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Enigmatic Journal by Yoeman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Social media as the engine of revolution

The concept of social media started when humans begin to communicate. They express their ideas in cave paintings and ancient stone scripts.

The Plight of Modern Family; Gender Equality and contemporary changes

The human society is comprised of men and women. The society has given specific roles based on the gender which has now changed dramatically.

Sri Lankan Education System Needs an Overhaul

Education is a basic need for a human being. The right to education is recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We get education until we die.

Climate Change and the Future of Mankind

Since the beginning of mankind, humans tried to master the environment around them. Now thousands of years later in the 21st century it seems that the humans have finally conquered the Mother Nature

Online Life; Is it safe?

Information and communication technology helps man to connect to one another in every aspect of life today from financial transactions to meeting friends. This interlinked world may appear to be fast and convenient but have we ever wondered whether our privacy and safety is ensured in it?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

US Election; What happened?

America has decided. It is Donald Trump to rule the United States of America for the next 4 years. The presidential election has turned into something we have never seen before in US history. The result caught most of the people off-guard. Roots of a deeply divided and insecure society emerge beneath the tolerant and progressive ‘super-democracy’ which everyone expects the USA to be. Are people being delusional or have they forgotten to understand the underlying forces of human nature when they are at crossroads.   

The main factor

As there are many reasons why Donald Trump has won by a significant margin, in my opinion, the main factor should be that Trump being able to address the insecurities in the minds of the majority of American People, the white, middle and working-class ordinary Americans. The insecurities being threefold; national security being compromised, collapsing economy and employment related issues and finally the shattering of the so-called ‘American way of life’. The latter can be described as a shift in demography, cultural norms, and national values. Even though some of these issues are prevailing and pose an immediate threat, the others have little to no real effects. For example, issues such as demographic shifts and cultural norms being undervalued have no immediate effects to the USA as immigration has in Europe.

Trump has triumphantly exploited those insecurities of the majority. The analysis of the opinion polls has suggested that while the Asian, Hispanic and African Americans have loathed Trump, the majority of white Americans vouched for him. Trump appealed for the working class, to secure their employment. He also appealed for the general public to strengthen the national security and stopping the adverse effects of immigration. The means of doing that was outrageous and sometimes dangerous and hilarious and terrifying at the same time. The border wall to keep the Mexicans out of USA and banning immigration from certain countries categorized by him as ‘Muslim’ are few of his ‘brilliant’ solutions to the above problems. There are some progressive factors like tax reforms and infrastructure development and creating job opportunities. However, his election campaign is dominated by ISIS, Mexico, and Iran, the things which ordinary American fears and being insecure about.

American election has many similarities to the Brexit vote held in June this year. Both had the similar characteristic of the belligerents are the same. Both have similar issues such as national security, weakening the national economy and immigration and the outcome and winners have the similar qualities. Not to mention the ‘bromance’ between Trump and the alleged winner of the Brexit, Nigel Farage which made Farage openly supporting Trump; by even speaking at a Trump rally.
The outcomes of Brexit and US Election have made two realizations; one is that even a supposed liberal society has deep rooted traditionalist ‘non-progressive’ values and they will play a huge part in making decisions and the second and the most importance one is that it is always important to look at the growing fears and expectations of the silenced majority. In this case the, insecurities of the ordinary American psyche. It is not that Trump’s rival Hillary would do anything that undermines the national security and putting the economy in a downward spiral and Hillary being the president doesn’t make the life easier for Blacks, Hispanics, and Muslims in the USA but the outcome of this election is the result of Trump being successfully manipulating the insecurities while Hillary failing to address them properly and getting the confidence of the majority. It is not the fact that Trump is better but that Hillary is worse that made America opt for Trump.

Has Obama contributed to this?        

Some blame President Obama for making the republicans weak and making Hillary’s defeat at the election. But in my opinion, Obama is a better president than anyone who was nominated and ran for this year’s election. Given the history and politics of USA, it was a bold and progressive move that American people have endorsed a candidate like Obama. He came to power in a crisis period, the Debt crisis had weakened the USA and economy haven't seen a catastrophe of this magnitude since the Great Depression in the 1930s not to mention the international criticism for sending troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. It is the sheer desire for a change that made Americans choose Obama over John McCain.

