Preserve Singaporean way of celebrating Thaipusam

I greatly welcome the latest move by our Government to ease the restrictions on the playing of live music during the annual Thaipusam festival ("Live music at Thaipusam after 42 years"; Jan 18).

It is one more testimony to the importance our Government places on issues of race, language and religion.

Music has always played an important part in Hindu worship.

Usually, devotees undergo a severe fast for as long as 48 days before they carry the kavadi. On the actual day, it is the music that keeps them going and helps them to successfully fulfil their vows.

I agree that in the past, the playing of music did give rise to opportunities for abuse, such as the playing of inappropriate musical instruments that were not compatible with Hindu traditions.

But we must now accept that our Singaporean Hindu community has come a long way in terms of economic and educational affluence. We may rest assured that such abuses are a thing of the past.

Thaipusam is one of the oldest religious festivals in the world. We in Singapore and Malaysia have developed a distinct way of observing this occasion, celebrating with such pomp and gaiety not seen even in India or Sri Lanka.

Let us preserve this heritage in a way that we can claim to be solely our own.

K. Sabehshan