Archives for category: Sri Lanka

There is a huge uproar in the land of the lions about the Advanced Level results being completely unreliable. So, I thought I’d add my 2 cents on the subject.
Disclaimer: I did study math at uni, but I’ve forgotten all most of it and I took only one stat class. So, I will keep it simple – that is not by choice, I am forced to.

The problem has arisen due to two different sets of exams taking place due to two different syllabi being employed. There are repeaters from 2009 and 2010 doing the old syllabus and then there are the 2011 kids doing the new syllabus. So, the outcome is that there were two sets of results.

But for university entry there needs to be a result set from which the top few can be selected. From what I understand, they took the two means of the Z-score distributions and polled it to get an adjusted mean. From this the adjusted Z-score was calculated.

There are 2 main errors in this process.

First, the Z-score calculation is not a linear function. Results from non-linear functions cannot be treated with linear functions. A simple example is to take the square function.
10+3=13 but 102+32 ≠ 132
Similarly, linear manipulation (polling the mean) of results from non-linear functions (Z-score) gives erroneous outcomes.

Second, how can 2 different exams be matched up properly? Two people who got the exact same result on two different exams cannot be deemed as equals. Furthermore, taking the mean, median etc are all flawed methods.Since the population taking the exams are varied there is no way to match one to the other.

So, the bottom line is that there is no correct (or should I say justifiable) way of doing this. 2 different exams – 1 result. One way or the other, some people will get the short end of the stick. But, I guess that’s life people – it’s not fair. You just have to live with it.

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My good friend Sayy and few others are working on a new initiative. This is something very interesting and has a lot of potential, so I thought I’d spread the word.

Have a looksie when you get a chance.

http://sayys365.blogspot.com/p/yarl-it-hub.html

Yesterday (15-07-11) we witnessed history being made when Vidyartha College met St. John’s College at Nittawela. Vidyartha were able to break the the Sri Lanka schools record for the highest total in a match by scoring 203 unanswered points. To avoid any possible confusion I will point out that it was a Rugby match. It was a great day for Vidyartha rugby, but not such a great day for Sri Lankan rugby, or even the game as a whole.

During the second half of the game, one by one the St. John’s players started walking off the field. At one point there were only four players on the field. The players weren’t walking off injured, they had just had enough and went away. It was an appalling sight to say the least. It was more appalling than watching Anderson Silva vs Maia @ UFC 108. However, it was less appalling than when a player fired a weapon mid match, which happened just a couple of weeks ago at the Kandy vs Air Force club match. Is this the state of Sri Lankan rugby? This was a division two match for crying out loud.

Anyway, what’s done is done and we as fans have to move on. I would like to pass on this kind message to the St. John’s boys or any sportsman for that matter: Play the game with the right spirit. Take inspiration from people like Derek Redmond who got injured but still finished the 400m at the 1992 Olympics. The recent example from the 2011 Tour de France where John Hoogerland was thrown into a barbed wire fence and subsequently had to get 33 stitches, but still finished the race speaks volumes about never giving up. Even better would be our own unsung hero Ranatunga Karunanada who finished the 10,000m (to a standing ovation) way after rest of the runners back at the ’64 Olymics.

Finish what you started. Never give up. That old saying “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game” still holds true.

Last Saturday evening, the more enthusiastic Trinitians in Perth gathered to watch the second leg of the Bradby on big screen. Having done the same for the first leg a couple of weeks ago and having witnessed a poor show by the boys in the red, yellow and blue jerseys, the mood was somber at best. Trinity lost the first leg in a match riddled with mistakes and were 8 points behind. We all knew that coming back from an 8 point deficit was a mammoth task (pun intended) and something that’s never been achieved in the history of the Bradby shield. To top that off, in what looked like the final nail in the coffin, Trinity had lost to Isipathana on the weekend between the two Bradby matches. Royalists being unbeaten so far in the season and sitting comfortably on top of the league table didn’t help matter either.