Obama either succeeded delivering the change he promised or he was damn lucky for the passing of the adverse effects of the 2008 crisis. The crisis slowed, companies stayed afloat and the country survived if not thrived. Troops have pulled out from Iraq and Afghanistan. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (AKA the Obamacare) was another progressive step taken by Obama even though it was criticized heavily.  It was the fact that ‘The GM was alive and Osama Bin Laden was dead’ made Obama win his second term. That means the recovery of the economy, pulling troops out and killing Osama had generally elevated him to one of the best presidents the US ever had.

Events that unfolded in his second term made some effect in the power swing from Democrat to a Republican in this election.  The rise of ISIS which depicted the flows of US foreign policy, unemployment or under-employment in among Americans, racism and most importantly recent attacks by radicalized home-grown terrorists have made his leadership weak and questionable which in-turn become the Achilles heel of Hillary Clinton. In my opinion, the USA was in a better position economically than when Obama took over in 2008 and he reversed some, not all of the damage that George Bush had done. If Obama could and had run for the third term, I believe that he could and should have won as he is better than Hillary, Trump and certainly Bush.  

Shattering expectation of the USA being progressive?

Is the USA a progressive and liberal society? The answer would be a Yes and a No. It depends on how we define progressiveness. We are expecting too much from the USA, wanting it to become an example for all of us who strive for a liberal utopia. Sorry to have hurt your feelings fellas! But you have to realize that as every country is a depiction of its society and the American society is not as progressive and liberal as you want it to be. It has the deep-rooted conservatism (at least among the majority of the people) to be portrayed making political choices. We tend to look at the mainstream media and a few of the progressives and liberals and assume that the common American had the same values the minority is portraying but it is not the reality. Even though the USA is a multicultural society and has values of religious freedom, when it comes to national security, economy, and employment, nothing was allowed to compromise it.

Was democracy to blame in the first place?

Now some people also have speculations about the USA being a democratic society. It also depends on how we portray how democracy should be. The reality is so much different and unsettling. The foundation of democracy is the will of the majority. As long as that will of the people is accurately presented (in US election, there are speculation of that have really happened because of the Electoral College system begin criticized for not displaying the will of the people) their choice should be the valid choice regardless of how hard to swallow it and come to terms with it for the rest of the world.
The next lesson of democracy to learn is that the unpredictability of human nature and the fact that it can be changed. Both in Brexit vote and US election, the opinion polls predicted the opposite result in huge margins. Regardless of how strong the democratic institutions are we should realize that as a chain is as strong as its weakest link, the democracy is totally depending on the unpredictable and manipulative human consciousness. It is the political force which understands and makes most of it goes for the win.

What would to future be like for the USA and for the world?

When Barack Obama becomes the president in 2008, the world had expected miraculous utopia from him. Some even hope for a better future not only for African-Americans but for the whole society. He couldn’t deliver any of it except the relative economic stability. America is still hated by the millions of people; African-American youth are getting shot by the police by the dozens, American still live in fear of ISIS attacks.

We should not expect anything drastic from Trump also. It will not be surprising that Trump if struggles to stop the influx of migrants from Mexico, to crush ISIS to the ground or to make the American dream a reality again. The people who opted for Hillary especially minorities should not be worried of a prosecution as well as all the presidents did, Trump will not stick to his plans for sure. What we can expect is the political stability as Republicans have both the senate and House of Representatives. There may be minor house-keeping jobs such as infrastructure projects and job creations and a few legislations. Internationally, the status-quo will likely to remain even with someone as charismatic and hectic as Trump.


Now the election is over. Still, Obama Has Reins until 2017 January. It is still no time to make a complete prediction of what Trump will become. However, this election has given some important life lessons for everyone and helped to realize the human nature when faced with insecurities. For all the liberals and so-called progressives, there is some soul searching to left to do. They expect too much from the USA and try to justify their ideas through the process called democracy which is made to depict the ideas of the majority. They should realize when their world starts crumbling beneath their feet that they are the minority and to never under-estimate the human nature. 

(photo courtesy : 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Battle Against Booze

Man always seeks pleasure and a way to hide from fear, sorrow, and misery of life. Unlike other animals, human needs are complex. The man has a lot of concerns other than finding food and mating. He invented the concept of recreation. Finding pleasure has become the lifelong quest of mankind. The man has a verity of ways to get pleasure in which drinking alcohol plays a prominent role. Consuming alcohol or in other words “Drinking” is not only a recreational habit but also a part and parcel of the culture.

