The veteran Radio Ceylon/SLBC broadcaster Laddie Hettitarchchi passed away in Colombo, Sri Lanka. His funeral was held today. May his soul rest in peace.
Radio Ceylon popularised Lyn Anderson’s huge hit ‘Rose Garden,’ throughout the 1970s. Sady she passed away in 2015 aged 67 years of age. The legendary Sri Lankan broadcaster Nihal Bhareti played her hit on his request programmes.
Nowadays you can walk into a Sri Lankan shop in the London area and find boxes of Maliban biscuits for sale – it is available in the United Kingdom. The company was founded by Hinni Appuhamy and his family and has grown from strength to strength.
Vernon Corea was linked with Maliban biscuits when he presented the Maliban Show over the airwaves of Radio Ceylon in the 1960s. It was one of the top shows on Radio Ceylon. It was the X Factors of its day – a talent show which was extremely popular in South Asia. Vernon used to throw packets of biscuits to the audience in the hall and he travelled across the island of Sri Lanka with Radio Ceylon finding new talent. Vernon Corea pioneered the way with radio talent shows in the 1960s building up huge audiences for the station. We thank the Old Ceylon Facebook page for this information:
“Maliban Biscuits started off as a simple tea kiosk on First Cross Street in Colombo Fort.”
“When in 1935, its proprietor Mr. Angunugaha Gamage Hinni Appuhamy, who hailed from Akmeemana in the Galle District, opened the Maliban Hotel at No. 62 Maliban Street. had no idea at the time that it was Sri Lankan history in the making”
The first Maliban hotel and the 3 founders; Mr A.G.Hinni Appuhami, Mr A.G. Wickramapala, Mr A.G. Jinadasa and their accountant Mr. M.W. Abeynayake.
Legendary Radio Ceylon broadcaster, Vernon Corea has been mentioned thrice by Indian author Glen Peters, in his novel ‘Mrs D’Silva’s Detective Instincts and the Shaitan of Calcutta.’ Glen Peters was born in Allahabad India and spent most of his school years in a suburb of Calcutta. His family emigrated to the UK in the late 60 s where he completed his university education. He was President of his Student s Union for a year and then worked as an engineer with British Gas for a number of years before he joined Price Waterhouse in London. He has been with the firm for 25 years and was made a partner in 1988. In 1995 he and his wife purchased a rundown mansion in Pembrokeshire which started a love affair with West Wales. He founded Project Rhosygilwen in 2006 which aims to use the arts as an engine of rural regeneration.
Mrs D Silva s Detective Instincts and the Saitan of Calcutta In a hugely enjoyable read, Glen Peters recaptures the tastes and atmospheres of 1960s India with a vivid and engaging novel of recipes and murder, intrigue and romance. Mrs D Silva teaches at Don Bosco s Catholic school in Calcutta. She was brought up by the nuns of St Mary s when her mother died and now only thirty two years of age is already a young widow with a son to care for. Life has a lot in store for Mrs D Silva. Calcutta in 1960 is a city striving to change. The old rulers have gone home but India is still trying to find its own way towards a peaceful, prosperous future. But the world is changing and pressing in on the new country. Mrs D Silva wants to be part of the New India, the new Kolkata. She likes the coffee houses of Chowringhee Road and the dances at the Grand Hotel. She likes her work at Don Bosco s, especially the new maths teacher from Darjeeling. She even likes her students. Which is why she is so shocked when the body of Agnes Lal, a young woman brought up by the nuns of the Loreto convent, is washed up on the marshes of the Hooghly river. Has Agnes been murdered? Does anyone care in a city where young girls go missing every day? And then Anil Sen, a former student of Mrs Dilva s and a close friend of Agnes Lal, is charged with the murder of a factory manager during a riot. A riot started by The Workers Revolutionary Movement of Bengal, and what a group of goondas they are, led by that shaitan, Dutta. The same Dutta running rings around Inspector Basu, who has been forced into investigating both cases and is getting nowhere fast. The same Inspector Basu who has a son at Don Bosco’s School. It s all a bit of a tamasha until Mrs D Silva discovers her detective instincts. In a hugely enjoyable read, Glen Peters recaptures the tastes and atmospheres of 1960s India with a vivid and engaging novel of recipes and murder, intrigue and romance.
Peter Kuruvita (born October 1963) is an Australian chef, restaurateur and media personality, known for his rich culturally inspired cooking, highly influenced by his Sri Lankan father and Austrian mother. Peter’s family moved back to Sri Lanka in 1967 and most certainly they would have tuned into Radio Ceylon when Vernon Corea was a presenter on the ‘King of the Airwaves’ in South Asia. In 1974 the Kuruvita family moved to Australia. He is now an internationally renowned Chef.
Flying Fish 2003
Peter Kuruvita is Consultant Chef of Flying Fish Restaurant in Pyrmont, New South Wales on Sydney Harbour. The restaurant was opened in 2004. The Flying Fish serves modern Australian dishes with a strong seafood focus.
