hand washing

the WHO declared Oct. 15th as the Handwashing Day and 2008 as the year of sanitation. Lets us hope that it would nto be ignored and forgotten like HFA 2000 or the plans of WHO to provide Health For All by 2000!

Washing our hands will never cleanse us of all the dirt of corruption and all the blood of direct and indirect harm brought upon the innocent children of the world.

If only someday we can all wash our minds of all evil and all greed coudl we think of any future for mankind.

Dec. 28, 2008, 3:03 a.m.

outsourcing from stone age

Today outsourcing mean 'Call Centres' in Colombo, Chennai, Pune or Mumbai. It came to our part of the word first as data entry operations for overseas companies, then for medical transcriptions, accounting, payrolls, even sales and stores management, and a few months ago a Bangalore based company contracted to monitor the carbon emissions and credit for a European company.

It was all good business, until the world economy fell into a crisis. Till then, there was employment for our young people, dollars and euros pouring into enterprising business organizations, and lower costs for the companies in the 'developed' countries. Today the easy jobs for our youth are under threat, there is increasing agitation in the countries which have been using outsourcing to find employment for their own youth and also there is less and less business all-round to justify the modern day outsourcing.

Yet outsourcing has always been a necessary evil from perhaps the stone age. Like most things we find as essential today for our lives, it too is an evil we have got to live with.

When our ancestral hunter found it easier to get another man to make his weapons, his stone tools, and then pay him with a share of the meat, that was outsourcing. When one man got another to gather food for him, or later on cultivate it for him, that was outsourcing. Still later, making of the clay pots, furniture, weapons had to be outsourced. even war became an outsourced business with the arrival of mercenary soldiers which we find very often happened even in our own country. We pay others to kill or die for us and we reap the benefits of victory.

One of the worst evils we face today from outsourcing is the food business.  When it all began in pre-historic times it would have been considered a great new development. But it became a curse in more ways than one.

Prehistoric hunter gatherer probably had the freedom of choice to decide what to eat and when to eat, as long as food was available. With the evolution of man and the 'progress' of his civilization, this freedom was lost gradually till man became a slave of the multinational food merchants.

The freedom man had enjoyed to pluck or pick or dig whatever food he felt like eating, would have continued for some time even after he had begun to grow some of this food. As a few men took on the task of growing all the food needs of his tribe was when man began to lose his freedom. From then on man had to eat what the farmer decided to grow, and later on what the trader decided that the farmer should grow.

Then inequality raised its evil head. To grow the food a few men began to lay claim to little bits of the earth, which in turn increased their greed to grab more and more land and to grow more and more food. Those who did not own any land and could not afford to pay for the food had to go hungry while those who owned the land had a surplus, which they would rather destroy than give away to the hungry and the needy. Even the men and women who worked in the farms did not get enough food, because they did not own the land, and the food that was grown was claimed by the few who claimed ownership. Today even though 1/3rd of the land mass is under cultivation, more than half the people on earth are starving or malnourished.

Man could obtain food only from what he earned and what he could afford, and not what he needed to feed his family and children. This situation became worse as the landowner began to outsource the distribution of his produce. The next class of exploiters were born. The traders gradually began to dictate terms even for the land owner, or bought over the land themselves and grew into huge blood sucking octopuses engulfing the entire earth.

Today outsourcing of the food needs had reached the highest point (which is really the lowest depths it could go down) with the big businessmen having enslaved not only the consumer, but also the retail trader, the producer of processed food, the farmer and the land owner. Today these food cartels decide not only what all human beings should eat, but also how much they should pay for it and our nutrition depends on what each of us could afford to pay for them.

Today man does not have the freedom to have a simple meal of boiled grain of his liking, or a roti made of a powdered grain, grown by himself, or purchased directly from a farmer. Today he can only have the processed items available in the market. Here the people with money and power gets the highly processed food at the highest prices where the essential natural ingredients have been taken out to make other products and only artificial nutrients and flavours have been added. The get to eat such food will all the poisons and carcinogens that had been added during the plant growth, during harvest and during processing and packing. Those who do not have money or power have to eat only what is left over trash from processing the high priced food items.

The 'progress' of the modern civilization means that both the mother and the father has to go out to earn a living to feed and care for the family. The children do not get the care and attention of the parents during their young days and the parents do not have the time to prepare a nourishing meal for the children. What they have to feed the children are precooked instant meals, because she doesn't have the time to cook or because she has been brain-washed to think the instant food is better, more nourishing and also the in-thing to do. The mother does not realize that when she buys a packet of processed cereal, for Rs. 100, she could have bought the same raw cereal for just about Rs. 7.00, taken it home, washed and boiled and fed to the child, and she would not have to go out and work to earn that extra Rs. 93.

