88Pro Thinking

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Thursday, February 19, 2004

FSMTC Guys – Thank you for an absolutely awesome experience

Last Firday(Feb 13th) night was certainly a memorable night for all of us here in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). The memories, although simple, have left a great impression. We went out for dinner, and it was FUN, from the beginning to end, absolute fun. The Micronesians are incredible. The sense of humor these guys have and the way they treat you and look after you appears to be a unique gift born into every Micronesian. Even a child on the road says “hi” to you when you pass by. If I have one piece of advice, it would be to ask everyone to visit this paradise island just once, and enjoy what I have come to realize, which is unimaginable and absolutely delightful hospitality.

I have so much to write about what happened last night but I really don’t know where to start and I feel like writing pages upon pages about how truly great my new Micronesian friends are. (May be I should repeat that statement about a 100 times since I just feel like I have not said it enough). It didn’t feel like we were having dinner with the top management of FSM telecom, every body was cracking all kinds of jokes around the table.

Everyone was particularly concerned about Tamim not having a girlfriend and one of them was extremely upset when he explained that his Grand Mother had passed away and if not he could have hooked her up with Tamim.. Takuro has a great sense of humor, he kept everybody laughing. In the meantime there was a suggestion Tamim and I should get married here (not to each other!), but once again someone in the group felt his marital advice had to be provided and recommended that I get married to his aunty who is still very much available, and would be a good match, except for the small glitch that she was 75 years old.

Ferny and Maxy are great guys too, and looked after us very well. Ferny and Takuro are great singers and kept us entertained throughout the night with their Karaoke. An Indian guy who is working here on the Mobile Telephone network once had mentioned that the pubs in Micronesia are full of women and in India you couldn’t find a single woman in a pub. This posed a perplexing puzzle to some people, as they tried to figure out “how the hell then do these Indians reproduce so much”.

How can I forget Bernad Mendis (yes he is a Sri Lankan). Bernard got us all shots of Tequila Rose, and Maxy and Ferny assured me that a single shot of Rose was not going to take me down, and it wouldn’t even taste like alcohol, so I had a shot and it really was not that bad. Keep in mind, this is my very first shot of any serious alcoholic beverage.

When I reiterated this milestone event to my friend over MSN, his first response was denial, and then he asked me the question I was asking myself last night, “What possessed me to take that shot, the shot I had never taken in my life before?” My friends back home have known me for the past 7 years and they are my very best friends, and they know that over these 7 years, so many different people have tried different tactics to make me try at least a shot and so far every one has failed. So what possessed me this time? Only thing I can say to justify my actions is that these guys were so nice, and I felt that I could not refuse. These guys are like your brothers - they take good care of you, they keep you company. I maybe just blabbering here, and that’s because I am starting to realize that I just can’t put down in words how nice these people are and yet I want to make sure I do my best to put down in words how great these guys really are, so that the rest of the world can understand, how nice it is to be around such special people. However, I think the best way anyone can understand Micronesian culture and hospitality is by visiting this place.

Ferny, Maxy and Bernard took us to a pub after dinner. After a lot of starters, drinks, singing and laughing we didn’t have much energy left for a main course so we packed it up and took it with us, before going to the pub. Some of the guys danced because Ferny was nice enough to find partners for them. I of course am ‘allergic’ to a dance floor so I stood back and enjoyed.

I don’t think I have said all what I want to say about last night in this blog. I want to write more about Bernard and his ‘genius-ness’ and the respect the locals have for Sri Lankans mostly because of him. Tamim too has earned much respect and has blended very well with the local people - he is one of them now. Another great guy, John Sohl, made sure everyone was comfortable and made a point to talk to everyone and made everyone feel right home. If I continued writing about all this, my blog will turn into a book or maybe a novel. Just one night and yet I have so much I can write about.

All in all, I just want to say that I had an absolutely superb time last night. Thanks a load.

You guys totally rock! You guys are the best! :-)

posted by 88Pro / Thursday, February 19, 2004

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Don’t send me HTML emails for God sake

All too often we come across mails which are HTML formatted however much the internet discourages this practice. Probably it could be attributed to lethargy which prevents people from turning off the HTML editor in their mail clients.

