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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Exciting times in Sri Lanka

My blog has been sorely neglected mainly because I am so interested in reading other people's blogs. The variety of blogs available is so mind boggling and the styles of writing are so interesting that its no wonder that my own gets left by the wayside.

We are in Sri Lanka in the midst of a Presidential Election - to be held on the 26th of January. There are two main contenders and quite a few minor stars! Elections in Sri Lanka and I think this goes for Asia in general are very colorful affairs. The whole nation does get involved and it is very loud, very in your face and there is no gentility or quietness in anything that surrounds an election. We have election campaigning going from the door to door type where printed material (the month being January also calendars with the appropriate star being printed on it!) alongside details of their manifesto, and what they hope to achieve should you vote for them. This is all very gratifying because upto "rice from the moon" will be promised without fail. The money that is spent is of course mind boggling for a very poor country like ours and apart from this, there are huge, huge cut outs and banners stretched across every street (with protests always from the opposite side that this is not allowed legally in this country but who cares for this) and then the latest has been the spate of sms messages via mobile phones going to every single mobile phone user in this country (12 million and counting). I can in my one sided view only see the waste of funds of whoever is spending - never mind who - but I am just a very small cog in a very big wheel. I just think of all the projects that could be completed - minor irrigation tanks in areas crying out for water, provision of teachers for subjects like Mathematics and Science and English in rural areas where teachers refuse to go because of the lack of basic amenities, the rural hospitals where doctors try to manage the best way they could and do herculean tasks with no equipment. I of course could go on and on but this is futile. We just do the best we can.

In the meantime I have started in a very small way a project to help students in an area which has been heavily affected by the past war to try to come back into a mainstream form of life by attending school and just getting on with it. Education is one way out of the mess our children have got into and maybe if we can help a few dozen that could be a start of a new life for some at least. The area at the moment has got the two state banks operating in it, and though everything is destroyed - land flattened, agricultural lands totally destroyed, local villagers are trickling back to their homes and these are the people who should be helped out.

Books have not been neglected and I was lucky to get book vouchers for Christmas! at last people are listening to me!!!! so this month will see me buying a few books but the choice is so huge that its a tough call. I have also been reading books from my to be read pile and these have also been very good. A first time read for me was Dylan Thomas mystery/murder which was very good and William Dalrymple's Nine Lives which lived upto all its expectations. Dalrymple an authority on India brings to his books an authenticity and a warmth which is hard to beat. Love his books and just wait for him to publish another.

I am also part of the South Asian authors reading challenge and want to seriously get going on this. I think Dalrymple may not fall into this category but it was a wonderful read. For anyone interested in not just India, but different ways of living, looking at life, please go read this book.

Quilting is still on the back burner. By next week I have to get into it. My daughter leaves us for Melbourne on Wednesday and then its just the two of us once again. She is the flamboyant one for whom the red quilt is being done but it will have to wait for her next visit to be taken by her back to her other home in Melbourne.

Till the next time.

4 comments:

Diane said...

Mystica....I was interesting to learn so much about your Presidential Election process. Thanks so much for sharing.

Micki said...

Very interesting post! Good luck with finishing the quilt!
Micki

Sandra said...

Yes, an interesting report on events. I am doing the South Asian challenge too. I may look to you for some good titles. I wonder if you have ever read Michael Ondaatje? He is from Sri Lanka though a Canadian citizen for many years now.

Farnoosh said...

I love how you say that it's hard to focus on your own blog because there is so much out there to read and learn from.....balance balance! Challenging times with super amounts of information always in our face!