Being Happy in Paradise...

So there we were. A regular weekday evening at my place, my two kids watching television while the grown-ups discussing life at large.

Like any good old Sri Lankan tête-à-tête, the conversation begins with politics. As we progress and discuss the new happenings, we swear at the idiots who ru(i)n the country. We curse them and their mothers for the misery they have brought upon us. Paradise ruined, in front of our very own eyes – almost within a short period that is slightly longer than the life cycle of an amoeba.

One says that the islanders of Paradise are amongst the happiest people on earth – even though there is misery, death and man-made disasters surrounding us everyday, dominating the news headlines.

From there, the conversations weaves in to discovering what “HAPPINESS” truly means to us.

The kids have their eyes glued to the television, but their ears are interested in the adult conversation. They are the new generation multi-tasking kids, who are capable of handling 5.4 tasks at any given time, according to Martin Lindstrom – the author of Brand Child.

Sitting in my lap, my little one throws-in her two cents: “Paap, paap, this home is my happinest” she quips, and promptly returns to her favourite programme on television.

A shocked silence amongst the adults prevails for a nano-second. My home is my happy-nest!

We are yet again amazed at the Kindergarten wisdom.

There she was, with her eyes glued to the television...


One thousand one hundred & one days in Taprobane

I’ve smoked. I’ve been drunk. From enjoying Arrack and Wild Elephant to talking about good manners in drinking, and ethics in advertising, I have had a good time spending life in Taprobane.

I’ve admired the beauty of Sri Lankan women. Talked about the typical Lankan wives and how romance blossoms in paradise – islander style. I have questioned the level of tolerance in Buddhism, and irritated a few war-mongers in their quest for dividing the land.

Life in Taprobane has been quite a journey, considering some of the most colourful crew at the time – Boycy, Curious Yellow, Hot Chocolate, Venus-Metamorphosed, Lazy Owl and Janapathi etc – have fallen off the band wagon. Their wit and wisdom is surely missed, may their virtual souls rest in peace.

Looking back, ’06 wasn’t a bad year, but ’07 was the worst. I had more posts in the early part of this month, than the whole bloody Year of Oh-Seven. My life was a roller-coaster as usual, and blogging was the last thing on my mind. Besides, too many late nights and excessive levels of alcohol in my system weren’t very conducive to writing either. Alcohol makes one talk, not write – and it showed.

Perhaps that year was jinxed because I started with a wise crack: “Life is trying things to see if they work” I posted, and nothing worked in my favour. Except for some very significant developments in my personal life, the blog was as good as dead.

There’s a whole lot of gibberish that I usually write, with some occasional wisdom. Wisdom, when I’m sober and sane. Not that there aren’t any brilliant thoughts that blink above my head when I’m drunk; they just come out sounding so stupid, no matter how intelligent I feel.

Smoking, drinking and social issues are my fave’s; either because I’ve been there, done that or I am being there, doing that. When I wrote a few posts on politics in the beginning, some wise woman told me to stay away for my own good. Since I have a natural tendency to respect the boobs, I left the affairs of the parliament in the very capable hands of some other idiots in the silly lankan blogsphere. My fingers itch to write political posts from time to time, but I scratch the itch myself and refrain from entertaining MR & the crew in my blog. No politics. Period. I would always remember the boob-advice.

Then again, every so often I hear some BS about Paradise, my blood boils, and I walk the line. I irritate a few people, my friends pretend they don’t know me – I lay low, and things get back to normal. And the blogging goes on.

Blogging is a funny business. And I have met a few good associates.

Amongst them, DeeCee set a record by sending me more than a dozen comments on different posts in just a matter of few hours. “Terminal Boredom!” – she said, no one has ever been that interested in, or enthusiastic about, my blog. Ever.

So, she became my biggest fan. Instantly, naturally, and officially.