The root of drinking goes back to the prehistoric era. Before man settled down for farming in valleys they lived a nomadic life doing from place to place seeking shelter and food.  Alcohol was introduced when man accidently discovered fermentation when they drink wild barley fermented water. They surely started falling love with it because it has the “feel good effect”. That fermented drink resembled beer. Barley was one of the first crops to be domesticated thus introducing agriculture which shaped the human civilization. People no longer needed to roam from one place to another to gather food instead they grow them. In medieval times, Europe was literally drunk because the only drink safe to consume was liquor. Drinking water was mostly polluted but alcohol brewing process requires boiling so unknowingly Europeans kill the bacteria in the water used. Drinking has been evolved from generation to generation along with the culture.

Why people like alcohol this much? We all like to get pleasure and forget our worries. Alcohol precisely does that. When someone consumes alcohol, it goes to the small intestine through the stomach. Walls of small intestine quickly absorb the alcohol and add them to the blood stream through which it goes to all of the organs in our body while the Liver tries to remove alcohol from the bloodstream. However, it takes very little time for the alcohol to reach the brain. Alcohol decreases the activity in brain’s some neuroreceptors and increases activity in others. It also increases the chemical dopamine in the brain’s pleasure center causing the “feel good effect” that occurs after taking a drink. Dopamine is called the “Pleasure hormone” because of this effect. According to a report published by World Health Organization, world average alcohol consumption is 6.1 liters of pure alcohol [1]. Alcohol also results in 2.5 million deaths per year [2] surprisingly more than the number of deaths from AIDS

Temporary effects of alcohol will be gone after several hours and the drinker will be back to the normal sober stage. Alcohol makes a person’s mind free, his animalistic nature is somewhat revealed. A drunken person seems to be open and fearless. Drinking makes social gatherings possible, people tend to meet up others over a round of drinks at a pub or bar. Even in ancient times, pubs have become a center of human interaction and sometimes intellectual discussion forums for great philosophers, artists, and revolutionists. Even today alcohol plays the main role in social occasions and becomes a tool helping to get socialized.

Although alcohol consumption opens up a person for good, it has many adverse effects; physical and psychological.

There are safe limits for alcohol consumption for both men and women. Pregnant women are advised to retain from alcohol consumption. Weekly maximum alcohol dose for men is 21 units. For women, it is no more than 14 units. A unit of alcohol is 10ml of pure alcohol (100% proof). It is also recommended to have at least two alcohol-free days per week for both sexes [3]. Alcohol is highly addictive. It affects not only the drinker but also his family, friends, and community. Psychological trauma caused by him on his family especially children can be very harmful in the future.
Alcohol is the cheapest method to get the “feel good effect”. Alcohol production, distribution, and consumption are highly regulated by governments but illicit liquor production which is highly dangerous and black-market trade is rapidly growing. Taxation on liquor is highly profitable for the government. Generally, alcohol taxes and ultimately liquor prices are going up every year but those price hikes didn’t help to reduce consumption. An addicted person may find money by whatever means to pay for drinks.

Liquor companies maintain close ties with the authorities and the government. Most of these ties are serving a more sinister purpose. By political lobbying, sponsoring and bribing liquor companies to protest against progressive steps to inform the public the harmful effects of alcohol. People are getting wasted every day while profit margins of liquor companies grow.

Some religions such as Buddhism and Islam forbids alcohol consumption while Christianity usually tolerates, nevertheless regardless of the race or religion, people get drunk. The only practical thing to do is to educate the masses about the adverse effects of alcohol and retain our young people from becoming alcohol addicts. Telling the people to drink not more than their limits is effective than telling them to stop consuming alcohol at once. Gradually anyone with a strong willingness can come out of alcohol addiction easily.

Drinking is bound with one’s culture. Separating people from drinking completely seems impossible. Although drinking helps us to be socialized, to temporary forget hardships in life and to feel joy it has always been a silent killer. Since all out war against liquor is improbable, the best thing left is to tell others to drink responsibly according to safe limits

Photo courtesy :

Friday, October 14, 2016

Boys Don't Cry???

