Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The Thaipusam Fracas

Hindus in Singapore in a 'privileged' position: K Shanmugam
Hindus in Singapore are not only not discriminated against, they are in fact in a "privileged" position, said Minister for Law and Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam

In a lengthy status update on his Facebook page on Friday evening, the minister, himself a HIndu, was saying this in response to many questions posed about the long-standing bans on religious foot processions as well as the playing of music during religious processions.

Noting that the ban on religious foot processions has been in place since after riots in 1964, Shanmugam said Hindus are the only ones given an exemption for their three foot processions: namely Thaipusam, Panguni Uthiram and Thimithi.

"When other non-Hindu religious groups apply to hold foot processions, they are usually rejected," he wrote. "On rare occasions when it is given, stringent conditions will be imposed including much shorter routes, unlike Thaipusam which lasts the whole day and goes through major roads."


Why Thaipusam is no longer a public holiday in Singapore
Reuters/REUTERS - A devotee carrying his kavadi waits to start his procession during Thaipusam festival in Singapore February 3, 2015. Thaipusam is a Hindu festival observed on the day of the full moon during the Tamil calendar month of Thai, and celebrated in honour of the Hindu god Lord Murugan. REUTERS/Edgar Su (SINGAPORE - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

The manpower ministry says Thaipusam is no longer a public holiday in Singapore because it was one of several religious observances that were given up by various religious leaders in 1968.

In a letter to the Singaporean Today newspaper on Friday evening, Ministry of Manpower (MOM)'s Workplace Safety and Strategy Division director Alvin Lim said the religious public holidays were given up due to the need to compete in the global market, following the withdrawal of British colonial troops.

His letter could be viewed as a response to claims that public holidays here were allocated by race, as opposed to what it actually is — religion.


Hindu Endowments Board issues statement over ban on playing music at Thaipusam
Devotees in a procession before entering Sri Thendayuthapani Temple - the end point - on Tank Road. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

The Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) on Friday issued a statement over the ban on playing music at Thaipusam processions.

Some have questioned the ban following the arrest of three Singaporean men involved in a scuffle on Feb 3, after organisers asked a group to stop playing drums at the junction of Serangoon and Desker roads as it was not allowed under the event's police permit.

The incident was captured on videos that were posted online. Three men, who were part of a group which hired a different set of drummers, have been charged in court with disorderly behaviour and attacking police officers.


Shanmugam on Thaipusam: Hindu Endowments Board should find out wishes of the people

Calls for musical accompaniment at the Thaipusam festival should be looked into, said Minister for Law K Shanmugam, speaking at the recording of MediaCorp's Tamil current affairs programme Ethiroli.

"We should find out the wishes of the people. The Hindu Endowments Board will see how we can fulfil their wishes. They have to consult the people and see how to proceed," said Mr Shanmugam.

"It's fair that everyone expects the Hindus to conduct these foot processions in an orderly manner," says Law Minister K Shanmugam of Thaipusam celebrations. He says the restrictions were first put in place as a result of past incidents.

related:


Why did Hindu body not oppose ban?

HINDUS like me appreciate Law Minister K. Shanmugam's swift reply last Saturday ("Shanmugam clears the air on Thaipusam"), especially his remarks about the potential relaxation of the ban on the playing of musical instruments during Thaipusam processions.

But why did the Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) support the ban in the first place? Why did it not lobby against it? As a body whose duty is to promote Hindu traditions, the HEB would have known that musical instruments like the urumi melam (Indian drum) and the nadhaswaram (Indian clarinet) are integral religious components of major Hindu observances like Thaipusam.

The HEB should have helped craft a public order rule that would not have affected the procession's religious vitality.


Thaipusam, Lion Dances, Kompangs - Discrimination against Hindus?

There have been many questions on Thaipusam and the playing of musical instruments. Broadly, the questions can be grouped as follows:
  • Why can't musical instruments be played to help kavadi carriers during Thaipusam?
  • Why are Hindus being discriminated? Other groups are allowed to play music - e.g. Lion Dances, Kompangs.
  • Also we allow many groups, including Filipinos to sing and dance. So why not allow the same during Thaipusam.
These are fair questions. They arise from a misunderstanding of the rules. The truth is that Hindus are not discriminated against. In fact, they have been given a special privilege not enjoyed by others.


Hindus here have special privilege, are not discriminated against: Shanmugam

While some may feel that Hindus are discriminated against as they are not allowed to play musical instruments during the Thaipusam foot procession, that is not the case. In fact, they have been given a special privilege not enjoyed by others, said Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K Shanmugam today (Feb 6) on his Facebook page.

Mr Shanmugam’s lengthy post follows rising concerns stirred up from an incident during Thaipusam on Tuesday, in which three Singaporean men were arrested for disorderly behaviour. Organisers had asked a group to stop playing traditional Indian drums but they refused. When the police were called in, a fracus ensued involving the three men, and resulted in an injured police officer.

