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‘Bread or Guns?’: the dilemma that refuses to go away

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It may seem that the age-old ‘Bread or Guns?’ dilemma confronting Southern states in particular is simply refusing to go away. Should a state invest its financial resources on ‘Bread’, or development, or ‘Guns’, that is, security and defence? Expressed simply, this is the essence of the dilemma and in a world brought down by a pandemic, such as COVID-19,the vexatious poser tends to grow in magnitude.

What heightens the urgency of this poser in classical economics, for us in South Asia, is the decision by Sri Lanka to apparently to siphon substantial funds in the coming year to national security or ‘Guns’. It ought to be plain to see that this is the wrong direction in which Sri Lanka ought to go because the principal issue for most countries right now is economic survival.

How is the Lankan state intending to find sufficient food or ‘Bread’ to place on the tables of its citizenry in the coming months, now that economic distress is staring the global South in particular in the face more intently than ever before? It may seem that the simplest lessons in history are not being learnt. History will be compelled to repeat itself in the days to come.

The proverbial writing is already on the wall. As this is being written, a resurgent pro-democracy movement is already asserting itself on the streets of Bangkok. The political opposition in Pakistan is engaged in full-throated anti-government protests in some of Pakistan’s major cities and one of its main demands is more ‘Bread’. ‘You have snatched jobs from the people. You have snatched two-time a day food from the people’, some leading political opponents of Prime Minister Imran Khan were quoted as claiming in Karachi in well attended street demonstrations.

The rest of the South cannot afford to sit back and watch the happenings in Thailand and Pakistan, to take just two examples, with smug complacency. Economics usually have a determining influence on politics and almost all else and Southern governments would do well to ensure that sufficient food is on the tables of their citizens. It’s particularly noteworthy that Sri Lanka is currently facing a splurge of hard drugs related crime and the Lankan state would do well to examine in depth how the scourge could be laid to rest. Law and order measures, such as, putting drug kingpins out of action will bring short term gains but it is only a centrally planned economy that makes economic equity a reality that would ensure a degree of social stability and peace.

Equally importantly, the causes for the mounting demand for hard drugs among vulnerable sections need to be found out. Put simply, if there is a steady supply of hard drugs, it’s because there is a consistent demand for them and the reasons for the latter trend ought to be found in the area of psychological ill-health. Accordingly, if the generation of psychological health is considered a top priority by the Lankan government, the demand for hard drugs among the vulnerable could be managed better.

Southern governments in particular will be increasingly compelled in the days ahead to resolve, once and for all, the ‘Guns or Bread?’ dilemma in view of the fact that the economic devastation wrought by the current pandemic would be hard to bear. In fact, the pandemic will be here for the foreseeable future. Clearly, governments would need to choose ‘Bread’ instead of ‘Guns’, unless they opt to put down any social unrest resulting from the economic crunch by the force of arms. But the latter course is a sure recipe for chronic social disorder, which has time and again brought down governments. So, ‘Guns’, in the final analysis, is no wise choice.

As time goes by governments of the South are likely to realize that they cannot go it alone in the teeth of worsening world wide economic strife. As past decades of international economic interaction between the North and South have revealed, the relatively wealthy North would not be liberal with economic relief and development assistance. The South, most of the while, has had to manage with the ‘crumbs that fall off the rich man’s table’, and it has barely managed to survive without being severely scarred in the process.

The problem is compounded by the increasing popularity of the political Right in sections of the West; US President Donald Trump being an epitome of this deleterious political trend. The political Right is no staunch backer of equity in any form and governments with the Right at their helm would tend not to favour multilateralism. US-WHO relations bear this out.

If at all there’s a silver lining in the present multi-dimensional crisis that is upon the world it is the realization among the more thoughtful sections that neither North nor South could endeavour alone towards sustained economic and social well being. They would need to collaborate in a spirit of unity and co-habit closely in a mutually-supportive symbiotic relationship if they are to live through these crisis times. It is as if difficult circumstances are driving home to the world the validity of some of the founding ideals of the UN system.

Given the above backdrop, it is hoped that an appeal to the G20 group of countries by some progressive organizations, on behalf of the poorer countries of the South, would not go unheeded. The International Chamber of Commerce, the International Trade Union Confederation and the Global Citizen, for example, have called on the G20 to offer the South ‘a longer freeze in debt payments’ and other forms of urgently needed relief to enable it to manage its present economic problems. In the absence of such relief the South would face multiple social and economic cries, including steepening poverty and job loss. The South cannot make do with mere ‘crumbs’ coming off the tables of the rich any more.

The North’s own economic and social questions in the current pandemic are of such a magnitude that it cannot ignore the situation of the South. Inasmuch as the South needs the North, the North needs the South on account of the economic interdependence that has grown over the years between the hemispheres. For instance, the North badly needs the markets of the South and its investment zones.

Accordingly, the ‘Guns or Bread?’ poser will need to be resolved by governments opting for ‘Bread’ because the latter is the basis for a country’s social stability. Economics always drive politics.

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Features

Hair Growth and Thickness

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LOOK GOOD – with Disna

 

* Oil:

Oiling is an old home remedy for hair growth and thickness. Oiling is also used for the strength, shine, and length of hair, from ancient times. The use of coconut oil, especially, is very effective when it comes to the amplification of hair health. Additionally, there are many essential oils for faster hair growth which you can use, too.

* How to Use: Generally, hair oiling works best when applied overnight. You could use this therapy every night, or after each night, then wash your hair, in the morning, before heading for studies, or work.

