Categories
Off Topic

Why religious extremism cannot be avoided, ever…

The very construct of the concept of a religion leaves the potential for extremism within itself.

Let me explain why I think this:

  1. Religious beliefs are based on believing in an unknown or unexplainable higher power.
  2. The core thesis and different concepts of a religion are communicated through scriptures or mythology, or both.
  3. In most cases, these source material were produced for a significantly different cultural and historical context. Also, they are mostly vague about their concepts and leave a lot of room for interpretation.
  4. Most religions do not encourage, or are not very welcoming of critical questioning of such concepts and their core thesis.
  5. A significantly very large proportion of the believers of religions do not have any in-depth understanding of those source materials (2).
  6. Because of the vagueness in source materials (3), there is ample opportunity for widely varying interpretations, and some of them would inevitably be extreme in the context of current societal norms.
  7. When such extreme interpretations are presented to believers, they are less likely to question those or even cast any doubt, because of it is not the norm to question (4).
  8. In such situations, believers are also bound to believe them because of their lack of understanding of their own religion (5).
  9. In isolated and mono-cultural societies, this can go on for long without being questioned or challenged.
  10. Even if they are questioned or challenged, those arguments can always be countered by the core tenant of a belief (1), and such extreme beliefs can further get strengthened as a way of self-preservation at perceived persecution.

These are my thoughts as a non-believer. I may be totally off track, but at least this explains things for me. If there is any better explanation from believers, I am always open to listening.

Cover Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash.

Categories
Off Topic

Protected: After 1 year… Towards a conclusion…

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Categories
Off Topic

I was sexually abused as a child – by a relative!

The Summary

This is something I have never shared with anyone. But I have decided to share my story now, openly. In short, I was sexually abused by an uncle when I was 12-13 years old. And I may still have some effects of it lingering around my life.

The Background

This happened when I was in grade 7, and it was about a year after moving to Colombo. During this time, I would often go to the house this particular relatives, after school on my way home. Most of the time there would be a number of people in that house, including some cousins and others. But on one particular day, everyone had gone out to some event (I cannot recall what it was) and only that uncle was there at the house.

The Act

As usual, I sat in front of the television and watched a children’s programme or a movie. This uncle came and sat next to my chair. It seemed normal. He put his arm on my thighs. It seemed okay (?). He put his hand through my shorts and touched my penis. It was confusing. He took my penis out and started licking it. It felt wrong.

The Reaction

I did not know what was happening, but I felt it was something bad. So I just pushed him away and took my school bag and ran out of the house. I ran up to the main street and was not sure which way was my house. I vaguely remembered some buildings and started walking that way. I did not have any money for the bus fare, but I also did not know which bus to take or where to get off. After walking for how long, and asking for directions from random people, I reached home. In the meantime, my mother had gone to pick me up from that house and found that I had already left. So when she got back home I had no good reason to tell and for some reason I also did not tell what had happened. And I have not told anyone about this since.

The Aftermath

This may seem an insignificant act to some, and it was only one time. I managed to avoid being alone with this uncle after this incident and I have grown to face him without any fear at this point. But when thinking about this now, after 21 years, I think it has affected me in a number of ways. I have grown up to become an adult fully cynical of families and relatives. I am very much a loner and actively avoid interacting with people when there is no absolute need. I was in significant self-doubt at least up until my mid twenties. However, I am not saying all of this because of the incident, but I cannot discount the fact that it may have had something to do with all these.

The Story

So why am I sharing this after all these years? Recently, I had an opportunity to hear from another person who also faced sexual abuse from a family relative, and how they had to endure many years thinking it was something only happened to them. At least by sharing these stories out, some victims can find that they are not alone and start on the path of healing.

Note: I am not going to name my abuser here on my discretion. I am certain he is going to read this, or at least his children would. I want to let him live the rest of his miserable life second guessing when I might out him. And I hope his children read this and be cautious when leaving their children, his grandchildren, around him…

Categories
Off Topic

How to make watalappan in a microwave?

Watalappan (or wattilappam or vattilappam) is a popular in Sri Lankan desert seemingly with a Malay in origin. It is more like a custard or pudding made with “jaggery“, coconut milk and eggs as the main ingredients. Traditionally this is steam cooked and would normally take about 45 minutes to 1 hour to prepare.

Here is my take on the same recipe with a little twist where I cook it in a microwave, which takes about 5 minutes for preparation and 5-8 minutes of cooking time. This is a quick and easy recipe for a delicious dessert, even for a guy like me.

Watalappan - Made in a microwave

Ingredients:

  • 5 Eggs
  • 250 ml Coconut milk, thick
  • 250 g “Jaggery
  • 1 Cinnamon quill, broken
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cloves (Optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Grated nutmeg (Optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cardamom seeds (Optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract (Optional)
  • Butter, to grease
  • Raisins and roasted cashew nuts, to serve

Directions:

  • Add the eggs to a bowl, and whisk them well
  • Add the coconut milk to the egg mixture, and mix well
  • Add grated “jaggery” and all the spices, and blend them well
  • Add the mixture into a greased microwave-safe bowl
  • Cook it in a microwave, covered for 5-8 minutes
  • Sprinkle some raisins and roasted cashew nuts
  • Let it cool before serving

Notes:

  • “Jaggery” is an unrefined sugar typically made from sugar cane or date palm sap and often used in Indian and Sri Lankan recipes. You can substitute it with grated dark palm sugar
  • Cooking time can vary on depending on the microwave power or amount of the mixture. I would suggest start at 5 minutes and increase by a minute each time while checking if it is cooked.
Categories
Off Topic

A Dinner with the Brisbane Lord Mayor Councillor Graham Quirk

Last Friday, Brisbane International Student Ambassadors were invited by the Lord Mayor of Brisbane City, Councillor Graham Quirk, for a dinner. It was a unique opportunity for most of the Student Ambassadors. This video is a snapshot from the pleasant afternoon.

It was a pleasant evening with loads of laughs and some good food. It was also another opportunity to meet some of my fellow student ambassadors after a while and we had some good times chatting away. Except for the fact that I was a bit tipsy towards the end of the evening, I think all went well. 😉

Nimal with the Lord Mayor of Brisbane Councillor Graham Quirk
Nimal with the Lord Mayor of Brisbane Councillor Graham Quirk

Photographs from: Leong Ming En