A very much personal view point mainly by Fred, Somlak and later maybe by the rest of our little team.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Good Morning,
Here is an intersting photo sent in by a last years visitor to our Bay.
OK, it shows a nice guy and a pretty surfboad.
But what is interesting to me is the Bridge in the background!
Because it's the only photo I have seen of it before the Tsunami "destroyed" this Collonial masterpiece.

Does anyone have a better photo of it?
Before December 2004 that is?

There are some guys out there who doubt my word and I would like to prove a point.
We are talking BIG money here; like 35 Million US$.
Wait for the next posting and a better photo.

Have a nice day!
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AbaY Bridge Mid 2004 Posted by Picasa

The NGO's disappointment on reaching Arugam Bay is a bit like the story about a sick joke some TV station played on a proud but famous and well founded Swiss mountain climber:

His ambition was to conquor one of the most difficult summits on earth.
After years of preparation he finally did it, it nearly cost his life.

Unbeknown to him the TV lot (like hidden camera) airlifted a mock-up souvenir shop to the top with fine Gluehwein, the daily papers, climber's needs and chocolate bars.

Nobody will ever forget the expression on our Swiss hero's face when he, exhausted, turned the corner on the very top - looking at the face young, very pretty and also smiling shop owner's face telling him:

"Good to see you, we don't get that many visitors these days"

And the moral of this story:
There are many ways to reach the top.
No matter how, the earlier ones usually take the credit.
In the end.

There is a fine German Travel Blog called "Reisespinne"
Usually it gives traveler's advice in a fashion similar to Thorn Tree of Lonely Planet.

Ever since Christmas members seem to be somewhat against us as well as most of our activities.
Only recently we received some sound advice as well as a single donation of 200 Euro from one of their members.
In recent frank discussions many misunderstandings surfaced, for the first time for us to realise:

1.) Our sarcastic remarks and account of events at Christmas were totally misinterpreted
2.) This piece of traumatized bravado was designed to shame all the guys who all left us when we needed their help most
2a) And it was designed to install a kind of normality into our life again, a pretence of course.
3.) We were obviously upset that the biggest 'cowards' were made into the biggest 'hero's' back home
4.) Our mission at the time was to install the pretence of a sort of 'normality'
5.) We pushed locals hard, too hard perhaps, but we managed to install pride and confidence in helping themselves
6.) Our work-for money program, right from day one, was only successful until the NGO's arrived
7.) This alone provided confidence and pride in men who managed to support the rest of their families
8.) Most well meaning NGO guys spoiled just about everything we stood for by treating all natives as incapable morons.
9.) None of them even trusted the natives to continue to go our shopping in nearby PottuVille for themselves
10.) Instead all sorts of weird exotic items had to be imported and handed out in a blaze of specially organised publicity
11.) The fact that most of such unknown things like excellent Polish Ghulash in unmarked tins was only used a dog food was not filmed however
12.) Kids were couciled into realizing that they suffer sudenly from terrible loss, have a trauma; even now they still appear to have a complex

We know now, after having received and digested much good advice from Reisespinne, that we would have been be far more popular and successful if we would have played our cards in the accepted, tear forcing way.
Telling everyone silly hero stories, true or not, showing and advertising our work and achievements and refraining from comments about others, specially the mighty NGO's who are openly at war with us as a result.
It is no longer a secret that we are long singled out for punishment by the ones who are sitting on donor's goldbags.

We still try to have the capacity to see things from the other point of view"

After about 2 weeks the most 'brave' NGO's finally reached Arugam Bay - it is after all a long, bumpy way from the Happy Hour at the Light House in Galle.
Expecting cheering dark locals with brilliant white teeth there to embrace them was a differend reception once they managed to cross the lagoon at Arugam Bay:
All essential work was long done, there were no more true emergencies, a good self-help program was in full swing, there was plenty of food and water and shelter for everyone.
Worse stiill, there was a functioning free bar and good restaurant, Internet, TV news from all over the globe and a good generating station, a hub of activity they came here to establish, perhaps.

Buy unfortunately they were 2 full weeks too late!
In desperation they had to find excuses and made up all sorts of projects, none of which made much sense to us here, but maybe they looked good at home for donors and distant management to impress.

This -in a nutshell- is what we think has gone wrong at Arugam Bay.
That is why we still have never received even one single rupee, and that is why we are at loggerheads with all the organizations.

But the bottom line is that the Bay is on the right track for a full self recovery, there is confidence, there is hope for the future.
And personally we feel that we have done the right thing and history will prove us to be correct.

But maybe we should have been more diplomatic in our entire approach?

But we still fail to understand all the 'heros' from the hill top who simply disappeared when everyone needed help most.
Many of such guys even critisised us from a safe distance, raised funds for whatever - but never had the bottle to face us; never mind about any kind of support in words or kind.

We only made one mistake and that is that we were too modest.
We did not wish to add yet another sob story to the world.
We wanted to show that life goes on, that we look forward and face fresh challenges.

We are still certain that we have done whatever was in our limited power to help everyone in this predicament.

There are plenty of real heros, like:

Uncle Shelton,
None of them were sitting on heros hill being looked after and pampered upon arrival.
In fact none of them have ever seen a 5 Star hotel from the inside.

That is why they are ignored to this very day?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Here is the loveley face of our biggest personal loss:
Our son's great friend Cairo, who sadly died at "Beach Hut"
on Tsunami Day.

Our son Tea and Cairo spend all their time together;
We are all very sad that we were unable to help
or save this great little boy.
Cairo was brave, clever, great at languages and he leaves one of the BEST single dads behind we have ever come across.

In fond memory of .... Cairo.
Our sincere regrets to Richard

Fred, Somlak & Tae
(all at the SVH tonight)
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Welcome friends of the BaY!

This is just to show you what we look like.

Both of us very much hope that we can tell you a little what we stand for and what we believe in in this private Blog corner of Arugam Bay during the next few months.

Please support us in our stuggle against the mighty giants if you can and should you agree with most of our views.

Thanks a Billion!
Fred & Somlak
& the SVH Team

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We are deeply indebted!

This is a face of one of the few true Arugam Bay heros.
It is the loyal SVH gardner uncle Shelton.

Following our all night mad Full Moon Party on Boxing Day none of us was sober at the time the BIG waves hit our little hotel.

But this wise old "Fox" Shelton noticed something strange about the sea and woke everyone from their recently gained drunken or stoned sleep and happy dreams at 09:00 hrs. on 26th. December.

This was without doubt the beginning of the most amazing day we will ever have the priviledge to experience and survive in our entire life.

Only due to him and his near 80 years of wisdom all of the Siam View Guests and the entire staff survived; nobody was seriously injured either.

We will never forget our local hero uncle Shelton! Thanks for saving us!

A tribute to a wise old man.
The SVH Team
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Good Morning!

Please help us both to post everything which does not fit into the BIG discussion platforms!
Fred & Somlak

Ps.: We are just total beginners and try to learn. Task: How to include our photo?
It is nice to see who you are talking to.

In loving memory of Cairo.
Arugam Bay's youngest surfer

Only 7 years......
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