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* Banana and Honey:
Banana and honey are the natural moisturisers, which can restore your dry hair. This hair mask works amazing when you continue applying it twice a week. The end result is definitely long lasting.
01 Mashed Banana
03 tablespoons Milk
03 tablespoons Honey
05 tablespoons Olive Oil
Take a bowl and mix well all the ingredients mentioned above.
Make sure they are well combined and then apply this mixture to your hair.
Leave it for about 15 to 30 minutes and wash out with a very mild shampoo.
This hair mask leaves your hair soft and moist until your next shower and works fine when applied twice a week.
This is the most common and simple hair mask and suits well for all hair types. Egg is the best source of protein and the egg yolk is rich in fat and protein. Using egg for your hair is extremely good for moisturising it for a longer period of time. The egg white is full of bacteria eating enzymes and cleanses your hair and scalp and is suggested for those having oily hair. Use a full egg for normal to dry hair.
Egg white (for oily hair and scalp)
01 full egg (for normal to dry hair)
Lemon Juice – 2/3 drops
Take one egg, or two, depending on the thickness and length of your hair.
Add a few drops of lemon juice, if you find smell of egg is unpleasant
Beat until frothy and properly apply it to your hair, and scalp, and make sure that your hair is covered with egg.
Cover it with a shower cap and leave it for about 20 minutes.
Rinse well with cold water and a mild shampoo.
People with oily hair and scalp can replace one full egg with egg white.
This treatment can be applied twice a week, or monthly, and is considered as a good protein treatment for your hair.
(More next week)
Growing dilemmas for US in South Asia
SLFP – What fate awaits it
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The pandemic has engulfed the whole world and many are suffering – victims of the Covid-19 virus, and also with the lockdowns imposed.
In our part of the world, the scene is equally bad, but, as the saying goes ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going,’ there are folks who are ready to lend a helping hand.
The Cambrians Class of ‘80, of Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa, was formed in 2011 by a group of ‘80s old boys.
Melantha Perera, well-known in the showbiz scene, has been the President since the Class of ’80 became a reality, and none of the members want him to step down because of his enthusiasm and ‘work hard’ policy.
Referring to the current situation, in the country, Melantha says he keeps the committee alive by entertaining them, on zoom.
“Recently, when one of my students, in the UK, wanted to felicitate the doctors and nurses, in the Panadura Hospital, I contacted Doctor Hemantha, stationed at the hospital, and he was very appreciative of the student’s thoughtfulness.”
Melantha went on to say that Dr. Hemantha then made a suggestion, since he was in charge of the Covid section at the Base Hospital Homagama.
Melantha was told that when Covid patients are brought in, or tested positive at the hospital, no one can visit them. They are with the clothes they wore when they were admitted.
While the hospital takes care of them, medically, they are not able to provide some of the things that the patients need – like sarongs, slippers, towels, etc.
It was at this stage that Melantha and the committee met, via zoom, and decided to move into action.
The Cambrians Class of ‘80 group rallied round, and also made a cash donation for an urgently needed machine for the hospital.
Melantha says he is indebted to all the friends, and those from overseas, as well, who donated towards this worthy cause – the Kumara Sathkara Project.
Yes, Melantha is working closely with his Exco members, going beyond the usual annual get-together activities, etc., and fulfilling the duties to the society.
At their annual get-together they felicitate their past teachers, invite families of the members, entertain the children of the members, etc., and each year the Cambrians Class of ‘80 collectively takes the lead in several CSR projects – donation for the Annual Prize Giving of the College, donations for five families affected by the bomb blast, cash and donation of dry rations to the Bandaragama Raja Maha Viharaya for flood-affected families in the Kalutara District, and conducting blood donation programmes are some of their social service events.
As could have been expected the Biden administration is coming under heavy criticism at home and among some sections of the international community for what is seen as a botched withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. On the domestic front, it is the political Right that is proving the Biden administration’s harshest critics.
