Lawyer Paul Supramaniam and family have Sri Lankan royal blood

Lawyer Paul Supramaniam and family have Sri Lankan royal blood
Mr Paul Supramaniam and his wife, Margaret, with their sons Matthew (left), 15, and Tim (right), 20, photographed with old photographs of relatives from their paternal side.

SINGAPORE - Lawyer Paul Supramaniam, 56, grew up with a deep sense of family history.

The house at Berrima Road, off Dunearn Road, in which he used to live with his parents and two younger siblings, was filled with old family photos, portraits and furniture.

On special occasions, silver and glass utensils that had been passed down from their ancestors - Jaffna Tamils from the northern part of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) - were carted out for use.

Before the Sri Lankan civil war broke out in 1982, he and his siblings would often visit their maternal grandparents and great-grandmother, who lived in the family's larger ancestral house in Jaffna. The house still belongs to the family, but was partially damaged following the recent civil war in the country.

As his maternal great-grandmother and his paternal grandmother were cousins, he also had the opportunity to meet his paternal great-grand uncles and great-grand aunts in Jaffna.

"As a young boy, I was more interested in catching crabs at the beach than in catching up with the older folks," he says.

However, he had subconsciously imbibed a sense of family history. And when he chanced upon a printout of an old family tree in his father's study when he was 18, his interest was kindled.

The tree showed six generations of the family, back to the early 1800s.

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