6 Years in Australia

6 years. Yes, that’s right, it’s been six years since I came to Australia in April 2010. Looking back, it’s been an interesting journey so far, with lots of changes, yet some are still the same.

Why did I come?

Technically speaking, I came to Australia for my studies. But was that the only reason? Probably not. A key factor was that it was an easy way to get away from home. I also wanted to get away from work at that point as it wasn’t exciting anymore. So I think this seeking a new adventure and change was the main reason for my decision to move, and the opportunity to study paid for that chance.

What have I done?

So I ended up finishing my studies eventually (in about four and a half years) and got one tick for the whys above. But that’s only a small part of my time here.

Some of friends and family think that I’ve changed a lot, but others think I’m still the same person. I think both of those are true in a way. I think I’ve developed more as a person, with more passion to explore life and to be more carefree. In a way I’ve turned from a nerdy geek into a hippie geek (still a geek nevertheless).

I’ve also spent a fair amount of my time being on the road travelling, being a full-time activist, being unemployed for a while, and generally being silly. So that’s a fair bit of variation I guess.

What am I doing?

It started feeling like home within the first few years of being here. It’s not a bad thing, but that comfort is sometimes concerning. So I’ve been switching thing up a bit lately. I moved to Sydney a bit more than a year ago and the change has been interest to say the least.

I made a big switch in my career trajectory, and now working for a non-profit in a community services role. Don’t ask me why I’m doing this after studying engineering and IT, I don’t have a short answer for that. But it’s going great and the uncertainty is keeping me active.

On top of that I’m involved in some ‘brave’ experiments with couple of friends, making a band. Yes, that’s right a band that plays music. So that’s that.

Where am I going?

I think after 6 years in Australia, I’ve attained a temporal permanency as to how I see my life here. It’s exciting enough presently. And I’m looking for the next adventure to jump on.


My Riding Log: The Pretext

It all started about a year ago when I decided to buy a scooter to commute to work. The idea was to buy a 50cc scooter as it can be driven with a car licence in Brisbane and it was the only licence I had. I had never ridden a motorcycle or scooter before, so a 50cc scooter sounded easy to start with. I had the money and I should have bought one straight ahead, instead I opted to delay.

Scooter in Paris 1991
Photo taken by Barbara Mürdter

Time is the enemy for any thoughts, especially mine, and 50cc was not enough for me anymore for no clear reason. Now I wanted a bigger scooter, may be a 100cc. The problem was I didn’t have a motorcycle licence, and you need to one to ride anything above 50cc in Queensland.

Motorcycle Learning

So I decided I should get a motorcycle licence, and then came the new problem. The car licence I had was from Sri Lanka, and can get a motorcycle licence only if I convert that to a Queensland licence. This would have been straight forward, if the original licence is from the US or Singapore or few other countries. For a Sri Lankan licence, the only option is to do written and practical driving tests.

Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Wynnum

Somewhere towards the end of 2011, I did the written test and passed on the second attempt (the first blind attempt didn’t go well). Then I had to go for the practical test. By that time, I might have driven on road for about 18 months and 4,000kms, but I have never driven regularly. So I thought doing some lessons with a driving instructor might help, and it did. After few hours of training I had my Queensland car licence in the post box.


Now I could get a motorcycle licence in Queensland. There were two options. You could go straight for a practical test if you can ride a motorcycle as for cars. But it was not an option for me. So I decided to go the Q-Ride way. It is a specially designed program to learn to ride and get the licence at the same time. It took me another couple of weekends of training and one epic fall before I had my Queensland motorcycle licence in the post box.

Yamaha Virago XV250

What started as a simple wish for a 50cc scooter was now a motorcycle licence after nine months in early 2012. Then I went and bought a Yamaha Virago XV250 cruiser, a 250cc motorcycle, not a 50cc scooter. Now I’ve been riding it to work/uni almost every day and I think I’m enjoying it. I hope to keep on writing on this blog my experiences of riding as ‘My Riding Log’. I won’t be regular or informative, just another random log.

Nimal's Virago 250

Everything changes around us every day, our thoughts, our perceptions, and our likes and dislikes. I always want to think ‘I’m living in the moment’ and I try to do so.


Brisbane Festival 2011 – Jack Charles v The Crown

Today I had the opportunity to attend Jack Charles v The Crown, a moving performance by Jack Charles, at Brisbane Powerhouse. This powerful one-man show tell a sad tale with some though provoking moments.

Jack Charles is one of Australia’s highly regarded performers. An Aboriginal elder who pioneered Koorie Theatre in the early 1970s, he founded the first Aboriginal theatre company in Australia, Nindethana. Jack is an actor, musician, potter and gifted performer, but in his nearly 70 years, he has also been homeless, a heroin addict, a thief and a regular in Victoria’s prisons. A member of the Stolen Generation, Jack has spent his life in between acting gigs, caught in the addiction/crime/doing time cycle. In Jack Charles v The Crown, Jack returns to the stage to tell the story of his life with humour, warmth, song, truth and forgiveness.

I was thinking this show could be about Aboriginal culture, but rather it’s about the contemporary lifestyle of Aboriginal society. Jack Charles puts forward some strong points towards the Australian society, and I could see similarities within the Sri Lanka society and problem of total denial of any social issues.

Jack Charles v The Crown will be performed at Powerhouse Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse daily till September 10. Go to the event page for tickets and more details.


Brisbane Festival 2011 – Mortal Engine

Today I had the opportunity to attend a unique contemporary dance performance by Melbourne based dance company Chunky Move at Brisbane Festival 2011.

Mortal Engine is not just another dance performance. It is a dance, video, music and laser spectacular. More than the intriguing performance, I was amazed by the perfect marriage between art and technology.

Mortal Engine uses cutting-edge technology for movement detection and sound responsive projections. This triggers light and sound patterns based on dancers’ movements, and creates kaleidoscopic patterns and optical illusions. In this interview on Mortal Engine’s Artistic Director Gideon Obarzanek explains the inner mechanics of the show.

Mortal Engine will be performed at Playhouse, QPAC daily till September 10. Go to the event page for tickets and more details.


Brisbane Festival 2011 – Beautiful Noise

Brisbane Festival 2011 is all about portraying different art forms, and today I got a chance to experience a unique theater performance at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

Beautiful Noise is a stylised aerodynamic performance by Brisbane’s Raw Dance Company and Sydney’s Legs On The Wall. It is a truly spectacular production where performers scale the walls and flying acrobatic dancers draw all eyes up to the night sky, rhythm masters of tap set the beat, while hip-hop artists smash the stage.

I was so into the performance, I wouldn’t have bothered to take photos or video if I had a camera, (and no photography at the venue). Checkout this video to get the feel for it.

Beautiful Noise will be performed at QUT Festival Theatre, Plaza, Brisbane Powerhouse daily till September 10. Go to the event page for tickets and more details.