Highway bus economy!

Wasting nearly 5 hours on the road is  (was) a part of my daily routine. I’m a commuter who travel daily from Katunayake to Colombo. Daily. For 5 years I have continued this routine, and let me tell you, spending 5 hours on the road on a daily basis is not a joy. It was all the same for five years, until last week. But things have changed now. With the highway I can travel to Katunayakae from Peliyagoda within 15 minutes is 27+KMs and in 30 minutes from Peliyagoda to Pettah which is 7 KMs. But wait. I am not complaining. I still save more than 2 hours daily, which I used to spend on traveling.

Colombo-Katunayake-Expressway

Anyway, this post is not about my time or traveling. This is about one part of the society that is majorly affected  by the Highway buses in Katunayake, but everyone ignored. Including Media,Government as well as the people!

For the past 3 years or so I always traveled in normal intercity AC bus service, which operates between Katunayake and Colombo. To be honest, that bus service was a Mafia; especially for Foreign travelers. Let me tell you why. National Transport Board had approved a bus fair of 100 rupees in an AC bus that operates between Katunayake and Colombo. But they never took 100 from foreigners.  The minimum amount they charged from a foreign passenger was 200 rupees, and that was excluding baggage.They charged Rs 100 each for baggage. So yeah. As I said it was a Mafia!

But that’s not the interesting part. The distance from Colombo to Katunayake  is less than 35 kilometers. These guys took more than two hours to travel this distance! Always! Why? Because even though it’s an intercity bus, they load passengers up to foot-board. And yes it’s illegal. Half the time police stop them, and as usual, they bribe the police and get away. This has happened consecutively for the last 3 years.

And now Highway buses are here, which are operated by the Government. Let’s do a comparison:

                      Highway Bus                Intercity AC bus

Duration –   Less than 1 hour                    More than 2 hours

Charge    –     Rs 130                                       Rs 100

Condition    Super luxury                         Old Rosa AC buses.

Do the math. Which one you would go in?

Yes, now my daily routine has changed to highway buses. But this is not only about me. Almost 90% of the people who used to travel by old AC buses have now switched to highway buses. This fact puts the private bus guys in trouble. Recently, I went in normal AC bus because I wanted to get down from Wattala (which i can’t do using a highway bus). The Rosa bus had only 9 people! The bus driver was cursing everyone from the Chinese laborers  who were involved in the Highway construction to Minister of Transportation to Mahinda Rajapaksha.

In conclusion, Katunayake-Colombo normal AC bus owners are in an economic crisis now due to the new highway buses, and I don’t see anyway they are going to find a solution to that.

Yet, after what they have done in the past, I can’t decide whether to be happy or sad!

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One share,one like or one re-tweet may change their lives.

How many hours do you spend on Facebook per day? For how many hours do you stare at your news feed, looking at promotions that almost every company use these days to promote their product or service? How many times have you participated in that kind of  social media promotion expecting to win a gift ? How many minutes, how many shares and how many likes have you spent on promoting those businesses because they were giving away something?

I’m sure it’s lot!

Nearly a month back I joined with Stitch-Movement, because I badly wanted to volunteer for a good cause; spend my time on something I can genuinely be happy about when I take a break from my busy life and look back. The main project  Stitch was organizing during this time was a fundraiser. And they have named it as “Garage Sale”

Garage Sale

Stitch wanted to collect used items and sell them, not for their own profit but to keep their current projects alive. So we started posting about this on Facebook and Twitter expecting it would be one platform we can get good attention. After all we (Stitch) weren’t asking for anything but used items for a good cause.

But the results weren’t as good as expected!

But why? All this time, my news feed and twitter timeline were filled with shared posts about some competition or some celebrity gossip. Technically, I understand why (at least after I started studying marketing, I know using an incentive (A gift!) is one very successful way to draw attention) people tend to share all those posts and tweets about a product or a promotion.

But I thought people still may have a minute to share/like or re-tweet something that may help to feed elders who are lonely , or help these kids who seek proper education.

