Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 sri lankan holiday calendar

given the large number of people who visited and downloaded this information and probably found it useful last year, i am giving below sri lankan holidays for year 2010 according to the calendar published by department of government printing.

if you want the holidays in ical (ics, icalendar), csv, or html, formats, which you can import into calendar/time management software, then you can download the files from this drop. (make sure you select the 2010 ones.)

i blogged about what think about the number of sri lankan holidays sometime ago (basically imo holidays are good for economy as long as they encourage people to spend. so i want less poyaday holidays and more secular holidays and long weekends)

unlike last year, there are no 6 day long (or 5 day long) weekends in 2010. longest is the 4 day wesak weekend in may.

thursday, january 14 - tamil thai pongal day *†‡
friday, january 29 - navam full moon poya day *†
thursday, february 04 - national day *†‡
saturday, february 27 - milad-un-nabi (holy prophet's birthday) *†‡
sunday, february 28 - medin full moon poya day *†
saturday, march 13 - maha sivarathri day *†
monday, march 29 - bak full moon poya day *†
friday, april 02 - good friday *†
tuesday, april 13 - day prior to sinhala and tamil new year day *†‡
wednesday, april 14 - sinhala and tamil new year day *†‡
wednesday, april 28 - adi wesak full moon poya day *†
saturday, may 01 - may day *†‡
thursday, may 27 - wesak full moon poya day *†
friday, may 28 - day following wesak full moon poya day *†‡
friday, june 25 - poson full moon poya day *†
sunday, july 25 - esala full moon poya day *†
tuesday, august 24 - nikini full moon poya day *†
friday, september 10 - id-ul-fitr (ramazan festival day) *†
wednesday, september 22 - binara full moon poya day *†
friday, october 22 - vap full moon poya day *†
friday, november 05 - deepavali festival day *†
wednesday, november 17 - id-ul-alha (hadji festival day) *†
sunday, november 21 - il full moon poya day *†
monday, december 20 - unduvap full moon poya day *†
saturday, december 25 - christmas day *†‡

* public holiday
† bank holiday
‡ mercantile holiday

while full moon poya days are not officially designated mercantile holidays, they are called "common holidays applicable to all employees"

update on 25th january 2010
tuesday january 27, 2010, was declared a public and bank holiday by government today. it is the day after presidential election. it is not included in downloadable calenders.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

merry christmas to you all! feel it! + christmas movies i watch

indi padashow says "it feels not like christmas". wtf? is he nuts?

yes spirit of christmas is a subjective thing, but that blogger always writes like a 'civilized' tourist in native drag for a photo op, observing and commenting on 'barbarian' sri lankan customs. that is why he has a long record of getting all things sri lankan wrong; from fight against terrorists down to christmas in sl. that is why he thinks there is a competitive election going on when everyone who is connected to the soil knows that it was a walkover from the start and after the irresponsible lies/gaffes of fonseka a boring old trashing. but i will save those thoughts for another post.

this is about christmas.

as regular readers of this blog know i was brought up as a roman catholic. i call myself an atheist simply bc i am unable to believe in god, rather than bc i have any antipathy towards the church or any love or respect for irrational inconsistent confusions of fellow atheists. people i live with, friends with, or in love with, have always been catholics for the most part.

from my point of view this one of the best christmas seasons i have lived through. iow indi padashow is nuts.

parties, carols, shopping, baking, decorating, cards, school holidays for kids (of my partner), wrapping presents, and thousands of other things are already past or on going. there will be mass, opening of presents, visiting and receiving relatives, cake, more parties, eating and drinking, games, to come. all round good cheer.
btw we do our little bit to spread it to everyone.

suburbs i live around are choked full of ppl and lighted up. driving is impossible.
as always this is the best season for businesses (even in mostly buddhist sri lanka). btw as i have written before, i welcome unabashed consumption and commercialism; "world will be boring and poor (literally) if not for the rampant consumerism of this season".

happy holidays, christmas, and a new year to every one!


christmas movie tweets
as followers of my twitter know i have been watching christmas movies (alone, with others, or with kids,) in past week or so. i haven't finished them yet. but wanted to gather the tweets into one place. i may update it with later tweets.
term 'christmas movies' used loosely. i don't intend to define it.

