was fully booked on the 8th so we had to settle for the second option, which was Thotupola. Our friend who organized the event had earlier talked with them on the phone and was informed that the price for the buffet only was LKR 750.00 per person. All additional activities, including the use of the swimming pool was at a charge of LKR 350.00 per person. This seemed reasonable since most of us were going there for the buffet so we decided on this spot. Even if anyone wanted to do activities they could pay separately and do it.

So we all met up on Saturday for a day of fun. Some of the guys decided to do some of the activities like canoeing in the lake, while some spent the day doing much more important things like getting drunk. You can guess as to which group I belonged to.

Anyway, by the end of the day everyone enjoyed themselves and all were happy and it was time to go. That’s when the real fun began. They had gone and charged us at a higher rate, as opposed to the rate quoted earlier to us for the buffet, and I think they tried to charge more for the activities as well.

Well anyway, this is what happened as told by our organizer CB


Please broadcast this message to as many people as you possibly can, and help make more people be aware, about bogus charges and artificially inflated bills at the Thotupola Retreat in Delthara, Piliyandala, yes it is the same place that often carry a full page ad in the Hit Ad section of the Sunday Times.

The practice is to lure in clients by lying about their prices, when you are looking to get a quote over the phone, which, the girl who answers the phone (to me it was somebody by the name Nadeeka) mentions as RS 750 for the buffet and RS 350 each if you want to engage in any other activities on offer.

Since it was just a gathering of friends, who were actually more interested in spending some time together and have the buffet after, than engaging in any of the other activities, tempted by what seem to be a reasonable price, I booked this place initially for 20 people and said to Nadeeka that it was just a ball park figure but more people would come at the time of the event, and as said, the number grew until it was 32 people.

After enjoying the outing, when it was time for us to pay the bill, we were amazed, when we were asked to pay RS 1325 each, for the same buffet I was told costs only RS 750 at the time of making the reservation. When inquired why the inflated price, the answer we got was there is no such thing as buffet only but we have to pay for the entire package including all the activities, which was never mentioned to me before.

We were also charged RS 100 for a welcome drink that was never even served to us in the first place! Plus though we never requested for one, we were given a room under the pretence it was for free since we were a large crowed, as this is normal practice with any hotel, some used the room to get a change of clothes before going home, only because it was thrust upon us. And at the time of settling the bill we were asked to pay for a room that we never even asked to be kept reserved for us!

When we refused to pay for these bogus charges added to our bill, the manager rushed his security guys to lock the gates, thinking we are trying to escape without settling the dues! The manager feeling secure with the presence of his security guys beside him, suddenly turned arrogant and started arguing and threatening us, trying to force us pay this bogus bill. Since there were many ladies amongst us, it was getting dark out side and everybody was tired and needed to go home ASAP, in the end, we agreed to pay for a room that was supposedly given to us for free and RS100 each for a drink that was never served. Since we at least agreed to do that, the manager said it was due to some miscommunication between the head office and him that we were asked to pay more than the previously agreed RS 750 for the buffet, and now we don’t have to pay the difference of RS 575 each that was charged as the activity fee though we never engaged in non!!

As you can see, this place is run buy a bunch of thugs who inflate the bills of their guests with bogus charges, these guys will even go to the extent of holding their guests hostage till they are willing to pay at least part of it, simply because they just want to get out of the premises! Avoid going to Thotopola and avoid getting robbed by a bunch of thugs.

Thank you


This type of behavior is very unprofessional, especially for an establishment in the hospitality industry. Companies can’t expect clients to pay for their mistakes. They finally claimed it was a miscommunication between offices, but that is not the fault of the client is it? That is their internal problem.

You can find another instance of their unprofessional behavior here. Check the second comment .

The best way to avoid this type of situation is to always get a written quotation. Then you have some kind of proof if there are any problems later. That's my advice to anyone who is planning to go there.

Anyway it was good to see the guys again and we did have a lot of fun no matter what :D. A big thank you to the organizer CB.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Send Your Robot to Work

Got this in an email today, and I’m ordering one right now. It’s a solution for all our telecommuting woes…


Man telecommutes by sending in a robot replacement

We've been warning of humankind's eventual obsolescence at the hands of our robot overlords as long as we can remember, so it's basically horrifying to see someone not only fail to heed our advice, but actively hasten our eventual extinction by replacing himself with a robot. Programmer Ivan Bowman works from home, but still maintains his presence in the office through the use of a bot he calls IvanAnywhere -- a clever play on his name and the name of his employer, iAnywhere. Basically a webcam-on-wheels, IvanAnywhere motors around the office, takes meetings, and even gives presentations, all while the real Ivan remains safely pantless in his home office. Actually, that sounds pretty smart -- anyone got a spare webcam?


