cricket, terrorism and south asia

may be this happened for the good of all south asian countries, even though 6 policemen had to sacrifice their lives for it and our cricketers were wounded. just imagine the number of man-hours saved and the resultant productivity. the amount of power we save, at the venue and on billions of TV sets. and we woudl nto have to pay for all that advertisements

March 4, 2009, 12:21 p.m.

death of cricket


We have read and seen so many reports and comments about the negative side of the 3/3 attack in Lahore on our cricketers. We have seen the unfortunate side, the death of 6 policemen who were only performing their duty and the injuries to our cricketers. We have seen the ugly side when politicians are trying use this incident to sling mud at each other or to rouse hatred against one group or another.

For a change let us look at the positive side. This could mean the death of International cricket in Pakistan first, and then in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, because the fear of terrorist attacks and the risk of visiting these countries for cricket would keep all other cricket playing nations from playing here. Ever since cricket became big business the game survived because of these South Asian countries. Without them Cricket would die all over the world. Cricket as a business, that is. Cricket as a sport died long ago, with the advent of live television broadcasts, advertising, sponsorships and gambling.

Death of cricket as big business would then become just another victim of the global economic crisis and because most of the developed countries in the world had no interest in cricket as a sport or as a business, it would not make any waves. The worldwide economic effects would also be minimal.

The money spent on International cricket matches would be running into billions of dollars. All this is ultimately paid by us, the consumers all over the world, not only the players and the followers of the game. (I don't know if there are 'camp followers' too). How could we consider it a sport any more when players are auctioned for millions of dollars?

There is also the unseen cost in the productivity and man-hours lost around the South Asian countries whenever these matches are played and broadcast on TV. This loss would far exceed the actual money spent on the game.

George Bernard Shaw said it all in 'The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity.' because a so called Test Match takes an eternity to finish. But when he said 11000 fools watching 11 flannelled fools watching it, he would never have imagined that number watching the game would run into billions.

Though Cricket has been claimed to be a World Sport, it is played only in countries which were unfortunate enough to have been under the British rule, where they introduced the game. Fortunately for the Americans, even though USA and Canada had played cricket in the early 18th century, they had given it up when they realised there are better things to do with their time.

Even in the cricket crazy South Asian countries, the cost of playing cricket is limiting it to the more affluent classes, more affluent schools and clubs, that the common man can only watch it on TV.

Only a minority among the world population would regret the death of cricket and mourn about it. The world business mafia most certainly find a alternative sport or some other activity to draw crowds to watch their advertisements and buy their useless products.

March 4, 2009, 12:18 p.m.

(un) ethical conversion

all through the ages people have been fighting against religious conversion, ethical or unethical, while others have continued to attempt to convert.

i do nto understand how a person calling himself a Buddhist, that is following the Buddha's teachings, could prevent another person from accepting a faith in which he wants to believe.

if a Buddhist believes that his view is absolutely right then he too would fall into being 'sanditthi raga'. This dogmatic attachment has been called 'Sanditthi paramasa'

what would Buddha say if he were here today!

March 3, 2009, 12:32 p.m.

writers in exile

How is it that most writers from the 'third world' now living in the west see only the dark side of life in their homeland? Is it that they do not have any pleasant experience of their countries, or have they forgotten.

Is it only garbage and slums in the old country? What about the beaches, jungles, wild animals, waterfalls?

Is it only corruption, violence and ignorance? Would there not be even one honest human being and what about art, theater, music?

Feb. 15, 2009, 11:06 p.m.


There was an article in one of the English dailies in Lanka, 'The Island' on Jan. 22nd, 2009 under the by-line of Revata S. Silva in his 'Reverse Swing'. He had made a scathing attack on Kumar Sangakkara, which raises many questions to my mind.

This column is about cricket and appears in the 'Sports' page. Yet it is one of the most 'UNSPORTY' articles i have read recently. Even among all sports, cricket is considered still as the 'Gentleman's game'. It is altogether a different issue whether the people who invented and developed this game could be considered gentlemen. Whether cricket itself could be considered a 'Sport' today or as a business, is another issue which i would not want to comment here.

The fact remains that Sangakkara, like most other cricketers and sportspersons, had been promoting various brands. He is also not the only sportsperson in the world to have changed brand loyalty over the years.

Before we talk about the ethics of changing brand loyalty, we have to consider how ethical advertising itself is. Advertising has become a necessary evil. None of the media, printed or electronic would be able to survive today without advertising. Thus we cannot blame the media for towing the line of the advertising companies who support them.

In the end it is the consumer who pays for all the advertising, and who pay the celebrities for their promotions. When we read a newspaper, we pay for the advertisements they carry in their paper. The consumers have no choice in the form of advertisements or other promotional activities. The only way a consumer could have some say is by using the produce advertised or by rejecting it.

I agree whole heartedly with Revata S Silva in what he says about TV advertising and what has been done in France. However, in this open and competitive world of business, would it ever be possible to ban all advertising? Sarkozy could do it with state television in France, because the state could continue to run the TV stations with the money from the people of his country.

If people consider that what Sangakkara has done by changing his brand loyalty is wrong or unethical, they can refuse to use the new brand and send their message to Sangakkara and also to the advertising agent.

In a world where everyone has the freedom of choice, who are we to tell Sangakkara that once he decides to promote any particular brand, that he has to be loyal to that brand for a life time? In a world, where people could divorce one spouse and marry another, could change from one political party to another, could move from one country to another and seek citizenship of the new country, where people could change from one religious faith to another, how could it be unethical to change a brand loyalty.

However, i also agree with Revata S Silva that money talks and the habit of selling knows no ethics. If we talk of ethics and 'selling even their mothers', then cricketers should not even accept any money from the Cricket Board, or sign contracts and fight for higher payments. Because they are said to be playing for their country, they are doing their patriotic duty. If accepting money to play for one's country is ethical, then accepting money for promoting a commercial product should also be ethical.

