Thursday, August 9, 2007

When Atheists Attack

This is priceless.

If I keep writing heresies such as this, I may be taken off the Atheist Blogroll. Hilarious.


Looks like the debate on the censorship of my ideas has begun.


The sad and inevitable conclusion.

Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Letter to an Atheist – PART II: Can We be Good without God?

My last piece on this subject proved two things: firstly, that there is very little room for intellectual flexibility in a debate involving the existence of God, and secondly, that science will never sufficiently rule out the possibility of God’s existence unless one is willing to place one’s trust in science that it possesses the future capacity to explain all things. Though the debate was often convoluted and verbose, there was general agreement on the above observations.

I now wish to veer away from the realms of science and explore the notion of morality and its relationship to God’s existence.

Human beings have since the acquiring of sufficient intelligence to comprehend existence and become conscious of some notion of ‘self’, subjected most behaviour to the peculiar test of morality. Morality serves as a reference point to regulate behaviour and ensure some form of conformity to a presumed standard. Its accepted origin, no matter what the Greeks say, is firmly rooted in some form of archaic religion and a simple internet search would dispel any doubt of this fact. Most established religions would teach God is good, this is what He says, so this is our moral standard.

Secular teachings however attempt to divorce the concept of God from morality and instead offer an interesting alternative. The terms Good and Evil are replaced with Right and Wrong, and morality becomes the principle under which certain actions are adjudged as either right or wrong. Actions which are right deserve applause and appreciation while those which are wrong deserve punishment or at the very least, some cold-shoulder treatment. However, the question arises as to what constitutes the substance of morality which in turn labels an action either right or wrong?

To make things simple, let us take a clear example of a so-called morally wrong act: stealing. It is wrong to steal. Why is it wrong to steal? Is it because one should respect the property rights of others? This is however not a satisfactory answer, because the question arises as to ‘why one should respect the property rights of others’. The answer to that question doesn’t seem as obvious. So then is stealing wrong because our conscience tells us not to steal? This answer doesn’t hold much water either, since most of us do not have a conscience. Well, suppose we do, still each person’s conscience would have varied degrees of what he or she thinks would be acceptable conduct. Stealing someone’s car is definitely wrong, but stealing some flowers from an overhanging branch of your neighbour’s tree? Well, that isn’t really stealing, is it? Perhaps it’s because he wouldn’t miss it. So why is stealing really wrong? One possible answer is that it is ‘considered’ wrong by the average reasonable person or by a majority opinion. However, the average reasonable person doesn’t really exist. If he does, he certainly wouldn’t be average. Majority opinion on the other hand is another figment of some statistician’s imagination, since we can only ascertain what the majority might say though we cannot ascertain what they really think. Ask yourself ‘is it really wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving infant?’ Also, the average-majority conclusion puts us in a precarious position since this would lead us to further conclude that the content of morality and the ingredients of right and wrong are subject to gradual change. So in two millennia or so, stealing may be rechristened ‘permanent secretive borrowing’. No, that simply wouldn’t do. It seems therefore, that one is left with very few theoretical options as to a satisfactory answer to the question ‘why is stealing wrong’. However, one may answer this question by reference to a certain rational chain of thought. The logical sequence that follows is that stealing is wrong because it is contrary to accepted moral standards. These moral standards are accepted because they are derived from tradition and conscience. However, what is derived from tradition becomes rooted directly in some notional experience as to what really works in terms of sustaining society, while what is derived from conscience is directly attributable to the education system, one’s upbringing and, like it or not, a fair share of social conditioning. So, are these elements, often considered as infallible moral indicators, really that reliable?

The underlined conclusion on the question of morality is one which points to something utterly basic and quite simple: survival. In my opinion, the secular version of morality can only be explained by reference to an assimilation of behavioural patterns which through a process of trial and error has turned out to be most conducive for the successful survival of the species. Therefore, every action becomes either right or wrong simply by reference to whether it is directly or indirectly compatible with survival.