Lady Divine wins the trophy for the most long-standing ardent female reader – she has been there in Taprobane for a while. Sittingnut wins the manly version of the said virtual award. In retrospect, I wonder how did these two, and many other avid enthusiasts put up with my crap for this long – especially considering the fact that my posts change their theme or genre like the weather at the World’s End.

Life in Taprobane celebrates 1,101 days in blogsphere. *lights fire works* (Kevun, kiribath, served.)

Thank yous anyways to all of you are here – you have been a bunch of good souls, really.


Good Morning Jeddaaa-aah..!

Its Friday morning, and its the weekend. I get woken up a distant sound ever so familiar. My phone ringing under the pillow. The rest of the world is awake, and it’s almost noon in Paradise.

A quick monologue, few sleepy nods follow. I throw the phone away, it hits a pillow, bumps off and settles in between the pillows.

“Spring rolls?” said Spikey’s mom at the dinner table, and he looks at me for a nano-second with his big, gleaming eyes. “Boing, boing, boing...” he goes bouncing his tiny hand along the table... I almost fall off the chair.

It’s Spikey’s first encounter with “spring” rolls that aren’t bouncy.

I trot along to the loo and sit on the throne. I’m too sleepy to take aim, such a hassle for a sleepy head.

I turn the kettle on, the TV, the decorder and switch the A/C off and collapse on the comfortable sofa. In that order, every time.

There’s some news on something interesting on FwanceVienQat(re). My eyes fail to focus. I switch to Rotana Hits instead and watch a some pretty Lebanese singer shake her well-endowed assets. She’s pretty. And the track sounds amazing, with a hint of Mediterranean influence. I detect a touch of Greekness in the song.

I remember Athena. The orange tree near the doorstep. Cyprus. Just like the video on screen. I forget her gay-brother’s name. He used to work with me, in the good old days.

My head is full of splashes of happy memories in the morning. The coffee in the making is going to ruin all that, and wake me up in a minute.


An Island of Pussies and Bigots, are we?

Amnesty International circulated a “News Flash” on the 10th with a headline screaming “Sri Lanka: Suicide bombing breaches International Law.”

“Sri Lanka” to the ordinary world, is the country and the government that represents its people. The headline sounded as if the government was responsible for the attack, when we knew it was an act of terrorism conducted by the LTTE.

From the headline, to the content, Amnesty International was trying to shift the focus away from the reality, quite cleverly mis-feeding the media. As a recipient of the letter, I felt obliged to reply to the author, questioning the content and the objective behind the news release. Not surprisingly, I didn’t receive any feedback from Amnesty International – nor from the sender Jim McDonald, nor from their “Sri Lanka Expert” Yolanda Foster, or their co-ordinator at the International Press Office in London – Carina Trimingham. Knowing how promptly they usually react, I know they are not going to respond – it’s already been a week. I copied my response to everyone in the mailing list, I don’t think any of the media personnel in the Amnesty International mailing list received any verification from them either.

Instead, I got bombarded with abusive diatribe from many Tamils. One Mr Jeyatheeswaren called me a “Sinhala Chounist [sic]” among other things.

As expected, this opened up a mini-debate, but I only received two constructive opinions that defended the ground reality and the position of the Government of Sri Lanka. Tamils, who responded, defended Amnesty International, and attacked me with a vengeance.

Just like BBC that had fallen prey to LTTE propaganda, I am sure Amnesty International would continue to do their bit to blame the government and protect the terrorists, to the much delight of certain bloggers like Chitrangi and Groundviews.

But, my worry is not Amnesty International or some local blogger.

I worry about the War of the Words, at the international arena. Sri Lanka has no voice outside the country. The tiny voice there is, is also inaudible to the outside world. LTTE, on the other hand, runs many frontal organisations that collect ransom, print newsletters, distribute propaganda, and conduct mafia-style thuggery in almost every country, even where a solitary Tamil lives.

We don’t even have good speakers who could communicate the very basic, effectively – even at the diplomatic level. Look no further than the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and you will know what I mean.

