The Straits Times
Published on Nov 29, 2012

Preserving Tamil language a hot topic at dialogue with Indian grassroots leaders


Some suggested having more street and building signs in Tamil. Others said Tamil should be taught in all schools, instead of just selected schools like now. These two ideas were some of the several floated by Indian grassroots leaders at a dialogue on Thursday, as they brainstormed ways to preserve Indian culture and languages in Singapore.

It was also a topic that drew heated debate among the 100 or so members of People's Association's Indian Activity Executive Committees (IAECs). The session was held as part of the PA's contribution to the ongoing Our Singapore Conversation consultation exercise that aims to get Singaporeans talking about what kind of future they wanted to see for the country.

Speaking to reporters after the discussion, adviser to the IAECs Mr Hri Kumar Nair said that many of the older participants were worried about the erosion of Indian culture.

The session also saw participants taking a unique approach to the discussion - by first voting on the topics they wanted to cover. That had them zooming in on issues of particular interest to Indian Singaporeans. Apart from the Tamil language, participants also discussed the socio-economic position of the community, and Singapore's widening income gap.