This is great idea for those who want to work from, but still need that office feeling and office colleagues around. You stay home and send in the robot to office, go to meetings and when you get bored chat up with friends, and you don’t have to deal with annoying bosses. As an additional plus point you can get a second job at office as the night watchmen. Send robo buddy to do the rounds at night while you lay in your bed. :D


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Weird Beards

Every little boy eagerly awaits till his adolescent age comes, and the first whiskers sprout from his face, either to boast about it or to start shaving. Now there’s a good reason for them to stop shaving. The World Beard and Moustache Championships. Yes, you heard me right, there is a world championship for this. The only qualification you need is a very long and bushy beard or a moustache.

This event is held every two years, and this year it was in Brighton, England on the 1st of September. The competition is carried out according to three different categories, moustache, partial beard, and full beard, with several classes under them as well. The judging is pretty tough too.

This year the top honors were taken by Beard Team USA, who took away four titles. Phil Olsen of California is the founder and captain of Team USA and according to his blog profile, his mission is to “make the United States a power in international beard and moustache competitions”. I say the best of luck to him.

The first event of this kind was held in 1990, in Höfen/Enz, Germany, organized by the First Höfener Beard Club. The next event was in 1995, and after that an event was held every two years, organized by one of the many Beard Clubs around the world.

After seeing some of the pictures of the contestants I must say that these guys put a lot of effort into the grooming of their facial hair. Most of these are unbelievable. I guess most of them have never seen a razor in their lifetime. These guys can be admired for their dedication and consistency to it. I don’t know about others, but I get pretty annoyed with it if I don’t shave for a week or so. Shaving is a drag but it’s better than having to clean and groom a waist long beard every day.

For those who are interested, check out the following links. Who knows, someone might start a beard club in good ole SL too.

World Beard Championships Official Site
Pictures of contestants
Beard Team USA Blog
Phil Olsen Blog Profile

Bearded Dudes from here

Monday, September 03, 2007

Who wants to buy a US$100 million skull?

Wondering what to do with that spare US$100 million in your account, well why don’t you get yourself a diamond encrusted human skull to keep by your bedside.

This is the latest piece of art by the artist Damien Hirst and is considered to be the highest valued work of contemporary art by a living artist. The piece, called the “For the Love of God” is an actual human skull that is covered entirely with 8,601 jewels and with a pear shaped pink diamond as the centre piece.

The skull is believed to be of a 35-year-old European man who had lived between 1720 and 1810. Where ever that guy might be I am guessing that he’s a very happy ghost these days. Hey how many guys can boast that his head is stuffed with diamonds and worth the GDP of a small country? He probably couldn’t sell it off for a few cents in those days. Either that or he’s really pissed. Hope that who ever buys it doesn’t get nightly visits from a headless spook wanting his head back.

Prices of artwork like this are skyrocketing because many consider them good investments. In an earlier post I mentioned about the highest valued painting, a Jackson Pollock worth a cool US$140 million.

Personally I find the whole thing a bit ghastly, not the skull, but the prices some people are wiling to pay for these artworks. It’s not like the artist is even getting a cut, mainly because they are dead now. I too appreciate a good piece of art, but I just think they should be left in museums for all to enjoy. The truth is that these are unique masterpieces born out of the imagination of genius minds and something like that would never be recreated again. However I just don’t get how people can spend these amounts on such frivolous things knowing that somewhere in the world people are dying because they don’t even have the basic necessities to survive. It’s a sad situation, but that’s the reality of things. The rich keeps getting richer and the poor keeps getting poorer.


Friday, August 31, 2007

Another Year Gone...Yeay!!!

