Category Archives: Food For thought

How to Freeze a American Credit Card

It is very difficult to be a very SMART credit card user.

About 12 years ago when I returned from sojourn abroad and decided not to go back in spite of the many risks involved (including losing my life on public transport or in a public place like Central Bank of Ceylon-now it is no more public, it is almost private where few cronies make all the decisions, or while watching a cricket match) in Ceylon. 

I had six credit cards and a small saving abroad.

Unfortunately those cards were international and one can use it in this country in spite of the war.

I was without a job and was not hunting for a job wanting to take a welcome respite since the sojourn abroad was lot of work covering for three local doctors who did not want to work where I worked but was a beautiful, place now almost wretched by the recent earth quake.

I was enjoying the welcome respite but I could not resit the indulgence with the credit cards.

One day when I looked at the credit balance abroad and the amount of money I owed and the interest accumulated, and it dawned on me I may not survive even a year.

That night I took all the cards and cut them in half and went to sleep.

I have made a few smart decisions in my life and very many structurally poor decisions (including returning to my mother Lanka and watching absolute corruption at all level including schools, health sector (both public and private) and electioneering.

But this was one of those SMART decisions.

I could foresee the credit market collapse (but not so soon though) even though I was not a financier.

The decision was to live within my means and not bloated like the mega politicians on credit loans from abroad.

I have some information for you how to FREEZE your Credit Card that you got the other day, thanks to the Lifehacker International for sharing their wealth of financial advice with me.

They are as follows

1. Take the card in your hand and oil it with some Sri-Lankan butter and wrap it with a tin foil. It may be useful to swipe a strong magnet over it to demagnetize the inner foil.

2. Buy 12 plastic containers that fit in inside the other and gradually become smaller that would have the capacity to hold a small piece of fish cake sold at Rs.100/= in a super market food stall-For example Majestic City.

3. Now put the credit card nicely foil covered in the inner most container and place other containers on top of it. By doing this you are going to save on the electricity, bill .
The innermost will have the coolest air trapped which cannot escape and the outermost will have the warmest air.

4. Now switch on the freezer and put the lowest cooling rate and place the credit card containing cartooned cartoon deep inside the freezer compartment and put all the reused or rotten food you eat on top with few onions and garlic to sanitize the rotten food.

5. Now you have to pay your electricity bill with cash and not by credit card.

This way you can Freeze your card till you become old enough to say good bye to this world.

Do not forget to put a note inside stating that “I do not owe the bank any money”.

This will stay put and a STATUS SYMBOL for your name since you may the only one under the hot Sun in Sri-Lanka who does not owe anything when you died.

All the rest are pawned for another 60 to 100 years by our caretaker politicians.

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Quality and lack of standards

It is sad to hear one pilots seriously hurt and other lost his life in mid air.

It was a coincidence for me to introduce 5 S principles to my students, I use  the example of pilots training and the need for precision in taking off and landing skills that have to be 100%  in every outing, come what weather it may be. 

Any drill that involves precision needs to be perfect and 5S applies that principle.

Doing the right thing every time right.

I also use a standard statement “some time back our air force won the Quality Award and within six months lost most of the air crafts”.

The emphasis there is, it is not the winning of an Award that matters but on the ability to sustain (5th of the 5S others are Sort, Set, Shine and Standard regimented procedure) and maintain operational standards necessary for safety.  

The same principles applies to cricket too.

We did not sustain the efforts due to politics and corruption in Sri-Lankan Cricket Office after 1996 win.

I am a cricket fanatic and this time round decided to be  neutral and enjoy the cricket without any bias to the country of origin of the cricketers.

My 5S standard applies to all good cricket and cricketers including umpiring.

We do not need to have performance enhancing gear under the glove like what some Australians did in the final of 2007.

We do not need performance enhancing drugs likw what is used in Football, Boxing and in the Olympics.

On the field it is the umpires who should set the standard but many fail in that job and hide behind the phrase human error.

In any good sport human error should be minimal and should be none at all  if possible.

Our own Malinga’s hat trick, West Indian Rooch’s hat trick, Andrew Strauss 150 and O’Brien’s fastest ( I missed it unfortunately) century, 100 in 50 balls and Afridis 5 wickets hauls get my untainted admiration, credit and full weightage unlike our ITN pundits and their prevarication and vilification’s.

What I want to highlight is none of those.

I have estimated that many people including young children die on the road daily and it is more than the lives lost in a single tsunami that comes once in 50 to 100 years.

We have no road standards.

