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Do all parents want their children to go to university?



by Goolbai Gunasekara

Does this seem a silly question? After nearly 50 years as a teacher, and more than half of that time as Principal of an International School, I can say with absolute certainty that parents are not always sensible… The daily rigorous advertising that goes on in the Sri Lankan papers urging parents to opt for various (and often dubious) higher educational facilities, cause many to be dazzled by the spurious claims made by locally based institutions in Sri Lanka as against the possibilities of going abroad. Of course, affordability is the main problem but assuming it is not a problem can a Principal count on sensible parents?

So let me first speak of parents who CAN afford to send their children abroad but hesitate to do so for reasons (that to me, their ambitious Principal) seem totally without substance. Let me mention a few.

Four sisters in school were very achieving students and had been from the nursery onwards. The first one was completing her A Levels and I had no doubt she could apply to any University in the world.

But I struck a snag. Her father had no desire to see any child of his leave the nest. He and his four daughters along with their mother did not visualize a scenario where one child would be absent from the evening fun and happy family time that was a daily occurrence. I could hardly believe my ears. (Eventually all four DID study abroad and all four came back to live happy married lives within sight and sound of their father.)

Then came the case of a well-known hotelier who again could not bear separation. “He is my only son,” he pleaded. “How can I part with him’? In the meantime, the young man had applied and been accepted by some of the UK’s best Colleges.

“A degree in Business Studies will help him in his future career surely?”

“He can do something here no?”

At this point I was helped by his mother who had no wish to have her only son mollycoddled for no reason. So he was sent on his way with his father on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Then came one of the school’s Head Girls who had been a success story from the nursery. She was an only child… She won a full Scholarship to the USA and her parents gladly sent her forthwith. The snag came in the form of homesickness. In this child’s case her homesickness was so acute she phoned home three times and me once a day. The problem here was her father who was ready to go to the USA and either bring her back or live there with her! His wife had no patience with either daughter or husband and quietly hid his passport. Of course it all settled down after a few nightmare weeks for papa and weeping daughter.

But the worst nightmare a Principal has is when a parent tells me that his children do not have to work because he has enough money for them to live in comfort the rest of their lives.

“My daughters do not even need to marry if they don’t want to” he told me complacently. The daughters concerned were happy either way.

But I must now take the cases of parents who cannot afford an education abroad. In Sri Lanka there are a few Institutions offering degrees which allow Sri Lankan students to study in Sri Lanka and sit for exams based in the UK or Australia. The tuition at such Institutions are good and students can earn a good degree without leaving the country. But these are not many and it is to my eternal (and ongoing) regret that I can only counsel the children of Asian International School or the children of friends who ask me for advice. I am happy to say that in almost every case parents have seen the advantage of an education carefully chosen either abroad or in Sri Lanka.

The aggressive advertising of certain institutions in Sri Lanka draw many kids to their doors – specially from local schools whose children have no knowledgeable counseling or for children with very poor AL level results where the only criteria to be accepted by these unworthy institutions is money and affordability.

For them the only possible saving from a mediocre education is if the Government takes the same measures it did in the SAITM case. Why it does not do so is only one more example of how poorly education is handled in this country.

Meanwhile, let me get back to my original question of parental resistance to higher education based on personal feelings. I am happy to report that in almost every case I handled, parents have listened to wiser counsel and have never regretted giving their children the opportunity to be global citizens. That chance is available in Sri Lanka also but only if half the present ‘higher’ educational institutions, with very dubious claims, are closed down after a thorough investigation by incorruptible educationists and NO politicians involved.

Surely our clever youngsters deserve this from their Government?

(Excepted from The ‘Principal Factor’ first published by Lanka Market Digest)

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ICC arrest warrant; a setback for authoritarian rule



‘All-weather allies’: President Xi Jinping meets President Vladimir Putin.

