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Modern Addiction

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No one is immune from addiction; it afflicts people of all ages, races, classes, and professions.

Patrick J. Kennedy

Addiction is not something new. Each of us will have some form of addiction, which might have been discovered or not. We are very much aware of addictions related to alcohol, narcotics, caffeine, tobacco, sugar, gambling, and certain pharmaceutical drugs. But there have emerged addictions related to technology, starting from the late ’90s and now in the 21st century. The three biggest addictions are social media, gaming, and porn. People should be made aware of these addictions, and they should be addressed as seriously as addressing the issue of narcotics. 

This blog hopes to address the problem of excessive online gaming. Video games are a billion-dollar business and have been for many years. In 2020, the revenue from the worldwide PC gaming market was estimated at almost 37 billion U.S. dollars, while the mobile gaming market generated an estimated income of over 77 billion U.S. dollars. Some of the major players in the video gaming industry are Tencent, Sony, and Apple. At present, the major gaming markets are China, USA, and Japan. Some of the types of games are action games, sports games, battle royale games, action-adventure games, and role-playing games.

The video gaming model is designed to train our brains to perform multiple tasks with a greater focus which will eventually help in real-world circumstances. But if that turns out to be addictive, then it makes the brain function worse. Many online gamers constantly stay up late to play games, leading to sleep deprivation and inconsistent sleep patterns. This results in adverse long-term effects on their mental and physical health. Moreover, youngsters get disconnected or alienated from actual world scenarios and lose out on their family time. Negligence of studies, work, relationships, health, and hygiene are also huge effects of gaming addiction. They are also likely to experience anxiety and depression. Scientific research has shown that excessive online gaming and narcotics usage have similar adverse effects.  Games like battle royale games are known for changing the behaviors of gamers towards more aggressive and less sympathetic persons.

Why is video gaming addictive?

Certain activities like playing video games create excessive dopamine (the feel-good hormone), which gives you intense pleasure and a need to re-experience it. Then you start repeating that behavior. When you repeat it several times, your brain adjusts to release less dopamine. Then the only option left would be to increase the frequency of the activity. The dopamine rush is so powerful that it restricts the functions of other prefrontal regions of the brain, resulting in numbness that enables gamers to exceed over fifteen hours of gaming straight. Video gaming gives a sensation of value and victory players miss in their actual lives.

No one is immune from addiction, it affects people of all ages, races, classes, and professions.

Patrick J. Kennedy

Solutions

Parents should play a major role to safeguard their children from any addiction. They need to understand the hidden danger behind technological devices when they decide to buy them for their children in expectation of better knowledge and improvements in grades at school. Sri Lankan parents have minimal knowledge about technological addictions. They usually think that whatever electronic gadgets they buy for their children will benefit them immensely. This is true, depending on how these devices are used.

We are in an era where parents are more likely to lose control over their children. Hence, they fail to keep track of what kind of content the children are watching and the time spent on the digital screen. Yes, parents need to trust their children but parents have to remember that their children are going through a phase of rapid hormone changes which results in the change of their social thinking and is contributing to what they will become in the future. Hence, they can be vulnerable enough for manipulation. Therefore, parents need to carefully oversee the activities of their children, especially on the internet.

Telecommunication companies offer parental control options that let parents restrict their children from seeing or downloading what they consider inappropriate and oversee what the internet is used for. So, parents should use this option. Assigning time restrictions for children to use devices (the standard time recommended by scientists is two to three hours per day) is another critical step that parents should take. Children should also be encouraged to do sports and hobbies which don’t require digital gadgets. 

What about the children who are already addicted to gaming?

Parents should never completely stop it because that will make the children more aggressive and lead to more complex issues. Parents should involve their children in more time for family bonding and interactions. Parents could also sit down with their children to play games together but with the condition of a time limit.

What about the adults who are addicted to gaming?

First, they should evaluate themselves to know the extent of their addiction. Then, they can try to use a time tracker app that gives a warning when they exceed the time duration. If self-control doesn’t seem to work, they shouldn’t be ashamed of asking for help from others, such as counselors. Another effective way would be to partner up with another person who also wants to overcome their addiction and inform each other of their progress in reducing the time spent on gaming.

With the incorporation of features like Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), the gaming industry will continue to get more and more attractive. Therefore, players need to be wiser and rational about their priorities and actively take steps to combat their addiction.

You are your greatest limitation. Hence, nothing is as powerful as your willpower.

Either you run the day, or the day runs you.

Jim Rohn

Written by: Rtr. Loshini Gnanasambanthan

Edited by: Rtr. Hiruni Hettiarachchi

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Rowing

Rowing has a rather dull and morbid origin. It began as a method of transportation for the spice merchants and traders of the exotic African lands. Later as galleys of war to satisfy the blood lust of conquerors of the past. Through time and development of technology brought the end of these primitive methods and finally leaving us with rowing as an internationally acclaimed sport with a rich and fascinating past.

Rowing moves the boat using Newton’s third law: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Rowing shells are commonly known as boats. Usually, boats can differ in size and the number of people who row within. The smallest boat is also known as Scull (one man/woman, two oars), where the largest is Eight (eight men/women, one oar each). These are usually the international competition standard. The oldest boat race in the world is the Cambridge Oxford regatta where it is the main event that has ever raced over eights. Unfortunately, in Sri Lanka, the competitions have only Four (four men/women, one oar each). The oldest regatta in Sri Lanka would be the Royal-Thomian rowing encounter.

