Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The swan song………………

In Sri Lanka we don’t have swans often, but in Sinhalese Literature swans have been compared with voluptuousness of the female body.

We have poetry book  named “Hansa Sandeshaya”. This describes the swan as the messenger.
Hansa Sandeshaya authored by Weedagama Maithriya Thera is outstanding as one of the few Sandeshayas of poetic value. This is said to have been composed in the reign of King Wiru Perakumba, the eighth who ascended the throne in 1484.

Well what is about the swan? Which is not really native to this country? We don’t have fairy tales or flock stories about swans. Neither Ballet    such as Swan Lake or dying swan.

Even the black swan the movie was not very much popular in Sri Lanka. But we do appreciate the beauty of the swans.

It says that swans can divide the milk out of water. Traditionally swan is the symbol of beauty and grace.
Swan is a royal bird and it is even illegal to kill a swan in the United Kingdom.  Swans are present in many European fairy tales, symbolizing chastity, artistry, and beauty.  On a related note, swans are associated with fidelity, loyalty in marriage, and monogamy, because they mate for life.
The swan was seen as a traditional symbol of beauty and grace in ancient Greece, and was sacred to Aphrodite.  The swan was also sacred to Apollo, the god of music (among other things), in Greek mythology.  

The swan is a metaphorical phrase for a final gesture, effort, or performance given just before death or retirement. The phrase refers to an ancient belief that swans sing a beautiful song in the moment just before death.

In very literal way the” swan song “has become an idiom referring to a final theatrical or dramatic appearance, or any final work or accomplishment.

Two weeks ago I actually a swan song in Hyde park Colombo. This was sung by our former president MR. There were lot of supporters who were actually helping with music but our ex-President song was beautiful. After the political rally in 17th March the ex-president overwhelmed of seeing the people nearly about 15000.Most of them were brought by his supporters by giving food and transport. The organization of the rally was very successfully. But sad part is ex-president MR started believing again that he has the power of the people and uprising popularity but in reality is   losing his popularity every day. From presidential election to the general election he lost nearly one million votes.
While addressing the rally Ex- president MR give me the country back I‘ll show again how to run this country. As private citizen   I have bitter experiences of past 10 years of government. Majority of this country defeated twice in free and reasonable elections. Over 6.2 million of Sri Lankans do not want him back ever.
The amounts of the heads which have brought to the Hyde Park do not indicate the strength in an election. This was the mistake ex –president keep believing since the 2015 January. What really happened were those who vote against ex- president    started strengthening the anti –MR campaigns again.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Elephant saga…………..

In Sri Lanka an elephant is not a rare thing to see. We have wild elephant’s as well tamed elephants that have ownership especially old rich families and temples. The new rich Sri Lankans it s good thing to have an at least baby elephant within their 60 -70 perches land in the middle of the was a common practice during last  ten years and I have hear the sound of the baby elephant in Colombo 07,which is a high-end residential area in Sri Lanaka.

But if you really want to see wild elephants I suggest going Minneriya national park where you can at least 100-150 heard of elephants in dry season. Where you are really lucky you might see about 500-600 wild elephants in some occasion.Isn’t it amazing to see such large number of elephants in one place?

The Lonely Planet placed this amazing assembly of pachyderms as the 6th greatest animal spectacle in the world. 

As per the Mahavansa , the Sinhala chronicle Kandula is the most  famous war elephant .Some may known as “Kadol”

There are stories of Kandula same as Bucephalus when prince Dutugamunu was born, many items of value were said to have appeared spontaneously, which were found and brought in by various people as gifts to the newborn. Among them a fine elephant who was found by a fisherman named Kandula. 

The elephant was named for its finder and became the companion of Dutugamunu, serving as his mount during the wars that led to the unification of Sri Lanka.
There are so many stories of the bravery  of Kandula as a war elephant and how it fight with king Elara’s war elephant  Maha Pambata.

But King Dutugamunu did not named a city on behalf of Kandula as the great Alexander did  to his horse Bucephalus.

The Kandula being famous for fighting for humans.

 But the Panamure elephant is being famous for fighting for its own race.

 Capturing of wild elephants for trade, industry and cultural purposes had been an intricate part of the Sri Lanka over 2000 years. We have historical records of exporting tuskers and elephants to country as far as Rome and Greece through Muslim traders, a trade which was later adopted by the country’s colonial masters. But very recently in Sri Lankan at Galle face burnt massive number of illegal elephant tusks.