I put the blame on the teachers, police, parents and ultimately the government running these public institutions culpable.

We do not want the excuse “if our pilots cannot achieve it on mid air after the war we cannot achieve on the roads”, excuse.

Now there is election campaigning who are the people who are violating these rules, election rules included and the road traffic rules.

It is an absolute disgrace to see convoys of drunk and vociferous supporters.
Do not think our voters are stupid.

They may have made mistakes in the past but when the crunch time comes if there is no violation of voter right, they know how to exercise their franchise.

It is politicians and their stooges who break these rules.

It is often the people in power who violates and overuse their power.

By the end of the campaign we may have lost few more of lives and more injuries and the ruling party is culpable for not maintaining the law and order.

There is no war now and there cannot be any lame excuses too.

We are fed up of not having simple standards leave alone 5S.

This is a country without traffic and road standards but lot of rhetoric and I am made to understand there is a vehicle for every 6 to 7 persons.

We have too many vehicles and painfully slow flow of vehicles on public roads.
We will never achieve those mega goals if we ignore the simple rules on the road.

Safety first is the golden rule.

Human Destiny

If man needs to survive in this planet with dwindling resources and utmost pollution he has to take major steps.

The WHO culpable for its inability to forecast and foretell the emerging trends. I is is also culpable in not having a sustainable strategy.It seems it is dictated by the rich nations funding it and the cronies employed to effect the rich nations desired plan of inactivity.

They haven’t got an estimate of what is the sustainable population in which the planet can produce food (with a buffer stock.for major catastrophe).

They let the market forces decide the events.

With inflation, the price of food is going up and that is no concern for them.

They haven’t got a plan for food security.

Above all they haven’t a slightest of idea of how the global warming would threaten food security.

Their performance is akin to UNO which is impotent in formulating any viable preposition to this planet except for dividing land, countries and nations to a level desirable for the rich nations to exploit economically.

Their pseudo-economic aid make these poor countries more vulnerable and this is happening in Asia and Africa.

They have no strategy to make Africa a food basket of the world.

Asia cannot sustain food security due to population explosion in India and China which are following a death trap of new open economy.

For the first time India was not able to produce onion which is not an essential commodity.

But what about the staple diet. It is no different. Up until now soya had been filling the gap. While supplementing the staple diet it was a buffer for the poor nations.

Now with bio-fuel taking precedence this commodity is becoming the rich nations darling exploits.

Wind up with water security.

It is common knowledge that this planet is abundant with water and even can submerge some low lying nations with glacial melting.

But we do not have ample drinking water.

The man continue to pollute the rivers and their origins and basins with industries that should be banned for the benefit of mankind.

China, India and Ceylon are good examples.

In Ceylon all our rivers are neglected and allowed to contaminate with dangerous agro-chemicals from up country to low country of the North and North East. The rain forest is gradually destroyed and and disappearing fast and some rivers are actually now drying up in dry season.

The government priority was the war and making the economy running somehow but not having a sustainable plan to protect the forest and the rivers that are the live wire of our wellbeing.

In fact we do not have water security.

In the mean time some politicians are getting ready to sell the last resource we have. That is water for money to foreign capital. That plan is still in the drawing board and with two third majority even that is sold to a company or companies for generating money. I am not surprised judging by the level of intellectual capacity in the parliament. It.is possible in the distant future for the water to be be sold to foreign capital, however much they deny that there are no plans to privatize water industry.

That is a big lie!

Human needs and his Destiny

It looks likes human needs take paramount importance to all the other needs of living beings on this planet.

 

Human needs are not measured by bare existence but by uncontrolled desire, greed and exploitation of the very environment he lives in.

He is not very responsible but very erratic in behaviour.

He explores and expand both in numbers and the spheres of influence.

When the going is good he expands and when the going is bad he perseveres at the expense of all other beings.

Human is the only species known to eats its own beings and all the other edible beings.

He does not spare anything that this earth can offer,

 

When the going is good it is Lancashire hotpot with lamb but when the going is bad it is only potato hotpot.

His culinary desires which includes cannibalism speaks of his destructive nature.

How can we say he is a rational being?

Only rationality is his own existence at the expense of sometimes his own fellow beings.

Rat race and nothing but rat race.

That is the virtue of all powerful capitalism, power and wealth.

There is something wrong in this simple equation.

Expand, exploit and try to gain control at every advantage point.

He does not learn lessons from the past,

40 years ago in 1973, when oil price hike followed after the Middle est conflict he was ill prepared.

