The only time I ever blog is when I’ve something else to do – and don’t want to do it.

Hmmm, I wonder why I don’t blog more often then?

Anyway, I am in the college computer lab with a three hour deadline for some assignment so here I am – putting my time to good use as usual 😛

Let’s see, what facet of my fascinating life can I inundate you with now?

umm…uhh…err……

Damn it, I DO have a fascinating life; I am just so modest that I can’t see it 😀

Oh well… I still don’t want to get back to my assignment, what to do?

So let me tell you something which fired up my hardy little soul recently (hope I don’t get sued for this…)

According to my features lecturer, Readers Digest edits all its articles 28 times before publishing! um… errr… Is that supposed to be a good thing? Seems to me that the original freshness of the article would be thoroughly killed by that thorough an editing.

Standardization is becoming the rule everywhere. Maybe it works at a certain level as KFC and Pizza Hut seem to prove but the creativity, the art form inherent in the work would go for a toss.

Too many cooks literally do spoil the broth, no matter how good they are. I don’t fancy an article of mine going though 28 editings and rewritings to be shaped into a standardized house style. Writing, especially feature writing is a creative art form and to edit it so much would kill all its freshness and spirit.

When and where exactly did we start worshipping the demigod of standardization anyway? Most of the time, all it does is make a poentially very good product being created by a very creative producer – substandard.

And that applies to anything whether it be the food industry, garment industry or writing industry.

uh oh – I just read back that last sentence. Don’t inundate me with theories of economies of scale, mass production etc – I don’t want to hear it 😛

I know I am taking a rather one sided view on it and perhaps I am not really qualified to comment on how standardization works in other industries but at least in the journalistic profession – especially feature writing, I just can’t see the advantage.

My lecturer was all for this standardization; when I drew a dissenting voice, she brushed it aside and said Readers Digest was a very popular magazine so obviously, the policy works.

Huh – Well I dunno, they just lost a potentially great writer on their staff 😛

Anyway, my lecturer wouldn’t let me air any of my objections further and I am still broiling mad so I am venting it on you instead 🙂

I thought dissenting voices were supposed to be encouraged? Oh – but not in a standardized world; there is only one correct way to do things and no other, therefore there can only be one opinion.

Beware people, if you don’t rise up and act soon, you will soon live in a Big Brother world and have even your physical features standardized 😛

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Hello Ladies and Gentlemen of Kottuville… *Deep Bow*

I am sure most of you don’t know who I am; The few of you who did know me would have forgotten my existence by now I am sure.

I was never a consistent blogger and now it’s been three months at least since I last blogged. I assure you I wouldn’t thrust my presence upon you now if it weren’t for a very valid reason. You See, I have a lot of work to do and very little time to do it with.

So I am staying up tonight because all my fellow students in the hostel are working very, very hard and are callous enough not to hide their efforts from me. They have absolutely no sense of the finer points of sensitivity.

Instead of thoughtfully hiding their industrousness from me so that I wouln’t feel inadequate or lazy, they are slaving away like ants and what’s more, to add insult to injury, are constantly giving me ‘ant-to-the-grasshopper’ type lectures.

So in a huff, I took out my laptop, spread all my notes around me and set purposefully to ‘work’.

I am sure all you students out there would sympathise with me when I say I got hungry soon after – like about two minutes after.

There’s nothing like some serious studying to get your digestive juices flowing. So, I got up and polished off a packet of pineapple cake I had. My hunger still wan’t satisfied though so my eyes swiveled round the room, hoping to light on some other snack I might have bought and forgotten about; Nothing but one raw egg…drat!

So I boiled the egg… Then I figured it wasn’t good enough as a snack, I needed to garnish it. Walked across to the canteen to get some chillies and an onion and then took the trouble to make an egg salad.

*Yummmm!* Delicious

Finally satisfied that I had done all I could to satisfy my hunger, I conscientiously took up my laptop again.

