Thursday, August 31, 2006

Chronicles of a lady of leisure

Listening to: 'El Negro Bembon' by Celia Cruz [-]

OK this post is mainly for Waz who seems to be devoid of reading material (see comment in previous post).

I'm supposed to go to the dentist tonight (yes, weird dentist works at night)!!! Haven't been to the dentist in so long that I can't remember how old I was when I last went. My braces came off when I was 12...assuming I had at least one check-up after that, I haven't been to the dentist in over 10 years????? Geez. I'm careful though, so there shouldn't be anything major to do.

Right...enough about my teeth. There's a huge spider in the laundry room. It gives me the creeps. It's been there for the entire week...jobless spider. Actually I kinda feel sorry for the's probably lost. I don't think spiders like being inside laundry rooms.

I went to the cinema with my parents and saw Miami Vice. All in all I thought it was well done, even though the movie seemed kinda extended episode of the TV series. I guess that's what a movie based on a TV series is, but I still think it's pointless. I also can't understand the logic behind casting a Chinese actress (albeit a good actress) with a very strong Chinese accent as a Cuban. D'oh.

I also saw Superman Returns at the cinema (can't remember if I've already mentioned this), which I thoroughly enjoyed. Can't wait to see K.A.N.K. tomorrow - I don't care what people say about it, I'll watch any movie with SRK in it! As you can see, the cinema has become my friend.

Angel is leaving soon. Hopefully I'll be able to keep in touch with her more frequently now that she's gonna be in the UK...the past four years have been difficult. Speaking of 'leaving', I've got 2 weeks and 3 days left...I should probably get my act together. Thankfully Cambridge is very generous, and no one's gonna have to sell their organs for money. So it's back to darling little Cam, with her miserable winters, glorious summers and way too many old buildings. I tried to quell Venus' fears about starting at one of the most prestigious universities in the world...but now I'm wondering if I should be worrying too. What if the other PhDs are really serious and geeky? What if they know stuff? What if I don't? Anyway, screw it...two more weeks of holiday: I'll be damned if I waste my time left worrying.

OK I'm getting hungry and my father's (presumably) on his way back from the police station in time for dinner and dentist appointment. Yeah, a slightly hurried trishaw driver decided to 'borrow' our side mirror on his way home. Hope the dent in the door isn't too bad.

So there you 'take' on life. I'll get back to ranting about the international media's response to our security situation later.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Fun in the sun

Listening to: Father snoring, as usual

Despite my not-at-all busy schedule, it is increasingly difficult to find time to blog regularly. Hence this is a sort of update.

Yup, I played pool for the first time. Now I'm guessing you're going "Huh? What's she been doing all this time?". Well basically, I can't bend my spine (for the same reason I can't fall). Although a few people have said that I should be able to play pool with a straight back, I've never been confident enough to try. On Saturday I went out with old friends from junior school and they practically coaxed me to have a go. I managed to hit stuff, but not well enough to actually get them in the pockets! Oh well. Getting me to join totally ruined my friends' game, but they didn't seem to mind. It was nice to be with people who were willing to take it easy in order to include me...experience tells me that's not often the case. I don't think I'll ever be confident enough to try bowling, but I guess playing pool is one step towards pseudo-normalcy.

Strike 2.5
It could've been strike 3 - the third bomb this month. Thanks to a vigilant police officer, the bomb disposal squad was called just in time. Lives have been saved.
And if that wasn't enough bad news for the LTTE, their goons have been caught in the States. Will the 'West' wake up now, at least?

Hello, I'd like a visa please.
So yeah, I went and got an application form for a UK student visa. It's changed a bit since the last one I filled in. A few of my favourites (my comments are in brackets):
  • When was the reference number? (I'm sorry, what?)
  • Section 9: Do you speak English? (Should I be studying in the UK if I don't?)
  • Has your sponsor, his or her spouse, or his or her children ever traveled or studied abroad? If so, please give details. (And how is that relevant?)
The new method is to give visas without interviews, so they've hired some human robots to do their dirty work (i.e. ensuring that all the documents are submitted) for them. I wonder sometimes, whether it's all worth the hassle.

Oh well, it's almost 3am. Better hit the sack.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

...back by popular demand

Listening to: birds

Wow, 'The Return of the Bomb' is a major hit! Into its second week now, it's even more popular than it was when it came out. The brave cameo performance by the Pakistani High Commissioner in Sri Lanka was a surprise. Apparently it's unclear whether some of the filming took place at an orphanage based in the jungle or at a terrorist training camp, but I guess what is seen depends on who's looking.

Apparently the West doesn't think much of the movie, and wants it banned. Thankfully they have no jurisdiction (I hope) over Sri Lankan cinemas. I wonder what the response would be if we wanted them to withdraw their movie 'War on Terror'?

*Sigh*'s a sad situation. Increased military activity in the North and East leaves the rest of the country more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Why? you ask. Well, it's simple: when the LTTE's getting hammered in the North and East, they retaliate by blowing up innocent bystanders in the more peaceful parts of the country and then accuse the Forces of targeting civilians (yeah, 'cos that makes sense). And obviously no one in their right mind would believe the word of an established military over that of a proscribed terrorist organisation (I'm rolling my eyes, can you tell?), so the international powers that be start shouting "negotiate, negotiate!". Yeah whatever.

