LTTE, Sri Lanka, India and Rest of the World

The world always changes. They say the only thing that does not change is “Change” itself. The earth passes different ages. So does the mankind and our civilization. When we try to live in a community there is always problems due to the fact of mismatches in the way we think. Some problems are solved in the initial grounds but some goes a long way unsolved. Solving matters in the modern world is not easy since the whole world is too much bound together. We are living the information age. So the details reach every corner of the world in seconds. As it has happened throughout our civilization the stronger nations always want to play a role as a matter of showing off the big image which gradually ends up in aggravating the matters of the weaker nations. This way of trying to influence the weaker nations is a nature of our civilization throughout its existence. I think this nature is greatly exposed and discussed by Charles Darwin’s “Theory of Evolution”. The concept “Stronger survives – weaker disappears” says it all. The stronger always tries to influence the weaker. But the nature gives chances to all to evolve. If anybody changes accordingly within the given time even the weaker can become stronger like what happened in the Jurassic age. The strong survivors in the Jurassic age could not hang on because they didn’t change themselves accordingly. But the weaker survived because they changed themselves and became stronger gradually. That’s where my point lies. Sri Lanka is relatively weaker in most of the modern measurements. So we have to play by the brain.

We have a terrorist war that has initial roots to ethnic matters. The majority, minority, leaders and general public, all have been wrong up to different extents. But now most of us have had enough of it. Even though now the matter cannot be solved easily because everybody wants to play a part of it. There are both local and international people who earn their living because of war. They never want the war to be ended. These people include weaponry manufacturers, armed forces, all sort of facility providers to the conflicts, organizations who work with displaced people, even critics who earn by organizing demonstrations, writing articles and holding press conferences. These people are involved directly. There are so many who are indirectly taking advantage of this. They are the real players and they are more vigorous. All the foreign companies and governments fall into this category.


We all know because of this conflict Sri Lanka is wasting really valuable resources in all categories. They may be labor or material or whatever. The wastage should be really high which means Sri Lanka should have been contributing to the world in much greater capacity than what it is doing at present. For instance if we did not have this conflict our annual exports should have gone much higher and our gross domestic production (GDP) should have gone higher which would result in less imports ultimately building up a stronger economy. We import goods ranging from needles to planes. If we had a better economy all the countries that are exporting goods to us would lose a considerable amount of export revenue. If we take India as an example, they export even the smallest spices to us. They sell us all the clothing, food stuff, vehicles, metal makes, weaponry, stationary etc. So if we solve our internal problems and cut off a great amount of imports it is obvious that these types of countries would feel economic problems. Their whole economy may not shake but they will have some impact. Since we have a huge war expense burden on our economy we are running short of money which results in asking for foreign aid. Everything comes with a price! So does the foreign aids. Even though modern countries vow not to interfere other independent nations they always find some way of interfering. I feel we have to listen to them if we take funds. Let’s say we give loans to a friend several times. First time, second time we won’t mind what he does. But eventually we may feel like we should suggest him what to do because we start to feel it is our money and we have rights to suggest something. We have to expect this interference because it is the nature of it. The best way is to avoid funding and try standing up on our own foot which is no simple process. We have gone astray for a very long period now. Majority of the people like to see subordinates of them. So does the nations. Nations who are capable of that try to hold on to that keeping other weaker nations drowned in trouble so that weakers will ask for help and the stronger will find the play grounds. So there are so many nations who like to see us in conflicts for the betterment of their nations. Other than this I don’t see a huge issue why other countries try to keep us in trouble. There may be religious interests and many other but they come in smaller form. Not in a capacity of a government. I don’t believe that other countries feel Sinhalese should be terminated because they have some specialty. I have heard such a quote but I don’t see any exceptional specialty in Sinhalese. We may have different identity but they are identities not specialties. Deviating from this long hold influence is a tedious process that takes a long time. At least we have to be aware of this so that one day there would appear a leader who would clear this up. Until that day we have to carry the words so that he or she will get to know it. Our country first had King Dutugemunu. He took centuries to appear. After another few centuries the mighty Parakkramabahu the 1st appeared. After another few centuries came the great Parakkranabahu the 6th came. So we have to understand that leaders don’t come easy. Nations should have patience on them.


