Friday, June 29, 2007


I have simply been shocked at the extent of alcohol abuse by males in Sri Lankan villages. People in my village are often seen quite inebriated after 5 pm. Their wives suffer mental and physical abuse, their children are malnourished, as their fathers spend their income on drink.

I have rarely seen this matter addressed in the media or by the politicians as it almost seems to be a taboo subject. The general impression is that there is nothing that can be done about it. This is simply unacceptable as the society does not discourage alcoholism and the young people are simply shown the way by the elders.

Only volunteers try to do something about it but their efforts are insignificant to tackle such a big issue. A Buddhist country that closes taverns and bars on Poya days is still unable to prevent a greater level of consumption on that day. So laws are not the answer, some serious soul searching and a real plan to encourage abstinence, supported by the temple is the answer. The social costs are too great to ignore and this cannot be left to a later a date.


The United States, a country that prides itself on being the foremost democracy and the defender of the free world, has scandalous skeletons.

Among them are: the state of the Health care system where 50 million Americans out of a population of 300 million have no health coverage. Included in the 50 million are 10 million kids. Then there are over 20 million people living in the country illegally, some of who were born there. No one has the political guts to address the issue.

Elections have no campaign finance reform whereby the wealthy can effectively buy votes, by influencing public opinion with their money. The blowout in the sub prime lending market will eventually affect millions whose houses will be worth a lot less than what they paid for them due to lending practices that were not regulated.

Iraq war strategy is a shambles and is only a drain on resources and a sure way to incite hatred overseas of all things American. The level of pollution of vehicles and businesses is not reduced. Homeland security is targeting certain minorities, who rightly feel it is a police state for them.
These scandals don't affect the majority of Americans, so there is no great rush to solve them. Its the poor 20% of the country that suffer.

In Sri Lanka, a potential paradise on the other hand, a country grappling with crippling fuel prices, a war that is costing lives and money,an economy with prices spiralling out of control, corruption that has reached all levels of society, a crime wave that is made worse by the inability of the police to apprehend and judiciary to timely prosecute and convict, and politicians who are distrusted by all, the poor 80% of the population of 20 million, suffers the consequences directly. Nothing positive is being done for them.

Which is more scandalous?

conviction of belief

I am generally very clear in my attitude and opinion on many subjects. I am always prepared to hear an argument that may result in my changing those beliefs. In that sense I am not blindly rigid. I can use sense, reason and logic to come up with my core beliefs.

It is important for us to have a strong view on subjects that matter, and be able to defend them in any way one can. It is not blind conviction,as a result of someone's opinion, it must be reasoned and rational. We are not all born debaters or can we articulate our views as well as another person. All you need is a sense of what is right and wrong, with an element of common decency and morality and all problems of the day are solved.

Religious extremism is a root cause of many of the problems and conflicts in the world, and actually run counter to the true teachings of the religions these extremists purport to defend. It is a shame that the overwhelming populations of the world who have the same goals and ambitions for their families are suffering due to a minority of extremists, who we are unable to neutralize. That is the indictment of society today.

Hold an opinion with conviction, try and back it up with reason, and defend your opinion when attacked. Your attacker may change his opinion as a result.

fear of death

Death is part of life, and in that sense a natural process of the life cycle. If one has tried to live a life that is wholesome, and decent, one does not have to fear death.

Our minds are too full of unfinished business, that we fear that we are not ready to die. We should just clear our minds and realize we can then face death at anytime without fear. It is more important to make sure those we leave behind are adequately reinforced, not with money, but the ability to carry on in our absence. This is what we fail to do in our race to try and live longer and fight death.

We don't know when death will take over our lives, so we must live life in the knowledge that we can leave this earth at anytime. This gives strength for the rest of the time we live and can improve how we live our lives.

We can prepare for death and live a full life in the meantime.Ironically it may actually prolong life and improve the quality of our lives in the process.

extremism amongst the diaspora

I have lived my adult life in the UK and the US, until my return in December 2004. There are large communities of Sri Lankans there, as well as of course in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Most of the people have settled in those countries and are unlikely to settle back in Sri Lanka, with the majority having taken the nationality of their adopted land.

