Tuesday 26 January 2016

Live music gives lift to Thaipusam celebration

By Rachel Au-Yong, The Straits Times, 25 Jan 2016

Thaipusam throbbed with a new beat this year, as live music was allowed at the annual Hindu festival for the first time in over 40 years.

Thousands lined the 4km route from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple in Tank Road yesterday to watch devotees celebrate the fulfilment of their vows by carrying kavadis and pots of milk.

MUSIC, COLOURS AND THANKSGIVING: More than 20,000 Hindu devotees gather in Little India for a 4-kilometre procession to mark Thaipusam yesterday. For the first time in more than 40 years, live music was allowed along the procession route. http://bit.ly/1nhpeto (Video: S Shiva)
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Sunday, January 24, 2016

Mr R. Jayachandran, chairman of the Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) which organises the procession, said some 330 people carried kavadis, compared with 250 last year. "We had a lot of publicity and allowing music which encourages the devotees' spiritual focus, I think these have helped to create a more meaningful experience," he said.

The HEB said more than 20,000 devotees took part in this year's festival, which falls on the full moon day of the Tamil month of Thai, and is in honour of Lord Murugan.

Live music was allowed at three stages in Hastings Road, Short Street and Dhoby Ghaut Green, and there were seven music transmission points. There were also wider lanes, and the HEB halved the cost of carrying a kavadi to $75.

Among the devotees at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple yesterday morning preparing for the procession was Asean Para Games bronze medallist Kalai Vanen, 57, a power lifter who lost his left leg to cancer 30 years ago.

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam joined devotees there and told reporters the mood was positive, with devotees appreciative of the new arrangements.

"They said: 'Look, this is what we wanted'... It is quite energising, they feel good," he said.

The previous ban on live music was reviewed after the HEB conducted 10 feedback sessions with members of the Hindu community. All said music was integral to the festival, with many wanting traditional Indian instruments as part of it.

Thaipusam: "The mood has been very positive," says Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam Sc. "There are safety issues,...
Posted by The Straits Times on Sunday, January 24, 2016

Organisers deployed more staff and volunteers to ensure things ran smoothly, and Mr Shanmugam said there were also more police officers on the ground, not just to help with security but also to assist people.

"The key is to ensure that a small group doesn't hijack the whole festival and create law-and-order issues," he said. On Saturday night, there were issues when some people did not observe queues and climbed over the walls to get into the crowded temple.

"There are safety issues, beyond law and order. Last year, the festival was hijacked by a small group who attacked the police," he added, referring to the case of three men charged with disorderly behaviour after a group was told to stop playing traditional drums by organisers.

But the large majority of devotees helped ensure things ran smoothly, Mr Shanmugam said. He was also struck by the number of non-Indians who marked Thaipusam, carrying the kavadi or supporting others.

I went to Thaipusam today. Visited both Perumal temple and Tank Road Murugan temple, and walked part of the way with...
Posted by K Shanmugam Sc on Saturday, January 23, 2016

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: This year's Thaipusam procession which featured live music for the first time was mostly peaceful and...
Posted by Home Team News (Singapore) on Thursday, January 28, 2016

More than 20,000 mark Thaipusam
Celebration feels more festive, with ban on live music lifted and improvements to procession
By Rachel Au-Yong, The Straits Times, 25 Jan 2016

Mr Manibalan Dhanabalan, 33, was among over 20,000 people who marked Thaipusam yesterday.

Like many others, the construction worker who volunteered to guide devotees at Dhoby Ghaut Green said this year's 4km procession from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple in Tank Road felt more festive, as the ban on live music was relaxed for the first time in over 40 years.

Dhoby Ghaut Green was one of three live music stages, where musicians certified by organisers could play religious music for devotees.

Said Mr Manibalan, who helped out with a team of 25 colleagues: "It's a holiday for us, so we came to volunteer, and we like the crowds and music."

A devotee dancing to the tunes at one of the transmission music point.
Posted by Hindu Endowments Board on Saturday, January 23, 2016

This year's procession also saw other improvements, such as resting and overtaking bays, and a dedicated lane for female and young devotees in Clemenceau Avenue.

This enabled them to enter the Tank Road temple faster and not get stuck in a bottleneck behind kavadi-carrying devotees.

Asked by reporters about the possibility of further relaxing the rules, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said that, as a rule, the Government did not allow any religious foot processions due to concerns over law and order.

However, exceptions are made for Thaipusam and two other Hindu festivals, Thimithi and Panguni Uthiram, and there is a need to be careful in making further changes.

Also involved in helping maintain order were local grassroots leaders, such as retired consultant A. K. Latchumanan, 65, who said: "I've carried the kavadi before. I know the old-timers; they call me big brother. We get things done."

Thaipusam is a thanksgiving festival celebrated by our Hindu friends in Singapore. Here's a look at the colourful activities from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple this morning.
Posted by Melvin Yong 杨益财 on Sunday, January 24, 2016

Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Melvin Yong, whose Moulmein-Cairnhill ward includes parts of the route, also joined devotees, as did tourists and onlookers from various races.

Said National University of Singapore undergraduate Tan Lien Chew, 21, who is doing a project on multiculturalism: "I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was quite an eye-opening experience."

At Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple early this morning to observe devotees preparing for the Thaipusam procession. This...
Posted by Melvin Yong 杨益财 on Saturday, January 23, 2016

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