Archive for October, 2011


The System

Check out this video:

Now, stop laughing for a bit. I’m a great believer in freedom of expression. As such, I believe they’re free to do whatever they want. What I’m not a believer of, is stupidity.

If I’ve grasped this situation correctly, there are people in this world who enjoy all the trappings of modern civilization like facebook, youtube, the ability to make terrible looking videos(240p? They still make those?) and being allowed to stand around in the park all day singing toneless songs, who actually want to “break free of the system”.

“I am personally starting to dance at 12am on the 28th of October and will continue until the world is free. dance dance dance.” – YT Comment

What is wrong with you?

All of this is possible because of “The system” you want to get rid of! If other people weren’t out there doing their best to cheat someone else out of their money, you wouldn’t be able to go to the park for you little hippy séance because the park would be a tar pit thanks to there being no municipal council/evil system cleaning it. Our lifestyles are possible because of this “system”. It’s not the system’s fault there are Enrons and economic crises, it’s stupid people.

Look, telling people not to spend any money for a day is impossible. Even if all the social media buzz you’re creating is powered by unicorns and rainbows, by simply existing, you’re spending money. Taxes, water, electricity, things you eat and even the very clothes you’re wearing contribute to keeping the world going.

You’d better get used to running around the jungle in animal hides and inter-species breeding if you want to get rid of this materialistic world we live in. That screen you’re reading this on? System. The food inside you? System. Heck, those crappy videos of your friends making like a leper colony in the park? Possible thanks to the system. I don’t see why people can’t play/sing/dance/create unless they metaphorically unplug themselves from the matrix. It’s not like it’s any easier being fun when you step out of civilization. Do you know what medieval children used to play with? Dirt. Now, the wonders of the world will let you play with dirt and whatever else technology makes accessible. Like giant fighting robots.

I just don’t get how people can use Windows Movie Maker(you can’t mistake those text animations) to make a video about not using Windows Movie Maker.

Locally, there’s Occupy Colombo. I don’t know what they’re trying to do either. Protesting injustice in government by not doing anything. I think they got lost somewhere between the philosophies behind Gandhi’s satyagraha’s and sleeping through the alarm in the morning and missing work.

It’s just… So much wasted energy. Why not do something useful? Protest by showing people how it’s done, not by depriving someone of their daily sales target and getting him fired, forcing his wife and children onto the streets thanks to your self-righteous faux-protest. Why do you not realize the simple fact that your life is made possible by “the system”. It’s not evil, it just works. For some people. It’s a system that depends on people like you to go out there and help those who don’t make it. Do you have a better one?



Recently there’s been a spate of old codgers crawling  out of the woodwork of kottu, to nag about “teenyboppers”. Teenyboppers are a strange phenomenon. They’re the little humans who’ve just gone through a decade of wishing with all their fist clenched might to grow up faster, and are now on the cusp of actually going through with it. They are yet to figure out that once you do cross that line, all you ever want to do is stop growing older.

Generally, the term is applied to the more obnoxious bunch from that age group. The ones who write about rebellion on their iPads. I’m sorry, but you can’t moan about how much your life sucks if your biggest problem is that there aren’t any starbucks outlets here.

Every generation has teenagers. We all were teenagers. We all did things all the older people looked at and gossiped about. If they had blogs back then, they’d make mediocre blog-posts about it too. Complaining about it is the same as your parents complaining about you doing something they didn’t like. Playing the music too loud, going out with someone, skipping class. Whatever.

Being all high and mighty about it is just as pretentious as those kids who wear Che t-shirts they bought at Odel. “We were such good kids, with such good taste in music.” Bull-n’syncing-shit. None of us can claim to have been the picture of obedience, sitting at home like a nice little sacrificial virgin listening to our Cliff Richard cassettes.

We listened to obnoxious music. Every generation has music the next thinks is obnoxious; and if you think your taste in music was “better” than everyone else’s back then, well congratulations bub, you were one of these “rebellious teenyboppers” you claim to detest. You were just mediocre enough to want to differentiate yourself by listening to crappy progressive metal. What all you closet conservative grandmas can’t seem to understand is that this happens to every generation. You’re just playing your part by being the set of grownups who always nag the kids about things from what they’re wearing to how they make cereal.