A high proportion of these people, some who were born in those host countries, have views that are more extreme than the people in the Island. I refer to the ethnic conflict. This is very unhelpful in reaching a consensus, and a solution that will satisfy the majority of the people in Sri Lanka.

The people in Sri Lanka want peace, and are willing to compromise. Those outside the country, on the Tamil side, fund the terrorism, and on the Sinhala side, rabidly oppose any solution that is remotely acceptable to the Tamil minority. The problem for the country is more from outside than from within. The overseas Tamils willingly or unwillingly have financed the conflict, which has killed more Tamils, thereby defeating the aim and the defence secretary is a member of the diaspora, who appears to favor a military solution.

It is a shame that the developed countries which fund and fuel much of the extremism, take a back seat in the solution, when they have a direct responsibility. They can make a difference, but are unwilling to get involved. The conflict is a Sri Lankan one that can be solved internally. External pressure for a solution is required, rather than cutting of aid, at a time when military aid is sent to terrorists via the diaspora.

The influence of the diaspora is under appreciated and rarely addressed as they are the ones fighting a proxy war, and the actual fighters are mere pawns who are disposable.

love and romance

The greatest satisfaction in life is to love and be loved . We may love someone, that person may not love you. So we spend the next period of our lives trying to convince her to love, if we decide she is the one.This invariably results in failure as the I love you, you love me connection is usually instant or within a short dating span.

If we believe there is a soul mate out there for us, we spend a lifetime searching for this soul mate. Most people give up on this idea after a while and just hook up for practical reasons other than love as is done usually in arranged marriage situations and marriages of convenience for procreation or companionship.

Of course a friendship through time can become intense and then one day you realize you are also truly in love. If only the friendship is reciprocated and not the love, then it is not complete.

Many cynics don't believe in love and think it highly overrated, and rarely happens. I believe that often love is not permanent. It can take various forms and grow as it matures, but it can also disappear as in 'fall out of love for no obvious reason' than 'I don't love you any more'

In the realm of love there are books, poetry and all things written, but the bottom line is when you know you truly love someone who can also say that it is reciprocated, there can be no greater earthly pleasure. It does not matter if it is only for a short period, the intensity of ecstasy is enough when both feel the same.

Don't confuse this with sex, it can only be an optional byproduct of love.

ulterior motives

I am a very simple man. At least I like to think so. I am sure those who know me will contradict me on this. However for the most part, I speak words that truly reflect my feelings. This brutal honesty can at times be hurtful in the village, and is not diplomatic for them but at least it is truthful. I have made a few enemies from telling people the truth about who they are.

The people in the village I have noticed are full of double speak. That is they never tell the truth, and trying to decipher this and get down to the truth, is very hard, as I am not used to the game they play. While they are relatively simple folk, they have a great ability to talk in riddles and not say what they mean or mean what they say. This is most irritating when it relates to the methods adopted to part me from my hard earned money, which they think falls from trees literally for me!!

I fall into this trap time and again, and accept people at face value and then get conned, not knowing that what they said is not what they meant. When they borrow money, it is never the intention of paying unless, tough terms or repayment are extracted and collateral taken. Promises are made that are never kept. No one's word is their bond.

You might wonder why I live amongst such people if they are out to take you for a ride at every juncture. I thought about this for a long time and came to the following conclusion.

Actually people from all walks of life are like that with ulterior motives, so that I cannot run away from that. It just took me a while to realize that in a developed economy it is more subtle, and the sales talk can cost you a pile more and I have suffered far greater financial loss as a result. Hey how come I returned to Sri Lanka with hardly any money after years abroad. I was somehow parted from a life time of earnings, by those closest, through a devious method called divorce.

