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*  Pimples, Scars and Blemishes:
Mix well one banana, one teaspoon turmeric and 1/3 cup of yoghurt, in a bowl, and apply this mixture, on the face, and let it stay for 15 minutes. Then wash it off. This face mask helps fight pimples and reduces acne scars and blemishes. (Do not use this mask more than three times a week.)
* Dark Spots:
Mash a banana and combine it with one tablespoon of lemon and honey. Mix well and apply all over the face, and neck, evenly. Keep the mask on for 10 minutes and then rinse. (Use this mask at least twice a week for radiant skin.)
* Brighter, Glowing Skin:
Blend one banana, with raw milk, honey and a few drops of rose water, into a smooth paste. Leave it on your face for 15 minutes and then rinse. (Use this mask once, or twice a week, for best results.)
* Dry Skin:
Mash a ripe banana, and an avocado, and add one tablespoon of honey. Mix well and apply on clean face. Rinse and moisturise, after 20 minutes. (You can also add half a teaspoon of olive oil to make this mask more nourishing.)
* Wrinkles and Fine Lines:
Whip up a banana and add one teaspoon of orange juice and one teaspoon of plain yoghurt. Apply and let sit for 15-20 minutes for younger-looking skin. (Wash off the mask with cold water to tighten the pores further.)
* Fights Ageing:
If you’re suffering from premature ageing, and wrinkles, massaging the insides of a banana peel, on the affected areas, might help. Massage it gently on your skin for five minutes. Rinse off after 15 minutes. (Doing this will shrink your pores and tighten your skin

The Left, Kumar Gunaratnam and executive presidency

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The attack on the house of journalist Chamuditha Samarawickrama, last Monday night, gave a show of crooked governance, with the stone and faeces throwers coming in a white van. Adding to this, later on the same day, those who forcibly took away the Catholic and social activist Shehan Malika Gamage to the CID, also came in a white van.
One is reminded of what President Gotabaya Rajapaksa told the heads of leading media institutions, shortly after his election, at the Presidential Secretariat, that during his term in office there would be no attacks on any media organsation or media person. It was an important move away from what the media people and organisations suffered when he was Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, which was the showpiece of the White Van governance.
On hearing of the attack on journalist Chamuditha’s residence, my first memories went back to Richard de Zoysa.  I’m glad that Chamuditha did not face such a tragedy. But moving on from President Premadasa’s dealing with the media, the later Rajapaksa power did show a determined display of violence and misuse of the law in dealing with journalists and media institutions.
Moving on from Lasantha Wickrematunga to Keith Noyahr and so many others, killed, missing, and heavily injured, was the show of Rajapaksa power at the time of the war with LTTE separatist terrorism and thereafter.
Chamuditha Samarawickrama is a reputed journalist, a key player on Hiru TV, with an Internet play of his own. I am not a strong supporter of his journalist thinking nor that of his home TV station. Yet, he has every right to have his own views, thoughts and strategies on politics, governance and social life. That right has to be wholly defended and criticized and even attacked, only by and through the media. That is the very core of the democracy this country accepted from the days of independence, and against many forces that sought to do away with or curtail our democratic values – especially from the Ranasinghe Premadasa and JR Jayewardene years, and the subsequent Rajapaksa dynasty. It is both worrying and agonizing that the Police, with its reportedly huge search force, has not yet found out the attackers on Chamuditha’s house. They can also begin looking at persons or organizations that Chamuditha has been strongly critical of in recent months, from beauticians to manicurists and hair stylists, to key names in the Police he has been strongly critical of on TV.
The son of the Police Minister, who is an ASP and doctor in the Police hospital Narahenpita, posted a strange comment on his Facebook page, on hearing of the attack on Chamuditha’s home. It said in Sinhala that “the stones and faeces used had been lowered”.  It certainly was taken down very fast. But how far can we keep guessing that throwing faeces is bringing it down?  I would rather call it ‘shitty’ thinking. But should Chamuditha not worry about such thinking on the part of the Police?
The attack on the Chamuditha’s home, and the forcible arrest of social activist Shehan Malika Gamage,s were a show of White Van activism on the rise.  It is certainly not very far from the Anuradhapura rally of the SLPP, where the Rajapaksa brothers displayed their power by doing away with all anti-Covid health guidelines, and President Gotabaya said how the prevailing power would be used in the next three years.
This is the Pohottuva Play with many more such, so-called election seeking rallies to take place, more empty promises to be chanted and shouted, and the people kept in confusion and commotion with many more white van stuff on the political agenda.