Let’s merge LTTE and the world. Prior to September 11 attack to USA most of the terrorists had a good time on earth because the world power USA was dumb against terrorism. Most of the terrorists were given the label REBELS instead of calling them TERRORISTS. USA didn’t feel the pain of terrorism because they were so blind with boasting on their nation. Surprise, surprise. They were hit and so did the famous war against terrorism started. It is a different story how the world powers have given birth to terrorists and feed them. Thank god at last LTTE was labeled as terrorists by most of the nations. Better late than never. But still for CNN, BBC and some other renowned media LTTE is rebellions. Although the governments put icing the internal intentions are still the same. Long before the World Trade Center Sri Lanka’s Central Bank tower collapsed due to an LTTE suicide attack in 1996. The world didn’t feel the pain. They took years to recognize the incident. So we have to understand correctly where we live and what we call the world. Long before Newton said every action has an equal and opposite reaction, Buddha said you will get what you deserve due to the action you have done. It may be in this life time or in another. So the others will realize this truth at some point of our civilization. Let’s hope they will not get so late. We have to handle the international community intelligently because they can always make trouble as there are more than enough traitors in any nation who fondly help to prevent betterment of majority looking at personal gains they get. So we need a good interface between us and the international community with a good personality to hold on what we believe and what is truth about things that are of our interests.


All the nations in the world are not like this. Let’s consider the countries that are involved with Sri Lanka in a deeper manner. USA and countries from Europe union will never sell us weapons because their law says “Cannot sell weapons to armies which involve in internal conflicts”. They will never help our war. If we get a little help from them that may be just to mark their presence among other helping nations and may be to get what they can get from our armies. We get armed trucks and amphibious vehicles from Czech Republic, China and Russia. We buy majority of guns from China and Russia. China, Israel and Russia sell us war planes. Some talks so passionately about purchasing junk planes from Russia. Who else sell us planes when USA has banned us from their weapon purchasing list? People just try to shout and direct people towards their personal gains because most of the citizens don’t know the subject and they are easily misguided. Sometimes people are not much worried about these issues other than their daily battle to earn some living. Pakistan helps us very much with weapons like mortars, RGPs (Rocket Propelled Grenades) and all that. India provides us radars and other types of weapons. Dora high speed boats are from Israel. All these countries provide us very valuable training to us as well. If we lose India due to any reason Pakistan would always fill the gap. So we don’t need to worry about western powers because they have never done anything more than just shouting on what to do next. We would never lose any foreign fund because it is the major tactic how they keep us influenced. They would continue to fund us. Even the history holds witness for that. This tactic is very nicely exposed in the book “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” by John Perkins (ISBN 0-452-28708-1). Another reason why we would get enough funding is western world is feared of us getting fallen into the hands of China, Russia and Iran. So they try to grab most of us as much as possible as soon as they can.

One more thing should be come up here. The cost of the army maintenance. There are more than 100, 000 new recruits. The navy makes new small boats in vast scale. Fighter jets are newly added equipment from Israel and China. Soldiers and their families are given better facilities including medical, food, housing, schooling etc. Sri Lankan soldiers are now fighting for passion on motherland. They no more fight for the salary. That is why we have sacrificing small commando teams who sneak through LTTE territory in help of providing open ups for the fellow soldiers. Even though, the stories of these true heroes hardly reach our society. It is pure sacrificing of life for mother land. They are not doing it for money. That is the professionalism of our army. In a site I read on our army supplies. One Czech made amphibious vehicle article said Sri Lanka has purchased something around 250 where the original maker had 350s. So to keep an army up to this standard there should be a lot of money. I don’t want to clear up the dirty people who try to grab commission from every deal. There are people like that. But everybody is not so. So it is obvious that our cost of living goes up. Government cannot defend criticism with showing the military details because it may result in disasters like that have happened in the past. But I don’t agree with the visible wastage of public money by the government of Sri Lanka. That is another story. We should not change tracks when addressing matters!


