Darren de Vos 30 and living it up – Photos thanks to Trevine Rodrigo: Melbourne
The Sri Lanka Association of New South Wales Inc (SLANSW) Annual Winter Ball 2019 ‘Pride and Passion’ was held on a grand scale on Saturday, the 7th of September at the Mercure Hotel, Liverpool. Attracting a full house, the event was a great success raising awareness and funds towards the SLANSW’s seniors programs.
Chief Guest for the occasion was the newly appointed High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Australia, H.E Mr. J.C. Weliamuna.
There were a number of distinguished guests present including, Mr Lal Wickramatunga, the Sri Lankan Consul General for New South Wales and Queensland, the Honourable Mr Kevin Conolly, Member for Riverstone and Parliamentary Secretary for Education and the Honourable Ms Jodi Mckay, Leader of the Opposition of the Parliament of New South Wales.
The curtain raiser was a beautiful fusion dance performed by Ms Sasani Jayasinghe and the troupe.
The event commenced with the welcome speech by the President of the SLANSW Dr (Mrs) Gnani Thenabadu. In, H.E Mr. J.C. Weliamuna’s inaugural address to the Sri Lankan community in New South Wales, emphasized the need to further strengthen the bilateral relationship between Australia and Sri Lanka and reinvigorate trade and ‘people-to-people links’. Mr.Weliamuna took the opportunity to thank the outgoing Consul General, Mr Lal Wickramatunga, for his initiative to bring all Sri Lankan ethnic groups together and promote trade and tourism. The Consul General, Mr Lal Wickramatunga, arguably the most popular Consul General we have had in Sydney, appealed to the Sri Lankan expatriate community to help the motherland which had suffered from a brain drain to share their knowledge and experiences gained from living in a developed country. Both, the Honourable Mr Kevin Conolly and the Honourable Ms Jodi Mckay recognised the significant contribution made by Sri Lankans to the Australian community.
Guests were quick to their feet when popular band ‘The Kamis’ took to the stage to perform hits from good old nostalgic Waltz and Quickstep numbers to Rock, Samba, Ramba and also some ‘ABBA’ numbers.
Guests were welcomed to participate in a raffle draw and a charity auction consisting of cricket memorabilia from Sri Lankan cricket legends including Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vass, Mahela Jayawardana and the Sri Lankan T20 World Cup 2015 team. The MC of the event Mr Duke Ramachandran conducted the auction professionally which brought good offers for all the auctioned items with all proceeds going to the SLANSW’s senior citizen programs.
Over 25 electronic banners of the sponsors and portraits of the distinguished guests were displayed on the giant projector screen to run continuously during the event. There was a short Power Point presentation displaying the main activities carried out during the year by the SLANSW.
Special thanks to Mrs Sriyani Tennakoon for the elegant table arrangements, Mr.Saliya Tennakoon of Event360 for a wonderful job in stage management, sounds and lighting, D,J. Shankster for providing Sinhala pops and Baila hits, Roy Gunaratne of RoyGrafix, our official photographer for capturing the event beautifully as you can see from the photo gallery. Big thank you to Mr. Harry Solomons of Kingsgrove Sports, for his generous sponsorship and the Mercure Hotel for their delicious food and service. Last but not least the executive committee members and their families for their efforts for making the 2019 SLA Winter Ball ‘Pride and Passion’ a great success.
On a balmy Saturday evening on September 14th, The Sydney Bens felicitated their most prominent old boy; the affable and much loved Consul General Mr. Lal Wickrematunga. Canapés and drinks at the foyer bar provided the well-wishers ample opportunity to mingle and chat before being ushered into the beautifully decorated hall. The tempo of the night was expertly managed by the band Cazcade under the direction of leader and Sydney Old Bens’ President Yohan Pathinather.