This White Van exercise is not likely to be only a show of political strength of the Rajapaksa Family. The attack on the home of a senior journalist has taken place when the UNHCR is about to begin its next round of hearings, and Sri Lanka is well on the agenda. Whatever questions our Foreign Minister Peiris may have about the UN system’s priorities, the White Van grime and sludge will certainly have its own echoes in Geneva.
Will this show of stone and faecal attack, making its links with past White Van strategies of the former Secretary of Defence, affect our hopes to keep the GSP Plus help for our exports?
Media Minister Dallas Alahapperuma, has given a good warning that the government will be held responsible for this attack of a journalist until the Police find out the attackers,
Keep thinking, with the hope that no other journalists and social activists are targeted by the White Vans brought stones and other faecal strikes, by the ‘shitty’ people in power.
By Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha
It is 32 years today since the body of Richard de Zoysa was washed ashore, after his abduction by government forces. This is a significant date for now he has been dead for longer than he lived. He was just a few weeks short his 32nd birthday when he was killed by government forces. Though this seems an absurd anniversary to think about, I had long thought of it as the time when he would fade further and further into the past, and memory too would begin to die. Thankfully that has not happened and the years of friendship with him are still vivid in my mind.
Richard was the best of companions when I returned from Oxford, and he understood immediately what education should be, at a time when it was being reduced to rote learning. Ashley Halpe still did a great job at Peradeniya but the universities in general were fading, and schools were a mess except where there were exceptional teachers such as at Ladies College. But elsewhere it was rote learning and the taking down of notes, even dictated ones.
I have written extensively about Richard, our friendship, as well as his political development, but today I will confine myself to the programmes we did together, which would never have happened without his enthusiasm and his skill at bringing literature alive. This was contributed from the start, in my first effort to introduce a different approach to literature. That was ‘The Romantic Dilemma’ on the Ladies College stage, illustrating the differences between the older and the younger Romantic poets, read by youngsters whom he brought to me and trained in the nuances we wanted. This was followed by a discussion of different approaches to ‘Romeo and Juliet’ a text at the time, in which we showed how Juliet could be decisive or forlorn, Lady Capulet harsh or helpless, Mercutio lively or despairing.
On my radio programmes,,he read the poetry I talked about, roping in Yolande Abeywira and Jeanne Pinto, older ladies who adored him. We extended such programmes to the British Council when I started working there, and though the first such programme, ‘Flights of Fancy’, presenting a range of poetry about birds, drew only a small audience, it was incredibly well received and attendance grew and grew over the next few months.
He and Yolande went with me to training colleges where we got the students to think about their texts, most interestingly through different approaches to ‘Macbeth’ which was the text at the College at Penideniya. The journeys, too, were great fun, the three of us talking and laughing all the way up and down. We would prepare the different approaches in the car, for I knew I could trust them to get across the nuances I wanted. And they did this even on the day we got carried away and talked, so that it was only through my argument at the College itself that they knew what was wanted.
By the end of 1984, my first year at the British Council, I became more ambitious, inspired after Geraldine McEwan had performed her One-Woman Jane Austen show in November 1984. So early in the following year, I devised a One Man show for Richard, based on some of the novels of Charles Dickens.
Richard was quite magnificient in perfomance, catching the different nuances in six extracts, tragic, comic, pathetic, pompous. I selected music for the different extracts which caught the mood, ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ for Mr Podsnap extolling the virtues of England, sentimental Elgar for the death of Steerforth which was perhaps the most impressive piece in the show. We toured this round the country, including to Batticaloa, and had a marvelous time, looking up old students there.
This was such a success that the following year I put together something based on Kipling, poems and stories. Richard was lyrical in ‘The Way through the Woods’, ridiculous as the butterflies in ‘The Butterfly who Stamped’, rousing in ‘Gunga Din’. That, too, was taken all over the country and we loved the evenings together after the performances were over.

In Galle we stayed at the Sun and Sea Hotel in Unawatuna where Richard and his stage manager Varuna Karunatilleke were joined by Aruni Devaraja and her sister for a lovely holiday, when we explored Madol Doowa of Martin Wickremesinghe fame.
The following year, Richard directed a production of ‘The Merchant of Venice’ with a talented young cast, including Ranmali Pathirana, who now worked with me at the Council, as Portia. I had, however, come back from my round the world trip to find Richard had taken on one of his young protégés and his girlfriend for two minor parts, and they could not act at all. I was highly critical and, though Richard was a bit upset, he replaced them, getting the experienced Kumar Mirchandani to play Lancelot Gobbo, which led to a romance with Ranmali and their getting married.