LTTE propaganda machinery is still largely at work all over the world, and people like MIA are singing their tunes (pun intended). Thanks to biased news networks like BBC (remember the Appeal for Palestine? Or search Google to find out more), not only the British society at large, but even the Downing Street has been misinformed, resulting in another embarrassing affair.

Journalists thrive on controversies. If there is none, they create some.

According the the Times Online (UK), this is how they portrayed the government’s effort to provide the civilians who escaped the grip of terror with modern villages that comprise permanent housing, schools, banks, parks and vocational centres:

“Sri Lanka was accused yesterday of planning concentration camps to hold 200,000 ethnic Tamil refugees from its northeastern conflict zone for up to three years — and seeking funding for the project from Britain,” reported Jeremy Page, South Asia Correspondent.

UN, who has been pointing finger at the Government is finally pointing the finger at the right direction: the terrorists. Why, because they have 15 of their own staff and their families stuck in the grip of terror, being used as human shields. One staff member is being forced to fight in the frontlines, facing a certain death. If not for this incident, they would have still continued to play the blame-game.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. From Boston to our own bloggers, the Sinhala majority is painted as the oppressors. Tamils, are the victims. And the world thinks that the Tamils are the ONLY minority in Sri Lanka; they don’t even know that there is a sizable Muslim community (in fact, much larger than the Sri Lankan Tamils, read the CIA country profile here) living in this country in harmony with the rest. How come they don’t have the problems that “minority” Tamils seems to have?

Journalists should, and must, report facts. Not opinions. The readers are intelligent enough to digest the facts and form their own opinions, and finding out the truth on their own.

“I read three newspaper accounts of the suicide bomber and her victims and the reporters just threw in guesstimates as facts. How can one paper give a figure of casualties that is about 100 higher than another?

Journalist reporting need not give opinions - it is very powerful when it gives the facts as truthfully as the writer can do so, and lets the readers make up their minds. All such reporting when unbiased wakens the reader.

I am asking everyone I know to say to anyone to speaks to them socially with political or religious bias which puts down someone of a different affiliation, ‘How long have you been a bigot?’ because these words turn the speaker onto him/herself - and it is in such speakers unchallenged that the problems we have fester. I have done it for years and the answer is invariably, ‘I am not a bigot,’ which gives me a chance to say, ‘No one calls themselves a bigot, but what you just said marks you as one.” – read one of the feedback I received from a Sri Lankan in Colombo, regarding the above Amnesty International News Flash.

So, what are we going to do? Be bigots? Continue acting like pussies?

Are we going to let the international media that’s thousands of miles away brain-wash us in to believing what they say is the truth, and not what we see? Are we going to let them strip us of our intelligence and paint us as barbarians who kill in the name of racial bias? Are we going to let them tarnish the image of our nation, when we know that they are distorting the truth?

Or fight to defend our nation in the international theatre of information, in the global blogshpere, in every little way we can..?

A Different Perspective


Celebrating Valentine’s, Saudi Style

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to spend the Valentine’s Day alone. In Jeddah. A beautiful city by the Red Sea.

Worked till almost midnight, picked up a value meal from McDonald’s on the way back to my apartment.

People do the most romantic things on the Valentine’s Day.

One of my Saudi friends went home early – to cook a romantic meal for his wife. He painstakingly created a lovely little card during the day, and was so-o-o looking forward to the evening.

Then there is this other Saudi friend. Affluent and Western educated. He went home last evening and his wife was nagging him because it was ‘that day’ of the year. Since there was nothing romantic visible in the horizon, she at least wanted a present.

She wanted something really nice.

So he though for a while and promised her that he would go out and get her something that she would like very much.

When he was narrating this, I was imagining the Cartier’s and Prada’s. Jeddah’s high street is a discount warfare these days. Discounts up to 50% at Armani and up to 70% at some other boutiques... any man could easily go bankrupt with such attractions, easily.
And he went out and bought her a Vacuum Cleaner.

He says she was talking about buying one, last week.


So, Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Four years ago, I returned to Colombo and started working in a relatively close-knit company. The owner of the company knew if the tea-boy farted. The internal politics were that extreme.

On the first day of work, I summoned my team and asked them what were their aspirations in life. All but five had any idea of their tomorrow. One wanted to be a restaurant manager, one wanted to be a creative director, another wanted to be a happily married housewife. The other two also had ambitions of similar nature.

Fifteen out of twenty didn’t know what the heck they wanted in life. They were just drifters. Educated, and salaried. They were content with the way things were, they were happy going to work and coming home, day after day. They didn’t think of anything beyond.

I was shocked. I was shocked at their complacency, I was shocked that they didn’t have any goals set in their careers.

Perhaps, they never had to. According to a recent global survey, my Paradise is one of the happiest places on earth, where people live happily ever-after. Some of them must have been genuinely happy with their monotonous life, the others of course knew where to kiss, in order to get by.

People rarely got fired in that company. Most companies in Sri Lanka don’t fire people easily.

I was brought-in, to make a difference. As promised, I brought that company a refreshing change. I shook the dust off the old establishment and gave them a fresh outlook. I improved their creative product and gave them the confidence to compete. I shouted, and screamed, and persuaded them to excel in their work.

Barely a year later, I was fired.

Telling the owner to f–off a few days earlier must have expedited the outcome.

Nevertheless, it was the best thing that ever happened to me that year. It couldn’t have come at a worse time, but it made me realise my true potential.

It gave me wings.

In the previous Big Red Agency where I worked in Dubai for over 13 years, one would get fired for not having any initiative. Being complacent and aimless in their career was an open invitation to get fired. An average employee did not last longer than two to three years.

Things were that simple, and that difficult.

In Paradise, however, things happen the other way around. Float along aimlessly with the typical islander attitude, and you are as settled as a rock on the seashore.


Divided or United under One Flag?

I’m sure almost every Sri Lankan must have seen the famous Independence Day picture that comes out in the papers and posters every single year. The cliché – kids representing Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities under the national flag.

My little daughter sees the picture in the paper and points her little finger and shouts with a big smile of achievement on her pretty face:
“Paap, this girl is Tamil, this boy is Sinhala and this girl is Arabic..!”
Well, she’s too small to know that we call them the Muslims, in Paradise.

Aren’t we emphasising our differences and promoting division in this picture? Shouldn’t we be all anonymous under one flag?

I keep learning from the kids everyday, but this one is hard to crack.


Just another f*#@ed up Story from Paradise

Recently, I walked in to the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) to know what do I get in return for paying them an “Insurance Fee” for the last 14 years of being abroad. After being sent from one person to another, I finally ended up with a Deputy General Manager (DGM) in-charge of a particular Division.

I had a very simple demand: after paying an insurance premium for over 14 years without any claims, I wanted my share back.

Not surprisingly, I was told that all I would get from them is zilch. My money has gone to money heaven.

I was there, also to get a new insurance policy that “supposedly” covers any personal mishap overseas. Since I had not seen the money I paid for the 14 years, or received even a post-card from them, I demanded that I should be exempted from SLBFE Insurance since I do not need one. Ten thousand rupees in the event of my death is not going to make a difference – it’s not even sufficient to pay for the regular drinking binges at Buba for the boys. Besides, I already have Insurance Policies that should take care of everything, should the unthinkable happen.

I told the DGM that I was not ready to feed the fat-pigs in the government for no personal benefit in return.

Pity I didn’t have time to file Case on fundamental rights violation, I was leaving the country. Pity this country has no class-action cases to protect the collective masses.

Anyhow, after a half an hour of me trying to bring the roof down, the DGM talks to me off-the-record and says that this is an “unofficial bribe that everyone pays to leave the country on a residence visa” and that he would be surprised if we got anything in return. I told him that there is a huge number of people leaving on residence visas to many other countries except the Middle East and how come they are exempted from this “rule.”