Mr Shanmugam said people do not realise that all religious foot processions have been banned here since 1964, but Hindus were given an exemption and allowed three religious foot processions — Thaipusam, Panguni Uthiram and Thimithi.

related: Hindus have privilege not given to other faiths, says Shanmugam

read more

Law Minister Shanmugam comments on Thaipusam arrests, ban on music

Law Minister Mr K Shanmugam has said that it is unacceptable for the police to be physically assaulted or ill-treated, following the arrests of three men at the Thaipusam procession on Tuesday, Feb 3.

The three men had allegedly used vulgarities against three police officers, who had intervened to stop a group of people from playing drums during the procession.

One of the men also allegedly assaulted a police officer, who had to be sent to hospital for treatment

related:
Rules for street events 'for public good'
Cops arrest three for scuffle during Thaipusam festival
3 arrested following clashes at Thaipusam procession
Thaipusam: 5 things to know about the colourful Hindu festival


read more

Hindus and Singaporeans want equality and fairness, not privileges


Law Minister, K. Shanmugam, weighed in on the Thaipusam fracas in a facebook post in which he says the annual Thaipusam street procession means that Hindus receive “a special privilege not enjoyed by others”. Hindus, therefore, are not discriminated against.

The arguments and logic presented by him are most unworthy of someone trained in law not to mention a person in the position of Minister of Law. Perhaps his power of reasoning has been dulled by his time in Parliament, where debating skills are not required, and lengthy time away from having to make arguments in a court of law.

He fails to acknowledge that there may be compelling religious and historical reasons why the Thaipusam procession is allowed and that, in fact, is the reason why it is permitted. It cannot be merely because Hindus are privileged. There is no provision in the Constitution that make Hindus so privileged. In fact, non-Hindus should feel discriminated against if the Thaipusam street procession is allowed on the basis that Hindus are privileged.


read more

Impractical to make all key festivals public holidays

We appreciate the perspectives shared by many Singaporeans on whether Thaipusam should be reinstated as a public holiday. As many have noted, it was a public holiday until 1968. (“Reinstate some public holidays”; Feb 11, online)

The prospect of the British withdrawal and the need to compete for a living in world markets necessitated many changes in the country. The Government decided to reduce the number of public holidays, among other things.


The decision on which to give up in 1968 was reached only after careful discussions with various religious groups. The Muslims chose to give up Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday and an extra day for Hari Raya Puasa.

read more

Street procession rules, including music ban, help keep events safe and peaceful: S. Iswaran
A devotee with his kavadi at Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple during Thaipusam. The ban on musical instruments during the Thaipusam procession was introduced because of past incidents of fights between competing groups which disrupted the procession, said Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Rules for street processions, including the use of musical instruments, have been put in place to manage events for the greater public good, Second Home Affairs Minister S. Iswaran said on Thursday in comments on reports of a scuffle during the Thaipusam procession.

He said there had to be a balance between allowing important religious events to take place, and preserving order.

A long-standing ban on playing musical instruments during such processions has been in place as a result of past instances of fights between competing groups of musicians, and disruption to the procession and to devotees.

read more

Exercise calm and restraint over Thaipusam incident: Iswaran

Second Home Affairs Minister S Iswaran has urged Singaporeans to exercise calm and restraint in reacting to Tuesday's (Feb 3) Thaipusam incident

Three men were arrested on Tuesday for disorderly behaviour, after they confronted police over an issue of the playing of drums in public.

Speaking to the media on Thursday on the sidelines of an official visit to Spain, Mr Iswaran called on Singaporeans to stand together against a breakdown in law and order.

"In Singapore we are a multi-religious society. And all of us have to make certain accommodations and concessions. There must be mutual understanding and respect for each other's practices," he said. "Whilst we celebrate our respective festivals or events, we also need to take into account the need to maintain overall balance in society in order to preserve safety, law and order."

related:
Hindus not discriminated against: Shanmugam on Thaipusam incident
3 arrested for Thaipusam incident
Hindu devotees and people of other faiths celebrate Thaipusam

read more


Minister S Iswaran Doesn’t Understand Why S’poreans Aren’t Happy About Thaipusam Incident

The Thaipusam saga rages on today, although Second Home Minister S Iswaran might have misunderstood the situation a little while talking to the media

He called on Singaporeans “to stand together against a breakdown in law and order”, and insisted that the ban on music instruments during Thaipusam is justified because of fights breaking out, as well as being hindrances to devotees.

He also emphasized that as a multi-religious society, accommodations and concessions have to be made, and that in celebrating festivals and events, a balance had to be maintained to preserve safety, law and order. According to him, a few individuals should not be allowed to “disrupt the kind of harmony we have worked very hard to preserve over the years”.

Sounds like he’s talking about religion and race, and the need to balance celebrations with public order. However, the person behind the petition had written a lengthy note describing the ban on musical instruments as ” institutionalized racism”. Voices such as hers may be the ones which Minister S. Iswaran is referring to.


