I am here as president of Australian Tamil literary and art society and inviting for this story telling event.
Any one person can change the way we think -and in changing the way many people think, it can change the world too, because stories touch the heart of many people.
We will experience the magic of storytelling today. We are recovering our personal history and transform it in to present experience. Personal events come to us in the shape of human lives.
Story telling about human experience, human feeling, is unique because we actually trying to know about the feeling of others.
Our ancient literatures are oral stories. The epic Mahabharatha , largest in the world ,was a collection oral stories told through many generations. Epics of Iliad and Odyssey were oral stories attributed to Homer. Old Testament bible was also maintained through oral tradition for many centuries.
Story telling itself has not changed since ancient time. You all can see in new paper, Radio , TV and face book ,every one sniffing and hunting personal stories of some one every day
Today here my role is a guide. So I have to narrate my story and set an example.
My veterinary office was inside the Ledesdale tea estate, Hill country, Sri Lanka. In April 1984 — there was a dispute between the Assistant Superintendant / and a labourer working in the tea estate. Because the Assist Superintendant was Sinhalese and the labourer was Tamil, the work related dispute turned into a communal one. People from adjoining village rushed in and set the fire to entire worker’s houses. The hostility lasted for several days. I was living within the Estate and knew many workers in the Tea estate. I tried to help the victims but this was not welcome by many people. I perceived some hostility.
I was in dilemma. I was debating what I should do next.
I could not go back to Jaffna or any other place in Sri Lanka
My best option at the time was to spend short time in Tamil Nadu , India. The plight of the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in India opened my eyes. I thought it was my duty to help those in need and I set up a charity to help the Tamil refugees there. I was joined in this project by many volunteers, including my wife who is a medical doctor. Within two years, fighting among the Tamil militant groups threatened my security and suddenly found myself in an environment not conducive to live there. This crisis compelled me migrate to Australia. I was one of the people who reluctantly left my own country.