What A Colombo Revolution Might Look Like (Thailand) Protestors in Bangkok. Photo by Thomas Galvez There’s a section of Sri Lanka – call them UNPers, elites, ESE, Ceylonese, whatever – that really really dislike Mahinda Rajapaksa and everything he represents. They’d like to see him thrown out of power at the least and tried as a war criminal at the most. This amorphous population, however, cannot beat ...

Ali Baba And The NSA Banksy stencil photo by nolifebeforecoffee There’s been a lot of talk about Edward Snowden and the NSA, specifically whether he should be hanged by his neck till dead or treated as a whistleblower. I lean towards the whistleblower side, largely because it’s really hard to take the side of a monolith like the NSA over one human being. There ...

Anti Christian Christmas A Christian shop in Negombo. Shamefully, places of worship were attacked over the holidays – both Christian and Muslim. In this case the attacks seem to have been Muslims attacking Sufis (a sect) and claimed Buddhists attacking evangelical Christians. Both of these acts go under the radar because they’re on what my friend Dinidu calls ‘minorities within minorities’. The ...

The Cantaloupe Crash Scene of the collapse from Nathashi Wijesundera’s FB Cantaloupe is an events management team that grew out of the old Colombo Nightlife crew, AFAIK. I’ve met a few of the directors and they’re nice enough, though those sort of events and nightclubs (Amuseum) are not my scene at all. They are, however, a scene which a lot of people ...

Action On The LLRC The LLRC The LLRC, which initially looked like a kangaroo court, actually turned out to be pretty good. After their recommendations looked like they’d be turned to mulch, however, it looks like they’re actually implementing them. If you’re unfamiliar, the LLRC is the Lessons Learnt And Reconciliation Commission. They documented the collapse of the cease-fire and final war and ...

The Hula Baloo Hulugalle (center) at the MCNS in 2010. Every now and then you get a soap opera without turning on the TV. In this case, what seems to be an affair between a government catcher and the wife of a businessman has blown up into 23 transferred police officers, public letters to the papers and the dissolution of the Media ...

Cop Killers Policeman at Lasantha Wickremetunge’s funeral. There’s a been a lot in the news about the cops executing people or, as the media generously puts it, drowning or getting shot while trying to escape. Recently a police constable and his wife were killed in Kamburupitiya by a brutal armed gang. That was a terrible event, taking place in front of ...

Tarun Tejpal, Power, And Rapiness Tarun Tejpal’s book, photo by Maleeha Azeem. India is by now famous for gang-rape and assault emerging from its slums, but it comes from all sides of society, really. Tarun Tejpal is (was) the editor of Tehelka, a powerful muck-raking Indian magazine. He was accused of sexual assault at a literary festival by a young reporter. He acknowledged what ...

The CHOGM Bad PR Fiesta A CHOGM traffic map, with RISK pieces. The Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting ended in Sri Lanka last week. Aside from messing up traffic for a few days, it was a big event that didn’t really have a big impact. The strange and by this point predictable thing was that it became, in the international media at least, about ...

CHOGM Party Poopers Bridge viewed from the Rameshwaran train India’s Manomohan Singh and Canada’s Stephen Harper are not attending the CHOGM summit in Sri Lanka. They say because of moral issues, but they act for political reasons – at best a crude approximation of the former. Singh is tired of getting shit from Tamil Nadu and Harper is tired of getting shit ...

Buddhist Temples, Noise Pollution And Elephant Abuse Alanmathiniyaramaya Temple had a ceremony last night which blasted ear-splitting chanting through loudspeakers all down the street. There was literally a loudspeaker 15 feet from our bedroom window, playing at full volume. They were also loading a poor, terrified young elephant onto a truck under our window, with clanking of chains and slamming of metal. I’m a Buddhist and ...

The CHOGM 2013 Website And Centium Software The CHOGM website is making news because it cost Rs. 15 million, which is a lot for a not very impressive looking website. From checking out the delegate login page, it looks like the site was designed by Australian company Centium Software. It also looks like the website is a bit more than a content thing, handling accreditation, arrivals ...

Brain Drain Vs. Brain Development Solar eclipse seen through a brain scan. I was reading an article by Thrishantha Nanayakkara which made an interesting point. “There is a mythical belief that “talent leaves Sri Lanka”. This is not true. Talent is there among most professionals already living in Sri Lanka. I can quote not only professionals but also many innovative village youth who would ...

Legalizing Kasippu Except, no. Kasippu is homebrew, moonshine, illicit liquor. It’s pretty noxious but also very popular in Sri Lanka, definitely accounting for more drinking that booze. We have toddy taverns but most hardcore drinkers go for kasippu, served often in like plastic bags, drunk in poverty and desperation. It’s terrible tasting, potentially quite dangerous, and socially toxic. I also think, ...

Spam SMS Election Spam. In Sri Lanka at least, it seems perfectly acceptable for companies to send spam SMS to all and sundry. What is spam, first-off. I once got into a somewhat heated argument with a US-based boss about what spam was. I said it was simply unsolicited mail but he said it was Ok to send to it to ...

Skype Robot Photo by PixelPlacebo on Flickr. I’ve always thought this was a cool idea, you have a robot that you can remote control with your face there. There’s a severely allergic school-kid that does it through a $6,000 device and a corporate device for $2,500 a month. Which is all cool, but seems a bit exorbitant for, essentially, an iPad ...

Politics And Jail An old infographic from the Daily Mirror I was reading about jail time being seen as a badge of honor in India, for politicians. In India about 30% of lower house members have charges against them and having a criminal record seems to actually double your chances of winning an election (via WSJ). In Sri Lanka I feel like ...

The Sri Lankan Impassport Image from my Sri Lankan passport. A Sri Lankan passport is one of the worst for traveling overseas, as ranked by Henley & Partners. We’re in company with Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan, Eritrea, Palestine, Nepal, the Sudan, Kosovo and the Lebanon. As every Sri Lankan knows. Getting visas for anywhere besides India or Singapore is really difficult and places ...

The YAMU Apps The Greatest page on the app. I’m going to stop apologizing for long absences. It happens. We just shipped two new apps for YAMU, which would be a feasible excuse, if I’d done the shipping. But nay, Janith (Leanage) built our iOS app from scratch and rebuilt our Android app to match. I did basically nothing there, besides asking ...

This is a video doing the rounds parodying an all too common assumption in the subcontinent and elsewhere, that rape is somehow the victim’s fault. This comes from both men and women, the idea that women provoke rape, or that there are somehow extenuation circumstances that make men unable to control themselves. Randomly, I just read a distilled version ...

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