(Photo Courtesy )

I’ve come across a post published by one of my friends regarding crying and its gender dynamics. The social norm is that it is not for the boys to cry and crying is something acceptable for girls. As boys when we had tears in our eyes, the grown-ups humiliate us saying ‘don’t cry like a girl’. When boys (from now the words ‘men’ and ‘women’ are used to depict the male and female gender and it includes people from all age-groups). Several questions have been raised from the idea of crying. Some say that it is a method of expressing the emotions while some speculate the helpfulness of crying dismissing it a weakness if it is done by men.

Why do we cry?

The ‘Crying’ discussed in this article is not just the process of having tears in the eyes. Crying should be separated from the response to chopped onions, tear gas or yawning and should be associated with emotions especially painful and sad ones. It may be related to the emotional outbreak and a may be triggered to show someone’s distress, the need for social support from the others around you. The ultimate objective of crying may be to act as a signal of emotional distress to others so that they come to help and comfort you. When the words cannot show the true state of mental and emotional anguish, crying comes to the rescue. This is evident in infants and toddlers whose verbal skills are not developed but are able to communicate their distress through crying. A crying baby grabs the attention of all around him/her and those who are close will immediately come to the aid comforting, nurturing and soothing him/her. When children grow and come into adulthood, the inherent show of distress through crying doesn’t change. What has changed is the response to the crying. We don’t respond to a crying adult the same way as we did for the babies.

Men v. Women; crying

Do male toddlers cry less than their female counterparts? Or does the society respond differently to male infants? It is not clear that who cries the most and usually when the infant is small, we tend to attend the emotional needs regardless of the gender but when the child grows, gender will play a role. That is why ‘Don’t cry like a girl!’ the response comes out from the adults when boys who passed the toddler-age cry while totally opposite comforting response will be directed towards a girl. This growing separation of responses will continue towards adulthood. The reaction, when grown up women cry, has little or no change while for the men, it is considered as the weakness and something which the men cannot and shouldn’t do.

Do men feel emotional pain as much as women?

Even though there are differences in the male and female brain in relation to the emotional sensitivity men also feel emotional pain as deeply and severely as women do. The difference lies with the long-lasting effect and what men/women do in response to pain. Men often feel the emotional pain less intense than their female counterparts nevertheless the pain is highly likely to remain with men for a long time. Especially in rejections, the pain remains even if the times and conditions change over time thus scars remain until he dies. Women, on the other hand, feel the pain intensely for a significantly shorter time than men and the pain may subside over time. The response is also different for men and women. While women try to express their emotional pain and sadness as it is, men tend to channel it in different ways, most probably through anger or self-destructive behavior such as recklessness, substance abuse or potentially life-threatening behavior.

 It is so unfair to conclude that men don’t feel the sadness. They do feel it but they are either reluctant to directly express it or channel it out as it is. That’s when the crying comes. Because of the established social norms forcing men to appear strong and refrain from showing their true vulnerable emotions, most of us think that men have little or no feelings. It is the unspoken, un-cried and hidden despair shows the real emotional nature of men. It is the guy who smiles and happy all the time hides the most painful secrets.

Is crying beneficial today?

When the society gets changed, individualism has been promoted. Today, the sense of community and altruism was not the norm of the present society. This is most prominent in relationships. With this change, there will be less and fewer people whom we can truly trust. A person’s emotional support network is shrinking and he/she must be very lucky to have even a few individuals with whom he/she can be emotionally open. In the times when trust is a luxury, it is highly likely that crying and showing emotional pain to others will end up in more hurt, pain, and humiliation for that person. Thus regardless of the gender, it is wise to cope with your problems by yourself, thus invalidating any need of crying or seeking for emotional support.

Summing up

The essence of what we’ve discovered above is not only about crying, but also about the changing ways of showing the emotional distress to get the support from the people around you. It doesn’t mean that crying alone is a weakness or not a ‘manly’ thing. If it helps to sooth the pain, it would be the healthiest thing to do even for men than channeling the pain to self-destructive behavior. In fact, most of the men who appear to be strong have cried in silent and put a brave space along with a mask of a smile to the outside world.

In conclusion, it can be said that the act of crying to show the mental distress hoping to get emotional support may not the best thing to being done at present for both men and women. In times, when crying makes you vulnerable and gets you humiliated and most importantly when no one around you can be trusted, the best thing to do is to endure the pain and suffering silently and try to get over it. It is applicable for both genders thus it is not ladylike to be crying and it is not only manly to hide your feelings. Everyone should hide their tears to make themselves immune to more hurt and pain from the untrustworthy people around you.

