Archive for February, 2008

The need for silence…

February 29, 2008

Is it just me, or do other people also feel that absolute need for silence?

Don’t talk to me, I don’t want to hear your voice.

Don’t talk to me, I don’t want to know your thoughts.

Don’t talk to me, I don’t want to feel your presence.

Don’t talk to me, I don’t want you in my head.

Don’t tell me your troubles, they mean nothing to me.

Don’t tell me you’re happy, I’ll hate and curse you in the depths of my heart.

Don’t talk to me, I just want to be alone.

Don’t ask me to speak, I wish I had been born without a tongue.

Don’t ask me to to talk, cos I hate the taste of every single little word.

Don’t listen to me, I don’t want you hearing my voice.

Don’t ask me what I think, I don’t want to share my soul.

Don’t ask me why I’m silent, I don’t have anything left to give.

Don’t look for light hearted chatter, all I have inside is a heavy silence.

Don’t ask me to open up, you can’t handle what’s waiting to burst out.

Just leave me alone, in a never ending silence.

Just leave me alone, to struggle with the darkness that’s a part of my soul.


The Chillies – 3 years of hypocrisy

February 21, 2008

It’s the time of the year when the entire advertising industry is all afire with the Chilles. The females are all in a whirl trying to figure out what to wear and the males are contemplating the risks of getting caught driving under the influence.

We’ve also got heaps of workshops, seminars and judges forums happening this entire week. People are all gung-ho about the levels of creativity and how great it is to be exposed to the foreign judging process.

While all this is well and good, what we need to really look at is whether we as an industry have developed and grown. The Chillies is now into its third year and we’ve seen a succession of foreign judges give their opinion of what is right and wrong about Sri Lankan advertising. Definitely a chance for us to take their comments to heart and learn ya? Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to have happened. Rumour has it that the total number of awards this year is the lowest ever. So that means, we’ve gone from bad last year, to worse this year!

So what’s going wrong here? It’s obvious that we as an industry are NOT improving at our game. I know its definitely not a lack of creative talent. All you have to do is look at the scam ideas that were submitted to realise that. We’ve got the talent and we’ve got the direction pointed out to us. It’s simply a matter of putting that talent to use in the right way to benefit our clients and win us bagfuls of awards.

Sounds pretty simple right? It would be, if not for the utter hypocrisy that rules the industry. I guarantee you, that given a month or less after the awards, the entire industry will go right back to doing the very same things they have been doing for the past millennium! Giving the client exactly what he expects and asks for. The only shock factor that is included in our campaigns is the price we charge for such drivel!

But then isn’t that the main focus of the agencies these days? Targets, billings, overheads, actuals, blah, blah, blah. It seems the management gurus of the industry think these are words that will instantly inspire their creatives to come up with brilliant advertising. Tell the guys how bad business is and they’ll be fired up with passion! In actuality, all they want is yet another way in which to milk the client of a little more cash.

If that’s the case, fine, do it. But don’t dish out this hypocritical bullshit on how the 4A’s and the IAA are working tirelessly to improve the standards of the industry. Because they obviously aren’t doing jack! All they’re doing year after year is wasting immense amounts of money to bring down foreign judges, have the awards ceremonies, parties, etc, for no reason whatsoever other than to massage the egos of the elected committees.

When the fuck are we going to actually admit that we do crap work and charge the earth for it? It’s high time people stopped slapping each other on the back and congratulating themselves on yet another successful Chillies show, and spend that time and energy in improving our work. Because until we as an industry are willing to change the way we work, the Chillies will continue to be just another example of the hypocrisy in advertising!

But then again, maybe we’re comfortable with the hypocrisy and are too scared to make a change. Maybe we’re too scared that change will show us up for who we really are…. People who just want to milk the cash cow and not bother feeding it!

A Presidency wasted

February 19, 2008

When looking at the powers that are at the disposal of the Executive President of this country, one can’t help but wonder at the way this power has either been left to idle or been misused for personal gain.

A good example of this squandering of power is the present incumbent. Having been voted in by the majority who wanted a resumption of hostilities, He had a choice placed before him. Do what the majority want him to do and be popular, or do the right thing for the future of the country and be voted out at the end of his term. By choosing the former, all he has done is bring this country closer to the brink of ruin.

What do I mean by this? Well, given that he has almost unlimited powers at his disposal, the President could very well have thrown his entire list of campaign promises out of the window and embarked on a path that would have led to a negotiated peace process. Of course he would have had to face many problems from within his own cabinet and party, not to mention the people who voted him in. But still, no one would have been able to take away the power from him.

if you look at an earlier post of mine, I proposed a solution to the LTTE problem, all the incumbent president had to do was call an end to the war and offer a huge part of the budget towards rehabilitation of the North East. After 6 years of continuous development, I highly doubt there would be any person in the North East who would want a resumption of the war.

It would have also shown to the international community at large that he was very serious about a lasting peace, and not just saving his own political skin. This in turn would put immense pressure on the LTTE to stick to the peace process and join main stream politics in the long run.

So, am I advocating that a future presidential candidate of this country, lie barefaced to the voting public? If that is what it takes to make this country achieve its true potential and bring about an end to the decades long war….. my answer is a resounding yes! It would be better for him to do so than let this country be taken still further into the depths of madness.