So this level of rural village double speak is the least costly, though more apparent and often you cannot escape without satisfying their hunger, but the price is not great in the scheme of things.

mind body connection

I am convinced that if the mind is at peace, I will be less likely to fall ill. I am sure that a mind body connection does exist. While I cannot quote studies, I have read that it really works. Even physicians trained only in the art of healing the body, now believe in this interrelationship.

It is important to try to do exercises to clear the mind as much as is practical. Some resort to meditation. I have never been able to fully meditate by clearing my mind completely. I have however chosen escape as an alternative in clearing the mind of worry. I am a poor student of meditation, not having the patience to see it through. I guess I have not tried hard enough.

My mind is the clearest it has every been.It is so transparent its like there is nothing in it!! I worry a lot from time to time about a lot of things but there are periods I have been able to fill my mind with good things so all the worries can be temporarily set aside. This has definitely helped me in reducing the incidence of physical illness.

I live in an environment where I am constantly bitten by mosquitoes and I don't have a scar or swelling to show the next morning for all that blood sucking. I have yet to contract a mosquito borne disease, while many I know who live in less mosquito prone areas have suffered the consequences of both dengue and chickengunya.

It is a very lucky person who is fortunate to be relatively free from physical illness, but by attempting to clear the mind of worry, a definite benefit will result in both prevention, and speedy recovery from physical illness.

up and down

There are times when I feel good about everything; life, surroundings, nature, beauty, love etc. Its great to feel that way, its highly recommended.

There are times when I feel down or depressed, sometimes about one thing and other times about a lot of things happening all at once. I notice it is people around me who make me feel down, more often. It may be a problem they have brought to my attention, or a problem of theirs which they want me to help them with.

I face constant challenges, especially right now when I am sailing very close to the wind with little wiggle room for unexpected disappointments. For example if it rains and I have a full load of king coconuts to sell in Colombo, I know I will have a problem in selling. That immediately translates into reduced income, and when my expenses remain the same, I am squeezed and have to juggle to make ends meet.

It sounds simplistic, but we all face issues of varying degrees. What is a simple problem for one is a big problem for another.

So how do I cope with it? I can try and compartmentalise them into those I have control over and those I don't. Only concerning myself with those I can control. I can also put off the issue hoping it would go away, as sometimes it does. I can also be an escapist and try and erase it from memory by doing something else that blocks it out.

It is true that there is no limit to the amount of worries you can pile up in your head. The trick is to pile up as few as possible when you are down and try and eliminate them as much as possible.

time to think

For the first time in my life I have time to think. When my life was full of doing things; working, driving, reading, watching TV, doing chores, eating, talking, socialising, any spare time to think was never an option. I was so tired in the evenings I just fell asleep.

Now, while I am often tired after a hard days work, I don't have AC in my vehicle nor do I have electricity at home, I tend to go to sleep early. I have time. I don't fall asleep as quickly, as often I have a brief noon siesta after lunch to get a burst of energy to carry me through the rest of the day.

This is my thinking time. It is said that one should not think too much as it is a sure way to get depressed. That maybe for those whose lives are so full of demands or others whose lives are meaningless, so they can be so busy, they don't have time to be depressed. I am in the dark so I cannot jot down the pearls of wisdom that come to my head at that time. I do have my trusty maglite under my pillow for emergencies.

Thinking can be relaxing and helpful to focus on today, and plan for tomorrow. Like all things its what we do with the thinking that is important.

I believe it is a pleasure to be able to think and have the time to do so. I don't mean meditation here.That is a very different thing. What you think about is up to you, as long as it is good thoughts. Positive thinking as some would put it is good. This can include a fantasy.

news hound

There was a time in my past where I could never get enough news. I was a junkie for news. I subscribed to 16 news magazines a month, I read the papers daily and scoured the Internet for more news. I am sure I knew as much or more about what was going around in the world than most people.

Now I don't watch TV catch up on a weeks newspapers all in one go as I don't get any here and am completely ignorant of what is going on in the world. I don't even listen to the radio. I am sure few people will say now that I am in the real world.