Other countries can hardly solve our problem because each and every conflict has its own nature. It is very hard to understand the background of a problem if the analyzer is from a totally alien culture. But monitoring the matters for a long time in a neutral mind would open up better ways to address the problems. There is a simple truth about solving matters. The solver has to practice the advice and set it by example. That’s why it says “Owa denu para hata – Thamaa sammathehi pihitaa sita” (Before advising others – Set it by example). If we take USA they are totally failed in Iraq. No matter how big they boast on their military and intelligence power they are unable to stop the daily blasts and killings. With less high tech gadgets and weaponry our army is much more practical and competent than the army of USA. USA is still struggling to find a proper solution to Afgan matter. No matter how high they think of themselves they are not as that capable. If we take United Kingdom, who is another stake holder in this matter, they had a critical problem with Ireland up to the recent history. IRA guerillas continuously asked for a separate country. Anyhow they managed to solve the matters with the aging leaders of IRA but still they pose incompetent in Iraqi and Afgan matters. Another key role player is Japan which suggests us something that is prohibited in Japan. Japanese envoy Yashushi Akashi suggested us solutions which are highly unsupported by Japanese constitution just to keep the integrity of the country. These people act in such a way thinking that we poor fellows don’t know anything about their country. These people see us like a bunch of dumb idiots who haven’t seen the world. The other major remaining player is India who has more than enough problems of its own. For more than 6 decades they are trying to solve the Kashmir matter with Pakistan. Chain bombs go off inside their parliament and capital. Indian leaders are still unable to find a proper solution to Hindu Muslim conflicts in the country. With all the nuclear power and technology they took more than 30-40 years to capture a jungle thief Veerappan. More significantly India is the country who made this problem worse by training terrorists like Karuna Amman, Pottu Amman, and Prabakaran. They provided training, weapons and even air supplied food. Anyhow India got its gift with the assassination of their Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by an LTTE suicide bomber. LTTE still smuggle weapons from south India. The RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) had to close up its Sri Lankan wing due to their unsuccessful attempt to influence Sri Lanka. Indian army lost some 3000-4000 lives occupying Sri Lanka. India has so many racial, cultural, religious and political issues to address. But still they try to show off the world a big picture of themselves. It is not the country we see in Bollywood films. India once ended up in nowhere and it is better to concentrate on their own matters before thinking of trying to solve matters of others.

The best part of all is none of the above countries is the main investor in Sri Lanka. It is China who gives us the largest funding and it is China who invests the biggest amount in Sri Lanka.


People change with time. So does the nations. In Sri Lanka around some 20-30 years back there were people who called themselves UNPers. Some called themselves SLFPers. Even the artists were like that. So when one party wins renowned people of the other party are made uncomfortable throughout the life time of the new government. When there was a racial issue or such a small quarrel others could take advantage of it and aggravate the problems because the mindset of the general public had been somewhat relatively primitive just to consider the sayings of a pretend to be a leader like person. Sri Lankans have learnt from the past. Look at the southern cities. Look at the offices in southern cities. Sinhalese, Muslims and Tamils live and work in harmony. There are very few concerns left like learning Tamil and Sinhala by everybody which I think is possible. Now a days even politicians change their parties regularly. So people don’t consider it a must to stick to a single party. They change the views and parties as and when they feel to do so. So do the artists and that make it difficult to dirty leaders to take advantage of the isolated incident occurring. At present even for a trade union action people don’t enthusiastically participate because it has become just a show off of a few political characters most of the times. So Sri Lankans are ultimately heading towards a state where they would consider it before taking any action which is good in preventing the wrongdoings that has happened in this country in the name of race and religion. A very good example is the way Sri Lankans react when a terrorist act takes place in a southern town. Unlike in India we don’t have civil riots now. Even in sentimental occasions people keep cool and calm. So now the matter is LTTE terrorism. The matters they claim do not exist now but they can’t give up terrorism because it seems like their leaders are feeling like humiliated to do so. They are used to war and they feel like they can’t give up. As a matter of fact they live a one big lie.

Sri Lankan government has taken proper action to annihilate terrorism and it seems the plans are working alright up to now. By looking at the social status of current Sri Lanka it seems we don’t need a big change to absorb minority groups because we are already living in harmony. It is the northern cities that have done ethnic cleansing chasing away all the Muslims and Sinhalese. Every day is not Christmas. We did not have Christmas for a long time. So it is time to celebrate Christmas. This is the best time to wipe out LTTE terrorism as most of the other facts are fulfilled. Majority of us need to be a bit more aware about the true facts so that it would help us face the things to happen with more strength and less fear.