I wonder how the phrase ‘boys don’t cry’ comes to use. But I discovered it from a song performed in 1979 by the English Rock Band ‘The Cure’. It depicts a heartbroken boy who smiles because it is not acceptable to shed a tear on his loss.

 The song is listed below. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Social media as the engine of revolution

(Photo courtesy )
Social media is the collaboration between people in the means of exchanging content virtually via networks. There are many definitions about social media but I shall emphasize on the definition given by Merriam-Webster dictionary. It defines social media as

“forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)”

There are several conditions that need to be satisfied for any collaboration method to be called as social media. They are (1) The exchange of information or content, (2) A virtual community, (3) An online gathering place such as a social networking site, blog or a forum. Despite the differences between mainstream media, many think that social media is similar to conventional media if not an extension f the former but the core concept of social media being the direct involvement of people make it differ from others. It is a well-known fact that in the recent past, social media is recognized if not accused as the main reason to brewing revolutions throughout the world.

The concept of social media started when humans begin to communicate. They express their ideas in cave paintings and ancient stone scripts. Although it is obvious that the first form of social media didn’t involve the internet or any other sophisticated communication methodology, it was similar to modern social media in terms of the exchange of ideas and community interaction. However the social media we called today came with the introduction of the internet as a place to collaborate. With that, new methods of sharing information are born. First, there are internet connection places such as chatrooms and online forums. With the social networking sites such as facebook, google+ and myspace, the whole concept of social media came to new heights. Social networking sites are powerful tools for the growth of social media. Blogging is a relatively new concept allowing anyone to write your ideas in a virtual diary for the whole world to see. The microblogging site twitter has become immensely popular social media tool. It facilitates sharing ideas, news or anything you like on the internet but with only 140 characters. Although, it seems not to be enough for anything to be published, by far twitter’s contribution to the social media exceeds all other internet based platforms. Photo and video sharing sites such as youtube, Picasa, Pinterest Instagram [need to give inks]also play a crucial role.

Although it is not a mandatory thing for a social media to be based on the internet, being on the internet itself is the main advantage the social media have. It has a large number of audience. Internet users are growing exponentially so internet based social media always gains popularity. Social media is not tightly regulated or not regulated at all. Access to that is not restricted allowing free information flow. Social media is free (at least the internet based ones) if not cheaper than the conventional media. Most of the social media contributors being community organizations provide access to new ideas in a free environment. The main advantage of social media is the people getting directly involved in getting information. Most of the time social media acts as an active way of providing information. News providers, as well as the audience, engage in conversations. The audience may give feedback and their opinion regarding the information they have received from social media. The above interaction may happen instantly so timewise it is efficient. 

Social media was now famous (or infamous) for its contribution to fuel revolutions. For revolutions to happen, an exchange of new ideas needs to be put up. People who need a change should get together. Gaining popular support nationally and internationally is a must. Social media provides all those. 

General public may have discontent over the social, economic and political situation of a country. A discussion can be put in the social media. People who are sympathetic to the course will gather. With the ideas of change looming ahead, sooner or later the bubble bursts. People take to streets either to topple a government or urge authorities to solve the problems. Social media can also be used to influence civil organizations or even foreign governments to intervene and help them. If a crackdown or a civil war happens, social media may provide front row seats for the whole world to see the atrocities and the suffering or people.

This scenario proved to be true in many parts of the world in the last couple of years. The popular uprising against dictatorships in middle-eastern countries (often called ‘The Arab Spring’) is the best example of how social media help the birth of revolutions. Especially in Egypt and now in Syria, the role of social media is prominent as never before.  A fight for change in a monetary system ruled by large banks and multinational companies has swept across most parts of the western world. That was called ‘The Occupy Movement’. Thousands of protesters were gathering at the financial centers and government institutions urging for a change. Social media, mainly social networks and microblogging sites were used to send messages to people directing them to protest places and gathering active support.

A popular uprising in Ukraine to overthrow its president is another example of the successful use of social media to direct popular uprisings. For example, the youtube video below shows a young lady speaking in the midst of a protest (probably a standoff with the police) urging the international community to actively support the revolutionaries.