I know we all love to win something from a competition, and because of that we share anything when a brand asks us to share and win something. It’s the human nature.

But as a volunteer I don’t have anything to give.We are not promoting ourselves to gain personal profit.We do all this for them,who seek our help.

I only have to ask one thing from you. IF YOU CAN spend a few seconds and share the below post or re-tweet the following tweet. Not to win something from us, but just to enjoy the feeling that you can help someone!

//

After all your tweet or Facebook share might change someone’s life 🙂

On Watalappan and Kokis

Journal of an Eccentric

I am no hero. I am no Buddhist either, though I studied Buddhism in school, and that’s what my birth certificate says. I am no Catholic, although my mother happens to be one, and I spend days at my cousin’s place when their Church feast is going on. I am not a Muslim, although I have read and studied their scripture thanks to the many Muslim friends I have. And, before you conclude that I am an atheist, I am not. Let’s just say I am looking for faith.

As I’m writing this entry, Grandpass is under curfew. Mobs have been attacking, and several people have been hospitalized. For what, you ask? Why, I have no idea. The story says that a group attacked a Mosque last night, and thus began the turmoil. Apparently now it’s a Buddhists Vs Muslims agenda.

Interestingly, Buddhism is supposed to be a religion of…

View original post 511 more words

What are we missing as Humans ?

“Grandpass ” , the major topic Colombo city worries about now. The topic I can see on every Social Media network, where Buddhists threaten  Muslims and where Muslims blame Buddhists.  Before writing anything i would rather say this directly, I am neither a Buddhist nor a Muslim, and I don’t care how you judge me on my opinion regarding this 🙂

Pic By Sanka Vidanagama

Pix By Sanka Vidanagama

This was the pictures that concerned me. Why one religious party should have a problem like this? If they can live in harmony for all this time, is it really worthwhile to make a “War-zone” at Grandpass out of this?

Only a week ago, majority of non-Muslim people including Buddhists, were happy about Ramazan. Why ? Because they were getting “Watalappam” from their Muslim friends. And today, how many of the same Buddhist people criticizes  Muslims regarding this Grandpass incident? It’s as if they have been enemies for centuries! Did you forget that you were friendly enough to share food only a week before?

After reading till this point, if you think I’m blaming Buddhists regarding this, well you are wrong.!

While i was staring at my twitter timeline today evening I saw this tweet from a friend,

I’m sure he is a faithful Muslim, but he pointed out one thing that most of us can’t see when we look at this incident in a religious point of view.  Yes, we are having a shortage of Harmony in Sri Lanka, because people don’t analyze the problem in a humanitarian prospective; they analyze it from a religious eye.

After paying attention to Twitter I learnt one thing: expressing Your Idea in “Human” Perspective is subjective to heavy criticism. Some people were arguing if law enforcement can’t control the situation , ganging up, increasing the man power of two sides and fighting like animals would solve it. Get out from your religious attitude for a second and look at the incident as a Human. Would it solve the problem? It doesn’t look likely for me. But hey I don’t know. I’m just an amateur , you are grown ups, educated than me, I just think peace is better than war.

We had too many frustrated years filled with fear because of one war, who needs it again ? You? No i don’t think so…

Dreams , being quixotic or selfish ?

when you crawling in the bed alone, is the time you feel like writing. even though i have no idea what to write i need to write something.

nights like this makes me wonder about the life, what really matters in the end. in all passage of the life we makes dreams, or people around us make us dream about the things, but after going to back my own life i often wonder did i really needed those dreams or i wanted them at that period because of the people i care about in those passage of my life?

where we really stand in life? what we  really need? i think answers for these questions depend on the passage and the people who is connected to your life.in some days i used to think being honest and caring and loving about the people i care about makes me a better person, but does it?

have you ever considered the end results of being quixotic and selfish? in my case being selfish always wins, there been a time that i did all i can for a person who i cared, but the end result wasn’t the same. now i wonder is it a really a problem with that person or i was stupid enough to think in a world like this being quixotic only end up you in misery?

now someone would say ” you shouldn’t change who you are because of something another person  did”, true i shouldn’t but this is not about that. this is about I’m unable to answer my own question. does it really matters to be good for the people who you care about if they don’t return the same favor for you? or should i make my self realize that in life there is no one who going to stay beside you without changing, after all is it fair to expect someone to stay with you?

i still don’t know the answers but will i ever be able to know? will you ever be able to know? if yes would you re consider your answers on some other passage of life because what u think as the right answer could be wrong on that time?