If one is in agreement with my hypothesis, the question remains, does one human being have the right to enforce moral standards on another? Do all human beings have an inescapable obligation to propagate the species, and does that obligation justify adherence to some moral code of conduct? Unless, we derive our moral standards from a higher power to which all human beings are subject to, the idea that equals can enforce a standard which is arbitrary and essentially self-serving seems unjustifiable. Therefore, morality must necessarily be derived from some external source for it to be sufficiently compelling. It must precede human thought and existence in order to demand adherence. If not, one is forced to concede that the fabric of our civilization is merely based on a well-refined and cleverly disguised version of law of the jungle.

Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Are you Bending Over for Whitey, or Just Talented?

When your friends and loved ones return from abroad they often bring along gifts, goodies and some rather interesting, and at times exaggerated tales. Occasionally, one or two may also bring along a brand new accent. This has always struck me as curious since what an American or Englishman cannot achieve in a lifetime spent in the East, is promptly undertaken by one of “us” who spends just a few semesters in the West.

Is this necessarily a bad thing? We Sri Lankans left behind to fret about the dying economy and intensifying ethnic conflict, often view with suspicion and contempt those of our kind who achieve the feat of successfully adopting a foreign accent. “Oh gosh, guess who came back speaking like Yankee Doodle?” or “I didn’t know the stiff-upper-lip was contagious?” are common sentiments articulated in private.

However, I find that the phenomenon of accent switching can be attributed to two main reasons.

  1. Our Colonial Hangover
  2. Our Hospitable Nature

The reason many of us find ourselves switching to a ripe British accent as soon as we set foot on those green hills of England, is primarily due to the fact that a Whiteman’s accent is seen to be of a slightly higher and more prestigious standard than our own. It also has a lot to do with self esteem and how comfortable one is with the way he or she articulates the English language. Studying or living abroad is not necessarily the reason one speaks with this accent, but rather the valid excuse one uses to justify the switch.

The second reason I have listed relates to the most common excuse given by those who engage in an accent makeover. It is simply that persons abroad fail to understand the Sri Lankan accent thus requiring us to change our accent in order to facilitate greater understanding. This of course is entirely true as I have experienced it myself. However, what is curious is that Westerners living here for decades on end never seem to make this same switch. In fact those of us who speak to them mysteriously alter our own accents, momentarily adopting a strangely refined British or American tone without even the slightest affiliation to those nations.

Some of you may call this “doormat-like behaviour”, but I would like to remind you that not all people can achieve this feat. It takes true talent to speak in multiple accents without even the odd acting lesson for assistance. Some of us choose not to change our accents, while others simply can’t help the change. However, time and again we have proven our potential for flexibility.

I find it more likely that this whole accent switching maneuver is part of a common potential possessed by all Sri Lankans to morph in order to fit in better with the outside world. This is probably why we can get along with everyone else except ourselves.

Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wordpress vs. Blogger: Why you should also make the switch

This is merely a momentary departure from the usual satire, so please bear with me.

(In this post: Find out how to import your old blog posts to your new blog site in just minutes)

After careful consideration, I have recently decided to shift my web log from Wordpress to Blogger. The following piece seeks to highlight my findings and observations, which some of you may find useful.

Where Wordpress wins:

1. It is most definitely a service provider with slicker templates and a more sophisticated overall design. However, you would be required to download an appropriate version of the Wordpress blog tool and personally host your own site to truly appreciate this benefit. The free version which I had the luxury of enduring for a few months, offered very little room for tinkering.

2. It offers a wide range of statistics which enables you to track the performance of your blog.

3. It also permits the display of multiple pages, which somehow seems to be a feature in Blogger that I haven’t quite discovered as yet.

4. Finally, for those of you who enjoy a debate or two, it offers scope for the editing of both user comments as well as your own responses in terms of discussions that take place on your blog.

Where Blogger prevails:

1. It permits HTML editing. This is a priceless feature which the free version of Wordpress does not offer. This ability to edit your blog’s HTML code essentially opens the window for countless possibilities.

For example, the lack of a statscounter is instantly resolved by including a code offered by service providers such as

And of course, opportunities for revenue generating through the likes of Google’s AdSense, also open up due to such HTML editing capabilities. This provides an entirely new commercial dimension to the list of incentives to use Blogger.

