Friday, June 26, 2009

To the King of Pop...

Dear Michael Jackson,

This morning I woke up to the news that you are no more. I didn't know what to think. I still don't. I did not want to believe it. How could you, a king in every sense of the word, be dead?

But it seems that you are, and that saddens me to no end. Like millions of others across the globe, I grew up listening to you and idolising you. I know the words to every single one of your hits. I have seen every single one of your music videos, hundreds of times, seen most of your concerts on VHS and later on on DVD. Over the years, I've tried to emulate you, to copy your innovative dance moves, especially your signature moonwalk. Tried and failed miserably.

To me it didn't matter if you were "black or white"; you were a living legend. You were an awe inspiring performer and an entertainer extradionaire. Your career was a "thriller" to your loyal fans. When controversy was threatening to turn you into a "stranger in Moscow" you told your critics to "beat it" in your own quiet, soft-spoken way.

You're truly a king. Every man, woman and child on Earth knows your name. There are millions who'd give anything to see you perform live. It's always been one of my biggest dreams to see you on stage, but I guess that dream will never come true now. But no matter. You have given me enough to be thankful for.

Thank you for the music.

Rest in peace, your majesty.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

We didn't lose


It's the 2007 World Cup all over again. Reach the finals undefeated only to lose heartbreakingly. :|

But no matter. We gave a good fight. And we won every single game that led to the finals. Congrats to Sanga and the entire team.

Dilshan, Mendis, Malinga, Mathew, Sanath, Murali, Mahela, Mubarak, Udana, Chamara, Kulasekara... well done, boys!

ETA - Sanga thanked the spectators in Sinhala! Fuckin' AWESOME! Didn't see that one coming. I'm not sad about losing anymore. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Man, that felt good.

And now we wait...

Friday, June 5, 2009

These trolls...

I happen to like trolls. Including, but not limited to, the ones that trash me.:p

I really don't get why everyone's so worked up about this. Why is everyone suddenly all up in arms about the whole thing? So they make fun of us. So what?

It's humour. A tad tasteless and crude, yes, but it's humour nonetheless. Lighten up already.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Am I in deep shit?

A little over a month ago yours-truly quit his permanent job at the [arguably] safe, old, comfortable weekend newspaper and stepped into the murky world of advertising. Still not sure if it was a wise decision on my part, but then it's only been four weeks, so I guess a fair assessment is not possible at the moment.

Some of my work there were met with positive enthusiasm by Palpatine himself, some didn't make it past Lord Vader's usually generous lightsaber (it really is a lightsaber... don't ask). I suppose only time will tell whether I made the right choice or not. But right now the prospects aren't looking that good, and something tells me the force isn't that strong with me.


Oh well, at least I'm getting paid. For now.

The politics of language

A retrospective post on the current situation in Sri Lanka by The Puppeteer got me thinking yesterday.

She said,
Being part of a minority within a minority, I don’t think Sri Lanka has fully accepted us as a part of the nation. Recently, attempts have been made- my community was wedged into the President’s post LTTE speech, it’s been included in newspaper articles as well as the government registration website. However, it would seem that the President hasn’t quite wrapped his head around who we are and how we configure in the scheme of races in the island. Where I’m going with this is simply that I was never made to feel as though I belonged here. While I adore Sri Lanka there’s still a certain degree of detachment I apperceive from the people here.

(Emphasis mine).

I'm hardly an expert on matters relating to ethnicity, but it is my personal belief that this "degree of detachment" minorities apperceive from the majority community (in any nation state home to diverse "races", and not just Sri Lanka), as I said in a comment I made on her post, is mainly due to the language barrier that exists between the different communities more than anything else.

I'm aware that The Puppeteer is only referring to her community in her post and is not speaking for the other minorities here, but it's a safe bet that a lot of people from those communities also feel the same way. This is in no way a rebuttal to her post or an attempt to state that Sri Lanka is completely devoid of racism. The latter would be naivety at best and complete BS at worst. However, I do feel the need to say that not everyone in our country is a racist and I truly believe that language really is a big part of the solution to this "problem" (for the lack of a better word).

This sense of belonging The Puppeteer alludes to in her post is a very human emotion, something that we all crave for regardless of race, creed, religion and other worldly differences. Nobody likes to feel left out. Nobody likes to be intimidated by a person with a stronger arm than their own. The same applies to all the "groups" that we have divided ourselves into along lines of race, caste, religion, etc.,etc. One group does not want to be overshadowed/ignored/looked down upon by another, especially when it lacks the numbers of the other.

But, unfortunately, realpolitik demands that that be the case. There will always be differences. There will always be clashes of opinion and conflicts of interest. The point is to say "screw that" and just get along.

Easier said than done of course, because, in order to 'get along', the different groups need to be able to communicate with each other. And the only viable form of communication that will serve this purpose is speech/conversation. And that requires an understanding of each groups's language or at least a language common to all groups. This is where English comes in to play.

Think about it. Those of us (from different communities) who speak any English "get along" well because it is a language that we all understand. The place I used to work where The Puppeteer is still employed at is an office full of people from all the major and minor ethnic and religious groups from Sri Lanka. But our differences were hardly noticeable because all of us spoke the same language and could see where everyone was coming from.

When talking to another person from a community outside of your own in a language spoken and understood by both, the factors that make you 'different' from each other tend to go unnoticed. Even if they are not fully ignored, you learn not to care about such trivialities as you go along, and these differences become part of who the other person is, a part of what makes them interesting and appealing.

My point is that when you're able to communicate with someone who doesn't "belong to" your social subset you realise that theirs is not that alien to your own. They just speak a different language, practice a different religion, have a different skin colour, etc., but in every other aspect, they're no more different from you than a dog with brown spots is different from a dog with black spots; they're still canine and they still bark, and we're still human... and we all talk; it's just that we, unlike dogs, just happen to speak different languages.

If we (the youth with a means of communication with those from other communities) are capable of such peaceful coexistence who is to say that the rest of the country would be any different if they were given a chance to learn the same?

Sri Lanka is not the racist, chauvinistic nation the Western media makes it out to be. An overwhelming majority of our people really do want our different ethnic groups to coexist; even the masses that supported the war. The problem lies in reaching out to them, the minorities. We get stuck when we attempt to do that, because we _just_don't_ speak their language, and vice versa.

Is there anything that can be done about this? I suppose making it compulsory for children to learn the three main languages at school level is a start. But it must be done in such a way that it will not make them feel as though they're being forced to learn a language they won't otherwise speak outside the school premises. And it must also not be seen as an attempt to suppress the importance of the language of the majority community. It is up to our policy makers to come up with a strategy to tackle this problem without hurting the sensitivities of the people.

This however is a formidable task, and we as responsible citizens cannot and must not expect the government in power to do all the work for us. We have to make a sincere effort in trying to understand what Saman, Kumar, David, Ahmed, Nimali, Kumari, Mary and Fathima are trying to tell us. It is only then that the fruits of a war free Sri Lankan can truly be enjoyed by all its citizens.

Here's hoping that a lasting peace will not remain the pipe dream it once was. Viva Sri Lanka!