A Cultural Heritage Preservation Project
Hello! My name is Dr. Yasmin Bahar and I’m a Sri Lankan Malay born and raised abroad. My younger brother and I live in New York but my older brother, father, and the majority of my extended family lives in Australia. The bulk of our extended family migrated to the United States, Canada, England, New Zealand, or Australia. For most of us cousins living abroad, whenever we want Sri Lankan home cooking, that means visiting our parents to get our fill because a lot of us don’t know how to cook Sri Lankan food. But what happens when they’re gone? I, unfortunately live in an area where there aren’t a lot of Sri Lankan restaurants so if I have to either make it myself or travel quite a distance to the nearest Sri Lankan restaurant.
In September 2022 I received a phone call from my mother’s doctor saying she was terminally ill and may not survive the weekend. My brother and I took the next flight out to Australia and the entire time I spent traveling all I could think about was how much I would miss her and how there was so much I still wanted to learn from her and pass on to my children, who she may never get to meet. I cannot even describe the sense of grief I felt at the time. By the grace of God, my mother pulled through and I had a second chance to capture some of what I thought would be lost forever. Sadly, she passed away 6 months but my desire to learn continues. I invite you to join me on my journey to rediscover my Sri Lankan Malay heritage and culture. A lot of the Sri Lankan Malay culture revolves around food, which I will be learning from my mom and aunties. I’d also like to learn more about Sri Lankan Malay historical contributions and language.
I decided to make this a blog because I realize, as a second generation American, there are a lot of people outside of my family who miss their Sri Lankan Malay home cooking and culture so I wanted them to be able to have access to that. This is my first time blogging so I’m sure there will be some growing pains. Although I’ve published in medical journals in the past, I’m not a professional writer or historian. I am by no means an expert but I will seek out those who are and share that information with you either. I’m just a girl who wants to know more about where she came from. When I’m not posting you can find me hiking nature trails with my giant puppy dog or working at the hospital and my aesthetic medicine practice as a Nurse Practitioner.