A Family Away From Family

Rowing is not for the faint-hearted. The sport is constantly demanding more from those who dare to engage with it. The work is grueling, and the commitment required is absurd, but there are those select few who are ever ready to push beyond what was thought capable, breaking the glass ceiling at any given time! There are only a handful of oarsmen and oarswomen who are not only connected by their passion for rowing but also the brother and sisterhood that binds and bonds them. Since the crew has only a few people, it is easy to build a bond, trust, and care for them. Undoubtedly, I can say that the crew is family away from family. One of my vice-captains over the years once advised that no matter what happens, the crew will always be there for one another. Surprisingly, what he mentioned was right and we were always there for one another, saw each other all the time more than our families. Spent most of our time at morning training, school, and again at after-school training.

Rowing gave our lives structure and discipline. The legacies of past crews were our responsibility to uphold. Therefore, there were many rules we had to stick to that made us and shaped me into who and what I am today. Sticking to rules does not imply that I have not had my fair share of fun. What rowing mainly taught me was that all things require moderation, and having discipline is vital. These are applicable in training or doing regular activities as a teenager. The crew was well-respected by peers, friends, and other students in college. Past crew members and seniors were considered legends due to the glory they have brought to the college. Their presence radiated confidence, unity and received so much respect which was incredible. It was a defining moment in my college life. Additionally, rowing had other perks such as rowing with other schools including, girls’ schools. Besides, we had the same training days with the same coach, which was also a bonus!

A Brief Insight Into The Royal-Thomian Regatta

The rowing encounter is the oldest regatta in Sri Lanka which began in 1962, which rowed over a distance of 1000 yards. Royal college was the first school to introduce rowing as a sport in 1953, and after a few years, S. Thomas’ also began rowing. The encounter was held on last Saturday of October, which comprised eight races. Each boat/race carries a point that was awarded to the winning school of said particular boat/race totaling up to 52 points. The regatta’s most anticipated and crucial race would be the A4 race (which carries most of the point amount for a single boat), raced for the coveted and sacred T.N. Fernando trophy. This trophy is then awarded to the winning college.

Rowing Centers in Sri Lanka

The most prestigious center or club was Colombo Rowing Club (CRC) which was located at the banks of Beira Lake. This establishment was founded in 1864 and. has a long and impressive history. It had borne witness to many great victories and painful defeats. The other center would be the Diyawanna Rowing Center (DRC) which boasts a long and quite straight lake spanning two kilo-meters, and the lesser-known club would be the Bolgoda Lake Rowing Club (BLRC).

Written by: Rtr. Shanara Senaratne

Edited by: Rtr. Imesha Ilangasinghe

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COMPASSION PAVES WAY FOR GREATNESS

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“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.’’ – Coretta Scott King

A community is a social unit that shares a common geographical area comprising of individuals with various norms, religions, values, customs and identity. A community gets highlighted in its own city, town or state as a result of the remarkable actions put forward by its members. Consisting of many individuals, based on their actions either collectively or not, will determine whether the community will foster or die in the future. Even though the individuals living in the community are linked by common goals, what makes it powerful is the actions put forward by its members. As quoted by Coretta Scott King, a community gets recognised for the empathetic and solicitous measures of its members. This quote specifically focuses on the importance of compassion, which is a quality of a positive human being.

Compassion is defined as sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortune towards another individual. As compassion is an emotional response to the sufferings of others, an impact can be created that inspires positive changes within the community.

“Community is unity, Community with compassion is united.’’

At present, a number of institutions, social services and social campaigns have arisen in the objective of looking into the welfare of the people. Such organizations are based on non-profit motive and their main target is to look into the social well-being of the members in the community. Such organizations were established due to the acts of compassion growing within hearts of the individuals.

“A community that is engaged and working together can be a powerful force ”- Idawu Koyenikan

The above quotation by Idawu Koyenikan clearly shows that social organizations arose to promote social welfare, because when a community works together with no financial motive, an act of tender heart grows within that individual.

As stated, the greatness of a community is highlighted by the positive actions of its members, but the same community can develop hatred and neglect because of the negative traits of its members. When the importance of compassion is forgotten, all possible outcomes would have a negative influences on the community as well as the members living in it.

When a community lacks compassion, people forget the importance of unity among the members. Negative actions arise because of selfishness and hatred which develops within an individual. An individual who lacks compassion would think only about himself, rejecting the sufferings and misfortune of others.

A community of such sort develops racism, class difference and other types of discrimination. When compassion, an act of humanity is lost, people lack the sense of sympathetic behaviour towards a suffering individual. Self desires and self requirements becomes important. A community of this sort highly brings hatred and ignorance to the hearts of their people. Criminal activities such as theft, murder and brutal characteristics of individuals towards other members arise as a result of lack of compassion. At present the world crime record keeps increasing rapidly. The most common crimes continuously recorded are murder, sexual harassment and abuse. The basic reason for the rise in such crimes is the lack of compassion. One begins to act selfishly when satisfying his needs and desires completely omitting the sufferings and misfortune the victim would go through. Such a situation has become common in every country. As stated previously the most vital quality of a human being, is compassion. When this quality, which is the foundation of a better human life is lost, one tends to act on his own , thinking only about himself. When such individuals grow up in such a community, not only that community but other communities too will reflect the negative impact created.