As should be expected, the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Russian President Vladimir Putin on war crimes allegations has given rise to a widespread debate on how effective it would be as an instrument of justice. What compounds the issue is the fact that Russia is not obliged to cooperate with the ICC, given that it is not a signatory to the Rome Statute which outlaws the crimes in question and envisages punitive action for signatory state representatives who act in violation of its provisions.

Predictably, the Russian side has rubbished the ICC allegations and its arrest warrant on the basis that they are totally irrelevant to Russia, considering that it does not recognize the ICC or its rulings. However, the fact remains that important sections of the international community would be viewing Putin and his regime as war criminals who should be shunned and outlawed.

The possibility is great of the Putin regime steadily alienating itself from enlightened opinion the world over from now on. In other words, Putin and his cohorts have incurred a heavy moral defeat as a consequence of the ICC’s arrest warrant and its strictures.

Morality may not count much for the Putin regime and its supporters, locally and internationally, but the long term consequences growing out of this dismissive stance on moral standards could be grave. They would need to take their minds back to the white supremacist regimes of South Africa of decades past which were relentlessly outlawed by the world community, incurring in the process wide-ranging sanctions that steadily weakened apartheid South Africa and forced it to negotiate with its opponents. Moreover, the ICC measures against Putin are bound to strengthen his opponents and critics at home, thereby boosting Russia’s pro-democracy movement.

However, the Putin administration could earn for itself some ‘breathing space’ at present by proving the ICC’s allegations wrong. That is, it would need to establish beyond doubt that it is not guilty of the crime of deporting Ukrainian children to Russia and other war-linked offences. It could liaise with UNICEF and other relevant UN agencies for this purpose since it does not recognize the ICC.

A wise course of action for President Putin would be to pick up this gauntlet rather than ignore the grave allegations levelled against him, in view of the long term consequences of such evasive behavior.

Besides, the Russian President would need to restrict his movements from now on. For, he is liable to be arrested and produced before the ICC by those governmental authorities who are signatories to the Rome Statute in the event of Putin entering their countries. That is, Putin’s head is likely to be increasingly restless as time goes by.

However, the gravest consequence flowing from Putin and his regime ignoring the ICC and its strictures is that later, if not sooner, they could find themselves being hauled up before the ICC. There is ample evidence from recent history that this could be so. All the alleged offenders need to do is take their minds back to the convulsive and bloody Balkan wars of the nineties to see for themselves how the ICC process, though slow and laborious, finally delivered justice to the victims of war crimes in that tempestuous theatre.

All those war criminals who have lulled themselves into believing that it is possible to escape being brought to justice before the world’s tribunals, need to recollect how former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevik and his partners in crime Rodovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic were brought before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the early years of this century and required to pay the price for their criminality. So confident were they initially that they would never be brought to justice that they agreed, tongue-in-cheek, to fully cooperate with the ICTY.

It is pertinent to also remember that the criminals mentioned were notorious for their ‘ethnic cleansing’ operations and other war-time excesses. Accordingly, those accused of war crimes the world over would be only indulging in wishful thinking if they consider themselves above the law and safe from being held accountable for their offences. Justice would catch-up with them; if not sooner, then later. This is the singular lesson from Bosnia.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping has considered it timely to call on President Putin in Russia. He did so close on the heels of being elected President for a third straight term recently. This is a clear message to the world that Russia could always depend on China to be a close and trusted ally. It is a question of two of the biggest authoritarian states uniting. And the world they see as big enough for both of them.

Interestingly, China is having the world believe that it has a peace plan for Ukraine. While in Russia, though, XI did not spell out in any detail how the crisis in Ukraine would be resolved with China’s assistance. However, China has drafted what is termed its ‘Position on the Ukraine Crisis’. It contains 12 points which are more in the nature of a set of principles.

Seen against the backdrop of the developments in Ukraine, some of these principles merit close scrutiny. For instance, the first principle lays out that the sovereignty of all countries must be respected. Besides, International Law must be universally recognized, including the ‘purposes and principles of the UN Charter’. However, ‘double standards’ must be rejected. Hopefully, the West got the hint.