Eureka, the Wi-Fi was working. I hadn’t checked my mail in ages, it had been all of six hours already, I just HAD to check my mail.

Well, no new mail in my hotmail, gmail or yahoo accounts (Sigh!) but I did catch the Puppeteer with her habitual ‘Busy’ sign online.

Well of course I just HAD to chat with her, we hadn’t had a good chat for over 24 hours.

So, after spending about 1/2 an hour with her, I began to feel guilty again and signed off. Closed all my mail accounts and got down to serious business.

But then I started thinking… it’s been ages since I visited my favourite site, youtube; Ages since I watched my beloved Simon Cowell – I could watch video clips of that man again and again… and again 😀

So, I opened youtube, only the download speed is rather slow, I have got several tabs open downlaoding youtube videos right now.

In the meantime, so as not to waste time, I am blogging. I am nothing if not conscientous – I never waste time 😛


Don’t look at me folks – that’s not really my title, it was just the tiltle of a debate in an English Day program I found myself at recently.

I was rather startled when the topic of the debate was announced but that was before it started. After that, I was just plain flabbergasted.

The round was started by the team that argued for English’s necesssity.

“Good Evening, Ladies and Gentlemen, my topic this evening is: ‘is English really necessary in this Sinhala speaking country.’ I say yes, English is necessary in this Sinhala speaking country because blah, blah blah…”

And then the leader of the arguing team got up.

“Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, my topic this evening is ‘is English really necessary in this Sinhala speaking country’ and I say No, English is not necessary because…….”

And so on and so forth it went between the two teams comprising of three girls each until it ended with the closing team insisting that “English in not necessary in this Sinhala speaking country.”

The ‘Moderator’, another school girl finshed saying that the judge would decide and give the conclusion but there was of course no judge on stage to give his/her views on this…er….thought provoking subject.

So while the rest of the program moved on, I was left literally speechless with shock. I had been listening carefully to all the arguments for and against to see if there was any mention of other communities and the need to converse with them but no, apparently whoever had coached the girls was not aware that any other community other than the Sinhalese who all spoke Sinhala lived in Sri Lanka.

Oh and BTW, that wasn’t a real debate, they were all pre prepared speeches all drumming the ‘Sinhala speaking Country’ into almost every sentence of all the speeches, either for or against.

The team arguing for English only brought up globalization, the job market and education.

The team arguing against, insisted that we needed English only if we went abroad, but if we came back here, “We all speak Sinhala.”

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

I ask you, in this day and age? What the heck was that about anyway? At first I was inclined to give the teacher who trained them the benefit of the doubt and assume whoever it was was just a singularly stupid person moving within very narrow confines and had never chanced upon another non-Sinhala speaker. But now I come to think of it, unless this person was living down a mine shaft for the last 30 years, he/she could not have possibly missed the war and its origins or at the very least all that has happened over the last couple of months.

I discredited the obvious racist theory at first only because I couldn’t believe a racist could be that stupid but now I am not so sure.

An English day being held in Colombo, various dignitaries as well as the media invited and this is the message that has been approved through several screenings and rehearsals to come on out?

Wow!


Tell me about it, not that I have got a lot of wealth to impart in trying to buy health but…

Sigh, Today is the closest I’ve felt to ‘normal’ in more than three weeks.

Got a whopping case of Gastritis 😦

I have always been an unhealthy little brat (and it sucks, coming from a family of disgustingly healthy folks, they tend to suspect me of hypochondria), but I had forgotten how terrible my gastritis, when it acts up could be because I hadn’t had it in over two years.

I was following this specialised yoga course that had been guaranteed to pep up my health and it really had worked. Only it spoiled me a bit too. Where before, I had learnt to live with constant aches and pains and frequent rounds of really bad illnesses like gastritis et al, I had now learnt to enjoy good health (or rather take it for granted) 😛

To such an extent that I made a royal fuss both at home and at work, when I fell ill after two years’ reprieve. The folks at home were OK (means a leeetle bit sympathetic and not too cynical) and at work, I had the Puppeteer waiting on me hand and foot 😀

I won’t drone on about all the details of my sickness though I would love to. I don’t want you to start thinking like my meanie of a sis that I am a hypochondriac, so if that is what you are thinking, you can bloody well keep it to yourself, Humph!