 

 

Amanda todd and her story!

Amanda Todd,

Was one name that gone through internet like a fire through out last week.Most of the people saw one side of the story from the video she released. In that she was expressing her self about the pain and bulling she went through, you can see this video below.

After someone watch this video instant reaction will be sad and anger for those people who bullied her.But its what she saying.. after the heat went off some new views of the story came up.

And one point was this.

Personally i don’t know how true this message is but it leave us something to think about.

It’s not going to over from that, today (18) vancouversun. and its says another side of this story.

But there is more than that to the video, I think, and it is that “more” that I felt propelled the Amanda Todd story.

What to call it? A morbid fascination? A weird but all too human type of voyeurism? Here was real tragedy and pathos for the eye to see — not to be imagined in the mind’s eye, as in a novel or in the dry account of a newspaper article, but onscreen. With the click of the enter key, one could watch a tortured young girl foreshadow her death on the very thing that caused her so much grief. How many of the millions of viewers of Amanda’s video saw the awful irony in that, that the virtual world had become both her outlet and her prison?

so you decide ?

A moment about Social Media at a round table

Having a discussion about Social Media with some folks who are addicted to SM as much as or more than me ? Sounds cool ha ?

Pix by US Embassy Sri Lanka 

Recently I had that opportunity. US embassy in Colombo arranged a meeting with some of the leading social media activists, and of course with their “interesting” representative  Michael Hankey, the Head of Social Media Outreach at South & Central Asian Affairs Bureau of US State Dept last Friday at the US embassy.

Tweeps who attendant to this little discussion table were  @indunan @Xelene @Milindat @Aye5ha @ChristinaSyms @Udaraumd @NimanthieA  @moawesomesauce @mhmhisham@Sarathsc @NotJagath @Nazly @SueKiri and me of course.

Mentioning the content of this discussion is not important here because a detailed blog entry on that can be found on @SueKiri blog.

http://whatwouldsularedo.wordpress.com/2012/09/22/a-round-table-discussion-with-michael-hankey/

Out of the important content we discussed there I would like to mention  an important fact here about our meetup.

Listening to Hankey speech( not exactly a speech, it was more of a friendly talk) made me realize that as Social Media activists we can do much more in SL than we have done already.

For example, Hankey was giving us an idea about citizen journalism and how we can make a valuable and important contribution on this matter. Also, we may not be able to make a direct effect on anything, yet we can make others realize about anything by making a sound via SM. Isn’t that worth a try, to do something than to do nothing ?

That was only one idea that went to my mind, may be others got much more ideas on this. I would like to drop their idea here and let’s make something useful ? 🙂

If i did not mention my regards to @USEmbSL here , that would be ungrateful, so thanks අ lot for inviting us to a such an event and hope to see much more in the future.

Vesak around Colombo.

“Vesak” , I remember few years back , may be five years I was stuck on the massive traffic on Vesak day at Peliyagoda, even after hours we wasn’t moving even kilometer. I don’t know the amount of people who came to feel the vesak joy those days but I’m sure it was pretty much.

But yesterday it wasn’t the same thing as before, with some colleagues I was in the roads on Rosmead place around 9 pm to feel the joy of the vesak, but Rosmead seems like don’t have a clue about “Vesak”, other than few lanterns and fancy bulbs I couldn’t find anything eye catching that can call as Vesak celebrations.

With a slow walking we reach to town hall, thing was much better there, well at least let’s say that. There was some good lanterns inside the town hall, but I doubt that there were more lanterns than the people who watching them, yeah it was almost empty! On Vesak day night!!