At which point, he assured me that the rule applies to every single Sri Lankan, going to any country. But the data published on their own site proves otherwise:

Extract from the number of professionals who left for foreign employment in 2007:

Saudi Arabia60,223





United Kingdom17


United States1

SLBFE employs staff around the clock at the airport to check every single Sri Lankan passport, and they say only 24 professionals left for the UK, USA and Australia in total. Humor me, oh please!

SLBFE charges professionals under two categories:

  • Blue Collar workers – approx Rs 6,000/- (all inclusive), which is around 40% of the average monthly salary of a housemaid (US$ 150).

  • White Collar workers – Rs 11,730 (all inclusive), which is less than 5% if one gets US$ 2,500 a month. Sri Lankans in the West make a lot more than US$ 2,500 a month in their white collar professions.

SLBFE is nothing more than a government scam that steals from the poor. Stealing from the poor who have begged, borrowed and mortgaged with greatest difficulty to find their passage overseas is a cardinal sin – and when in comes from the Government it is even worse.

Sri Lanka needs money, now more than ever.

If the idiots in the government wanted to make money out of Sri Lankans who work abroad, they should look at the white collar workers and the affluent Sri Lankans overseas, not the poor housemaids. If SLBFE staff knew their job or had any brains, they could have easily devised many ways to encourage the white collar workers to invest in Sri Lanka and offer great benefits in return.

At least the JR Jayawardene government had some tax concessions and benefits for those employees when they returned home. Now, there is nothing – no tax benefits, no “special” duty free concessions, no preferential treatment anywhere.

Sri Lankan migrant employees remit US$ 3,000,000,0000 annually but receive absolutely no benefits in return, while the local doctors who feed on the government payroll (and building mansions with their “private practice income”) get rewarded with duty free car permits every five years..! That’s how confused and f**ked up we are, in paradise.

PS: Please pardon my French, had to use it. :)


Food for thought for the Tamil Diaspora

I had lunch with a certain Mr Arunachalam, an Indian Tamil from Madras. The conversation that took place prompted me to write this post.

Sri Lanka is a place for all of us to live in harmony. If anyone, especially the Tamil diaspora thinks that Sri Lanka should be ethnically divided, then, the following is food for though for you. This is also good for those LTTE sympathisers in our country as well as around the world:

Your claim: Sri Lanka is the only place for Tamil Ealam

Fact: Sri Lanka is the ONLY place in the world for the Sinhala race and the Veddahs. Whether you like it or not, they have the right to this land before anyone else. Tamils, on the other hand, have the historical right to Tamil Nadu – and that is where the only Ealam Dreamland should be. Or you may consider Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, Germany, England or Australia – they have been pampering you well, haven’t they?

Claim: North and East are the historical Tamil Homeland

Fact: If you think the North and East belonged to the Tamils historically, think twice. Read the history of Sri Lanka – the truth, not the rubbish you teach in Tamil schools in Germany. Visit Anuradhapura and look at the moonstones: Lankan civilisation began in the North (not in the South) and the Buddhists were there before the Tamils. Many places of worship of significant importance for Buddhists still lie in the North and East, including places such as Nagadveepa and Thiriyaya – which is said to have been built containing relics of the lord Buddha.

Only during the Polonnaruwa regime that the cow was removed from the moonstone as a result of the Hindu influence. That’s the first time ever the Cholas set foot in our island – so how dare you claim that the North and East are the “traditional” land of the Tamils?

Claim: Sinhala Buddhists are committing a Genocide in Sri Lanka
(Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group.)

Fact: There were Sinhala and Muslim communities living in the North and East – not so long ago. Where are they now? Who has systematically eliminated them, chased them out of their own homes? Who has chopped the heads off the infants, split opened pregnant mothers, stamped their wombs, killed every Sinhala person in sight and torched their villages?