Why can’t people understand that all I need is a lot of Tender Loving Care? 😦

My own mother goes on and on and on, Mrs. Bennet style about how it’s all my own fault, how I eat too much fatty/oily/spicy foods, how I never pay any attention to my health blah, blah, blah.

And then there’s my sister. If she doesn’t stop sniffing and snorting all over the place while I am moaning in my bed and my parents are fussing over me, she is going to get her nose punched in soon.

Its not like I have it all. My own mother has inflicted on me, her flesh and blood, a constant diet of saltless, spiceless food. How could she do this to me? I don’t want boiled vegetables, I want juicy, fresh fruits, I want coffee, I want all the spicy, fried snacks she makes…Waaah!

It’s mango and rambutan season now, two of my favourite fruits and I am not allowed to eat them because they apparently stir up heat 😦

And so my very considerate family keeps them out of my sight and would have me believe they are abstaining for my sake. Warms my heart – indeed it does, especially when I see all the peelings and seeds in the waste bin.

A couple of days back, I convinced my mother that I should be allowed to eat atleast water melon as that was considered cooling. She relented so I ate *ahem* half a huge water melon. Don’t look at me like that, I am a hungry kid these days.

Ah, It was sweet and lucisious and felt good but…

*Sigh* As soon as I finished I had chills all over my body and came down with a mild temperature. Goodness, the scolding I got. All mothers-to-be should be given mandatory lessons on coddling their children, mine is seriously lacking in that department.

The next day, I woke up with pincers around my heart. Some crab had somehow sneaked in and gotten hold of the miserable organ. I knew better than to update my family about this latest development so I kept quiet and went to work as usual, clutching my heart all the way like I was about to have a heart attack. Actually there were several times on the way when I thought I was having one.

But there was consolation to be had – the puppeteer was her usual solicitious self – thank goodness for some things 😀

So, after playing on her heartstrings for awhile (I could have gone on at it indefinitely but I guess she got tired), she recommended that I go see a doctor.

A doctor? I hate doctors. I hate hospitals and nurses too. I hate the smell of hospitals and I hate the smell of doctors and nurses – they all give off this horrible antiseptic smell 😛

I think I have blogged about this before. If I have to, I prefer to go to a veddamahattaya rather than a doctor. Vedamahattayas don’t smell antiseptic and they don’t stick injections in me.

So NO, I refused to go to a doctor with her. Then she came up with the diagnosis herself that the gas was trapped in my chest and that we needed to get it out. Well BRILLIANT! It’s gas caused by gastritis, we know that much but how to get it out?

“Drink Coke!”

Huh?

That was the puppeteer’s solution, to drink coke and get me to burp out the gas. In the first place, I had been forced to see a doctor sometime before who had warned me off all soft drinks. And in the second place (don’t you DARE sneer), I don’t like coke. I like Fanta and Sprite well enough but Coca Cola in my opinion is one of the greatest hoaxes of all time. Some foul tasting medicine like stuff that people have been conned into believing actually tastes good and is cool to drink.

If I had to choose a soft drink to go against doctor’s orders, it certainly wouldn’t have been coke but she insisted Coke was the fizziest and the one most likely to get me to burp. (Just had your lunch and feel grossed out reading this? Ha sorry! Burrrrrrrrp :P)

Anyway, I finally grew tired of the constant pinching on my heart and was desperate enough to give anything a try, so she went off to get a can of coke. And in short order, I found myself on the balcony away from prying eyes and delicate constitutions, trying to burp my way through a can of coke. But seeing that I wasn’t all that used to chugging coke, I wasn’t too good at it.