So that the   Kraals for elephants were widely practiced in Ancient Sri Lanka.The last Kraal was held nearly 60 years ago at Panamure. This is not a very old history, there are actual photographs of this Kraal and about 16 elephants were  captured .out of all elephants a brave elephant with magnificent size who admired the freedom rather being a slave to the human tried to break the fence of the Kraal. The Elephant fought for not only its liberty but also the others of the heard.

But this ended up shooting to the elephant. But it led to a public up rise and a red hot debate in the parliament which ultimately ended with the banning of elephant kraals in the country.

Panamure was a Kraal situated within the 99,000 acre forest land owned by Sir Francis had been a flourishing Kraal town since 1896, equipped with its own post office and police station and many businesses to accommodate the Kraal builder, elephant handlers, log cutters and many service men gathered to maintain this mammoth Kraal. 

But Panamure is a memory now. Gone are the elephants that roamed free in these jungles and the jungle itself. Just one or two of the upright post of the stockade are left and preserved in this town as historical mementos and they stand in mute testimony of an event that changed the fate of Sri Lankan elephants sixty years ago.

Instead of elephant Kraal now we have elephant s sad to hear this mammoth creature being an orphan in this country. The reason is rapid growing population took their forest and elephants were orphans without free lands to inhabit. If anyone visiting to Sri Lanka PinnaWala elephant orphanage will be a worth place to visit.

The other place Belongs to Udawalawa National Park. The Udawalawa “Ath Athuru sewana “where we can adopt a baby elephant and spend the expense to look after the baby elephant. But the little fellow belongs to the forest and it will stay in the national park. That’s a nice concept and there are many of my friends have adopted baby elephants.

But it’s strange some of  Sri Lankans  really wanted to have a baby elephant keeping at their garden instead at  a pet.Politicians ,magistrates judges  and  some monks enjoyed keeping  baby elephant at their home. Some very lucky children got a baby elephant as their birthday presents …!

Capturing wild elephant is illegal, although many people own domesticated elephants under special permits, as a symbol of wealth and power.

The sad part is people pretend so innocent even they know what they have done.
The saffron-robed monk told to reporters that he had found the two-year-old elephant abandoned at his temple in Colombo in 2014.

“I did not capture the elephant, it was left at my temple,” he said.
Wildlife officials say it is extremely rare to find a stray baby elephant in the wild. The hard truth is poachers usually kill the mother to snatch the young, which can fetch over 10 million rupees ($70,000).

Defiantly this monk does not follow Buddhism. I can be very sure about it.
However the elephant survey in August 2011 showed the country had nearly 7,000 elephants living in the wild, including about 1,100 babies. I don’t know what the exact figures are in 2016.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Light Weight………………….

Light weight………………….
When I was in my teenage I had a habit of reading each and every book which I don’t understand. I just read whatever available in the reach of my hand. Milan Kundera’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” was exposed to me during that time by mistake.

 I don’t know what I learn from it, but like Tomas in my early twenties I believed that sex and love to be distinct entities. Still I think some exceptional occasions it’s correct, but not with everyone. My understanding its very gender obsessed thinking. Mostly men consider sex and love is very distinct entities with very selfish grounds.

After reading “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” I did not feel any lightness. It was very confusing .Plus too heavy for mind I guess so.Dr Tomas, the womanizer what he is doing with wife? Even with that wretched dog? May be I was not mature enough to understand as well my  English not good enough  then I tried Sinhalese translation. Well to be honest it was the crappiest Sinhalese translation I have read in my whole life should I tell the translator as well? It was Mr .Gamini Wiyangoda.

But I must say movie was far better than the novel.It s because Daniel Day-Lewis's splendid performances.No wonder why he won Oscar awards for three times.For me the movie meant something than the book,

Do we ever able to feel lightness in life? Generally we are getting heavier and heavier with the age. We know our bones getting heavy with the age, then the mass.Those who very much figure conscious try various methods to obtain the light look of the body. Actually I tried some of common methods such as Yoga and heavy diet controlling I must say I was successful to some extend but what I lacking with me was continuation for a long run.

