Become a good listener: Dahamli
By Kusumanjalee Thilakarathna
Long before the internet emerged and when television was a very rare luxury, the most famous entertainment source was the radio. Many kids who grew up in the early 1900s grew up listening to the radio. The Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), formerly Radio Ceylon, is the oldest radio station in South Asia, founded as Colombo Radio in 1925. There were no specific children’s programmes in Sri Lanka until 1935. The first radio kids’ corner in Sinhala and Tamil commenced the following year. Later, the Sinhala programme became popularly known as Lama Pitiya. If you read the biographies of many prominent Sri Lankan artistes, you’ll notice that the majority of them started showcasing their talents at Lama Pitiya when they were young. What is fascinating about this is that even after many years and many developments, it is still being broadcast every week, with the participation of many across the country. Today on the Little Stars cover is one of the latest additions to this historical programme.
Twelve-year-old Dahamli Thisasna is a young radio presenter who possesses many talents and believes that she is lucky to become part of this legendary radio programme. Let’s take a look at what Dahamli shared with Little Stars.
To start things off, tell us about yourself.
I am Dahamli Thisasna from Mount Lavinia and I am 12 years old. I received my primary education from Royal Junior School, Dehiwala. I currently attend Mount Lavinia Buddhist Girls’ School and study in grade seven. I am also a student of Sri Upananda Dhamma School in Karagampitiya, Dehiwala. My mother is Waruni Wijesekara and my father is Ruwan Nishantha. I also have a sister, Sathumli Disasna. I love to read and write stories. I would like to be involved in an aesthetic field when I am older.
How do you spend your leisure time?
I always try to write when I have free time. I love to write different stories. I like to read books and the newspaper, draw and colour, help with gardening, and play chess with my mother when she has free time.
What is your favourite book from all the books you’ve read?
My favourite is Madol Doova by Martin Wickramasinghe. I have read that book
several times. I like how it describes the environment and the adventures of
the two boys, Upali and Jinna. When I read it, I can live in that world and
In your previous school, you were a Deputy Head Prefect for a year and were promoted to Head Prefect the following year. How did you face this responsibility?
At first, it was a challenge, but I had the support of my parents and teachers at school. They advised me on what to do and what not to do. I wanted to set an example for the young sisters and brothers in the school. And I really enjoyed taking up that responsibility too.
Do you follow any role models?
My role model is my mother. She is the one who teaches me right from wrong. And then there is my father too.
How did you first get the opportunity to join the SLBC?
In early 2019, I joined a training programme conducted at Athula Ransirilal’s Asidisi Pasala. I was in grade six then. I was introduced to Mr. Indunil Jayawardhana through this programme. He works with children at the SLBC, especially in the famous programme Lama Pitiya. He allowed me to work as one of the presenters
in the programme “Yes, I can”. He recognised my talent in live announcing and
in describing something. After this, I received many opportunities to present for
programmes, mainly in Lama
Pitiya as well as in Lama Ranga Peetaya and Saraswathi Mandapaya.
So have you acted in radio dramas as well?
Yes, but this is a very recent achievement. I really liked doing that. I have acted in many school plays, but this was a completely new experience. I felt a little anxious at first, but just for a little while. I guess this is because I had plenty of experience at school and that gave me confidence.
What is your advice to someone who wants to become a young announcer like you?
Become a good listener! Without listening and paying attention to what you listen to, you will not be able to retain anything in your memory. Memory and language are important when it comes to compèring. It is also important to listen to other programmes, read a lot about what you are going to talk about, and prepare yourself for the programme. And if there is a chance, try to listen to your work again and notice the mistakes you made. Next time, correct those mistakes. That is how we become better.
Have you participated in any competitions lately?
I usually participate in speech, essay, and compèring contests in school as well as in the Dhamma School I attend. I have achieved district-level and zonal-level first places in Dhamma School contests.
Is there anyone you want to thank for their support?
I want to thank my parents and sister very much; also, my principal and my teachers for guiding me. I especially thank Indunil Sir for giving me a valuable opportunity to sharpen my talents.