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Humble Beginnings - Kerrigan La-Brooy

We have all heard about Peter Kuruvita and his amazing journey, surely you must have heard about Andrew de Silva and his courages story, but how many untold, success stories do you think are out there that we never get to hear about? This section is all about inspirimg, motivating and encouraging someone in their journey.

It's not everyday we get to feature a world class Sri Lankan on Kadamandiya. It is with greatest pleasure we introduce to you our very own Kerrigan La-Brooy.

Kerrigan La-Brooy

The couple rushed their newborn to the Hospital. The baby was just 2 days old and his father's only son. His mother pleaded with the doctor for her child's safety. She'd lost the baby before him. The doctor did what had to be done and praise God the little boy's life was saved. That little boy was me..Kerrigan La-Brooy.

I often reminisce my childhood and never forget where I came from. The only running water we had was the kind we had to run to get. We had two wells a fair distance from our house. One was for washing clothes and the other was for drinking. Out outdoor toilet was even further. We had no electricity, no vehicle and we had to walk miles to catch public transport. I remember coupon rationing of sugar and bread. Even then we found favour with God because Mum gave English tuition to the Bakery boys and they gave us our daily supply. Dad was a carpenter and most of our furniture was handmade by him.

Food was hard to come by but amazingly we never went to bed hungry - our stomachs were always full. Come Christmas we had special treats - stuff we couldn't afford the rest of the year - like chicken and cheese and jam - and of course a new outfit. I recall my two elder brothers telling the tailor exactly what they wanted - the style, how many loops for their belt and how wide the flare of their bell-bottoms. I'd eagerly await my turn and when it arrived Mum would instruct the tailor to sew me a pair of shorts with the remaining material..Hmmm!! Oh well, at least it was brand spanking new - and thought it didn't have loops or flares it did have a fancy buckle.

At Christmas time our home was colour-washed in beautiful bright colours. Dad was our painter. I can still smell the fresh paint. Our home was small - all of 3 compartments comprising verandah, bedroom and kitchen. We had a cement floor but it was so highly polished you could see your face in it. We had the fanciest garden. Mum had a green thumb (two I reckon) and she placed big white pebbles as borders around her flower patches. I used to carry home those pebbles from the nearby Ceramic Corporation - along with cow manure I'd pick up along the way.

I enjoyed decorating our Christmas tree - always a fresh one that filled our home with the refreshing smell of Christmas. The festive spirit was undeniable. Decorations went up everywhere. Balloons and streamers adorned our walls and ceiling. I'd later dissolve the streamers in water and make pretend 'Saruwath' with the different coloured dye. I'll never forget the crackers, sparklers, sky-rockets and Catherine wheels - man I loved those wheels and never quite knew where they'd end up. Dad used to nail them to a coconut tree.

I'd be lucky to get one toy from Santa but I treasured and appreciated it as though it cost a million dollars. Other times I'd make my own - like matchbox cars - and I mean literal matchbox cars made out of a matchbox - and some weird and wonderful contraption involving a rubber seed, rubber band and an empty thread reel! I remember the magic of improvisation which provided hours of physical exercise and loads of fun but which has sadly got lost through the years. A rope tied to two coconut shells and slipped between my toes formed a pair of stilts (or boru kakul). Gazing at Fireflies at night and chasing Butterflies during the day. Actually I used to chase chooks, ducks, and other creatures as well. I remember making catapults and flying kites. Running barefoot on loose stones and pushing used tyres as fast my legs could run. Riding my bright green bike for miles and teaching others how to ride as well.

Kerrigan La-Brooy

Those are fond memories. I don't reflect on them with any negativity or self-pity. Like the growth of a tree depends on its roots, so does the prosperity of us humans. My roots have made me who I am today and I am thankful for all I endured as a child and teenager. It's a choice I made early in life - either wallow in self-pity or use your past memories as stepping stones and move on to greater heights. I've learned to appreciate the finer things in life. We weren't rich by any stretch of the imagination but we were as rich, if not richer, than anybody else when it came to love and that's more important than material things. My parents did the best they could with what they had available.

I've always been very independent for as far back as I can remember. I was more happy than not. I strove to be content but I was never complacent. There's a fine line between the two. I set my goals high and worked hard to achieve them. I've no regrets. If I made a mistake I became wiser as a result of it and didn't make the same mistake twice. My Lord kept me as the apple of His eye and sheltered me under the shadow of His wings.

I've overcome numerous obstacles along the way and survived many critical scenarios. I've avoided getting mugged in Bangkok, a Tornado in Chicago, being stung by Rattle snakes in California and being gored by a bull in Spain. I've bungee jumped in Vienna, almost drowned in Sri Lanka, eluded corruption in Mexico, escaped con-artists in Stockholm, Acapulco and Jamaica. I was grounded in Brazil, outwitted a mob of thieves in Argentina, and drove fearlessly through many parts of Europe in a tiny 'Smart' car - doing the maximum speed the car could handle, on the wrong side of the road, a map on my lap and a phone to my ear - seeking directions and booking accommodation ahead.

...I came to Australia with $20 and the Lord has turned it into what I have today...

I've travelled the world, won numerous awards (particularly for my music), topped the Worldwide Charts for Most Played Artist, been Number 1 in many countries, Appeared on International Television and Radio, Performed for millions of people, Written my own songs, Recorded and Released Singles & Albums, had a Fan club in my name, become a Published Author, Acted in several musical productions, Produced and Directed my own Musical Drama, Received rave reviews from around the world and more recently was humbled to find myself in a Top 100 List of World-Class Sri Lankans.

However all this pales into insignificance when compared to my Priceless Treasures - My 5 children all under the age of 4 1/2. Kerrigan Jr, Heathcliff, Tempest, Xondra & Tennessee. They are my real achievements and the ones who mean the most to me. I met my beautiful wife Michelle during my world tour while I was performing in New Zealand. We've been married for 5 years and we're blissfully happy and more in love than ever. Every year we renew our vows - getting dressed up each time just like we did on our Wedding Day.

I was fortunate enough recently to receive global exposure as Australia's Best Husband & Dad. A title I'd be the last person to lay claim to but something which my wife and others vehemently attest to. I consider whatever I do a joy and a privilege. I've put my career on hold to raise my young family. I've vowed never to leave them behind. Even a million dollars will not lure me away. I only accept public appearances that permit me to include them - places where I can have them with me. My children are my life and my world revolves around them. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I've never been happier and I thank God continually for His Blessings in my life.