Hiran Cooray In conversation with Ashwini Vethakan





In 1963

Alma mater

St. Joseph’s College

Family members

My wife (Dharshi), sons (Dmitri, Hashan and Harin), sister (Shiromal), nephew (Gehan) and mum

Wanted to be

A diplomat – but that was a long time ago!

Driven in

Anything with four wheels

Would like to be driven in

I have no preference… as long as it moves, it’s fine!




Likes to play

Cricket and table tennis

Likes to watch

Cricket and rugby

Most unforgettable event

Winning the championship when I was the captain of the under-17 school cricket team

Most forgettable event

There have been many disappointments in my life but how I handle them – with God’s grace – is by forgetting them!

Purpose in life

To be a good human being and contribute to society




Most hated chore

There isn’t one chore that I hate in particular

Success is

Health and happiness

Impressed by

Fun loving and happy people

Happy place

Anywhere that I am


Reading and birdwatching

Your biggest pet peeve

People with negative mindsets who grumble all the time!

Three things you think about when you’re in your car

My family, work and sports

Items on your bucket list for the next six months

I’m hoping to embark on new ventures in real estate development and the restaurant business

Three qualities you most value in a friend

Someone who is good-hearted, makes time for you and most importantly, is humble

Three must-haves

A rosary, my Bible and toiletry kit

Three languages you wish you could speak

French, German and Mandarin

Greatest fear





Days of the week

Every day – I wake up and thank God for another day


Blue, beige and red

 Chill out spots

My home [in Colombo], Jaffna and my home in Ambewela

Leisure wear

A sarong


My workwear style is more casual – pants and a polo T-shirt


My wife’s fish curry with pol sambol and string hoppers


Whisky – I also like red wine

Local holiday destinations

Jaffna, Sigiriya and Dambulla

Overseas holiday destination

New Zealand


Deshabandu Joe Abeywickrama, Malini Fonseka and Vasanthi Chathurani


Isla Grant, the late Sri Lankabhimanya W. D. Amaradeva and my dear friend Damian Wikkramatillake




Favourite songs

Red River Valley (by Marty Robbins) and God Please Forgive Me (Isla Grant)

Favourite local sportsperson

Deshamanya Arjuna Ranatunga – not only did he generate confidence when he was on the field but passed it on to all Sri Lankan cricketers

Ranatunga’s impact on local cricket

He revolutionised our approach to cricket and was probably the best Sri Lankan captain I have come across

Favourite movie

Bambaru Avith is a classic that I enjoyed watching – I like the stories from that period as well as the acting of Sri Lankans

Favourite international sportsperson

Tony Greig – he was another inspirational cricketer and leader. He had a profound love for Sri Lanka and our cricketers so he’s certainly a favourite of mine

Likely retirement destination

My first option would be Sri Lanka but I also like the idea of retiring in New Zealand

The appeal of New Zealand as a retirement destination

I love everything about the country – from its people, food and wine, to the beautiful landscape and air you breathe… everything about New Zealand is nice




When you dance, you look like…


The first thing you notice when meeting someone

Whether or not he or she is happy

You know it’s going to be a bad day when…

Bookings are low

Failure is

The pillar of success

Family to you means… 

Love, happiness and togetherness

Global warming is…

A disaster

Social media is…

A conversation killer

Colombo is…

My hometown

Sri Lanka will have a chance to develop when…

People are disciplined



Memory skills on a scale of 0 to 10

Seven or eight (or so I hope!)

Computer ability in one word


Most productive in the morning, noon or night

In the morning

A leader or follower by nature


Cook or foodie


Quality or quantity


The glass is half full or half empty

Half full

Work or play after retirement

I would like to do both

The most delightful word you can think of


Do you consider yourself to be a student or teacher?

A bit of both

How technology will transform the future

I know technology is the future but what I’m more fearful of is the disruption that will be caused rather than the transformation

The rationale for this fear

If it stops human interaction and love, and spreads war and hatred instead, there’s no point in having or using it. What is the point of developing apps if it results in people killing each other?

Most used word or phrase

Don’t worry, be happy!

Role model

My father

Yourself in a few words

I’m a happy, humble and truthful person

Motto in life

Since God has given me so much, I should do as much as possible for others


Hiran is the Chairman of Jetwing Symphony and Lighthouse Hotel