Sherwell Fernando welcomed the guests and rightly described Mr. Wickrematunga as “a simple and popular gentleman who excelled in commercial & public service, sports and journalism”. The superlatives and achievements were further touched on with the honoured guest being called to the stage for a Q & A session with the effervescent and no stranger to public speaking, Mrs. Padmi Pathinather. In true style, Lal sailed through the questions with wit, charm and frankness indicative of his personality. When asked, “Who inspired you”? Without hesitation he went back to his schoolboy roots and mentioned Brother James “My boy, if you can look at your face in the mirror, then it does not matter”. The audience applauded knowing very well how close this statement strikes a chord with his character and the archetypal way he conducts himself. “You have been my strength and I will miss you” he said humbly. “Australia has been one of Sri Lanka’s closest allies”, he continued and impressed upon the audience how important it is to respect and accept the “Australian rules-based” society we live in. His talk ended with a rapturous standing ovation. The attendees at this event came from diverse backgrounds including a group from Melbourne plus table representations from Good Shepherd Convent Kotahena, St Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia and Ceylon Society; a sellout function and testimony to the appreciation and respect people across the board have for our departing CG. A Benevolent individual who reaches out to people irrespective of status or race, Lal requested the night include a charity drive in honour of the Easter bombing victims. Several raffle prizes were awarded and Duke Ramachandran assisted in his incomparable manner, the auctioning of cricket memorabilia.
A wonderful spread of dinner was laid out and those with a sweet tooth were not disappointed either with dessert brought to the table while Band Cazcade unleashed its full arsenal – from nostalgic numbers to Rock, Rumba, Samba and Baila, if the rhythm was gonna get you, this was the night! Special vocalist Trevin Joseph who flew in especially from Sri Lanka and Nimal Punchihewa on drums attested their musical expertise as the revelers took to the dance floor in droves. At one stage tables had to be moved against the walls to accommodate more toe-tappers. The musical theme ‘My Way’ befitting his personality and character was embodied when Lal was invited by the band to sing the Perry Como old favourite “For The Good Times” – with a quiver in his voice and a tear in his eye, we all felt the sadness of his pending departure from our shores. THANK YOU MR. LAL WICKRAMATUNGA for the good times and for doing it your way in enriching our lives. We wish you well and can only hope regardless who comes into power; your services will be recognized to continue flying that Sri Lankan flag high as you have done.
* A special acknowledgement to major sponsor Enrichment Consulting and the Sydney Ben’s OBA for a wonderful night. A selection of photographs by Janine Sebastian is attached for your viewing pleasure.
The Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Sydney in collaboration and coordination with the Coconut Development Authority (CDA) and the Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) organized Sri Lankan Pavilion at the Fine Food Australia from 9th to 12th September 2019 at the International Convention Centre, Sydney.
Ten Sri Lankan coconut exporters were housed in the CDA Pavilion and four Ceylon Tea companies were under the Tea Board Pavilion. In addition, eight Sri Lankan individual exporters representing food sectors participated and promoted Sri Lankan value added food products at Find Food Australia 2019.
The Sri Lankan coconut sector business delegation was led by Udaya Rupasinghe, Chairman of CDA. This year’s highlight of the CDA pavilion was the Sri Lankan food demonstrations utilizing coconut ingredients. This initiative was introduced for the first time by the CDA to popularize the usage of coconut ingredients among the buyers and consumers at an international food exhibition.
During Fine Food Australia, the Consulate General of Sri Lanka organized a business breakfast networking meeting for the Sri Lankan exporters inviting Australian food importers and distributors. Sampath Samarawickrema, Director/Marketing of the CDA made the presentation to the audience focusing the varieties of value-added Sri Lankan coconut products which can be catered by the Sri Lankan suppliers to the Australian consumers.
Consul General, Lal Wickrematunge and Consul Commercial, Abdul Raheem of Sri Lanka Consulate General in Sydney also spoke at this B2B session elaborating the market expansion opportunities with Australia and the importance of market presence for Sri Lankan products in Australia. Representatives from the Export Council of Australia, New South Wales Business Chamber, Australian Business Summit Council and Austrade/DFAT participated at the interactions. Roy McCullah from the Australian Trade and Logistics Corporation made a brief presentation on market entry supports to Australia.
Fine Food Australia is the largest international trade event for the food industry featuring the latest ingredients, equipment and menu ideas for any food business. Numerous exhibitors from Australia and abroad presented the latest products to the industry. Visitors were buyers and decision makers from retail, foodservice and hospitality. Fine Food Australia is an excellent opportunity to participants to learn about the new trends in the markets and the food industry.
Consulate General of Sri Lanka
Photos will be published soon on eLanka. In the mean time enjoy several video clips of the superb evening held at the Concord Function Centre, Concord, Sydney on 14th September
Dilly in Fine form – Foot Loose!