Principle 4 has it that ‘Dialogue and negotiations are the only viable solution to the Ukraine crisis.’ Principle 8 points out that, ‘Nuclear weapons must not be used and nuclear wars must not be fought’.

Needless to say, all the above principles are acceptable to the international community. What is required of China is to evolve a peace plan for Ukraine, based on these principles, if it is in earnest when it speaks of being a peace maker. The onus is on China to prove its credibility.

However, China could be said to be characteristically pragmatic in making these moves. While further cementing its alliance with Russia, China is placing the latter on notice, though in a subtle way, that its war in Ukraine is proving highly counter-productive and costly, both for the states concerned and the world. The costly economic consequences for the world from the war speak for themselves. Accordingly, nudging Russia in the direction of a negotiated settlement is the wisest course in the circumstances.

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In the limelight again…Miss Super Model Globe 2020



Those who are familiar with the fashion and beauty pageant setup, in Sri Lanka, would certainly remember Shashi Kaluarachchi.

Three years ago, she was crowned Miss Super Model Globe Sri Lanka 2020 and then represented Sri Lanka at the Miss Super Model Globe International, held in India.

Shashi won two titles at this big event; she was placed second in the finals (1st Runner-up) and took the title of Best National Costume.

Very active in the modelling scene, in the not too distant past, Shashi went silent, after dazzling the audience at the Super Model Globe contest.

Obviously, those who are aware of her talents were kept guessing, and many were wondering whether she had prematurely quit the fashion scene!

Not quite so…and I had a surprise call from Shashi to say that she is ready to do it again.

The silence is due to the fact that she is now employed in Dubai and is concentrating on her office work.

1st Runner-up at Miss Super Model Globe International

“When I came to Dubai, I was new to this scene but now I do have some free time, coming my way, and I want to get back to what I love doing the most – modelling, fashion and beauty pageants,” she said.

Shashi indicated that she plans to participate in an upcoming beauty pageant, to be held in Dubai, and also do some fashion shoots, and modelling assignments.

“Dubai is now buzzing with excitement and I want to be a part of that scene, as well,” said Shashi, who had her early beginnings, as a model, at the Walk with Brian Kerkoven modelling academy.

“I owe my success to Brian. He made me what I’m today – a top model.”

Shashi, who 5’7″ tall, says she loves wearing the sari for all important occasions.

“The sari is so elegant, so graceful, and, I believe, my height, and figure, does justice to a sari,”

Shashi has plans to visit Sri Lanka, in April, for a short vacation, adding that if the opportunity comes her way, she would love to do some photo shoots, and a walk on the ramp, as well.

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Dry Skin



Shorter Showers

If you have dry skin, do not take long showers, or baths. Staying in the water for a longer time can dry it out more. You should also use warm, instead of hot, water, when you wash. Hot water can strip your skin of the fatty substances that give it hydration. As soon as you finish cleansing yourself, apply a body lotion, all over your body, to moisturize. Don’t wash yourself more than once a day


Applying a daily moisturizer can do wonders for dry skin, and there are products in your kitchen you can use which are natural and effective. Try coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, or sunflower seed oil


Olive oil and brown sugar have amazing properties for the skin. Both of these substances deeply hydrate. Olive oil is also a known wound-healer, while sugar contains glycolic acid, which allows it to have anti-aging. You can make a natural scrub, using these ingredients which can be as good as the best anti-wrinkle creams.

*  Mix one tablespoon of brown sugar with a teaspoon of olive oil.

*  Blend them, and spread the mixture on your face, and neck, using a circular motion, for a few minutes.

*  Then leave it to sit for another couple of minutes, and wash it off with warm water.

You can do this twice a week for amazing results


Taking care of your lips is important. Lips can also get dry and chapped, which is why you need to keep them hydrated, daily. If you’re looking for a natural balm, try sugar and lemon, or honey, sugar, and butter.

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