Celebrate, but don't rob believers of their festival

Few would disagree with Ms Goh Wan Ting's observation (Young and old excited by Disney-themed Christmas; Nov 17).

Disney characters have endeared themselves to people in all age groups the world over and those in Singapore are no different.

However, the Forum complaint (Why have cartoon characters replaced Christmas decorations?, Nov 14) was about the Singapore Tourism Board and the Orchard Road Business Association appropriating Christmas to promote the Disney characters.

Christmas, like the other major religious festivals in Singapore, is celebrated by both believers and non-believers. It is one of the wonderful things about Singapore culture.

Still, we must not forget what that particular religion's celebration is about.

One good example would be the lights that were put up for Deepavali along Serangoon Road.

No one will miss the religious significance the decorations have for those who celebrate it, and as it should be.

Similarly, I think many people in Singapore, regardless of race, would complain if decorations put up for the annual Chinese New Year light-up had nothing to do with the celebrations.

If we are going to celebrate and promote Singapore as a multi-religious and multiracial country, then we need to respect one another's special festivals and occasions, and celebrate the festival the way those marking the day would want to celebrate it and not appropriate it and celebrate it the way others who have nothing to do with it want to.

Florence Veronica Minjoot (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2018, with the headline 'Celebrate, but don't rob believers of their festival'. Print Edition | Subscribe