In architecture there is a very definite line between light looking buildings and heavy monumental buildings. There was a time in history the entire civilization was built over monumental heavy looking buildings. Pyramids in Egypt and South America still living proofs .Most cases rulers or kings, were   fascinated with heavy monuments and the people paid for it.Even in 21 st century this has not changed. Also it won’t change. It’s a statement to the leaders, they love it. The great civilization of the history such as Inca tried unbearable constructions of heavy pyramids and it caused of the collapsing indirectly.

History does not teach lessons to we can see this mistakes are repeating more or less everywhere.

In Modern architecture there were very few architects were brave enough to raised monumental buildings and succefully ended .Out of all the first name coming to my mind is Architect Louis Khan. Architect Louis Khan actually lived in a with an unbearable lightness but designed monumental buildings to the poorest nations of the world. 

When the time the Bangladesh parliament was constructing the country was extremely poor. It’s was manual labor power and bamboo scaffolding. 
 Notable works of Louis Khan were monumental heavy looking buildings. 
But I must say Architect Louis Khan's life  had the" Unbearable Lightness of Being" through out his death.Those who watched his son's documentary  about his father will agree with  me."My Architect: A Son's Journey" by by his son Nathaniel Kahn, detailing the architect's extraordinary career and his familial legacy after his death in 1974.

The modern architecture mostly encourages light look of the obtain this as architect we use various material. The light weight concrete relatively expensive material in the construction industry.
The use of LWC (Lightweight concrete) has been a feature in the construction industry for centuries, but like other material the expectations of the performance have raised and now we are expecting a consistent, reliable material and predictable characteristics.

Structural LWC has an in-place density (unit weight) on the order of 90 to 115 lb / ft³ (1440 to 1840 kg/m³) compared to normal weight concrete a density in the range of 140 to 150 lb/ft³ (2240 to 2400 kg/m³). For structural applications the concrete strength should be greater than 2500 psi (17.0 MPa). The concrete mixture is made with a lightweight course aggregate. In some cases a portion or the entire fine aggregates may be a lightweight product. Lightweight aggregates used in structural lightweight concrete are typically expanded shale, clay or slate materials that have been fired in a rotary kiln to develop a porous structure. Other products such as air-cooled blast furnace slag are also used. There are other classes of non-structural LWC with lower density made with other aggregate materials and higher air voids in the cement paste matrix, such as in cellular concrete.
In 1984, Thomas A. Holm estimated that there were over 400 LWC bridges throughout the world especially in USA and Canada. The research carried out by The Expanded Clay and Slate Institute proves that most of the bridges appeared to be in good condition.

The architect Santiago Calatrava has a reputation of using light looking concrete in many of his projects. He designed bridges like sculptures.Those are extremely beautiful infrastructures. But very few countries can only think of building such great pieces. Those are so expensive.

Actually th

e site where I work we have some structural light weight concrete proposals and during the month of December I spent most of my time to complete the details drawings and finally ended up with successful story. Those are very small scale light weight concrete geometries. But it was not a light job…….

Monday, December 28, 2015

My father , The Best Friend I ever Had.......

If I ever had a moment of choosing between my mother and my father I‘ll definitely choose my mother. To be very honest it is not because I love my mother more than my father, the reason is my mother was so helpful and she is with me all the ups and downs so far.What about the father? Well the feeling over my father is very  alluring friendship.

There are some friends we need but not always, but when we need them they are not willing to help us or listen. Yet again we are trying to keep some sort of relationship with them somehow. When I was a child the only memory about my father was going to Katunayake airport for in every nine months. He worked in abroad. Those days he was a complete stranger to me. Over a one month period of staying both of us were able to build a rapport, yet again he is about to leave end of four week. This happened throughout the childhood. I did not understand who my father was. My father never brought me even small chocolate, but always brought considerable amount of book. He is the one who responsible of developing my reading habit. At the age of 10 I had my own library.

