Monday morning: Fighting Stronger

I’m at the start of a full work week and managed to get a decent amount of work done during the morning… Since my work schedules are fully flexible (Love you Scrapinghub!), I tend to work more during the latter part of the day, leaving me with not much time to unwind after work. (But of course, due to my work hours being spread across the day like this, I have many little chunks of free time at my disposal during the day. This has helped me stay without getting too stressed and I think 9-5 work hours are so 1980s.)

I also have my biweekly meeting with Ken in a bit for catching up on work (and life, and all things in between)

Anyways, my plan is to get more work done during the earlier part of the day. So far today is good. This is just a 5 minute quick update so I apologize if it feels all over the place 🙂

I’ve been listening to “Waiting for My Moment” by Donald Glover (From the movie “Creed”) on repeat with some pink noise on the background while coding and absolutely love this track. =)

In other news, there are only 26 days until the Sri Lankan presidential election. I don’t think there was any other election in history that Sri Lankans were this much excited to vote against the ruling party than this one…

That says a lot about this failure of a government, doesn’t it?

Until next time…

Gotabaya – Return of the Jedi.

Sri Lanka’s former defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (C), pictured in 2010

If you’ve seen me on Facebook, you’d know how I am bombarding my friends with posts on the upcoming presidential election in Sri Lanka.

If you haven’t decided to vote Gotabaya yet, you probably will once you read the following piece published back in 2010 in The Manila Times print edition. Be sure to watch the video of the BBC interview once you finish the article.

Also Did you know that Gotabaya used to be a Unix/Solaris Administrator back in the U.S.? How amazing is that? =) Ok, enough listening to me. Go on read The Manila Times article and be sure to vote early in the morning on 16th of November. ~SeeJay

BBC meets its match in Sri Lankan Defense Secretary
The Manila Times 14 Jun 2010
WITH its foreboding lighting effects that appear to have been plucked straight out of Dante’s dark epic Inferno—and cleverly devised one suspects to reduce its willing, and oftentimes unsuspecting, “victims” to submission—the BBC’s HARDtalk program has attained a universal reputation (or should that be notoriety?) for tough and bruising interviews that border on intimidation.
Why, in its trailer for the widely popular program the BBC has fierce animals from the wild locking horns in deadly tussles, while HARDtalk inquisitor-in-chief Stephen Sackur looks on arms folded barely able to disguise the smirk on his face.
Last week HARDtalk was “on the road” in Sri Lanka with the sole purpose it seemed to derail the widely held perception that this jewel of an island—blessed with every imaginable treasure that nature could bestow —was finally at peace after a crippling secessionist war that lasted for three decades and ended a year ago with the humiliating defeat of the Tamil Tigers terrorist outfit, and at the needless cost of countless lives.
Any independent visitor to Sri Lanka these days cannot fail to be both surprised and exhilarated at the remarkably swift transformation that has come about in this once war-ridden nation.
One can freely enjoy the spectacular beaches (some of the most breathtaking of which cling to the north east coast which was at the heart of the conflict but are now once again open for leisurely business), savor the easily activated smiles of young and old from every ethnic mix, admire an economy that has been rejuvenated and get a real feel of the people’s faith in a government given an overwhelming mandate in just concluded elections to sow the dividends of peace and prosperity.
All that, however, appeared to have been lost on the BBC and its rabid attack dog Sackur. He seemed hell-bent on using his platform to paint—with the aid of a handful of accommodating interviewees— a sinister picture of the country that belied any semblance to the harmonious reality that is postwar Sri Lanka.
To give just one glaring example. Sackur kept harking on about alledged state sponsored media persecution even while he was traversing the length and breadth of the island talking on camera to whoever he cared to choose—including even a telephone chat with detained former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka who is the most vociferous critic of the government.
But then came his interview with powerful Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa—a tough no-nonsense tolerating retired Sri Lankan Army Colonel who (invited back in 2005 by President Mahinda Rajapaksa— his elder brother— to Sri Lanka from the US where he was domiciled with his family to lead the faltering war effort) is credited both at home and abroad with having marshalled the decisive phase of the war that saw final victory.
Now spearheading the vital task of restoring and maintaining law and order in a country that has been on a war footing for so long, Rajapaksa is totally driven to ensuring post-war stability in his homeland.
In a recent interview in Colombo with The Manila Times he was passionate in his hopes and plans for his country’s future. “While it is true that the government has been able to regain control of each and every inch of land in Sri Lanka and restore peace, we have to keep in mind that we are emerging from a 30 year long conflict that, apart from its local impact, had international connotations too,” said he.
Despite the military success, Rajapaksa is not given to complacency. He explains: “Although the Tamil Tigers have been militarily defeated in Sri Lanka, a lot of proseparatist activity is taking place internationally, aided and abetted by former Tamil Tigers cadres and activists among the Tamil Diaspora. So it is imperative that we remain vigilant.
“And while the government is committed to relaxing the emergency regulations and restoring normalcy and giving the people the full benefits of peace, we have to take whatever steps necessary to ensure that terrorism does not raise its ugly head in Sri Lanka ever again.”
So, with a reputation as a guy who doesn’t mince his words, Rajapaksa’s characteristic hard talking style made him the ideal guest for a TV program which prides itself in being called HARDtalk.
But. alas, it turned out to be more than Sackur could handle. Every verbal punch that he threw at Rajapaksa the combative Defense Secretary returned with crushing effect, jolting the normally self-controlled Sackur off balance.
Fixing Sackur with a steely glare and reminding him “ that Sri Lanka was a sovereign nation,” Rajapaksa tore apart the BBC talking head’s argument that Sri Lanka should submit itself to a United Nations brokered inquiry into accusations of atrocities allegedly committed by both sides in the closing stages of the war.
When Sackur pulled out what he thought was his trump card and accosted Rajapaksa with the charge leveled at him by General Fonseka (who, incidentally, has built himself a post-military political career out of making wild accusations against the Defense Secretary) that during the final battle he ordered that even those people waving white flags of surrender should be shot, the Defense Secretary’s rage was palpable.
“He is a liar,” bristled Rajapaksa, “and if he continues to say that, he should be hanged because that is treason.” Sackur, unaccustomed to hearing such hard talking on his show was visibly taken aback, “You mean to say you would execute him?” asked Sacker his voice rising. “Yes, that’s the punishment for treason against your country,” countered Gotabaya.
And so the interview went on, with the by now emotionally charged Rajapaksa giving back twice as hard as he was getting from Sackur, and making it clear to the BBC frontman that he doesn’t have a monopoly on the truth.
So much so that Sackur brought the interview—that by this stage was turning into an absorbing mismatch—to an abrupt end.
Normally the show ends with Sackur shaking hands cordially with his guest. And we hazard a guess his trip is clasping the hand offered by the guest sitting across him and getting a triumphant feel of the sweaty and clammy level he had been able to reduce the often cowering interviewee.
But this time around, in a firstever for this globally televised talk show, it ended with the Sri Lankan Defense Secretary allowing himself a hearty chuckle in the knowledge that in this particular edition of HARDtalk it was undoubtedly game, set and match to him. And TV viewers worldwide could attest to that!