What the puppeteer had in mind probably was for me to go BURRRRP, BUARRRRP, BUUURRRPP but instead every so often after a lot of effort, I went bpp, bipp, blp. 😛

But hey you know what? IT WORKED 😀

The tightening in my chest eased off and I was able to breathe properly again.

Moral of story : When next you have gastritis, avoid fresh fruits and wholesome meals and drink plenty of coke 😀


Tagged – eep!

03Jun09

Uh oh! I have to describe five words on how I feel about the end of the war!

Considering that I spent most of the weeks preceding the war’s end imitating an ostrich with its head firmly shoved into the sand, I really don’t know what I am supposed to feel.

Of course I am relieved the war is over but other than that, I am rather less informed than 98% of the citizenry of this country as to what actually happened in the war zone. Working in the media, I quite deliberately went out of my way to avoid all media reports on anything disturbing, especially the situation of the IDPs.

I am like that, I just can’t stomach too much negativity. I deleted all e-mail forwards, youtube links etc that purportedly showed IDPs suffering. Just accidentally coming across one of Whackster’s posts detailing one such incident made me feel ill.

I deliberately blocked my thoughts to all aspects of the war and the human suffering it caused and went my own way, living my own life without for the most part, allowing any part of the war to touch me.

I am a rather strange (or really not so strange) breed, a tamil who grew up away from her country and for the most part was out of touch with the country’s situation or ground reality. That does not in any way make me any less a Sri Lankan, I fiercely love the motherland and am excessively proud to be a Sri Lankan, perhaps the more so because I grew up away from here as a ‘foreigner’ in a foreign land.

To be able to come back and live in my own country amongst my own countrymen has been a long cherished dream. Though I came down only after the 2002 ceasefire, I still live that cherished dream and refused to budge when my frantic parents tried to get me out of the country after war erupted again in 2006. No way was I ever going to be a second class citizen in another country ever again.

I loved being in Sri Lanka, loved being amongst my people, be they Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim or Christian and the feeling of blending in that I never could get in the country I grew up in.

I don’t want to sound blonde but it has always been unfathomable to me why so many people would leave the paradise they were born in for foreign shores. Sri Lanka even at the height of war was still a far better country to live in in my humble opinion than as some belittled refugee or asylum seeker in some other country.

I understand that those actually caught in war zones might have wanted to leave but I know several such people who did leave for such reasons, then pine to return home even before the war was over. Ultimately, there is ‘No place like home’.

Except for one freak incident in my childhood while visiting Jaffna on holiday, I also haven’t had the misfortune to experience any aspect of the war and so it is not my prerogative to judge others. As I said, while my family and the rest of the community were highly concerned about the IDPs and what was happening to them, I blocked myself completely from reading or viewing anything on the situation. I couldn’t for the life of me see what I could do about it so I didn’t want to know about it either. That leaves me very little informed to comment about anything on.

I am extremely relieved that the war is over and the predominant sensation is hope – hope for a united, dignified and prosperous Sri Lanka. Many in my community are skeptical of such hope. They fear that Tamils will always be second class citizens in Sri Lanka.

In the six years I have lived here now, I can’t say I have come across a single instance of bias towards myself as a tamil. But then, neither does that mean it doesn’t exist – all I can maintain is that it doesn’t exist at the predominant level that the rest of my community fears.

It wasn’t until I read up on the ehtnic conflict and its causes and read especially of the ’83 riots and what happened then that I understood my parents frantic worry in trying to convince my sister and I to go abroad and my community’s sense of animosity.

Till then, having returned from another country where I never fit in due to my culture, language and citizenry, I was simply reveling in the feeling of being ‘home’ at last and could not understand why so many tamils would go through so many humiliating procedures to get foreign visas and then endure even more humilations in whichever country they went to.