 

* Aloe Vera:

Aloe vera has long been used as a home remedy for hair growth, thickness, and treating hair loss problems It contains vitamins A, C, and E. All three of these vitamins are known to contribute to cell turnover, supporting healthy cell growth and shiny hair. Plus, vitamin B-12 and folic acid are also included in aloe vera gel. Both of these elements can keep your hair from falling out. Aloe vera plants can be easily grown indoors. A leaf can be plucked, occasionally, and cut open to reveal its gel. This gel needs to be applied on the scalp, basically, to provide nourishment to the roots.

*  How to Use:

Rub this gel on your head properly, leaving no area dry; wash after half an hour or so. Keeping this massage as a part of your weekly routine will eventually make your hair thick and long.

 

*  Green Tea:

Green tea is often consumed as a home remedy for weight loss. Surprisingly, it has many other benefits, including hair-related benefits.

* How to Use:

Consuming green tea once every day can add to the strength and length of your hair. If your body is extremely comfortable with green tea, then you may even consume it twice every day.

 

* Onion Juice:

A bi-weekly application of onion juice can relieve you of your tension, regarding hair health. The smell can really torture you, but divert your attention in doing something else for a while, like making a puzzle or washing the dishes. From an early age, onion juice has been used as a home remedy to control hair fall. Research has shown that onion juice has been successful in treating patchy alopecia areata (non-scarring hair loss condition) by promoting hair growth .

* How to Use:

Take half onion and blend it. Apply the mixture on every nook and corner of your scalp and let it sit for some 60 minutes, or so. Shampoo it off when it’s time for the hair-wash.

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Features

Fun-loving, but… sensitive

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This week, my chat is with Nilu Vithanage. She is quite active, as a teledrama actress – having done four, already; her first was ‘Pavela Will Come In The Cloud, Mom’ (playing the role of a nurse). Then Came ‘Heavenly Palaces’ (student), ‘Black Town’ (a village character Kenkaiya), and ‘Wings Of Fire,’ currently being shown, with Nilu as a policewoman. You could checkout ‘Wings Of Fire,’ weekdays, on Swarnavahini, at 7.30 pm. Nilu is also active as a stage drama artiste, dancer…and has also been featured in musical videos.

And, this is how our chit-chat went…

1. How would you describe yourself?

Let’s say, I’m a bit on the playful side, and I like to have a lot of fun. But, I do find the time to relax, and, at home, it’s dancing to music! Yeah, I love dancing. Oh, I need to add that I’m a bit sensitive.

2. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I get angry quickly. Fortunately, that anger doesn’t last long – just five to 10 minutes. But I wish I could get rid of anger, totally from my system!

3. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

Nope, can’t think of anything, in particular. Everything is fine with us, and I’m proud of my only brother, and I feel safe when he is around. Or, come to think of it, if I did have another brother, I would feel doubly safe…when going out, in particular!

4. School?

I did my studies at two schools – C.W.W. Kannangara Central College, and Panadura Sumangala Girls’ School for my higher studies. Representing my school, I won first place in a speech competition and dance competition, as well.

5. Happiest moment?

When my husband comes home, or talks to me on the phone. He is stationed in Hatton and those calls and home visits are my happiest moments

6. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I really find a lot of happiness feeding the fish, in ponds. I love to see them rush to pick up the tidbits I throw into the pond. That’s my kind of happiness – being close to nature.

7. Are you religious?

I would say ‘yes’ to that question. I like to go to the temple, listen to sermons, participate in meditation programmes, and I do not miss out on observing sil, whenever possible. I also find solace in visiting churches.

8. Are you superstitious?

A big ‘no.’ Not bothered about all those superstitious things that generally affect a lot of people.

9. Your ideal guy?

My husband, of course, and that’s the reason I’m married to him! He has been a great support to me, in my acting career, as well in all other activities. He understands me and he loves me. And, I love him, too.

10. Which living person do you most admire?

I would say my Dad. I truly appreciate the mentorship he gave me, from a young age, and the things we received from him

11. Which is your most treasured possession?

My family.

12. If you were marooned on a desert island, who would you like as your companion?

A camel would be ideal as that would make it easier for me to find a way out from a desert island!

13. Your most embarrassing moment?

One day, recently, with the greatest of difficulty, I managed to join a one meter distance queue, to withdraw money from an ATM. And, then I realised I didn’t bring the card along!

14. Done anything daring?

I would say…yes, when I ventured out to get involved in teledramas. It was a kind of a daring decision and I’m glad it’s now working out for me – beautifully.

15. Your ideal vacation?

I would say Thailand, after reading your articles, and talking to you about Amazing Thailand – the shopping, things to see and do, etc. When the scene improves, it will be…Thailand here I come!

16. What kind of music are you into?

The fast, rhythmic stuff because I have a kind of rhythm in my body, and I love to dance…to music.

17. Favourite radio station:

I don’t fancy any particular station. It all depends on the music they play. If it’s my kind of music, then I’m locked-on to that particular station.

18. Favourtie TV station:

Whenever I have some free time, I search the TV channels for a good programme. So it’s the programme that attracts me.

19. What would you like to be born as in your next life?

Maybe a bird so that I would be free to fly anywhere I want to.

20. Any major plans for the future?

I’m currently giving lessons to schoolchildren, in dancing, and I plan to have my own dancing institute in the future.

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Features

Snail-napping sets the stage for CGI road trip

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The SpongeBob Movie:Sponge on the Run

By Tharishi hewaviThanagamage

Based on the famous and one of the longest-running American animated series that made its debut on Nickelodeon in 1999, created by marine science educator and animator Stephen Hillenburg, ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run’ is the latest addition to the SpongeBob movie franchise, coming in as the third installment after ‘The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie’ (2004) and ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water’ (2015).

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