Sri Lankan context;

Sri Lanka has an active social media presence. Social networks such as Facebook are the main player. A small but growing twitter community, online forums, and active bloggers publishing in both Sinhalese and English play an active role.

Independent media organizations, NGOs use social media to influence people. Since there is a popular conception that the mainstream media is infiltrated by the government, for an unbiased representation of opinions, people are turning into social media.

On the other hand, differences of opinions are appearing from the Sri Lankan social media. A rise of nationalism (some depict that as racism) and religious revival of Buddhism and Islam can be seen via social media. Recently, a surge of Sinhalese Buddhist revolutionary ideas and talks of a conspiracy by minority religions to destroy Sinhalese Buddhist identity are immerging from social networks. This is leading to an all-out cyber war between different religious factions. 

More and more people are getting internet access. Technology literate young people are using social media as a place to share ideas. With social media more openness and transparency are created, we are no longer a passive entity gobbling anything the mainstream media serve us. We have become investigative and social media change the perspective from which we look at the world forever. Although there are immense benefits of social media, it should always be considered as a double-edged sword. For example, the same discussion forum or social network that used to create intellectual ideas can also be used to spread religion hatred and fanaticism.

Social media is always here to stay and get evolve with the people. The best and wisest thing is to use social media for the benefit of the entire human kind.  

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Plight of Modern Family; Gender Equality and contemporary changes

The human society is comprised of men and women. The society has given specific roles based on the gender which has now changed dramatically. Both men and women go out for work and provide financial support for the family. This is mainly because of the economic conditions which force women to earn and the high educational and professional standards of modern women.

In the ancient pre-historic world, men go hunting or forging while women stay at home caring for children and doing other household chores. Human physique had adapted to that lifestyle as well. A woman can do patient work such as weaving, creating artifacts etc and she can endure longer than man. On the other hand, man can unleash massive energy for a short period of time helping him to pursue and kill animals. Almost all of the human races were patriarchal. There was no place for women other than home. Education of women is neglected but the knowhow of doing household work had passed down from mother to daughter. The slightest of improvements for the working of women happens in the 19th century western world. Women were allowed to work as governesses for children of wealthy households. Poor woman were also recruited as factory workers and laborers to fuel the growing demand for labor in the newly industrialized economy. But prostitution being the world’s oldest job welcomed women with open hands as it always does even now. Apart from those, economic contribution of the women for a society was very limited. Although Sri Lankan women are somewhat liberated than their other Asian counterparts, women going to work was an alien concept for the conservative Sri Lankan society.

In the modern society, women had defied the traditional gender roles. The main reason for this revolution was improved education standards for girls. In Sri Lanka and throughout the world, schools are established for both sexes. Sometimes, women outperform men in education field. In Sri Lanka this scenario is well observed. Since independence Sri Lankan women are coming out of their typical job roles specified to them (schoolteachers, clerks etc) into engineering, finance, manufacturing and entrepreneurship. With the universal suffrage, women have their political freedom so it is not a surprise at all to see a Sri Lankan woman becoming the world’s first female prime minister. Now Sri Lankan women are pushing their independence to the limits as discussions on men-women equality and feminism being carried out.

This newly found independence has an immense impact on the typical role of woman in the society. In the past a woman had always been under the protection of her father, husband and elder son in various stages of life but now they have financial and sexual independence. It is up to them to decide whether to get married to a man or to get married to a job. Even in Sri Lanka, highly educated high achieving young women belong to late 80s and early 90s generation tend not to get married or to set aside their marriage until they get elevated in educational and professional life. Sometimes young women who get married don’t like to have children. Even if they have children, family duties are most of the time put in a second place making room for educational or career obligations.

Women must have their independence. We can’t turn the clock and go to a medieval society again. Financial contribution of a mother in a family is needed like never before in this economically hard times. Giving financial and personal independence is not a bad practice since it gives some sort of self-esteem to women. At least girls should have opportunities to apply the knowledge they have gained from education to the national economy.

