Monday, August 29, 2011

Jealousy and Envy

Image from

My lesson for today: these two are not the same. All this time I was under the impression that jealousy and envy very similar, and even interchangeable with each other. Turns out it’s not, and they have separate meanings. Just goes to show you that sometimes what you believe to be right is not always the case.

These are the definitions from Wikipedia:

Jealousy is a secondary emotion and typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something that the person values, particularly in reference to a human connection. Jealousy often consists of a combination of presenting emotions such as anger, sadness, resentment and disgust. It is not to be confused with envy.

Envy (also called invidiousness) is best defined as an emotion that "occurs when a person lacks another's (perceived) superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it."

The common experience of jealousy for many people may involve:

Fear of loss
Suspicion of or anger about a perceived betrayal
Low self-esteem and sadness over perceived loss
Uncertainty and loneliness
Fear of losing an important person to another

The experience of envy involves:

Feelings of inferiority
Resentment of circumstances
Ill will towards envied person often accompanied by guilt about these feelings
Motivation to improve
Desire to possess the attractive rival's qualities
Disapproval of feelings

Source: Wikipedia

Ok, the reason I looked up the definition was that I came across a cool article called “Jealousy Is a Wasted Emotion” on the “The Minimalist” blog.

According to them we can turn off our jealous feelings:

There is good news though. Like our televisions, we can chose to turn it off. We can choose to remove jealousy from our emotional arsenal. And like TV, it’s not always easy to turn off (it sure seems interesting sometimes, doesn’t it?) But turning off jealousy can significantly improve one’s emotional health. Because, at the end of the day, jealousy is never useful. Many negative emotions can be useful—pain tells us something is wrong, fear tells us to look before we leap, etc.—but jealousy, no matter how jealous we get, will never help.

Worth a read. If we can control these negative emotions we'll be much better people and much happier.


Friday, August 19, 2011

The Never Ending Battle

Every morn it begins anew
a battle for survival for our daily bread
we leave our houses like scurrying ants
heading towards our daily toil
suburban homes are standing empty
while city streets are clogged shut
cold building that stood empty at night
comes alive with returning drones
their blood and sweat oil the cogs
on which the city runs
thus the endless struggle continues
to keep us fed, clothed and, sheltered

Friday, August 12, 2011


The ticking of the old Grandfather clock
echoes throughout the old house
while shadows come alive
taking over darkened corners
droplets of water escape
one by one from a leaky kitchen faucet
ignored and forgotten
never to be fixed
from the rotting roof above the great hall
a great chandelier hangs in gloom
where once it sparkled like diamonds
radiating warmth and happiness
now spiders have spun their webs
ghosts of the past still wanders about
along dusty hallways
where sunshine rarely peeks
laughter of children
and the warmth of love
are memories of a time long lost
she spends a her days in that dying house
alone and unloved
forgotten by all
until she too is just another ghost

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Some Random Pics

Sailing at sunset

An evening at the beach. Apparently everybody had the same idea.

Fighting for supremacy


Taking the flag down

Amber alert



Monday, August 08, 2011

Famine in Africa

Image from

It seems to me that the continent of Africa has been in the receiving end of bad luck throughout history. Draught, famines and never ending conflicts, both international and internal, has plagued African countries for centuries.

The latest in these series of disasters is the ongoing famine in the Horn of Africa, which comprising of Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia. The worst hit at the moment is Somalia, but it is also affecting some parts of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda, with the potential to spread even further. The UN estimates 12 million people are in the brink of starvation in Somalia, while tens and thousand have already perished, mostly children. This is considered as the worst famine to hit in 20 years. Severe drought of the past two years and many conflicts in the area has destroyed food production, infrastructure and impeded aid, have been the major factors contributing for this situation.

To make things worse, militant groups are taking the people already suffering hostage by refusing them access to aid. This has been going on for some time, but fortunately, these militants have changed their stance and left the affected areas. This will allow the aid agencies to carry out their relief work. It fails understanding how one group of people can condemn another group of their own people, especially children, to a slow and painful death like starvation. At least a bullet to the head is quick, and merciful. Has humanity become so depraved?

