Have walled communal halls, bigger bins to burn joss paper

In the latest Institute of Policy Studies-OnePeople.sg survey, at least four in 10 Singaporeans indicated that they sometimes, or more often, encountered and were upset by the burning of religious items in their estate. PHOTO: ST FILE

Noisy void-deck events have been taking place for years (Loud events at void decks, burning of religious items among pet peeves, July 31).

In 2012, an event even led to a racially insensitive post being made on social media.

Actually, the reasons behind such complaints about inconsiderate burning of incense and joss paper and loud events in void decks are not racial but social.

Community ambassadors who try to intervene end up getting told off by irate residents and law enforcement officers have to be called in.

Singaporeans understand the need for ceremonies practised by each race or religion. But consideration for neighbours is also important in community living.

Simply providing communal bins for the burning of religious items at the foot of a Housing Board block is not enough. Tension may arise when the smoke reaches the units above. Unburnt paper offerings being blown about by the wind can be natural tinder for fire.

The bins are poorly designed and cannot contain large amounts of ash.

Perhaps the HDB can consider building a bigger central burner at the rubbish collection points, away from the blocks?

Permits to hold events come with instructions to stop all noise at 10pm and they are mostly adhered to. But before that time, the speakers go at full blast.

Communal halls for events such as weddings and funeral wakes can be found in newer housing estates. Unfortunately, they do not have walls to keep in the noise.

Why can't they be walled and air-conditioned like pre-schools and provision shops in void decks? They can be used as sports halls when not rented out for events.

Lin Howard

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2019, with the headline Have walled communal halls, bigger bins to burn joss paper. Subscribe