Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Real History of the Dragon Boat Festival

Stewart Sloan

It was a dark and stormy night and the lights in the Counsellor's office flickered with the electricity in the air. Mr. M. Lee was startled by the shrilling of his phone and paused to get his heart back to normal before picking it up.

"Mr. Lee, get out of there now, Tung's goon squad is coming to pick you up".

The caller hung up without identifying himself but he didn't have to. Lee knew the man was correct. In the last Legco meeting the Chief Executive had looked in his direction and bellowed, "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest, er, I mean lawyer?"

Lee didn't even bother to collect his brief case; he opened the door of his office, saw that the coast was clear and ran for the lift. Changing his mind he decided to use the fire exit and ran down the stairs.

As he went he wondered how he was to get to safety in his hide-away in the New Territories. The MTR was closed; the Star Ferry had long since stopped running. They would be watching the cross harbour tunnel buses; his only hope was to go to Queen's Pier and see if he could get a water taxi.

He was panting with exhaustion and fear when he arrived and his exhaustion turned to despair when he realised that there were no more water taxis. The Walla-wallas had been put out of business by the tunnel buses years ago. He sat down on the steps and put his head in his hands. He could only wait for daylight and hope that he could get to the Star Ferry without being spotted.

Then he heard a commotion in the water and stared in amazement as a green dragon raised its majestic head out of the water. Apart from the San Miguel tin that had got caught in one of its horns it was a magnificent animal, as dragons go.

Lee sat there dumbfounded, not exactly worried but then this was his first experience with a dragon and he had no idea what to expect.

Then, to his amazement the dragon spoke, "Quickly", it said, "Climb on my back and I will take you to safety".

"But, but, but" stammered Lee, "You're green".

"You try swimming around in this shit for a thousand years and see what it does to your complexion. Hurry now!"

Without further ado, M. Lee climbed on the dragon's back and was taken to safety in the red-light district of Tsim Sha Tsui. (Who would think of looking for a Legco member in a topless nightclub?)

M. Lee was taken to safety and from that day on all the freedom loving people of Hong Kong show their respect to the dragon that saved him by celebrating Dragon Boat Day.

At least I think that's the real version.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Crocodile parks -- eco-tourism and garbage disposal

by Stewart Crocoloanian

(June 22, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The government of Mahinda Rajapakse has outdone itself once again by combining eco-tourism and garbage disposal all in one fell swoop.

The soon-to-be-opened Crocodile Park just south of Negombo will be, ostensibly, to promote eco-tourism but the wily intelligentsia at Templetrees has another aim in mind for the denizens of the park -- garbage disposal! And what better way of getting rid of unwanted dissidents than to feed them to a dozen or so hungry crocodiles.

About fifteen years ago a zoo located in Shenzhen, Guangdong province in the south of the Peoples' Republic of China came up with a great idea to bring in customers. When it was time to feed the tigers they sold live chickens to the tourists who came to visit. The resulting carnage ended up in a huge profit for the zoo and a huge down turn in the international community's opinion of the PRC.

Will, we must ask, Rajapakse sell off unwanted dissidents to the tourists, local or international to increase sales? We await, as I am sure the crocs do too, with baited breath!

In the meantime, another interesting point is as to where these crocodiles will come from. An article published in the Sri Lankan press states that they will be captured from the Gin and Nilwala rivers and 'released' into the park. Only a mind like that of Mahinda Rajapakse could come up with the concept of taking an animal out of its natural habitat and 'releasing' it into the controlled environment of a park.

Well done Templetrees! Thank you for the endless entertainment you provide.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Last year Airyn was one of several writers and poets asked to draft a suitable letter and poem which would be forwarded to President Obama. Airyn duly submitted the draft and poem and did not hear anything else. Yesterday she discovered that her work had been used and published in the Women Thrive Worldwide website after being forwarded to President Obama, the First Lady, Vice President Biden, Secretary Hillary Clinton and others.

The website may be seen at: http://www.womenthrive.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1015&Itemid=28

I am reproducing the letter and poem here for your information.

