The Shoat Statements

Random musings by the multiple voices inside my head.

This is a MUST watch movie, for all those who haven’t seen it. Not only is it a good movie, it also tells a bitter truth that doesn’t yet seem to have been well digested. For all those ignoramuses, Road to Guantanamo is about 4 Pakistani boys (I think one of them is Bengali) who are British citizens living in Tipton, mostly on the wrong side of the law. During a trip to Pakistan, they are foolishly persuaded to go Afghanistan for relief efforts. Once in Afghanistan, they are captured by U.S. soldiers, who believe that they are terrorists. After sufficiently torturing them in Afghanistan, they are shipped off to Guantanamo Bay.

I’ve spoken earlier about the ignorance of today’s youth. It is precisely that ignorance that leads these nice but foolish boys down the road to hell. A little more awareness about the world around them and they may have realized what they were getting themselves into. This should serve as a wake up call to all, to be a little less dim-witted about the world we live in.

The constant U.S. claim is that Guantanamo Bay keeps terrorists of the worst level, most of whom had a hand in 9/11. And the gullible U.S. public laps it up. The Tipton 3 were, at the very best, stupid. They were not terrorists by any stretch of the imagination. These boys were no angels, but they were, after all just boys looking for a good time. How the U.S. forces could actually keep these three boys in Guantanamo for over 2 years, with not a shred of proof of their so-called terrorist activities, is incredible. How they were tortured to exact ludicrous confessions was tragic. The only reason they were finally released was that they were British citizens, with people in the U.K. who looked for them, and the fact that all their alibis were confirmed by the Tripton police force.

What about all the other innocents who are being held in Guantanamo under dubious circumstances? Who stands up for them? We salivate waiting for the next Bond flick or to see Superman’s next shenanigans, but do we think at all about the harsher world out there? If you’re Muslim, three stupid moves from you could mean the same fate. The arrest of the Tripton 3 was bizarre – even with thick British accents, they were shipped off for being Muslim and being present in Afghanistan. No charges were pressed, no legal avenues were made available, no nothing, except for endless hours of torture. What do you do when you hear about the 500 detainees at Guantanamo? Would I be right if I said you flip the channel?

Watch this brilliant movie. And then think about this ‘war on terror’, justice and what you actually do in this world that is genuinely worthwhile.

How much is too much? What is the price of the freedom and liberties?

This must be bad publicity for the Sun God. The crew from the Jordanian ship has held a press conference in Colombo, where they have spoken at length about how they were manhandled. Don't bother checking it out on the BBC, since they seem to have developed engine trouble over the covering of this issue. Last I checked, a vague article was up which didn't say anything much either ways (but when does it ever?).

Check out the Lanka Truth article, which has a detailed report. The long and short of it is that the Swimming Cats terrorised them, then plundered the ship, which may explain why they are still hanging onto it.

Why they keep asking for bad publicity is what I'm wondering. But then again, perhaps the Sun God is safe in the knowledge that these incidents are reported only in the local press.

Ah well, can't go through an entire week and not have the LTTE remaining quiet. The Sun God's Cats seem to have taken a liking to Captain Jack Sparrow, because now the Swimming Cats have turned into pirates. To make a long story short, on 23 December, a Jordanian cargo vessel FARHA III drifted towards LTTE stronghold Mullaithievu following a technical failure. According to the crew, they radioed for help, and radioed again for help saying that they were being attacked by pirates (our friends, the swimming cats). According to the Swimming Cats, they rescued the stranded sailors (one wonders why the sailors said they were being attacked then), and then handed them over to the Red Cross.

For the long story, visit the Asian Tribune.

Yes, the sailors are safe and sound and in Colombo (yup, an oxymoron there).

But the Swimming Cats don't seem too keen on releasing the ship they 'rescued', conveniently carrying 14,000 tons of rice, which is still in their custody.

Sin men, these poor Swimming Cats - I think the Sun God should've just sent them to Disneyland, and then this kidnapping thing would be out of their system (for those keeping count, refer their earlier kidnapping fiasco).

