Popular radio and TV personality Bamah Balakrishnan dies

Popular radio and TV personality Bamah Balakrishnan died on Wednesday morning.
Popular radio and TV personality Bamah Balakrishnan died on Wednesday morning.FACEBOOK/OLI 96.8FM

Popular Singapore radio and TV personality Bamah Balakrishnan, whose Tamil voiceovers could be heard on MRT announcements, died on Wednesday 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 worked with MediaCorp's Indian radio station, Oli 96.8FM for the past 39 years and was well known amongst the Indian community in Singapore. She also produced numerous radio programmes over the years, covering genres including children's programmes, info-ed, entertainment and cooking.

In a statement, Dr Chitra Rajaram, MediaCorp's head of Community Segment (Indian & 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 that will be remembered forever."

Condolence messages poured in swiftly. The news has been shared over 1,700 times from Oli's Facebook page alone with several listeners leaving heartfelt messages.

Oli 96.8 FM listener Vidhya Nair says her voice was synonymous with Indian radio in Singapore.

Says Ms Nair: "She hosted many programmes from news, to music requests to talk-back programmes. For decades, we never knew what she actually looked like but her serious, mature, calming voice was a constant. In the quiet of the night, it was always Bamah who kept you company.

"Her voiceovers in Tamil are what you hear on the MRT. Bamah's contributions and her voice will always be remembered."

Both Oli 96.8FM and Vasantham offered their "deepest condolences" to her family.

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

deepikas@sph.com.sg