Thursday, June 13, 2024
Burgher Association’s Tombola and Karaoke Night

A night to remember: Fostering unity and preserving identity

by damith
May 19, 2024 1:05 am 0 comment 3K views

By Chamikara Weerasinghe
The Executive Committee of The Burgher Association. Seated from left: Secretary Ms. Karen Pereira, President Ian Sylva, Vice President Jeremy Adams, and Treasurer Jerome Kinson. Standing (1st Row): Hans Beekmeyer , Leon Daniels Annette Fernando , Suzanne Paiva , Dawn De Kretser , Elrae Pereira and .James Rebert. Standing (2nd Row) : Gavin Ludewkye), Carlyle De Zilva , Mrs. Mischelle Wimalasena ,Jason Adams and Christopher Rebert.

The Burgher Association’s “Tombola and Karaoke Night” lit up the long, purple-lit corridor of the Nondescript Cricket Club (NCC) at Maitland Crescent, Colombo 7 recently.

For the Burgher community, Tombola isn’t just a game; it’s a tradition woven into the fabric of their gatherings. From Christmas to New Year’s Eve and beyond, Tombola brings families and friends together. As the attendees streamed in, clad in vibrant outfits that mirrored the diversity of their heritage, the air buzzed with excitement.

Tombola sheets

With Tombola sheets in hand and tables chosen, the real fun began. Numbers called out by the presenter from the revolving wheel elicited cheers and laughter as players marked their sheets, hoping for that winning row. But Tombola was just the start; soon, the place erupted into song as Karaoke took centre stage.

For the Burgher community, Tombola holds a special place, as a cherished tradition during key celebrations such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and family gatherings. But the night didn’t stop at Tombola; it transitioned seamlessly into a lively Karaoke session, where voices filled the air with timeless classics from icons such as Elvis Presley, Brian Hyland, Engelbert Humperdinck, Cliff Richard, Tom Jones, Ricky Nelson, Nat King Cole, Jim Reeves, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Buck Owens, and bands such as the Real Thing, Everly Brothers and Imaginations and many more.

Happy-go-lucky Burghers

Drawing numbers from Tombola

Drawing numbers from Tombola

The Burgher community’s passion for music and their keen sense of harmony were on full display as they sang and swayed to the rhythm. The happy-go-lucky Burghers were connecting over shared memories, tombola, food, drink and melodies.

President of the Burgher Association Ian Sylva,expressed satisfaction at the turnout, highlighting the significance of such events in fostering unity within the community.

Beyond the revelry, the Association’s efforts extend to philanthropy, with initiatives aimed at assisting the less fortunate. Supported by members both locally and abroad, the Association serves as a beacon of solidarity, bridging geographical boundaries to uphold the local Burgher identity.

In the words of Sylva, the Tombola and Karaoke Night symbolises more than just a social gathering; it’s a celebration of unity, and the enduring spirit of the Burgher community.

He said, “We made significant contributions to Sri Lanka’s development post-independence. However, subsequent political shifts, notably the Sinhala-only policy, prompted many of our Burgher community to emigrate to countries such as Australia, Canada, and various European nations in pursuit of an English education for our children.”

“Yet,” he said, “Those who remained in our homeland courageously confronted these political changes. We set up the Burgher Association to fortify the unity of our community, regardless of our global dispersal.”

Food and medicine

As an Association, we initiate programs aiding the disadvantaged and ill by distributing food and medicine. We organise entertainment events, such as Christmas gatherings, dinner dances, and karaoke nights, to foster a sense of belonging among the Burgher community, he said.

Support and donations from Australia bolster our activities. At present, the Association has around 2,800 members, including 25 lifetime-members from Australia, Canada, the US, and other nations.

Sylva said, “The Association maintains a partial affiliation with the Dutch Burgher Union. As the Burgher Association, we ensure representation for all Burghers, encompassing both Dutch, Portuguese, or those of other European descent. Hence, overseas emigrants remain integral members of our community.”

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