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.
Recently Vernon Corea’s son, Ivan visited the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and met with the new Chairman, Attorney At Law Nanda Muruttettuwegama, SLBC staff at the station including veteran broadcaster K.S.Sivakumaran, Nihal Bhareti and the legendary composer and singer/songwriter Nimal Mendis and his son Paul Marie Mendis. It was a wonderful meeting at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation – joining them were the top SLBC producer Indira Priyadarshini Nawagamuwa and members of the Radio Ceylon Facebook Group Chrismarlon Perera and Shantilal Vairwaranathan.
Ivan was interviewed by SLBC legend Nihal Bhareti over the airwaves of the station.
Celebrated Indian author Usha KR has mentioned the legendary broadcaster Vernon Corea in her novel ‘Monkey Man,’ published by Penguin. Her principle character Shrinivas Moorty listens to the voice of Vernon Corea on Radio Ceylon. She writes: ‘Shrinivas Moorty could say it was the voice of Vernon Corea that had seen him through puberty. At a time when Indian radio stations did not play ‘English’music, Radio Ceylon was a life line….’ Usha KR goes on to mention that listeners knew Vernon Corea so well.
Monkey-man begins on 3 January 2000. It is the start of the new millennium. On Ammanagudi Street in Bangalore, a strange creature is spotted. As the beast seizes the imagination of the city, the first people to sight it—Shrinivas Moorty, a teacher in a local college, Pushpa Rani, who works in a call centre, Neela Mary Gopalrao, secretary to an influential man, and Sukhiya Ram, her office boy—are invited to talk about it on Bali Brums’s hugely popular radio show. What was it that they saw? A bat? A malevolent avatar? A sign of the displeasure of the gods? The grotesque mascot of a city that is growing too fast and crumbling too soon? Or merely a monkey that has lost its way?
Using evocative prose that reflects her profound understanding of human nature, Usha K.R. delves into the lives of her characters and their unexpectedly linked destinies in a city that has grown from a ‘Pensioner’s Paradise’ to the frenetic hub of the country’s IT industry.
Usha K.R. has been writing fiction for over three decades, beginning with short fiction. Her short story ‘Sepia Tones’ won the Katha Award for short fiction in 1995. Her novels include Sojourn,1998;The Chosen, 2003; A Girl and a River, 2007; and Monkey Man, 2010. . “A Girl and a River” won the Crossword Award in 2007 and was listed for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. “Monkey Man” was short listed for the DSC Prize for South Asian literature 2012 and was listed for the Man Asia. Usha lives and works in Bangalore. Vernon Corea visited Bangalore with his family in January 1975. Wherever he went people remembered him and Radio Ceylon.
Usha K.R. on her best selling novel ‘Monkey Man.’
Usha K.R. talks about her writing:
Veteran Radio Ceylon/SLBC Broadcaster K.S.Sivakumaran’s news feature published in the Daily News Sri Lanka. We quoted the full article in an earlier post. The article in the Daily News was published on 17th September 2014 to mark the 12th Death Anniversary of Vernon Corea on 23rd September 2014.
The 12th death anniversary of Sri Lankan broadcaster Vernon Corea falls on Tuesday 23rd September 2014. Vernon Corea’s birthday also fell on 11th September 2014. The family have released previously unpublished photographs of the Radio Ceylon/SLBC and BBC Broadcaster to mark his 12th Death Anniversary on Tuesday.
Features – published in the Daily News, Sri Lanka
A tribute to the late Vernon Corea
K S Sivakumaran
The Coreas from Chilaw are famous people in Lanka and some of them have been known international figures. A few names that strike the mind are the late Dr Gamini Corea, Ernest Corea and Vernon Corea.
Two dates in September are remembered, particularly by radio listeners all over the world. September 11, 1927 and September 23, 2014.
The legendary broadcaster in the heydays of the then Radio Ceylon, the late Vernon Corea’s birth date and the date of passing away of this Golden Voice of this colourful personality are to be remembered. He would have been 87 years next Tuesday, September 23, 2014. It was a sad day in September, 2002, when he left this planet to merge with the Almighty.
There is ample information available on the Internet and the links like Radio Ceylon on the very talented and one of the pioneer broadcasters in Lanka – Vernon Corea. The building up of the then Commercial Service of Radio Ceylon in the 1950s and up to the 70s and 80s laid in the hands of the Australian Clifford Dodd, Tim Horshington, Livy Wijemanne, Vernon Corea, Greg Roskowski, Jimmy Bharucha and the other unforgettable announcers in English. My tribute to my friend Vernon Corea on his death anniversary is only on a personal note.
Young, dynamic and vibrant, the voice of the inimitable Vernon was heard to adorn the airwaves through the only electronic medium in this country at that time – the Commercial Service of Radio Ceylon. Little did he know then that he would climax his career as Director General of the same radio station which later became the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. He worked for the BBC too when he settled down in England at his retirement.
Instead of repeating all what his fans know about him, I wish to recall my experiences in associating with him.
When I was 17 or 18, I had listened to his voice on the air waves of the Commercial Service but was hoping to meet him one day. That day came when I was asked to come over to the station to collect my voucher which I won in a quiz programme called ‘Take it or Leave it’. The programme was a live broadcast from Studio Six in Radio Ceylon. The quiz master was Geoff Frugtneath and the announcer was Jimmy Bharucha. They were holding forth on the stage. I could not spot Vernon even when he was in the studio, because I had not seen his face anywhere.
However, after a few days when I went to collect my voucher I was directed to the desk of a smiling short and stout man seated there and cracking jokes while others around him were merrily laughing and enjoying.
As I approached him, he smilingly asked me “Yes, young man how can I help you?” The willingness to help even a stanger was his nature.
“Sir, my name is Sivakumaran.” I introduced myself and gave him that letter which said to collect the voucher.
“Oh, you are the person I was waiting for. All other winners have taken their vouchers. Sit down”. I innocently asked him his name.
I stood up and expressed my delight in meeting him face o face. He had no accent in speech. His fluency in English interspersed with humour and the compassion won the hearts of many listeners.
Two other remembrances of him should be made. In 1966, a group of five people, including me, were selected as Relief Tamil Announcers for Commercial Service. Before the training period, he was assigned to brief us on broadcasting ethics. He even asked us to write a commercial of 50 words and saw us reading them out for him. Thus I became friendly with him.
The third happy closeness with him was when I worked as a permanent employee in the News Room of the then Ceylon Broadcasting Corporation, which name was later changed to SLBC and currently called Radio Sri Lanka. For a short spell, Vernon Corea was looking after the News Divisions as well. There he encouraged me in my tasks and gave me several assignments to do.
The late Vernon Corea had had an indelible influence in me in the broadcasting field. I have not met his son Ivan so far but in touch with him when he started a link Radio Ceylon in the web. But recently I had the pleasure of meeting his daughter Ouida and her family in Colombo. Vernon Corea’s photograph, belatedly though, adorns the gallery of famous administrators of Radio Ceylon.
Here is the second film now on youtube on Vernon Corea the broadcasting legend from the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation: