Tamil Language Festival to honour pioneers in 10th year

Members of the Tamil Language Council, Tamil Language Festival programme partners and supporters holding a banner promoting the festival, on March 27, 2016.
Members of the Tamil Language Council, Tamil Language Festival programme partners and supporters holding a banner promoting the festival, on March 27, 2016.PHOTO: TAMIL LANGUAGE COUNCIL

SINGAPORE - The Tamil Language Festival has seen greater youth involvement over the years and will have components honouring pioneers of the language in Singapore this time.

The 10th year of the festival will be marked by a series of events from April 2 to 30, encouraging the community to "Love Tamil, Speak Tamil", embrace the mother tongue and use the language in daily life.

It will include programmes by 40 partners including the Indian Heritage Centre, National Library Board and National Book Development Council of Singapore.

"We wanted to have a ground-up festival where all community organisations can come together and participate," added Mr R. Rajaram, chairman of the Tamil Language Council, which spearheads the festival. Over the years, more partners have come on board to promote the language and encourage the next generation of Tamil speakers.

It complements what goes on in schools, said Mr Rajaram, providing students the opportunity to use the language beyond a classroom setting.

Also helming activities are youth such as Ms Dakshitaa Babu, a student at Temasek Junior College who is leading a heritage trail and amazing race in Little India.

"We are a multiracial society and as such, we mostly communicate in English. These competitions help us to keep our mother tongue," said the 16-year-old, who speaks Tamil at home.

"It is an identity for us, and something that we hold sacred," she added of the language.

She first participated in the festival in 2014.

Other events include a showcase of the works of Cultural Medallion winner P. Krishnan, presented by the youth of Avant Theatre.

Schools such as Crescent Girls School and Yishun Secondary School have been organising programmes for their students in the lead-up to April as well.