Temporary Solutions

Flexible work schedules can be introduced by employers. Of course, maternity leave is grated for women at childbirth but that is not a guarantee that the woman may have quality time for her family. Standard 9 to 5 office schedule should be replaced with the permission to come and go to office at any time. Modern Information Technology (IT) companies are adapting this practice. It is much easier for them to emphasize on flexible schedule because all those organizations have target oriented work pattern. For them, all that matters is you have completing your work before deadline. When, where and how you are going to do your assigned work is not important. This helps a woman who is a mother and a wife to adjust her time according to family obligations. Company policies regarding women also need a change allowing more flexible times, reduced workloads and ‘work from home’ opportunities

Giving reduced workload for women employees is also among discussion but that raises questions about salary. Employers are reluctant to pay the same salary for a woman who is doing less work than her male counterpart. Although this practice goes against gender equality, it is much better than women working all day long without having time for her family.
Work from home is another alternative to smooth up to busy work schedule of modern professional. This doesn’t mean that you are always in doing whatever the task assigned to you in home. Regular visits to workplace may be needed but combined with flexible work schedules, this is a good solution. Development in IT field has broken the time and distance barrier. An employee can connect to office computer network form her Laptop or home computer. Video conferencing can be used to communicate with people anywhere in the world so time is dramatically saved. A busy mom can look after her child and do household chores even while she is doing her office work. She can do her work at night or early in the morning with the comfort of her cozy home.

What lies ahead?

All the above mentioned solutions are temporary. With the diminishing of the gender roles the concept of family may be abrogated in a couple of generations (it has already happening). Human society is in constant evolution. It is inevitable that traditional gender roles will soon be wiped out and we may come to the age that we no longer distinguish men and women as their contribution to the society and economy is more of less becomes the same.

We need to set aside the traditional beliefs that a family makes a person complete and it is needed to the personality development of a child. More and more single parent homes and artificial insemination pregnancies and surrogate motherhood gives both men and women to procreate without the express help of the other gender making the ultimate independence of sexes form each other and freeing them from the burdens of the family.

Whether the conservatives like it or not, it is inevitable that family, as an institution is failing as the concept of marriage has already failed. Embracing a and preparing for a future with enhanced personal independence, diminished gender roles and less and less family and emotional ties should be the wise thing to do. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sri Lankan Education System Needs an Overhaul

Education is a basic need for a human being.  The right to education is recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We get education until we die. Humans are the only creatures in the world who have the capability to pass their collective knowledge in to the next generation. New knowledge piles up from generation to generation making humans capable of mastering their atmosphere and become the most successful creature in the world. There are two kinds of education systems; formal education we get from educational institutions and informal education. When we look at the formal education system in Sri Lanka, a need to change the system arises.

Formal education is Sri Lanka started with the introduction of Buddhism. Mahaviharaya in Anuradhapura which was controlled by Buddhist monks was the main knowledge hub. Only Buddhist philosophy was discussed at first. Writing was not popular at that time so knowledge goes from teacher to student orally. Sinhalese literature was in its golden age in ‘Kotte’ kingdom. Even our Kings were scholars who were fluent in many languages. When Sri Lanka, came under British rule, old education system had changed. Buddhist temple centered education was replaced by missionary schools.

Later, with the efforts of Colonel Olcott to introduce Buddhist schools and C.W.W Kannangara’s free education, a student is getting education from government schools freely. Because of the education system, Literacy rate of our country is 93% and we have universal literacy rate among young people. Every child is getting a school and sometimes scholarships for education.
Sri Lankan education system although seems to be fine for an outside eye is actually plagued with problems.

Our education system is not up to date. The world is changing and new knowledge is piling up but the content we learn is very old and outdated. New subjects are left out. This situation is mostly present in technical education in which the things which we learn will be obsolete in a couple of year’s time. Knowledge delivery methods are very old. Teacher-oriented learning is still practiced while in education systems in developed counties are already in more dynamic student-oriented system. Our children are still being spoon fed by teachers. That was even present in our university system as well. The disadvantage of the above approach will become apparent to students when they go abroad to read for a foreign degree or when they try to read for a post graduate degree.
From the moment a child is entered to the grade one, parents and teachers are pushing the child only to be excelled in academic achievements. Sports, aesthetic and extra-curricular activities are virtually being thrown out of a child’s time table thus hindering the personality development of the child. Our children’s creativity is much low compared to children in other countries. Endurance (both physical and mental) is nil. Children are getting depressed and committing suicide more often. All because of the imbalanced personality created by our education system.

