6th January 2002

The Sunday Times on the Web















Sepala Ilangakoon offers some helpful maxims for success in the New Year 

Keys for better living

First things first

Plan your day. Draw up your personal agenda. Some items are more urgent and important than others, so, give them priority and tackle the others at a leisurely pace.

Time waits for no man

Time flies. If you do not use your time immediately and judiciously, the opportune moment is past and you may have 'Missed the bus'. 

One day at a time

However, there is no need for frenzied rush and stress. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow may never dawn, the day is today. Take it easy.

To think is to act

A decision must be immediately followed by action. Else you will find that a more dexterous person has beaten you to it and you have been left in the lurch. 

Be systematic

In whatever you do, follow a system. Keep things in their proper place and you won't waste time searching. Have meals at regular times, if possible. Systematize your daily life. 

Give and take

If you take all the time and never give, you become a misfit in society. If you give, you may become popular with all and sundry, but end up a pauper! Make your choice. 

Don't fantasise

Daydreaming gets you nowhere except to give you a moment of surrealistic pleasure. It is unproductive of success, except, perhaps, to give you a preliminary insight into your hopes of prosperity, of success. 

Try,try, try again

Remember the Scottish king in ages past, (was it Robert Bruce?) who repeatedly lost his battles, gave up trying and took refuge in a cave? Alone, lying on his back on the ground, he saw a spider climbing up its single thread and falling back at each effort, until at its seventh try, it succeeded. The king took a lesson from that spider. He rallied his forces, tried again and on his seventh endeavour, he not only won the battle, but also the war!

Waste not: want not

This adage applies to most situations, be it food, domestic articles, items in commerce and industry etc. 

Take food:

Some people serve themselves mountains of food - knowing from their own personal experience that they cannot finish it all.

Improve efficiency

Improve on your standards of efficiency. Only then do you become truly competent and the envy of your colleagues. 

Honesty best policy

Corruption rears its ugly head in almost every facet of human endeavour and the perpetrator and the accomplice, willingly acquiesce in this anti-social cancer, eating into the very fabric of our culture. Unfortunately, he who fights corruption is often not reckoned to be a hero as he should be, but rather, the bad guy- the odd man out. Such is our world. But, 'Honesty is the best policy' is a meaningful proverb.

Don't lie

Always adhere to the truth, even though it hurts. 

Meaningful speech

Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Be succinct and precise. The Holy Bible says - "Let your Yes be 'Yes' and your No be 'No'. Jules Renard said, "Clarity is the politeness of the man of letters". 

Talk less: do more

There are in this world, the talkers and the doers. Some are compulsive talkers. They talk and do nothing else. The doers are reticent by nature. But they do get the job done.

Fear not equality

Some people may be better than you; but don't forget, there are more who are worse. Some, much worse! Do not acquire and suffer from an inferiority complex. A thinker said "All are born equal, but some are more equal than others!"

Manners maketh the man

Most of us have been taught manners at school. Too many to include here, but a few less known examples will not be out of place. Give right of way to ladies and the elderly. Give your seat to a lady and remain standing until all the ladies in your group are seated. Put your handkerchief to your nose or your hand to your mouth when you sneeze or cough, preventing the spraying of germs and sputum into the air. Never spit in public. 

Instill discipline

In whatever walk of life you may be, self discipline is a must. Before you start to discipline others, you must first discipline yourself. Where you have a say, at home, school, work , society, or an organization of which you are a member, discipline must be instilled. If the top is well disciplined, it will trickle down to the common man.


There are numerous other maxims which would help you to succeed in the society in which you live. Why don't you list some of them for your own betterment and success in life? Here's wishing you every success! 

Colourful journey

An exhibition of watercolours by Robert Sedgley will be held at the Barefoot Gallery from January 18 to February 3. 

Robert Sedgley, a British artist currently resident in Spain, is on his fifth visit to Sri Lanka and this is his third exhibition here. His particular interest is the many varieties of buildings and structures that he has discovered on his travels around the country. His studies, painted on site, of the Dutch period houses in Galle, with their typical verandahs and overhanging tile roofs, capture the fleeting effects of sunlight and incidental detail. In contrast his examination of the neo-classical, British colonial facade of the building at Justice Akbar Mawatha, Slave Island shows a fascination with the juxtaposition of crumbling plaster and new bright paintwork; green outgrowth of creepers clinging to the craggy cliff-like walls and slick signs; while the life of the street goes on below. Painted in a meticulous and precise style, with an eye for detail and specific characteristics, we do not experience these works as generalised city scapes. The artist regards these not just as representations but rather like meditations on form and proportion, on colour and changes of colour.

Religious sites and railway stations are also subjects of interest and a number of works depict the Temple of the Tooth shining out of the green hillside overlooking the lake at Kandy.

Another facet of the artist's work is his "Hill Country Series". Based on a journey through the tea estates above Kandy, these paintings seek to explore the idea of movement and time expressed through veiled colours and variegated mark making. These pieces are suitable vehicles of expression for his idea that making a painting is a journey. There is no well defined goal in sight; rather it is the action of painting that determines the direction that the work takes. Along the way, twists and turns lead to new vistas and unexpected discoveries may be made. 

Robert Sedgley had his professional training as an artist at the Birmingham and Exeter Colleges of Art. He is also a qualified teacher and has taught various art and craft disciplines, sculpture, and photography. In addition to watercolours he does figure painting in oils and makes ceramic sculptures. The exhibition is open Monday to Saturday from 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. and from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m on Sundays.

Letters to the Editor
Return to Plus Contents
Plus Archives


Please send your comments and suggestions on this web site to
The Sunday Times or to Information Laboratories (Pvt.) Ltd.