6.20.2005

second verse, same as the first
and in a lot of cases followed by many more identical verses

...for really real this time. Going to Jaffna this coming weekend, by plane (in one direction at least).

We just decided tonight, and thus I'm going to scramble tomorrow to get-done-what-needs-doing that I expected to have all week for. Tuesday is poya and I've got plans to attend a lunch date, a children's perahera, a yoga class, and an evening party. Wednesday I jump to Colombo to see Sachin again (Swarthmore friend, visiting from India where he's finishing his Watson Fellowship, the brilliant deserving lucky-duck), Thursday off to Joff. Back to Kandy via bus on Monday for Tuesday's ICES/Tulane students orientation, in which I am giving a brief cultural orientation.

Being busy makes one feel important, even if there is no real point or progress being achieved.

Are we following the Sri Lanka news? Oh yes, there is political shaking-and-stirring afoot. I have a little bit of writing on that simmering away in me but it will have to wait. The politicians are doing the hokeypokey and playing acronym-switcheroo; violence escalates in Trinco (glad Malka's far out of there!); Janaka my yoga teacher informs me solemnly of the latest in bizarro racist conspiracy theories. Apparently the Catholic Church is behind the whole conflict here. "They want to destroy the real Buddhism."

Favorite recent newspaper headline, from a statement by a politically moderate and dovish monk: "Death fasts not viable solution to national problem". This after several sets of hawkish monks began ludicrous circusy public death fasts. This is not helping my cynicism about Buddhism at all: there should be no hawkish monks! Gandhi is spinning in his proverbial grave. The Death Non-Eaters were all protesting the Joint Mechanism for tsunami aid. This is an administrative body, with dedicated spaces for each of GoSL/LTTE/Muslim parties. Sing: one of these things is not like the other...

Anyway the ultra-nationalists on the Sinhala side are yelling about how the Mechanism is a prelude to partition. The LTTE are demanding that the JM get signed straightaway, trying to seem belligerent about their stake in the plan, seemingly to distract the public from the weak stance it actually allows them. The media are having a major coffee-klatsch about the Meaning of It All; they particularly like to publish pop-psychology analyses of what's going on in Chandrika's head, and empty declarations of bloody historic it all is, rhetoric that doesn't help calm the nerves of all the people who do see the JM as prelude to Eelam.

The opposition parties are acting like bugs on their backs: lotta wriggling, no motion. I suspect they're stunned and biding-time. Ranil (UNP opposition leader) is getting bizarrely kissy-kissy with CBK which is creepy because a) they are super-eterna-rivals, and b) he's gaaaaaay!, so all their congenial photo-opping is just downright seedy. The newly self-exiled opposition JVP are clearly devoting all party energies to the printing of endless ugly banners for display in Kandy.

The national polls commissioner daily repeats his "no comment" regarding the date of the next presidential elections. The prices of eggs, rice, and petrol have gone up again. The CEB unions are whingeing more about the threat of privatization via the (extremely cautious and conservative) restructuring plan. The new head of UNICEF kindly requested the LTTE to stop kidnapping children. Public bus unions want more public buses and higher pay; private bus owners are mad that they cover only 60% of the routes despite operating 83% of the buses. The US is starting to admit that they (we? Not in my name) lost the war.

The southwest monsoon brings pleasant cool days to Kandy, though with them comes jarringly alternating rain and sun. As much as eight or nine times a day, it starts and stops pouring, a far cry from the northeast monsoon, when it just pours punctually at 2 and all afternoon. There's an apt metaphor in there, but I'd need a tweezer to find it.

I can't remember how, but tonight Jill somehow induced me to imagine all the Fulbrighters as baby birds in a giant twiggy nest, reedily screaming our heads off in extreme treble for Tissa (exec direc) or Phil Frayne (American Center supremo) to come and vomit greenbacks into our gaping pink throats. Nice. I’ve been kind of woozy this week, no doubt a result of disordered sleep and last weekend’s beach hedonism. The upside of this is generally greater friendliness; when I’m concentrating on balance all my social paranoiae are smoothed. The downside is that I feel dumb.

What else? Life is really quite good, in contrast to the above. I am sad because my friends are leaving, yet new friends are popping up. I have lately enjoyed reading emails from all the recent Swattie grads, detailing their upcoming adventures. One year out, I feel certain that there are a lot of adventures I’m going to have that I haven’t even dreamed yet.

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