I saw what that meant for our children.

Thousands and thousand of children died of starvation and illness.

We are not ready for its repetition.

This time it is the global warming which is going to precipitate it.

40 years ago it was oil and energy and thereafter the food crisis.

When there is scarcity we tend to invest more on the same resource instead of changing to alternative resources.

In fact after the last oil crisis we had being using oil at a rate far more energetic than before.

We were not ready for the global warming.

In fact we did all to precipitate it.

Then there is a Youth Bubble too.

The rich dictators were not receptive to the needs of the poor while piling up money for their own fantasies.

How can we say man is rational.

His greed dictates the front line.

The ones who are behind the line or sitting on the bench have no say.

Unfortunately this equation is going to change.

Be prepared the human, the stupid exploiter.

The tooth, the whole tooth, nothing but the whole tooth, is the story behind the gold, the other elements in the amalgam

What ever the Truth Commission says, rest assured the truth is a mystery and invention of mankind but nobody can hide behind a tooth.

It remains for ages revealing the telltale story of a the truth and the origin of mammals and mankind and their evolution.

It is so hard it is very difficult to burn or hide the truth it reveals.

What a bite it has in forensic medicine.

This is not about the evolution but something else.

This is about the amalgam and the dentist who uses the amalgam to add extra weight and worth to the this historical object.

It is the truth about the tooth and how to become rich in spite the decaying and age.

Can you ever become a friend of a dentist and get him to reveal the truth behind the amalgam?

Especially the that one crafted with gold (teeth).

I guess, you would not.

They will never reveal the truth about the amalgam they use but they will always reveal the truth about the tooth that it needs attention of some sort.

But I will reveal the truth about the amalgam if not the tooth since the the pathologists job is to get to the bottom of the tooth and truth.

I will tell you how many grams or gains of gold and how much of other metals in the amalgam.

But there is a problem with that approach.

One has to die and one has to collect the tooth at the time of postmortem and one cannot neither recover the gold nor the money nor the prestige lost during the procedure both in life and after death.

We chop everything to pieces and only very tiny pieces we can examine.

I can tell you how tiny was the element gold in comparison to the price you paid for the filling.

You may say why not do a X-ray and estimate the real value of gold but it cannot be done that way.

It will only show a a shadow of the metal implantation and it cannot tell what metal it is exactly.

The dentist will never tell you but he will give you the exact charge of the procedure and no money back guarantee or the gold cannot be exchanged at the bullion.

One cannot do that in any case after death and now it is a museum specimen of the pathologist to tell your telltale story of the tooth to others not yet done the honours for the pathologist to step in.

The tooth, the whole tooth, nothing but the whole tooth, is the story behind the gold, the other elements in the amalgam and the tooth and and nothing but truth.

Making amends and Friends

I find present day young persons live very detached life.

True they have cell phones.

They have portable MP players and lot of gadgets in their possession to keep occupied in lonely engagements and attachments but when it comes to making friendships they find it difficult to make meaningful relationships.

I wonder why?

They also lack the humour what was inherent in our time and in our youth.

We had very little aspirations but we worked hard probably seen how our parents we struggling without complaining. That generation always enjoyed a joke and they always carry some sense of humour even in an unfamiliar situation. Probably I also acquired some of them even though my external appearances were made to look like serious.

I hated bulling and I was always on the side of the underdog. Having seen very poor people and having grown up with them in early years relating to them and sharing what little we had was no problem.

Making friendship was no problem.

In fact everybody was a friend. We were secure with each others company.

Moment I moved into the urban situation for schooling I found a very distinct contrast and making friends was difficult. From the beginning it was antagonism and friendships were not spontaneous.

It was just getting the 10 or 11 players in the filed to play cricket. Who bats first was difficult to decide. We had to draw lots. Often we never get the chance to play since one who bats somehow outlast the interval. No retiring!
It was always fielding and when we go to bat somehow we tend to get all the nasty deliveries. So we were weeded out and most of us gave up cricket but I continued to take part in athletics which was a solo effort.

The rat race was evident in a subtle form and image building was going on at the expense of friendship.

The accent was different in the city.

As we grew up we out manoeuvered all these difficulties and became smarter in the academic fields. What we could not mange in the field (I think it should have be the other way round) we managed in the class room.

After a year or of roughshoding I was beginning to come to term with the city life always keeping my semi-urban background and make more and more friends and becoming bit popular.

We managed to meander through the rough patches but unfortunately this situation seems to be much worse today.