Some of these criticisms centre around accusations that the Biden administration pulled out the US’s remaining troops in Afghanistan with hardly a care for their safety and of having compromised US national security considerations in South and Southwest Asia in the process. Generally, the withdrawal has come to be seen as considerably precipitous, unplanned and careless.
Besides, Biden is being charged with not having been sufficiently caring for non-military American lives and for those of the US’s Western allies in Afghanistan, in addition to not being protective of those sections among the local Afghan public who cooperated with the US over the years during the “war on terror”. Among the latter are intelligence operatives who worked closely with the US army. The perception is that quite a few of these cooperative sections were left behind in Afghanistan to be at the mercy of the Taliban.
Besides these strictures of a specific nature, the general perception has been steadily gaining ground among sections of US and international opinion that the Afghan people were left to their devices in the face of an inevitable Taliban take-over of the country, which is seen, of course not without reason, as being deeply inimical to the wellbeing of Afghans.
Former US Secretary of State Leon Panetta could be considered as having spoken for the US Right when he said in an interview with a section of the international media that the prime responsibility of a US administration is to protect American lives anywhere. He said that although it is true that it was the Trump administration that initiated talks with the Taliban and finalized a withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, it was up to the Biden administration to ensure that the withdrawal was effected with utmost care and judiciously. It should have been sparing of US and other lives and should have had its focus on upholding the honour and dignity of the US. However, the Biden-supervised withdrawal did none of this and compromised the standing of the US in the world community.
While such charges could be considered as integral to the usual politicking between the principal political parties of the US, there are policy issues in these arguments and counter-arguments that should not be allowed to pass unnoticed by the analyst. One is the question of the US’s standing as a world power and its reputation. Although not elaborated on by Panetta, besides the botched nature of the recent US troop withdrawal, what is also at issue here is a decision by the US to withdraw militarily from a theatre of conflict that is central to the stability of the South and South West Asian regions. Currently, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is taking a considerable amount of the flak as well for the US’s seeming blunder in South West Asia.
Afghanistan was coveted by almost all the principal powers of the modern world over the decades. First it was Britain in imperial times, followed by Russia and the US. As indicated in this column on previous occasions it is the central strategic location of Afghanistan that accounts for this unusual interest in the country on the part of the major powers.
Simply put, Afghanistan is at the geographical cross roads to a number of the world’s foremost states: China, Russia, Iran, India, Pakistan and a score of Central Asian states that define the contours of the current international political order. Besides, Afghanistan is resource-rich and would prove a treasure trove for those powers that are intent on being on a growth fast track.
Accordingly, what is the message that the Biden administration would be sending to the US and the world through its troop withdrawal? The administration is indicating that it is beating a hasty retreat from a highly coveted prize in South Asia and that it is tamely allowing the US’s rivals, such as China and Russia, to occupy centre stage in Afghanistan. This amounts to a foreign policy defeat for the US.
No doubt, there are potential political costs for the Biden administration through this decision. But there has occurred a seemingly curious US decision in another region of strategic and economic interest to most major powers, while all this is happening in South Asia. That is the US decision to remove its missile defence systems in Saudi Arabia; its strategic partner in the Middle East and the Gulf.
This move by the US amounts to leaving its ally Saudi Arabia vulnerable to attack by its rivals for power in the region. But the decision by the US was a shrewdly calculated one that took into consideration its economic and security interests. The measure indicates that the Gulf and the Middle East are of waning interest to the US. Like Afghanistan they are arenas of chronic and wasting conflict that would not serve the US’s best interests in the long run.
Instead, the US would prefer to bolster its military and economic presence in the Asia-Pacific region. This is taking the Barrack Obama thinking of having a “Pivot to Asia” to its logical conclusion. The Asia-Pacific, which is home to ASEAN, is pivotal to world economic growth and the US would rather better its economic prospects there rather than engage in unending wars in other parts of the world.
Thus, the US, the so-called mightiest democracy, trying to showcase liberal values, runs the risk of being seen as having betrayed a suffering Southern country in the form of Afghanistan and of leaving it in the hands of an intolerant fundamentalist outfit that has no qualms in resorting to terror. Besides, it could be seen as tamely giving way to China and Russia in Afghanistan.
