Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Earth Day

This is the day when we all should celebrate this wonderful planet which we call home. Traditionally the UN celebrates Earth day on the vernal equinox which is around the 21st of March. It marks the precise moment when spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. In the South-pole the sun sets, ending the six-month long day and in the North the sun rises, ending a six month long night. In 1970 an Earth Day was declared on the 22nd of April to make people notice the damage done to the environment by man and to do something to protect it. It is now celebrated all over the world.

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The sad but undeniable truth is that our planet is in trouble. Who is to blame for it? No one but us humans. As man evolved into the industrial age he began to disregard the natural world. In the early civilizations, which were based on agriculture, the people respected nature because they worked with it to sustain themselves. They relied on the earth for their daily existence. They understood that without nature they would also perish. As time progressed people discovered technology and brought on the industrial revolution. After that everything became about money and how to make more money. People moved from the farms into factories and their lifestyles changed. They lost the close relationship that their ancestors had with nature.
We all know what problems there are: pollution, global warming, rampant destruction and excessive use of natural resources are some of the major ones and which causes the most damage. These are real threats that can have drastic impact on our world. Still there are some people who insist on denying these truths. These are the people who are in the payrolls of the same organizations that are guilty of environmental damage. These spin doctors are trying to paint a picture that the planet is A-okay and the environmentalists are the one who are wrong. According to them, the so called environmental damage is just a figment of the environmentalist’s imagination. Why this blatant attempt to discredit the people who are trying to protect this planet? GREED pure greed.

I am not suggesting that we stop technological developments. Far from it coz I’m a big fan of technology. But they should be done in a manner which doesn’t harm the environment. Now more than ever technology should help to protect the world and save it from destruction. We could say that during the times of the industrial revolution, the people didn’t know better. They were unaware of what they were doing to the environment. But now we can’t make the same excuses because we know better. We now have the knowledge and the means to do something about it; the only thing necessary is the commitment to it.

Fortunately there are many people around the world committed to making this a better world. A few months back Sir Richard Branson offered a $25 million price money for the first scientists to come up with a way to extract green house gases from the atmosphere. Some pundits are criticizing him saying that his companies contribute to the problem and now he’s trying be the good guy. That is exactly what he is doing. He has realized this and that is why he is trying to come up with a solution. This is what is needed, for companies to realize the damage they are doing and to start to rectify them. In the meantime let us start in our homes.

Earth is a unique planet. It is the only planet that we know of that can sustain life. But if we don’t protect it now, more than likely it will become just another rock floating in space.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hypocrisy and Double Standards

The biggest news during the last couple of days was the shooting incident at Virginia Tech University in the good Ole US of A. A crazed gunman, a student himself, had killer 32 fellow students and had committed suicide afterwards. If you don’t know about it, then you are definitely not living in this planet. If it had happened anywhere else in the world I would be shocked, but this is America. These kinds of incidents happen on a regular basis. High school students going on a rampage in their schools and killing students, employees shooting down the office and coworkers, these seems to be normal things in America.

Why these things happen I can’t say. There seems to a lot of nutcases loose over there and coupled with easy access to guns… well what else is there to say? A recipe for disaster. America is not the land of dreams everybody thinks it is. I recently saw on the Tyra Banks show that over 70% of Americans live from one paycheck to another. They have no savings at all, and if they loose the job they are out on the streets. They showed undercover cameras in places where homeless people live and it was not a pretty sight. I frankly think that our beggars in SL live a better life. At least our people care enough to give them some money. No wonder people are depressed and going on killing sprees. They must feel like that is the only way out. They have no hope and once hope is lost, it is the beginning of the end.

What I am cheesed off about is the way that the international media is behaving. It’s like that there is nothing else happening in the world but this. Tragedies don’t happen anywhere else but in America. Everyday people are not dying in Iraq from bombs and gunmen, people are not dying of violence in Palestine, Iran, Afghanistan etc. No mention about those people. Oh of course I forgot, they are not in America. The British PM has given a special new conference saying how shocked he is, but he’s never shocked by the violence in Iraq since him and his pal started it all. It’s confirmed that the gunman was of South Korean decent, so now what? Is it attack South Korea next?