The article referred to

Jan. 24, 2009, 12:41 a.m.

Buddhism in Sri Lanka

we are proud to claim we are the most devoted Buddhists on earth. we observe the five precepts every day. as the first precept we say we will not hurt or kill any living creature.

but this is the realit in Sri Lanka

Jan. 20, 2009, 3:28 a.m.

elephants on parade

At last India has taken a correct step in giving up the use of elephants on their military parade.

Elephants are not meant to go on parades or religious processions. In Lanka we see them regularly on Buddhist temple procession and yet we all accept that a true Buddhist woudl not harm or hurt any living creature!

Here is an article i wrote sometime ago

not so wonderful Thailand

daya dissanayake

Thailand is a wonderful country. Wonderful people. Wonderful markets. Wonderful temples. That is how i saw it on my previous visits. Unfortunately during my last visit i was in the wrong place at the wrong time, which shattered my ideas about Wonderful Thailand. It was my second visit to Ayuthaya. What i remembered from my first visit was the wonderful legacy left behind by the earlier rulers and the beautiful temples and the ruins of a bygone era. This time i saw something i had missed on my first visit. The elephant rides.

There was the mahout seated right in front, and behind him on the chair was a couple of Europeans. They were laughing. They were having a ride of their life. Something they could always talk about, and tell their grand children someday. They would have arrived in Thailand by air, stayed at a star class hotel in Bangkok and driven to Ayuthaya in a luxury car. They could have seen the ruins of Ayuthaya from the car, in air-conditioned comfort. But they found it more enjoyable, riding the elephant, under the hot mid day sun. They did not mind the heat and the dust and the shaky ride. It was fun. It was fully worth the money they had paid for the ride, and the visit to Thailand.

The mahout and the owner of the elephant earned money. It was a great tourist attraction. It helped bring in more dollars and euros and yen. It was good business, all round.

Then my eyes went to the elephant. He was very young. Two small tusks had started growing. I looked at his eyes. At first i though he was blind, but then saw that he had his eyes almost shut, either in pain, boredom or sheer disgust. The chair was an iron contraption, crudely made, with cushions for the human beasts seated on it. There was some kind of sheet or carpet under the chair on the elephant's back. I could not see if it was padded and thick enough to soften the pressure of the iron frame of the chair. The iron bars would be pressing on the back of the elephant, rubbing his skin as the chair swayed with every step he took.

His feet were bare. Elephants did not wear shoes or sandals. Their feet were meant to walk on bare earth, over fallen leaves and grass and little shrubs and on mud and sand. Today this elephant had to walk on asphalt and concrete, growing hotter as the sun moved over them.

My eyes followed the poor elephant and the human beasts riding the elephant. Without any prodding by the mahout the elephant trudged along the pavement, crossed the road to enter a small open area. I thought he had stopped to put the beasts down, but it was only so he could turn around and begin his return journey. He crossed the road once more at the same place and walked along the pavement, unmindful of all the people and all the cars and busses and trucks moving past him.

How could he be so unmindful, when his lungs would be coated with exhaust fumes and dust and the noise hammering into his ears all the time. His nostrils were meant to detect the smells of the jungle, of other animals and his sources of food and water. His ears were meant to detect the slight foot falls of other animals and the singing of the birds in the forest.

I watched the elephant disappear around the next corner only to see another elephant walking towards me. The elephant looked older. There was a young woman and her child on the elephant, behind the mahout. The mother was pointing out the ruins by the road side to the child. They were happy, she looked a kind and devoted mother and the child's eyes reflected the love for his mother.

The mother did not see that this elephant too would be a mother. That her baby elephant would have been taken away from her soon as he could be put to work. That probably the calf never had a happy childhood, playing with other baby elephants and roaming around freely in the forest and the grassland and in the rivers.

The elephant would have seen the mother and the child, reminding her of her own children, and perhaps wondering where they would be this day. The elephant followed the same path as the earlier animal, turned back to retraced her steps along the pavement.

How many times would these elephants walk this path, i tried to guess. I had no idea when they would start their day and if they ever had any break during the day. Perhaps they would have a little rest when the mahout stopped for a drink or a meal, unless he had it as they walked along with the human load on the elephant's back. I did not want to ask from the mahout or from anyone else about this, because i did not wish to learn the worst, that the elephants never stopped for any rest or food till evening. Or did they work through the night too, till as long as tourists flocked to this ancient city.

The elephants reminded me of squirrels in circular cages, running not stop as the cage revolved. They reminded me of caged lions and tigers, walking round and round their small cage in the zoo, ignoring the beasts who came to look at them.

I thought that we in Sri Lanka were torturing our elephants in the name of the Buddha, when we paraded them during temple processions and festivals. But the Sri Lankan elephants were lucky in that they had to suffer this only a few times a year. The Thai elephants had to suffer it everyday.

All life is sacred. All animals, man or beast, feel pain, get tired, thirsty and hungry. All animals wish to live in their natural habitat, among their own kind, with their own families.

Have the Thai's forgotten the word of the Buddha about Ahimsa? Or have they started to believe that Bhatt is more important than Buddha?

Jan. 17, 2009, 2:27 a.m.

fighting terrorism

The t-shirt for sale on Union Square NYC, had a picture of Geronimo and 3 others. it said 'Fighting terrorism since 1492'.

We in Sri Lanka have been fighting terrorism since 543 B.C., if Sri Lankan historical record the Mahavamsa ( ) is to be believed.

the only problem today is we have no way of identifying the invaders from the natives, but we still keep fighting

Jan. 13, 2009, 7:33 p.m.