Currently, people who act with such qualities, are relatively a very minor amount. Compassion is an act of religion, because every religion emphasises on being compassionate even to the animals. Apart from religion, it is an act of humanity that displays the nobility of an individual who acts on this regard. Due to ignorance on this concept , most of the communities have been measured for its criminal records and the negative influence. Communities of such sort is relatively higher compared to the ones which are measured for its greatness.

The members in a particular community can make sure their own community is being measured for its greatness and not for its false values. Acting with compassion, displaying positive traits and looking into the welfare and the betterment of the people along with the community, can have an ultimate result of the community to be measured for its greatness.

Written by Raheesa Moulana

Edited by Dinithi Wijayaratne

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Vietnam

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About Vietnam

Vietnam is located at the eastern edge of the Indochinese Peninsula. The population of people in Vietnam is 89.71 million and the capital is Hanoi, known for its architecture and a rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese and French impact.

Vietnam’s four largest cities are Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, and Haiphong. The unit of currency in Vietnam that is used in daily life is Dong. Vietnam’s four largest cities are Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, and Haiphong.

Cost of living in Vietnam

Vietnam is relatively cheap, especially if you are looking to retire in Vietnam or simply planning to start a new chapter in your life. It аlѕо dереndѕ on what lіfеѕtуlе уоu are planning to have. The tуре оf ассоmmоdаtіоn, fооd or means of travelling in Vіеtnаm are the fасtоrѕ уоu have to соnѕіdеr. The cost of living in Vietnam depends on the type of person you are and the place you board at.

If you live outside of Vietnam’s two largest cities, in places like Hoi An, Nha Trang, and Vung Tau, prices will be much less. In any of these destinations, a budget of around $800 to $1,100 per month will provide a lovely house or apartment, all utilities, housekeeping, groceries, dining out every day if you choose to, and even an occasional massage.

In all of these towns, you can find a place to live that is just a short walk from the beach, or even a home with an ocean view. If you can manage a budget of $3,500 to $4,500 per month, you can rent a modern villa with a private pool and live like royalty while eating and drinking at the best restaurants in town.

Average Expenses per month 
ExpenseCost $USD
Food (mix of local & international)$300
Travelling$60
Accommodation$470

Cuisine

Vietnamese cuisine is incredibly diverse, and is frequently categorized into three categories, each of which corresponds to one of Vietnam’s three primary regions (North, Central and South). It is mostly made with rice, soy sauce, and fish sauce, and utilizes very little oil and a lot of vegetables. Sweet (sugar), fiery (serrano pepper), sour (lime), nuoc mam (fish sauce), and a variety of mint and basil flavors distinguish it. Noodles and noodle soups are very plentiful in Vietnam. Different locations invented many types of noodles, which differed in shape, taste, color, and other characteristics. Ph

(pronounced “fuh”), a type of noodle soup that originated in North Vietnam, is one of the country’s most famous types of noodles.

Religion & Philosophy

Aside from folk religion, Vietnam’s religion has traditionally been a blend of Buddhism,

Confucianism, and Taoism, referred to as the Tam Giáo in Vietnamese (“the three religions”). In modern Vietnam, Catholicism is also followed.

Among the older generation of Vietnamese, ancestor worship and filial piety are popular practices. Regardless of their religious affiliation, the majority of Vietnamese people practice ancestor worship.

Visiting Vietnam is an excellent option for people looking for a new experience. From sunny beaches to delicious cuisine and vibrant cultural attractions, Vietnam proves to be a rewarding destination.

Written by: Rtr. Yehan Bandara

Edited by: Abinaya Sritharan

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MEMES

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With the widespread usage of social media, internet memes, commonly known as memes have become a day to day entertainment source in our digitally connected lifestyle. It’s not just limited to a funny image with texts at both the top and bottom.

By definition, a meme is an idea, a behavior or a style. Which spreads by means of imitation from one person to another within a culture, and often carries symbolic meaning representing a particular phenomenon or theme. For example, the entirety of Josh Fight (a mock fight and a fundraiser based on a viral meme in 2020/2021) is a meme, rather than the screenshot which gave rise to the event. Area 51 Raid, PewDiePie vs. T-series, “Press F to pay respect” are examples for such viral memes. Since these are popularized by means of the internet, they became ‘Internet Memes’.

The word ‘Meme’ was coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book “The Selfish Gene” as an attempt to explain how ideas replicate, mutate and evolve (memetics). ‘Emoticons’ are one of the first resemblances of internet memes. 1337speak (leetspeak) is another one of the earliest memes that originated in the 1980s, where the letters were replaced with numbers and symbols. Memes first started appearing in the mid 90s. Initially memes were just short video clips that were shared between people in Usenet forums. With the inception of YouTube, video memes became more popular and viral. Memes such as “Rickrolling”, “Nyan Cat”, “Harlem Shake”, “Turn Down for What” are some of the video memes that went viral.