2. It offers better design control over your blog. Blogger possesses a number of tools that enables template editing which ranges from fonts and colors to adding a feed from YouTube. Thus the scope for personalizing your blog is indeed far greater.

One of the main problems faced by bloggers who wish to switch between blog providers is the feasibility involved in importing old posts to the new blog site. I encountered this very issue in attempting to import my posts on Wordpress to its new Blogspot location. The problem is now adequately dealt with through the use of a simple piece of software located here.

All things considered, I find the move to be a reasonably good one. However, the true prudence of this migration of sorts may only be tested with time.

Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Caste in Stone: The dirty little secret you ought to know

The ethnic conflict in the North and East has quite understandably drawn much attention away from many of the other social evils which perpetuate in this country. While there is still much activism against drug abuse, pedophilia and domestic violence, a field trip to Hambantota sometime back, revealed to me a stark reality which I still struggle to cope with.The caste system of Sri Lanka is thought by many to be a bygone of the past. However, it occurred to me that the system, rather than ‘no longer existing’, is now merely ‘swept under our carpets’.

My assignment in Hambantota related to evaluating an NGO which worked with beneficiaries at the grass root level. The work, as is observed in many grass root level organizations, was admirable and sincere, and in most cases changed the lives of the beneficiaries. The anti-NGO sentiment we all consider as the general consensus amongst rural folk is in my experience almost non-existent. This sentiment is rather a product of the local administration which struggles to cope with the needs of poverty stricken families, and resents the dependency placed on these organizations. However, as the assignment took me deeper into the inner workings of this support system, I observed a tiny anomaly. There were cases of mysterious discrimination which were not on ethnic or religious lines.

Due to professional commitments, I cannot publish the details of the account. However, it was revealed to me that this discrimination was based purely on the caste to which individuals belonged. Such was the extent of this underground system, that the organizations that worked in these areas were forced to work within caste lines in order to reach their beneficiaries.

This is how it worked: the Government Agent is usually of a particular caste and has “obligations” towards assisting his own caste members. The local grass root level NGOs are usually desperate to gain access to beneficiaries and for this they need the cooperation of the local authorities. The GA then directs the NGOs to his own caste constituency, thereby ensuring the development of his own caste, a noble maneuver, no doubt. And finally, since the NGO’s mandate does not relate to the eradication of the caste system but rather deals purely with poverty alleviation, the organization reinforces the system by working through it.

Many foreign donor organizations are seemingly unaware of this system. However, the manner in which one must address this issue remains uncertain. On the one hand, we all agree that the archaic and notorious caste system is completely contrary to the concept of universal human rights. But on the other hand, we must cope with the issue of whether some good work is better than none.

Thank you for reading.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Wildebeest behind Wheels: All you need to know about Colombo’s roads

Do you ever wonder what causes drivers to behave the way they do on our roads? I often do, since I tend to presume that we are not all that bad in real life. We just seem to permit a miserable, self-centered spirit to possess us each time we take the wheel.

Let me begin with a simple illustration. It’s raining and there is bumper to bumper traffic. The traffic lights before you display the colour green, and it is your rightful turn to go. However, there is very little opportunity for you to proceed, since your lane is neatly obstructed by vehicles traveling across it. If one vehicle decides to chance the red light, it is often followed by three or four opportunists who feel the necessity to tag along for moral support. And just to put the icing on the cake, the bus behind you honks impatiently with the hope that somehow you are Moses and you didn’t forget your magic staff.

Now what is the root cause of this predicament? Is it the lack of education, poor infrastructure, incompetent driving or just plain bad manners? In my opinion, the primary source lies elsewhere. The reason for what has been described by some as the worst driving in the world (barring India of course) is simply the existence of herd mentality.

Sri Lanka’s roads are indeed a step back from civilization and a step into the wilderness. Only the strongest may survive, and by strong, I mean drivers who possess the skill and the confidence to stake their claim using an array of weapons which includes curses, glares and, of course, a well-tuned horn. All this effort merely to gain a few extra minutes (and perhaps lose a few extra hairs…)

So why put it down to herd mentality? Ask yourself a few simple questions about our drivers and the issue may become slightly clearer.