The Boyz… Thomains were there too!.. Duke & Jay – Starting off Na Na Na Na Naaaa Naaa….
10 mins of Non Stop fun… Baila Time Watch Chitran D at 5 mins of this video!. Brilliant dancing! 🙂
Lal – Singing Solo “For the Good times” – Brilliant!
Final Farewell for Lal – In true Lankan Spirit!
The Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB) in collaboration with the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Sydney organised a Sri Lankan MICE Destination Promotion at Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney on Thursday, 5th September 2019. Twenty member Sri Lankan MICE trade delegation led by Chairman, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau participated at the B2B meeting followed by a roadshow with Australian counterparts.
The Sri Lankan MICE destination promotion was held in Australia after lapse of eight years and the objective of organising MICE Roadshows in Melbourne and Sydney this year were to capitalise the Australian market and to position Sri Lanka as a cost efficient and attractive destination for global conferences, corporate events and incentive travel.
Australia is also shaping up to be a key market for Sri Lanka’s MICE sector with flight connectivity and the convenience for travel between the two countries will continue to improve. Sri Lankan Airlines is planning to operate direct flights from Sydney from next year and the Australian budget airline Jetstar is also planning to start flights to Sri Lanka. Tourist arrivals from Australia have also been improving despite of the recent setback for the Sri Lankan travel industry.
Kumar De Silva, Chairman/SLCB and the Business Development Manager of the Sri Lankan Airline office in Melbourne, Dilshan made presentations in highlighting Sri Lanka’s MICE attractions. Consul General, Lal Wickrematunge and Consul Commercial, Abdul Raheem also spoke at the occasion. ChannaUpluli Dance Group entertained the audience with mesmerizing cultural performances.
Sri Lankan MICE trade representative and the Sri Lankan Airline offered raffle prizes for the Australian participants at Roadshows in Melbourne and Sydney. The Programme was coordinated by Ms. Achini Dandunnage, Senior Manager/SLCB and Consul Commercial of the Sri Lanka Consulate General in Sydney.
Consulate General of Sri Lanka
6th September 2019
High Commissioner designate of Sri Lanka to Australia H.E. Mr. J.C. Weliamuna,PC, Hon. Scott Farlow, representing Hon. John Sidoti – Minister for Sport, Multiculturalism, Seniors and Veterans, Ms Shemara Wikramanayake, Mr. Arun Abey, Mr. Ryan Neelam – Deputy Director/Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Harry Solomons and Mr. Dilip Kumar spoke in appreciation of the excellent work done by the departing Consul General, to strengthen people to people ties, education, tourism and trade between Sri Lanka and Australia. They highlighted the Consul General’s successful efforts in bringing all ethnic communities of Sri Lankan origin under one common Sri Lankan identity. Many other high-profile dignitaries graced this elegant event.
Consul General of Pakistan in Sydney Mr. Abdul Majid YOUSFANI, Hon. Consul for Sri Lanka in Queensland Mr. Antony Philip Swan and Consul (Commercial) Mr. Abdul Raheem were present amongst many other high profile dignitaries.
The event was coordinated by Mr. Dilip Kumar.
Abirami Natya Shestra School of Dance presented it’s 5th annual dance showcase on the 27th of July 2019. Director and founder of Abirami Natya Shestra, Smt. Meera Joy, orchestrated an incredible night of performances at St Marys Memorial Hall in Sydney.
Director Smt. Meera Joy inaugurated the event alongside her husband Mr. Edward Joy Selvaraja, Dr. Eswararaj Bastiampillai, Mr. Vishal Prajapati, Father Joe and Penrith’s Councillor Tricia Hitchen by the lighting of the lamp ceremony.
Abirami Natya Shestra’s program announcers for the evening were Chinnu Jose and Ashlin Biju. The duo did a fantastic job keeping the audience members engaged and introducing each performer onto the stage. The evening celebrated classic Bharatanatyam, semi-classical and Indian fusion dances. This year Abirami Natya Shestra also brought to life a Dasavatharam dance drama.
The night of outstanding performances began with Emey Sara Ginu’s Pushpanjali followed by a number of classical dances. Later on there was an award ceremony celebrating and recognising the students of Abirami Natya Shestra who have attended the school for the past 10 years. These students are Annet Sijo, Domina Augustine, Neelima Menakath, Geosera Muralidharan & Maegan Mathew.
