Thursday, December 31, 2009

Oh, It's 2010

Firecrackers disturbed my sleep. Got up to realize it's midnight.

I'm feeling sorry for all the dogs, cats and all those domestic animals who get dead scared by these fucked-up, insane humans who enjoy making so much noise.

Personally, this was the first new year's eve for me in Sri Lanka since 2005; and that too, I spent alone.. pathetic.

Hmm.. Anyways, wish everyone a happy new year 2010.

Last post of the year

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Do we need JHU anymore?

I have openly supported Sihala Urumaya and then Jathika Hela Urumaya from their inception. I have made monetary contributions to their funds and participated in their campaigns. And I don’t regret. They have delivered what I expected from them. But for the future, I have concerns.

JHU is fundamentally a Sinhala Nationalist party; but within them, there are some Sinhala Buddhist extremists. Their role in Sri Lankan political arena however, at their inception, was very crucial. At the time, nationalism was not that much a popular subject among the politicians, and whenever they used the term, they didn’t meant what they mean now. None of the two main political parties had a clear majority in the parliament. So who comes to power was decided by the smaller parties which are either Muslim or Tamil. Since their alliances kept the government from falling apart, they had a great control of the governance. To say the least, their agendas did not include fighting terrorism or developing the country. Even though JVP had become the 3rd strongest political party at that time, they did not promote nationalism or end to terrorism by means of war like they opted to do so later.

Also, no political party had solid determination to eradicate LTTE in a war. By 2004, after couple of years in to the peace agreement, and quite a few army intelligence officers dead, no one really believed that the LTTE could be defeated in a war.

These were the things that JHU brought in. They created popularity for those among people, thus forced other political parties to adopt. JVP jumped in very quickly and UPFA caught up. UNP however, didn’t understand. By the presidential elections, the country had barely enough adapted to nationalism and the thought of eradicating LTTE. But Chandrika tried to postpone the presidential elections by a year. It was JHU which brought a fundamental rights petition and enabled the presidential elections in 2005.

Even though the stage was set to eradicate LTTE, there was no strong ignition to get it going. Again, JHU plays a crucial role in this by marching to Mavilaru, which prompted the government to start the military offensives.

So what’s bad? The anti-conversion act that they are trying to bring in to start with… it simply tries to take away the right of someone to embrace their beliefs and chose their religion. That's wrong by the Buddhism I know. As a friend described, Sri Lankan Buddhists does lot of chanting, worships idols, makes such idols available in every corner, nook and cranny to be worshiped; Worships trees in the same sense. Offers flowers, food and incense etc. to those idols and trees (perhaps a direct adoption of Hindu idol worshiping) and believes that "Good luck" or "Divine favors" are granted to the people doing those rituals. And of course, has the word “Buddhist” in the religion field of their birth certificates. They also kills, tell lies, commit adultery, steal, and consume narcotics. Ah and yes, boast a lot about being a Buddhist country and of our superior culture. They blame ladies for wearing revealing cloths as the cause of rape, ban alcohol and mild sexual content on TV for everyone just to protect the culture (or their children? Or whatever), get pissed off at and try to beat the hell off from anyone who questions them… and so on. And if these people chose to embrace Christianity, I say it’s good. Because that would be their first conviction of a religion, for surely, they are not practicing Buddhism right now. So I hope, instead of trying to bring laws to prohibit those convictions, our Buddhist monks go convert those people without a conviction to Buddhism.

I don’t know the exact stake of JHU in the laws against alcohol and tobacco, but they are one party who’s having a strong opinion about it. I personally don’t consume them, and believe they do no good. But I also respect the right of other people to consume them as long as they don’t violate rights of others - that includes right for free health care: i. e. having to treat cirrhosis patients in government hospitals for free is a violation of another patient’s right to receive that medical attention. But trying to stop alcohol by law would be as ineffective as the laws on prostitution. Prostitution was never legal in Sri Lanka for my knowledge, but we have never succeeded in eradicating that. United States tried to eradicate alcohol, but failed. And censoring alcohol related and smoking scenes from television is outright stupid in my opinion. If they affect the minds of the minors, it’s the parent’s responsibility to control what their children watch on TV. Censoring them is a violation of mature audience’s right to enjoy a work of art in its original state. So is censoring sexual content. Government should acknowledge the fact that mature audience in Sri Lanka has the ability to watch and enjoy television programs with some erotic content as a whole without being turned in to sociopathic sex addicts by those timid sexually explicit scenes.

On their defense, when JHU led it elections campaign in 2004, a lot of people with extremist ideas about such issues got attracted and became supporters - or even members. And those elements form the majority of people who represent JHU in our society. And they might be voicing their own perceptions on some of these laws instead of the reality. I never bothered to read these laws anywhere, apart from my own experience of the censoring television content.

On the governance model of the JHU, they propose governance based on Buddhist teachings. There was a time when I believed that this is a good idea. But as I mature, I realize how difficult it is for someone from another belief to subscribe to such governance. So now I believe in secularity.

So, what’s the purpose of JHU’s existence now? If they change their outlook to be a more liberal nationalist group, they could help strike a balance as the Sinhala Buddhist representatives among the Tamil and Muslim political parties in the parliament. But I guess that promotes separatism in a way, and is not a positive thing. So, I doubt if they’d contest the next parliamentary election as a separate party; and I hope not too.

What’s left of them? I believe Champika Ranawaka and Udaya Gammanpila are two great politicians the country would benefit from in a higher capacity. The monks could go back to doing what they used to do before 2004, or better, start practicing meditation and teach us too…

Monday, December 14, 2009

Is my identity stolen?

