To celebrate its centennial, the Ceylonese Association of Perak organised a dinner at the Rayan Cultural Hall, Ipoh on Saturday, July 22.
Over 800 people attended the function. The evening began with the arrival of members and guests, dressed in colourful traditional attire. Some arrived early at 6.30pm.
Invocation prayers and the lighting of Kuthu Vilakku signified the opening of the event, followed by classical dances.
Guest of honour, Dato’ Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, Member of Parliament for Tambun then related a story.
The former Minister of Finance shared how a Ceylonese doctor influenced his son to be a doctor.
“My third son was the bottom seven in his class, since he was in Year One until Form Five. One day, after meeting the doctor, he immediately told me that he wanted to be a doctor.
“He never had an ambition before he met the doctor, and now, he’s a doctor with the General Hospital Kuala Lumpur. I owe a lot to this Ceylonese doctor. I wanted to meet him, but he’s no longer here,” he said.
Association president, V. Narayanan, who has served the management committee for over 40 years, in his speech, urged all Ceylonese to be members of the association.
Membership, he said, is open to all Ceylonese residing in Perak.
It was a memorable night for members and guests. They were served with traditional food and were entertained by a live band belting out Malay and Tamil songs and music. The ensuing lucky draws were a much-awaited affair.
The Ceylonese community, mostly Tamils from the Sri Lankan district of Jaffna, arrived in Malaya in the early 19th century.
They were mostly employed in the Malayan civil service, telecommunications and railways. The first Ceylon associations were established in Taiping and Seremban.
The Ceylonese Association of Perak, formed in 1917, is proud to have its own building located at: 18 Jalan Tun Perak (formerly Connolly Road). It has been the focal point of social contact for Jaffna Tamils in Perak for over four years.