Friday, April 29, 2005

Public Transportation

A lot of things are happening.
1.D Sivaram was killed
2.Central Bank is going to release 2004 annual report saying Sri Lanka reached per capita GDP of 1000 USD in 2004 (before Tsunami) which makes Sri Lanka a middle income country.
3.Deadly bus accident in Allawwa

I'm just going to focus on No. 3.
I know I will take lot of heat from my dad and uncles( if they know I'm writing this )but J.R.Jayawardena did a lot of things right!Like I mentioned in WFB post , If I'm honest I should be able to see what is wrong with my ideas ,too.
Since JR was human ,he made lot of mistakes.To me the top 3 blunders he made are,
1.Let the July 1983 anti-Tamil pogram happen due to his inaction or secret involvement.
2.Pure Propotional system introduced in 1978 constitution which made some parliament seats member-less,created inter-party and intra -party fights and gave oxygen to a dying old system of caste/ethnicity based politics.
3.Privatizing Bus service .

I'm writing this as a citizen who had to depend on Sri Lankan transportation system.
I'm a free-market beliver.When it come to public trasnportation it seems that there should always be government regulation and involvement!
In US the public transportation is irrelevant except couple of major cities .In the city I'm in ,the public rail /bus system is handled by a public company with lot of local governtment money invloved .Also heard that Greyhound is cutting down some routes which are unprofitable.Also Amtrak is in trouble according to the reports.
I don't know how Europe ,Japan and China handles this.India is as crazy as Sri Lanka but atleast they have a pretty good rail system.I found this about british rail.
I know our private bus/SLTB/Railway system is a crazy mix.Don't know whether anywhere in the world they have anything close to our private bus culture which kills people in-search of 10 rupees more.
What would be the best solution for Sri Lanka?(May be one of the three people who reads this might have an idea!)
Amal Kumarage is thinking about a franchise system for private bus operators.


William F Buckley Jr. is the founder of National Review .He is the intellectuall grand pa of all conservative right wing public figures who control the public discourse in US right now.
In this article he looks at one aspect that is wrong with his own side .i.e. Capitalism.
WFB on Capitalism
I cannot think of Nalin De Silva ,Champika Ranawaka,Wickramabahu Karunaratne ,Gunadasa Amarasekera ,all JVPers , All the old Commies and Samasajists,UNP and SLFP idealogue s(if there are any) or even Morquendi looking at his own ideas and thinking "I might be wrong in some cases ,you know".Specially when it seems like their side is winning!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

TV makes you smarter!

This is like a postscript to the theory no1
An article on NYT explains how Watching TV makes you smarter

(registration for site is free.if you don't wanna register use for a username/password.)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Pet theory No.2 .US and Sri Lanka .Two Countries built on immigration

I woke up today and realised the world has turned upside down .Check this out JVP-USA lovefest . I was sitting on my theory number 2 (theory 2 ) for too long! I have to get this out before comrade Somawansa,comrade Wirawansa or comrade Tilvin beat me to it.Of course Sri Lanka resembles ethnic composition of US loosely(White 70% Black 13% Latino 13%) .Some similarities doesn't end there ,it runs deeper .It might explain how group of immigrants reacts in different countries .US and Sri Lanka are both immigrant countries which still keeps connections to the roots in different ways.