Have you known any Sri Lankans (or even South Asians at large) who applied for visa to an European country and came back complaining about how unfriendly the staff there were? Or perhaps how unhelpful they were?

Weeell, I had the misfortune of having to visit the Indian High Commission in Colombo. Before I went, I called them, spoke to a rather polite lady, found out all the documents that was required of me, paid a visit to the website (quite a swanky one at that), and thus turned up there today happy in the knowledge that the visit cannot be too traumatic.

Oooh, how silly of me. First of all, at both the entry points there are some very junior level Indians, who are presumably supposed to screen you and send you off to the relevant section. Never in my life, including the 03 years I spent in India, have I met people that rude. They were just indiscriminately rude to everyone there, including students, old people and who so ever happened to be in queue. Oh yeah, and apart from being rude, they did precious little else, because with the screening and security check they put me through (which is taking my handbag, asking if I had a mobile, and returning the bag without so much as looking inside it), I could have smuggled in a bomb or two.

And so much for the relevant sections, because they sent me to 03 different departments before I found the division I was supposed to go to. The first thing I noticed was that the place was an underground hall, with no ventilation, and not so much as a ceiling fan. Hmmm. Oh yeah, there was also a clock that stated that the time was 3.15, when in fact it was barely 10 (closer inspection told me that the clock had gone to permanent sleep).

Then there were about 10 people waiting, at least 7 counters, and only one of them being operated by a rather harassed looking young lady. People seemed to take random turns at manning this one counter, because they took turns at will. I first ended up speaking to one lady, who rattled of a list of things I needed - a to g - (quite different to the list given by the lady on the phone).

When I got the things together (luckily I took all my docs), which may have taken all of 10 minutes the counter person had miraculously transformed to a man. Who wanted the entire request repeated. After which he took about half the documents the former counter person wanted, gave no receipt, no file number, no nothing, and asked me to call back in 02 weeks and ask from Ms. XXX whether my papers were ready. When he started speaking to the chap behind me, I knew I had been dismissed.

Truly, it was like being in an Indian government office. Embassies are supposed to help the people who come there, and being friendly goes without saying. At no point did the place even remotely resemble an embassy, and there was nothing diplomatic about the staff. That the Indian High Commission would employ such a crowd of unhelpful and unfriendly people as the first contact between them and the outside world is very sad. I've visited Indian Embassies in other countries, and they are leagues ahead of the one in Colombo. Perhaps Nirupama Rao should've spent less time writing poetry, and more time trying to run the embassy.

And the final touch? Incredible India posters all over the premises. Truly, it was an incredible experience.

P.S. Part 2 will appear after I collect my documents.

The members of the famed ‘Donor Conference’ should donate some specs to the esteemed LTTE cadres. Why? Because according to the rebel military spokesman Rasaiah Ilanthirayan, first the LTTE had kidnapped O’level students on the 19th of December by ‘mistake’. Then he changed his tune and said that the kids came of their own volition, but were sent back later when their age was discovered. We must understand the plight of these poor LTTE chaps. It really is difficult to tell the difference between 16 year-old O’level kids and 18+ adults who can join a terrorist organization. Thus the glasses. It may prove useful at a later date, when under-age kids may go wandering towards the Sun God again.

By the by, informed sources at Lanka Truth says that the SLMM was blaming the Karuna faction for the kidnapping of 23 children all the while Rasaiah Ilanthirayan was changing statements.

Maybe the SLMM needs to be given hearing aids along with glasses.

You may have noticed how English words take on a whole new spin when certain Sri Lankans use them. It’s hilarious to listen to at times, but when it’s on radio or TV, it can vary between incredibly annoying to depressing.

For your amusement, I’ve listed out few words below. Of course, there are far more words, but I obviously can’t list them all here.