Fierce Competition for popular schools is a controversial point. It is true that many schools don’t have even the basic resources. Government needs lot of money (of which the government is always running short) to develop schools. Even all the schools get equal resources, people still try to send their children to popular schools in Colombo and other major cities for their prestige and for better opportunities their child will get for being a student in those schools, for instance getting a high-paid job or securing a good marriage proposal. 

 Restructuring the education system is one of the most challenging tasks that lie ahead. We should focus on an education system for the future needs.Changing education system from teacher-centered to child-centered is needed. Child should be given room to discover the existing knowledge and create new ideas from it while teacher should be playing a supportive role.

Sports, aesthetic and extracurricular activities need to get introduced as part of the education process. A rapid update of the content of textbooks is also needed. New technologies and foreign language education should be considered of utmost importance.  This will all become in vain if the resources both physical and human is not developed in schools so infrastructure development is also needed.

Policy makers need to understand the fact that the money spending on education is not a waste but is an investment for the future. Increasing the percentage allocated for education of the GDP is not merely enough. Quality of education should also be increased. Children are our future. Without them getting a good education to take up the future challenges, all of our present work will be rendered useless so it is everyone’s duty is to revive our education system from the sinkhole in which it is buried.  

Monday, June 27, 2016

Climate Change and the Future of Mankind

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Since the beginning of mankind, humans tried to master the environment around them. Now thousands of years later in the 21st century it seems that the humans have finally conquered the Mother Nature. Humans have habitats in all possible places in the earth ranging from freezing Antarctic ice caps to scorching deserts regardless of their hostile environment. It is apparent that human race is unstoppable and they are the master of plant earth. Is it? New developments of how environment behaving now proves otherwise. Is it possible for humans to hold nature’s wrath any longer?

Human population was well under 1 billion until 1804* and the natural environment was relatively intact until the industrial revolution in the 19th century. Since then, man made his print on earth exploiting its resources and filling it with his offspring. It is true to say that man has altered the global landscape once in for all during the last 2 centuries.

Humans thrive when they have all their basic needs such as food, water and shelter fulfilled. The complexity and sophistication of human needs also increased steadily. All those needs costs energy and natural resources. Those resources need to be extracted in industrial scale. Energy is the key to human success. Starting from coal burning steam engines to electric motors and diesel engines all of which needs energy of some sort, human dependence on energy makes oil, natural gas, coal precious commodities. Timber, metals and water from aquifers also adds to the mankind’s growing resource need. Land is also had to be reclaimed from virgin lands for dwellings and farming not to mention the sea, which is used to fulfill countless needs. Burning fossil fuels and adding nuclear waste as a byproduct of energy generation is inevitable. Humans have littered the environment with waste which is mostly toxic to the environment. Even the space is not left intact by filling it with space junk originating from thousands of discarded spacecrafts and satellites

Early warning signs of the fact that the earth can no longer sustain the beating it gets from human presence was disregarded. Even the melting of the South Pole ice cap was dismissed of having any connection with human activities. Even the scientific community was turning a blind eye to the climate change and the changing environment. Sometimes there were confusions in identifying natural phenomenon such as “El Nino” and “La Nina” different from man made changes. Most of the people well in to the 1980s thought that earth can take anything we throw at her.
With the global temperatures getting higher, natural disasters happening at an alarming rate and with sea levels rising, finally mankind gets a taste of what it is to come. Only now the scientific community and the general public started to see a connection between climate changes and human activities.

It is lucky to see the environmentalists educating the public and lobbying for politicians and policy makers to seriously think what we do to the environment in the so called process of industrialization and development. Still rapid alternation of our way of life is needed. We either have to slow down our impact on earth or find ways to reduce if not reverse our negative effect on the environment. With the growing population it is impossible to slow down the development activities so only option left for us is reducing human footprint on earth. We should be smart and efficient. The technology which made the negative effect on the environment itself can be the savior of both the mankind and the environment. New technologies which help to achieve maximum growth with less environmental impact may hold the key to future. It is true to say that there is no silver bullet to save the planet from eminent destruction in the future. People need to gather at personal level, city level and country level to battle this problem. It is apparent that we only have the plant earth to fulfill all our needs. If we destroy it, our industrial might, growth opportunities and above all our material wealth will be on jeopardy so number one priority should be given to reduce harmful human impact on earth and keeping Mother Nature calm and quiet.