Actually, I don't think I miss anything. News of bomb plots, murders, accidents, deaths of famous people, celebrity gossip, latest new gadgets, seem to me what dominates news, and sells papers and attracts viewers. My life is no better or worse for lack of information about them.

I honestly feel that other topics that don't fall into the above are just common sense. Actually there is no need to know anything. News, once all the layers of skin are peeled is just another form of entertainment I can do without. I can choose a more satisfying form of entertainment instead.

It is amazing therefore to think that something I felt I could not do without is almost irrelevant now. I can carry myself in company without knowing the latest news because I have things that I can talk about that others find even more interesting. So my lack of knowledge on the latest topic is not a hindrance.

It is therefore a wake up call to know that what we feel we cannot do without can often be discarded with no repercussions and sometimes for the better.

talk radio

The United States has seen an incredible growth in talk radio and its influence on public opinion over the past ten years. The Houses of Congress and the President keeps tabs on views and opinions and the polls on the different topics covered therein. This affects how some issues are debated and voted on by the elected members of congress. In that sense public opinion affects the laws being enacted or voted down. We may disagree with the outcome, but this is grass roots democracy at work.

It is common that extreme views and extreme questions are put forward in talk radio, as that encourages heated debate with people taking strong positions in opposing camps. Talk radio influenced the Senate resulting in their inability to pass comprehensive Immigration reform because of overwhelming public opinion against it. Talk radio resurrected the fear factor and prejudice which in many societies is just under the surface, even in the US.

We in Sri Lanka can learn from this exercise, as we should employ talk radio for people to express their opinions on the ethnic conflict, much of which can be incendiary to the opposing side. However this is better, than pent up anger, resulting in violence against innocent civilians.

The public should be given a chance to vent their anger against laws and politicians, in the hope that it can lead to some good. Then people can feel that their voice now muzzled till the next election is heard, and politicians can be brought in to answer questions and lead to a representative form of democracy.

The Sinhala radio has a well developed talk radio system of a very harmless nature, that can be directed towards a more political debate. With the gagging of journalists and freedom of expression in recent times, no radio station wants to risk being banned. This is an area where both responsible journalism and government can agree on terms of reference to allow the feelings of the man in street to be aired.

the power of tv

My observations of living in this village on the power of TV amongst my neighbors. I don't have electricity yet so I don't have a TV but I am sure the first thing the staff will want once I get electricity is a TV.

Like I said, one of my neighbors got an electricity connection two months ago, the first thing they did was to go to Abans and buy a flat screen TV (not LCD) on which they have to make monthly payments for 36 months.

Prior to TV those especially in villages were immune from the outside world and appeared to live in a more contented life. I do not advocate a return to that time. Once TV arrived, many people who were not aware of how others lived, reasoned that they are poor. So their perception was that they are poor and that was something not good and someone should try and improve their situation. They could not afford the soap on the TV or the other gadgets advertised as must have items so they were poor.

Along with TV came the travelling salesman from the electronics companies. They sold refrigerators to the villages based on the low payment plans, but for extended periods, not really explaining the APR on the hire purchase plan. One of my neighbors has a double door fridge. They have to make monthly payments of about Rs 1500/-. The head of household is a small farmer who finds it hard to make ends meet. His wife cooks all three meals fresh with a large helping of rice. The fridge is only used to cool water, and otherwise it is empty. He complained that his electricity bill rose by over Rs 700/- a month as a result. I told him to fill the fridge with bottles of water to reduce power consumption.

I digress from the point I was trying to illustrate. With little entertainment in the village, and a lack of books to read, watching tv is the pastime in the evenings till bed time. It is fair to say that soaps are the most popular and many of them are canned Indian soaps that are dubbed to Sinhala. The life style of the soaps are those that are admired. They involve a lot of liberal lifestyles that are alien to the village and now seen as acceptable. There is no rational evaluation that this is just a foreign soap, and therefore the benefit of the entertainment aspect is outweighed by the examples of living that draw people from villages to cities.

