It’s not All Truism

Yesterday, Thursday, I hardly ventured outside at all. Sera reckons it was about 33°C: whilst I’ve been in hotter climes (about 40°C in Kerewan, Gambia), the humidity here can make it seem much hotter. I spent the day working on some programming and using an animation / movie program called Muvizu for TGS across the road. Before you start thinking I’m so dedicated etc., let me say I enjoyed it. Modern trends in philosophy (and Psychology? – but I’ll bow to those more knowledgeable in that field) claim there is no such thing as altruism and that so-called selfless people get satisfaction from doing the deed. I suppose it’s a modern version of “virtue is its own reward. Whatever, that rigmarole was just to make it clear the work was a pleasure and not a sacrifice, so there’s no need to feel sorry for me!

Today, I’ve continued with this labour of love but also ventured out to have lunch in Anura’s, my favourite café in the area. By UK standards, the décor and facilities are on the poor side of good, but I do enjoy the food, which is remarkably cheap, even bearing in mind it’s in a tourist area. After my calamari, I tucked into a “fruit plate” and ice cream. I have never knowingly eaten passion fruit before. Wikipedia describes it as a vine fruit: I don’t know if that is compatible with it being a member of the citrus family, but that’s how it seemed to me. It has as many seeds as a pomegranate, but you don’t need to pick them out, or at least I didn’t. I can recommend it.

Tomorrow, I’m going back to Unawatuna for a dive or two. This time it’s not lessons, but the Dive Centre will fix me up with a “buddy”, an essential when diving in case there are problems. I must admit to feeling a little nervous about not having an instructor with me to metaphorically hold my hand! I had wondered about going yesterday, but there’s been a couple days with some very heavy rain showers and I’m told that heavy rain can spoil underwater visibility. That seems surprising to me: you wouldn’t think that rain would affect 18m below the surface, but that’s what I was told during the course, so who am I to argue?

When I first blogged about moving to my current digs, I mentioned a young lady running a business next door. In fact she’s a secretary for a guy who supplies big plastic water cisterns for the building trade: there are often a dozen or so sitting outside waiting to be delivered. I was chatting to the owner this afternoon when we saw that a cow had come into Sera’s garden and Sera was in the process of shooing it out back onto the road. I teased him by suggesting he could have beef for tea, but I was gently corrected by the tank man who reminded me that Buddhists don’t eat beef. They happily eat chicken and he said he likes pork as well, so I’m at a bit of a loss as to the logic. I wondered it was because they’re mammals and higher up the “reincarnation chain”, but it doesn’t seem to be that.

The other interesting thing I learned from the tank man is that he used to send his kids to TIS and his wife used to teach there, but they feel it’s gone downhill and he was interested in TGS, of which he appeared to have a very high opinion. I tried to walk a tightrope during the conversation as I didn’t want to slag off a school on the basis of a western view of working there for a month or so, but it did seem we were singing from the same hymn-sheet, if that’s an appropriate metaphor for a conversation between a Buddhist and an atheist!

It struck me today that it’s almost March: I arrived about 10th January and I leave on the 4th April, so I’m well the way through my stay. I thought I’d start an occasion list of things I’ll miss or be glad to see the back of about Sri Lanka and vice versa about Scotland.

I’ll miss I won’t miss I’m looking forward to I’m not looking forward to
The warmth (even though it can be a bit much at times) The standard of road (mis)use Seeing Sonia (I had to put that right at the top!) The climate
My “pet” gecko Rebuffing tuk-tuk drivers every few secs Hot water (not that there’s much need here) The “Brexit” issue
TGS The crowds in the towns The mountains Xenophobia (though Scotland’s better than “dahn sahth”)
The beautiful cheap seafood Plastic covered bus seats A decent interior sprung mattress David Cameron et al (what an odious man)
“Elephant” Ginger Beer Litter (but not as bad as some places) Seeing friends and family
Monkeys and exotic birds Communication difficulties A comfortable armchair
Predominantly friendly people Small poisonous spiders Reliable 24/7 Internet

I’ve not added a column for things I’ve not missed, such as TV, which I’ve not watched at all. There must be more which will no doubt come to me later. I write these blogs in Word, then copy and paste: the table looked much better earlier!

fruit plate

Fruit Plate (with Passion Fruit and Ice Cream)

Pedlar's Inn

Pedlar’s Inn with trademark Morris



One response to “It’s not All Truism

  1. I reaaalllyyy don’t miss mosquitos! I have shivers at the thought of them slightly bounding through the air menacingly! Urgh!!

    As for Psychology matters, I had this thought only the other day on the rather negative, pessimistic view that altruism doesn’t exist. Sadly, (given my genetically inherited pessimism) I tend to agree with this view. Not that people aren’t fuelled by the fact that they are giving something back despite a loss, I believe that is very much true, but there must only be very rare cases where altruism has really, truly existed above and beyond the warm fuzzy feelings we all get. Do they motivate us? Yes! Do they positively reinforce prosocial behaviours, yes! Do they mean that we will carry those behaviours out despite significant loss/ irritation etc to ourselves? Maybe only sometimes. Rarely. Cerry oawn tho hen!

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