Dirty as in Dirty Roads

As a small kid and as a grownup I have wondered several times what made different nations practice different daily routines. I mean not the rituals and religious practices but the basic activities in daily life. Different religions, clothing styles, education, politics and things like customs may have developed due to natural reasons like climate, nature and the specialized circumstances occurring in that particular area. No matter how different the inside is basic is almost the same. If religion it is a belief. If food it is for the hunger. If politics it is for controlling and being controlled. Likewise all these have a basic foundation.

But some things in a nation are exceptional. Say for instance Japan. I have never found any cheap quality product made by Japan. I have come across hundreds of broken Japanese equipment but I never met a single person who claims Japanese items are bad. I believe India and China have good stuff. Otherwise they cannot emerge as world powers. Anyhow due to some reason the image is not that good because people have found their recommendations inaccurate and unreliable. If Japanese say you have to throw this car away in 10 years time, he means that. If an Indian says the same thing it may mean you may have to throw it away tomorrow itself or more often he may never say things like that! That is the identity of different nations.

We, Sri Lankans on the other hand have so many unique identities. A very significant one is throwing junk on public places to keep private property clean. This has no difference in remote areas or urban areas. The situation is the same. The problem arose in no time as the town councils asked to keep garbage bags in front of the homes to be collected by their service agents. People took advantage of this and started dumping rotten food stuff in front of homes. Gradually dwellers got used to this and started to keep garbage bags only on the days that garbage truck is coming for collection. Since the truck does not go in the small by lanes people started to put the bags at entrance of the roads which gradually ended up in forming a rotten junk mountain. Stray dogs and cats mess up the places more and more. People who dwell near the collecting points are facing a real trouble because the rotten bad smell is always disturbing the daily life. Places are really made dirty and it is hard to pass the way through. It makes disturbing scenery with all the garbage, worms and everything. Personally I know a handful of occasions where home owners have involved in quarrels regarding dump. So most of all it is even creating social issues apart from health problems. Stray dogs, stray cats, mosquitoes and flies are multiplying adding up uncalculated waste expenditure such as funding for pest controlling, medicine for rabies, malaria and dengue. Apart from these a considerable amount of money is spent on educating people to take precautions on these. So it must be quite a lot of labor, time and money spent on these.

I have wondered why people behave like this. I mean not everybody. I don’t know much depth in other religions but in Buddhism this is violation of some basic teachings. Buddhism always asks to treat the others well and behave yourself in a manner that will never make others uncomfortable in any means. Further it says keeping public places clean is a merit which would result in good gains in this lifetime or in another lifetime (It originally says “Malu peth emadeema pinaki”). So this is a good measurement to find out how many people have understood Buddhism properly because it is not about preaching. Buddha has said “Sunaatha – Dhaaretha – Charaatha Dhamme” which means “Listen, Memorize and Practice the Principles”. So even though the country says majority is Buddhists ultimately they are pretending to be so. This small thing is a very good example. People very hardly make their own places dirty. Instead they always try to throw away their garbage to another’s place. I see this act as a social irresponsibility as well as an act of jealousy to make others uncomfortable (unfortunately this is the nature of some of our people).
So where lays the solution? Enforcing legal body? I don’t think so. Because the legal body of Sri Lanka has more than enough work to do. The town council, the police and the courts have more critical matters to address. But if we wait until all these are solved to address this garbage matter we won’t see that day in this life time. But we can do one small thing. We can start it from schools. We first have to convince the upper level. Administration of the education sector should be first convinced. Once they are thorough believers we can educate the principals and teachers. We have to start from year one and continue teaching them the better values irrespective of where the students come from or where the values come from. Year by year we have to renew students’ attitude on these. Read the biographies of well reputed people and find the influence of their teachers and schools. Unlike homes, schools are central locations that can be reached. Unlike parents teachers are in a certain level of development.