1) Why is it that we take a few minutes to react to a green light, whereas we honk profusely when the driver in front of us fails to react instantaneously to an amber light?

2) Why is the use of the horn and the head lamps second nature to us, while around the world, they are reserved for emergencies?

3) Why is it that hardly anyone ever offers an opportunity to another vehicle to access his/her lane, while hardly anyone ever displays gratitude to the few that permit such access?

If you really think about it, there’s absolutely no valid reason for the lack of road etiquette in this country, except that we’re just not used to it.

Individuals that have driven abroad remain appalled at the abysmal standards seen here, and as much as it dents the ego, they are often correct in their analysis. The sad fact remains that everyone agrees that the standards are poor, yet continue to contribute towards perpetuating these standards. And please, let us not point fingers at the buses and the taxis. It would be a shame to admit that buses and taxis set the benchmark for everyone else to follow.

The fundamental issue to be addressed in this case relates to how people approach the law in general. Law must under most circumstances be buttressed by some form of sanction. Though sanctions themselves can be disincentives to violating the law, it seems inevitable that modern society demands that there be some manifest framework of positive incentives for upholding the law. This, if you really think about it, is a ridiculous position to hold. However, in the case of road rules, the lack of such manifest incentives simply proves the existence of this “ridiculous” predicament.

So, are we to be likened to a herd of hoofed beasts that needs to be driven by incentives in order to follow a simple set of rules? I hope not, but the signs remain discouragingly negative. The solution to all our road woes may lie within a simple law-abiding attitude. Or is it really that simple?

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The War Must Come to Colombo

Forgive my blatant disregard towards being politically correct. I intend to make my point as clear as possible, thus the usual diplomatic wrappings that form a masquerade around my true opinion will be set aside on this occasion.

The recent massacre at Virginia Tech University was indeed an event that we all condemn and regret. We as members of a global community have realized the necessity to empathize with our fellow brethren across continents whenever fate deals them a cruel blow.
However, it occurred to me that we in Colombo have a nasty tendency to empathize with the West at the expense of neglecting the issues within our present civil war. A classic example of this was the reaction of individuals in Colombo which even included facebook groups for the purpose of displaying solidarity against the massacre. It would have been equally polite to have a couple of groups dedicated to the children in the North and East that are lost to war each day.

To avoid misunderstanding, let me make it clear that I too empathize with the families of the victims of this massacre. However, I find it puzzling that events such as this along with Oklahoma, 9/11 and Katrina seem to affect our conscience in far greater proportions than events within our own country. The international media, which is for obvious reasons West-centric, will continue to inundate us with news items that relate mainly to the West. And we seem to simply fall in line like well-trained monkeys.

It is obvious that we Colombo dwellers are more Western than in fact Sri Lankan. We remember our nation mostly when the cricket is on. Feel free to despise me for hazardously generalizing. The ethnic conflict (and yes, there is a conflict out there which is deeply imbedded in the psyche of the people) will never cease unless the conflict comes to our own doorstep.

No, I am certainly not asking you to wear sackcloth, weep and gnash your teeth in despair. However, I invite you to ponder upon the dynamics of our conflict and how we in Colombo, as we grow tired of the politics, choose to ignore its realities. I feel it is unlikely that a viable solution will be found until we, as the supposed crème-de-la-crème, are physically affected by the conflict. What I mean by “physically affected” is open to interpretation. I however do not possess the morbid wish for violence to take place within our city merely for us to learn our lesson. Personally, I believe mandatory military service may do the trick. But that’s a different debate altogether.

The truth is, we have grown comfortable in our own depression and look elsewhere to offer our condolences. Charity must begin at home.

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

A Letter to an Atheist - PART I: Do you "believe" in Atheism?

The following piece is in response to a very interesting article by Professor Mano Singham which appeared in his web journal some time back. The link for the original post is:

I have segmented my response into two parts for the purpose of easy reading. In this first part, I wish to bring to the attention of the reader, the logical improbability of the final conclusion an atheist would most likely reach. At this juncture, I have no qualms about the “belief” that there is no God. However, the purpose of this post is to challenge the “conclusion based on scientific analysis” that there is no god.

