Memoirs of Neil De La Harpe
Interviewee: Neil De La Harpe
Date of Interview: 23rd August 2014
Length of Interview: 56 Minutes
Interviewer: Wayne Vidal
CLICK HERE to listen on a mobile device.
Marine Engineer Neil has travelled around the world a few times. His family classed him as a ‘rascal’. Judge for yourself. He and his friends once sat their exams wearing Red Indian head dresses they’d made out of chicken feathers. Today, at 83, Neil plays tennis three times a week, goes out dancing regularly with his much younger girlfriend, acts as photographer for Sri Lankan and other events and helps his friends and neighbours out regularly.
Detailed summary (with time stamping for ease of access)
Where and when I was
0:00:35.9: How I'm a Burgher.
0:00:54.2: What I think about the Burgher people.
0:01:05.9: Growing up as a Burgher.
0:01:11.8: What I did for fun as a child.
0:01:39.2: My mother and father.
0:01:49.3: School and one of the fun things I did.
0:02:59.4: Staying in touch with my teacher, even after leaving Ceylon.
0:03:52.5: Some of my happiest memories in Ceylon.
0:04:28.1: A funny story that depicts Burgher life.
0:05:16.1: Working hard and playing hard – a very Burgher thing.
0:05:33.0: Some of some of my most exciting memories of Ceylon.
0:07:07.7: Why I left Ceylon.
0:07:39.3: Life as a Ship's Engineer.
0:07:54.8: Becoming the Chief Engineer.
0:08:34.4: How I came to settle in the UK.
0:08:56.6: Why I chose to settle in London out of every country in the world.
0:09:46.7: First impressions of England and sea sickness.
0:10:39.7: Life after my life at sea.
0:10:54.4: More impressions of England.
0:11:23.6: The power of the English language which the Sri Lankan government overlooked.
0:12:14.2: My 'first home' in England / UK cultural lifestyle changes.
0:15:43.2: Why people in Ceylon are the same as those in England.
0:16:07.8: What I missed most about Ceylon when I first came here.
0:16:27.7: The problem of the language change in Ceylon.
0:17:21.0: Differences between school in Ceylon and England (inc. Poetry: The Ladder of St Augustine, by Longfellow [0:18:07.5]).
0:21:27.3: Working life in England.
0:22:12.5: Differences between English and Ceylonese life.
0:22:38.0: Differences between Social Activities.
0:23:30.5: The secret of my success.
0:23:52.6: Musical memories of Ceylon.
0:24:44.0: Burghers: Their origins, explained.
0:26:10.4: The most important lesson I learned from travelling around the world.
0:27:15.4: Womens’ rights.
0:27:24.5: Neighbourly relationships in London.
0:28:45.9: How Burghers differ from Londoners.
0:30:10.0: Surviving in London now, as a Burgher.
0:30:44.7: Being a Burgher in Ceylon and being a Burgher in England.
0:32:01.7: The importance of strong cultural ties.
0:32:50.9: Ideas on retiring in Ceylon.
0:34:44.4: Why London is the best city in the world (from someone who should know).
0:36:06.4: My philosophy for life.
0:37:22.7: Playing tennis at Wimbledon in the national championships.
0:39:31.7: Dancing at age 83: Ballroom, Salsa.
0:40:32.8: Memories of being a professional Jazz drummer.
0:41:32.0: A note for couples - the benefits of avoiding senseless arguments.
0:43:20.3: Why the world should live like a Burgher.
0:43:59.0: Stories on how to maintain natural happiness.
0:51:59.8: The need to break some social norms, for the greater good.
0:55:15.7: My good friend Dugald Gonsal.