It looked as if the writing was on the wall. As is customary when any team starts to lose matches, the critics were having a field day of it, some even going so far as calling the Braby first leg the worst Trinity outing this season. I thought the worst Trinity played was against the Anthonians in the season opener. But, Trinity won that exchange, so the critics must have forgotten about it. Despite repeating catch-phrases such as “keep hope alive”, I was also beginning to doubt if the Trinitians could dish out another tour de force performance like they did against (then table leaders) St. Peter’s.

Anyway, getting back to match day; failing to find an online stream for channel eye and realizing that theScore.lk was not showing this match, we settled to watch it on the thePapare.com. Watching the match on Papare was akin to watching porn from a scratched VCD. It was like a detective game where we tried to make out what is happening by looking a series of still pictures. The only redeeming factor about thePapare stream was that they had the score displayed, so at least we knew when one team scored.

For the first 10 minutes of the match we watched in apprehension. Then came a defining moment that I thought set the pace for the rest of the game. Trinity stand-off, Rehan W, booted the ball down the park and the Royal wing-three-quarter collected it. The Trinity open side winger made good ground and made a nice tackle just inside the 5m line; then he stood up and proceeded to drag the tackled player along with the ball to the touch line. This act alone showed that this was by no means the same team that played a couple of weeks ago at Bogambara. This team had a drive and a passion that you’d see from a top international team. They had only one goal – winning theBradby – and they were willing to leave everything in the middle to get it done.

Soon afterwards Trinity scored a penalty followed by a brilliant try off a three quarter move. We breathed a little easier seeing the 8 point advantage evaporate. During this period the star player, playmaker and place kicker for Royal, Jamaldeen, missed a couple of penalty opportunities – easy ones by his usual high standard. Had he scored these, especially the first one – in the fifth minute, it might have been a different story. It was evident that Royal had put all their hopes on their trusty (up till this match) forwards. But, they were driven back by some outstanding fringe defence by the lions and time and again failed to make the gain line.

Midway through the first half Royal were dealt a hefty blow when Jamaldeen was carried off due to injury. His counterpart, Rehan, on the otherhand was having the game of his life and was able to put over another penalty and then an outstanding drop goal. We were now starting to find our voices. The beer and the wine actually started to taste better. Before the half time break a three quarter move saw promising wing Sashan cross over for a try taking the score to 21-0, and we cheered like anything.

On resumption, the Royal pack attempted a comeback but again to no avail. Rehan had remembered to put on the right pair of boots for this leg (pun not intended) and was finding either touch or space at ease. A little into the half Sean Foster crashed over for a score. The TV replay showed that he dropped the ball in the last spilt second, but the ref didn’t pick it up. Luck was definetely on Trinity side. When the Trinity center, Kanil, crossed the line to make the score 33-0, we were over the moon.

For the next twenty minutes or so both sides made many a mistake trying to play a tad too fast. Once Trinity regained composure, Sashan got a chance to show just how good he is by running three quarters of the park virtualy untouched to take the score upto 40. 40! – the most points Trinity ever scored in a Bradby game. The Royalists were able to score a consolation try through captain Shehan in the dying minutes of the match – a well deserved try for all the consistent hard work he put in.

When the full time whistle blew the cheer was deafening. I’m sure the neighbours must have wondered what sort of spelling game we were playing by shouting out letters of the alphabet like lunatics. There was rush to take our pictures with the score as a backdrop and upload it to facebook! We were so thrilled that we sang the college song – maybe the first time it was sung here in Perth. Lucky for us our host had Sri Lankan channels available on a time-delay system. So, we sat down and actually watched the game this time!

The match video can be found at: http://www.thescore.lk/video.php?recordID=49

The inter-school rugby season is in full swing back in the land of the lions. Unlike in previous years, this time we get to watch all the matches live as they happen thanks to http://www.thescore.lk/. Yes, in the past we had a similar website – thePapare.com – but while Papare continues to broadcast only selected matches, theScore is broadcasting all of the div1 matches and does a much better job overall.