"the shop around the corner"(1940). charming, funny & touching, but well grounded not cloyingly sentimental 4.5/5
btw "you've got mail" (1998) is a remake of "the shop around the corner". while not terrible,it is imo very much inferior. 3/5

'miracle on 34th street' 1947 original in b&w. classic! what more can i say? 4.5/5
'miracle on 34th street' 94 remake on tv. should really show much better 1947 original with edmund gwenn, maureen o'hara & natalie wood.

watched "it's a wonderful life" for nth time . 4.5/5 no need to say more.
talking about "it's a wonderful life" > a 1991 article by jimmy stewart about the film & frank capra

watched "bishop's wife" for the 1st time. enjoyed it very much. 4/5.

'a christmas carol'-1938 version-short,pointed & nicely put together.1984 ver-fleshed out & real. both 4/5

'christmas in connecticut' starring barbara stanwyck et al. forgotten how hilarious it is. 'moonlight snow and a cow' 4/5

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

'rebel without a cause' screen test of james dean, natalie wood, and sal mineo + corresponding scene from movie

rebel without a cause is a movie i love. i have watched it countless times. i am also a fan of both james dean and natalie wood.

so i was glad to see this youtube video (uploaded by blumoon531. thanks!) of a screen test of three man actors; dean, wood and sal mineo. it is actually two tests, second one runs for few seconds and has no audio.

in the next video (uploaded by jimmysgirl. thanks!) you can see the actual (much improved) scene corresponding to the first screen test. the video contains most of the initial 'abandoned mansion' sequence of the movie and is 7 min long. screen tested scene starts at about 3.35 and continues almost to the end (in fact uploader has edited out few seconds of the sequence at the end and replaced it with few seconds a kiss from a little later).

note: second video has very low audio. if your speakers/earphones at maximum volume don't help, you might try downloading and playing it in a media player; after few minutes, audio becomes normal quality and remains so even on replay. no idea why.

for those who don't know already, all three actors in these videos died prematurely.
james dean, famously due to a car accident, at age 24, even before this film (2nd of his only 3 feature films) came out.
natalie wood, from drowning at age 43.
sal mineo was stabbed to death at age 37.

of course you can find lots of clips from movie, as well as fan made tribute music videos on youtube. there are even copies of the atrocious original trailer. i don't think full movie is there. i don't recommend watching the movie (or any other movie) on youtube if you have not seen it already. it deserves better.

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

degenerate bloodless shell of unp

for what does united national party (unp) stand for?

unp still sits at the center of one of the two huge webs of patronage relationships that act as arteries of political life in sri lanka, but there is no blood running in those arteries. it has fallen so low that it cannot even field a candidate of its own for presidency and resort to beating up probably hostile journalists covering its meetings.

once, unp used to be a standard center right party.

but is it now?
let's examine

unp for free markets and capitalism?
in 1977, then unp administration opened the economy. some unp governments have engaged in privatizations of nationalized institutions and liberalizations of markets. all good, and in right direction imo.

however, nobody in current unp, least of all its leader ranil wickremesinghe, has the courage to stand up and defend those things, or more broadly capitalism and free markets, based on principles. there is certainly no margaret thacher in unp. at most unp will say, that we are being forced to open up markets due to globalization or that world bank/imf conditions demand that we do this or that liberalization or privatization.

nobody in unp is willing to say that free markets, open trade, and less government, are benefits in themselves and we should adopt such polices anyway without being forced to do so.

in fact last unp government (2001-2004) even implemented anti market polices, such as imposing a guaranteed price for buying paddy which led to all sorts of market distortions and over production. leading to inevitable protests (including suicides) by farmers at both harvest seasons. current non unp administration has thankfully let this policy slide out of sight. does anyone remember when the last farmers' protest was?

under imf prodding last unp government did put a blanket freeze on government hiring but did not have the courage to admit it was doing so (let alone try to reduce the number of public servants). such half baked actions only make government even more inefficient in that blanket freeze prevented needed ppl from being hired, while wasteful overstaffed departments kept on being so.

there were many such half baked actions on the part of that unp government. half baked bc they were not based on a well thought out coherent philosophy.

current administration of course is not pro liberalization. one does not expect it to be. it was elected on an anti liberalization platform. unp now in opposition, has not been able to make a coherent case opposing policies expanding government and subsidies. in fact there has been no opposition on its part to such polices.

we cannot call present unp a center right party when it comes to economic issues.

