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BY: Hasitha Fernando

The name JehanR, needs no introduction at all. His videos are more Sri Lankan than a late night Cheese Koththu at Pillawoos & celebrate a culture warmer than the warmest day in Colombo. With videos that went viral such as “Apple Aiyo”, & “How to speak Sri Lankan”, he became a household name amongst Sri Lankans. Like all great comedians, Jehan excels at picking out inherently funny intricacies of our day to day lives & making us laugh at our own little peculiarities. The fact that Jehan’s been coming up with videos that are enjoyed by everyone from all walks of life, without offending anyone, is in itself an achievement that deserves ten thousand “Amma Points”.

Jehan 4

As “John Bala” himself would say “Enough of this nonsense. Every Tom, Dick & Harry knows about this JehanR fellow & that fan-bloody-tastic YouTube channel of his”. Let’s get to know Jehan Ratnatunga, the Australian born Sri Lankan who majored in Robotic Engineering and then moved to USA to work for YouTube. He talks to us about his life before being a “Sri-lebrity”, Charity Projects, the need to change the world from bottom up, his love for Buriyani & the mission to get Obama to say Aiyo!


  • Tell us a little bit about your childhood. Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I was born in Canberra, & moved to Melbourne when I was one. I grew up there & studied engineering at the Melbourne University. Then I worked as a consultant at Boston Consulting. The thing is, I’ve always loved making Videos. I started making videos back in, say 1995. Then in 2005 when YouTube came up, I started uploading these videos on YouTube. I also got involved in a few charity projects with a few friends of mine. Then I worked for Foxtel in Sydney. After that I got the opportunity to work for YouTube in 2012 & moved to Los Angeles. That’s around the same time my YouTube Channel became popular.

  • Now that you’ve mentioned charity work, tell us a little bit about “Who Gives a Crap”.

Yeah it’s a simple concept. People need toilet paper & at the same time, there are nearly 2.5 billion people across the globe lacking access to basic sanitation. The resulting spread of waterborne diseases, account for the deaths of nearly 2000 children under the age of five every day. So we thought of matching up those needs & came up with a way to develop their sanitary facilities; by buying a day to day essential like toilet paper. We applied for funding, got the government grants & have been working hard on it for about three years now. After several crowd funding projects & having worked on the product for some time, we got better at what we are doing. Currently we have an online store called “au.whogivesacrap.org”, which delivers to Australia & we’re looking to expand to other countries as well. The profit we collect goes to third world countries & the basic sanitation facility development, of those in need. So in short, we are doing great at the moment.

Jehan 2A


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