That too, was great fun, and, in addition to several shows in Colombo, it was performed in Kandy where students of the Penideniya Training College attended, so we could have a discussion on the play there afterwards. And the highlight was taking it to the Pasdunrata College of Education after which David Woolger the Council consultant there, hosted dinner at his house in Wadduwa which had a swimming pool in which the youngsters frolicked.
But then things began to change. Steve de la Zylwa produced ‘Accidental Death of an Anarchist’ in the Council Hall and I recall Richard reflecting that Shakespeare was comparatively precious, given the trauma the country was undergoing. He felt he should have been more in touch with new socio-political trends and sometimes I feel that that contributed to his increasing politicisation in the next couple of years.
When the following year I went to his father’s house at Hendala for his 30th birthday, I met his latest find, a boy called Dahanayake, through whom and indeed more his brother Richard got involved with the JVP.
And then I saw less of him, for he was getting more involved in politics, the story of which he was to tell me in some detail at the end of 1989, when he spent several nights at home under worrying circumstances. He had been led to this through the students he spent more and more time with, Dahanayake, whom he had met through the elder brother I saw at Hendala, and Madura.
The latter was an enormously talented actor and dominated the production Scott Richards put on after a workshop which brought these boys together with the more sophisticated youngsters who had been the staple of such workshops, including Richard’s Josephians from an earlier incarnation. I was very impressed by these new finds, and when Richard asked if one of them, Prasanna Liyanage, could work for me as a CAT in the Cultural Affairs Trainee programme I had started with Mrinali Thalgodapitiya – I agreed at once.
He was very good and when his stint was over I asked Richard if Madura would like to take over. But Richard told me that, after much thought, Madura had refused, on the grounds that entering into that world would cut him off from his roots.
It was a forceful decision, for a boy still in his teens, to take. Richard had explained to me, how these scholarship boys had felt alienated at Royal, which was still dominated by an elite, with not much effort made to integrate them and ensure that both groups benefited from the strengths of the other – something I had tried to do with the Advanced Senior Secondary English Teaching (ASSET) course I had started at the time.
Madura and a couple of the others went on to deep involvement with the JVP, and when Madura was abducted, never to be heard of again, the net began to close on Richard as well. What was happening became clear after his last performance at the Council, when he called after he had left to ask if I had noticed a strange man in the audience. It was his tail, he said, and he wanted to spend the night at home for safety, which he did twice more in the next couple of weeks.
But I will not dwell here on what happened afterwards. Instead, as befits this celebration, I will talk about that last performance, which we put on to celebrate Robert Browning on the centenary of his death. Though by then he was out of fashion, I felt he was a wonderful writer, and was delighted that Regi Siriwardena thought the same and was willing to talk about him. But we told him to be brief, and the bulk of the programme was readings by Richard of the poetry.
It was a glorious performance, capturing the excitement of ‘How they brought the good news from Ghent to Aix’ with its galloping anapaests, lugubrious in ‘Bishop Blougram’s Apology’ which I told him to model on our good friend Suresh Thambipillai, chilling in ‘My Last Duchess’. At the end Lakshmi de Silva, who had been at the first performance we had put on together at the Council, said to me fervently that it was the type of evening that made her glad to be alive.
I was not here when, two months later, he was abducted and killed. That is a small blessing for I remember not that horror but rather the ebullience of his stage presence, which he replicated also in our long conversations. My sister once said she wished she could eavesdrop when she heard me laughing uproariously when I was talking to him on the phone. That is what remains, joy rather than sadness, the exuberance of a commitment to life.
By Uditha Devapriya
Review of Sandya Salgado’s Not Just My Good Karma
2019, Rs. 2,500, 326 pages

One of the best anthropological studies of advertising ever written, Steven Kemper’s Buying and Believing charts the growth of the industry in Sri Lanka from the early 20th century. Kemper argues that advertising in the country was largely uneconomic in character until 1977. Companies advertised because they had to, not because they wanted to. There were several large-scale advertising agencies, many of them setting up shop during the Sirimavo Bandaranaike years. But limited to English-speaking audiences and middle-class tastes, their work hardly reached the Sinhala and Tamil speaking masses.