I believe that a code of ethics be set up after a study of the problem, to give a better content that is more in keeping with a sense of values that are more appropriate to the culture of the country. France restricts the foreign content of TV why can't we.I know there are certain taxes on programming from overseas ostensibly to help with local productions. It is a step in the right direction but the objectives seem more to be fundraising not regulation of content.

I am not advocating censorship, just a level of responsible content reflecting core values we would like people to adopt bearing in mind the incredible power of TV on the viewer who is not sceptical, sophisticated and very malleable.

two party democracies

In Sri Lanka, despite the inroads made by the JVP and other minor parties from time to time, the country's parliamentary and presidential democracy is essentially a two party system. The PR system has permitted parties on the fringes to get into the mainstream and also to make pronouncements in public that far exceed their underlying following.

Therefore only the UNP or the SLFP will be in power, with little to no chance of other parties becoming larger than these two. It is inevitable that in a system of proportional representation, minor parties can have a balance of power that is far in excess of their share of the vote. This is a reality everywhere. Germany is a classic example of this in action in the developed countries.

In my village, I would hazard a guess to say that 70% of the electorate will not change their voting pattern no matter what happens and belong to the two major parties. They are party loyalists, who are known to everyone in the village. They vote the same way no matter who is contesting. The rest is the floating vote on whom the outcome of the election hangs.

We may pontificate on the future of this party or that, but subject to the PR issues addressed above, there is little they can do to upset the status-quo. An astute politician should therefore take aim at this floating vote and appeal to them. It is therefore important to know who these people are. Usually the first time voter falls into this bracket. Hence the absurd proposition of promising jobs that don't exist to these people, totally hoodwinking them with false promises. Our education system does not equip the youth to think or reason, so they believe what they are told and vote accordingly.

The sophistication of the party and politician to impress and extract this floating vote determines the winner. ( I am of course assuming that each elector is not given a Rs1000/- and instructed who to vote for- that's called buying the vote as happens frequently)

the truth as an electoral liability

There is a saying that "we hear what we want to hear" that goes for seeing, reading and believing among others.

Often politicians are torn between what is correct and determining if that makes you unpopular. Various logical reasoning is done by individuals. I will do or say anything to get elected, so when I am in power I will do what is right! Telling the audience the truth will not get me elected. Therefore election promises are just that with never an intention of them ever being implemented.

It does not matter where one is, east or west rich or poor, in elections this is a universal reality. How can we get electors to make hard choices knowing they are inevitable, in preference to making statements that are untrue so the choice is easy for the elector. If this premise is taken to its ultimate conclusion, then the liar becomes President and the person telling the truth becomes a has been. Its a cruel world where lies are rewarded. In life people have now accepted this as a universal mantra.

It is worth taking a stab at telling the truth. Its the way it is conveyed to the audience that is important, so it becomes believable. That's the secret. One must know the potential audience to tailor the point to their level of understanding.

the ability to think and reason

Somewhere on a blog I just came across a passage attributed to the Lord Buddha. It went as follows: "Believe nothing merely because you have been told it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be kind, conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings - that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide."

I have been to numerous danas, (almsgivings primarily to honor the dead) in the past few years. There is usually a bana, (sermon by a buddhist priest usually one close to the family) which lasts between half hour and an hour. Their preachings if even ten percent is practiced will make Sri Lanka the holiest land ever. No one appears to live by that doctrine. Is it because they believe what the priest says is true? but that they cannot practice, as it is too difficult!

I sense the undercurrent being, that's the priest's duty and what he says is right, but our lives make it impossible to live by them. To an extent there is an element of reasoning about the impractical expectations of the sermon. In sharp contrast, I find the practice and belief in other forms of communication being different.

In the context of Sri Lanka,( I find this applies universally too) I see how much people believe what they read in the papers, see on TV and what is told them by their teachers, and most of all by their politicians! There is very little reasoning behind what is absorbed. It is easy to believe and not reason.

