Saturday, December 1, 2007

Ugly Words, Rich People and Photos

Yesterday someone left a comment on my post about terrorism. It was a very ugly rant on how all the Tamils should be forced out of Sri Lanka. I don't remember everything it said as I hit "delete" faster than you can say the word, but there were quite a few poorly written sentences with completely irrelevant and ugly comments about Tamils. I'm not really interested in people using my blog to voice racist opinions.

Then I thought about it for a bit and I had to wonder how one grows to believe that any particular place in the world is meant for one type of person. I mean the Sinhalese can't lay original claim to this island (the indigenous Vedda people, of which I believe there are around 200 left, hold that claim) so why do some (really, a very small minority) of Sinhalese people believe the Tamils should be sent away? In case you are wondering, I also don't completely understand people who feel America should stop allowing immigrants.

If anyone else thinks they will get to post awful, ugly comments to this blog, be forewarned that I will delete them. I believe in freedom of the press, but as this isn't the press, I believe in my freedom to prevent your speech from being read.

New topic: I was reading Theresa's blog (I enjoy comparing my experiences in Sri Lanka to her experiences in India) and she had this link to test how wealthy you actually are. I thought it would be fun to test my abysmal salary here in Sri Lanka (I believe I'm making in one year what I used to make in a month!). Well, my salary in Sri Lanka puts me in the top 14% richest in the world! Yep, I'm the 889,428,940th richest person. Then I tested my most recent salary in the U.S. I was in the top .95%! I was the 57,087,865th richest person in the world. That is pretty amazing. Still, with both salaries, I do not and did not feel like I made enough. In DC that feeling was completely related to my inability to purchase a home. Here it is directly related to my inability to live like other expats. Or rather, the expectation that I should live like other expats, even though I don't make the same amount of money (this feeling doesn't come from other expats, but from those who feel it is totally acceptable to rip me off financially because of the color of my skin -- I'm talking to you tuk drivers!).

In case you haven't noticed, this post is just a bunch of unrelated ramblings.

And in that same vein, today I went to the photo exhibition of the society. I did not make the cut and thus my pictures were not on display. I was actually rather upset about that when I first heard, but I've since gotten over it. The guy who told me my photos didn't make it actually said, "your photos were rejected;" today he apologized for being so blunt. Apparently, though, many people were very upset with "the poor quality of judging" and now there is talk of putting some other photos originally deemed unworthy on exhibit. They wouldn't allow me to take my rejected photos for this reason. I thought the photos on display were good, some of them were really amazing, but I wasn't impressed by some of the winners. Also, everyone who won an award, and there were like 15, so quite a few, were male. That seems a bit too much to be a coincidence. I looked through the list of the names of those whose work was exhibited, and though it is sometimes hard for me to tell with Sinhala names, they seemed to bend toward the masculine. That is rather sad in my opinion. Wouldn't it be wonderful if at this point in history activities such as this were a bit more balanced. Our photo class was totally balanced with young, old, foreign, local, females and males. You'd think this balance would be seen in the photos of an exhibition that is supposed to be open to anyone.

Then on my way home from the exhibit I realized that prejudice will always be around. I realized this as I complained to myself about the poor quality of driving in this country. My actual thought was, "why can't these idiots learn to drive." This, I realize, is my own prejudice because frankly, people are no worse here than in the U.S.

I would like someone to answer this question: why is it funny when you make a move that could kill someone? This happens in the U.S. as well as here, people laugh when they almost sideswipe me or cut me off. Granted, I think people here think it is funny that they made the white lady angry, but still, we are talking about my life. If you succeed in hitting me I really hope you do not laugh. I mean, that would be rude.
Yesterday I was reading TreeHuger, which had a great article about these stickers you put on cars that park in the bike lane. I love this idea, though I admit I would never have the guts to do something so permanent to someone else's car. Before I left DC I took to "interviewing" people who did this. I would stop them as they came back to their car and ask why they thought it was acceptable to park there (or, if they were simply driving in the bike lane, I'd ask why they did that -- particularly on a road where you gain nothing because there isn't enough room to pass). Most of the people would say they had no idea it was a bike lane, or that they just needed to quickly run into this shop and didn't see the point of finding a real parking space. A cop I caught driving in the bike lane apologized and said he was trying to read a licensed plate of the car two cars ahead. When I pointed out that he should be leading by example, he apologized again. One guy asked me why I thought it was o.k. to bike in the road! Seriously people, please read that little book they give you when you turn 15 that provides the rules of the road. In case you haven't read it in a while, let me remind you, bicyclists are supposed to be on the road. I told this to the man in question -- he did not believe me! I really wish someone would deputize me so I could give tickets for stupidity.

All this brings me back to my listening choice of late -- The Indigo Girls. I don't know why, but when I live abroad I have an intense need to blare The Indigo Girls and sing at the top of my lungs on a regular basis. They have this one song with the line, "One perfect world, when we look the other way." I think that pretty much sums up my feelings these days.

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