Everything changed after 1977. Responding to the UNP government’s liberalisation of the economy, the advertising industry grew by 20 percent a year. A whole spate of reforms, including the privatisation of State enterprises and the reduction of import tariffs, led to intrusions of not just foreign capital and investment, but also foreign, specifically Western, consumer tastes and preferences. These had a considerable effect on the industry. Unlike earlier, when agencies pandered to more sophisticated tastes, they began shifting to a local idiom. Thinking in English then, they began working in Sinhala and Tamil now. The advent of television, free trade zones, and garment factories only fuelled these trends.
Sandya Salgado’s entry into advertising coincided with this period. Armed with a degree in languages “and a head full of dreams”, she wrote to three agencies. Rejected by the first of them, she was interviewed by the second and hired by the third. Beginning her career in 1983, she shifted to other agencies with the years and ended almost three decades later. Not Just My Good Karma is an account of all those years. Lucidly written and accessible, it is at once a memoir and a study of a much vilified, little understood industry.
The book is in three sections. In the first, Sandya dwells on her hometown, Panadura. In the second, the longest, she walks us through the many agencies and outfits she worked at. In the third, she recounts what she did after leaving the industry, including a brief stint at the World Bank. She wraps it all up by insisting that she still hasn’t retired.
There’s a deeply personal touch in the first section. That has a lot to do with where Sandya hails from and what moulded her upbringing, but also, I think, with the fact that Panadura, her home town, is in many ways my hometown too. Sandya summons a melange of personal anecdotes and historical facts. She dwells on caste, class, religion, and politics, and how they intermingled at a time of deep political and social change.
Hardly a defender of the past, she nevertheless limits her memories to observations. Yet she often throws in a comment or two, as in her take on how social class determined where, and more importantly how, you sat in Panadura.
“Those who came for monetary gain mostly entered from the rear of the house, the kussi pila. They would speak standing while achchi would sit on a wooden sofa and listen to their tales of woe… The next social class of persons sat on the steps of the house while achchi would be seated on a chair facing them. There would be another class of people who were not invited into the drawing room, but would be requested to sit in the pila, the verendah of the house, as the drawing room was for special and distinguished guests… There was an underlying class system that prevailed in the welcoming of guests those days which we didn’t make a big deal about but accepted silently.
These are fascinating insights, and they fascinated me. What’s intriguing about them is how Sandya broke away from such strictures, rebelling against the place assigned to the women of the family. One of the first women in Panadura to drive a car, her mother encouraged this streak in her while “tactfully making us change our views to something less controversial or impractical.” As a result of such influences and encounters, Sandya came to sway between two worlds, of rebellion and pragmatism. She revelled in both, keeping in line with a Sinhala middle-class upbringing while defying the limits of such an inheritance.
Perhaps it’s the advertiser in her, or perhaps it’s how close she is to her hometown, but Sandya’s observations are surprisingly sharp and penetrative. At one level they are almost anthropological, especially her observations on caste and class in Panadura society, much of which make up a particularly edifying epilogue. The bottom line is that they all turned her away from conventional fields while empowering the career woman in her: one reason why she never pursued higher education beyond her Bachelor’s. It was with the latter degree, in fact, that she entered advertising, where she found herself a total misfit.
“I was not from Colombo, didn’t smoke or drink andI wore a saree – not the most common attire in advertising. Apart from not having any sensational stories about my sex life to share, I had a particular qualification: my Sinhala was better than my English. But what set me apart was that I was proud to acknowledge this fact openly.”
Throughout the 1980s the country’s leading advertising agencies went on a creative binge, outdoing each other locally and even internationally. The results were some of the most prodigiously creative campaigns to emerge from the industry. Handling accounts initially at TAL, then moving on to Grants, Sandya found herself in the thick of it all. Starting with CIC (Dulux Paints) and Anchor at TAL, she began coordinating bigger and more lucrative clients at Grants, including Ranasinghe Premadasa. It was her work for Premadasa, specifically for the Gramodaya project the latter oversaw during his presidency, which became her baptism of fire. From there on, for Sandya at least, it was uphill all the way.
What’s particularly interesting are the finer, little details that Sandya remembers from this period. Simply put, she doesn’t ignore anything. Working at an advertising agency then was obviously different to working at one now. How clients saw creatives and how creatives saw each other made up life in
the industry. That is why anecdotes are so important: because it’s the most personal encounters which often sparked off the most creative ideas.
