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The Rally For Unity crew has done a pretty neat timeline and infographic (click to enlarge) of the events that took place in Grandpass between June and August this year. Accurate information is crucial if anything is to be done about the upsetting problems we’re seeing today. IMO mainstream media, due to various restrictions, is failing at providing a cohesive and honest picture, a much needed vacuum for some solid citizen journalism to fill.

Sinhala and Tamil translations are on the way according to R4U’s Facebook page, which posted the below along with the graphic.

“What Really Happened in Grandpass?” – This infographic was developed to shed light on the events that unfolded at Grandpass from June to August this year. All information has been factually verified and vetted. Sinhala and Tamil translations will be made available by the weekend.

It is regrettable that certain groups can unduly influence and divide peacefully co-existing multi-ethnic communities. We encourage all Sri Lankans to remain vigilant against such interference and to continue to preserve goodwill among all communities.

Some of the earliest cartoons i remember were dubbed by Titus Thotawatte. They included Pissu Poosa (Top cat), Walas Mama (The Beary Family), Dostara Hondahitha (Dr. Doo Little) and Haa Haa Hari Haawa (Bugs Bunny). These were freakin A cause in the early nineties regular kids only had access to lame local sing along shows and Sesame Street, and even Sesame Street gets a little square from time to time.

TV was different then. Things like GI Joe, Ninja Turtles and Speed Racer came along somewhere in 94 – 95 when MTV started broadcasting. You only had two channels before that, Rupavahini and ITN. Looking back, most of the content on these channels should have been enough to put even an entertainment starved kid to sleep, but we definitely got by. Shows like Knight Rider, That’s Incredible and Robin Hood were blockbusters. These weren’t dubbed, thank God. there was also a Japanese show called Oshin which was dubbed, i never quite got the hang of that though.

In my experience, a lot of dubbing sucks, but some dubbing is better than the original. The cartoons i mentioned above are just as good, if not better than the original. Definitely better if you’re a kid unaccustomed to the English language and aspects foreign culture. TT’s productions were completely localized down to the very last detail. From names, customs to Music (the theme to Dr. Honda Hitha is a baila hit) . More importantly he was funny, extremely so. Not in the tired slapstick way you find in most Sinhala movies but in an understated, sarcastic genuinely witty way that hits you deep inside so that you can laugh at it even when you’re twenty six. His work also sent strong positive moral vibes, a good thing.

The work of TT was probably essential in shaping young minds which would otherwise have been forced to feed on the intellectual equivalents of Justin Bieber. Things were a little bleak back then, or seem so now. The JVP had just been crushed under a wave of violence and the EELAM war was accelerating. I guess the country couldn’t spare a lot of attention for us kids. So a lot of people from my generation remember TT’s work with fondness. He passed away yesterday. And Pissu Poosa makes me think of a more lovable version of Mervyn Silva, but that’s probably a stretch.

For a full list of Titus songs see here.

 

This Duran Duran video was shot in Pettah. I like the song and call me a noob but i just saw the video thanks to Raisa. If the eighties rock. Pettah in the eighties rocks more. And Pettah in a Duran Duran video is probably the only thing that rocks even more.

The tea shop has a snake charmer sitting on a table and a gypsy with a monkey walking around entertaining guests. This is possibly apocryphal. I won’t know for sure until i ask one of my uncles. The cops wear tight khakis and the roads are full of nuns, heck even the tea shops. Where’d they all go?

The video was ostensibly shot in the jungles of Sri Lanka but the jungle bits are mostly mangrove swamps and a beautifully dubious bit in what must be Anuradhapura. But Pettah is jungle enough if you ask me. This was after the Temple of Doom was shot here obviously before the war. Sri Lanka really had something going there. This post is dedicated to Jerry, who likes Duran Duran and Pettah and finally managed to turn twenty.

The tea shop in the video is a favorite of backpackers, i’m told. worth checking out.

Something i saw today got me thinking of Colombo, and does Colombo even have a ‘counter culture’ movement? Does Colombo have meme’s? Do we get taken up with random shizz that don’t mean anything in particular? Of course we do, various teledrama phrases spring to mind like ‘I know the law putha’ anyone remember that? Could that chap be Colombo’s Giant?