This year’s concert was especially significant to Smt. Meera Joy who performed again on stage for the first time in 28 years. She performed a classical dance to the song Ra Ra Swami.
On the evening, performances and the Dasavatharam dance drama were accompanied with live orchestra. The orchestral team did a brilliant job delivering music to performances. The orchestra team included: Vocals: Smt. Lavanya Vithushan, Mirudangam: Bavananth Sivaharan, Flute: Gowtham Jeyanathan, Violin: Master. Kapbilaashan Vithushan
The following students of Abirami Natya Shestra performed: Ann Mary Thomas, Angel Sara Ginu, Aleena Alex, Alex Jemini Tharakan, Amy Nibu, Airen Jeremih Roy, Akhil Sijo, Annet Sijo, Aarush Vishal Prajapati, Anika Vetcha, Annlin Biju, Aradhya Ponnaganti, Ashlin Biju, Chinnu Jose, Domina Augustine, Eapen Jemini Tharakan, Emey Sara Ginu, Geosera Muralitharan, Irine Jins, Isabella George, Jaimy Jose, Joanna Jins , Katya McLearie , Kavitha Sheen, Krishitasri Tamma, Leka Talakola, Luke D’Lima, Maegan Mathew, Manasvi Salaka, Misha Jithin. Moukthika Nandam, Neelima Menakath, Olivia Chandy, Pranavi Salaka. Samyuktha Danda, Sanya Shine, Serah Elizabeth Jobish , Sheeja Shine, Shreya Sekhar, Sneha Sekhar, Snigdha Nishani, Snikitha Nishani, Sudeepthi Kanta, Varuna Naicker & Yugala Sri Nandamuri
Students of Jeeva Elyathamby also gave lively performances during the evening.
Abirami Natya Shestra School of Dance held an award ceremony at the end of the night in recognition of all students. Participants received a trophy to recognise their dedication and hard work.
SAFAL Fest 2019 was a tremendous success which was made possible with a very dedicated, committed and passionate organising team comprising of Ash Gholkar Festival Chair, Kedarnath (Kevin) Pagaddinnimath Festival Director, Sabrin Farooqui, Kavitha Jeyakumar, Jeyakumar Ramasamy, Saliya Tennekoon, Hasitha Adhikariariachichi, Nagendra Adhikari, Meenakshi Cholkar and Prachi Kekre.
The Festival kicked off on 3rd August with the Screening of the Oscar Entrant Sri Lankan film Frozen Fire at the Event Cinema Macquarie Centre, North Ryde which was organised by Kithsiri Karunaratne. It was attended by Sri Lankan Consul General, Mr. Lal Raj Wikramatunga., Clr. Bernard Purcell from City of Ryde and members of Sri Lankan Community.
The SAFAL Arts & Literature Festival was officially inaugurated by Mr John Alexander Federal MP for Bennelong on the 4th of August at the Brush Farm House, Eastwood and was also attended by Clr. Bernard Purcell from City of Ryde and members from the South Asian Communities.
The Art Exhibition was very well curated by Kavitha Jeyakumar & Jeyakumar Ramasamy and had exhibits from local Artists from the Indian Sub continent. The literature panel discussions and poetry slam competition was managed by Hasitha Adhikariacchichi and topics of discussion were on Media and Journalism (A Platform to Raise South Asian Voices), Script Writing (Script to Screen Journey), Fiction (East Meets West), Non Fiction (Diversity in Focus).
The Poetry Slam Competition had good participation with Tammi and Masud Parvez being declared Joint Winners and Manik Bhasker Runner Up. The Judges for the Poetry Slam Competition were Rekha Rajvanshi, Nagendra Prasad Adhikari and Kazi Sultana. The Talent Hunt Competition proved to be very popular and was managed by Kedarnath (Kevin) Pagaddinnimath, Sabrin Farooqui and Saliya Tennekoon. The audition Judges were Aparna Nagashayana, Padam Shakya, Anil Liyanage & Sriyani Tennekoon. The Grand Finals were Judged by our international guests Omkar Shetty (Director of Film Aaron) and Shashank Ketkar (Star Actor) both from Mumbai and Yasothara Bharathy, a very well-known dance teacher and choreographer. Bhidhan Pandey was declared Best Male Singer, Raman Regmi Runner Up, Ishi Yogya Mahadurge was declared Best Female Singer, Priyanka Chowdhury Runner Up, Sasani Jayasinghe was declared Best Solo Dancer, Rakshya Khatri Runner Up. Nagendra Prasad Adhikari liaised with the Nepalese community and looked after the TV Media and of course Prachi Kekre and Meenakshi Cholkar looked after the overall smooth running of the Festival.
