"Hairy Cornflake" was Suu Kyi's lifeline



Nay Pyi Taw: Myanmar's iconic pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said that the soothing tones of a British DJ nick-named "Hairy Cornflake" acted as her lifeline during years of house arrest.

The 66-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner, who has spent 15 years under house arrest since 1989, said the music show presented by DJ Dave Lee Travis had made her "world much more complete".

Travis, who presented the music request programme 'A Jolly Good Show' on BBC World Service from 1981-2001, said he was "touched" that she remembered it. In 2001, the show was axed.

"I think it's rather nice - and it came as a pleasant surprise to me - that a leader of a country in the world, especially one that's been very repressed, listened to my programme, to get a bit of jollity in her life," he said.

In the 1970s, Travis adopted the on-air nickname of "The Hairy Monster", but changed this to "The Hairy Cornflake" when he started presenting BBC Radio 1's Breakfast Show.

Suu Kyi, who was released in November last year by Myanmar's military junta, also said she felt "very sorry" about cuts to the BBC World Service.

Suu Kyi, who is due to give two of the BBC's Reith Lectures - which have been secretly recorded - told the Radio Times: "I used to listen to all sorts of different programmes, not just classical music. I can't remember... the name of that programme... Dave Travis? Was it?"

After interviewer Eddie Mair, who presents BBC Radio 4's PM programme, asked if she meant Dave Lee Travis, Suu Kyi said: "Yes! Didn't he have a programme with all different sorts of music?

"I would listen to that quite happily because the listeners would write in and I had a chance to hear other people's words."

The long-time campaigner for civil rights and freedom of speech in Myanmar said those under house arrest listened to the radio much more - and much more carefully - than the average person "because that's really our only line to the outside world".

She said the BBC World Service had enabled her to be "in touch with everything... with culture, with art, with books, with music".

PTI