Actual English Word vs. Variation/Pronunciation

Chikungunya = CHICKENgunya (as in the animal)*

Excise Department = Exercise Department

Cache (of arms, for example) = Cash of arms (as in Johnny Cash)*

Lindt (the chocolate brand) = Lindut* (as in bonnet)

Condominium = CondoMONIUM

Putty = Potty (yeah, I know)

Rapporteur = Reporter (yup, should’ve expected that one)*

Forte = Forty

Except = Accept

Gimmick = Jimmick

Warmth = Warmuth (as in bonnet)

Blessed = Blessud (as in bonnet)

*On TV, radio and your average Sunil

Without an asterik means I've heard it pronounced this way by a lot of people at large - race, religion, job and level of education being immaterial.

To be fair though, there are almost as many mistakes made in Sinhala (being our national language), so what can you expect of English?

Aha! 'Tis the season to be jolly, and all that jazz right? So what better time to bring up the virgin birth? Except this time, it isn't a young lady in Bethlehem, but a female Komodo dragon called Flora in a U.K zoo. Apparently, female Komodo dragons are capable of parthenogenesis, which is basically successful reproduction without a male.

These Komodo dragons can apparently mate with males to have kids (eggs in their case), and when males aren't available, they do it themselves (not female + female, but only female).

Interesting, huh? So if we study the Komodo dragons long and hard (no pun intended) enough, we may soon figure out how to procreate without men. I mean, Komodo dragons are still closer to humans than mere amoeba, right?

I had a doll called Flora when I was small (no connection to the above story at all, but might as well mention it).

It's nice to know that the LTTE can match the Sri Lankan gov. step for step when it comes to splurging money. 40,000 sterling pounds for Anton Balasingham's funeral is a lot of moolah, especially in light of their recent struggle to procure arms.

Good stuff. Maybe there is hope, after all.

Before I begin, let me say that my post is based on a news item I heard on TNL Lite this morning, and further supported by an article on Tamil Net today. Apparently, the kindly leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, Mr. Rauf Hakeem was informed by the Social Services Ministry of Sri Lanka is donating 2 million rupees to the recent flood victims. Now isn't the government really sweet? That's only 3 (million) less than what they gave N. Raviraj's widow.

But wait. Hold that thought. 2 million - for 30,000 families. That's a whopping 66.67 rupees per family. It gets even more impressive - Sri Lankan families have an average of 4 people in their family, so that 2 million can also be translated as a sum total of 16.66 rupees per person. Wooooooooooooooooooow. Isn't that really great? Except for the itsy bitsy detail that Rs.16/= will get you nothing in this country, and Rs. 60/= will not fare any better. Especially for flood victims.

Did the Social Services Ministry forget how to calculate? Or did they make a mistake in their press conference, a mistake which they then repeated for Rauf Hakeem's benefit. Oh wow wow wow.

Being N. Raviraj's widow is beginning to look faaaaaar more profitable.

P.S. If you know anyone in the said ministry, please buy them a calculator and teach them some basic logic and mathematics.

Why do I get the feeling that ignorance is becoming a highly valued, ultra-desirable quality in most beings under the age of 30? It is really incredible to see people revelling in their stupidity.

I fail to understand why BU30 (beings under 30) find it amusing not to know the difference between Dickens and Dickinson, or Micheal Bolton & John Bolton. No one is asking them to read either Dickens or Dickinson. Just know who they are.

Not knowing the goings on of this world, or at least of your country, is no laughing matter. It is, in fact, quite tragic. Apart from shovelling cement or making coffee, I can think of precious few employers out there who would enjoy employing a moron. I know I wouldn't.

Doesn't the BU30 realise that to work in any field - with or without a college degree - some amount of intelligence, general knowledge or at the very least some interest in the world at large is required? Life is not an endless joke. People like Jay Leno, Robin Williams & Tim Allen are funny - but that doesn't mean they are stupid. Watch any of their shows or interviews and you'd see how aware they are, how capable of genuine thought. Is life really going to be complete when it consists of nothing else but shopping, eating, drinking, partying and sleeping?

I'm shocked and find myself becoming utterly disappointed the more I get to know the so-called 'new generation' of today. Most of them are ignorant, some actually stupid and almost all are quite unapologetic about it. What they hope to do with themselves as they grow older, is anybody's guess.

