Monday, February 28, 2011

Prefectship: Is it worth it?

Those of you who subscribe to the Sunday morning rag sheet would've have seen the good name of my Alma Mater being dragged through the mud. With it, the shadowy world of prefects and the ragging that they receive as the initiation ritual have come to light.

No right to hurt your brother

I am lucky enough to attend one of the few institutes of higher education in Sri Lanka where ragging is unheard of. When it is so, a new student feels freedom and belonging and a sense of security in his new environment. This is in stark contrast to what some of my friends have had to go through at some of our universities. Ragging, therefore, is a hurtful and vicious activity that should be eliminated.

As schoolchildren, our teachers would make it a point to disciplinary action against children who bully the other kids in the class. Therefore, isn't it a logical extension of that principle to view ragging as a systematic, and extreme form of bullying? And therefore, isn't it logical that the students who have been guilty of bringing upon their fellow students mental and physical harm be subjected to the most severe punishment that the College can hand them: expulsion?

Prison-guard mentality 

Out of the 17 prefects who got suspended, I knew quite well a few. I knew a few of the victims as well. They were among the smartest, most talented (through sports, aesthetics, debating, etc.) and most level headed people I knew. These are kids who would go to debates and make the audience cry about how humiliating and painful ragging is. These were well rounded junior citizens, on their way to take on the world (at some of the most prestigious universities the world over).

So what gives? What turns a non-violent, smart, level-headed kid into a thug who abuses kids (most of whom he has known for years). And what allows this kind of abuse to go on for years without the abused speaking out against it?

There was a very interesting experiment done in the Stanford University in 1971.  Termed the 'Stanford prison experiment', it took 24 undergraduates and assigned them roles as 'prison guards' and 'prisoners'. The outcome of the whole experiment was astounding. The 'prisoner guards' adapted to their roles so well that they began being authoritarian and torturing the 'prisoners'. And the 'prisoners' adapted so well that they would take that abuse as if they deserved it and generally behaved in a subjugated manner. I highly recommend that you read that entire article, because it certainly blew my mind away.

So, giving kids who are in the cusp of adulthood and responsibility a 'prison guard' role, are we endangering theirs and their subjects' futures? Are we bringing up a generation of 'prisoners' who think that they deserve the abuse they get? Are we telling kids that it's okay to be authoritarian and abusive, if you're in a position of power?

Is the tradition of 'Prefectship' worth all of this?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The stages of a programming language

Every programming student is taught the four or five generations of programming languages. Well, here's a new system of categorization that some kid with too much time on his hands came up with. :D (Note that this was just done for kicks, and doesn't claim to be factually correct or anything)

Stage 1:
Assembly language

Stage 2:

Stage 3:
C++, Objective C, Vala

Stage 4:

Stage 5:
Python? IDK really.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why Fill T is the best rapper in Sri Lanka

Here's what his YouTube description says:

Chamath Perera better known by his stage name Fill T, is a Sri Lankan entertainer, rapper, record producer and actor. Fill T is best known as an MC in the West Coast hip hop scene, and for being one of Sri Lanka's most notable protégés. Fill T was a CMB Crip gang member while in Colombo.

To which a commenter replies:

CRIP gang member????? Aney Huththo! Panadure godey Kariya....

But YouTube comment battles aside, Fill T has produced some of the most memorable lyrics by a Sri Lankan rapper ever. This is a clip of him rapping drunk:

I've taken the clip and turned it into a few easy-to-follow strips:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Unclogging the drains

I've been a bit busy lately, what with exams starting in 2 days time, my best friends in the whole wide world who're down for their holidays leaving (it's much harder to say goodbye a second time around) and various other 'events'. Well, mostly wasting time on Twitter and Facebook. Yes, I've started tweeting again, and if past experiences are anything to go by, this WILL NOT end well.

Sri Lanka's world cup campaign kicks off tomorrow, and hopefully we can trash the Meese (yes I know that the plural is moose... sue me for having fun with a foreign language). But this World Cup is so... I dunno... I'm not not-excited, it's just I think there was so much more hype and awareness last time around (or maybe it was just me). I mean, even Chinaman has a chapter about that legendary (at least for us Lankans) final. I vividly remember putting a mat down on the floor and settling down to watch the match that night, watching our batsmen fight the losing battle with rain and what not, and then finally the broadcast being interrupted to say that some bloody mosquito planes were attacking Colombo.