Using image macros as a meme originated in the early 2000s, which were shared in forums and imageboard websites. With the emergence of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, memes made with image macros and GIFs took over. Earliest memes had a very long lifespan compared to the ones nowadays. They lasted for years, even decades. (Rickrolling* is a very popular meme to this day, even after 15 years of existence). Demotivator, LOLCats, Advice Animals and Rage Comics are some of the earlier forms of memes developed in the 2000s.

There are various genres of memes. One of the most common types of memes are ‘Dank Memes’, viral memes that have lost their value either due to overuse or due to being based on passing trends. Memes based on passing trends are sometimes hard to understand without knowing the context and these memes tend to die quickly. As popular as dank memes, are the genres “me_irl” (me in real life), “meirl”, “2meirl4meirl” (too ‘me in real life’ for me in real life). These highlight the normality of an over exaggerated everyday situation or the inability to function in a very normal situation depicted ironically in a self-deprecating way, respectively in the ascending order of depressing nature. Another rising type of memes are “Hmmm” memes, which are self-explanatory ones that would make you go “hmmm”. “Meta Memes” belong to another genre which includes memes that talk about itself. Ironic and Absurdist memes, Nuked memes, Surreal Memes belong to a genre of memes based on ‘Gen Z humor’. Often these contain largely unrelated phrases with or without context, and the meme itself runs through an excessive number of filters (this process is known as Deep Frying). Another genre is “Cursed Memes”, which are based on dark humor. Other than the above, there are a variety of other subgenres.

Usually large amount of memes are originated on social media sites such as 4chan or Reddit. Variations are made and popularized on Reddit. Once stolen they are put on mainstream social media such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and then they die. Often memes that circulate in Sri Lankan social media are dead memes created years ago.

A trend of famous YouTubers reviewing memes started few years back, with Meme Reviews, which was later adopted by world famous Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie and popularized. The Meme Review is often known to “kill the meme” since it basically explains the joke to a vast audience. Thereafter YouTubers started to review memes related to them on either their Subreddits or Facebook pages. Hence another subgenre of memes specifically created around a content creator started to emerge.

Recently memes have started being used as a promotional or a marketing strategy by different products, services and events. Especially by games and movies. This is a largely cost effective promotion method compared to others. The most common ways used are creating a meme or adapting into a trending meme, or sometimes being the meme itself. These happen to have varying success rates. Effective usage can increase sales and attention, while forced memes which are not funny or unoriginal might affect
negatively. Some memes might change the brand perception to the customers, as some memes are not understandable by the whole demography.

Although memes are a good source of laughter or whatever the emotions they mean to establish, sometimes there can be some negativity. Memes can be used to spread misinformation. This sometimes happen intentionally or otherwise mostly due to ignorance of the memers who just makes memes to get in the trend. The internet being the Wild West, any slightly controversial meme can spark a trend and result in spreading of misinformation. It becomes harder to identify due to the new trend of satirical and ironic meme genres. Some memes are simply impossible to identify whether it’s trolling or not. It is easier to say that it’s the job of the viewer to get what’s right or wrong, but the memer also has a responsibility. But in case it’s an ironic or satirical post, the more one makes the joke obvious, unfunnier
it becomes. Also some memes can be brutally racist, or highly offensive to a party (which can be commonly seen amongst some Sri Lankan memes). Often people call out the creators on these, but sometimes they get an easy pass if the audience has the same mindset or if the specific party offended
is outnumbered.

At the end of the day a vast majority are good memes, which give us a laugh or any other emotion they intend to give.

*To learn more about Rickrolling, click here

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OLYMPICS 2020

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The modern Olympic Games or Olympics are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the world’s foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are normally held every four years, alternating between the Summer and Winter Olympics every two years in the four years. The 2020 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the XXXII Olympiad and branded as Tokyo 2020, is an international multi-sport event. The story is indeed sad when the Covid-19 Pandemic devoured the entire earth. Eventually, the Tokyo Olympics 2020 being the event victim to come through this unprecedented time.

The actual event fell from 24th July to 9th August 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. However, it has been pushed forward from 23rd July to 8th August 2021. Following this, the Paralympics will take place from 24th August to 5th September 2021. Although the event is postponed by a year, it preserves the name Tokyo 2020 for marketing and branding purposes. The act of rescheduling the Olympics is the first time in history instead of canceling it. 85,000 athletes are representing 205 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and the Refugee Olympic Teams.

THE HOST CITY

Tokyo is chosen as the host city for the 2020 Olympics, marking the second time for hosting the Summer Olympics. It so happened during the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 7th September 2013. Japan witnessed a total of four Olympics including the Winter Olympics in 1972 in Sapporo and 1998 in Nagano. It is also the second city in East Asia out of three consecutive Olympics, Pyeongchang being the first and the next in Beijing, 2022.

Where is the Tokyo Olympics venue?

There are 42 different venues for the various competitions for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Most of them are located within the city, while other additional events will be held anywhere else in Japan. The Heritage Zone, the Tokyo Bay Zone, and other outlying venues are the chief divisions of the venues. Additionally, the Olympics Village is set up between the two zones. The Olympic Stadium in the Heritage Zone will host the Opening, Closing ceremonies, soccer, track and field events. The zone has a total of 10 venues at the heart of the city. The Tokyo Bay Zone will represent the traditional Tokyo, and thus it is an innovative Heritage Zone counterpart. The area has several artificial islands with futuristic environments. It consists of sixteen spots for the Summer Olympic events. Out of them, it includes the Ariake Gymnastics Center and the Tokyo Aquatic Centre. Another 16 outlying venues are outside the two main zones. In particular, Sapporo will host marathons, race walking, and other events.