I’m suggesting this is feasible not because this is imaginable but because of I have seen a similar incident. Once we had a vice principal who had an agricultural degree. He thoroughly believed in himself and converted a total boys’ school into a green land. We had all sorts of vegetable ranging from cabbage to brinjols. We made compost out of waste materials collected in class rooms. The school even had small cattle. We created yoghurt as well. There was a bio gas section that functioned with garbage. The entire pest controlling was done with natural stuff. That vice principal got promoted and went to another school in Colombo (Isipathana College) where he did the same. Then he moved to Royal College where it is the same even now. The name of the maestro is Mr. Upali Gunasekara who poses a very good example on how to influence people and how to manage garbage problem. Our school was a community of 5000 students plus 250 teachers. So this is a practical solution to brainwash the next generation to hold better values. Likewise it may be too late to clear up the polluted minds of adults; in any case the next generation can be prevented from drowning. There are countries that have done that. But we need a handful of better leaders who do not pose for personal gains so that people will have a drive towards better practices. Selfishness should have limits. We all have a feeling for our property. But we don’t feel this is our country. We don’t feel that it is our money that is spent on maintaining public property. Nations who have that feeling properly are eye cooling scenery to watch. Clean and tidy free of junk and corruption.

So let’s do whatever we can to keep our country clean (This includes not throwing away bus tickets everywhere we get down from). I don’t have to be an important person, still being an ordinary person we can contribute to the betterment of our country. This small matter shows a great collapse of a country even though we don’t see it directly. First we have to be a good person, and then have a good family, then a good village, then a good country. It is better to start small. Have a look at world leaders. All the good ones have good family lives. That is why Dr. Mahathir Mohammed the front runner of Malaysia’s development has admitted “Start from home”. So let’s start from home!

There is No Easy Way to Earn Money! (An afterword to Sakvithi’s Swindle)

I’m writing this as for the inspiration I got from two incidents. The first one is the famous and hot hot scandal of the Sakvithi Ranasinghe. That news is from the dark corner. The second is an Indian employee I came across very recently who works for his European company so truly all the day with a great capacity of what he does.

I may be young but according to my experience nothing can be free. Everything comes to this world has a cost. In the sense it may not be a monetary value all the time. In Sri Lanka education and health is provided free of charge up to a great extent. But how come something is free? Even though we do not see it directly people of this country pay all the taxes and levies to keep these services provided free of charge. So ultimately somebody is paying for all these.

If I remember correctly (can’t remember where I read it) the great writer Maxim Gorky has once said “if you get something free it should either be mother’s love or the sun’s light. Nothing else is entirely free”

The famous English teacher Sakvithi Ransinghe’s money swindling is the latest hot topic in Sri Lanka except for war and revolutions in daily dirty politics. That person climbed up the ladder really fast. He became some sort of an icon in no time. I observed him advertizing his construction and property development company in most of the week end news papers. It was an eye catching advertisement that at least took half a page. The advertisement says 6, 000 rupees monthly interest for each 100, 000 rupees of investment. That is 72% interest per year! To build the confidence he put photos of his and Edwin Ariyadasa, who is renowned elderly media personnel in the country. I’m sure Mr. Ariyadasa must have also been swindled by this professional robber. That was not all. There appeared another advertisement introducing a CD pack with a walkman that is said to be a new method of learning English. Students can listen to them whenever they can and learn the language at any time they like. This also was a product of Mr. Sakvithi. There was more. This person appeared in the national television of Sri Lanka and in a few other channels as well to conduct English lessons. I have never seen that privilege given to any other private tutor. So Mr. Sakvithi built up a very nice public interface to deal with the general public of this country. He always made sure that he appears and behaves like a real gentleman. That is the feeling I got. I believe if somebody is too smooth there is always a problem with him or her. That is my experience. So for me this guy fell into that category.

If you have a look at the week end news papers the highest number of the advertisements are regarding foreign traveling or migration or foreign higher studies. The second highest is for spoken English classes. The third highest is by enchanters, witches, deities promising to make what’s impossible, achievable with their super powers. These have become a mania in the news papers. By looking at the number of advertisements and the amount they may be spending on advertising we can assume there is a large client base for these. Otherwise how can they at least cover up their advertising costs? This trend has come up like popping up mushrooms. Mr. Sakvithi is not the only English tutor who does this. There is one call Selaka Rajasinghe who promises to teach English just in 8 days. He has a money back guarantee as well! There is another one call Rathna Liyanage who has some sort of parallel investment company just like Mr. Sakvithi. But since of late he seems to be a bit quiet. These people even have branches in a number of towns as well. They put well reputed local personnel as their coordinators. Most often they are elderly government servants like retired principals, retired post masters etc. I believe these people are getting a commission for their work. This improves the confidence over the so called investment companies.