After grade five exams I really had a considerable time to spend with my father. Instead of coming here both my mother and me went to see him in Pn’G.Over three months period absolutely gave me totally different perspective of my father. He took me into the highlands; we went to see Mt Hagan. He took me to see strange looking parliament building in Port Moresby. We went to see different tribes, we did boat rides in Sepik was the best vacation I ever had. End of the three months actually I did not wanted to come. By force my mother took me back, she gave priority over my education rather than having a wonderful time with my father. But when I was leaving father I did not want to stay with my mother. All I wanted was stay with him. He was very influencing person.
But I remember how my father tried his best to extend my vacation .Even he looked for schools around Goroka in highland of Papua Newginia, which was a town the total population of little more than 10000 people. Even if I came with my mother those days I was deeply attached to my father. We did communicate through letters. I wrote everything, sometime letter were too large. But my father read single word of it replied me back.
I turned into a very confused teenager; I think it happened life with my mother was so restricted. Certain ways my father tried to talk to me but he never had a time to spent with me, neither did he not spend time with anyone. He had an idea of climbing Mt .Evarast, Well of course he went to Nepal and send me photographs with heavy brick buildings. But my father did not climb Mt .Everest or did not make even a close by Glacier.What I knew was he completely stayed away from his us, friends his  profession. Nearly nine months he did not send me a even a picture post card.
My uncles tried to trace him in P n’G as well in Nepal but we ended up with very unsuccessful stories. But I remember one day suddenly he appeared in front of our home. His sudden arrival did not make me happy, but he had lot of reasons on MIA. As usual my mother was the only person who was listening but I made my objections very publically. This time my father came up with a brilliant idea of migrating the whole family to Nigeria. I remember my mother was asking why do we try Nigeria , instead of Australia of New Zealand, My father’s simple answer was Nigeria requires surveyors but none of the other countries do not surveyors .My mother did not like the idea and  my father again packed his stuff to P n’G .
When I did my O/L examination I had really long holiday one 4 months. This time I requested that I want to come P N’G.But he refused. It was a time that I do what I want by the hook or by the crook. When I was rejected from my father I took the frustration from my mother and the grandmother. I started behave so violently at home, even my mother send me at a rehabilitation work shop at Subhodhi for one week, But nothing  could stop me .Finally my father agreed and sent the tickets.
I stayed with him over 4 months and I realized that my father turned into Papuwa Newgunian than a Sri Lankan. He did not have life in Sri Lanka. This vacation was the time I tried different kinds of Liquor and so many trials and errors in life. My mother wanted to me to do A/l exam in Sri Lanka and I had to come back. This was the time the relationship with my father started   getting disturbed. I did not write him at all, I did not read his letters  as well. Even I did not answer his phone calls.

Ironically when I wanted to wanted to stay away from my father he desperately wanted to get closed with me. He stayed in here and tried his very best to get close with me. Also he started writing a book with his all traveling he did. He told his book very much like collection T.E Lawrence’s epistolary. But I don’t think my father had so many journeys like T.E Lawrence. Somehow his book could not completed ,actually he asked help but I  was not interested and now I think it was the  most lunatic decision which I made.
 I was in my moronic youth hood. I put little weight for every request he made, he decided to go back This time he told his departure will benefit for everyone else expect himself. This was in 2002 and till 2008 he worked in PN’G.As usual he came in every 9 months. 
When I started thinking of a profession my first choice was become an air stewards, I only thought of the seems to be traveling experience that I going to have, But it was my father who strongly opposed this idea and explained why I should not think of becoming an air stewards .He explained this using very layman’s terms. That day I got really angry with my father and I took about 5 -6 years to understand that my father was right from the beginning.
Now I know he was far sighted than my mother always.other than than he never asked which grade I m getting in the school, or which subjects that you going to study. 
But he  thought me how to  make Pina Colada, he hated scraping coconut.My mother also did not like mixing cocktails for him.I was the only one who was willing to scrape coconut.He never bother about my education, it was my mother who worried about my education and pushed me forward when I ‘m in trouble.

My father was a good chess player. But he was the only chess player who never tried of protecting the Queen. He had his own theory of self defence by the queen a simple way queen will find her own protection when you just ignore her. Actually he applied his theory in his personal life. To my mother he gave the utmost freedom, and my mother was very protective by herself. In my experience theory was very successfully in the game of chess as well in his family life.
But I tried it sometimes; I was not smart enough to make the correct move like my father.
Somehow yesterday was the seventh death anniversary of my father. If he was alive he will be celebrating his 75th birthday on last June 25th.
So what will happen if he reads this blog .I’m very sure he will have a good laugh and encourage me to write some more. But the same time I know if I read something like this to my mother she will very disappointed of me as well she might get depressed. Well that’s the different between my mother and my father.