“The anthill is the ant’s world, the open savanna its universe”

Human beings have since time immemorial attempted to explain life and the position we occupy in the universe. However, it is seldom that one begins to appreciate the inescapable truth that human beings like all other life forms on Earth, are inherently limited to what they are able to perceive. When an individual observes his environment and thereupon arrive at certain conclusions, such observations and conclusions are inherently restricted in accuracy to the ability of such an individual to perceive his environment and corroborate his findings with prior knowledge or values.

Now the question arises as to how one can be certain that an atheist’s conclusions on religion are not infallible. The answer lies in the concept of "truth derived from probability" or what some may call "relative truth".

This is where it gets interesting…

If one is to accept the theory of evolution for instance, human beings are still in the process of evolving, and therefore are "less evolved" than the stage of evolution that lies ahead. If one is to accept the concurrent theory of natural selection, then our species would give way to a more sophisticated and biologically successful species at some point in the future. All these widely accepted scientific "truths" seem to point in one direction: the relative insignificance of humankind in comparison to the deep and infinite bounds of the universe. It is therefore likely that human perception is relatively flawed. There is no way of proving this, but then again, the probabilities of thinking otherwise seem logically puerile, unless you believe the universe centers on us human beings. The relative concept of truth would therefore suggest that in terms of scientific theory (and by "theory" I mean scientific speculations which are incapable of being proven beyond doubt) we are more likely wrong, than right.

Atheism would therefore require certain presumptions to be first accepted before it can claim logical superiority over any belief system. In fact atheism itself is more likely a belief system than, as some atheists would insist, an empirical conclusion.

Thus it is my opinion that Atheism, which is allegedly founded on scientific and logical reasoning, cannot be accepted in the absence of some fundamental dependency on the faculties of human perception and reliance on the probability that human perception depicts an accurate reality. Sounds like faith to me.

Thank you for reading.


Monday, March 26, 2007

I would if I could, but I’ve got a boyfriend back home

Once again, I am grateful to those of you who sent in comments and emails in relation to my previous post.What you are about to read may not be as easily palatable as you may prefer. However, it is a life scenario which needs to be confronted with the highest level of care and maturity one’s emotions would permit. What I will attempt to capture (in what is hopefully a nutshell) is not a generalization of long-distance relationships but rather an analysis of a dilemma which many of us face during our youth and the manner in which it affects our decision-making in later years.

As adults, we often find it reasonable to conclude that higher importance should be attached to the challenges we face within our own age groups. Parents seldom admit that the issues their children face can compare to the problems of maintaining a household and supporting a family. Married couples rarely remember the troubles of courtship and the petty woes of childhood love. Working professionals hardly notice the stress and sacrifice of young students. The pattern is always clear in each example. As we grow older, we forget the lessons we learn and the hardships we overcome during our childhoods and the impact they have on the rest of our lives.

The transition from teenager to young adult is never appreciated as a truly transformative period in an individual’s life. Many of us consider this period as “just another phase” in life. The truth however is that this period often “makes or breaks” an individual’s quality and forges a path in a direction which is rarely amendable. It is the exact point in which the moth is set to emerge from the cocoon. It is within this volatile timeframe, that we find the curious notion of “young love”. One may immediately question the writer’s choice of subject matter, but I pray that one does read on.

It is no coincidence that Shakespeare preferred the eternal iconic figures of love - Romeo and Juliet to be teenagers. So it is difficult to comprehend why society fails to appreciate the gravity and importance of life decisions made by young people. One clear example of this lack of empathy relates to the decision of continuing in a long-distance relationship when one of the parties has selected to pursue higher studies abroad. Make no mistake that this decision is often a life altering one which may even determine the ultimate happiness of the individuals involved.

This is the point at which the reader would be tempted to say “so what?”
Well, my issue is one which deals with fidelity in long-distance relationships and the expectations of such that is placed on the parties concerned. It is not a question of what ought to be the ideal scenario, but rather one which challenges the conventional wisdom behind compelling one individual to be obligated to another who resides a thousand miles away. I stress on the words ‘pressure’ and ‘obligation’ since where this arrangement is completely voluntary, one cannot question the success of the relationship. It must be admitted however, that the possibilities of a relationship lasting on the shoulders of these two words alone are very slender.