History of Olympics

The Olympic Games, which originated in ancient Greece as many as 3,000 years ago, were revived in the late 19th century and have become the world’s preeminent sporting competition. From the 8th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D., the Games were held every four years in Olympia, located in the western Peloponnese peninsula, in honor of the god Zeus. The first modern Olympics took place in 1896 in Athens, and featured 280 participants from 12 nations, competing in 43 events. In the ancient Olympic Games, there were no gold, silver, and bronze medals. There was only one winner per event and they were crowned with an olive wreath made of wild olive leaves. The leaves were taken from a sacred tree that grew near the temple of Zeus at Olympia in Greece.

WHAT IS NEW IN THE 2020 TOKYO OLYMPICS?

Olympics over the years overwhelms everyone with myriads of games and sports. The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics is no different from such spectacular events. New sports in the events include 3×3 basketball, freestyle BMX, and Madison Cycling with other added mixed events. The new policy of IOC allows the host organizing committee to add new sports. The new policy also gives a chance to shift the event not only to focus on ‘sport based’ but also ‘event based’. As a consequence, the event will see five new games consisting of baseball/softball, karate, sport climbing, surfing, and skateboarding. The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics will host 33 sports at 339 events all across 42 venues. Following, the Paralympics will feature 22 sports at 539 events across 21 venues.

Fun Facts of Tokyo Olympics 2020

Written by: Rtr. Gihindu Perera

Edited by: Rtr. Loshini Gnanasambanthan

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FeaturedGeneralGrowth Hacks

Is friendship a worthy cost for winning arguments?

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We would have come across many instances where we either win an argument and lose a friend or lose the argument and win a friend. What is advantageous here? Undoubtedly, losing the argument and winning a friend, isn’t it? However, is it always practical? Does this mean that you should not express your opinions? Does this mean that you must lose every argument? Well, the answer is NO! This blog discusses my experiences and thoughts on how to be reasonable in winning the argument without losing the friendship.

I have come across many instances where I have seen my friends arguing about simple things and costing their friendships for it. At times, it appears as if they are intentionally damaging the friendship. I prefer winning a friend over arguments. But this does not imply my freedom of expression, or my point of view needs to stop.

First and foremost, I do not believe that true friends do not argue. What are friendships or relationships without small arguments and fights? Won’t it be like a flat road? Won’t it be monotonous, dull, and drab? As life has its ups and downs, so do friendships and relationships.

Sharing ideas with a diverse range of individuals is not always easy, especially when we disagree. Disagreements are inevitable when we all meet at a collective table. Even if certain points by them do not make a logical leap, that does not indicate that you should get into a conflict. Here are few tips to remember when a conversation steers down that road next time.

We have many things we agree upon. Hence, it is always better to start by getting to a common ground. And starting on the basic points where we agree rather than disagreeing from the initial point itself. If we start with a disagreement, it will result in the conversation ending unpleasantly.

Effective communication is a crucial factor, especially during conflicts or quarrels. When someone is trying to state a point, miscommunications may occur. Which then can lead to misunderstandings that could later be a root cause of another conflict or a dispute. Also, listening to others is another crucial factor of effective communication. It is always necessary to hear the other side’s viewpoints since it is correct from their perspective. Ignoring the ideas of others without understanding their point of view is a definite way to lose good communication even before the start. Everyone has the freedom to express their opinion. It is unfair when a person becomes judgmental of other’s standpoints. It is one of the most common issues that we come across in every argument. When we are in an argument all of us are more concerned about how to make our point correct rather than listening to what the other person is trying to say. Which ends up in ineffective communication.

It is most effective to state definite facts, rather than vague ones since others might get irritated or often misunderstand you with ambiguous points. Therefore, always make sure to speak with known facts. It’s always better to get some perspective, for example putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and starting with “If I talk from your point of view…” as it makes you empathize with your friends’ point of view and a bit of perspective makes discussions level out.

Never value winning the argument more than winning the relationship. Thus, never let the need to win the argument suppress the need to keep the bond of friendship alive. As I would say that friendship is something that is too valuable to throw out by arguing about ridiculous things.

If you sense the disagreement is getting carried away, it is better to apologize quickly. When you proceeded too far on validating your point until you understand that you have caused any inconveniences to your friend, it is wise to admit your fault and apologize for it. Stay sophisticated and own up to it.

As the arguments and misunderstandings can be minimized by apologizing, despite you behaving as an adversary, the friendship you have is exceptional. It is honest, valid, and fundamentally the bond must be so strong and deep enough to sustain misunderstandings. It is possible to clear out misconceptions if the bond of friendship is strong enough.

In conclusion, it is better not to have misunderstandings prolonged. Always make sure to step back and consider if it is worth losing your friendship. It is much easier to save the bond if you have been polite and friendly. Try to excuse yourself, make fun and try to set the points aside. Be forgiving and try to move on with your relationship even though your disagreements did not settle perfectly. As time can be the best healer, you would forget the disputes and would eventually wonder why that conflict occurred in the first place.