I think there is mass scale sick to deathness with political BS. Its always been there sure, but with the war over poor people are expecting to get richer, this is clearly not happening. I think people need to be woken up, the economics of their situation be made aware to them. I’m not saying the government isn’t trying, but it isn’t trying hard enough. Corruption is there, cronyism is there, Hambantotism is also there.

Andre the Giant Has a Posse was a poster/street art campaign that was started by Shepard Fairy. Was watching Exit through the Gift Shop and finally found the bloody meaning behind the Andre the Giant posters. My earlier suspicions were confirmed, it doesn’t really mean anything.

But it doesn’t have to actually. The fat face with the look of a man trying to size you up for dinner with the word OBEY written in big think lettters is nothing short of Orweillian. The concept behind it is really interesting. Fairy (far as i know that IS his real, not figurative, name) borrowed the picture off some tabloid and stuck the OBEY motif to it and then stuck it on several walls in an around LA. This took for some inexplicaple reason and soon thousands of people were sticker bombing the US with Andre.

To quote Shepard Fairy from the movie

“Even though the Andre the Giant sticker was just an inside joke and i was just having fun, i liked the idea of.. the more stickers that are out there the more important it seems, the more important it seems, the more people wanna know what it is, the more they ask each other and it gains real power from perceived power’.

An A the G movement site has this to say

The Giant project isn’t a sales pitch, it’s an experiment in phenomenology, prodding the collective psyche with something inexplicable, creating an illusion of a secret society…What Fairey hoped to get across was that Giant uses the same propaganda techniques that try to sell you cigarettes, movies and presidents.

Funnily enough, Fairy did use the same skill set to sell a president. And people bought it too. The Obama posters were probably some of the coolest pieces of election campaigning i’d ever seen, but like a lot of people now i think Obama was just same same, with marginally different skin tone.

So why get worked up over nothing? Its a psychological blip. Something constantly in your face that you don’t know the meaning of, that you’re driven by curiosity to get to the bottom of it sort of like one of those itches under the skin your nails can’t get at. Hopefully in the process you end up becoming a little more aware of your surroundings.

“Once you examine it, there’s nothing left but the aesthetics of a process. If people realize, ‘I was manipulated by that,’ then maybe, like the domino effect, they’ll say, ‘What else am I being manipulated by, that I’m not questioning?’”

The message is in the medium. All this is a very novel, surrealistic approach to social activism. You don’t point and shoot, you just sort of create a jarring affect and hope it leads to something.

…say, ‘Question Authority,’ or ‘Stop Racism.’ You just get a pat on the back from the people who agree with you already, and the people who don’t agree with you don’t even think about it. So for me it’s just about creating an individual dialogue process that can expand into people trying to interpret it, and asking someone else, and then there’s two people talking about it. Something just going on that people can’t pigeonhole along with everything else.”

Obey the Giant is a meme that came out of a counter culture movement. The anti corporate, anti commercial, anti paid advertising one. It slowly morphed into a subset of corporate culture anyway vis a vis the Obama posters and Fairy’s ‘Black Market’ graphic design firm.

There may be something there in Colombo for a potential sticker bombing campaign. But i’m thought bouncing I suppose. As the three wheel dudes know; Life is rainbow.

I was staying at the Lighthouse in Galle (the hotel) and went aerospace with my camera on this Geoffery Bawa designed building. When i say i went aerospace i mean i clicked my camera at it. Thats the new in word for that. Right.

Anyway its got some sweet angles. There’s a staircase around which a brass sculpture winds that depicts the Portuguese invasion that has the Sinhala king playing a flute while his army gets destroyed. Not a favorite of nationalist sentiment i suppose but the whole place is riddled with colonialist nostalgic elements. The main suite is named after a famous commander of the Portuguese fleet, for instance.

I also hung around Kurulubedda Villas, a two villa resort in the middle of a mangrove swamp. More suited to stays with companions of the female persuasion. Other than that, it’s sweaty and insects of all calling hound you (if ‘hounding’ is an adjective that can be used to describe the behavior of insects). They do mangrove boat rides which are alright to spend a bored afternoon occupying yourself with.

Click on the album for all the pics.

Lighthouse Hotel
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