Obituary

Listeners pay tribute to DJ Bamah

“We have lost a good deejay with a great voice.” — Radio listener Prema Latha, on Oli 96.8FM deejay Bamah Balakrishnan (above), who hosted many Tamil radio and television programmes and was well known in the Indian community
“We have lost a good deejay with a great voice.” — Radio listener Prema Latha, on Oli 96.8FM deejay Bamah Balakrishnan (above), who hosted many Tamil radio and television programmes and was well known in the Indian communityPHOTO: OLI 96.8FM

Fans saddened as energetic Oli 96.8FM deejay and TV star Bamah Balakrishnan dies of a heart attack

Popular Singapore radio and television star Bamah Balakrishnan died yesterday morning.

On its Facebook page, MediaCorp radio station Oli 96.8FM announced her death, calling her “legendary” and adding that her “iconic voice which reverberated over radio and television for decades will continue to live on in our hearts forever”.

The 59-year-old suffered a heart attack at home and died at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.

She had worked with MediaCorp’s Indian radio station Oli 96.8FM for the past 39 years and was well known in the local Indian community.

She also produced numerous radio programmes, covering genres ranging from children’s and infoeducational programmes to entertainment and cooking.

In a statement, Dr Chitra Rajaram, MediaCorp’s head of community segment (Indian and Malay), said: “Bamah was a true professional with a passion for the Tamil language. An evergreen radio voice who will be thoroughly missed, but one who will be remembered forever.”

Condolence messages poured in swiftly. By press time, the news had been shared more than 1,600 times from Oli’s Facebook page alone, with several listeners leaving heartfelt messages.

Oli 96.8FM and Vasantham offered their “deepest condolences” to Balakrishnan’s family.

Several listeners wrote personal messages. Ms Prema Latha called it “shocking news”.

She wrote: “We have lost a good deejay with a great voice.”

Others recounted listening to her while they travelled on the MRT and how much they enjoyed listening to her and watching her on television.

As condolence messages poured in, some listeners recounted their personal encounters with the late deejay.

Ms Priyananthini Govindaraju wrote: “I am so dumbstruck to hear the news. It is unbelieveable. A great loss to Oli 96.8FM and Vasantham too. I loved her. She once came to Yusof Ishak Secondary School as a guest of honour and we were honoured by her presence. May she rest in peace.”

Balakrishnan presented various radio programmes with human interest stories that helped create awareness about the various issues facing the Indian community.

Extremely versatile, she was known for her energetic personality. She also wrote and acted in both radio and television dramas, as well as delivered talks at various public forums.

She is survived by a son who is 23. Her husband died more than 10 years ago.

Veteran Oli deejay P.N. Bala Supramaniam called her an “inimitable, unforgettable radio personality who captivated listeners from day one”.

Oli’s executive producer-presenter, Mohamed Rafi, said: “I grew up listening to Bamah and it was a pleasure to eventually work alongside her.

“She was my mentor and I will cherish the moments especially when we presented programmes together. She leaves a huge void.”

deepikas@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2015, with the headline 'Listeners pay tribute to DJ Bamah '. Print Edition | Subscribe