about:sleep (or lack thereof)

I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this but this is the best time I’ve manage to track so far.

One of the most useful things for me with the Xiaomi Mi Band is the sleep tracker. I check my sleep data pretty much every morning and it helps me decide if I’ve had enough sleep the previous night and what to do if when I haven’t.

Something I always knew for a long time is that I’m usually not having enough sleep at night, and I’m not entirely proud of it either. I find it much easier to concentrate at night because it feels much more peaceful and calm. While some of you “early to bed early to rise” types would struggle to understand this, I’m sure the night owls would totally get this.

But whatever your sleep preferences are, there’s one thing that we should all agree on; there are some serious health concerns when you are not having enough sleep. Seriously, Google it right now! You’d find a ton of research that explains how damaging lack of sleep can be… I was actually going to include links to some of the articles I read regarding this in the past, and googling to find those flooded me with a bunch more. I read a couple of those and it was so scary, that instead of finishing this post last night around 12am, I went straight to bed!

Anyway, I’ve been tracking my sleep for a few weeks now and I now know that I need to improve. Don’t get me wrong, I always knew that I’m not having enough sleep, I just didn’t have the numbers… or I was just lazy to actively measure my sleep durations. This is why the Mi Band is so much helpful. It does everything for me and now I know that I usually sleep between 3 to 5 hours at night. Around 3 if I stay up too late… and just over 5 if I come to bed a little “early”.

Now that I have some clear idea about how much sleep I get and what to do to improve it,  I have one less thing to worry about in life. And honestly, if you see my numbers you’d see that I don’t really have too much to do to fix my sleep habits. Since I work from home pretty much all the time, I have the freedom to sleep anytime I want and get up anytime I want to. Some of you who has to get up at a certain time because you have to commute to work would think that It’s harder for you to improve your sleep, trust me, it isn’t! I can argue that it’s actually harder for me because I lack that push to have a fixed sleep schedule. And I tend to stay up too late and for some strange reason, get up earlier than I should.

My point is that whether you have the freedom to choose when you wake up, or you don’t, you’d almost always have some way to allow yourself to have enough time to sleep (If you don’t, You should change whatever you are doing. Because you are probably better off alive) This is something I’ve personally been neglecting for a long time and something that I am planning to change.

So how do we do this? Simple, just have a way to measure your daily sleep habits and act accordingly, that is to get your daily schedules sorted out until you have a minimum of 6 hours (Maybe 7 depending on how you feel about it) for sleep. I highly recommend you getting some sort of a sleep tracker because it has helped me so much. I’ve tried a few android apps sometime back and it wasn’t very helpful for me. Part of it because I don’t feel too comfortable keeping the phone so close to me on the bed, and I’m also not so certain about their accuracy. So get yourself a proper sleep tracker (after all, $20+ for a chance at good health is a killer deal =) )

Once you know how much sleep you get (or how little, in case you are like me) Decide how much more you need to get in order to have a healthy amount of sleep and prepare a schedule.

And most importantly, try to stick to your sleep schedule as if your life depends on it because it most probably does!