Well another year of my life has gone by, and so far things have been good. I'm pretty happy with it. It hasn't always been hunky dory and had its low points as well as the high ones. But then that's what life is all about isn't it? It won't be exciting if your high all the time, and I believe it's the low points of life that makes us stronger. I always try to live by the motto "No Regrets". Shit happens and you deal with it. It's not an easy thing to do all the time, but so far I’ve somehow managed it. :D About the future I have no bloody clue. What will happen will happen he he…

I know some people like to wallow in the past, thing about the things they've done, or should've done, shouldn't have done etc, but what’s the point in that? Thinking about it isn’t' going to bring back the past. I say move on people.

I don't get why some people have a problem with growing old. It's part of life. I know some people who lie about their age and pretend to be younger than they are, and it goes for guys as well as girls :D, and I’m not talking about people in their forties, but people in their late twenties who doesn’t like to admit it. Sheeezz what’s up with that? Do they think that you’ll have to stop having fun when they grow older? Man people are weird.

Anyways enough of this boring stuff…Adios and Cheers to you all!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Desert Island Music Mix

I’ve been tagged again. This time by Theena for five albums I would take if I was marooned in a deserted island. Well first of all five ain’t enough. Second I’m going mostly by artists’ coz in most of their albums there are songs that I like and songs that I done like. Anyway this list is bound to change as time goes by :D (Except #1)

#1. Guns n’ Roses – Ok ok may not be everyone’s taste but, this is like my pick-me-upper. Whenever I’m down in the dumps, put on some G n R and by the time the first track is over I’m back to my old self, ready to kick some ass. These guys will never get off the list

#2. Bond – As far as instrumental stuff goes, these four gals are my current favorites. They do things with a string quartet you would only dream of ;)

#3. K T Turnstall – Another one of my current favorites. Just a reminder that sometimes unplugged stuff are better.

#4. Cranberries – Another excellent product of the Irish. The haunting voice of Dolores O’Riordan is enough to gimme goosebumps :D

#5. Korn – Just to evenly round things off I’ll add in some Korn to the mix.

Well there’s more on the list but I guess these will have to do if I’m forced only to take five albums. Who is this evil creature who decided that you’ll be only allowed 5 eh?

In spite of being hated for doing this :D I’m going to tag these fellow bloggers. No there’s no obligation for you to accept it…

Lady Divine
The Jester – I know he’s going to nuke me now :D
And last but not least… Darwin

Couldn’t really think of a title… :)

I mentioned in a post earlier this year that the “Company” I was working for “supposedly” went bust and closed down shop, kicking all us employees out. Well some good news has happened at last. They’ve finally agreed to a settlement.

Initially they put forward two options. 1. They settle due salaries and the employees agree not to sue. Or 2. The employees take the company to court. Well considering how long a court case can drag out, a majority of the employees agreed for option one. It’s basically they pay the due salaries and the employees agree not to sue their pants off.

I was only there for 8 months so I’m not that bothered about it. Well I’m bothered by it, but on the other hand what happened happened. Nothings going to change it so I say forget about it and move on. Luckily I’ve found another job and I’ve moved on and so have most of the others. Credit for the management for the work they did in getting job placements for the employees. However for people who have been with the company for long does feel something I guess.

One of the best things about the place was that I got to know some great people. For me not working with them is the saddest part of it. It was great to meet most of them again after a long time yesterday.

A handful of people tirelessly worked to make this settlement a reality so I must say a very big, big thank you to all of them.

Cheers to you all!!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Yet Another Twisted Rhyme…

Georgie Porgie, puddin' and pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry.
They all ganged up and made a wail
And sent the lawmen on his tail

Gorgie Porgie ran like hell
To the ranks of an outlaw he fell
The men of law came out in hordes
Come and catch me, he dared them all

High and low, near and far
They searched for him night and day
All hidey holes with a fine-toothed comb
No stone unturned all across the world

Search they may every nook and cranny
Hide nor hair could they find of this laddie
Always ahead of the chasing law
He made a fool out of all who dared

But alas his luck ran out at last
A cruel joke played by fate
Men of the law soon came knocking
To drag him back to give him a kicking

People rejoiced when the good news came
Georgie Porgie was a menace no more
Celebrations rang all across the town
Their little girls were safe once more

They dragged him into court upstate
To pass judgment and seal his fate
The mean old judge grinned with pleasure
And thus passed judgment on our little gangster

Georgie Porgie you've been a bad boy
You kissed them girls and made ‘em cry
For your evil deeds you must suffer
Hung from the noose till you’re a goner

Thus ends the saga of Georgie Porgie
A perverted little boy who made girls cry
When he should have stayed at home
Eating puddin and pie all day long

[All characters appearing in this post are purely fictional. Any resemblance to individuals living or dead is coincidental…and not my problem]

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Children under Threat

There is a very informative article on this month’s issue of the Readers Digest about the expansion of the child sex industry in Asia. I know this is not a new thing and there probably have been many discussions and post about it, but you just feel sad to think that it’s not getting any better.

