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Interview: UNSW Sri Lankan Society

Interview: UNSW Sri Lankan Society

You’ve seen the flags, maybe you’ve seen the events, but do you really know how the cultural clubs on campus operate? (If no, then read ahead to delve deeper into one of many cultural clubs on campus! If yes, then read ahead just because you’ve gotten this far!)

Does your society function as a representation of Sri Lanka? Do you serve as more of a home for the Sri Lankans on campus? Or is it a combination of both?

Savin – I would say we function more as a representation of Sri Lanka. We look to give a taste of Sri Lankan culture through each of our events and allow students on campus a chance to experience the weird and wonderful things our little island nation has to offer. But for those who’ve been around the society for a while, I think it definitely feels a bit like home as well.

Nisali- Hmmm for me I think we function mainly as a home for Sri Lankans at uni! Before I joined SLSoc I felt extremely lonely and thought it was ridiculous that no one even wished me happy new year on Sri Lankan new year. We help people feel like they aren’t missing out on as much as they may feel. It sucks not to be part of all the things going on back at home but together we can form a sort of ‘family’ and make sure we don’t miss out as much.

What would you say to convince non Sri Lankans to join your society?

Savin – If you’re keen to know a little bit more about one of the oldest and most colourful cultures in the world, come along to some of our events. From food bursting with flavor to traditional games that are sure to have you in fits of laughter. You’ll be able to get a glimpse of what life is like in Sri Lanka, and you’ll meet plenty of Sri Lankans while you’re there who are sure to brighten your day.

Nisali – Most people who visit Sri Lanka say, “the people were lovely”. I think you would definitely see it within this society. We love showing what it’s like to be part of Sri Lanka a multicultural country! EVERYONE is welcome and we have enough koththu [a Sri Lankan dish] to go around!!

What does this society mean to you?

Savin – The society means a lot to me because I’ve made so many friends through it and it’s given me the opportunity to keep in touch with my roots while I’m away from home.

Nisali – Pretty much the same! Helped me meet people that will forever be part of my life! In addition, it gives me the opportunity to try and make sure no one feels as away from home as I did in my first year here! I love seeing people make friends and wanting to hang out together outside of the events we plan!

Handmade lanterns for Vesak

What is your favourite event to host and why?

Savin – My favourite event would have to be the Avurudu Festival we have every year in April. It’s a celebration of the Sri Lankan New Year and it’s usually the event where we get our biggest turnout. It’s heaps of fun because we organise all the traditional games that you wouldn’t find anywhere else and we have some sweets and cultural food that only make an appearance during that time of the year in Sri Lanka. Everyone loves the games because they’re so unorthodox and you can’t help but have a good time.

Nisali – Hmmm for me I think Avurudu and Vesak tie up. Since we’ve spoken about Avurudu I’ll say why I love Vesak. It’s basically an activity of making beautiful lanterns. It is mainly celebrated by Buddhists in Sri Lanka, but its lovely to see everyone irrespective of religion enjoying this event! We pre-make skeletons of lanterns using bamboo sticks and string. On the main event day we decorate them using coloured sheets of paper. It’s always interesting to see the colour combinations and to see who made the actual best and the ‘hilarious best’!

What is your favourite memory from a club event or meeting?

Savin – My favourite memory is probably the first event I attended, which was a casual cricket match on the physics lawn. The game was being played on a walkway with makeshift wickets and it was amazing.

Nisali – My favourite memory was at the UNSW Asian cup. I’m terrible at remembering names but at the end of it I learnt and remembered around 8 new names and people! It was actually the first time I played cricket after leaving home!

Rapid Fire

Describe SLSoc in three words
Savin – Vibrant, Welcoming and Kokis
Nisali – Multicultural, Koththu, Friendly

What animal would be your society mascot?
Savin – Every Sri Lankan mascot is a lion. It’s an unwritten law.
Nisali – I think a beauty and the beast picture, because we all have the capacity to be both those things.

What TV show do you think best represents SLSoc?
Savin – Seinfeld
Nisali – Friends



About Amandi Fernando

Amandi Fernando
When not laughing at her own jokes Amandi enjoys judging other people's instagram captions and coles runs

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