DISCLAIMER:I have not studied history or anthropology in any formal way.I claim no expertise in the subject I'm about to jump into.
The immigration waves to US is well documented and can be checked or here . Sri Lanka is a different story which we have to depend on written and oral history .Conflict ridden ,over crowded Europe(continent ) and India(sub-continent) provided source for the mass scale migartion ( 1600 -1950's for US and 500 B.C- 1950 A.D Sri Lanka)In both cases immigarnt came from different rich cultural traditions and but merged in one culture . The natives in both cases Red Indians and Veddhas suffered almost the same fate and are in reservations in their own lands.
Why Orgin of American Whites = Sinhalese ?
Orgins of Sinhalase may be North Indian(still a debate about whether it is from west or east) but Sinhalase are a mixer of ethinic groups from all over India.Suprisingly these groups kept there identies somewhat intact in the form of Caste.Caste?First of all Sinhalese caste system was not the indian system at all .It was less opressive.When it comes to hierachy it is a upside down pyramid unlike indian system which has brahmin on the top.Govigama which is supposed to be on the top is estimated to be 40% of the Sinahalese. Nobody will dare ask you or mention the caste in SriLanka anymore unless it comes to marriage or voting (Influance was waning but propotional system introduced by 1978 consititution has kept it on the feeding tube).It is politically incorrect to talk about caste.I was lucky to discover "Caste Conflict and Elite Formation: the Rise of the Karava Elite in Sri Lanka" by Dr.Micheal Roberts I found a review .Also I read lot of articles by Victor Ivan in "Ravaya" on the subject.It was amazing to discover that each caste (Govigama,Karava,Durawa ,Salagama etc..) had it's own theory of where they came from.The sirnames they kept pointing us to their origins in India. This is amazing similar to to the fact the white americans consider them as WASPs,Irish- American ,Italian- American ,German - Americans(Polish ,Scandinavian also).Of course most of them have inter-married and differences are fading away fast.So does the caste in Sinahalese!If you check marriage proposals in the classified section which is sort of a "dating site ( with parental guidence" you see the decreasing relevance of caste compared to 70s or 80s.Now the parents seems to be mixed and they don't seem to care about the caste that often. When 60's free love was changing rest of the world ,our parents ,uncles and aunts were in the forefront, inter-marrying and running away with their partners from different castes!Exihibit no.1. Chandrika Bandaranayake. (She is low country/up country Govigama.Had a boy friend from Salagama and married a guy from Durawa)
Most of the people can identify Italian-American accent form a mob movie .So can Sinhalase identify Salagama (specially Rathgama area) .I know a waiter who fakes the accent at an Italalian restorant(He is not Italian nor Italian-american) .I also know a guy from Rathgama who can switch on and off his accent at will ,according to the audiance.Most of the old US cities are dotted with ethnic neighborhoods and so does Sri Lankan villages with caste neighborhoods.It is highly likely that if you are white and you are from Chicago without checking the name ,there is a big chance that you might be of Polish origin .If he/she is from Minnesota or Wisconsin the orgin might be Scandinavian.If you are from Balapitya there is big chance that you might have Salagama origins or if you are from Ambalangoda it might be of Karava orgin.Micheal Roberts exmanines all stories about origins(immigration) of Govigama,Karava,Salagama and Durava along with the rest of castes in his book.
Integrating into one culture was no small task for white americans or Sinahalese.Check this How the Irish became white .Irish ,Italian and Eastern europeans had a long way to be accepted and merged into mainstream. Also check The way of the WASP from Richard Brookhiser. There are several other lines of similarities {super-patriotic Scots-Irish orgins which is a majority in west virginia to the south and in pensylvania which gave the world country music with Vahampura caste which prides in being the only caste which doesn't have any members converted to other religions .Also all these caste have there own nikaya's when it comes to religion(Buddhism).It is a separate lengthy study not that relevant here .compare it with all these different ethnic groups in US have different preferences when it comes to Christianity}
If above is true then who are African Americans and Latinos when it comes to Sri Lanka?
The African-Americans brought in as Slaves and on whose blood and tears the early american capitalism was built has some parallels with the Indian - Tamil minority in Sri Lanka.They were herded like cattle from South India .Thousands died on there way to hill country to work as almost slaves for the British.Sri Lankan welfare state was built on their slave labor. If indian Tamils are African-Americans in Sri Lanka, is Thondaman(sr.) our MLK or Muralitaharan our Jackie Robinson ?Probably not, considering the fact that their families migrated for business (Although the story has similarities).
So where does the Sri Lankan Tamils fit into the Story?
Hispanic Americans have a large population that speak their language in neighboring countries. Can claim ownership to part of the country (Texas and California) based on history .Also rapidly becoming a majority in their areas.Since they are using their own langauge at large ,the integration is harder and the right wing crazies are builing up a case with illegal immigartion which can easily be turned into something else(check Michelle Malkin or The american resisitance ,Minute Man project). How can we ignore that parallel with our north and east?
Although Tamils have been in Sri Lanka for 2000 years( as a part of the south indian invations)looks like that they have merged into Sinhalese community over time in early history.Only after 13 th. century that it seems like separate kingdoms been established for longer periods of time.(Even in late 17th. century there seemed to have been migrant farmers and fisherman from south india in the north according records)

How about Sri Lankan Muslims ?
mmmm.. let me think about a community which is disproprotionately represented in business and commerce,lives in Urban areas mainly .Also their highly religious memebers (men)wear skull caps and long beards.Women cover most of the body and about Jews!
I know it doesn't have anything to do with the above argument much but Sri Lankan Muslims were severely persecuted under Portugese rule in 15 th. Century.For just being Muslims.They had to seek refuge in up -country .King Senerath welcomed them and gave land in the current eastern province.It was a small scale holocaust they had to flee.

Moral of the above story is US might find itself in the same situation as Sri Lanka unless they do a better job of integrating latinos(mainly)/minorities.This might change if there is a major technological break-through like speach translation or we find babel fish mentioned in " Hitch Hikers guide to the galaxy".What do you think of a seperate Spanish speaking country within south -West US in 50-70 years ?

