What is immediately evident to anyone upon meeting Rehan Wijeratne Jayawickreme is the infectious friendliness and the respect he treats everyone with. A former student of St. Thomas College Mount Lavinia and The British School in Colombo, Rehan hails from a family rooted in politics for generations. As with many youngsters, Rehan has indulged in a life of merry making that is all too attractive to most in their teens and early twenties. Experiences on the way made him stop and question his life choices. Doing a complete three sixty Rehan has turned his life around for the better and is currently in the process of contesting the Weligama seat in the upcoming local government elections.
A politician in the making, Rehan is steadily working towards breaking the stigma and connotations, associated with politics today, Rehan has remarkably proven that it is not what you do but who you are that really matters. He is a genuine and inspiring person who I am proud to call a friend.
LT is honoured to present ten life questions to Rehan
What’s your favourite Sri Lankan food and Drink?
My favourite Sri Lankan food would definitely be my Grandma’s homemade hoppers. And favourite drink I would have to say is thambili.
What do you love about Sri Lanka?
I love that we are a very giving nation and majority of the people are charitable. We tend to stick by each other except when petty political games tend to divide us. One must have a strong love for one’s country and then focus on the rest of the world.
What do you dislike about Sri Lanka?
I dislike the indifferent attitude towards women. I don’t like the fact that they are not treated equally in many instances and that would be more often than you would think or notice.
What inspires you?
Myself. And my own self – determination. I have always described myself as a reckless person and it has taken a lot of determination and self –belief on my own part to overcome a lot of obstacles in my way and get to where I am right now. It was far from easy especially in a small fish pond like Sri Lanka.
What prompted you to choose politics as a career?
Well I grew up in a very political household. It was in the air we breathed. Both my paternal and maternal Grand uncles were politicians and so was my step-father. My father also contested the Weligama seat in 1989 but gave it up later on in life. It is what I grew up with and have known all my life. I think it is a good thing because you could say that my training to be a good policy maker began the day I was born. My mentor Hemaka De Alwis has also been greatly instrumental in my progress. Unfortunately Politics today have gained a seriously negative reputation and it is almost always associated with corruption and misuse of power and I feel it is vital now more than ever to start at a grass-root level. It is important to me personally to prove that young people from good back grounds and a sound education can enter the political arena and truly make a difference.
If there is anything you could change about this country what would it be?
If there was anything I could change about this country it would be equality for all races and lasting peace. Which I can hopefully contribute towards changing.
How has your past experiences altered your perception of life?
I have let past experiences stop haunting me. Reputation is one thing and character another. I think what is most important in life is to learn from your past and look forward to the future. Contray to the popular belief I strongly feel that character supercedes reputation. I think it is important to build your character because it is what will see you through your trial and tribulations . I know now that that if you put your mind into anything you can and will achieve it.Do not be afraid to challenge yourself because at the end of the day it will all be worth it.
How has going into politics changed your life?
I have got into tons of trouble when I was young, done things that I am definitely not proud of however I do not shy away from them. I choose to ackwknolwdge them and learn from them. Choosing to go into politics has been a big life decision, one which I had to give a lot of thought to because it not only affects my life but everyone close to me.My girlfriend Nithiesha offers me a lot of support and encouragement. She has been there with me every step of the way and keeps my usually crazy self in check. All the losses I have faced in life, the deaths of people I love, and all the lessons learned on the way has brought me here to this point and I can confidently say that I believe that I can make a difference
What do you do for fun?
I am a huge movie buff . I think if i didn’t get in to politics I would have most definitely been a movie critique. My favourite movie of all time would have to be The Godfather.
Where is your favourite place in Sri Lanka?
Weligama because it arguably has the best beaches on the island and the people are wonderful.