To quote an example that occurred recently. There is heavy advertising on TV on the benefits of various brands of milk powder as they are fortified with vitamins and minerals and is good for children. I produce milk and one day when I was delivering my can of milk at the collection center, I was speaking to another dairy farmer who has a few cows and had brought his milk. He said he sells his milk to Milco at Rs18/- a litre. However he has two small children so he buys a branded powdered milk at about Rs200/- for 400g to give them. He does not give them fresh milk as it does not have the same benefits as he believes what he has been told.

In his case he is spending a large sum for an inferior product and receiving a small sum for a superior product and believes he is doing the right thing. He is also short changing his children's growth and nutrition in the process too.

One option is for the benefit of fresh milk to be advertised. This is not productive as there is a shortage of fresh milk and companies have no problem in selling products made from fresh milk. There is no point trying to get people to stop drinking powdered milk when they cannot get fresh milk. Remember the time when Nestle was advertising the benefit of powdered milk in Africa, in preference to mother's milk, which caused deaths. The water used to make the powdered milk was unsafe to drink.

It is easier for us to accept what is said or written at face value. We can then blame a third party if it turns out be wrong. If we make the rational choice and we then find out later we made the wrong choice we have us to blame! It is therefore easier to lay the blame on others instead of us.

How do we therefore explain the power of reasoning and analysis so that we make rational choices? This is most important for our daily lives. It must be understood that the rational choice I make may differ from my neighbour given the same facts, as his or her perception of a fact can be different.

The important point here is not the result of the process, just the process itself. In many instances what is right for me maybe wrong for you.

what might have been

We sometimes wonder how our lives might have changed had certain events taken a different turn. It is most annoying when other people make that judgement on our behalf. For example' if you did not go overseas for that job or whatever you could have been this or that'.

It is not really productive to dwell on that, except, I believe to feel good about the path life has taken. Human beings tend to look at the might have been as a better situation than the present. We fail to realize that it could actually have been worse. For example say in an accident, if one is unscathed we rarely dwell on the might have been, that of some serious injury or death.

I believe we have control of our destiny and we have to live with the consequences of our actions, but it is best to look positively at the choices we have taken as being for the best and if for one reason or another we can improve on our present situation, we should then take steps to make that change.

Life is what we make of it. We owe no debt, nor does anyone owe us anything. We suffer or enjoy the consequences of our actions. Most of all we must follow our instincts in preference to blindly following what others want of us.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

democracy and governance

It appears that there are very few democracies that are truly representative of the population that they purport to represent. The party in government appears to be elected by fewer than half of those who voted in the election, not counting those who don't vote.

Additionally, during the course of the tenure the popularity levels go up and down depending on various factors. We cannot therefore say that the system is representative, but that it is the best we can achieve bearing in mind the ground realities.

Those in power must realize that the represent not just those who voted them in but also those who voted against them. This reality is almost absent from democracies in developing countries which lead to decisions that retard economic growth and also the well being of the nation.

In Sri Lanka it is almost expected that all the party supporters of the winning party are rewarded with sinecures, as the payback for their support. This creates antagonism amongst a great majority of people. It is common that this also occurs in western countries but not at every level of local government. When the gramaseveka system is also politicized then there is no hope for impartial governance at that level.

It would be so much better for good governance that all these politicised levels are peeled of and are restricted only to a few positions. It is most destructive to see 100,000 or more jobs changing hands as a result of a changing government, where the learning curve of those already in those jobs are done away with and a new set of people appointed. Of course the earlier lot also try to financially benefit from their positions and therefore the incoming party seek to exchange that benefit creating a cycle that hinders the proper operation of government.

One has only to look at many of the privatisations to see how much more efficient things have become. Instead of privatising, I believe like in the case of telecoms, more competition is allowed. What then happens is that if the state institution does not become efficient they squeezed and best practices are the result. The telecommunication sector and the banks are a case in point here where this level of competition has benefit ted the consumer.

new to blogging

I have just been introduced to the world of blogging by a friend. I have not had access to the internet for a few years since my move to the village and find this a way of both sharing my thoughts but also informing my friends and relatives about what I am up to.