There was also a drumming demonstration of Parai (an ancient percussion, musical instrument hand-held drum) by Drummers of the Australian Tamil Art Organisation.
The SAFAL Fest 2019 Gala Awards Night was held on 10th August
at the Ryde Civic Centre Top Ryde and was a great success with a packed house. The Hosts for the Gala Awards Night were Saroni Roy and Sanjay Bhosle. It was attended by The Hon. NSW Minister for Customer Service who also represented the Premier of NSW Glady’s Berejiklian; NSW Opposition Leader, Jodi Mckay; Mayor of City of Ryde, Mr. Jerome Laxale; Consul General, People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Hon. Khandker Masudul Alam; Mr Nandkumaran Konnat Consul, Republic of India; Mr. Abdul Raheem Mohamad Meerasahib; Consul, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; Councillors from City of Ryde, Parramatta; Jaya Chavukla representing Joseph-La-Posta, CEO of Multicultural NSW; Felice Montorone, Chair of East Sydney Regional Advisory Council, Member of Advisory Board Multicultural NSW; our International guests, Annurudha Jaysinghe director of Sri Lankan film Frozen Fire; Omkar Shetty, director, and Shashank Ketkar, actor of Indian movie Aaron, community leaders from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Sponsors, Media and Guests. Both, The Hon. NSW Minister for Customer Service and Opposition Leader, Jodi Mckay praised the Australian South Asian Forum for taking such unique initiative to bring 8 South Asian Nations under one platform in the field of Music, Arts, Literature & Films by organising SAFAL Fest and said it represented true spirit of Multiculturalism in Australia.
Dr Shelton Premratne and Mr Kiran Pradhan were awarded life time achievement award for contribution to music; Dr. Chandrika Subramaniyan, Mr. Munir Hosain and Dr Sydney Srinivas were awarded Distinguished Achievement Award For Contribution To Literature; Dr. Sabrin Farooqui was awarded Special Encouragement Award For Contribution To Fine Arts, Mr. Annurudha Jaysinghe, Mr. Omkar Shetty and Mr Shashank Ketkar were awarded the SAFAL Recognition Awards For Contribution to Film and Media. The highlights of the Festival were dazzling Dance Performances by Sasani Jayasinghe (Best Solo Dancer SAFAL Fest Talent Hunt 2019) and her group for the curtain raiser, dancing to the music of 8 South Asian Nations; Maathra dance studio (Dulan Weerasekara and his dancers); Shivastuti painting by artist Sarjerao Patil to the rhythm of Marathi dance celebrating virtues of Indian Emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj choreographed by Prachiti Limaye; Bangladesh Band with Folk Music and Dance presentation by Aprita Shome Choudhary; Bollywood Medley by Dancers from Elegant Creation; Nepali solo folk dance by Rakshya Khatri; Singing performances by SAFAL Fest 2019 Best Female Singer Ishi Yogya Mahadurge and Best Male Singer Bidhan Pandey; and Duet Singing Performance by Gorkha Paltan (Dil Tamang and Sujata Upadhyaya). Great Sound and Digital Lighting effects were provided by Event 360 and delicious 3 course entree and buffet dinner was catered by Taj Indian Masala and Premium Quality Wines were supplied by Prima International Wines.
The Gala Awards Night was covered by Yasuri TV, Lahuri TV, Shomoy TV, Indian Down Under, Desi Australia and the Photography by Roy Gunaratne of RoyGrafix. The Gala Award Night ended with the Dance Floor Open for Dancing to the Hit Beats of the South Asian Nations.
SAFAL Fest 2019 concluded with the screening of the Indian Movie AARON on Sunday the 11th at the Event Cinema Macquarie Centre North Ryde which was very well attended and received.