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Profile : A'Ls Best Results in Arts: Madhawee Nishaminee

Rhetorically Divine

Modest. Soft spoken, calm and composed. Passionate, buoyant, lighthearted and lucid. When you talk to her, you can easily see that she is the complete opposite of studious. It's hard to imagine that this spiritedly playful girl actually conquered what is known to be the most competitive exam on Earth, let alone rank first place in the island. In fact, she has a hard time believing it herself.

"I still can't believe this is me," says Madhawee. "I thought I'd be able to manage a district rank but certainly not an island rank."

Coming from a family of engineers it's no secret where her talents comes from, but the discrete thing about Madhawee is that she is so passionate about what she does. (Even the family business hasn't been able to stop Madhawee from doing what she likes.) And the energy within her is distinctively visible with each smile and each word she let's loose.

"I don't want to do a job that'll rot in one place," says Madhawee when asked about what she'll do next. ""Law is a very challenging subject, always changing, always something new. So I'll go for that."

"But I also love the English Language very much. So I've thought of studying English externally."

Doing Law and English together maybe a handful, but for anyone who's survived a media parade and a stampede of publicity as Madhawee has, doing a double degree will definitely prove out to be a cinch.

"It's like being a superstar all of a sudden," exclaims Madhawee. "In the streets little brothers and sisters that don't even know me come up and congratulate me. So yes I do feel proud and extremely happy."

The diplomatic skill that Madhawee has gained from all this drama is quite amazing as well. The question on school and tuition classes was never asked and the question on the step-motherly treatment that "Art Students" receive from schools was never asked, but when a question arose she had the amazing ability to adjust herself so that no one got hurt in the process.

And essentially there in lies the beauty of this wonderful young woman. The humanity and warmth in her heart, and the empathy towards injustice and discrimination, defines who Madhawee really is than anything else. The shrewd yet modest way that she answers every question portrays her inner-intelligence more than everything else.

She's a poet. She's a writer. She's an aesthetic. Her way with words landed her in the finals of the young speakers contest organized by the Toastmasters Club Kandy. Her eloquence in French brought her to DELF Level B conducted by the Education Ministry of France. Her excellence in writing won her the Commonwealth Creating Writing Award as well as becoming first in every Zonal and provincial Creating Writing competitions held annually.

She was the leader of the debate team in school. The Interact Club Secretary. A limb of the Shakespeare drama troop. She's even done a bit of Netball and chess when she was little. (and she knows how to cook too.) So if this years' personality award does not go to her, it's a bit hard to guess to whom it will go to…..

Tell us about your future ambitions?

Well, I take life one step at a time. In the end I want to do something interesting and something that makes me happy, so I think it'll come naturally."

Putting aside the job, what do you want to do in life?

We'll I'm still searching for something to do…. (Giggles)

After ten years where do you think you'll end up?

By then I would've finished my education and hopefully found an ambition in life..? (Smiles)

If you had been given the power to change anything in this world, what would you change?

Race, and cast. Skin Colour as well. And everything else that's being used to discriminate people.

Do you think the current education system is good?



Ultimately those who win in this system are the people who can write for exams. Not the person with knowledge. Not the most intelligent. But just the people who can write exams.

Any suggestion on how to improve this?

No. But I really hope that someone will find a solution. The continuous assessments in classes are also not practical.

How did you manage to pull it off and become first in the island?

Well as I told you, obviously I am good at writing for exams (smiles). But seriously, one reason is that I was passionate about my subjects. I loved what I was learning. I think that's the most important aspect.

If you don't like the subjects you're learning then it becomes a nuisance. For example everyone's asking me how many hours I studied. But I never scheduled and told myself that I would study this much and do this much of work. It came naturally.
The other reason is that I'm not scared to write my own opinion in the literature papers.

A lot of people fail miserably in ALs. What do you think is the reason for this?

What difference does it make if you study all day but none of it goes to your head? There are some people who study for their parents. There are some who just study for the sake of studying. There are some who just memorize theories instead of 'learning' what it really means. That doesn't work out. The difference in ALs is you have to start thinking.

Everyone knows that ALs can't be done without going for some kind of extra classes or tuition. Why do you think this happens?

I think it's mostly about choice. In school you can't choose your teacher. Even if you know that the teacher's style is different than your own you will have to stick with him or her because the school decides who gets to be your teacher.
But in tuition classes there's a complete freedom in choosing who you're going to learn from and no one is restricted to learn inside one single frame.

Is there anything that you would like to say to the world?

Yes. I think that religions should learn to tolerate each other. In schools it's hasn't gone to a stage of conflict but I know that the attitudes are still there. Usually students in "Buddhist only" or "Muslim only" schools have a very wrong outlook because they are not in a multi-cultural environment.

I've seen this a lot of times and I haven't been able to express my feelings. My only wish is to see these attitudes change somehow.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Sri Lanka

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