Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sree, Bhajji and the White man.

What an absolute disgrace! Men slapping other men. Men slapping? Men don’t slap. They punch. That is the manly thing to do. And grown men sobbing in public like a 5 year old girl who just dropped her lolly? What is going on?

These Indians are crazy. Either they are in-your-face-agro like what they did in Australia a few months ago or crying their hearts out like they’d been hit by a canister of tear-gas at a JHU may-day rally. Anyone who can see through a Klinsmann fake dive at a soccer match can surely see through the sorry sight of Sreesanth sobbing after the cricket match the other day. Surely he was trying to milk it for all it’s worth. I’m sure he didn’t bargain for Bhajji to be handed out a 10 match ban for all his trouble.

As for Bhajji, he had it coming… sooner or later it had to happen. He really deserved to be punished.

And what do the Aussies think of all this? I bet Symmo and Pointing must be having a good laugh over a pint. The problem with these sub-continent types is their “white-man-complex”. Either they go all out and lick the white man’s boots, or they call everything a racial conspiracy and try to get the upper-hand that way. The latter worked somewhat in the nineties, but it is not fooling anyone anymore.

So maybe they must invent something new. Forking out some serious cash and getting the white man into the IPL might just be the tip of a grand “iceburg” of a plan.

Only time will tell.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Simple things in life

Food, especially the Sri Lankan kind, is amazingly addictive. Sri Lankans living in foreign countries will vouch for the truth in that statement. But where there’s a void – there’s an opportunity. The more enterprising individuals among us can and do make a killing out of importing exotic Sri Lankan goodies into countries like USA, Australia and UK where large Sri Lankan expatriate communities exist. But there’s nothing like getting some poor sod to bring you a parcel from your mother. Why, just the other day I learnt that someone I know had even sent a couple of Lumpri (fresh from the oven, with the Banana leaf and all) on a Sri Lankan flight from Colombo to Birmingham – what will they think of next?

This all reminds me of some favorite local food-brands combinations. These are flavors you’d never quite experience the moment you step out of the island.

* Elephant House Fountain Cafe hot dog
* Carnival ice cream
* Pilawoos chicken and cheese kottu (Did you know that the good ol’ Pila was featured on the Time mag? Strewth!)
* Kist tomato sauce (mind you not Ketchup)
* Harischandra coffee
* Fab Lumpri (with extra coconut oil… hmmmm Yum!)
* MD woodapple jam

Then there are the all time favorites – the generic kind.

* Isso vadai
* Chinese roll
* Roast paan
* Pol sambol
* Lime soda

Of course this is by no means an exhaustive list. Infact, I’d love to know what type of Sri Lankan delicacies tickle your taste-buds. So spill the beans by all means.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Colombo goes Bananas

Suba Aluth Avruddak Wewa! It was a great time to be in Colombo last week. The days leading up to the Sinhala and Tamil New Year weekend was very exciting even to the people who didn't celebrate the occasion. City sidewalks were packed with vendors with all sorts of goodies including various exotic food items and clothing.

Here I have captured a busy Banana vendor in Battamulla. His produce covered a good 25 meters length of the sidewalk.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Google SPAM?

I heard so much about "Google Ads" thought I'd check it out. I registered myself using my Gmail account (being the obvious thing to do since they are both in the Google arena) a few days ago. I was informed that I would get a confirmation email within several days.

Several days came and went but no response... I thought maybe my humble blog just wasn't worthy of receiving the honor of hosting Google Ads and was quite seriously worried about losing out on millions of dollars of potential income through them. Quite accidentally I noticed there was an interesting email on my default Gmail SPAM folder.

Surely Gmail cannot be so pedantic as to prevent it's own Google Ads email (well, they are in the same Google family after all) from reaching my inbox?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Some mothers do have ‘em! – Part 2

For those who read my last post, I am about the reveal our findings. For those who haven’t the foggiest what I’m on about, following is somewhat of a dramatized (and mostly cynical) version of personalities we (my drunken school buddies and I) believe exists in some Technical Organizations in Sri Lanka. All readers please keep in mind that I have not tried to portray any organization in particular. I’m attempting to paint a picture of a rather fictitious office. Any resemblance if exists is purely coincidental and not intended.

Big Wig

Is the Boss, the Don, the General, the El Supremo. Forget the board of directors - this person has absolute power – no matter what the constitution or company articles say. Anyone with half a brain will quickly wise-up to this fact. “Arse lickers” will waste no time – they will start working on him as if there is no tomorrow. The Big Wig will get the best spot in the car park, the best room in the office, the best laptop, the best furniture… I think you get the picture. But what is less apparent is that the Big Wig almost always listens to the Director’s recommendations.


Although the Big Wig can ultimately overrule any action of a Director, it rarely happens. The relationship between these two is similar to a typical hierarchy in a Sri Lankan household. As the famous saying so eloquently put it, “Pa is boss as everyone knows, but what Ma says always goes”. And in most organizations the Big Wig is wise enough to allow the directors to make recommendations. Unlike the Big Wig, a Director’s absence is not highlighted very much. As a result some directors tend to take time off willy-nilly and can be seen at trendy coffee shops or the local golf course during the day. They also tend to travel a lot… and on business class too. Such liberties are mostly seen as wasting company money while contributing Jack (which sometimes is not very far from the truth).

Senior Manager

Way past his/her best. This person is very unlikely to move higher in the corporate ladder. The company doesn’t have the heart or in some instances, the courage to let him/her go. So instead, gives a corner room and assigns some unimportant piece of assignment and a couple of subordinates to keep him/her occupied. Most of the time it will be administrative work that is impossible to complete.


