There has been a lot of talk recently about making Thaipusam – an annual Hindu festival event celebrated by the Tamil community here – a public holiday.
We have four races here and though Deepavali is celebrated as a public holiday, Thaipusam which is an important Hindu day in the Tamil community calender is not officially gazetted as a public holiday yet.
In Singapore, every major race is given two days of religious or cultural holiday. The Chinese have Chinese New Year (CNY), which lasts for two days. Malays, who are predominantly Muslim, are given holidays for Hari Raya Haji and Hari Raya Puasa. Indians are given Deepavali and Vesak Day. Hence, Thaipusam could not be made a holiday for Indian Hindu.
Vesak Day which is a Buddhist religion is strangely been gazetted as a Indian holiday though very few Indians celebrate.
17,000 signatures were collected to date to petition online for Thaipusam to be made a public holiday here:-
There is also this recent controversy whereby three Indians were arrested for disorderly behaviour during the recent Thaipusam when the police was called upon to enforce a ancient 1973 law which disallows the use of musical instruments for kavadi carriers.
In response to the arrest, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K Shanmugam made an effort to explain why musical instruments were disallowed during the Thaipusam’s foot procession, citing the 1964 riots as the main reason for imposing such an ancient law.
We hope that with the recent arrest, the government will look closely into allowing musical instruments to be played during Thaipusam foot procession under limited conditions.
This event hopes to unite all Singaporeans to support our smallest minority race to petition for Thaipusam to be made a public holiday – as only 9% of the population is make up of Indians.
We agree with the online petition statement that –
Thaipusam should be made a holiday in Singapore from 2016 in the interest of fairness to all races in Singapore.
Let us come together and speak with one voice – though we have 4 races but we are first Singaporeans!
Singaporeans supporting Singaporeans.
Editor’s note: We will co-operate with NParks and the police to ensure that the event will be carried out smoothly.
Source: Gilbert Goh