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3rd October 1999

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Is dating o.k?

By Laila Nasry and Ruhanie Perera

Romantics enjoy dating. For them it's that cloud nine period when one is either smothered with roses, yummy chocolates or sentimental poetry. It's a time for candle-lit dinners or just going to the movies. Realists see it differently. For them it's an ideal opportunity to find out whether the person they are dating-is just another ordinary person or the one they've been waiting for all these years.

Cynics feel it's a waste of time and money. They feel a partner could be found without having to date-and maybe they are right. Here we speak those who are on the threshhold of adulthood-the teens, to find out their views.

Jayan Goonetilleke,(17):

Dating is fine so long as it is a practice which enables one to meet up with people and is not taken too seriously. The fact that you are dating a person does not mean that you are going steady.

I believe in the old fashioned way where the guy asks the girl out and I would probably take my date to see a play. I would ask her to meet me there because when parents get involved it becomes serious. Dating is all about going out, getting to know people and just having fun.

Shazna Zuhyle,(18):

In other countries it's alright because it goes with their culture.

They can go out a few times but there still can be no commitment but here you go out once and immediately you are seen as a couple. Personally, I think dating is good because it helps you get to know the person better.

It's far better this way than passing a few notes in the tuition class and proclaiming that one is in love.

I have not gone out on dates, simply because you don't get people in Sri Lanka who ask you out on a date. What they do ask is 'do you want to have an affair?' I believe a guy should always make the first move. Traditionally it has been so and should remain that way.

On a date I would like to go to any place that has food-I like food. A guy should come home, meet the girl's parents and pick up the girl for the date (that is if the parents are o.k. with him coming home). Also that is a great way to ensure the guy does not get late for the date!

Sanjay Canagasabey, (19):

Dating is...o.k. I think it's about going out with different people and getting to know them. I've never Sanjaydated anyone before, but if I was taking a girl out I'd take her to the Harbour Room. I wouldn't go over to her place and take her out I'd ask her to meet me there.

I think the guy should be the one to ask a girl out, but I suppose it would be okay if the girl does the asking. I feel dating is more a western concept, but it has caught on in Sri Lanka. At this point I don't think we can do without it...because it is a lot of fun.

Nishali Fernandopulle,(18):

Dating is okay if you are serious about it. But I personally feel that at this point I enjoy being uncommitted. I have never gone out on a date before so I've never really thought about where I would go. But as far as the asking is concerned, I think it is more romantic if the guy asks the girl out. I also think it would be nice if the guy meets the girl's parents, though I don't think that always happens. I feel dating has become very much a part of our lifestyle. As to whether you should or shouldn't date, I think it is up to the individual to choose.

Shehan Navaratne, (19):

I think dating is very important. Dating is not just for anybody and everybody. I think it is for people Shehanwho are in a relationship. The purpose of dating is for two people to get to know each other. A compatible relationship demands this. But you need to stick to the innocence of the purpose instead of misbehaving and then giving out the wrong idea of dating.

I've never gone out on a date but if I did, I would take a girl out for dinner, lunch, to see a play or to a party. There is nothing wrong with a girl making the first move but I think ideally the guy should.

Ayeshea Perera,(18):

Dating is really no big deal. I have been on dates and basically it's something everybody does in life. Personally I feel that a guy should make the first move but I also see nothing wrong if the girl does. I'm not a picky person and any place that is not sloppy is fine with me.

I think a guy should come home and meet the parents before picking the girl up for the date. I mean he needn't get totally tied up with the parents but it's important that he meets them. However dating does go against our culture but hey, you can't live with one culture now, can you?

Tehara Emmanuel, (15):

I think dating is o.k. But because of our culture and stuff it can be a bit different that is, if you do date you can be seen as 'advanced'. I feel that if you are the right age, can think for yourself and can make choices, then it is alright. It doesn't matter to me who makes the first move.

On a date I would like to go to any place that is private, comfortable and where I can be myself. I don't think it's necessary for the guy to come home.

It could be better to meet up at some place and have fun because if a guy comes home there is a possibility that the parents will freak out because they are narrow minded. I think dating is a good way to get to know about another person and after all, if it is to be done away with then there wouldn't be a life for us teenagers.

IN LOVE'S SERVICE Anne Casinader writes of her beloved pet whose devotion to his mistress led him to make the ultimate sacrifice

It was past midnight and the storm had not abated. Thunder rumbled in the distance and lightning zig-zagged across the sky. But through all this I heard a pathetic whimper. At first I ignored it but then I opened the door and flashed the torch towards the spot from where the cry came. The puppy on seeing the streaks of light slowly and painfully came towards me.

I took him inside and having wiped him dry, gave him a saucer of warm milk. I watched as he lapped it up. Then he came up to me and curled himself into a ball. Looking closely, to my horror I found that he was covered with sores. As I stepped backwards he must have sensed my feelings for he looked up with big, expressive eyes seemingly pleading to be kept. Undecided, I wrapped him in a towel and put him in an old cardboard box.

Next morning as I looked into the box he stood up on his hind legs. I saw a world of pleading in those eyes that seemed to say "Please don't send me away". I decided we would keep him. A visit to the vet who gave us all the advice and medicine had him cured in almost a week.

