NURY SAMJAM VITTACHI was born on the island of Ceylon on October 2nd, 1958. This was considered auspicious, as it was the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, a famous acquaintance of the family. (His grandfather was standing next to Gandhi when he was assassinated. Vittachi says: "Knowing our family's luck, it's amazing we weren't blamed for it.") His father's name was Perera, and his mother's Da Silva. Deciding that it was faintly ridiculous for Ceylonese people to have European names, they adopted the name of an ancestor: Vittachi. The parents contacted the Javanese guru they followed, a man named Pak Subuh, who told them the baby must be called Nuryana. In the year of the child's birth, the communal tensions on the island spiralled out of control and turned into a civil war. In 1960, when the family found itself directly targeted by the country's rulers, they made a midnight dash to the airport, leaving their possessions behind. The family lived a nomadic existence for a while, with Malaya and London being their main homes, before splitting up and spreading across the world. Nuryana Vittachi chose Hong Kong, and became a writer using a variety of bylines. He became famous in journalism under the Chinese name Lai See and as a children's storyteller under the name Sam Jam. In recent years, he has become a well-known author, with books published in Asia, Europe, America and Australia. He teaches writing and screenwriting in Hong Kong.