As part of this exercise I was surfing through many of the Sri Lankan based blogs and find that they are well designed and constructed by their bloggers who appear to be tec savvy, but reading what they have to say, I find the content lacking in direction. Also there is little substance in what is written.

Journal blogs are fine as they are primarily to be shared by one's family and friends. Then there are the informational blogs about current affairs or news, but many are very 'off the charts', with people trying to show off how educated they are, with a bunch of technical content and little relevance to information proper.

I therefore decided that I would use this blog for my musings and thoughts and another for what I have been up to with information on my daily activities so people can get an idea of what I am about these days.

Unfortunately I will only be able to get on line very infrequently to update the blog and read comments so I ask those who send me comments to be patient and understanding, as I do not have direct access to the net nor do I have electricity at my residence.


I have been looking at Mahavilachchiya the e-village in the jungle, the website being This is the sort of pioneering project we should learn from. I have been scouring the web to find out more about the actual results, or the current status of the various projects. I have not been too successful at getting the information I want.I have also looked at the websites of the students in the project, but I perceive they have been largely written by the teachers as the level of English is still far below that which is basically required.

I have recently had the experience of teaching English to small kids, and have found it very difficult to get them to learn and make an effort. It seems very hard as there is no mechanism at home for them to try out what they learn and therefore when they come to class the next time, its as if they have learnt nothing. It is also quite possible that the technique I use is poor. Nevertheless it is very important to get feedback from the volunteers who are well intentioned in this project, so we can learn from them and try to do any future projects of this nature in an improved way.

Please help me with this enquiry


Time is the most important thing we have and how we manage it determines in part the quality of our lives. Someone told me today, that he wanted to kill time. I felt that it was an indictment of our times, where people sometimes don't know what to do with the time they have. I know people who will kill to get more time, I forgot to tell this fellow that.

In the past in primitive cultures, time was efficiently used, and now in our developed! culture there are people who want to kill it! I see how different people use their time in my environment. I see some men who are completely inebriated every evening with moonshine who are not just a nuisance to themselves but to their spouses who are abused and spat at and scolded.I presume they don't know what to do with their time so they get drunk.

In this age of TV where in developed and poor countries alike there is a very high degree of TV watching, that's what happens to time. If we are happy and we get our entertainment from that I guess that's fine.

I used to think I did not have time for anything. It was a big curse as I was always rushing from one to another wishing there were more than 24 hours in a day.Now I work longer hours than I ever have in my life, but I appear to have more time on my hands than before.It is strange, but I now don't do a lot of things I did before and therefore I am more free.

I used to subscribe to over 80 magazines a month when lived in the US. I felt I should at least read the articles of interest but I never had time to finish them. The lesson is that we must be realistic and balanced and be aware that we cannot do everything we want.


Happiness is a state of mind. Some people are very happy, and others have varying degrees of happiness. We being only human have things we would like to do or have and those cravings, can lead to us not being happy until we have managed to fulfill them.

The saying 'grass is always greener on the other side' also reflects this human behaviour. Sometimes we assume things that are completely untrue. We assume that the person in the big house has what he wants and if we live in a room, how nice it would be to live in the big house. The person in the big house could be looking at the small house and saying that it would be nice to live in the small house. He may feel it is more intimate or easier to clean or whatever. We don't know, so don't assume.

How do we therefore control this. We must try to be a little more contented with our lot. It is perfectly OK to feel to that it would be nice to have a new car when yours is currently breaking down everyday. Life is full of choices and we have to prioritize those choices taking into account our circumstances. Is therefore a compromise as it is difficult to have everything we are looking for.

It is therefore important to appreciate what we have over the craving for what we don't, then this state of happiness can be reached with less not more.