By Gunadasa Amarasekera
The reason for the SLFP leaders to celebrate its 70th birth Anniversary, I believe was promoted by a desire to make a comeback out of the depths to which it has sunk in recent times. Despite the desire to come back, has it the vitality, the elan left to do so? This is a question to be asked not only by the SLFPers themselves, but by the vast majority that happens to be the children of ’56 and also by all those who are interested in the well- being of the country-the nation. To answer this question, one needs at least a brief analysis of its genesis, its history and its past performance.
The biggest misfortune the SLFP has faced and is facing even today is its inability to identify itself, understand why it came into being. Except for a discerning few, most of the present generation including our so- called intellectuals and even those who have undertaken to lead the Party, lack this understanding.
For many, even today, it is a quirk of fate; for some elitist groups it’s the result of a demagogy spawned by a disgruntled few. Very few have addressed their minds to find an answer. GC Mendis was one among the few who sought to delve deep to seek an answer. He saw it as a lapse on the part of the main civilised political stream which allowed the barbaric tide languishing at the periphery to overtake it!
However, the die- hard SLFPers see it as nothing but the creation of its great leader-SWRD Bandaranaike – Bandaranaike with his slogan of ‘Sinhala in 24 hours’ was able to sway the masses, achieve victory and create history. Little do they realise that it is not the leaders that create history; instead it is history that creates leaders. Bandaranaike did not create a new party as such; he only delivered what was created by history, and played the role of the midwife or the obstetrician. This historical perspective has eluded those devotees of Bandaranaike.
The SLFP is a party that is different from all other parties that have emerged after Independence. The UNP was founded on the liberal ideology of the West, the Socialist parties were founded on Marxism, which once again was a product of the West. The SLFP, on the contrary, has its origins in the soil; it is rooted in the Sinhala Buddhist civilisation, which has nourished this nation over the centuries. This can be ascertained from the historical background that gave birth to this party.
After the Uva-Wellassa rebellion, the national liberation movement gave up the armed struggle and opted for a non-violent path. By then the renaissance movement initiated by Asarana Sarana Saranankara, during the Dutch period, had permeated to the rest of the country, especially to Ruhuna. It produced the intelligentsia, the educated Sangha community who were to spearhead the movement. Two great seats of learning – Vidyodaya and Vidyalankara were established by the pupils of Sarankara.it was this background that made Anagarika Dharmapala emerge by the end of the 19th century. It was he who took the message to the masses with a number of cultural movements. In his travels across the country, he realised that those villagers, the peasants, though living in poverty, had retained a civilisational consciousness inherited from a past; he also realised that this civilisational consciousness which lay dormant could be awakened in his fight against imperialist forces. By the beginning of the twentieth century the British ruler realised the threat imposed by Anagarika. The IGP said there was a likelihood of Anagarika surrounding Colombo one morning with ‘his barbaric hordes’. The rulers with the help of the comprador class and the deracinated members of the National Congress groomed by them were determined to take Anagarika off the stage, silence him and destroy his movement. They succeeded in doing so, but failed to destroy the seeds sown by him in the minds of the vast masses. Those seeds took root and flourished unnoticed with the passage of time, the nourishment needed was produced by the indigenous intelligentsia, the writers, novelists and poets of the time – sanga-veda-guru – the forces of ’56, came out of that milieu.