What can Sri Lanka learn from US ?probably nothing.Because Sri Lanka never learns anything.

bizzaro-Sri Lanka

Today is not April 1 st. ,is it?
JVP-USA Love-fest
I think I'm living in bizzaro-world.Up is down,north is south,good is bad,black is white and JVP is UNP!
Loved this quote

"We believe in our efforts to rebuild and regain our multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious country, the United States will follow in the same spirit that after WW II, it helped replace fascist dictatorships by vibrant democracies. Our party has taken as a model your country’s arrangements for multi-ethnic harmony - namely full equality of citizens without artificial ethnic-based territorial borders. The US can help Sri Lanka by standing up to the principles of democracy, free elections, human rights, free speech, the rule of law, accountability, transparency and the rights of children. You have now a golden opportunity and an important obligation to help all the people of Sri Lanka, not just those outside the North and the East,”

So comrade ,what's up with those 10000 dead in 1971 and 30000 dead in 1988-89 fighting capitalism,imperialism and neo-colonialism?Wasn't US the ultimate enemy?Also what's up with all the money you guys received from Sadam Hussian's Bath Party back in 1980?No loyality?
(Should have known this coming.After all India was no1 enemy just 15 years ago!)

Am I dreaming or what?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A Simple Statistic

If you believed all the B.S. they teach you in school(specially social studies/History/Sinhala classes) Sri Lanka is a blessed country.No Natural disasters.Beautiful.Lot's of natural resources.Great location.Everybody wants to be here.If you drop a twig anywhere,it will hold root ,thrive and bear fruit!.My ass!.

Tsunami busted the myth on the top of the list.Most of the people who are talking about beauty haven't set a foot outside Sri Lanka (I'm saying it is not .Certainly we are not the only country that is beautiful).I have read so much crap about natural resources but I don't know anything which is commercially viable in large scale which can generate revenue in a long period of time.Location myth is still tossed around .India builds Sethsusamudram or a big port in South India,Sri Lankan location myth is history.Big boys don't need footholds in countries to wage war anymore.Technology of warfare has changed.The next big B.S is we can make all the food we eat and agriculture is the way to go.JVP wants 1000 tanks restored.Average Sri Lankan farmers plot of land is so small he can barely survive.
Here is a nice statistic about population density.
Population Density
To clear things up let's remove small countries which are less than 10000 km2.
1.Bangladesh 1002
2.Taiwan 636
3.South Korea 492
4.Netherlands 395
5.Lebanon 368
6.Belgium 340
7.Japan 337
8.India 329
9.Rwanda 320
10.El Salvadore 319
11 SRI LANKA 306
We are 11 out of the whole freaking world ,people!
Then check this out.population distribution inside SL .The Density is higher in South -West and lower in North-East.If the Elam is established we can easily jump to number 5(a quick calculation based on 2001 census and area taken as 1/3 and 2/3 of Sri Lanka gave 375 and 85 respectively) in the list.Even without Ealam there won't be a migration from South - West to North-East.It will be viewed as settlements.So we are screwed and better learn to live with it.
We don't have any resources .Nobody knows when the when next tsunami is going to hit us. We are living on top of each other ,have less private space between each citizen , it is freaking hot in the afternoon and worse of all we don't know when we are going to be blown up.That's why we cannot think straight and see what is written on the wall in bold letters."YOU ARE SCREWED".Unless we act now we will end up figthing for food and water.The country will be one big tsunami refugee camp.
The only natural resource we have is people .Our future is in manufacturing and services .Not in agriculture.Our future in Mutli story housing schemes.Not in tiny plots of land of 10 perches like chiken farms.Our future is in urban planning,preserving whatever we have on empty spaces for public use(beaches ,forrest etc..).Our future is in Science and technology .Thats why this(education value) debate is important.
Thats why we have to question while other countries have 40-50 % of college grads why we are satisfied with 3% .That's why we have to understand why after 209 years of English language domination why only 5% of people can read/write English.That's why we have to question why the unemployment rate goes up as the education level rises.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Kottu is not a Sri Lankan food

In (the about page) of kottu it is mentioned as a Sri Lankan food.
It is probably not.
Not that there is anything wrong with it!
It has become Sri Lankan by default with the explosion of fast food industry in Sri Lanka.
A small number of people who patronized the "Muslim Hotels" ate kottu before 80's.There were only a handful of "hotels" which offered kottu.If some food critic could dig up the history it would be great .(As I can remember Rosie Senanyake opened up a fancy kottu joint in front of US embassy in late 80's.It should have been featured in a sunday newspaper.)

Kottu probably has a sub-continent(outside Sri Lanka) Muslim origin because of "beef Kottu.
Kottu is Sri Lankan as much as Pizza is American.
Thats why kottu is the perfect name for the website.Technlogy taken from outside made your own .A mixer of ideas ,thrown into one .Some of them are leftovers from yesterday.What happens tomorrow morning is anybodies guess!

Monday, April 11, 2005

"(Sri Lanka)*100size+(1000 to 2000)years =(almost) USA"?

Looks like indi has added me to the blog roll in kottu .I don't know whether chandare is qualified as a blog.Although it is my personal notepad ,I better keep my promise of turning out stupid ideas since people are reading (yeah, all 3 of them!).
My next idea is explaining why "(Sri Lanka)*100size+(1000 to 2000)years =(almost) USA" .I might have to touch some subjects which most of the Sri Lankans wouldn't touch with a barge pole.Sometimes it's a fine line between right wing bigotry and social commentary.Look out for next couple of posts for the explanation(Have to put food on the table, off to work!)