At long last, Anton Balasingham is dead. And I can't say that I'm sorry about it. Moderate Tiger he may have been, but a Tiger nevertheless. He caused enough damage to Sri Lanka while living in luxury in London. I fail to understand how these so-called (sole)representatives of the Tamil people live in the lap of luxury, while extorting money from and restricting food supplies to the very people they claim to represent. One must feel a bit sorry for Anton, though. Not a word was mentioned about him in the Sun God's Heroes Day speech. I guess it's true what they say - they don't miss you till you're gone.

And then we come to next point. I heard on news this morning that the SL gov. is donating 5 million rupees to the widow of TNA MP N. Raviraj. Really now. What is this nonsense? Has the gov. suddenly realised that they have excess funds? How many widows of LTTE targets gets even half of that? What baloney is this? Appeasing the peaceniks and NGO-types and those Scandinavian morons is one thing, but this is ludicrous. I wonder if the families of Lakshman Kadiragamar, Parami Kulatunga or any one else who was assasined were so handsomely compensated (yes, we ARE leaving CBK out of it). We're all sorry for Mr. Raviraj's untimely death, but excactly what has he done for Sri Lanka to deserve this? He was just another MP, who stood out from others since for every 168th insult he threw at the SL gov., he chastised the LTTE leadership. Oh yeah, a real hero of Sri Lanka. By this logic, the gov. must've mortgaged the country to compensate Lakshman Kadiragamar's family.

This is why the present SL gov. is unable to move forward with bringing an end to this LTTE problem. They are so hell bent on appeasing every Tom, Dick and Erik that they probably can't find the time to do more important things. Just take a look at the APC. Same MO. The JVP will pull out then the JHU will follow, and then they'll have to change the committee name, which will cease to be 'all party' anymore. Then maybe we'll have another election. We haven't had one of those for a while, and Ranil may relish the chance to lower the UNP rankings even further.

You can't please everyone. Why is the gov. not able to leave emotions, PR and the next election at the door, and try and think?

This is written partly in response to what one (and my only) reader had commented on re: the AFI listing & Hollywood, and partly as a reaction to what seems to be a common sentiment.

What is a hero? Is a hero really just someone who fights against evil or an enemy? After all, an enemy is a rather subjective word. Han Solo and Darth Vader both fights against enemies. But Han Solo gains our admiration not for merely fighting against an enemy (an entire army does that). He gains our admiration for his courage, for his character and for what he achieves. Atticus Finch more than anyone else is number one on that list for being a person of character. He is not so much fighting an enemy as much as he is fighting a legion of prejudices. T. E Lawrence? Much the same story. Basically, a hero is someone who is admired for his or her strength, achievements and qualities.

Why is it that people still think that a female heroine should be a soft, maternal figure who comes to the rescue of her family first and foremost? AFI certainly didn’t think so – Clarice Starling, Ellen Ripley, Thelma & Louise - none of them had anything to do with home & hearth. Plus, they were successful heroines in successful movies.
To set the record straight, a good, heroic person is NOT a masculine character. Goodness & heroism are not gender-based or gender-sensitive words. They are words that describe any good creature; be it man, woman or dog. Thus, heroism is not a masculine quality. Women who portray (or indeed, are) heroes need not strive to be ‘more like men’. All they have to do is strive to be a good person.

At the end of the day, people who want to see women only in soft, homely, traditional roles falls into either of two categories – chauvinists or those who are terrified of change, be it good or bad. I mean – what exactly is this tradition or society that wants women to be ‘soft’? If you look into times gone by, women were just as strong as men. From Athena to Artemis to Kali & Durga to Joan-of-Arc, women were strong characters who stood for (so-called) ‘masculine’ ideals. Home & hearth were certainly far from their minds. And yet hundreds of people, men & women alike, followed them.

These traditional roles, ‘motherly’ and ‘soft’ feminine creatures of today are not roles that can be traced back to time immemorial. These are not the only avtaras that women are supposed to take. These are roles that men are comfortable to have women slotted in.
Society doesn’t need to learn to appreciate the motherly familial aspect of women. What it needs to do is to open its eyes and see that women are capable of doing a hell of a lot more than sacrificing all to keep the home-front happy. They can be strong & courageous for reasons wholly unrelated to their families.