And with the dreams of “Dansal” rice we had Naan and “Buriyani” from rahumania, usual diet even in special vesak day , well can’t blame, because there wasn’t any “Bath Dansal” around as we expected.

From the boring Townhall we moved on the Gangarama, hoping for a better view, Tragedy!

Vesak zone of Gangarama is closed on vesak day.

Thanks to nice lighting items on Gangrama and massive crowd at least able to survive the “Vesak feeling” but almost all the lanterns and “thorans” wasn’t operating!

With the disappointing feeling we came back to office around  midnight,

One thing I figured was maybe people not interested on vesak as they used to be or Economics crises has also stolen that from peoples heart.

Illusion and reality

“God” is one person i would telling “fuck off” without thinking twice, why ? if u asking me the question why ? ! affect of my basic answer  will be variably change from person to person.

Yeah according the way that person have the image of “God” ,

Recently i had a interesting conversation with one of my Muslim friend, i just asked about begging of Islam religious,

in the end of conversation one point that came up was “Jesus” was a messenger of “Allah” and in the christian history, the furthest point they have until this messenger only, but in islamic history “story” flow on.

My basic question from my friend was ” If jesus is a messenger , how could Christianity and Islam be two different religious ? because messenger and author should have the same  “Content”!

Still i have this problem open..

coming back to topic, i have friends in almost every religious, as friends they are so good , no doubt on that, but my curiosity flow on when i analyse there actions based on religious views i have so many problematic situations like that.

More on that, on the poya day i heard one of my friends refusing eating meat, which made me wonder what is the different? according to buddist concept i never heard that Budda said that buddists can eat meat on normal days except poya days, so from ideas like that coming ? they are not in the buddist history neither on any other source, and as a buddist students i believe non of the teachers do teach a concept like that!

Adding to that i have so many doubts on “Halal” concept, basically any human who have a brain can understand killing a animal and eating is a normal process, what  i do not understand is how “Halal” concept that make a deference on the killing process, if u was the animal that getting killed would u want to die on a Halal process instead of a normal process ? would that make any different ?

According to what i see “Religious” make illusions on human mind ( I would not call it brain because brain should be able to recognize such things) , the problems is even after clearly understating the fact of these illusions human still not able to understand the reality!

Independence and people’s thoughts

As for a experiences last Friday (3rd) we decided to go around Colombo and do a video on what people think about Independence day. well this was very quick thought from my friend and it was the time i just landed to office.

however suggestion was confirmed and we was out on the road by 4.30 P.M with a Canon video cam , recorder and a Nikon D300. yeah lot of gadgets.

We roamed around Colombo to find some people and talk with them, 1st we met a lady at Thibirigasyaya area who was waiting for a bus , well 1st try was succeeded. She agree to tell what she think about Independence day, yeah as I thought she is nothing more than me. She has no special idea other than random thoughts about Independence.

Moving from there we went around Colpety, we choose some pretty girls to ask the ideas about independence but outcome was really bad. They were that much evil to ran away for our “Excuse me” call, geez do we looks like devils ? o.O

Next stop was Colpety beach, Yeah we tried some random Teenageers/youth guys from there, amazingly they had so much of fear to expose their faces to camera, well may be they have some criminal records .. sigh

However we didn’t gave up. We manage to talk with some police officers and Random middle age guy which had the same kind of ideas like earlier lady.

Like this we waved to Galle face, I’m happy at least I able to get some decent photos from there. And well on our assignments we talked with some sellers, they had much better ideas than educated others who we talked earlier.

However I still appreciate the last comment we got, it was a beggar from Galleface and we asked what he think about Independences day.

There was only one comment,

“මහත්තයා නිදහස නම් හොදයි, ඒත් නිදහස දීපු කෙනා ඇතුලෙනෙ”

( Sir, Good that we have a freedom, worst part is the person who lead us to freedom is inside bars! “

And last the video we came out can be found here!

via Ceylon Today