An incident comes to mind. As soon as the ceasefire was declared in 2002, I pressured my family to allow me to come back to Sri Lanka on my own. They arranged for me to be escorted by an elderly Tamil gentleman who was coming down on some work related issue. At the airport he asked me why I was so eager to return to Sri Lanka when most young people were desperate to get out of it.

“I just can’t understand why they would want to go to a new country where the culture would be so alien to theirs. I grew up here, knowing that this was not my country, that I was an ‘outsider’, that I was from an alien culture and that always hurt. I just want to be in my own land and want to fit in”, I replied.

Having also been discriminated against as an alien, I was thoroughly fed up and my hunger to return to Sri Lanka knew no bounds. So, since I hadn’t appeared to convince him of the wisdom of my action, I added “I just want to be in a place where I know I belong, where I will not be treated as a 2nd class citizen.”

To which he patiently replied, “I am still living here even though I ought to have retired and gone back long ago because I prefer to be treated as a 2nd class citizen in a foreign country rather than a 2nd class citizen in my own country, which is how Tamils there are treated. You will learn this bitter truth the hard way like I did, soon enough”.

Well thus far, personally speaking, I have not yet learned any such bitter truth. Whether it is naive of me to think so I do not know, but despite all the ugliness this country has witnessed post insdependence of a racial nature, all I can do is hope for a better future. I sincerely believe that Sri Lanka can have such a future and what’s more that It like the war’s end will come to pass much sooner that most people anticipate.

With regard to the five words – I won’t talk about sadness or despair or the other negative words that most of the other bloggers used. Since I deliberately kept myself from feeling anything, I shouldn’t be hypocritic now and admit to any such emotion.

So it will have to be

Guilt
Relief
Hope
Hope
And more Hope

Everyone else seems to be tagged already so I won’t tag anyone either. Thanks for bringing me out of retirement Chavie – Hope it was worth the effort 🙂


Tweet, Tweet!

07Apr09

Utterly jobless and bored with it. Well not jobless literally, just that my line of work involves doing nothing most of the time and while my own mind is a fascinating companion, there’s only so much I can take of it.

That’s why I am writing this post – to prevent me from thinking too much. Got one of the computers unblocked yesterday by complaining that I couldn’t do any proper research for my work with so many sites blocked.

Unfortunately, they unblocked Papare Boy’s computer. The ingrate, he’s been grumbling about how slow his computer has become ever since. Anyway, I snitched his computer when he went off somewhere and now he’s continously hovering behind my chair asking when he can have it back. Well, not anytime soon!

Anyway, pointless as this blog is, let’s try to give some meaning to it – I believe I had a vague idea of blogging about twitter.

Right, Twitter – the new rage sweeping the globe, answering that all important question to all those who want to know – What are you doing?

Duh! Obviously I am doing nothing or rather, nothing constructive if I am on twitter 24/7.

Here is where we get to know all about the fascinating details of others’ lives – Like did you know that Jerry bused it to work this morning? Dude, if you gave us some updates about the laiiideee, we might be interested but not if you are going to inundate us with whether you bused it or hitch hiked it to work today. (Unless you hitch hiked with a serial killer and are now writing from beyond the grave – how come we never hear of incidents like that in Sri Lanka?)

The Messiah of Madness is already addicted to twitter. Worse, she’s got me to join the band wagon. So today, PB came along and decided he had to join too. But he took exception to being teased about joining the band wagon, apparently he is doing it only to see what all the others in kottu are up to. He is NOT doing it because everyone else is doing it. Right! Just so long as we have got that sorted out.

Chee, he’s still on my case to get off the computer. I am trying to shame him into acting like a ‘gentleman’ and not harass a ‘lady’ but he’s not that stupid (pretty stupid but not that stupid)!

Oh well, signing off now. See you on twitter if your are there. Cheerio!


Out of the millions of people all over the globe who have jobs they don’t particularly like and even those who are frantic for such a job because they are unemployed, I know I am one of the lucky few who does have a job that I really love.