We have all become the slaves of the 'instant' syndrome, not only in food, but even in medicine. Instead of boiling a little coriander or a 'paspanguwa' at home, we want to drink an instant packet of 'herbal' medicine, not knowing what is in it or how it has been prepared, not realizing that 'herbal' is neither a proven home remedy nor an ayurvedic treatment.

Another reason why we do not get all the grain and vegetables we wish to eat is because most of the food is grown to feed animals and the food cartel is force feeding us the flesh of these animal, once again with all the drugs and hormones which have been fed to these animals. Today we are talking about bio-fuels to save the earth, but unless we stop eating animal flesh, we would have to starve to death to save the earth, because all the land used to grow feed grain would not be enough to cultivate bio-fuel to generate the energy needs of our society.

All the processed and instant food only help the rich food cartel to get richer. Today no one worries about the real nutritive values of the food they produce and sell. Fruit and vegetables varieties are developed so they could grow faster, could be transported long distances by road, by sea or by air and then stay fresh on the shelf for a long time. It is of no concern of the farmer or the trader if the agrochemicals and the preservatives added cause slow and painful death of the consumer.

There is another cartel, the drug makers and drug pushers who thrive on all the diseases resulting from eating all this food.

It is the same story with the meat products. A few decades ago it would have taken about 10 weeks for a chicken to grow fat enough to be killed. Today in the USA it would take only about 6 weeks and this can only be achieved in an animal factory and not in an animal farm. The feed is prepared and fed like raw material in a factory, the feed mix containing anything and everything that would ensure rapid growth without diseases at the lowest cost. In the United States, a factory to run successfully it has to kill and process at least 2 million birds a week. Two thousand pigs an hour. And all this meat is force fed to the gullible Americans, to keep the business going.

Another example of how we have become the slaves of the food cartel is the way people all over the world have been made to become coffee addicts by one enterprising multinational. When Brazil could not sell her coffee harvest and had to burn it, these people stepped in and today they have made us drink 300 million cups a day, not because our body needs it, but because they want to make a quick profit.

Our children were made to prefer powdered milk over fresh cow milk by first giving away free milk to school children several decades ago. That is why today our village folk sell the fresh pure milk and take home a processed powder in the name of milk, which would only whiten the cup of tea for her children and make them believe that it contains all the ingredients for the growth of the brain and the muscles and the bones.  The Chinese children today have got used to drinking processed milk for the same reason, ad in their case even with melamine added.

Those who still shout the slogan 'kolambata kiri gamat kekiri' should realize that the village child who survives on pumpkins are more fortunate than the kids in Colombo who are fed on artificial milk, that is, unless all the pumpkins are brought to the supermarkets and the village child is left to eat the leaves only.

All this could be traced back to outsourcing. By allowing other people to do even the simple day to day chores. It is the belief that if we earn enough money, we can buy everything we want, that we do not have to do anything on our own, for ourselves and our children. This allows us more time to earn more money, so we could pay more for simple things that we could have easily done ourselves, and be our own masters.

Today our lives are controlled not by the Gods, not by the Governments, but by the different cartels, we have allowed to flourish by allowing outsourcing to enslave us.

Dec. 23, 2008, 5:04 p.m.

9/11, 11/26 and us

it was 9/11 for America. 11/26 for India. But for for all of us it is 24/7, it has been for a long time.

the devastation from 9/11 or 26/11 fade into nothing when we think of the death and destruction faced today by all living creatures, every moment of their lives. the threats are from the terrorist organizations which are releasing all the carcinogens, dioxins, and other polutants, who are damaging the ozone layer, who are contributing to global warming and climate change, who are causing starvation and epidemics.

Dec. 16, 2008, 11:17 p.m.

minorities

by 2042 the minorities could take over the united states. that is poetic justice. then who could call it their homeland or motherland. who on earth, any where on earth could claim a piece of land as a mother land or homeland

Dec. 16, 2008, 11:05 p.m.

the calorie war

living in New York for a few days, showed me more and more of the Inequality aong mankind.

Here is a war against calaories and carbohydrates, with everyone trying to cut down, and every pack of food giving the nutrition details, not for people to look for high nutrion values, but lower, and lower. Lower the better. They talk about the Three White Killers. Salt, Sugar and Flour.

In other countries, among other people, the war is to find enough Calories and even Carbohydrates. Even the children have to eat food with the lowest values, not because they prefer it, but because they can't afford high nutrition value food.

The  sad part of this situation is that the money people earn to continue overeating, is most often earned by depriving the food of the people in poor countries, one way or the other.

Nov. 15, 2008, 6:15 a.m.

Amercan economy

How ever much people cry abotu the crashing economy in the USA, coming from the banana republic of formerly Ceylon, i can't believ it.