Except the young Bandaranaike, who had returned from UK, no other leader was aware of the silent revolution initiated by Anagarika. It was that awareness that made Bandaranaike establish the Sinhala Maha Sabha in 1934.The Sinhala Maha Sabha produced the blue print needed for the formation of the SLFP in 1951. The Sinhala Maha Sabha has suffered great injustice being labelled a chauvinistic Sinhala caucus. The truth is far from it. The SMS envisaged a political organisation that would not only look after the economic needs but also the cultural aspirations of the people who had suffered at the hands of the colonials. It addressed its mind to the unity of different communities and as a prerequisite to that unity it emphasised the need to unite the Sinhalese who were divided by political affiliations, by religion, caste and creed. It maintained that; it is only then, that other groups could be brought in as stake holders, participating in a common civilisation. This is possible when there is a non- antagonistic symbiotic relationship between these cultures and civilisations. (I think this a point that Huntington missed when he considered /assumed culture and civilization as one and the same.) This, I believe was the state of affairs in this country prior to the advent of the foreigner. This is so, even today at the village peasantry level, and this is what prompted President DB Wijetunge, a great villager himself, to make that most misunderstood statement -comparing the Sinhala nation to a tree around which the other ethnic groups should wind themselves for their survival. I believe this vision of the Sinhala Maha Sabha is more relevant today when the so -called reconciliation at the expense of the major community has failed miserably. It was a mistake on the part of Bandaranaike to have dissolved the Sinhala Maha Sabha when he joined the UNP; ironically what made Bandaranaike form the SLFP was the rejection of the proposals of the Sinhala Maha Sabha at the Madampe sessions by the UNP.
The great victory achieved by the SLFP in ’56 was not one that was anticipated by many. I don’t think that even Bandaranaike anticipated it; his close friend and founder member of the Party, Bernard Aluwihare left the party on the eve of the elections saying that he was not prepared to carry the coffin. There is a story I have heard from a reliable source that is symbolic of the situation and the quandary faced by the great leader and the nation. Bandaranaike, after a hectic election campaign had retired early to bed, the night, the election results were to be announced. He had told the family members, not to put him up; the family members though overjoyed by the results, had remained silent till the following morning. When they heard his footsteps coming down the stairs they rushed to announce the victory- Bandaranaike had stopped coming down and sat on the steps, silent, wrapped in deep thought for a long period.
I think this premature victory had its ill-effects on the party; it had the vision, but lacked the political structures, institutions, and the economic policies that were needed to translate the vision into praxis. Though it spoke of a nebulous middle path, a socialism of its own, there were no concrete plans to achieve those ends. I believe Bandaranaike had the vision, the intellect, to translate that vision. His death––a result of a conspiracy still unraveled––denied him that opportunity.
Sirimavo Bandaranaike was able to implement some of the policies that were envisaged by her husband. But she had no holistic agenda. The Marxists who were with her, were partly responsible for it; they were interested not in a nationalist plan but a Marxist agenda. Some of the results were horrendous, such as taking away the lands of the locals; indiscriminate nationalisation followed by corruption, discouraging local entrepreneurship, austere measures –hal polu. miris polu and bread queues that made life impossible for the middle class, and the poor.
The situation was seized by the old fox JR to present the coalition as an adharmista evil force. What was ironical is that he was able to use the same lingo, the same terms dharmista which formed the core moral and ethical values of the SLFP. But this debacle suffered by the SLFP was temporary, it was no threat to its survival.
However, it was Chandrika Kumaratunga who assumed the leadership of the Party who was capable of thwarting) its survival.
It was Chandrika Kumaratunga who was able to destroy for the first time, the Sinhala Buddhist cultural foundation on which the SLFP was built. It was no longer the Party of the Sinhala majority-the backbone of the SLFP. It was turned into a multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multireligious, multi-cultural party. Having transformed it, she was prepared to hand over North and East to Mr Prabhakaran for 10 years; invited the Norwegians to divide the country in the name of reconciliation, and was ready to execute the P-Toms together with Prabhakaran. She confessed later that the decision she made to dissolve Parliament was a mistake, which action was what allowed the war to be continued.
In all these, Chandrika Kumaratunga was ably supported by Mangala Samaraweera, with his thavalam and sudu nelum campaigns. I do not wish to believe that she extended her blessings to Samaraweera to co-sponsor the traitorous resolution by the US against our country.
