Mirror Magazine
11th June 2000

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It was the evening of the Fourth Estate, when journalists, diplomats and other distinguished guests gathered at the Mount Lavinia Hotel for the Excellence in Journalism Awards 1999 of the Editors Guild of Sri Lanka on June 4. The photojournalists took time off amidst collecting their awards to capture these fashions. The sponsors of the evening were Reuters. Ceylon Tobacco Company, Mason's Mixture Ltd, Slimiine (Pvt.) Ltd and Mount Lavinia Hotel.

Filling that gap

By Kesara Ratnatunga

Are you a school-leaver twiddling your thumbs until you enter university? Lazing away and planning every minute detail of how you are going to spend all that free time you have suddenly acquired, and ending up doing...well, not quite a lot. Perhaps it's time to hit the adventure trail and try your hand at something totally new.

Most students once they enter university, spend three to five of the best years of their lives engrossed in academia, which does not leave much time for anything else. The competition doesn't help matters either.

The 'gap year' which most potential university students have, is therefore probably the best time to do as many things and gain as much exposure as possible. Getting a job is probably the best way to do this and of course earn some 'ever necessary' pocket money.

"Leave aside finding a job, what am I good at?" is a common question among young job-hunters. Some people are lucky and know what their talents are. The rest of us, however, have to go through a period of 'trial and error' to discover them.

All of us have little things we love to do during our free time. Things that we are invariably good at, and things which give us a tremendous amount of satisfaction. These interests or pastimes more often than not hint at what sort of work we could do.

For instance, people who like to draw and paint could try fabric designing or web page designing. People who like to write for fun could apply their creativity to journalism. Those who like to talk and communicate could try news reading. DJing is an option for those of you who have a flair for music (and a cool pair of shades). It's just a matter of identifying what appeals to you and challenges you enough to capture and hold your interest.

A lot of companies have openings for enthusiastic young people, especially in communications and the electronic media. News reading, radio announcing and reporting for media companies are just some of the interesting opportunities available.

Information technology also taps the talent of youth. Fledgling companies specializing in software solutions and web page design, often recruit school-leavers for their creative input.

Many non-governmental organisations offer positions on project teams. Research assistants and computer operators are often employed on a volunatry basis or as casual employees. Jobs in such organisations are interesting because they involve fieldwork and interaction with a cross section of the community.

These are merely standard jobs, which a lot of young people do on a part-time basis. There are many more 'unorthodox' occupations - it's just a matter of looking hard enough.

Calling up a few potential employers even if they don't employ you will more often than not give you leads as to what other opportunities are available.

Time is an illusion, especially free time. More so when there is a lot of it. A year may seem like a delectably long, God given chunk of laziness during which you could do your stuff at you own pace. Be warned, it can catch you unawares and zoom by before you could get to the end of the job advertisment page.

So pick up those newspapers and get to a phone, it's not too late to make that excursion into the 'real world'.

Fight right!

Anoja was still starry eyed about Mala's baby. She got annoyed when I said that a baby does not necessarily create happiness in a family. Sometimes a child can become a bone of contention especially if parents do not agree on how the child should be brought up.

A mother instinctively wants to protect, a father may want his son to be manly and independent, and he may shout at the child for crying when he hurts himself. When parents argue in front of the child on their different views of upbringing, often the child tends to make use of that friction for his benefit. Children are smarter than one thinks, I told Anoja, relating a story of what happened to a friend of mine.

Shanti's little son was an adorable little boy who hated to go to nursery school. Very early in his young life he realised that if he got his parents to argue about his reluctance then the chances were that he could stay at home! In the mornings when Shanti woke him, he would howl and cry. Asoka would then say, 'why are you harassing the little fellow. Let him sleep a little while more, after all we have to leave at 7.30'. Nihal would snuggle further into his bed. Shanti would haul him out protesting, and the house would be turned into a miniature war field, as Nihal ran round preventing Shanti from dressing him, an exasperated Asoka would blame Shanti for Nihal's behaviour.

Ultimately 7.30 would come and Asoka would storm out of the house leaving Nihal behind and Shanti would be furious. It came to a point where Shanti felt it would be better to leave home, for the arguments were continous and more heated as both Shanti and Asoka tried to justify their view. Wiser counsels however prevailed and they decided to ignore Nihal's behaviour. With no arguments.......

Nihal was woken up. With Asoka not taking his side Nihal would allow Shanti to dress him. Nihal was very upset with this new trend and asked his mother quite seriously 'why aren't you fighting any more in the morning?'. Shanti smiled with Asoka, they then realised that Nihal would prefer them to argue so that he could then get his own way.

Anoja laughed and said 'I guess you're right, unless there is communication between parents, a child can cause friction among husband and wife'.

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