I live in a rural village in Sri Lanka. My village has electricity. No one is connected to the Internet in the village nor are any of the schools. There are a few people in the village who have fixed line phones and who can access the Internet.Many people in the village have mobile phones. There is a communication center in the nearest town where you can get on line for a fee and send or receive emails and bearing in mind the slow download speeds have access to the world wide web, though quite limited.

I believe in time we can start setting up Internet facilities in schools and get the youth in the villages to take up this medium and have access to the same information that any other student in any country has.

We cannot begin to start in this venture until the basic knowledge of English is improved so that this information that is available can be useful to them. This is the priority, as once this is done, the Internet costs and set up costs will come down and the hoped for access can be achieved.The youth are the future of the country. They have been able to take on the Internet like ducks to water once their knowledge of English is at an acceptable level. This is evidenced by the incredibly sophisticated blogs that some of the young people in Sri Lanka have managed to create. It is sad however that there appears to be a dearth of older people writing blogs in Sri Lanka as evidenced by some of the writings that appear to be more youth centric! as opposed to experience centric!

The teaching of English should be the priority. There are not enough teachers of English and firstly this should be addressed. I am willing to get involved in my local school in Giritale where even the parents are very disgruntled at the paucity of their children's education in all subjects.


What is education? I don't believe education is what we learn at school. It is only part of our education and we learn or should learn as much from our parents as we do from school and in that respect eduction is a life time learning process that never ceases.

If we all think in that way then there will not be a crisis in eduction. Qualifications only are useful to someone who is looking to see if you have the tools to do whatever it is required of you. However it does not show whether you can actually do the job. So an interviewer has to at the interview by various testing methods as well as by first impressions make the judgement call on whether you have the capabilities of carrying out the task at hand, and also if you don't at first, that you are likely to learn on the job.

On a broader sense education is important in how we live our lives, and as long as we believe we can learn something every day, we should be satisfied that we meet the criteria of being educated.

So now you know who I will refer to as an educated person. Not the PhD who comes to advise me on new farming techniques, but the farmer who cannot read, but can share 50 years of farming experience on the same land!

experience in life

Our lives are what we make of it. Sometimes circumstances determine our fate. We cannot choose who we are born to. Everyone on earth has a different life and no one except God has the insight into our true lives. We cannot hide anything from God as he sees right through you all the time. You can hide from man and show him that side of you that you want seen.

Life experience is the education of life that no book or mother can teach. There are many things you only learn from your experience. So the more experiences you have the greater your insight will be. If we are fortunate to have a greater breath of experience it is a good thing to share that with others who are not so fortunate to have that level of experience.

Experience has no direct corrolation to happiness, so it is not a prerequisite to life. It just means you have a greater ability to share diverse points of view formed as a result of the experience you gain.

This is a reason we sometimes seek wise counsel from the elders as they have sometimes experienced what we are only now going through. This will help us to gain insight and to learn from others, so they pass the benefit of their experience.

being single

What does it mean when we say we are single? That in the usual parlance, it is that we do not have any attachments, usually as in a relationship. We can be single out of choice or out of circumstance. This situation may be temporary or permanent. We may like it or dislike this status.

We have to cope for the duration and make a complete life for ourselves. It is true many single people envy those in relationships, and many in relationships envy those who are single. However if there is any doubt in our perception, then for one reason or another we are either not happy being single or being in a relationship.

Only if we are not satisfied, should we try and take positive steps to feel better, either by patching up the relationship, or filling in the void; or change our status. We sometimes fail to achieve what we want, but we should not get disheartened, we should just accept the fact that this is only temporary and the future will be only better.

When we are then happy in our status then look no further.

comfort zone

We are usually happy to live our lives in a comfort zone, even if we may believe it is not the best, or we could do better. Change is difficult to accept, and therefore change is what we must do to leave our comfort zone.

There is a feeling of renewal in a new beginning, however it is fraught with apprehension of whether we did the right thing. Once we manage to overcome this apprehension we have left the past and really started afresh.

If we are not content then we should try and change again and the cycle starts over again. Only birth and death are permanant everything else can be changed.