It is under these very circumstances that the temptation of infidelity arises. I am in no way justifying infidelity. Infidelity stems from a deep-rooted habit of selfishness which should not only be discouraged but also abhorred in its entirety. However, notwithstanding our personal sentiments towards it, infidelity may be explained by the context in which it takes place. So rather than providing fertile soil for the seeds of infidelity to grow, it is far wiser to refrain altogether from placing our so-called loved ones in these precarious positions. To be precise, it is my opinion that individuals should not be obligated to remain faithful when it is “too hard” to do so. The results always lead to either a clandestine compromise or complete breakdown in the relationship concerned. Thus it seems clear that long-distance relationships should be reserved for those serious about commitment, since a relationship which perpetuates solely due to obligation can only result in hurt and loss of both trust as well as pride.

There is no justification in succumbing to the fears of losing someone, at the expense of curtailing his/her freedom against his/her true preference. Though many of us will remain faithful to someone waiting for us back home, the majority will rather have had utilized that opportunity to explore new frontiers. It may be argued that staying faithful merely on the strength of obligation only results in resentment and often leads to regret.

In conclusion, I can only chastise society as a whole for placing these numerous conditions on our youth. Whether it is reserving social acceptance for those in committed relationships, or establishing age deadlines for marriage, the list of pressures on the young people of today grow ever longer. The result of this social conditioning has been the immergence of a confused, discontent and disoriented generation that finds life as a whole one tiresome and mundane experience. The coffee is brewing, it’s time we all smelt it.

Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Buggers in Disguise: A Three-prong approach to duping hapless lasses

Firstly, I wish to thank all my readers who visited and commented on my previous post.

The thoughts I will present are based on an interesting conversation I had the other day with a male friend. His perspectives are submitted through my own prism of understanding. However, the terminology I have used is based on what I have come to accept as common usage amongst the societal circles concerned.

Before I begin, it is important to understand that these views are based on a number of generalizations, which admittedly have certain restrictions in applicability.

This post relates to four generalized groups of individuals. a) Intelligent Women; b) Attention Seeking Females; c) Impostors disguised as ‘buggers’; and d) Buggers. I wish to make it absolutely clear that this list is non-exhaustive and should be considered merely as a descriptive categorization. It is probable that some individuals would find themselves unable to relate to any of the categories. It is also possible for an individual to find personal applicability in more than one or even all of the above categories.

(NB: This remark pertains to my schizophrenic, transvestite and gender-confused readers.)A short description of the four groups is perhaps necessary. My sincere apologies to those of you who dislike the use of acronyms.

An Intelligent Woman (IW) finds pleasure in all forms of stimulus and is aware of the many elaborate schemes hatched by her male counterparts to “get into her pants”. If any male actually succeeds in achieving this feat, it is merely because the IW intended for it to happen in the first place. This is a real category since I myself am acquainted with a number of such individuals. Needless to say, exposure to the opposite sex as well as a keen measure of self-esteem may be considered prerequisites to falling within this category.

An Attention Seeking Female (ASF) is one who craves the attention of men and women alike and who is willing to compromise on an assortment of values as well as a good measure of self-respect to achieve this. I am tempted to attach naivety and the lack of maturity as source traits for this behavour. However, this conclusion may be slightly premature given my own inability to relate completely to such females. An ASF is most often oblivious to the larger game being played around her, and is, under ordinary circumstances, a prime target for exploitation. It is however possible for a life lesson to transform an ASF into an IW, given her ability to alter her outlook on relationships and avoid the radical feminist trap of “men-hating after one bad experience”.

A Bugger in Disguise (BID) may be characterized as a sleeper amongst his friends, who lays dormant (in terms of expressing his true views) until an opportunity is provided in which he may move onto greener pastures. His main ambitions are to find acceptance within the “coolest clique of men” and achieve admiration and appeal amongst the “hottest clique of women”. However, it must be appreciated that a BID is both cunning as well as versatile in terms of the impact he has on members of the opposite sex. Though not always the case, it is very likely that good looks supplement a BID’s methods of operation.