Flying Fish, Fiji
Peter opened Flying Fish Fiji in partnership with Starwood Hotels in 2008, situated on the sand at the Sheraton Fiji Resort Nadi Fiji
Steak House by Peter Kuruvita
Situated at the Westin Hotel Nadi Fiji, Peter was asked to take over the iconic restaurant after a few others attempted to bring it back to its former glory.
Noosa Beach House
Peters Latest partnership with Starwood hotels, situated in the Sheraton Noosa Resort and Spa right in the centre of Noosa’s Hastings street, the restaurant and bar have undergone a beautiful transformation and now suits its glamours surrounds.
Peter Kuruvita did a wonderful television series on Sri Lanka in 2011:
Anthony Bourdain is a famous American Chef, author and television personality. He visited Sri Lanka in 2008 for the first time to taste the culinary delights and experience the sights and sounds of Sri Lanka. Anthony Bourdain actually visited Chilaw, the hometown of the legendary Sri Lankan broadcaster Vernon Corea to taste the well known Chilaw Crab Curry – Chilaw was known as a coastal town with the three ‘C’s – Crabs, Coconuts and Coreas. Tony was accompanied by US born Skiz Fernando a Chef and food writer who has family links with Chilaw.
During his visit Anthony Bourdain stayed at the iconic Galle Face Hotel in Colombo. In the late 1950s and 1970s Vernon Corea broadcast New Years Eve celebrations and entertainment shows at the Coconut Grove from the Galle Face Hotel on the airwaves of Radio Ceylon.
Watch Anthony Bourdain in Sri Lanka:
Read about Anthony Bourdain’s visit to Sri Lanka on the Travel Channel:
Author Mike Curtis pays a wonderful tribute to Sri Lanka-born broadcaster Vernon Corea in his book: ‘Asian Auntie-Ji – Life with the BBC Asian Network,’ published in the United Kingdom in January 2015. Mike Curtis mentions Vernon Corea when was working at Radio Ceylon:
‘ One of the station’s best loved broadcasters was Vernon Corea,the ‘golden voice of Radio Ceylon‘, who joined the station in 1956. He championed the musical talent of Ceylon but also played western stars on his radio shows like Louis Armstrong, Cliff Richard and Elvis Presley. After nearly 20 years and shortly after Ceylon became an independent republic called Sri Lanka, Vernon Corea and his family moved to London in the mid-seventies where he joined the BBC.’
Curtis goes on to write about Vernon Corea’s radio programme on BBC Radio London called ‘London Sounds Eastern,’ and mentions the fact that he went on to become the Asian Programmes Officer for BBC Local Radio and later the Ethnic Minorities Adviser to the BBC.
Here is what Troubadour, the publishing company says about ‘Asian Auntie Ji Life with the BBC Asian Network:
‘The Asian Network did not fit easily into the BBC which, having nobly set it up, was never quite sure what to do with it. We always felt we were on our own – different and complicated. We survived several reboots and the threat of closure before its importance to the BBC in serving a growing multi-cultural UK was fully recognised. It was also a lot of fun and a privilege to be part of its story.’
Facing redundancy from the BBC after 20 years as a reporter and news editor, Mike Curtis got a stay of execution. His salvation found him unexpectedly in charge of setting up a newsroom for the BBC radio station broadcasting to the Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi communities across the Midlands – the Asian Network. He stayed for 14 years. Asian Auntie-ji tells how this son of an Anglican clergyman, with a love of western music, was thrown into a new world of Bollywood and bhangra, Diwali and Vaisakhi, Mirpuri and mosques, and cricket and Kashmir.
The book unravels how this unique radio station dealt with many controversial issues arising from the religious and cultural sensitivities of its audience and its staff. It reflects how the Asian Network covered riots, racism and terror, but also how it gave a voice to so many British Asians; from the geographically isolated listener on the phone-in to those who achieved fame in sport and entertainment. Mike Curtis follows the story of the Asian Network, from its roots in local radio to its UK-wide expansion – and its dealings with BBC bosses. The views of its champions and its critics are reported with honesty and good humour.
The Queen, the Duchess of Cornwall, Sebastian Coe, Ravi Shankar, Jay Sean, Amir Khan, Greg Dyke, Meera Syal and Shah Rukh Khan are among those sprinkled throughout the saga, along with the Asian Network’s own stars like Bobby Friction, Sonia Deol and Adil Ray. Mike Curtis describes how the team was moved around the managements of Radio 1, Radio 2 and Five Live – and how they regularly upsetThe Archers at Radio 4.
Asian Auntie-ji is a fascinating autobiography that will appeal to an audience beyond the story of the radio station, embracing such names as Monty Python, TV’s Big Brother, Brian Blessed, Carlos Santana, Boris Johnson, Judi Dench, David Blunkett, 1950s test pilot Roly Beamont and DJ Orifice Vulgatron. Those with an interest in the media, the BBC, politics, and ethnicity and the South Asian experience in the UK will find it particularly rewarding.’