Everyone has to make an effort to promote community-based inclusive celebrations

I totally agree with Mr Ajit Singh Nagpal ("Concerted effort needed to integrate ethnic groups"; Jan 4).

The Tamil community, will be celebrating our harvest festival, popularly known as Pongal, on Jan 14.

It is unique, as it is our only non-religious and inclusive celebration. It depicts the community's happiness in sharing the harvest with others, and has no legends or superstitions surrounding it.

Indeed, I thoroughly enjoyed last year's Pongal celebrations organised by the Bukit Panjang Community Centre. The participation of other ethnic communities - in particular a Chinese boy singing a popular Tamil song - enriched the celebration.

There is a propensity for various ethnic groups to identify with only those of their own, but there is great potential to learn to integrate meaningfully.

Pongal is a good opportunity for other communities - in particular children - to learn that although all cultures celebrate a harvest festival, the differences in the method of celebrating is a vindication that unity in diversity is possible.

In order to ensure that our communities don't drift apart, it is vital that we - parents, teachers, community leaders and the media - make a good effort to promote all community-based inclusive celebrations, such as Pongal.

S. Ratnakumar