I think even though the literacy is very high in Sri Lanka majority of the people in this country are not intelligent enough to face the complexities of the modern world. They get caught easily. Same thing happens with politics. Politicians just need to put the face on TV. It doesn’t matter whether it is regarding something good or bad. They just need to show their faces to the public so that they will go into the minds of the public and will get more votes next time. This is the truth about Sri Lanka. It is not difficult to track down the true nature of people like Mr. Sakvithi. These types of English tutors say they have classes in Nugegoda in the morning, in the noon they are in Kalutara, in the evening they are in Galle. The morning next day they are in Gampaha, in the noon they are in Kurunegala and in the evening they are Kandy. All seven days they travel and teach like this. I wonder how somebody can be so efficient and travel all the places and teach? In our culture teaching is an art that cannot be done in this way running here and there all the time. While doing all these if the tutors say they do something else as well, I don’t understand how they find time. It is obvious that they will fail in everything because they are trying to do so many at the same time. Most often I have heard that these classes are finished in two or three weeks even though they are said to be 3 months or 6 months courses. They take the total payment in the first 2 days and then vanish. This is just getting the advantage over the poor young people who are in need of spoken English due to the colonial imagination that still exists in the minds of the Sri Lankan administration and job market. So because of the majority don’t look at the outer world with broadened and analytical eyes and minds they get caught to swindlers like Mr. Sakvithi. When these cheaters say they are giving big interest for investments our people don’t think of it. They don’t care whether it is possible or not. Even the American banks who have better ways of investmenting got bankrupted and still getting bankrupted. Our public doesn’t know these important facts because the majority is interested in just watching mega teledrama series and superstars. There are so many stars. Super stars, kid stars, dancing stars, adventurous stars etc. The channels are so much interested in delivering these needs. If not these they just broadcast something helpful to improve their political allies. That is the entire world the public see in this country. These Sakvithi incidents may be byproducts of this narrowing of minds in this country. Valued programs could have minimized the Sakvithi blow because the broadened thinking would empower people to improve their intelligence to recognize possible hardships prior to their arousal. Further people who have a good reputation have been caught by these types of swindlers in a few occasions now. Once professor Sucharitha Gamlath got caught to “Pongu Thamil”. Now Edwin Ariyadasa got caught to this fellow. Probably it may happen due to hardships in their elderly age. So we are in an era where we can trust others up to some extent that we feel is safe.

Sakvithi incident is said to be the one with the most number of entries in the police book. At one place I saw there comes nearly 500 complaints a day. Mirihana police station has put a separate section to handle them. Police premise is crowded like a public market place. The police have introduced a new form to take the complaints. The best part is this Sakvithi’s real name has never been Sakvithi Ranasinghe. He has used a passport with the name “Abeyratne Mudiyanselage Chandana Weerakumara Ranasinghe” to vanish to south India. It is like a fairy tale how this fellow swindled nearly 900 millions. I consider this incident a byproduct of not broadening up the minds of our people. We just try to live in a dream world.

My second inspiration, the Indian co-worker who works really hard all the day along, is a thing to talk. Sometimes it is scary to look at the way he works. I have heard that Indians and Chinese are really hard workers but I never thought they are working this hard. The person I’m talking is really talented. He knows what he do and he makes sure he works all the time. It is not that we don’t work. But his dedication is a thing to practice. There may be facts which influence him to be so. May be he is rewarded, maybe he just do it for satisfaction.

There is only a single simple conclusion I made by looking at him. If there had been any easier way to earn money why does that person work so hard so willingly? That is the same reason why I work this hard with giving all my best effort, simply because there is no easy way to earn money!

What a Trip – What a Feeling!

Last Saturday (05.07.2008) I and my fiancée went on a two day trip to Earls Regency Kandy with her office mates. The entire trip was so cool and it made me feel one of the best trips I ever went on after leaving under grad ages at uni.

Even though I’m no part of IFS (where my fiancée works), people made me feel really comfortable. From start to its end every thing was well organized. It looked like there were around 200 guys and girls. Except for a few delays (which is normal when such a crowd is around) everything went on smoothly.