All right, that’s a sufficiently long plug. Now, to the point of this article. During, before and after the matches, a comment that is brought up too often is that a particular school consists of a ‘combined schools’ outfit. This ‘combined schools’ comment is bugging me a bit. No, it’s actually bugging me a lot – well at least enough for me to blog about it. Comments such as ‘playing with foreign (or imported) players’, ‘team members cannot even sing school song’, ‘Colombo united’ etc all stem from the fact that there are players in some teams who used to go to other schools. For some reason or other they have opted to switch schools and so now play for a different team. I for one think that such comments are lame – very lame. Why? I’ll tell (write ) you why…

First of all, players (schoolboys) should be allowed to go to whichever school they want to. Sometimes kids want to switch schools ‘cos their current school doesn’t offer some subject combinations for Advanced Level. Sometimes they want to switch ‘cos they want to play for a better team. Regardless of the reason switching should be allowed and the fans should just deal with it. It allows better players to practise more at a level that fits them. I mean come on, you don’t think that Daniel Carter would have gotten to where he is if he played for a team like Mid Canterbury?

The other and maybe more important point is that even if you select the 15 best rugby players out there and put them on the same team, it doesn’t mean they are going to win. The consistency with which the Baa-baas get beaten is testament enough.

We all like to see the our school succeed, but it’s important to take a step back and see the big picture. So, please get over it and away with the lame excuses.

When it came to international games festivals such as the Olympics, Commonwealth or even the Asian games, we expected Sri Lankans to shine in the athletics department. The stars to watch out for were Susanthika, Darsha, Sugath, Rohan Pradeep, etc.

Well that is definitely not the case any more. Manju Wanniarachchi made history today by winning the gold in boxing (56kg division) at the Commonwealth games. Check out the thrilling battle to be number one below……

It is thrilling  to the core to see an awesome achievement such as this. I plan to watch this video over and over again 🙂

The other sport in which the land of the lions had success in is weightlifting. Chinthana Vidanage, did us proud once again by getting the Silver in the 69kg division. He broke the 300kg barrier just like he said he would, but he had moved up a weight class and so had to settle for second place. Still a very impressive performance. The good thing about Chinthana moving up a weight class was that he made room for one Anton Sudesh Peiris Kurukulasooriyage in the 62kg division. This young man made maximum use of the opportunity and landed a Bronze medal for himself. My  utmost congratulations and respect goes to these amazing sportsman who have done themselves and the country proud.

That being said, the thing that jumped out the most about these winners is their age. Well that and the fact that they competed in strength based sports; which you would not usually associate a Sri Lankan with. Manju, aged 30, boxed against two teenagers in the Semi and Final matches.  Chinthana is 28 (meaning he was 24 when he won gold back in 2006) and his event was won by a 22 year old. Sudesh is 25 and his event was won by a 20 year old.[These ages maybe off by a year due to lazy calculations while half asleep….. apologies if they are]

It’s not too much of a big issue and I don’t want to take anything away from these amazing men who have done so much. But it just makes you wonder, what if they were given a chance earlier….

Nevertheless, they are here now and they are winning which is what matters the most. Here’s to many more victories to come!

A group of scientists placed 5 monkeys in a cage and in the middle, a ladder with bananas on the top. Every time a monkey went up the ladder, the scientists soaked the rest of the monkeys with cold water.

After a while, every time a monkey went up the ladder, the others beat up the one on the ladder. After some time, no monkey dares to go up the ladder regardless of the temptation.

Scientists then decided to substitute one of the monkeys. The 1st thing this new monkey did was to go up the ladder.Immediately the other monkeys beat him up. After several beatings, the new member learned not to climb the ladder even though never knew why!

After sometime, 2nd monkey was substituted and the same occurred. The 1st monkey participated on the beating for the 2nd monkey. A 3rd monkey was changed and the same was repeated (beating). The 4th was substituted and the beating was repeated and finally the 5th monkey was replaced.

What was left was a group of 5 monkeys that even though never received a cold shower,continued to beat up any monkey who attempted to climb the ladder. If it was possible to ask the monkeys why they would beat up all those who attempted to go up the ladder…..I bet you the answer would be…. I don’t know – that’s how things are done

This message is to the monkeys and donkeys in Sri Lankan Universities that are obsessed with their so called ‘sub-culture’.