One day on the subway i realized that traveling by subway itself one could learn a lot. In 1986 the subway ticket had cost $ 1.00, which would be about $ 1.89 today, and today is only $ 2.00. And with an unlimited card it would cost only 1.17 per trip. It would be a good exercise for an economist to compare with our unfortunate country. From what i remember, in Lanka in 1986 it was about Rs. 40 to a US$. Today in 2008 Nov. it is Rs. 108.

Then for me in 1986 it would have cost me only Rs 40 for the subway and today it cost me Rs. 216. The bus or train fares in Lanka have been keeping up with this inflation.

Nov. 8, 2008, 10:33 a.m.

from the big apple

Been in New York since Oct. 14th. Here on the historic day, November 4th, 2008. Barak Obama has won the presidential election. Historic, not only for USA but for the whole world, simply because an African American (Nigger in bygone times) will become the president. It will be historic if only Obama can forget that he is an African American, and could just become an American, then it woudl be good for America. If he could forget that he is an American too and just a human being, it would be good for the rest of the world. Only time would tell

Nov. 8, 2008, 10:28 a.m.

the bottom line at Patnitop

Patnitop is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Jammu Kashmir, but this is not just about Patnitop, but about all the Patnitops in the world and all natural wonders around us. We have coined new names, like eco-tourism, and we keep on flogging old sayings like 'leave only your footprints and shoot only with your camera'. We claim to be so much aware of the threat to our natural environment and the need to protect.

'Because God created nature it demands our respect', says a sign on Patnitop. It is the kind of sign we find at most such places. However 'respect' is the last thing we find at these nature resorts, in Kashmir, in Sri Lanka or anywhere else, when it comes to treating Mother Nature or God's gift to mankind.

Patnitop is still a fantastically beautiful place. There is enough natural beauty left to give us an idea of what it woudl have been a few decades ago. It also tells us what it woudl be like in other such places where we have allowed the tourists to invade and destroy. Today we cannot see the beauty of the sprawling hills, listen to the wind blowing through the trees or the music of the birds. The vista is obscured and obstructed by the concrete jungle coming up all over the place, all around us. The music is drowned by the blaring horns and groaning trucks and buses.

There is a very poor, and i would say a pathetic attempt to disguise the concrete monstrocities by covering them in timber. This is far more painful a sight as it reminds us of all the trees that would have been destroyed to create these monsters. Also we notice that after a few years this makeup has decayed exposing the devil lurking underneath, for the holiday resorts that are coming up day by day are the devil incarnate. The more rooms they add, the more facilities they add, more visitors would arrive. Every minute, every hour, every day these visitors spend at Patnitop and all other Patnitops on earth, it shortnes the life of our beloved mother nature by several fold. Though everyone is aware and is reminded over and over again about littering and about pollution many of these visitors pay scant regard.

The young honeymooners who come here do not for a moment think that someday they should be able to bring their children to such heavenly places on earth, to let them too enjoy such beauty. The young parents who come here today do not care to think that their children too should be able to bring their own children here someday.

It is difficult to understand such behaviour, because the people who visit these places seem to have some idea of the beauty and know to appreciate it. They seem to be educated and intelligent enough to be aware of the importance of preserving natural wealth, and they also know they shoudl love and respect our Earth Mother. If not most of these people would not have been able to afford to visit such places, because in todays world one needs some education and intelligence to earn enough to  make such journeys. There are ofcourse some misguided youth who have no hesitation in using up the welath of their parents and because they do not have any sense of the value of money and in the same way have no respect or regard wither for their parents, for mankind or for nature, probably they do most of the damage. Some of these young people could also belong to families enjoing their ill gotten gains and who belive that God created everything and everyone else on earth for their benefit, to be used as they wish.

People have a right to visit the attractive places of natural beauty. They have a right to stay in such places and enjoy it. Because the world belongs to all of us, Plant life, beast and man (in that order), all have a right to everything around us. If we want to visit Patnitop, or Horto Plains, which is really a far more beautiful place than Patnitop, we shoudl be able to do it. No one shoudl be able to limit the number of visitors  or the duration of their stay. Fortunately for our country, so far hotels are not allowed on Horton plains and we coudl hope that our children too would have an opportunity to enjoy at least some of the wonder of this place. But at Patnitop and other such places where accomodation is provided, they will have to go on increasing such facilities and the number of visitors woudl also go on increasing. It would all create more and more destruction. Where are we to draw the line? Do we prevent access to all these places and try to preserve them as they are or do we recognize the right of people to visit them and then destroy them. How ever nature friendly or eco-friendly we try to be, we cannot preseve things as they are. We have to build roads, we have to build rooms and facilities, we have to use vehicle to travel to these sites, which means cutting down trees, causing soil erosion and polluting the air and depleting the water resources. We also completely upset and destroy the delicate balance of these ecosystems.

Do we eat the cake now, or keep it for tomorrow?

Nov. 28, 2007, 7:23 p.m.