A Bugger is a genuine, straightforward “man’s man” who is neither skilled in nor bothered about fallaciously enhancing his image in order to win favour amongst those around him. His main appeal relates to the fact that people are paradoxically attracted to this sort of nonchalance. A woman that loves a Bugger appreciates him for his lack of ambiguity about his true intentions, whether it be simple friendship or a strong desire for coitus.

Now that the groups have been loosely defined, the interrelationships between them must be addressed. An IW will most often ignore or patronize an ASF. When it comes to a BID, an IW may indulge in his company for short, bearable spells at a time, only to follow it up with laughter bordering on hysterics once he leaves the room. An IW will only date another IW, a Bugger or some other category I haven’t referred to in this particular post.

The real problem however resides in the relationship between the ASF and BID groups. Since the often politically incorrect honesty of Buggers is not easily palatable for an ASF, it is sometimes branded, and rightly so, as “chauvinist”. However, an ASF fails to identify the subtleties adopted by a BID when he deliberately sullies the image of a Bugger in order to win favour amongst his ASF constituents. The methodology most often observed is the “Three Prong Approach to Duping Hapless Lasses” found in the official BID handbook (or so I am told). They are as follows:

1) Get amongst some Buggers and befriend them by exploiting their trusting nature
2) Get to know their friends, acquaintances and even girlfriends who fall within the category of an ASF

3) Establish the “sweet guy who likes them for who they are and listens to what they have to say” image. This may involve a number of other sub-activities which could include lending books, CDs and DVDs, pretending to share interests, and making disparaging remarks about Buggers they know.

In any case, a BID is very successful with the ASF category since he skillfully sheds his “Bugger disguise” to reveal his second and equally convincing “Sweet-guy disguise”. One is often tempted to wail out warnings to ASF victims, but the restrictions in terms of effectiveness are too overwhelming to achieve results.

I must admit I am curious to know what lies beneath this second disguise - Perhaps an individual who suffers from deep insecurity and constantly needs the acceptance of his peers.
It would be unfair to simplify the issue by attempting to explain such behaviour merely in terms of attracting the opposite sex. Rather, the problem seems to lie with a genuine lack of substance in terms of personality and self-belief. It relates directly to the fact that we now live in a society which fails to recognize honesty (not merely to others, but also to one’s self) and honor as being quintessential features of building lasting relationships with both the opposite as well as one’s own sex. The majority of relationships we now crave are entirely superficial, based more on money, sex and recognition than on trust. Who are we attempting to fool?

Thank you for reading.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I have no problem with dark girls, but I would never date one

I have often been tempted to compare human beings to onions. They contain many layers but no real core. However, my experiences have taught me something entirely to the contrary. Thus the following critique is wholly applicable to the complexity of human opinion and indeed to my own long-held views.

We all have sentiments we do not wish to share in public due to the fact that they are politically incorrect. But we possess these sentiments nonetheless. Many people in Colombo have deep prejudices based on race, religion, class and surprisingly even colour. However, we carefully choose the forum in which we voice these prejudices.

The present era of seeking a politically correct method of expressing almost every single thought and opinion has posed a serious threat to the nature of individual conscience. This is due to the high level of hypocrisy that has crept into our language, usages and mediums of expression. A simple example will illustrate my point. The other day I read a rather interesting web-log posting on certain chauvinist remarks made in the university I studied in. As it turns out, these comments were made in private and were probably meant for a private audience. It seemed to have been made within the context of a safe haven for politically incorrect honesty, though this is only my personal reading on the anecdote. The question that arises however is whether or not individuals should be permitted to hold such prejudices.

True liberals would agree that individuals should be permitted to feel bias but not in any way be permitted to act on such biases. So let me make it very clear that this posting relates solely to bias contained in thought rather than in action. Where one draws the line and how one ascertains the point at which thought translates into action is open for debate. I also wish to clarify that I do not in anyway advocate public or institutionalized expression of prejudice. This posting is further limited to private individual opinions containing bias.

How many of us are truly unbiased? It is blatant hypocrisy for so-called liberals to point to other individuals who are openly biased within private circles, whereas they themselves hold on to certain prejudices which remain unexpressed.