I had my internship at IFS and there is one thing I admire most about IFS. It’s the culture they maintain. It is not too much - not too less. It’s the culture of the common man. They make sure the majority feels ok. I feel IFS reaps good harvest when you look at events like these in the long term aspect. It makes people enjoy, release stress, making strong bonds among team mates, exploring places and things that are new, understanding each other better and life time memories for all. My conclusion is, an office should do these in the name of what ever because employees get the job satisfaction which would ultimately result in making a good company in all aspects. Salary is not everything. So, all at company’s cost will gain each and every employee and the company itself a better future. That’s why I adore IFS and its attitude towards the guys and girls who work for them. Sometimes a hundred workshops won’t help the employees in the way this 2 day practical example work.

Singing nonstop all the way from Colombo to Kandy and back from Kandy to Colombo was really cool. I feel like my throat has left me. I’m mute today.No voice at all!

The ‘Mystery Hour’, ‘Padura’, DJ, hitting the ‘Kanaa Mutti’, egg catching, mummy making and water polo events kept the guys and the girls enjoy every minute of the trip.

Earls Regency was ok for most of the parts. Lodging was cool but I prefer the down south meals over what we enjoyed at Earls’. The hotel doesn’t have a huge garden may be due to the fact that it is situated close to the town. But it has enough facilities to keep you entertaining all the time.

After a long time I felt really nice about something I involved in (the trip). I’m feeling boomed up. Just thought of posting this on the blog to keep on reflecting on wonderful memories the trip. I don’t normally post stuff like these on the blog. But I feel this deserves it.

A Leader Should Know How to Manage Failure

These are some really interesting thoughts expressed by former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam.

Could you give an example, from your own experience, of how leaders should manage failure?

Kalam: Let me tell you about my experience. In 1973 I became the project director of India 's satellite launch vehicle program, commonly called the SLV-3. Our goal was to put India 's "Rohini" satellite into orbit by 1980. I was given funds and human resources -- but was told clearly that by 1980 we had to launch the satellite into space. Thousands of people worked together in scientific and technical teams towards that goal.

By 1979 -- I think the month was August -- we thought we were ready. As the project director, I went to the control center for the launch. At four minutes before the satellite launch, the computer began to go through the checklist of items that needed to be checked. One minute later, the computer program put the launch on hold; the display showed that some control components were not in order. My experts -- I had four or five of them with me -- told me not to worry; they had done their calculations and there was enough reserve fuel. So I bypassed the computer, switched to manual mode, and launched the rocket. In the first stage, everything worked fine. In the second stage, a problem developed. Instead of the satellite going into orbit, the whole rocket system plunged into the Bay of Bengal . It was a big failure.

That day, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, Prof. Satish Dhawan, had called a press conference. The launch was at 7:00 am, and the press conference -- where journalists from around the world were present -- was at 7:45 am at ISRO's satellite launch range in Sriharikota [in Andhra Pradesh in southern India ]. Prof. Dhawan, the leader of the organization, conducted the press conference himself. He took responsibility for the failure -- he said that the team had worked very hard, but that it needed more technological support. He assured the media that in another year, the team would definitely succeed. Now, I was the project director, and it was my failure, but instead, he took responsibility for the failure as chairman of the organization.

The next year, in July 1980, we tried again to launch the satellite -- and this time we succeeded. The whole nation was jubilant. Again, there was a press conference. Prof. Dhawan called me aside and told me, "You conduct the press conference today."

I learned a very important lesson that day. When failure occurred, the leader of the organization owned that failure. When success came, he gave it to his team. The best management lesson I have learned did not come to me from reading a book; it came from that experience.

What Else?

I’m writing this with great regrets and depression as 8 of our guys wasted their young lives to fulfill somebody’s most unlikely dream to come true.

It is really hurting me to see some of the familiar faces among the death notice poster of the guys who caught the Fort Railway bomb on 3rd February 2008.

As a school DS has had taken great strides towards inter community and inter racial harmony from its beginning. We had a time when we used to learn “Aana, Aawanna”(Hope I remember it correctly). We had Tamil head prefects in our history. We have a Hindu Kovil, a Muslim Mosque, a small Catholic Church, and a Budu Medura at school premises. We, the majority Buddhists used to come out of the classes and practice our religious believes every morning while others engaged in their respective religious customs at their places inside the school. I have seen a thousand times how Hindus wash their Kovil with milk and pray their stanzas with all the bells, drums and traditional oil lamps in the background. I have seen how Muslims kneel and worship their god. I have seen how Christians and Catholics pray with nice harmonizing voices. As a Sinhalese Buddhist I watched them with respect. I believe most of us did so and still do so.