Everybody has bees in their bonnets about the situation in SL. When the armed forces are defending against attacks, its violation of human rights, but when the terrorist attack, they are just playing around and having fun. The world is full of hypocrites who work on double standards. All these NGO’s who rise up and shout against supposed human rights violations in SL are keeping silent about Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? Because in those situations the human rights violations are done by the civilized world, i.e the same countries that hand out their paychecks. So of course they won’t go against the hand that feeds them now would they?

Things are unlikely to change in the near future. The powers that are will keep on dictating to those who are powerless. These hypocrites will apply their double standards to oppress those who can not stand against them and keep on helping their allies. Sadly this is how the world runs. The funny part is that they don’t even seem to notice their hypocrisy and are shocked to learn that the rest of the world hates them. It’s no wonder that terrorist organizations like Al Quida and Hamas are thriving.

The situation is similar to a story I heard at a sermon some time back: A hospital is cleaned by two cleaning ladies and is kept spot less. They work diligently at their jobs to keep the hospital as clean as possible. But their home however is the opposite. Full of garbage and unclean. My suggestion for the powers that are, try to clean your own houses first before you try to clean up other peoples houses. Sometimes you might find out that the other peoples houses are much more cleaner than yours in the first place

All of that said about the world, my sincere sympathies goes out to the families of the people killed in this incident and all the people who die everyday all around the world due to acts of violence. It is what their fate has in store for them. You can not cheat death; the only hope is to believe that death is not an end, but a beginning of a new journey.



Barely a week goes by and another shooting incident in America, this time out of all places, at NASA, by one of their engineers. The gunman goes into a building at the Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas and takes about three people hostage and later shoots one of them and then ends it all by killing himself. Police say that there was some dispute between the gunman and his victim. Since he only shot one person and himself, he didn’t get as much air time in the media unlike the Virginia Tech incident. I guess you should take out a minimum number of victims before you get prime time coverage in the media.

The undeniable truth is that human beings are violent by nature; it’s a throw back to our animal instincts. As the world became civilized, people began to suppress their violent behaviors and to use diplomacy to resolve issues. Sadly it seems as time progresses we are reverting once again back to our animal nature. The greed for money and power, coupled with poverty, stress and depression makes for an excellent recipe for disaster.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Suba Aluth Avuruddhak Wewa

Its great to wake up these days with the sweet melody of the "koha" singing by your window for he is the messenger who tells us all that the traditional Sinhalese and Tamil New Year is nigh.

According to the Sri Lankan culture the traditional Sinhala and Tamil New Year is celebrated during the month of April. Unlike the western New Year which is celebrated at the end of the calendar year on 31st of December, the Sinhala and Tamil New year is governed by astrology. This is the time according to astrology, when the sun moves from the House of Pisces (Meena Rashiya) to the house of Aries (Mesha Rashiya). It is also the season when harvesting ends, and for agricultural communities it’s a double celebration. It is basically a time for families to get together, say goodbye to the old year and greet the dawn of a new one in hopes that it will be more prosperous and joyous than the last one.

Check out Wikipedia for more details

Unfortunately in our family, we don’t follow strict traditions and rituals associated with the New Year. Main reason is that we are Christians and our ancestors were brought up and educated in the beliefs and values of the invaders. They have forgotten the traditional ways. On the other hand I don’t even follow Christian rituals either, either way I’m lost forever. Even if you don’t follow the astrological traditions, rituals and auspicious times, it’s a time we can all celebrate. It is a new beginning, a fresh start of the new and saying good bye to the old. For Buddhists it’s similar to Christmas or Thanksgiving. It’s a time for family.

The way I see it the New Year on 31st December has become a worldwide celebrations due to globalization. It’s a one big happy family and we have to stick to standard timekeeping. You can’t have one part of the world saying its 2007 while another one is saying its 1800 or something. Can you just imagine the havoc it would cause for global trading? Even though everyone celebrates the December New Year, people still celebrate their traditional New Years in grand style. These celebrations are necessary to keep the traditional cultures going, otherwise we’ll all be like clones.