There's at least one another person in Sri Lankan blog-sphere making comments by the names "Mahasen" / "Mahasen Bandara". I know quite a few Mahasens' and there could be other Mahasen Bandaras' as well; But I've been the sole Mahasen Bandara in the Sri Lankan blog-sphere for a while now; so it's annoying to see someone else posting comments using my name.

Especially, this other Mahasen Bandara is expressing some political ideologies which I don't really subscribe to. And friends actually do buzz me to check whether that's me...

Since almost all of those comments I've seen from that other Mahasen Bandara are of political nature, I have a slight suspicion whether that is intentional identity theft (Not that many people care what my political views are...).

So; to whom those who care; I never comment on blogs without signing in, if the blogs have blogger or openID authentication. If the blogs don't have authentication, and I really want to leave my comments behind, I always leave the following credentials:

Name : Mahasen
email: blogger at

Friday, December 04, 2009

What if Fonseka wins and what if Rajapaksha wins?

I thought I wouldn’t vote, but Sarath Fonseka made me think twice. And I went on to discuss and analyze the situation with few friends.

Of the things I didn’t like about Mahinda’s governance, first is the supposedly Taliban style laws. But a closer look reveals that laws themselves aren’t Taliban type but the people who back them up and cheer for them are. Since that’s not the topic of this post, I’d try to write about that in a separate post.

Secondly, state expense on maintaining the large cabinet and the un-controlled corruption in the parliament, police and basically whole government service. To his excuse, he had to maintain a majority in the parliament, and that required buying in support from corrupt elements. But that doesn’t justify corruption with-in his own ranks and the government service.

Sarath Fonseka, no doubt is a great general. As oppose to military leaders like Kobbekaduwa he’s not someone who’s loved and respected within the army, rather he’s feared. His entrance to politics and the cause of his candidacy is rather doubtful; if he wanted to maintain his status; he could well have retired or serve as a diplomat. If he wanted to serve the country, I’m sure there must have been better options than to compete against his former commander. And his new, conflicting, statements that gives the full credit of the war victory to himself are just pathetic. That too shows his inflated ego and immense arrogance.

What I see as the intent of his candidacy is to get back at Rajapakshas (Mahinda and Gorabhaya) for some personal quarrel. Up till now most of his speeches are about how he’s mistreated and what he deserves. Some of his media statements are evidence for his hyper-ego.

He does not have an agenda of his own as of now and is backed up by the un-holy alliance of UNF and JVP. It would take nothing less than a miracle for those two parties to agree upon one agenda.

One of the major promises of the common candidate alliance is to demolish executive presidency. I personally fail to see the evil of it. And if not for the executive presidency, I doubt the war would ever be won. But it’s true that it’s a lot of power for one man. But it has worked out relatively okay for now. I wouldn’t want to change anything about it.

So, what if Fonseka wins?

I think he’d just try satisfying his ego as much as possible. He might even try to take revenge from some. But apart from that he’d just be a nominal president. I doubt he’d do anything really good or really bad. What matters is the general election that follows.

If Fonseka wins, that would probably be by a very thin margin. And for the general elections, JVP and the UNF would split, so it is likely that the general election would be won by the UPFA, again, by a very thin margin and probably with a parliamentary representation less than 50%.

That scenario leaves the country with a president who is new to the political arena and democratic ruling, and a very unstable government. The smaller parties who would form alliances to form a government would have much more control over the governance. So I think that would be worse than the current situation. The unlikely scenario of UNP winning the general election with a thin margin would be much better for the country than that.

The other scenario if Fonseka wins, which is most unlikely, is that the parliament would unite in demolishing the executive presidency. Even then, no party would be able to gain a vast majority in the parliament; which would still leave the government (be it UNF or UPFA) unstable, which in turn would have bad consequences for the country.

What if Mahinda wins?

Most likely scenario is that Mahinda would win with a thin margin. It would affect the general elections and the UPFA would win that also with a thin margin. Again, UPFA would have to buy in support from the elements of the opposition to establish a majority in the parliament; and in the process pave the way for corruption the same way as now. So this scenario wouldn’t change much in the country than now.

If Mahinda could shoot the moon, and win with a very thick margin, and if that reflects in the general elections as well, then there’s a slight - very slight - opportunity for things to improve in the country.

For now, I see that as the only hope. But there’s a chance that I may change my mind again before the elections…

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Life is good...

It’s been a while since I ranted about what’s going on in my life;

Haven’t been taking much photos lately; mostly because I was in Colombo focused on other stuff. But I’m going to dedicate the first two weeks of October for photography! Yeah; I’m going to take a vacation between jobs – that’s the other story – and go to Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura and possibly Trinco; spending at least four days at each location.. Let’s see how that goes.

On other news; I’m changing jobs. I’ve been on the lookout for greener grass ever since I came back to Sri Lanka and last month found a place that seems promising. They’ll give me a email address and let me work on Looking forward to start on that in mid October. Let’s see how that goes as well..

At home; I’m building up my dream “e-home”. I’ve had a lot of external storage for the last year or so – 2TB+ in total. I’m planning to put them on to a NAS and a little bit more. Started to fancy freeNAS at first, then looked at some Linux based solutions and finally Windows Home Server. My final setup would have a common storage location, would do all our downloads (torrent/ftp/http) in the server, stream media from the common storage, accessible through a web-UI from anywhere on the internet (may be a FTP server too..), and possibly hook to SLT IP-TV as well.

All in all; Life feels quite good these days… :)