unp on national defense
on national defense unp is more akin to a loony left fringe party than a center right party (governing united people's freedom alliance(upfa) is very much to the right of unp here) .

this is the main cause of unp's unpopularity.

unp let all sri lankans down by not supporting efforts to defeat terrorist liberation tigers of tamil ealam (ltte). when terrorists deprived and threatened freedom, human rights, democracy, and justice of sri lankans of all communities, unp chose a policy of appeasement.

it adopted an immoral peacenik 'peace at any cost' position advocated by foreign (and perhaps terrorist) funded ngos wholesale, even while bloody murderous consequences of appeasing terrorists was apparent to all. it remained obstinate when government under mahinda rajapaksa showed that trying to defeat terrorists with violence, if need be, was both moral and pragmatic. instead several unp leaders tried to belittle the glorious achievements of the military. they have yet to abandon these polices or issue retractions for their statements.

public's distrust of unp position on these issues is well deserved.

ethnic grievances
unp once had a solid base among minority communities due to historical reasons, rather than bc of any credible attempt to address their (very real) grievances. rise of race/religion based parties is a telling indicator of unp's short comings in both articulating and addressing those grievances. now these (let us be frank, bordering on racist) parties (thankfully split in to factions) determine unp policy in these matters. unlike upfa, unp has been unable to stand up to more extrme demands of these parties when it needs their support. so much so that unp was unable to field candidates for jaffna and vavuniya local council elections earlier this year.

in other words, unp does not have a policy on how to address any ethnic grievances that still exist. its policy will be determined by factions of ethnic parties supporting it. pretty pathetic and not reassuring to voters (like myself) who like to see an end to race based policies of any kind.

other issues
in all other issues unp has not taken any coherent stance.

its foreign policy seems to be 'kowtow non stop to west and hope for best', rather than for a policy of building fruitful relationships in sri lankan interest in all parts of the world,esp in asia.

its corrupt politicians rail against government's corrupt politicians, not convincing anyone why we should exchange their lot for present lot.

it wants 'good governance' through implementation of 17th amendment, with its independent commissions to govern various things (public service, police etc. etc.). even though last unp government deliberately failed to implement it. (for the record, i am no fan of 17th amendment. imo it is an undemocratic, unworkable, loophole ridden, bureaucratic, money wasting monstrosity, but i better keep my thoughts on that subject for another post).

defending traditional values and culture is a staple of center right parties, but unp (or rather its leader) seem to be quite clueless about sri lankan culture or its values.

unp doesn't have a policy on various civil liberties one way or other. btw ranil who is 'gay' (i am against simple categorizations of sexual orientation hence quotation marks), as whole of sri lanka knows, doesn't have the courage to admit the fact, hiding behind an obviously fake marriage.
etc. etc.

internal democracy
not only has the party not stood up to protect sri lankan democracy, it has a deplorable record of internal democracy.

in latest example of this, last week it expelled some of the leading members from internal party positions due to their vocal opposition to unp decision to back non unp candidate general sarath foseka as presidential candidate.

as i have pointed out before, move to back fonseka benefits ranil wickremesinghe. after the almost certain defeat of general, ranil will be able to keep on as party leader till next election. (if he was the candidate and got trashed, there was a chance of him getting the boot). his association and acceptance of current unp's support and conditions will be part of the main reason why general will lose.

to conclude
ranil wickremesinghe led unp can no longer be considered a center right party with any kind of coherent philosophy. it is drifting without ideas or a vision.

this bloodless degenerate shell now function purely as a political vehicle for its leader, rather than as a living proponent of a political philosophy palatable to sri lankan voters.

of course unp still sits at the center of a web of patronage relationships, but without blood those arteries will die out eventually.

sarath fonseka's campaign (and his defeat), may transfer some blood to keep them alive for a little bit longer, but to revive the beast more direct and drastic action is needed. to start pumping blood again, at the very least, unp has to get rid of ranil, and it has to uncompromisingly stand for something that public wants (hopefully capitalism and robust protection of rights and interests of sri lankans from all threats internal or external) , rather than what its leader wants and what some of his out of touch sycophants in colombo wants.

this paralysis and inaction of almost half of sri lankan polity is bad for the country, bc upfa or its leader will not face any credible check on its/his power. it is not wise to always count on goodwill of unchecked power.

unfortunately, there is no chance of unp reviving anytime soon.

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