The search for national identity

Court Jester
Symbols, colours, anthems: are these what shape our identity? We have older ones on flags, newer ones have sprung up on stickers, the shapes change; do identities change?We have people who hail from different faiths and cultures, how do we weld them together? There are people pondering weighty questions of constitutions while I have been playing with symbols.Ceylon's (and later ...

The new E-NIC : Big Brother will watch you

Court Jester
Sri Lanka is to issue E-NIC's soon. The bill has been passed in parliament and is now apparently in the committee stage. The draft has not been published so we don't have full details, but we do know that it is modeled on Pakistan's CNIC scheme.The Sunday Times states that "the detailed data base will include biometrics data, details of ...

Evening breezes

Court Jester
After the heat of April and the rains in May the weather has turned quite nice. Particularly pleasing is the bracing evening breeze.It seems to set in a little late, perhaps after eight in the evening, but when in it does it is such a nice experience; cool without being chilly, strong enough to be bracing without being uncomfortable; rustling ...

Israel: a 'colonial' settler state

Court Jester
The problem of Palestine is a vexed one and I have grappled with it before, albeit in a lighter vein.Something struck me today, the situation in Israel is similar in may ways to that of the former 'White Dominions' of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and the United States. These countries saw a large scale influx of settlers from ...

The attraction that ISIS hold for Muslims in the West

Court Jester
Janith had written something on this that prompted me to put down a few thoughts. Its a very complex question that I have been puzzling over for some time.I have not had time to think through everything but I jotted a list of what I believe are the factors that lead to the phenomenon: A sense of alienation/isolation from the ...

Costs of dining out and hotel/resort prices in Sri Lanka

Court Jester
Icaruswepthad written an interesting post on restaurant prices. This is something I have been thinking about myself, along with the related subject of hotel/resort prices.Dining out is expensive and the reason is not just food cost. We are getting ripped off in the coffee bars in Colombo and the resorts outside Colombo, something I have complained of before.Let me share ...

Revert to a Currency Board to solve Sri Lanka's monetary and fiscal woes

Court Jester
The Sri Lankan rupee has been depreciating rapidly in the last few months and the satirical website NewsCurry suggested that the US dollar to adopted to prevent further depreciation. Although this sounds absurd, as my previous post explained this is actually a workable and serious proposition.A Currency Board would also achieve the same ends and would be easier to implement ...

Abandoning the Sri Lankan Rupee in favour of the US Dollar

Court Jester
The inimitable, NewsCurry carries an article claiming that the Finance Minister has proposed adopting the US dollar as Sri Lanka's currency to prevent further depreciation of the rupee. Although NewsCurry is only satire the suggestion is actually very sensible and has been adopted in certain extreme circumstances to stabilise an economy, the most recent being in Zimbabwe.The process is termed ...

Bond market scandals in Sri Lanka

Court Jester
Just over a year ago a great controversy erupted over the an issue of bonds by the Government of Sri Lanka. The bonds were bought by a company controlled by the son-in-law of the Central Bank Governor which obtained a large chunk of the bonds on offer at premium interest rates.At the time there was some doubts as to whether ...

The quiet of the afternoon

Court Jester
For me, the early part of an afternoon, just after lunch on a holiday, has a serenity that no other time of day can match. The light is bright, almost brilliant but it never seems harsh. Despite the heat- it is far too hot to be walking around outside, contemplating the surroundings from the shade of a drawing room or ...

What do people in Kandy DO? and other random thoughts

Court Jester
Some random thoughts on a couple of topics, the result of a chat with a few people last evening. What do people in Kandy do? I was having a chat with someone who mentioned that she was from Kandy. Apart from the usual gripes about the terrible drive to actually get to Kandy, we got on to the subject of ...

Toilet Apartheid: Why not introduce paid toilets?

Court Jester
The Sunday Times carries an expose on railway toilets that are reserved exclusively for tourists. I guess the problem arises from a well-meaning but misguided attempt to make the railway more tourist friendly. There is a problem of dirty toilets and the railway probably lacks funds to employ enough people to keep the toilets clean.The solution would be to introduce ...

Is Sri Lanka a police state?

Court Jester
A friend of mine came across this and forwarded it to me. If this is correct its a very dangerous extension of police powers that need to be curbed.The official website of the Sri Lanka police has a page of clarifications entitled "Find out the Truth". The website claims:Recently, some news items were to be seen in circulation via internet ...

The thieves of old

Court Jester
A friend of mine was narrating a rather amusing story today. It concerned his father and of an incident that took place in the early 1980's.My friend's grandmother was living alone at the time in her house in Angoda. As there were no telephones in the immediate vicinity and no way of calling for assistance my friend's father would sleep ...

Lunacy in Tax Policy: Super Gains Tax now suspended ?

Court Jester
The PM has apparently made a statement that the recently imposed Super Gains Tax is to be suspended; just hours after the Finance Minister boasted that the tax would raise Rs.65bn.What on earth is going on?The Super Gains Tax, a one-off 25% additional tax (ie over and above normal income tax) imposed on an individual or a company that reports ...

The protection of domestic agriculture

Court Jester
President Sirisena has recently called for the protection of domestic agriculture and for import substitution policies to help local cultivation.Highlighting on the agriculture sector development, Sirisena said it was “a shame” that the country was importing agricultural products which could be cultivated in the country, adding that the Government was spending over Rs. 6,000 million annually on imports of essential ...

How should we vote?

Court Jester
Indi had written something urging citizens to vote for good people. Just before the last election I did an assessment of the candidates. What we have now is something of a re-run of the same issues but with the advantage of having a short track record of the Sirisena administration to compare against Mahinda. Looking back at the past few ...

CA Sri Lanka, Audit Firms & Their Slaves - some thoughts

Court Jester
A former accounting trainee V Kanthaiya had written an article faulting accounting firms for underpaying their trainees and going on to describe this as modern day slavery. There is some substance to his complaint but the charge of slavery is perhaps taking things too far. Serendipity has weighed in on the side of the student, these are my thoughts on ...

Colombo's last Gothamba Rotti cart

Court Jester
This evening when returning home I came across something that I had believed was extinct: a man wheeling a cart selling gothamba rotti.Piyadasa, making gothamba rottis.These were a familiar sight years ago, the carts would go by in the evening, 'bell' clanging. The 'bell' was not a real bell but the head of a small mammoty which would be stuck ...

The BBS is a Western conspiracy

Court Jester
The former president has revealed that the Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS), an organisation that claims to fight for the rights of Sri Lanka's Buddhists is in fact a conspiracy hatched by Western powers. It was allegedly launched by the opposition and Western powers to defeat him in the election. It is a pity that the article concerned did not get ...