After a month the transformation was wonderful. Long ears, a shaggy mane and big brown eyes made him a beautiful, lovable dog. We named him Noddy. He would follow me around the house and I grew to love him just as much as he loved me.

I taught him many tricks. He could stand on his hind legs and jump through a hoop. Each day as I stepped out of my room he was there to wish me good morning, wagging his tail furiously. As I bent down to shake his paws and stroke his shaggy head, there would be a soft whimper of happiness. When I came home in the evening he would be there at the gate, no matter how late, running around me until I bent and spoke to him. Dashing ahead of me, he would bring my slippers and sit by my side until I spoke to him.

Many were the happy hours we spent together, strolling on the beach or walking through the valleys and green forest glades that surrounded our home. It was just another such day when I decided to go to the orchard where the mangoes were ripening and the guava trees were full of fruit. All this combined with the fragrance of jasmine and temple flowers was an invigorating tonic that filled one with peace that money could never buy. Noddy trotted beside me. Feeling tired I sat on a fallen tree trunk and Noddy stretched out at my feet.

Suddenly I saw Noddy spring past me. Like a flash of lightning, he landed on a black hooded cobra which was within inches of my foot. I was a silent spectator as I watched my beloved Noddy holding on to the loathsome reptile against all odds as the hooded terror lashed itself this way and that in a frantic effort to free itself. But Noddy held on, even though the vicious fangs were buried many times in his quivering body.

At last it was over. The reptile lay dead. Noddy staggered forward and I carried him home in my arms. Holding him close I knew it was the last good-bye. His body quivered as he stretched his paws and looked into my eyes for the last time. I was not ashamed to cry and as my tears fell on his face. I knew that for me Noddy would never die. As long as memory lasts he will be with me. In a world where most friendship is feigned and most loving, mere folly, Noddy had given me the most precious of all earthly gifts - his life.

Readers are welcome to send in stories and pictures of their pets, to 'The Pet Corner', C/o The Mirror Magazine, P.O.Box 1136, Colombo.

Wouldn't it be loverly to be there

By Hiranthi Fernando

An adaptation of the well loved Lerner and Loewe musical 'My Fair Lady', presented by St. Bridget's Convent, will go on the boards at the Lionel Wendt theatre from October 9th to 11th, and 15th to 17th. The cast comprises present students of St. Bridget's, together with a few past students. Direction is also by a past student, Indu Dharmasena who needs no introduction as a playwright and Imagedirector.

It was about forty years ago that writer Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe, decided to produce a musical play based on Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, an intellectual comedy. Shaw's theme has a Professor of Phonetics, transforming an uneducated Cockney flower girl, to enable her to pass off as a lady, by skilfully refining her speech. The story continues with the repercussions following the success of the experiment.

The colourful atmosphere of the music stage with orchestra, singers and scenery did not seem to fit in with the character of Shaw, a puritanical intellectual who despised the routines of the popular theatre. Yet, talented theatre men, Lerner and Loewe transformed Shaw's intellectual comedy into a great musical play, infusing it with romance. Loewe's irresistible melody combined with Lerner's witty lyrics made My Fair Lady, one of the most successful stage musicals. Its popularity has endured through the years, delighting the audiences of today as much as it did when it was first staged in 1956.

Romantic melodies such as 'Wouldn't it be loverly", "I could have danced all night", "Get me to the church on time", "On the street where you live" and I've grown accustomed to her face", appeal to all ages. As Brooks Atkinson, an American theatre critic wrote, " If Shaw had been alive when My Fair Lady was produced, he too would have had to become accustomed to a new face on Pygmalion."

St Bridget's Convent is backed by a long tradition of popular musical productions, having staged operas like Gilbert and Sullivan's 'Gondoliers', and 'H.M.S. Pinafore' in the past. More recently, 'South Pacific,' 'Flower Drum Song', 'The King and I' and 'Camelot' have played to appreciative audiences.

The lead roles of the current production of My Fair Lady are played by Indu Dharmasena, as Professor Higgins and Christina Stephen as Eliza Doolittle. Indu has much experience in both acting and directing. Christina who is 17 years old, starred in a recent performance of 'The King and I' presented by the Yolande School of Speech and Drama, as well as in Water Babies and Snow Queen. She also played a part in Camelot.

The role of Colonel Pickering is played by Susanna Badurdeen. Mrs. Higgins is played by Thushanthi Selverajan and Surani Palihena on alternate days, while Doolittle is played by Ruani Hewage and Charmaine Tillekeratne. Sanjana Selvarajah and Irushi Wanasinghe play the part of Carpathy. Marisa Gnanaraj as Freddy and Christalita Soza as Mrs. Pierce complete the main roles.

"We decided to have two players on alternate days for some of the roles in order to give more girls a chance," Indu said. "I discussed it with Jerome who also did it this way in Lion King. They all work harder when they know there is someone to step in."

Indu is supported by Soundari David, who handles the choral and musical direction and Sohan Chandiram the choreography.

With only a week left before opening night, the cast is working hard. "It is a lot of hard work within a short time but we are enjoying it very much," commented Christina who plays Eliza. Judging by the high standards maintained in the past, the presentation of My Fair Lady by St. Bridget's Convent will no doubt live up to great expectations.

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