Taiping’s Sri Lankans

A historic community event took place in Taiping on Sunday, January 13. An exhibition entitled, “The Roles of Sri Lankans in Taiping 1883-1963” was held at the iconic The First Galleria, Jalan Stesen. On display were old black-and-white photographs, records of bygone era personalities, old books, archaic printed matters, paraphernalia, sports equipment and antiques from personal and private collections.

The exhibition was arranged chronologically beginning with the early era of the railways, ports, wharves and Perak civil establishments with contemporary portraits featuring Sri Lankan men and women who had shaped Taiping’s history from as early as 1873 to the present.

More than 100 guests comprising Sinhalese, Ceylonese and Taiping’s heritage enthusiasts gathered for a first-time experience promoting the history and lineage of two prominent immigrant communities who first came to settle in Taiping over a century ago. Some came from Kuala Lumpur and Penang, to commemorate a unique get-together and the sharing of stories.

Guest of honour, Major-General S.W. Lalith Daulaga, Acting High Commissioner of the Sri Lankan High Commission in Malaysia, said the event was a landmark occasion, as it impressed upon the communities’ younger generation to be mindful of their colourful heritage and the part their forefathers had played in the country’s development.

Guests were treated to an array of sumptuous Sinhalese and Ceylonese delicacies such as pittu (grated coconut and rice dumplings), vendium colubu (soft-cooked brinjals), iddiappam (string hoppers), sodhi (coconut milk soup), pythaurudai (green gram), masi (spicy tuna sambal), kiri bath (milk rice), pol sambal (spicy coconut sambal) and umblakadda sambal (Maldive tuna sambal).

Among the dignitaries were Dato’ S. Veerasingam, president of the Perak Malaysian Indian Association, Dato’ S. Kulasegaran, president of the Federation of Malaysian Sri Lankan Organisations, Gordon Peter Piyadasa, president of the Malaysian Sinhalese Association and Rathy Mahendran, president of the Ceylon Association Taiping.

Nirmal Ariyapala

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