Engage residents to join in and experience procession

Devotees along Prinsep Street for the 2018 Thaipusam festival.
Devotees along Prinsep Street for the 2018 Thaipusam festival. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

In explaining the Government's different approaches towards the street processions for St Patrick's Day and Thaipusam, Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said that there have been complaints about the noise levels from residents living along the Thaipusam procession route (Shanmugam explains Govt's stand on rules for Thaipusam procession; March 26).

Thus the need for restrictions on the volume of music allowed along the procession, he said.

It is a pity that grassroots organisations and MPs have not taken the initiative to encourage residents living along the Thaipusam procession route to join in and experience first-hand the excitement of the devotees, as well as allow the younger generation to develop real-time cultural exchanges.

If Singaporeans cannot tolerate a few minutes of noisy music from a passing procession of another religion, whither building a tolerant and united society?

Will getai shows be banned because residents are complaining about the three hours of non-stop music night after night at various locations throughout Singapore?

Should we allow a smattering of small-minded residents stop other Singaporeans from enjoying their cultural or religious festivals?

This will undo even the tokenism that we go through every year of having our schoolchildren dress up in the traditional costumes of other races.

Danny Chow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2018, with the headline 'Engage residents to join in and experience procession'. Print Edition | Subscribe