The greatest harm inflicted on the SLFP was the derailing and destroying the economic policies followed by it from its inception. Though they may have not been clearly defined, they were always anti-imperialist, pro nationalist and pro socialist. Sirimavo Bandaranaike was always guided by her civilisational consciousness, she never allowed imperialist powers to exploit this country, she was fearless and bold enough to nationalise the American oil companies in spite of the threats of that super power. Her government cleared all the debts we had accumulated, JR Jayewardene reversed all this with his open economy -a euphuism for neo colonialism.
Chandrika never tried to get back to the economic policies of the SLFP, she was happy with the neo liberal policies of JRJ. Under the pretext of giving a human face, she embraced them gladly. However, what is most disappointing and damaging was that Mahinda Rajapakse who followed her als o continued with the same policies when he had the opportunity to change them.
The result of these contradictory, harmful trends, was the loss of vision, direction and loss of ideology, resulting ultimately in the loss of confidence of the people. The SLFP became a headless body-a kawandaya. No attempt was made to recover the lost head; what was attempted was to graft the heads of liberal donkeys and heads of Marxist horses, adding insult to injury. ( In my address at the Bandaranaike Commemoration I pointed this out.)
It was left to President Sirisena to complete the task and finish off the Party. He did so by doing the very opposite of what the founder of the Party did 70 years ago, by making the SLFP an appendage of the UNP, and taking it back to the folds of the UNP. The last supper (of hoppers) at the Temple Trees was followed by the crucification of the kawandaya.
This was the fate of the SLFP; the fate that awaits it today, cannot be much different.
What is really worrying is not so much the demise of the kawandaya, but its repercussions. Ranil Wickremasinghe may have thought that it was a superb strategy on his part to embrace Sirisena. He would have thought embracing Sirisena means destroying his opponent the SLFP for good. Little did he realize that it was the embrace of death, that it would kill his party as well as himself. He had ultimately secured a dishonorable grave for his grand old party after 75 years. In spite of all these repercussions, one would say that not everything is lost. The two main parties in their death throes have thrown up two saplings; the Pohottuwa and the Telephone which would carry on their mission. It would be extremely naive to believe in such a fantasy. The Pohottuwa will wither away before it blossoms, and the telephone will be dead before it answers the call.
Ultimately, we are left with a political dessert, a wasteland with no hope and nothing in sight as visualised by the poet – “What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this this stony rubbish,”. All signs are there, that we are fast approaching that stage. (On the other hand the poet may be wrong where this resplendent isle of ours is concerned… that stony rubbish can produce heroes out of clowns and comedians as well as politicians to lead us.)
However, let me not end what I have to say only with this dismal picture to the children of ‘56, who had pinned their faith on this party and now feel betrayed and let down. There is no need to lose faith. The SLFP as a party may be dead, but not the ideology that gave it birth, it’s alive. It’s that ideology that made 6,900,000 of you to vote Gotabaya to power. That ideology founded on our centuries old civilisation as old as the Chinese civilisation will die only with the death of our civilisation. That it has not suffered such an untimely death is proved beyond all doubt by the victory of Gotabaya.
In 1959, three years after ’56, I wrote an article to that prestigious- now obsolete -journal Sanskrithi; I made the observation — that you the children of ’56 are the ones who would come to power and redeem this country. As you know that has not come to pass, it has remained a dream. The blame lies with you. You, living through dark times, especially after ’77, did not realise that what is needed is an enlightened dialogue, an intellectual engagement to prepare you for such a task. As a matter of fact, there had not been such a dialogue since Independence for you to get ‘connected to it’. What was there, was the despicable politics of power-hungry politicians to which you too became a prey. You thought the answer was in the barrel of the gun which wiped out a whole generation of you -that should have been a lesson to you.
I hope this present discussion on ‘the role of the children of ‘56’ would open your eyes to the need for such an intellectual engagement and an enlightened dialogue based on the civilisational ideology and the civilisational consciousness that it has generated, which you have not lost. It is only then, and then only that you can claim to seek power.
(Based on the contribution made on zoom seminar ‘On the role of the Children of 56.)
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