More on Chinese New Year

with the season comes the shopping sprees. These days it's a menace to go on the streets, for they are chocker blocked with people. All are going on shopping sprees, buying new stuff, gifts for family and friends or just something to make your day, it's just plain mad shopping. The shops are like mad houses and sometimes you have to wait in queues to get into them. Once inside it’s another battle to actually see the merchandise and get what you want. That is why I never go shopping during the holiday season, no matter how much discounts I get. The situation is worsened by the fact that there is no space in our cities. Narrow pavements are taken over by hawkers, who build their temporary shop to the whole width of the pavement. There is no more space to walk and pedestrians are forced to walk on the road, with the threat of being run over by a vehicle. An all around pain in the neck.

In one hand we can’t put the blame wholly on these people either, because this is their livelihood and they are also trying to feed their families. The best solution is to build some kind of shopping mall, not a fancy one, but something low cost and give these people shop space for free. Then they’ll have a permanent place to sell their ware without being a nuisance to pedestrians. It’ll be convenient for the shoppers also, without having to walk on the roads, facing such hazards as dust, rain, mud splashes from vehicles and so on. They can also do their shopping in absolute comfort. I know it’s a totally utopian city that’ll never come about, but it’s nice to dream.

Well anyway, wish you all a

Happy and Prosperous New Year

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Rain Oh Glorious Rain

Rain oh glorious rain
Bring down thy showers
Quench the thirst of this parched land
Revive it and return it to life!

After a long and extremely hot, dry spell, we are blessed with rain. The sun gods have been defeated and the Rain gods have won the day. It’s so refreshing to have rain drops falling on your head. I feel like dancing in the rain. Don’t worry I’m not losing it. It’s just that it feels great to be cooled down after that hot spell. Looking out through the window I see gloomy overcast skies, all ready to unleash its power. Cleanse away the dirt and sins of the people and bring in new life. By now you would’ve guessed that I’m not a big fan of the sun. The only downside is the lightning, which means electrical appliances have to be shut down at home. There is a high tendency that lightning will strike burn out something.

Saturday afternoon went for a sea bath with some friends and guess what? It started to rain. Man it was great. The sea was a bit rough and if you weren’t prepared, the waves would lift you off your feet and knock you to the ground. Got a few scrapes as a result of close encounters with the beach. I you haven’t done it, I suggest to try it out, unless of course your prone to catch a cold even by standing near the ice box. If so I suggest you stick to hot showers. I also had my fingers crossed and so far no sign of the sniffles. Lucky me.

Happy to say that there are some improvements on the Mount beach. Some good work has been done since the last time I went there. A row of trees has been planted near the fence line of the restaurants. Between the trees, concrete benches have been placed with litter bins next to them. Hat’s off to the people who came up with the idea. You’ve done a great job. The problem however is, how long will they last. How long till the litter bins are stolen and the trees uprooted. It happens because some people just don’t know how to respect public property. Let’s hope these improvements will stand the test of time. I think the restaurateurs along the beach should take up responsibility for them. If each look after the trees, benches and litter bins in front of their property, there’s no need for special maintenance or security. After all it’s in their best interest. If the beaches are clean then more people are likely to visit and the more business they will have. So buck up guys and make it your duty to maintain the beach.

On a sad note I must say the water is not that clean. Trash keeps coming in with the waves. As long as thoughtless morons keep emptying their garbage cans to the sea, it will be full of trash. They should be shot and hung. Change your ways people, change your ways.

Here’s to a few more days of gloomy weather. All hail the rain gods

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Man with a Brick

I see a man walking down the road
With a brick on his head,
Bowed down under its weight
He struggles to walk straight

Weary eyes looks up the street
A glimmer of hope can still be seen
Searching hard for a sign of relief
That will aid to ease his load,
But alas, how unlucky he is
The road ahead gives no such hope
A desolate wasteland stares in his face
Barren as the Arctic fields

There is nothing he can do to save himself
He cannot go back, only forward
With every labored step he takes
The brick grows bigger and bigger
Till the moment comes
When he can stand no more
In the end it will bring him down
Crushed like a swatted fly

Pity him not
For this is the life we lead
A difficult journey
Yet one we all must make
Trials, tribulations, suffering and pain
These are all part of a ruthless game

Do not get discouraged
By the burden of life
Through all the misery
Hope must still survive
Once hope is no more in your life
So ends life that you live