Monday, September 27, 2010

Women's rights

A friend of a friend complained thus:

"I'm off to the police tomorrow...I'm just sick of getting ripped off, screwed over and hit on incessantly...this really isn't a good place for any single white Western woman to be living."

Says a lot about the society we live in. For all the pious crackdown on vice: porn, alcohol, 'indecent' hoardings, dress codes being imposed in universities there are some fundamental views on women that are distinctly neolithic.

I suppose that like the Victorian values, on which the new morality is based, it goes with the same Victorian hypocrisy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oh dear

A visit to the tea country is something I usually enjoy. Rolling hills, clothed in greenery, the fresh mountain air, charming old buildings and usually tasty cooking to go with it.

Unfortunately this visit was lacking in most of the ingredients. Visited two estates owned by the JEDB and was greeted by acre upon acre of decrepit fields. A friend once told me that tea should look like a velvet carpet. These carpets were looking distinctly tatty with many holes, the few tea bushes present in an unruly state, weeds and undergrowth everywhere. Many a field seemed to have been taken over completely by thick grass.

A good testament to the follies of the state engaging in business.

It will take years of work and lots of money to restore these to good health. The contrast when we crossed over to the privately managed estate next-door was welcome. There were still gaps in the fields but they were smaller, the bushes had been pruned and plucked. There was tea everywhere and some sense of order being imposed on nature, instead of the untidy growth.

Going back to a question I have posed before: how did the people benefit from the nationalisation of what was then the most important industry in the country?

Were the state coffers filled with the treasure that the foreign owners were pocketing? No. The estates have been losing money almost continuously for years. Increased market share worldwide? No, it has been declining. More value addition? Yes, but entirely from the private sector, the best work being done before they were allowed back ownership.

More or better employment? Don't know but the workers on these estates were complaining about not enough work and that their EPF and ETF had not been paid for years.

Anyway, got a few pictures of the nicer bits of scenery, not great photographs but hope you like them.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Vive Le Roi!

There is not much more to be said. If you can't beat 'em join 'em and perhaps we should all join in and sing this?

Monday, September 06, 2010


The radio commercials for DSI tyres featuring various animals. The bull on his way to the China shop (running the red light in the process), the donkey who is overtakes on the wrong lane and another one or two creatures.

Traffic safety message and an advertisement rolled into one.

Very entertaining. Wonder who produced them? Were they locally done?


Has anyone noticed a truly sinister sight on the streets of Colombo?

Policemen wearing sunglasses. I'm not sure where they pick up these cheap sunglasses from, but they are truly hideous. The policemen all sport them with pride, strutting around on their beat or leaning languidly against something. They seem to think they resemble the cops from popular American television shows.

It is a sight that gives me the shivers and given the state of the local police, probably an appropriate reaction.

ps. I'm no photographer so would a few reader oblige by posting a few pictures?