Apologies for the sarcastic (and more or less one-sided) tone of this post. I'm confused as to whether I should be upset that the war's returned to my doorstep (and therefore I'm forced to actually deal with it, rather than say "oh yeah I think they're fighting in the North"), or relieved that the military's actually making some progress, albeit with more than a few casualties. I'm inclined to lean towards the latter. Personally I don't believe in a diplomatic solution to a conflict with people who don't act diplomatically. Complete and utter annihilation seems to be the only solution, even though I hate myself for typing the very words. My message to the international superpowers is this: Don't tell us what to do, we're not babies. If you're with us, then have faith in our ability to do the job the way we want to do it - we'll ask for your help if and when we need it. If you're not with us, then bugger off and leave us alone. Don't pretend to care.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Scaredy Cat

Listening to: 'Quando Quando Quando' by Michael Bublé & Nelly Furtado [It's Time]

My mother sent me out to the garage last evening to put the porch light on. The garage was pretty dark (until said light was switched on), and for some reason, I was scared out of my wits. It may have been my father's words "sometimes that bloody uguduwa (polecat) sits on the bonet because it's warm", or it may have been the fact that anyone could've been standing there in front of me and I wouldn't have known. Either way, I was terrified. Anyway, it made me wonder...what am I most afraid of? Flying insects, rats, polecats are high on the list, but how high are they? What am I really afraid of? I came up with these...
  1. Rape
  2. Falling
  3. Disappointment
  4. Cockroaches (the flying variety)
  5. Death
Death is #5 because I can do nothing to avert it. Every moment I am alive takes me one moment closer to my demise. Now you might say this view is quite morbid, and I agree. But it is a sobering thought that can bring me down to Earth in the most euphoric of times (not that there are many of those around!).

I'm less scared of cockroaches than I used to be. Now I let them scurry past if they're not in my way, instead of screaming for Daddy Dearest to 'do something', like I used to. Still, I find them revolting for some reason...and the fact that they can fly means I can't keep tabs on them - one could be about to land on my head and I'd have no idea - yuck!

#3 is less about disappointment associated with a lack of material ownership or 'not having my way', and more about the disappointment associated with the people I know and admire not living up to my expectations. I admit it's my own fault for idolising the people I love, but I guess we're all a little guilty of that, aren't we?

To understand why 'falling' has the not-so-coveted #2 spot, you'd need to be informed of my spinal surgery and the subsequent medical warning: "fall, and if the clips get dislodged, you'll be paralysed from the neck down". I have the utmost admiration and respect for those who live happy lives while resigned to a wheelchair or a bed, but I'm not sure I'd be strong enough to do the same.

Numero Uno should be self-explanatory to any female reading this. Shivers run down my spine every time I hear of rape...I'm feeling queasy even as I type this. Faced with rape, I'd probably ask the guy to kill me instead.

So there they are, my Top Five. Perhaps not in the order that most would expect, but it's the order that works for me. I guess once I finally get over my fear of cockroaches, either my fear of huge spiders or my 'beard-phobia' will take its place. Indeed, prickly faces are a big no-no.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Return of the Bomb - now showing at a cinema near you!

Listening to: news

A bomb went off outside a girls' school in Colombo, about an hour after Sri Lanka beat South Africa in the 2nd and final test match of the series. Over the weekend, a senior police officer was killed in a claymore mine attack in Kandy, where the Esala Perahera reaches its climax tomorrow.

Feels like the '90s again.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Traffic jams and miracles

Listening to: 'Isabel' by Il Divo [Ancora]

I went and got my passport extended yesterday. The new passport office is actually pretty good! Never thought I'd say that about a Sri Lankan Governmental office :D. On the way back, my father and I were stuck in a traffic jam for about half an hour. OK this was office rush hour, but we were on the same road at the same time on the previous day, and it was definitely not as bad as this. Back home, while nursing my ears from the sound of horns from the various vehicles in the jam (you'll know what I mean if you've ever been in a traffic jam in Colombo), our neighbour gave us a possible reason for the block. Apparently, 'luminous rays' were being emitted by Buddha statues at various temples all over the city, and people were flocking to witness the miracle. You can read about it here.

Miracle, you say? Hmm. As it says in my blogger profile, I am a practising Buddhist. Now by that, I don't mean that I frequent the temple or make ritualistic offerings on a regular basis. I practise Buddhism by living by the teachings of Lord Buddha as best as I can. I don't believe in miracles. I believe in cause and effect, the Four Noble Truths, the effect of Karma and the impermanence of all material entities.

In my opinion, there are a myriad of plausible explanations for the appearance of the 'halo', mostly involving refraction and scattering of light in polluted air and the reaction of the human eye to such phenomena. A few simple scientific experiments would probably single one out as the most viable. However, while most Buddhist monks have rejected the 'miracle' theory, none have called for a full-scale investigation. Why? Some might say that they're afraid that it is a miracle - something that would go against the teachings of the Buddha. I think not. Such a reluctance to inspection in itself violates the Dhamma, which prescribes ehipassiko - "come and see". Instead, I feel it's more of a realisation that whether or not last evening's visions were due to a miracle, the incident is irrelevant to man's search for the Truth and key to cessation of Suffering. Buddhism does not, and has never claimed to be a 'religion' in the pure sense of the word, providing answers to all life's questions. It is a way of life that enables the follower to attain 'inner peace'.

As one monk said in the above article,
"If you really want to see Buddha rays, read the Dhamma and attain enlightenment. That is the only way. Now they are only causing traffic jams."
P.S.- Some might say that I'm preaching in this post...and that may be. In my opinion, I am merely stating my thoughts on an incident that was of great interest to many people. This is in no way a criticism of those who believe in miracles, or do not follow Buddhism. You are entitled to your views, as I am to mine.