I use my Hotmail account for personal mails although it might not be the best mail client out there. It has simply become habitual and I’m very reluctant to change my email client.

A few valid reasons why you should not use HTML formatted emails:

When you simply use the reply button to reciprocate, the original mail is not visible at the bottom for reference, instead it goes as an attachment (specially in Hotmail).

I find typing in-between the sentences of an original mail a very effective technique especially when an opinion is sough as it describes what kind of modifications are required where. This unfortunately isn’t straightforward business when the email is HTML formatted. It takes a few painful steps for this to be done.

HTML mails take more bandwidth, annoys people, is dangerous (scripts can be embedded), doesn’t always render the way it is suppose to, and most importantly people like me hate it !!!

In a nutshell, HTML formatted mails can be very annoying and I earnestly ask all those who have the habit of sending HTML formatted mail to turn their HTML editor off. If you are not exactly sure how this could be done please refer this.

Update: Looks like I am not the only one crying out loud to turn the HTML mails off. I just visited BlogDex which is a site tracking the diffusion of information through the weblog community. To my surprise I realized Turning off HTML email on mail clients is the current topic of lot of weblogs.
posted by 88Pro / Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Trip to Micronesia

At last I am here in Micronesia, Pohnpei after traveling for more than 36 hrs, hopping in and out of Singapore, Philippine, Guam, Chuuk (another Micronesian Island) before finally arriving in Pohnpei. I had a flu, sore throat, and a slight fever the day before I left Sri Lanka, incidentally I learned from a leaflet at Manila Airport that all these were symptoms of SARS. Pretty bad ha?. I did not have SARS, but I knew if I got caught to the thermal cameras it would screw up everything so I kept taking Panadol (Paracetamol) every four hours and manage to keep the temperature under control.

When I opened my bag at Pohnpei airport, I found out that, one of the plastic bags in which my mom had packed some snacks (Parithithurai Vadai) had completely burst and the entire mess had spread all over my clothes. As I was packing I remember constantly explaining to my mom, the danger in packing snacks, and told her many a time not to pack them in. I suppose that every time I forced her to take it out of the bag, she would remember the amount of effort she had put into making them and somehow the snacks always found their way back into my bag. Now I have to wash my clothes all over again, but at least my mom will be happy I took the snacks she made for me. On the positive side, because of the immense mess up in my bag the customs officer didn’t even want to check my bag. He just asked me to close it.

Rob, the ISP man and Thomatsu (Project Manager) from FSM Telecom came to pick us up. This is where I am going to work for next two months. I brought Thomatsu some spices from Sri Lanka - hope he likes it. People seem to be very friendly on this island, and every one who has come here from my company including my Manager, Siva told me that, people are really nice and extremely helpful. I fortunate that I am here to experience the hospitality first-hand. I still have so much to learn about, the history of this country, maybe I can have a friendly chat with some of the people here at FSM Telecom and learn more about the people and the places. I must mention that this is the first country I have seen with prepaid electricity. Incredible.

Fortunately, my roommate Nishantha is an excellent cook, so as long as I help with all the vegetable cutting and meat chopping, he has agreed to reward this labor by cooking for me. If anyone of you know me, you will know how important food is for me , so I consider myself very fortunate. We have Cable TV here , so that’s good enough entertainment I guess. I am also planning to Order some of the books on my Amazon Wish List. So the books and TV should keep me busy when I am not working (but I have a very good feeling that free time is going to be rare commodity. Many sleepless nights of code writing are surely ahead of me).

Now for all my Sri Lankan friends, let me try and get some maps from Google so that you guys know, where Micronesia is.

posted by 88Pro / Thursday, February 05, 2004

Sunday, February 01, 2004

The Mac Community

Just stumbled across this quite interesting weblog which has a interesting justification as to why people love Macintosh Laptops. Check it out yourself: “Conversation Pieces”. Of course there are other reasons why people love to own a Mac Laptop and here you could read why James Gosling owns one.

I would love to own one for myself too. However for that to happen one of these two should become true. Either I should start earning in $$$ or Unity Plaza should start selling Mac software :-)

posted by 88Pro / Sunday, February 01, 2004

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