In private tutories children almost kill each other for a seat. Bulling is there in a subtle form and this trend continues to the campuses and the rat race continues.

Talking to them in group activities I begin to discover the followings.
1. Loneliness
2. Inability in making friendships
3. Difficulty in working in groups
4.Isolation in religious, ethnic groups. and schools of their entry
5.Frustration
6. Often not communicating these difficulties
7. Sadly lack of humour

This makes them to go for affairs with the opposite sex often dating back to their relationships probably initiated (not new) in school days. This coincides with the severance of the parental control.

I find this as a very abrupt approach.

I tell them you must make lot of friends before jumping into long term relationships.

I tell them first casualty is losing the few friends you already have.

The next casualties are your freedom and hobbies.

They find it difficult to comprehend my argument.

Then I ask them can you count the number of friends with the fingers in your hands and can you count them after 5 -10 years later and remember what I said.

True friends do not drop one by one each year.

They remain true through thick and thin.

They are not counted by the number of years, the number of years add to them.

Better make some friends now before it is too late.

Urbanization has its own casualties.

No true friends.

This is evident when we see how we treat cats and dogs.

Dogs needs friendship more then humans.

Everyday, I see a dog (looked a crossed with a good breed) in front of the hospital bus stop. This dog has no place to go. Come rain, come sunshine he is always there. No shade for cover, soaked in water with little fur. Many a times I think the fellow is dead but the next morning I see him ambling.

This us a drudgery for this poor sole but he goes on without a friend.

The other day I found a cat mauled to death probably by the owner’s dog but owner took no notice of the dead for three days. The particular dog for some reason is also very poorly treated without friends.

I cannot blame the dog for its behaviour.

So my argument go little further, if you cannot make friends please do not rear cats or dogs.

We are now very poor making friends with 30 odd years of hate, anger and war mentality.

Politicians are still firing this theme.

It is time we invest on a course in schools teaching “how to make friends” and make it compulsory instead of regular competitive examinations.

Yes Man’s Luck and the Pedigree Dog’s Exit

You might not realize that the pelican’s misadventure with our yes man has resulted in some interesting chain of events.

He turned up immediately at the heaven’s doorstep with a certificate not signed and left blank by our pelican.

It was soon checked to see whether it was authentic and was found to be a true copy given by our pelican.

He had to stay till pelican returned from earth from his routine rounds for further verification..

In the meantime the Maha’s Assistant let him sort out the mail and the documents for the next round of delivery.

His demeanor was very appealing to him and asked the yes man whether he could be an assistant to him for three or four days till pelican returns.

 

True to his nature he said yes, yes.

 

Eventually pelican returned and when he was asked whether he knew about the yes man.

 

Or Yes he is my yes man and when I asked him whether he is ready to die without any hesitation he said yes and that was why he had to abruptly stop his training in mid air.

 

Given some training he could fly any plane anywhere with at least three more pilots provided that he does not manipulate the flying gear but coordinate his actions with the air hostesses at the rear at meal times was his reply.

 

With this recommendation Maha’s Assistant was very impressed.

 

When Maha gave a call from vacation to ask how the things are at heaven, assistant told him the story of the yes man and asked whether he could take some leave and appoint the yes man in his absence.

 

Maha asked why not leave altogether and return to earth and learn some tricks from Paraya dogs so that you can follow suit just like the clever Paraya dog who attained Nibbana with no entry request.

 

Besides. you have been very helpful to me and this is the longest vacation I have had in all my life and you have found a suitable candidate to take your reins, I have no more questions from you and said Good Bye and Good Luck till we see again from earth may be in about 15 years time.

 

Our pedigree dog turned Maha’s Assistant soon afterward call our yes man and asked him whether he is ready to take over.

 

He promptly said yes.

 

Just before he left he told him, you are Maha’s Assistant and nothing more.

 

I knew it from the very beginning Sir he said.

How come?

You never took responsibility and let others take responsibility of your actions and that is the type of job I was looking forward and comfortable..

 

I could never take responsibility on earth and neither in heaven too, he said.

 

You are too good to be here and this arrangement is mutual and when you do come back here I will say yes to anything you ask including the job back.

 

No dear, I now have a better strategy than that but I have to learn the finer points from a Paraya dog.

 

The last Paraya dog whom I met was so clever before I could ask any help he was gone with the wind.

I have to meet some of his relatives in Sri-Lanka and will be back soon in about 15 years.

Till then Good Bye.

As he went he heard somebody saying Yes Sir!