Thank you,


On November 29, 2010 Airyn Lentija of the Philippines submitted the following letter to the Obama administration in support of the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA).
Dear President Obama, First Lady, Vice President Biden, Secretary Hillary Clinton and the members of US Government:

I am honored to be given this rare opportunity to take over the platform and speak with you about the pains behind the tears I have and felt of the abused young girls, teenage girls and women. With the approach of the IVAWA vote, I am asking you to sign this legislation for the women of the world.

Everyday countless women suffered from Domestic Violence. While it is usually physical violence many people forget that mental abuse can be equally traumatic and far more long lasting. In addition to this every year, women in some parts of the world become victims of acid attacks and while a brilliant reconstructive surgeon might restore their damage skin tissue they will never be free from the horror of what they have suffered, of the pain and anguish they have experienced and the deep underlying knowledge that they will never, ever, be the same woman.

There are teenage girls, forced to marry at a very young age. Some are exploited, sold to be used as sex slaves, farmer labourers and worst they will be killed slowly by the harvesting of their organs. There are women also will suffer and die from the after effects of female genital mutilation, stoning and other forms of brutal, barbaric acts.

As a Domestic Worker, I have seen and reported on stories that happen around the world to my fellow women; victims of illegal recruiters, abused, raped and killed and disappeared....conveniently forgotten.

The worst is the fast rising number of women, teenage girls and young girls as young as five who are trafficked and exploited. Sex tourism is one of the major problems of my country, the Philippines and of the world were women form the greater percentage of victims.

Young girls were usually the target of child pornography. I have read The Diary of a Sex Slave where You Mi described the life she had gone through as flesh seller. How she coordinated with US Goverment and testify to shut some of the brothels in the US. How many You Mi's still exist and live and work like animals?


While the world is busy

Rotating madly on its axis

They were stacked in a half-dozen high,

Concrete cages,
Waiting for their turn

To be exploited,




Innocent girls as young as five

Trapped on the blockade of no-more dreams
Where their blood-curdling screams

Were persecuted inside them


Of being heard...

Behind those walls are painful cries

Pleas (for education),
Fears (for self worth),
Traumas (for AIDS...for Alienation)

Have you seen/heard/felt them?

They were there...


God knows what they feel...
The trembling of their knees

The first time the lining of their dreams

Were sliced evilly...


The nipples of their hopes

Brutally clawed by the beast

Of different races

In less than ten hours

They were there...


Penning their blues in the wind

The words behind their silent weeping

In every excruciating night
Nights and days of drowning

In the language of the sex trade

And not a ghost of a chance

The eons of light invade

Their infant lamenting souls

God knows what they feel

They were there...


Now I am asking for your kind heart to please sign the I-VAWA. Women deserves to be loved and respected. Please endorse and sign I-VAWA and help free the abused women from injustice.

Thank you,

Airyn Rano Lentija

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sri Lanka's latest Leadership Training Programme

Stewart Sloan

(June 07, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka Guardian) You have to hand it to the Sri Lankan government; it is always on the lookout for different ways and means to make the young people of the country more versatile and competitive in the world around them. In this latest scheme young Sri Lankan girls at a government sponsored training camp were made to watch nude and semi nude cabaret artists in order to overcome their own fear and embarrassment of nudity.

What was not mentioned in the article was what the author has learned from a reliable source: that the passing out parade, which will be held in front of the proud parents, the media and representatives of the government, will be a topless affair.

Yes, Dear Readers that is correct. The forty young ladies currently attending the Leadership Training programme, some of Sri Lanka's brightest, and most well-endowed young women, will let their puppies* out for their country.

If I wore a hat I would be taking it off to President Rajapakse right now. No other leader in the history of the world has ever come up with such a diversity of training schemes. It speaks volumes about the level of his commitment to ensuring that the international community keeps their eyes on the country (and off its human rights problems) which has produced its fair share of beauty queens such as Piyumie Shanika, Aruni Rajapakse, Jacqueline Fernandez and the one and only Rosy Senanayake. And of course, even if they don't do well enough in the programme to pass the final exam, I am sure that Mr. Rajapakse, being the fair minded person that he is, will offer the ladies an air conditioned room with internet access in which to sit their papers. It is the least he can do. After all, he did it for his son.

*American slang for breasts