Homecoming after three decades
WHILE sailing over the Indian Ocean en route to Sri Lanka aboard HMAS Canberra, Private Michael Amarasinghe said he was looking to find a missing link in his life.
“I was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, although my family and I left there more than 30 years ago,” Private Amarasinghe said.
“I live in Sydney, and I often see Sri Lankan families arrive in Australia. The culture they bring with them is what I have missed out on, it’s the missing piece in my life.”
Private Amarasinghe joined the Australian Army Reserve as a truck driver in 2001 and is now a senior driving instructor, serving at 8th Combat Service Support Battalion.
“I have trained Defence personnel from units across Australia and I’ve now been asked to run vehicle familiarisation courses on HMAS Canberra,” he said.
Private Amarasinghe is part of the crew participating on Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019.
He said he felt proud of what Sri Lanka had achieved in the past 30 years.
“When I was a young boy in Sri Lanka I didn’t know what I was looking for personally, but I now miss the culture and people big time,” he said.
“Both of my parents have now passed and I can’t ask them where to go and what to do culturally.”
Being part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019 is important for Private Amarasinghe as he has witnessed destruction from natural disasters such as the 2004 tsunami.
“It’s important for Sri Lanka and Australia to deepen their relationship and build capacity to respond to real-world incidents in the region together,” he said.