According to a report put out by the Asia Foundation in 2006, there are an estimated 20, 000 children sexually exploited in Cambodia. In Philippines the number they estimate is around 100,000. In India the numbers are up a staggering 500,000. Unfortunately our little paradise doesn’t fare well either. According to the following article in Lanka Library - (Sri Lanka has 40,000 child prostitutes), the NCPA , quoting UNICEF and ILO reports says, there are about 40,000 child prostitutes in the country. In addition, they estimate that there are over 100,000 children working as domestic aids.

The RD article sites three developments that have contributed to the current trend:

Greater demand for child sex from Asian men
Indifference among lawmakers and enforcers
Widespread corruption

Some people would say that they are driven by poverty, but I don’t think you can use poverty as an excuse. No matter how poor you are you can’t justify selling your child as a sex slave. Those are the people who should be shot first. These types of situations where the parents are involved maybe a small percentage, but they do exist. In most other cases the parents have no knowledge of the fact. Unscrupulous criminals may take advantage of the poverty and ignorance of the parents and take the children, promising them a bright future and all the riches. Unfortunately they end up in a brothel somewhere and the parents never hear from their children again. The worse case scenario is when the children are kidnapped right off the roads.

I sincerely hope that the SL authorities are doing something to solve this problem. I know it’s not going to be easy or will happen in a day or so, but working on it is the important thing. There maybe independent groups and NGO’s working on it, but they can’t do it alone, mainly because they can’t enforce the laws or punish the guilty. That is the job of the authorities. They need to take a much tougher stance on these activities.

In my opinion the following things can be done:

Tougher penalties for offenders: This includes pedophiles and all those who support these activities.

Educate the people: Sometimes people really don’t know about these things. Especially poor parents should be made knowledgeable about the danger of sending their children away. Not only the parents, but older children should also be educated in these things. In the same way, educate people involved in the tourism industry as well.

Help the poor children: Educating the people is not going to solve their problems. If the parents can’t feed the children they might have to take drastic measures to keep them from starving. Children of poor families could be given some sort of aid, a monthly pension sort of. However their should also be a strict monitoring system in place to make sure the children are the ones who get the benefit and it’s not spent on the fathers booze. Where do we get the money? You might ask. Well if you kick out half the cabinet, there’d be plenty left over.

Support the people who do something: The government should give more support to the independent groups and NGO’s who are already working on these problems. Maybe like a special citizen’s arrest type of authority, for them to conduct raids and arrest suspects. But again there should be a strict monitoring process implemented.

More private sector involvement: Especially organizations and people related to the tourism industry should get involved in this. Currently there is a program called “Zero tolerance’ for child sex tourism“.

Provide adequate care and help for children saved: Children who are sexually exploited can have severe emotional damage and psychological problems. There should be a proper way to help them deal with it and adjust back to normal life. Ensure that they don’t fall into the same hole as before. The general populace should also learn not to judge them and not treat them like outcasts. It only makes matters worse.

I’m not an expert on this subject so I don’t have much information on it. Some of these things are probably being done already. I salute all those people who are working on these problems and who are making a difference in the world.

I don’t understand how people can treat children this way. This is not a problem limited to Asia, it’s a global problem. The problem is there in all countries to some extent. Humans are supposed to be the civilized ones, but some of them act worse than animals. I guess all of it has to do with psychology, which I have no clue about.

The following are some articles you might find interesting.

RD – Suffer the Children (you need to register to read the full article, and yes it’s free)
Lanka Library - Sri Lanka has 40,000 child prostitutes
Lanka Library - Action plan against child sex tourism
UNICEF - Sri Lanka campaign promotes ‘zero tolerance’ for child sex tourism

As I said my knowledge in this is limited, so please feel free to enlighten me…

Be gentle with the young.
Juvenal (55 AD - 127 AD)

Children might or might not be a blessing, but to create them and then fail them was surely damnation.
Lois McMaster Bujold, "Barrayar", 1991