Supposed to report to the Senior Manager in theory. But is convinced the most effective way to perform is only if he/she bypasses two notches and reports directly to the Big Wig. And in most cases this is exactly what happens. As a result, most things the manager does (including stupid mistakes) get exposed at the highest levels of the organization and outside. By the time the mistakes are identified, it is too late to do anything. The cunning kind will always (and skillfully) put the blame on their subordinates in such cases, but is quick to claim any positive criticisms if any.

Junior Manager

Is the real worker. Most of the time, he/she will be called in to cover the Manager’s arse when the shit hits the fan. They work best when he/she has an un-dying appreciation for the Manager. Mostly a thankless job where he/she is not high enough on the corporate ladder to be able to claim fringe benefits like expense accounts, entertainment claims and worthwhile medicals nor he/she is low enough to be able to qualify for overtime double pay. Ends up working around the clock and develops alcohol addiction, heart conditions, gastritis and broken marriages as a result.


On par with junior Manager on the ol’ ladder. But has superior technical knowledge and the only kind who knows what exactly is inside the box that is being sold. Due to this reason, everybody (including the Big Wig) will tolerate their antics and occasional tantrums. A typical spoilt brat. Doesn’t give a damn about job security and what anyone else in the company thinks of them. Someday will be promoted to the Manager post and then his/her world starts crashing down like dominos.


Has no idea of the company’s goals. Does exactly what the Techie tells them to do. Best describes as a worker ant or a production-line robot. Only goal in life is someday to end up in middle management as a Techie or a Junior Manager.


This person sees the company best for what it really is. Will know exactly who pinched whose bottom at the Christmas party. But they don’t dare spill-the-beans or rock-the-boat during their “trainee” period. Secretly develops an infatuation for the most attractive person of the opposite sex at office. Most of the time this is the office Bimbo or the Chippendale in office admin.

Office Bimbo/Chippendale

Can be found in office admin mostly. Hired for their friendliness and attractiveness than anything else. Adds colour to the office. Also serves as the sole motivation for some employees to turn up at office in the morning. Usually ends up providing a rather entertaining story after the office Christmas party. Usually the Big Wig, a Director or a Senior Manager is also somehow entangled.


The biggest fraud since fried ice-cream. All-fart and no-shit type of person. Manages to convince the Director or the Senior Manager to extend his/her contract for another year by claiming credit for someone else’s work. Or in some cases simply by using fear tactics. Appears to be busy most of the time in order to put off anyone trying to figure out exactly what this person does in the organization. While middle management and beyond falls for his/her charade, the actual worker ants and below will ridicule this personality behind his/her back everytime they get the chance.

Well,.. did I leave anyone out?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Some mothers do have ‘em! – Part 1

Big-match weekend! What a great excuse for getting back together with my old classmates and swig a few beers on a searing Saturday in Colombo.

Although I promised to be at the “grounds” at 11 am, I got held up at the dentist. I had to take my seven year old to the dentist y’see. It’s amazing how her teeth needs attention just as she is about to lose them for more permanent ones. I have been delaying it hoping for the toothfairy’s visit. Maybe I forgot to tip the toothfairly when I was young – for she never arrived in time. I digress...

Anyway,.. it was way past noon when I managed to haul myself up to the grounds. As I was reaching the entrance… “tweet, “tweet”... oh great! An SMS on a Saturday can only mean one thing… emergency at work! Cursing, I checked out the SMS. To my relief it was from one of the guys I was supposed to meet.. telling me they took off to lunch. They want me to come to FD for lunch. I knew better than to complain… after all I was at fault for being late.

As I was reaching FD, I could hear them blokes a mile away. Even from outside the door it was apparent that large volumes of alcohol are already in their bellies and in their bloodstreams. I pity the waiters who have to put up with such boisterous sorts in such instances.

I entered the private dining area to the obvious delight of the guys already under influence. Once the handshakes and high-fives (yes, we are still sixteen) were over, I settled down and promptly orders some drinks (soft ones… yes, they did “boo” at me for that). For some reason, seeing these guys already “blowing in the wind” and the prospects of “catching up” with a few tequilas wasn’t really attractive to me at the time. At Zanziba’s on a Friday night would have been a different case altogether.

Before long, the food came. And it was disappointingly ordinary for FD. Maybe the waiters wanted to teach us a lesson. After all it was Chinese and Confucius did say “He who is drunk will get no tasty food”. Or was it my mother-in-law who said that? Nevertheless, we were all famished and started to gobble up the grub. As the food hit our stomachs and the digestive enzymes did their thing, the conversation turned more civil and actually enjoyable (mum, if you are reading this, we didn’t speak with our mouths full). At this stage I must inform you that three out of the seven guys there were in IT industry, one in telecom, another in apparel (or in “garment” as we Sri Lankans like to put it) and the remaining two managing their own businesses. Quite predictably we started sharing stories from work (yes, we do not have a “life”... none of us are in entertainment or hospitality or fashion or advertising.. okeeeyyy??)

When we started comparing our workplaces, their personalities and their management styles (don’t you just love such talk?... they give me goosebumps), it dawned on us that there were definitely clear and identifiable groups of personalities across our workplaces. So we started to explore that over the traditional lychees. Of course being the sensible and leaner member of the group, I went for the caramel-de-cholesterol pudding.

I wanted to let them know that I might just be able to blog it... but then that would have been too geeky and would have surely received an even louder “booo”.

...to be continued!