Since the majority of this country, when given the choice, feel the need to vote for bloodthirsty warlords, they need to be pulled kicking and screaming down the road to peace and progress. I’m sure Lee Kwan Yu wasn’t a very popular man when he set down the reforms that have taken Singapore to where it is today. But in hindsight, he is revered as a man of great vision and leadership.

I firmly believe that if the incumbent or a future president of this country has the balls to do this, and not just look after his own skin, not only would we see an end to the war but also a start to responsible and truly patriotic leaders.


Prabha and Mahinda… thick as thieves

February 15, 2008

Isn’t it strange how even the greatest of enemies will at times scratch each others backs in order to get scratched back? A perfect example of this would be Mr.Eelam and Mr.Chinthanaya. Even though they claim to be at war, what they really are doing is making each others dreams come true.

If you look back a couple of years to when the ceasefire was in place, it was very obvious the LTTE was suffering from an extreme lack of publicity. Since there was no ongoing war, Mr. Eelam had nothing to shout about to the world. In effect, he was losing the much needed publicity that generates support from the international community.

Enter Mr.Chinthanaya from stage right, desperate to get his hands on the ultimate power seat. With absolutely nothing to offer the people of this country, he jumped on the war bandwagon that was being pulled along by the JVP and the JHU. But as the presidential campaign got up steam, it seemed even this ‘patriotic’ drivel wasn’t going to be enough.

In the meantime, Mr. Eelam, who was wracking his brains to think of a new way of provoking our forces into breaking the ceasefire, was hit with a brainwave. Mr. Chinthanaya was starting to sound like his saviour. The more he screamed and wept on the southern stages, the more Mr.Eelam rubbed his hands in glee and anticipation of the coming war, and heaps of international sympathy.

Of course, the gullible voting public of this country, had absolutely no idea of what was in store for them, come election day. The masses flocked to the polling booths and then stayed up the night in true Sri Lankan fashion, listening to the updates of the counting. It soon became obvious that the runaway victory predicted by the Chinthanaya camp was running away from them, and Mr. Ceasefire was putting up a very unexpected fight.

This was the moment when Mr. Eelam proved himself to be Mr. Chinthanaya’s biggest ally. By terrorizing the voters of the North and East and preventing them from casting their ballots, he very neatly handed the Presidency over to Mr. Chinthanaya. Knowing full well the general public of the North East didn’t want a resumption of the war, he blocked them from voting for Mr. Ceasefire. This resulted in Mr. Chinthanaya winning by a tiny fraction of a majority.

Having had his back well and truly scratched by Mr. Eelam, Mr. Chinthanaya decided to return the favour in full, the moment he ascended to the all powerful seat. The war was resumed and Mr. Eelam was once again in a position of being able to howl and cry to the international community and the Tamil diaspora about the ‘terrible atrocities’ being committed by a ‘fascist’ government.

So, while the cost of living keeps shooting skywards and many more people continue to die, Mr.Chinthanaya and Mr. Eelam are busy scratching each others backs for all their worth. What remains to be seen is for how long these two will continue to carry on this farce of a war.

My guess is they’ll be thick as thieves till Mr. Chinthanaya is no longer eligible for the presidency or Mr.Eelam finds a better ally…

Independence….My Foot!!!

February 11, 2008

Now I know it may seem strange to people as to why I would be writing something about the Independence Day after a week has passed. Simple reason, I hadn’t access to a machine for the past week.

Having put that behind me, let me get on to the subject at hand, independence. Last Monday, while enjoying the extra holiday (which gave me independence and freedom from work…yay!!!) I was quite surprised to note that my mobile, which constantly spouts unwanted updates from a certain news source, was strangely silent. It was then brought to my notice that all SMS capabilities had been blocked from morning till 12 noon.

So basically, I was given to understand that on the Independence Day of Sri Lanka, I was not allowed the freedom of communicating with others in a manner I chose! Now isn’t that sort of defeating the entire process of Independence and freedom that Mr.Chinthanaya was crowing about on stage from the wee hours of the morning?

Having grumped about that for a while I was delegated to run to the supermarket for some much needed groceries. Little did I know I was in for yet another shock to my very naive impression of independence and freedom.

Having picked up a few things, I ambled along to the meat counter and was greeted with a vast array of emptiness! That’s right, absolutely no fresh meat on offer. Plenty of fish and other roasted, stewed, pickled and devilled concoctions, but no beef or chicken in sight!

So once again on a day when I’m supposed to be joyfully celebrating my independence and true freedom, it was rudely snatched away by some higher power who deemed it incorrect for me to be free to eat beef or chicken!

So, sixty years on from when our national heroes shed their life blood to gain independence and freedom for our country, I’m faced with a choice. Either celebrate the day half heartedly or change into a non-mobile phone user who’s vegetarian! I don’t know whether bars were also closed, but if they were, it means I’ll have to be a teetotaler too.

So Vive La Independence to those of you had the privilege of celebrating it!!

P.S. I didn’t even bother to touch on the days and days of road closures that prevented me from driving where I wanted to.