Saturday, April 25, 2015

Methods of student protest betray stagnation and lack of ingenuity in local higher education system

The recent tear-gassing of a student protest has been the topic of much conversation, especially since the newly appointed government was seen as being much more student-friendly than the previous one.

Protests by students enrolled at state universities and higher education institutes are nothing new. Every year, these students cumulatively spend thousands of hours sitting/standing/walking/running from charging riot police in congested areas of Colombo. Ward Place, where the ministry of Higher Education is located, is the scene of near permanent sit-ins by students.

Primary, secondary and tertiary education is heavily subsidized in Sri Lanka. This has not prevented undergraduate students, selected for universities from impoverished backgrounds, from going through immense hardships to complete their education. The lack of funding has made research grants almost non-existent. The system is groaning from the stress it is under.

Yet when students react to their situation, it's often in a very confrontational and chaotic manner. Student protests gain the eyes and ears of the public, but not in a positive manner. The social standing of university students has diminished greatly among the general public. The view that they're a nuisance and lacking in discipline has become somewhat entrenched in the public consciousness.

New thinking and true creativeness is required from undergrads to get their message across. Instead of old, boring, disruptive, and potentially violent picketing and banner holding, novel methods of protest should be explored. Students should fight to win back the esteem that society generally holds such qualified and talented individuals in. They should show us why they're the exceptional one percenters who made it because they were at the right end of the bell curve.

Hong Kong students clean up after 2014 protests

Thursday, February 19, 2015

ISIS and the modern, westernised girls who flock to it

The premise outlined in the title is all kinds of inexplicable. While trying to grasp the whole wtf aspect of it, this old quote from George Orwell's 1940 review of Mein Kampf stood out:
Also he has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all "progressive" thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security and avoidance of pain. [...] Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice [...] Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a more grudging way, have said to people "I offer you a good time," Hitler has said to them "I offer you struggle, danger and death," and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Clay

The vessel is fragile.

It carries water, the only water you'll ever find. Without the water you cannot survive. No tea, no cooking, nothing doing.

The vessel is fragile.

You've wondered about the nature of the vessel and sometimes mused what would happen if you were to throw it away. You'd never have the guts though.

The vessel is fragile.

One of these days you'll hear a shattering sound and know it's all over. No more grand plans, no tea, no cooking, nothing doing.