Written by: Rtr. Sashmittha Manickam Kumar

Edited by: Rtr. Imesha Ilangasinghe,
Rtr. Lakshan Banneheke

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Guitar – The Easiest and the Hardest

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The Guitar is one of the most popular instruments all around the world, among musicians and players, and even listeners, thankful to either its ease to begin, the warm sound, or for the mere fact that it is used in more than half of the music that’s been created in the past few decades. It is widely applicable to all kinds of music, whatever the genre is.

Street musicians in Havana, Cuba.

With a body and a neck (or multiple necks), a guitar is a string instrument often having 6 or more strings made of metal, nylon, or animal guts. The sound is mainly produced by strumming or plucking the strings using one’s fingers or a pick, but sometimes the body or the strings are used for percussion, by tapping and other such techniques.

A variety of guitars exist. Mainly of two categories: acoustic and electric. The Electric guitars need to be plugged into amplifiers to get the desired sound, while an acoustic guitar sound is amplified by its hollow body. When it comes to acoustic guitars there’s a plethora of kinds of guitars, starting from the classical and flamenco guitars known by all to the old baroque, steel, bass, 7 stringed Guitars, 12 stringed Guitar all the way up to 49 stringed guitars.

Steve Vai, rock & metal virtuoso playing “You’re here” on a triple necked guitar. Topmost neck has 12 strings, middle has 6 and bottom neck is fretless with 6 strings.

The Arabic Oud is the oldest instrument in the line of the history of the guitar which has big resemblances to the modern day guitar. Oud has no frets, enabling them to play half flats (quarter a note below the notes) which are very unique to Arabic Music. This was brought to Europe with the Umayyad Caliphate invading Spain. After being brought to Spain, Oud soon became a beloved instrument to the Iberians. Gut strings were tied across the neck as frets, which fixed the instrument to the western tonal system of 12 notes. This evolved into the Renaissance Lute in the 15– 16 centuries, which gained popularity throughout Europe.

Lute further evolved into Vihuela, which took an hourglass shaped body, resembling much of the shape of the modern guitar. This was the most important step in the evolution of guitar. With further modifications, with a larger body and almost the same tuning as in modern guitar, the Baroque guitar was invented. Up until this point the frets were movable, which meant tuning selective notes could be prioritized while some were out of tune. By replacing the movable frets with fixed metal frets, with an even larger body, in 19th century the Classical Guitar was born. Due to the fixed metal frets the notes were equally slightly out of tune. Later modifications to the body structure led to the modern guitar. In 1930s to 50s after modifications such as getting rid of the hollow body, adding electronic amplification, the Electric Guitar was born.

There’s a variety of techniques involved in playing the guitar. By Ludwig van Beethoven’s own words, “The instrument is an orchestra by itself.” The earlier compositions written for Oud and Lute is played with a pick, hence plucking one string at a time or playing chords was the most common. Afterwards Polyphony, playing multiple melodies on one another was developed. Vihuela and the Baroque guitar gave rise to the classical guitar music as we know of today. The sudden rises, sudden falls followed by a peaceful melody, using the percussive techniques of playing, banging the body of the guitar, these are techniques prominent in this style of music. Due to this loud nature, this style was often called “Música Ruidosa”, which translated to “ridiculous music”. Due to the difficulty of composing without a proficiency in instrument, as well as not matching with orchestras, classical music repertoire has been mostly written by classical guitarists and not by well renowned composers such as Johann Bach or Amadeus Mozart. Niccoló Paganini is an exception, having written a few pieces especially for the guitar. After the birth of modern guitar due to the rapidly rising demand for guitar music, much less complex songs were appearing. Afterwards different styles such as jazz and pop emerged. With evolution into Electric guitars and with the rise of rock as a genre, a brand new style of playing was born. This includes a number of techniques that were made possible by electronic amplification. Usage of a wide array of electronic effects such as reverb, distortion and added overdrive came to stage with new effects units. These sounds play a massive role in today’s songs.

Spanish composer and classical guitarist Francisco Tárrega, also known as the father of classical guitar
Jimi Hendrix, one of the most celebrated musicians and one of the most influential electric guitarists of 20th century
Brian May, the lead guitarist of English rock band Queen with Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen. He is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time

Guitar is very popular amongst beginners due to the absolute ease of learning the basics. To begin playing, one only needs to know few of the chord shapes, and very little about music. One can learn by themselves and after only few days of mild practice, play a song. After few months of practice, they can play a ridiculously large number of songs. This is due to the ability of playing the guitar as a harmonic instrument, as well as hundreds if not thousands of songs of modern mainstream music having similar chord structures. But as easy as the basics are, it is hard to master this instrument. Even playing the finger style or tap style is much more difficult than playing chords of the harmony on the guitar. Styles such as flamenco require immense proficiency, and years of intense practice. Even when the electric guitars depend heavily on electronic effects, playing solos and riffs require a lot of a skill.

Tap style, a technique of playing guitar by tapping the string over the fret board

However, over the past two decades, popularity and usage of electronically synthesized music has risen. Instruments such as the bass guitar and drums have been almost replaced by electronic synthesizers. But due to the complicated sound, synthesizers have not been able to imitate the guitar perfectly. Although with the improvement of technology, modern synthesizers might sound similar to a non-musician’s ear. So, does this mean the guitar would be soon replaced? One day it will. But in the recent past years, there’s been a rise in playing guitar, as well as using it on music. So that day won’t be anytime soon.