And if for all the men out there who wants women to be the soft and familial creature, my words to you:
"Your ignorance is encyclopedic"
(with due respect & apologies to Abba Eban (1915-2002))

I just happened to be surfing the net & came upon the American Film Institute's 50 top heroes & 50 top villains. (The title links you to the original AFI site, which you can check out AFTER you read my musings.)

It makes for a pretty interesting list, and you end up with a good list of films that you should watch in your lifetime. It also makes for some very interesting gender questions.

A mere 7 female heroes (or heroines, if you please), make it to the top 50. It’s heartening to note that 2 are in the top 10. I’m not that good in math, but I think that comes up to a mere 14%. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I do believe that in most countries, women outnumber men. So on average, women make up about 50% – 54% of the population. And only a mere 14% makes it as heroes?

For all those who didn’t know, it’s illegal to only look for men to play certain (most) roles (or even to cast only WASPs). If the movie doesn’t specifically need a male actor, if it isn’t intrinsic to the plotline, the roles are supposed to be open to actors of all genders and ethnicities. So why isn’t it? How came in Hollywood movies, 50% of the world’s population is represented as 14%? Yes, yes, I know that we are only speaking of heroes, but that’s beside the point. This is supposed to be the 50 best heroes, where women are under-represented. Quite a few of these heroes could’ve easily been played by women. For all of Hollywood’s pretensions, I guess it’s basically part of the (gentle??) men-only club.

Now, to the next annoying thing on that list. 14 out of 50 villains are women. What fun. That’s like 28%, right? I guess it’s soooooooooooo much easier to cast a woman as the trampy, vampy, vixenish bitch than a hero. Twice as many women are villainous rather than heroic. Neither comes close to representing the actual population figures, though.

I don’t know which one is worse – less women as heroes, or more women as villains. And those villainous women – most of them are bitchy vixens. Even as villains, why can’t women play a normal bad person, without having to use their sexuality? How many of the villains that are male are on that list because they used their sexuality?

Hollywood is seriously beginning to annoy me.

Let's leave our emotions at the door, and only let the grey matter in.

Now, what's all this about the Holocaust conference hosted by Iran. It's on every news website, magazine, paper and any other political material you can think of. I have numerous issues with this.

a)Denying the holocaust happened is a crime in certain countries. Why? If you look at the question objectively, it goes like: Did the Holocaust happen, where Nazis killed 6 million Jews. The only possible answers are:
1)Yes, and yes : If this is the answer, why is anyone worried? Anyone who's been to Europe, studied world history or is merely better read than your average hermit crab, knows it happened. The respective European governments all have evidence of this. So who cares if people walk around denying it? Just rub their faces in the proof, and they'll shut up and hang their heads in shame. As for the numbers, they must've got 6 million from somewhere. If they (meaning the Western powers-that-be)are sticking by it, surely that's because they have good reason to. Just show the proof, and then everyone will shut up.
2)No, and therefore no : If this is the unlikely and highly improbable case, then all the more reasons why it should be discussed. Why on earth should generations of people be fed untruths?
3)Yes, but not 6 million : This, for me is the most interesting option. We know the Holocaust happened. Have the figures been fudged? If it's (again improbable) an under-estimate, by all means discuss it in public so that we know the real number. Why hide it, right? If it's an over-estimate......weeeeellllll, I wonder why anyone exaggerated the figures? Surely not to excuse the creation of a nation at the cost of another? Whichever it is, public debates are always welcome. In the name of truth and the freedom of speech.

Iran may have it's own agenda, but perhaps it's time we left the melodrama at the door and look at things objectively. If publishing cartoons of Prophet Mohammed falls under free speech (and it definitely does), then so does any discussion regarding the holocaust.

Well, since I'm new to blogging, and this is my first ever blog, I shall keep it short and sweet.

Generally, if anyone other than I end up looking at this, ignore it. It's just a test.

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