The north-east part of Africa has had more than its share of misery in the past years. Between 1984 -1985, the largest famine to hit Ethiopia killed nearly 1 million people. This is what inspired Bob Geldof’s Band Aid concert, which raised over $100 million.
In 1988 nearly 6 million Ethiopians faced the risk of starvation due to famine.
In 1992 nearly 2 million people faced starvation in Somalia.
In 1994, the civil war in Sudan left 2.5 million Sudanese needing emergency food aids. In the same year, almost 7 million people face food shortage in Ethiopia.
According to the UN, about 22 million people were facing starvation in Sub Saharan Africa in 1996.
In 1997, Kenya declared a state of national disaster after severe drought threatened the livelihoods of nearly 2 million people.
Add to these the various never ending conflicts in the area and you have a lifetime of misery and suffering for the people.
Between 1998 and 2004 3.8 million people died of starvation and disease during the Second Congo War.
In 2003, famine in Sudan’s Darfur region
In 2005 food crisis in Malawi
In 2006 food crisis in the horn of Africa affecting Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya
In 2009 Kenyan food crisis affecting nearly 10 million
In 2010 food crisis in the Sahel region, a belt 1000 km wide spanning across middle of the African continent form the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea

With this amount of suffering going on in the rest of the world, our petty problems that we squabble over seem quite irrelevant, and our greed sickening. It doesn’t matter what your beliefs are, but these people deserve our prayers and blessings.

More details:

More Pics:

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

7-Billion Hits and Counting

How I wish my blog would get that much hits.

We humans have been very busy procreating and ensuring that our species will continue forever. We’ve been so successful at it that our population is set to reach the 7 billion mark later this year. Quite an achievement wouldn’t you say? Well, that remains to be seen.

We hit the 6 billion mark back in 1999, and it took only 12 years for another billion people to be added. This high rate of growth is seen only in the past 5 decades or so. It was recent as 1960 that the population was 3 billion. In a narrow span of 50+ years it has jumped its way to 7 billion. According to UN projections, the populations will reach 10.1 billion by 2100.

Sadly, research by David Bloom, a professor of economics and demographics at the Harvard School of Public Health, shows that most of this growth will be seen in the developing nations, not the developed ones. A lot of challenges will be faced by these nations to sustain their people. Poverty is sure to increase along with the competition for limited resources.

The research also shows that the growth rate of developed nations are likely to remain flat, but it has the challenge that there will be less working age adults to support the retired community.

“In the next 40 years, virtually all (97%) of the world's 2.3 billion projected increase will be in the underdeveloped regions, with nearly half (49%) in Africa.”

However, according to Mr. Bloom these challenges can be overcome if we are willing to take some serious action.

"Those challenges are not insurmountable, but we cannot deal with them by sticking our heads in the sand. We have to tackle some tough issues ranging from the unmet need for contraception among hundreds of millions of women and the huge knowledge-action gaps we see in the area of child survival, to the reform of retirement policy and the development of global immigration policy. It's just plain irresponsible to sit by idly while humankind experiences full force the perils of demographic change,"

Call me a pessimist, but I believe the world is already straining its resources to sustain the current population. Almost half the population, around 3.5 billion, lives on less than $2.50 a day. I’m doubtful that it will improve anytime soon. I’ll be very happy if I’m proven wrong. Ok, if by some miracle people start to care for each other and alleviate poverty, the more important question to ask is whether our planet can continue to support us.

I believe one way to tackle things is to improve on what is categorized as sustainable technologies. These include Renewable energy, sustainable living, organic agriculture, environmental economics, and environmental technology. With these, we could probably reduce the stress we place on the planet’s resources.

“In the last 200 years the population of our planet has grown exponentially, at a rate of 1.9% per year. If it continued at this rate, with the population doubling every 40 years, by 2600 we would all be standing literally shoulder to shoulder.”
Stephen Hawking

“Short of nuclear war itself, population growth is the gravest issue the world faces. If we do not act, the problem will be solved by famine, riots, insurrection and war.”
Robert McNamara, Former World Bank President

Some interesting reads:

Monday, August 01, 2011

RedBull X Fighters

Some pics from the RedBull XFighters show held at the Galle Face Green.