A kid learning to play the Guitar

Written by: Rtr. Yasith Silva

Edited by: Rtr. Abinaya Sritharan

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Featured

Euro 2020

Cover Picture

The UEFA European Football Championship is organized by the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) which ranks next to the FIFA World Cup as the most prestigious competition for national teams. It was held from 11 th June to 11 th July 2021 this year. Originally it was scheduled to take place from 12 th June to 12 th July 2020, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The decision was made to refer to it as ‘Euro 2020’ to keep the original vision of the tournament alive. It was to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the tournament, as well as to remind everyone how the whole football family came together to respond to the extraordinary circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, and the difficult times that Europe, and the world, had to go through in 2020. This European Championship made history for the following reasons. The tournament took place in 11 cities in 11 countries, the semi finals and the finals were held in Wembley Stadium, London.

UEFA Euro 2020 Venues

  • Wembley Stadium – London, England
  • Allianz Arena – Munich, Germany
  • Stadio Olimpico – Rome, Italy
  • Olympic Stadium – Baku, Azerbaijan
  • Krestovsky Stadium – Saint Petersburg, Russia
  • Arena Nationala – Bucharest, Romania
  • Johan Cruyff Arena – Amsterdam, Holland
  • Estadio de la Cartuja – Sevilla, Spain
  • Puskas Arena – Budapest, Hungary
  • Hampden Park – Glasgow, Scotland
  • Parken Stadium – Copenhagen Denmark

History of UEFA Euro Championship
The UEFA European championship was first held in 1960 in France. 17 teams from Europe entered the competition that year. The Soviet Union was declared as champions after beating Yugoslavia 2-1. Though the first European Championship was held in 1960, the idea behind it is much older. It dates back to 1927, when the French Football Federation’s administrator Henri Delaunay first proposed a pan-European football tournament. Even though he later became the first General Secretary of UEFA, Delaunay had already passed away by the time the tournament was officially started. In his honor, the tournament trophy was named after him.

The UEFA Championship Winners
So far nine countries have won the tournament: Germany and Spain with three titles, France the reigning champions with two titles while Portugal, Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Greece have one title each. Spain is the only country to win consecutive titles, in 2008 and 2012.

YEARHOSTWINNERSTATSRUNNER UP
2016FrancePortugal1-0France
2012Poland & UkraineSpain4-0Italy
2008Austria & SwitzerlandSpain1-0Germany
2004Portugal Greece1-0Portugal
2000Belgium & NetherlandsFrance2-1Italy
1996EnglandGermany2-1Czech Republic
1992SwedenDenmark2-0Germany
1988West GermanyNetherlands2-0Soviet Union
1984FranceFrance2-0Spain
1980ItalyWest Germany2-1Belgium
1976YugoslaviaCzechoslovakia2-2 aet/(5-3)West Germany
1972BelgiumWest Germany3-0Soviet Union
1968ItalyItaly1-1 aet/2-0 replayYugoslavia
1964SpainSpain2-1Soviet Union
1960FranceSoviet Union2-1 aetYugoslavia

Match ball
On the 6th of November 2019, UEFA announced that the ‘Uniforia’ by Adidas would be the tournament’s official match ball. Predominantly white, the ball features black strokes with blue, neon and pink stripes. The name is derived from a portmanteau of “unity” and “euphoria”.

Mascot
The official mascot of the tournament, ‘Skillzy’ was unveiled on the 24th of March 2019. The character is inspired by freestyle football, street football and panna culture.

Who are the stars of Euro 2020?

Romelu Lakaku – Belgium
After having his second highest goalscoring season this year at Inter with 24 Seria A goals, it is clear that Lukaku arrives at Euro 2020 in the form of his life. Adding to his club performances is his accuracy in the national team shirt. Since the 2018 World Cup, Lukaku had scored 19 goals in 15 competitive matches, including scoring in all seven qualifiers for this tournament (9 goals).

Christiano Ronaldo – Portugal
Ronaldo is already a European Championship legend. He has the most appearances (21) at the UEFA final competitions and shares with Michel Platini’s all-time goalscoring list (9). He is coming to this year’s Euro 2020 as the reigning champion after defeating France in the 2016 final. He is the current highest goal scorer of the tournament with 5 goals on his record.

Kylian Mbappe – France
After shinning at the 2018 FIFA World Cup by becoming the second youngest goal scorer at a World Cup final behind the legendary Pelé, it’ll be an understatement to say that much is expected from Kylian Mbappé at a Euro 2020 tournament.

Robert Lewandowski – Poland
He comes from his best season at club level, where he managed to break Gerd Müller’s record of 40 goals from the 1971-72 Bundesliga which was long considered unbreakable.

Kevin De Bruyne – Belgium
Kevin De Bruyne, who scored 13 goals and set up another 20 in the 2019/20 campaign, equaled the record for most assists in a Premier League season set by Thierry Henry in 2002/03. He is considered as the best midfielder in the world, recognized for his exceptional passing, shooting and dribbling abilities.