We had English news, Sinhala news and Tamil news broadcasted in the school daily. We had equal rights. Besides being minority, the school’s Football and Hokey teams were dominated by Tamils and Muslims. Most of the other teams had Tamil and Muslim representation. We had all three Sinhala, English and Tamil debating teams. Each grade had two Tamil medium classes. That’s around 80+ students. Out of 400 in each section we had around 150-200 minority students who never made any complaint being minority. We had all sorts of religious and cultural festivals at school. Even we had Tamils and Muslims as our OBA presidents. As students and as old boys we enjoy equal opportunities. Most of the 6000+ students of our school are brought up with this type of mindset. So I believe where ever in this world we go, we carry what we think is good and we try to practice them at our best.

So looking at the culture where I grew up I don’t see anybody being made uncomfortable due to his nativity. If somebody is trying to be a winner among a whole bunch of losers I guess we should first make him a loser. As a school DS has taken these steps long before Mr. Pirapaharan dreamt of his so called EALAM. We have practically proved that his idealism is false and fake. Making predictions of the Sri Lankan community by staying under the ground in Kilinochchi seems to be misleading Mr. Pirapaharan because what he says does not exist here anymore. Visit Wellawatte, Dematagoda, Kotahena, Dehiwala, Cinamon Gardens, Sea Street, Slave Island, Hatton, Aagarapathana or anywhere. See the number of Tamils living there. They are being searched occassionally because these bombers explore themselves. Otherwise these people could stay in these areas without any problem at all. So for these occasional arrests also Mr. Pirapaharan is the one to blame. Ask him to stop the explosions so that we can stop searching. Visit Kilinochchy, Naagarkovil, or Muhumale. I don’t think we can find any Sinhalese. So it’s time to understand who’s right and who’s wrong. At least we can understand whose better. Where is ethnic cleansing? In Colombo or Kilinochchi? If South India gives us a separate land for us we could probably give Mr. Pirapaharan what he asks.

“Gahanna Gahanna wandina ekath modaya – Wandinna wandinna gahana ekath modaya”

I think it’s time to stop this bull head no matter what ever the price is so that the generations to come will live in peace and harmony.

Helping a Rural School in Ratnapura

Somewhere around May 2007, 10 of us talked in the lunch table about the money we are spending for daily dessert. One of us suggested that can’t we collect that money and provide studying material to poor students in a rural school. The idea was greatly supported by most of the fellows.

Our target was to collect around 50, 000 rupees which we finally did. Duminda found a school in Ratnapura that needed help. Even though they were somewhat ok with a few facilities. After a small discussion Duminda and Asanga(two from our lunch bunch) told us the principal told them that quite a big number of students don’t have shoes. So if we could provide them shoes the principal said it would leave life long memories with the students.
So we agreed to buy shoes as many as we could with our budget. We got a list of 172 needed shoe pairs. But the most we could buy was 61 pairs. So in the end we bought 61 shoe pairs and socks pairs. With the spare money we bought mathematical instrument sets for 25 students and books for year 5 scholarship, O/L past papers, and IT books written in Sinhala etc. We got a request from the principal to hold them a workshop on computers as their knowledge on the subject is not so good. But due to the busy schedules of our friends we could not travel the place on a week day. So to prevent delaying the help we decided to deliver the stuff on 19th Saturday of January 2008.

We are planning to visit Ellawala Maha Vidyalaya on a convenient day to hold the work shop.

Six of the guys from our bunch visited the school to hand over the donation. Sudantha along with his father provided us transport all the way from Colombo to Ratnapura and back to Colombo as well. Duminda and Asanga arrenged the

shoes and socks. Me and Swarnamali bought the learning materials. All of us collected money for 6 months and spent them on this. On the day we handed the stuff, guys who went there(I could not go as I had to stay at home for an important visit of my fiance) told me they felt really sorry for the students. Duminda told two of the fellows fainted in the 15 minute long small gahtering. This place was 3 hours distance from Colombo. If the situation is like this in such a distance we could imagine how it is in a place like Ampara or Monaragala.

That school still needs a lot of help. If anybody is willing please contact us so that we can direct you to the place.