You would think that would be motivation enough for me to do my job properly wouldn’t you? Nopes! Well, it’s not exactly that I don’t do my job ‘properly’, it’s just that I drag my feet and wait till the last possible minute of the deadline before handing in my work, even though I have been given plenty of time.

Considering that my current job is one I have always wanted to do and considering also that I got this blessing rather late in life, before which I had a series of crappy jobs which I hated, I am rather surprised at myself.

I didn’t think I would need any pushing to be constantly motivated on this job but somehow, I guess I am one of those lazy, laid back people who always need a push. Ugh! The problem is, I don’t particularly like the ‘pushing’ either. Most Sri Lankan managers have never heard of the ‘positive motivation’ that they keep carping about in management books these days. They still live in the grand old days when motivation of the masses was through the threat of cutting off their heads or throwing them into the dungeons.

It works though – I find myself too lethargic to start and get through with my work until the deadlines draw near. And then, I rush around in a burst of adrenaline and successfully finish the job at the last minute because I know I’ll be hauled over the coals otherwise.

I had been given a week to do some fairly simple stuff that would take only two hours to do but since the deadline is tomorrow, I was taking my own sweet time about it as I usually do. Then suddenly and completely unexpectedly, I got called into the superior’s office and asked to hand in the work. Huh? I had not even started on it! Of course I wasn’t stupid enough to tell her that – I just gave an obviously lame excuse like I was still working on it and that I still wasn’t done ‘researching’ on it.

Whew! By the time I left her office, I felt about two inches tall (or is that small?). I couldn’t help feeling irritated either, if she wanted it well within the deadline, she could have told me and I would have done it. That however is not the point. I know I should finish my work as early as possible instead of as late as possible but somehow though I keep telling myself that a dozen times a day, I am simply not motivated enough to keep away from the siren like call of kottu, facebook or youtube to settle down and do my work. (Well, at least I am not the only one – thanks to these same tendencies in my colleagues, most websites are now blocked at the office. I really ought to write another post about this someday. It’s just like the race between the scientists who keep coming up with newer and newer vaccines and antibiotics and the microorganisms which keep on evolving to counteract them. They keep blocking various sites and we keep coming up with various proxy sites).

So today, I gave myself a good talking to; If I didn’t want to feel the whip on my back again, I better speed up on my own. This reminds me of a motivational lecture I once heard (though I didn’t consider it very motivating at the time):

Japan is one of the world’s biggest fishing nations with its people having a seemingly insatiable appetite for fish. So much so that fish caught around their own waters is not enough to cater to the demand and Japanese trawlers keep going further and further out to sea to increase the catch.

The only problem was, it took a couple of days or even weeks to get back to shore and so the fish wouldn’t be freshly caught. The Japanese being err… highly refined in their taste buds objected to this, they didn’t want frozen fish. So the fishermen kept the fish alive in small tanks till they got back to shore. The fish however were apparently despondent at being taken out of their roomy abode and being dumped into slum like dwellings which they had to share with several of their fellow beings and so didn’t swim around perkily and cheerfully as fish are wont to do.

The discerning Japanese palate detected a taste in the fish here too. They were apparently still not as tasty as the freshly caught fish which had been energetic until the time of its catch. How to solve this dilemma? The ingenious fishermen came up with the perfect motivation to keep the fish energetic and get their blood pumping – They introduced a predatory fish into the tank. The predator ended up eating a few of the fish before the journey back to shore was over but it was certainly successful in keeping all the other fish constantly on the move.

End of Story!

This was the trainer’s idea of what can be achieved if the proper motivation is induced. I have since wondered if the discerning Japanese palate didn’t notice a difference in taste because of the stress induced in the fish. I mean shouldn’t the fish be happy and carefree when caught to taste better? Guess I will never know now.

What I do know is that I am going to be swimming around quite frantically on my own now. I don’t want a piranha introduced into my tank to keep me motivated.