Let them go to jazz sunday, let em wear hair that looks like dead cats. Heck, doesn’t it make sense to keep them all at jazz while we go do stuff that’s not eyeball gouging-ly boring without all these damn preteens around, messing up our mojo?


P.S – And yes, I’m allowed to act all grown-up now that I just turned 22 last Friday.


Weddings in Sri Lanka

I just got back from a trip to the ancient city of Anuradhapura, home to many leftovers from ancient civilizations, sacred temples and mediocre chinese food. This has nothing to do with this post, but I just thought I’d get it out there. Expect a post about it on Sinhalayatravels, soon. It’s still in the atelier(*cough*cough*), but should be done soonish.


Weddings in Sri Lanka are insane. Actually, weddings anywhere are pretty insane. I was recently asked by a friend to come take some candid pics at his brother’s wedding (I’m not too sure why, since he’d just end up with a bunch of macro shots of the wedding car’s brand badge and some pictures of the sunset), and went over to take a look. This was a standard catholic wedding, in a church. By that I mean a bunch of people dressed in clothes more suited to the inside of the ice truck killer’s chariot than a church that turns into a convection oven in the daytime.

I don’t know why people do this to themselves. And they looked at me funny when I turned up in a shirt and slacks. Hey, be thankful I was wearing a shirt. There are between two and three million things that can be improved about weddings. A few:

First up, we have the whole wedding. Why do we have weddings, again? Specifically christian weddings with a priest and hours of standing around in a church. I don’t think God really cares if we hold a gigantic ceremony to get married. “Dear lord, here we are. We’re getting married.” is, essentially, the message. He will not smite your marriage and make your offspring have six eyes, alcohol addiction and a tail if you don’t detain people in a sauna for an hour. Neither will He benevolently smile upon your union and make sure your path is paved with rainbows, unicorns and floor tiles of angel’s feathers just because you rented out St. Peter’s Basilica for your special day.

And a generic sermon, of course. One can’t forget the sermon. A wedding connoisseur could probably predict every turn of topic the sermon will take, since it’s usually the same “Let us hope this couple stays together like this forever and ever and may they always remember that it takes [generic good qualities] to make a marriage work. Illness, divorce rates, society changing etc.”. The only thing missing is a sacrificial goat.

Just get a priest to do the paperwork or something. It could be condensed to be seated, walk down aisle, recite recite, sign sign, witness witness, ring ring, booyah. Stomped out in ten minutes. Then throw a limbo party. It brings tears to my eyes to imagine such perfection. Have it at the park, have it at the beach, have it on top of a mountain. Wherever. Dress for the occasion. You don’t want the Royal Wedding. Neither do the people attending. You don’t have to invite all fifty thousand relatives from all corners of the globe, because, well, it’s your wedding. You decide who you want to witness it, and I sure as heck wouldn’t want to be forced to memorize a bunch of names I’m not likely to use again for decades. At least for the simple fact that it takes less effort to plan the seating arrangements that way. You know nothing ensures a healthy marriage better than a seating plan that doesn’t eat up the pre-wedding preparations. Epic seating plans are the tops.

In Sri Lanka, you go to church for the wedding, sweat it out through the ceremony, go over to a hotel for the reception(thankfully air conditioned) and then have  a “homecoming” which usually happens a few days later, after the couple get back from their honeymoon. Would you want your family and friends congratulating you on a honeymoon well done? Imagine someone effectively patting you on the back and saying “Atta boy Somapala, hope you put your back into it!” when they shake your hand.

It’s hard to break tradition, and kids usually want to make their parents happy. So we have ridiculously large weddings which cost a lot more than they should. Some people actually take out loans for a wedding! It’s the grown up equivalent of borrowing money off your parents to ask a girl out, except the bank doesn’t forget about it after a while. We must. see. reason. This cannot continue.

Please, please make your weddings more pleasant for people attending.