Interesting facts and incidents of Euro 2020

  • One of the most debated Euro 2020 (2021) interesting facts in football circles is the introduction of the video assistant referee (VAR) system for the first time.
  • In the run-up to the match between Germany and France on the 15 th of June 2021 in Munich, a man with a paramotor got stuck on a fixed rope during a flight over the Allianz Arena, fell into a descent, grazed the spectator stands, and landed on the pitch.
  • Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch due to a cardiac arrest during Denmark Vs. Finland.
  • Austrian player Marko Arnautović insulted Macedonian player Ezgjan Alioski and his family after his goal to make it 3–1. As a result, Arnautović was banned from the next game by UEFA for “insulting another player” and therefore unable to play in Austria’s second group game against the Netherlands.
  • At a press conference before Portugal’s first game on the 14 th of June 2021, Cristiano Ronaldo removed Coca-Cola bottles from the table and then held a water bottle in front of the camera. Paul Pogba moved bottles of non-alcoholic Heineken beer from the table at a press conference. After these two actions, UEFA spoke with each team participating in the European Championship, in which they pointed out the importance of sponsors.
  • The UEFA Executive Committee approved the use of a maximum of five substitutions in matches at the tournament.

Written by Rtr. Gihindu Perera

Edited by Rtr. Dinithi wijayaratne

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FeaturedGeneral

GIVE A BREATH TO OUR MARINE LIFE

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‘‘How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is clearly ocean’’

                                                                         -Arthur C. Clarke-

The ocean, full of saltwater covers approximately 71% of the surface of the planet Earth. It is one of the greatest legacies to mankind, with extraordinary biodiversity.

Although we cannot drink this salty water, why do we still need it?

There is a reason why marine life conservation is considered so important. Let me tell you why :). Scientists have discovered that 50-80% of the oxygen supply on earth comes from the ocean. There are more than millions of planktons, algae, and some bacteria that can photosynthesize. They do a great service to the environment.

Health benefits from seawater

•Sea water can strengthen the immune system

By bathing or swimming in the sea, it helps to increase your red blood cells and white blood cells which can fight against harmful viruses and bacteria.

•Sea water can clean your body well

Seawater contains sodium chloride (NaCl) which is good at killing germs. It also helps to prevent acne problems in your skin.

•Sea water reduces anxiety

The ocean water includes magnesium. So, seawater helps to calm you down. 

Marine pollution

Marine pollution happens because of adverse chemicals, poisonous elements, plastic particles, or breeds of invasive organisms in the ocean. Researchers have found that more than 80% of pollution occurs by land. There’s a tendency to release waste collected in factories into rivers and sewer systems. Most of the time, rivers are the main source that brings garbage to the ocean. When it comes to Asia, countries like India and Sri Lanka are somewhat careless in disposing garbage properly. Hence, around the world, about 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the sea every year. These contain harmful substances that affect the human body as well as the animal body. So, would it be better if we let them go to the sea?

We all know that a ship called ‘’Express Pearl’’ had an accidental fire on the 20th of May 2021 in our maritime boundary. That ship carried 1486 containers including 25 tons of nitric acid. All of them sank in the deep sea. Since then, a large number of sea creatures have died and been dumped into the beach. Ocean has life, even if we can’t see, it breathes. It’s like a well-grown garden with lots of flowers and blossoms. But what the human being does is, put all the garbage into the garden; step on nice flowers, and destroy the beauty. People must be aware that humankind belongs to nature; not that nature belongs to humankind.

Consequences of our carelessness  

A lot of sea turtles, dolphins, and fish species died of poisoning after that ship sank. That was the tragedy we saw with our own eyes. What about that unseen tragedy in the seabed? As mentioned above, there are plankton and chlorophyll algae that can produce oxygen. If we keep ignoring the activities that we do against marine life, the oxygen capacity of our earth won’t be sufficient for the survival of any life. The life of coral reefs is also vanishing because of the increase of dumped plastic particles and chemicals and the acidification of the ocean. It affects some fish species too because they breed inside corals.

If this pollution process continues for another 20 years, the next generation will see the sea creatures only through their textbooks. 

Prevention is better than cure

People think that someone else will protect nature instead of us. We all should stop thinking like that. Be that someone and take the first step. For a few years, we see people cleaning the beach as CSR projects. It’s good to take part in such projects like that without handing over the whole responsibility to the government. But we can protect our marine life before the ocean gets polluted.

If we can force the factories and people to dispose of non-perishable waste in a sustainable manner, we can minimize the impact on the ocean. To limit the effect of plastic, we can use non-disposable containers to store food, a reusable water bottle for daily use, and carry our own reusable bag when we go shopping. Plastic ruins the natural habitats of marine animals, as well as their lives. Apart from that, when we go to the beach to relax along with our friends, we should always make sure to clean up the area before we leave. Because if we leave anything behind, it would be a death trap to an innocent marine life. We should try our best to keep plastics in recycle bins, without letting them end up in the ocean. Keep the beach clean and fulfill your responsibility.

We might be the last hope for our marine life. So, come forward and be a part of marine conservation.  

 Written by: Rtr. K. D. Chamodi Kaveesha

Edited by: Rtr. Loshini Gnanasambanthan

Health benefits from seawater:  https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/the-health-benefits-of-sea-water

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