Starting from the Kent Farm and Model Farm, the Tamil extremists have eliminated the Sinhala and Muslim communities from the North (and tried in the East too); they attacked temples and mosques, brutally executing monks, priests and innocent people while they were praying. From Aranthalawa, Dimbulagala and Sri Maha Bodhiya to Kandy, the barbaric LTTE terrorists didn’t even spare a temple or a mosque. It’s the Tamil terrorists committing genocide in Sri Lanka, not anyone else!

Claim: Tamils are discriminated in Sri Lanka

Fact: A person from the majority Sinhalese cannot buy a piece of land in the North (prevented by a pact), but the Tamils can buy land anywhere in the country. Statistically speaking, Tamils are occupying more than their share in universities, in the civil service, the government and even in the private sector. From Sea Street to 4th Cross Street, there are certain trades and industries that “belong” to the Tamils, and no Sinhala or Muslim merchant can penetrate that. A closer look at the transformation of Colombo and its suburbs will make any pea-brain understand who is having a better life and who is being pushed aside from the capital city. From Paskaralingam to Kadirgamar to Muralitharan, there are millions of Tamils who have flourished in this country. It is the Sinhala students who cannot attend the Jaffna University or the Eastern University, while the Tamil students enjoy their rights all over the country, including the Peradeniya University in the heartland of the Sinhala Buddhists. Even in Colombo, a Sinhala student is not admitted to any Tamil school, while all the Sinhala schools accept Tamil students.

From education, to civil service, to businesses and private sector, to land-ownership in Colombo – Tamils are enjoying more than their fair share. How would it be possible if there is so-called discrimination against Tamils in Sri Lanka?

Claim: Sri Lankan regime has failed to take care of the North and the East

Fact: Jaffna had been almost on par with Colombo at one time, a thriving cosmopolitan – the second capital of Sri Lanka – before the troubles began. There are many provinces and districts that have been forgotten by the ruling parties – North and East aren’t at the top of that list. Uva, for example did not even have a university until 2 or 3 years ago; Moneragala district is the most deprived in the entire country. The governments have always favoured the Tamils – in order to keep their votes, and as a result, they have been enjoying better benefits than the others in Sri Lanka.

Claim: Tamils get hassled and harassed by the security checks

Fact: The Sinhalese, the Muslims, the Burghers – we all get woken up in the wee hours of the morning, during search operations; we all get our bags, baggage and vehicles checked, we all get harassed – that’s the price the innocent people pay for the environment the stupid LTTE has created. Anyone who fails to produce valid identification or reasonable evidence for whereabouts would get into trouble – unless you are a foreigner (they are the privileged ones in paradise). There are Sinhala and Muslim informants on the LTTE payroll too, so everyone is a ‘suspect’ at a checkpoint. We all go through the same hassle, same agony. But then again, you hardly visit Sri Lanka, so what would you know?

Claim: Sinhalese Buddhists are at War with the Tamils

Fact: Nope, we aren’t. If we did, there wouldn’t have been any Tamils living outside LTTE-controlled areas. Majority of the Tamil population is living outside the LTTE grip; living amongst the other ethnicities in harmony. Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) is at war with the terrorists, just like some other democracies around the world. Some LTTE propaganda agents substitute GoSL with Sinhalese Buddhists and LTTE with the Tamils, to leverage certain situations in their favour.

Claim: Some Sinhala Extremist Parties are spreading Sinhala-only ideologies

Fact: Yes, there are extremist elements such as Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU trans. National Sinhala Heritage) – which came to being to counter the extremists such as the LTTE under a political mandate. Tamil extremism is over 50 years old in Sri Lanka while JHU isn’t even 10 years old. JHU, being an extremist, has almost zero influence on the average civil society. Tamils, on the other hand, have “erased” Sinhala from their areas (only Tamil and English exist on the sign boards from the North – out of sight, out of mind?) while the rest of the country treats Tamil as one of the official languages.

Now, who is being extreme and who is breeding extremism in this country?

