Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sri Lanka's Long History of Fasting

If you follow Sri Lankan politics then you will have heard or read about National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa's fast in prison last week in protest over the High Court rejection of his bail application.  Unfortunately he had to be transferred to hospital after only three days. But I suppose that outcome was expected given the reasons behind his prison fast. What interests me is not the politics behind Wimal Weerawansa's fast, but the historic precedence of fasting in Sri Lanka and why it still has significant importance (maybe now more than ever) from a medical, spiritual, and philosophical perspective.

By definition, fasting is a voluntary or willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. It has been practiced for thousands of years. In fact, many religions including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism have all practiced fasting in one form or another. In ancient yoga, fasting has been used as a method of natural healing. And even the ancient philosophers, such as Hippocrates, Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle praised the benefits of fasting. Philippus Paracelsus, one of the three fathers of Western medicine was quoted as saying "fasting is the greatest remedy - the physician within".

Sunday, March 5, 2017

UPDATED: The Question of Medical Insurance for Expats in Sri Lanka

The question of medical or health insurance for expats is one of those critical things that needs some proper attention. To be honest, a decade ago, I didn't think too much on it because of my personal circumstances, which was essentially that I was young, healthy and not 100% sure about my plans for living in Sri Lanka. I had some travel insurance to cover me for the initial period, but after that I considered Sri Lanka's free public health system as "good enough" should anything happen. Plus, at that time I thought myself low risk in medical terms. Of course these things change over time and you learn through experience about the health system in Sri Lanka, both public and private, and that helps with making better informed decisions about medical cover and healthcare options.

I also recognize that not all expats are the same and therefore each person's circumstances and requirements may be quite different. For instance, a foreign assignee (and family) might have medical insurance built into their expat deal. But a young expat adventurer may weigh their options and decide not to take medical insurance based on personal circumstances and low risk factors. Or the expat entrepreneur who runs a business in Sri Lanka and has a young family that wants good medical insurance cover has a preference for private healthcare as that's what is the norm back in their native country. Or the expat retiree who has come over on the "My Dream Home" visa programme which requires a valid medical insurance policy applicable in Sri Lanka will make a choice based on their age and medical needs.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Expat News, Articles of Interest and Diary Events #7

For a short month February was certainly a busy and event-filled one. We were lucky to have a few long weekends owing to the public holidays and that was a delight. I for one made the most of those and headed out of Colombo for some fresh experiences and opportunities to connect with the locals. 

All-in-all it was a good month and I can't complain at how the year is starting to shape up. Of course, the challenges still abound, but you have to roll with punches. I think you learn this as part of your life training in Expat 101 when you move to a foreign country.


I have a few interesting blog posts on the horizon. With trying to balance work, travel and being in the moment it can be difficult to find the time to put regular posts up, but rather than churn out blog posts, my aim has been to publish fresh and relevant posts that I'm interested in writing that are filled with experiences or tips that might be useful to fellow expats and travelers.

So, enjoy the February round up - there's been a lot in the news if you need to catch up.  Plenty on if you're looking for something to do around Colombo, particularly around International Women's Day. In any case, I hope there won't be too much March madness to navigate through...