Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Wow, there was an earthquake in Canada a couple of minutes ago. The first one for me. Here in Toronto it lasted around 10 to 20 seconds. Everything was wobbling for a bit.

The epicenter was somewhere North of Ottawa and it was felt even across the border in the States. According to the U. S. Geological Survey site, it's magnitude is 5.5.

No reports of damages so far.

See, I told you the world is going wonky...


One thing that you clearly in Canada, especially in Toronto, is the mix of cultures. Canada is a land of immigrants, but wherever they come from, they have brought a piece of their homeland with them. This mix of people is more apparent these days, thanks to the World Cup. Wherever you look you can see flags of the participating countries, hanging in front of houses, pubs and stuck on cars. Come game time, the various communities get together at their local pubs and party hard while cheering for their team. what's important is that all communities have found a balance between living harmony with each other as Canadians and still preserving their individual identities. I guess this is true in all countries where there are a lot of immigrant communities.

The lesson in all this: Tolerance is a great quality to develop in all of us. It will greatly help to solve a lot of the problems in this world.

I'm not sure what kind of coverage the Gulf oil spill is getting in SL, but over the US its a pretty big deal. This is the biggest environmental disaster in US history. The latest estimate is 250,000 gallons of crude oil is flowing into the sea, but some experts put the numbers around 1 million gallons per day. The whole thing started back in April 20th, when the offshore oil rig called the Deepwater Horizon exploded, causing the spillage. They have tried to stop the leak, but the main problem is that the well is too deep. It sits 5000 feet under the sea, which makes the patching up efforts problematic.

The result of all this is massive ecological damage along with a huge adverse impact to the people living off the Gulf Coast. i personally think that the ecological damage is far worse and irreparable than the effect on the people. After all, people can move away from the area into other parts of the country. However, if an ecology is destroyed it is forever. The natural world doesn't happen in a couple of months or years. It's not as if constructing a skyscraper. It takes thousands, maybe millions of years to come to that state, but it can be destroyed in seconds.

A 2009 inventory of the Gulf of Mexico offshore species numbered 15,700 species, and out of that 8332 plant and animal species live in the area effected by the spill.

Stats as of June 18th include:
885 dead birds
363 sea turtles
44 dolphins

1292 animals seem like a small amount compared to the thousands of people who die everyday to natural or unnatural causes, but there are 6 billion of us to go around. Some experts say that this has the potential to wipe out all marine life near the spill area and other parts of the gulf. If the spill is not stopped soon, there are fears that it may spread into the Atlantic Ocean. As one scientist put it, this amount of oil "May alter the chemistry of the sea, with unforeseeable results."

Let's face it, oil is a necessary evil. Damned if we do, damned if we don't. Hopefully these type of incidents will make the case stronger for making alternate sources of energy the norm, not the exception.

Our need for materialistic things is perplexing. Our needs insatiable and our greed bottomless. These are not the basic things we need to survive. Frankly, we don't need them to live at all, but we keep on making them. Nothing will stop us from satisfying this hunger, even if it means destroying everything around us. One day, and I'm pretty sure it's going to be soon, all this is going to turn around and bite us in our ass. It's already started to nip at the ankles, so give it a little time, it's getting there.

If you want more details about the spill try these links:
The Huffington Post

The G8 and the G20 summits are being held in Toronto this week, and security in downtown is tight. They are even putting up chain link fences around the convention center where the summit is taking place. Cops are everywhere, no parking in the city and traffic is a right mess. Funnily enough, even with the huge police presence, some one had fired a gun inside the security zone and disappeared. So much for security. Plenty of protests are going on against the summit.

To tell the truth, i haven't paid any attention to these summits, so i don't know much about them. Must do some reading and see. My basic understand is that the rich countries, the self proclaimed "great" ones get together once a year to figure out how they can get more richer and more "greater". Outside, the protesters will shout and the otherwise jobless police riot squad will get have some work to do. The normal people out there, they don't really give a shit.

One word to describe it: A Circus.


Oooh, just saw that i've passed the 200 posts mark. Woohoo... :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Feel the Beat of the Drums

Feel the beat of the drums
Beating as one with your heart
Calling you to action
To be a catalyst in the world

Feel the beat of the drums
Throbbing throughout the village
Calling all men, women, and children
To stand up for their rights

Feel the beat of the drums
Echoing in the mountains and valleys
Calling all races
To come together as one

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Muhtadi International Drumming Festival

On the weekend of 5th June, Queens Park in Toronto came alive to the sound of thousand throbbing drums, representing various cultures from around the world. This was the Muhtadi International Drumming festival, held for the 11th year in Toronto. Its main purpose is to celebrate the drum and how it plays an important role in many of the cultures around the world.

Music is the language that can overcome cultural barriers. Almost all cultures in the world have some form of music associated with it, and wherever there is music, a drum is sure to take center stage. It performs a key role in keeping the beat and keeping the other instruments in line. When it comes to Toronto, it is a melting pot of many different cultures. Even though they are away from their home, these people make a point to keep their cultures alive. What this festival does is to give them a chance to showcase the role the drum has in their traditional music.

The founder of the festival is a performer by the name of Muhtadi, who has a career spanning over 30 years. He is considered Canada’s premier percussionists, with the ability to play a wide assortment of percussion instruments. He was born in Trinidad and later moved to Canada in 1974, and started the festival in 2000. He also conducts classes on drumming. The performance of the students of the academy, along with Muhtadi, is the headliner of the show. Believe me, they are amazing.

The theme for this year was Women in Rhythm, celebrating the role women play in music and culture. One thing mentioned by Muhtadi was that 90% of those attending his drumming classes are women. This is a fact when most of the performers at the event were women.

One exiting fact was that our little island also had some representation at the festival, albeit a small one. A Sri Lankan lady gave a solo performance on a “udarata bera” and performed a traditional dance, to some traditional songs. The crowd was really into the songs. Kudos for her for putting on a good show, even if it was by herself. I hope it is not a case of our people forgetting our culture as soon as they land here.

There are some videos I took, plus some pics. Unfortunately my camera ran out of juice, so wasn’t able to cover the whole event. I uploaded some of the vids I tool to youtube, but I couldn't also find other vids on youtube. It's something you have to see and hear to truly appreciate.

Hope you guys have a good weekend. Cheers!

Base and Snare Drummers

Mexican Drumming and Dancing

Mexican Drumming and Dancing - Love the costume, especially the feather headpiece

Njacko (pronounced Jacko) Backo and Kalimba Kalimba. Master African drummer hailing from Cameroon. Read bio here
Drummers from Nigeria

Drummers from Nigeria

South Korean Drumming

A Sri Lankan lady did a solo performance of traditional drumming and dancing.

Japanese Drummers

Japanese Drummers

Japanese Drummers

Mexican Drumming and Dancing

Sri Lankan Drumming

Brazilian Samba Troop Baque de Bamba (vid not mine :) )

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Row Row Row Your Boat

Torontonians do love the water. For some, there is no bigger kick than sailing and pottering around in their little boats. The shore line of the Ontario Lake is where they all come out to play.


A floating restaurant

Wind Powered

Little Red Boat in a sea of Blue

Fire Rescue

Toronto Island Ferry leaving the mainland

New Beginnings

Mariposa Belle

Street Art

Walking around the neighborhoods, you come across these little gems of street art adorning the walls of buildings. Some specimens are below. I’ve spotted some others also, but unfortunately didn’t have a camera at hand.