Claim: Sri Lankan Government has no option but to negotiate with the LTTE

Fact: Sri Lankan Government did not negotiate with the Sinhala Buddhist uprisings in the early 70’s and the late 80’s. The Sinhala terrorists were captured, tortured and killed – and their heads decorated the roadside fences. Their burning bodies were seen in almost every street corner every morning, and over 50,000 youth are still missing to date. That was the Sinhala Buddhist government taking care of the Sinhala Buddhist youth who terrorised the country. The government does NOT have to negotiate with terrorists. The Sri Lankan governments have been too nice, and tolerant, to the Tamil terrorists all these years.

Claim: The international community has a right to involve in the Sri Lankan situation

Fact: The international community has already banned the LTTE – a terror outfit and its sister-concerns. Not even India can ecourage terrorism or division anymore; they too have Mumbai and Kashmir on their agenda. Sadly, it is only a few misguided Tamil businessmen and individuals who support the LTTE around the world trying to lobby a voice for lost cause – they hardly quantify or qualify as the “international community.” BBC and the gullible British elements don’t qualify either. You too will soon see the truth and realise that the Ealam dream was nothing but a painful nightmare.

Claim: LTTE is the only and true voice of the Tamil people

Fact: LTTE does not represent the true Tamils of this country. If they did, why would they eliminate EPRLF, EPDP, EROS and TULF? Weren’t they representing Tamils too? Why would they kill any Tamil voice that was against the LTTE agenda – no matter how big or small the person was? From innocent villagers who were labelled as “traitors” to great statesmen like Lakshaman Kadirgamar, LTTE has killed thousands of its own kith and kin that they were “supposedly” protecting. In fact, the LTTE has killed more innocent Tamils than the number of LTTE militants killed by the Sri Lankan Security Forces. LTTE is not the true voice or the protector of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. It’s just the opposite.

Claim: LTTE is protecting the civilians in their area, if they get out, they would be killed by the Sri Lankan Security Forces. (Also according to LTTE and the BBC)

Fact: Almost all the Tamils in Sri Lanka – except for the ones who are trapped in the current War Zone – live outside the LTTE influence. How come they are not killed? If over 90% of the Tamils are living outside the LTTE held areas, in harmony with the rest of the Sri Lankans, protected and freely, what are they talking about? They would be killed by the military advance if they DON’T leave the LTTE-held areas soon enough.

Claim: Sri Lanka failed to recognise the demands of the Tamils and never offered a political solution

Fact: Sri Lanka did, but sadly the Tamils didn’t recognise the power they had in their hands. The country switched from a 225-seater parliament that represented an MP per electorate to the Provincial Council System to satisfy the demands of the Tamils. This may not have been perfect, but it was a very good beginning. North and East were combined and offered in a silver platter to the terrorist leader twice, but he refused to enter the political stream. LTTE rejected democracy and took up arms, not once, not twice, but many a times. Every “Cease-Fire” ended in LTTE regrouping, re-arming and murdering hundreds of Sinhalese – the Tamil Diaspora that has never set foot in the island should use their brains to understand why the LTTE were NOT acting for the benefit of the ordinary Tamils.

Sri Lanka would have been better off without the high-maintenance Provincial Council System – with a leaner, meaner, accountable and more responsible Parliament. Today we have a white elephant – created for the Tamils, but fed by the rest of the Sri Lankans.

We were a resourceful nation in South Asia, ahead of Singapore on the development curve, once upon a time. Thanks to the idiotic ideologies and stupidities of LTTE, the whole country has gone back in time – in to the stone ages. The roads are still the same width as it were 30 years ago, the currency has depreciated from Rs 16.00 to a US Dollar in 1978 to almost Rs 114.00 to a US Dollar today – a whopping 712% in just 30 years! The country is filled with the maimed and the war-victims – a huge burden on the welfare system for the next few generations to come. Emotional scars would take another zillion years to heal; and I could write another million ways the war has crippled our Paradise.

Most of all, the LTTE cleverly bumped-off all the brains in the political system – leaving the country in the hands of a bunch of imbeciles. We will win the war and restore peace and stability, but we cannot gain the time we lost. We cannot turn back the clock. The world has moved on, leaving us far behind.