“One morning when I was travelling to work, I saw a child less than 10 years old, not more than two and a half feet tall, carrying a load bigger than himself. The radio in my car was playing the song ‘Nobody’s Child.’ This immediately made me want to fight for children’s rights. I remember sitting with my ever-willing creative team to share my idea of developing a campaign against child abuse and they were on board with no questions asked.”
This, of course, was the origin of one of the most effective public service campaigns in the country’s history. It was, however, hardly the only one Sandya conceptualised and oversaw. Think of the two most innovative campaigns from this period: the child immunisation drive, and the polio eradication ads featuring Neela Wickramasinghe. Sponsored by UNICEF, both achieved their objectives, enabling Sri Lanka to achieve Universal Child Immunisation status and to eradicate polio completely by 1993. Both bore Sandya’s imprint, though they had to be promoted against much scepticism and opposition.
“I remember how the UNICEF team went completely quiet when [the idea of using Neela for an emotional plea over polio] was suggested. The nay-sayers had many excuses against this idea but I kept insisting that this would be a winner if we only could get Neela to agree… I recall meeting Neela at her home where she lived with her mother… Neela not only agreed promptly, but said she would appear for the campaign free of charge.”
In his book, Steven Kemper notes a rather curious paradox: While advertising executives tried to get closer to the local idiom through Sinhala and Tamil speaking audiences in the 1980s, their cultural conditioning made this gulf impossible to bridge. It was much later that agencies tried to go beyond media-centred communications, approaching rural audiences head-on. Kemper’s account ends in the late 1990s, around the time Sandya left conventional advertising, as she puts it, and entered Ogilvy Rural. A media-neutral agency, Ogilvy Rural, which later became Ogilvy Action, sought to do what advertising had failed to: reaching the broader masses. This was a gap agencies had not really addressed until then.
As usual Sandya found herself in the thick of things. Forming a network of young district coordinators, attempting and failing to woo Unilever with the new approach, and gradually striking gold with Dulux, Singer, Commercial Bank, Reckitt Benckiser, Maliban, and a host of other national and multinational brands, she came up with some of the most unforgettable campaigns from recent times, taking their messages to rural and suburban audiences. In this she had clear and definite ideas about what they should be aiming at.
“In my whole career I had never ever submitted or worked on a single piece of creative for the sake of an award… This was a concept I could never fathom and in fact I clashed many a time with my contemporaries in the industry on this topic. For me the first award comes from the consumer, when they accept and respond positively to our message. The second award is if the sales needle moves due to the campaign and of course the third and final one is the response I get from a contented client.”
In other words, winning awards was never a priority. Yet many of these campaigns did scoop up several prizes. More importantly, they gave us some of the most memorable one-liners ever to come out from the industry, including Maliban’s yahagunayen idiriyeta and Dialog’s gihin enakan, not to mention my personal favourite, Signal’s sinaha bo wewa.
It is to Sandya’s credit that she never took her commitment to these clients as an excuse to pollute, deface, and obstruct public spaces. She was particularly candid about what she calls “responsible communications.” Whether it was a Lifebuoy mobile shower in Kataragama or an Eveready makeshift lighthouse along “a dark, rural road”, she always tried to preserve. In doing so she emphasised the need for subtlety, and understatement.
“My eternal fight with the brand managers was not to ‘over-brand’ and clutter these sacred locations. I wanted it to be more a service with minimal commercialisation. When I couldn’t convince the Unilever activation team to be subtle, I would always complain to Amal and he would intervene, as he understood the importance of being mindful of the environment. This of course was my ongoing battle on many of the campaigns we worked on: to be as subliminal as possible with branding.”
Almost 30 years after joining TAL, Sandya Salgado left advertising in 2011. Working at the World Bank, then coming back home and setting up a travel agency, she has since refused to resign. At the end of the book she strikes a particularly optimistic note.
“Being forthright has been my trademark and ‘saying as it is’ was my thing. Age and maturity have made me bite my tongue more frequently and now, I smile, nod and shut up. This helps heaps. It’s now a conscious decision. My friends have said I am like Marmite: either I am loved or hated. How true!”
It’s difficult to read Not Just My Good Karma and not think of the years she spent in the field as the most rewarding anyone could have hoped for. This is an account of how life used to be in one of the more formative periods in the country’s and the industry’s history. Bringing together a galaxy of writers, designers, thinkers, and doers, ad agencies delivered on briefs, moved the sales needle, and contributed to the country’s pop culture. To paraphrase Steven Kemper, it was a time when companies advertised not because they had to, but because they wanted to. Sadly for us, this is a time that may never come back again.
The writer can be reached at

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