Example: “I have no problem with dark girls, but I would never date one.” This is termed “preference” but is only labeled so to escape the reality that it is in fact bias against skin colour.

Example: “I have many burgher friends. They are all super buggers. But I will never want my sister to marry one of them.” Though not as clear cut as the previous example, this is another sentiment which is often accepted as “preference” as opposed to prejudice. However, it is founded on the preconceived notion that all your burghers friends are fun-loving and do not take life seriously enough.

So everyone possesses prejudices in some form or the other. We draw an invisible line amidst all these sentiments and divide them up based on a fictitious criteria we term “political correctness.”

Now think carefully. Who are we proposing to fool here? Every single one of us are lightening quick when it comes to judging chauvinist remarks, though men-bashing is looked upon with a certain sense of accommodation. We find statements containing Christ’s name acceptable as part of every day speech though cartoon depictions of the prophet Muhammad is seen as preposterous. To take the question overseas, African Americans calling one another by the term ”Nigger” is considered mildly amusing, while a white comedian using the same language would be considered a step towards slavery.

Who are we attempting to fool?

Here is where the misunderstanding may arise. As a writer, I do not in any way advocate censoring speech in order to prevent men-bashing, or using the Lord’s name in vain or even using the “N Word” amongst the Black community in the US. What I am advocating is an attitudinal change towards understanding that the expression of prejudice or couching views in politically incorrect terminology is in fact a more honest option than attempting to send it underground. This relates to widening the scope of tolerating bias opinions rather than widening the scope of intolerance towards prejudices.

I entirely disagree with the notion that intolerance is educative. It only seeks to condition the brain into believing that politically incorrect statements must be wrong.

Take a moment to think this through. Does one “cure” a MCP if he is informed that his sentiments are not going to be tolerated? The answer is no, due to the fact that he is not convicted about the ‘wrongness’ of his sentiments, unless he is conditioned into believing that the majority’s views must be the right ones. Instead the MCP must be permitted to perpetuate his comments until he, through his own life experience, is convinced he is wrong. There should be no attempt to reform his opinion. Rather, a mechanism to prevent him from acting on them (which includes publicizing them in a manner which infringes on the rights of others) should be established. It is crucial to appreciate the complex notion that each individual is entitled to believe that his views are correct, until he himself, void of social conditioning, ascertains for himself that his views are incorrect. If this process is not followed, then the logical sequencing follows that an MCP may in fact be correct and everyone else merely imposing their views on him.

So where is all this leading us to? Quite simple. It relates to the classic notion of taking your own plank out before attempting to clear the chip in your brother’s eye. Clichéd as it may sound, this is the exact problem we presently face in our society, and particularly Colombo’s blogsphere. We need to constantly question ourselves before passing judgement on the prejudices of others. After all, life is about choice. To choose is to prefer. To prefer is to be partial. There is no such thing as being politically correct. We can only assume to be politically correct, when all we are doing in reality is perpetuating a myth wrapped in hypocrisy.

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Thank you for Reading

This evening I decided to take the plunge. Mid way, I realized it wasn’t that deep a plunge to take. It had been apathy that kept me away from the web-log world. Pure and simple. Life has changed dramatically over the past ten years about which I have so much to say. Why not share it? As the line between private thought and crying out in the town square grows thinner, I realized building a larger cage is more effective, and certainly more interesting than living in a box. Once we set the boundaries of thought wide enough, greater results may be achieved as opposed to the common curse of self-censorship.

I don’t suppose I would interest many of you out there with my perilously obscure and often logic defying thoughts. But I guarantee you this - my perspective is my own and I don’t make a habit out of quoting other people.

My ambition is relatively small, yet probably unattainable. It is simply to establish the need amongst us all to begin thinking afresh. What I mean by fresh is not mere novelty. It is to unlearn to the greatest degree possible that which we have already learned, and attempt to figure things out from the very beginning. Social conditioning blinds us. It blunts our senses.

I see this form of expression as a means to fight what I call “the condition of life”.
Thus, I dedicate this web-log to my own alter ego. One which is truly free. A refuge for honesty in its purest form. Something we all fight each day to contain.

Thank you for reading.