In simple, the LTTE morons have shat on the pile of gold that is Sri Lanka. It is going to take a few heavy monsoons to wash away the crap and the stench, and its going to be a hell of a long time before we begin to shine again.


Death Penalty? With Compliments of Kent!

You know the bad habit the Sri Lankan suppliers have – in printing their name bigger than the actual message on every signboard or display they produce? Like “Solex” in huge letters and “STOP - Police Check Point” in tiny letters? Some companies do these signs for free to get some visibility (cleverly disguised as CSR) while the others get paid for the job and still print their name in huge letters so that my grandmother could read it from a distance without her glasses.

I couldn’t help but crack-up when I saw the epitome of this stupid habit: a signboard on the wall behind the immigration counters at the Colombo International Airport reads something like this:


Drug Trafficking is Punishable by Death

With Compliments of Kent

More thoughts on signage sponsorship here.


Advertising that Sails...

I saw this picture on the left on Ramesh De Silva’s blog. Simple idea, very nicely done, to promote a nearby café. It doesn’t deserve a Chilli like the comment says, for it is an original!

Then I saw the one on the right – a Rockland Rum ad in the Serendib Magazine – typical Chilli material.

The ad tries to emulate a good trend, but the graphics are poorly executed. No finesse, the lines look very rough and rugged. Logo slapped on in the middle of nowhere, as if the art director was running out the room for a loo break. No time to think, no time craft the ad.

Best of all, is the slogan: “You’ll find no other Rum like ‘dis on ’de earth.”


People from all over the world read Serendib, and they are claiming that there’s no other Rum like this on the earth? Who are they trying to fool? Did the agency think that travellers on-board SriLankan airlines have never heard of other brands of fine rums such as Cruzan for example? Or Bacardi or Malibu at least? It’s not what the slogan says but what it means that matters.

Right now, Rocklands are looking stupid in front of the globe trotters who fly SriLankan, thanks to an agency that writes lines for the sake of revering a brand with no evidence to prove it’s obviously false claim.

And the Chilli goes to..?


Sanga’s Sixer to Hutch...

Sangakkara switches from Hutch to Airtel. His fans are disappointed, they think Sanga was unethical and he has let them down.

They blame Sanga.

Sanga has not breached the contract he signed with Hutch or its ad agency. The contact expires and a cleverer agency negotiates a deal that discriminated the old brand he was representing. It may be unethical on Sanga’s part (I didn’t think sleeping with the enemy was that easy); but it is definitely not illegal. I’m sure he must have asked for a huge lump sum to say what he says about the old brand.

It is the agency’s responsibility to negotiate fees with celebrities – and they draft the contracts – usually with a certain amount of exclusivity to protect the brands. Ideally, the exclusivity prevents the celebrity from endorsing the competition a for couple of years, even after the expiry of the contract. There is a silly mistake agencies tend to make while negotiating: they tend to encourage less exclusivity so that they could pay the celebrity much less than they’d demand. More conditions cost more money, so they think it is best to stick to a basic agreement that doesn’t cover much, and cost much.

Agencies think that they are doing a great big favour to the client by offering a celebrity for an ‘affordable’ price-tag. Think cheap and act cheap – and it is sure to cheapen the brand in the long run.

Ad agencies should learn to pay the celebrities what they are worth. It is the agency’s sole responsibility to protect the brand with an air-tight contract, they should not also forget that the more money they pay the celebrity, the more commission they are going to make.

Our agencies should learn more on how to handle the models and brand ambassadors. They need to learn how to draw model releases and exclusive contracts. This is not the first time a celebrity takes a brand for a ride; the agencies are the brand guardians – they must know how to protect their brands.

Hutch is paying the price today for some account manager’s stupidity and short-sightedness, while the fans blame Sangakkara for for being unethical in business.

I’d say it’s the ad agency that’s to be blamed for this mess and if I were Hutch, I would fire the agency, on the spot.