How come nobody even mentions that we were the runners up last time? (or maybe that's just me, too)

But anyway, the author of the aforementioned Chinaman, Shehan Karunatilaka, has a very interesting take on the World Cup:

One-Day vs T20

Is One-Day cricket still relevant? The purists have test matches, which have seen a renaissance, post-Ashes and post India-South Africa. The non-fans have 20/20, which packages the highlights and passes them off as entertainment. Do we still have the inclination to sit through half a day of a format that is neither here nor there?

The answer is, without a doubt. The One-day game is less of a lottery and allows enough room for drama and for fortunes to switch sides. There’s enough time for an innings to be built, for an absorbing spell of bowling and for spectators to pace their drinking over the course of an evening.
Anyway, 'nuff Crickeh, let's talk about birds, and not the wingless type. There's a bloody bird in my backyard and he's eating all our squirrels. -____- Dunno what it is but I managed to snap some pictures:

Well, that's all I've got for tonight, folks. MUST.GO.SLEEP.BYE.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

oooh yeah! Edexcel Sucks!!!

That was the first title of my first post, on Thursday, February 12th, 2009. Wordpress took those first few posts down when I deleted my first blog and moved here to Blogger, thankfully. That lot is more embarrassing than all of the posts I've typed out since combined. Yes, that bad. ;)

And to answer the question that I was asked at my first blogger meetup (which also happened one year ago this month): Do I use an automated script to leave all those comments on everyone's blogs?

Yes, I do. ;P

Here's the only bit of my first post that I could save thanks to Kottu:

Well, here’s why I’m so worked up… I left school about 2 months ago, not coz I wanted to or coz I had turned 20 (have around 18 or so months before that happens), it was because of some f***tard who wouldn’t let me do what I wanted to do with my studies! And so [...]
Fiery, innit? ;)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cerno's desktop screenshot festival...

...and I'm 2 years, 7 months and 5 days late, according to this. ;) Better late than never, I guess. :D

Lucid, running hotot and Firefox :)

OS: Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx)
DE: GNOME 2.30.0
Dock: AWN (lighter and better than Docky, imho)
Theme: Elementary

Cerno's original post can be found here. :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

National Day

As I type this out, the King is giving his speech on TV. All these years they showed only the guy giving the speech on TV, but now he's confined to a small picture-in-picture box, while the bigger area is being used to show all the reservoirs, roads and ports they've built. This government are masters of the spin, or atleast self-promotion, I'll give them that.

As we pass the 63rd milepost of self-rule, we're facing challenges seldom seen in our short history. Most of the world is out to get us, we've got a government that favours centralised rule and a president who abolished term limits that applied to him, we've got the armed forces engaged in business (vegetables, luxury cruise ships and even whale watching!) and we've got an opposition without hope. Even when things looked bleak for the UNP in 1975, with Sirimavo using her majority to delay elections by 2 years, there was a valiant and cunning leader in JR who capitalised on the unpopularity of the government (and its inability to feed its people... ring any bells?) and won a landslide when elections were eventually held in '77. Today the UNP is a party of blind leading the blind, and the other forces in the opposition are either in jail (SF) or getting routed from their traditional strongholds in the universities (JVP). And before you accuse me of being an anti-government booyaka who wants nothing more than to topple the bros from Hamba, let me remind you that people who want this government to succeed (myself included, I've seen way too many governments fail before) would want a strong opposition that acts as a watchdog against government wrongdoing, corruption and wastage. If we're to call this a democracy, the people at bare minimum deserve that from their elected opposition. For example, all the pundits seem to agree that had Gamini or Lalith not been assassinated, and had served as opposition leader from '93 - '99, CBK's government would never have grown so corrupt and impotent incompetent. So for the sake of the country, wake up from your slumber and get your act together, hoes. And don't complain about losing elections, you idiots don't even deserve the seats you win. Do it now or 15 years down the line, we'd all be forced to 'Walk Like an Egyptian'.

Okay then, back to watching the parade...