S ISWARAN: PLEASE DON'T OVERREACT ABOUT THE THAIPUSAM INCIDENT

Second Minister for Home Affairs, S Iswaran, has urged Singaporeans not to overreact about the Thaipusam incident and said that Singaporeans should remain calm and exercise restraint

He said that we need to stand against a breakdown in law and order.

"In Singapore we are a multi-religious society. And all of us have to make certain accommodations and concessions,” he said. “There has to be mutual understanding and respect for each other's practices. Whilst we celebrate our respective festivals or events, we also need to take into account the need to maintain overall balance in society in order to preserve safety, law and order."

He also said that the ban on musical instruments during the Thaipusam procession was introduced because of past incidents of fights breaking out between competing groups which disrupted the procession.


read more

Duo from The Real Singapore arrested under Sedition Act
Police said that they received reports on 6 February regarding an “insensitive article” that had been posted online

Two persons from The Real Singapore (TRS) have been arrested and investigated by the police for offenses under the Sedition Act.

Both, a Singaporean, 26 and an Australian woman, 22 were arrested by the Singapore police on 6 February. The two are said to be owners of the social political website.

The investigation by the police is said to be on the article published on TRS which supposedly depicts the account of a witness of an incident during the recent Thaipusam festival.

channelnewsasia: Duo arrested under Sedition Act for The Real Singapore article
tnp.sgDuo behind The Real Singapore website arrested for sedition

read more

AGC advises against public comments related to 3 men charged in Thaipusam incident
A scene from an online video clip of the incident during the Thaipusam procession on Feb 3. Photo: YouTube

The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has advised members of the public to refrain from making public comments that may affect criminal proceedings against three Singaporean men charged with offences allegedly committed during last week’s Thaipusam procession.

In a statement released today (Feb 11), an AGC spokesman noted that various comments have been made on the Internet pertaining to the three Singaporean men — Ramachandra Chandramohan, 32, Jaya Kumar Krishnasamy, 28 and Gunasegaran Rajendran, 33. The trio were charged on Feb 7 and are expected to return to court on March 6.


“As criminal proceedings are currently before the Courts, we would like to remind the public that statements made may be sub judice contempt of court, if the statements are calculated to affect the judicial process and there is a real risk of prejudice being caused to the ongoing proceedings,” said the spokesman.

read more

Engage public to address concerns

THERE has been much hue and cry over the ban on playing music at Thaipusam processions (“Shanmugam clears the air on Thaipusam”; last Saturday).

As a Hindu, I urge the authorities to relax the rules wherever possible. I also urge our Government to engage with the various agencies, as our youth are more vocal and require a clearer picture and understanding of the rationale behind the rules.

Why Indian musical instruments cannot be played during the Thaipusam foot procession must be debated in public. We also need to be law-abiding and we need to protect every citizen. It is not acceptable for the police to be physically assaulted.


3 Singaporean men charged with incident at Thaipusam procession

Three Singaporean men were charged on Saturday (Feb 7) for various offences that took place at a Thaipusam procession on Tuesday.

Ramachandra Chandramohan,32, faces seven charges, the most among the three, including behaving in a disorderly manner and voluntarily causing hurt to a police officer. He was also asked to surrender his passport.

Meanwhile, Jaya Kumar Krishnasamy, 28, faces three charges including voluntarily obstructing a police officer in the discharge of his public functions.

related: 3 arrested for Thaipusam incident


Wife of man charged for Thaipusam scuffle lodges her own police report

The wife of one of the three men charged for disorderly behaviour at the Thaipusam procession on Feb 3 has lodged a police report claiming she was pushed and hit by the police during the procession.

The police statement said: "In response to media queries, the Police confirmed that it received a report on 4 February 2015 from a 30-year-old Indian female who alleged that three officers had hit or pushed her on 3 February 2015 at Desker Road, during the Thaipusam procession. She is the wife of one of the accused charged for disorderly behaviour at the same procession. Police take a serious view of any allegation against its officers and will investigate each case thoroughly. However, if the allegations are found to be false, appropriate action, in accordance with our laws, will be taken against any persons found to have furnished false information to the Police."

A scuffle had broken out on Tuesday's Thaipusam procession leading to the arrest of three men. Police said organisers had asked a group of people to stop playing traditional Indian drums as it was not allowed under the event's police permit

related:
Hindu Endowment Board will continue engaging authorities reviewing rules for Thaipusam
Shanmugam clears the air on Thaipusam
Cops arrest 3 for scuffle during Thaipusam
Thaipusam: 5 things to know about the colourful Hindu festival
Thaipusam incident: Wife of accused files police report


read more

Eye-witness account of the Thaipusam incident on 3 February

The above video, taken by Shiva Shanker, shows what seems to be police officers confronting angry and rowdy participants at the Thaipusam festival.

The incident happened on 3 February 2015, Tuesday, during the annual Thaipusam procession which is held along Serangoon Road.

TOC spoke to Jaya (not his real name) who was involved in the commotion between the worshipers and law enforcement officers, to have an understanding of what happened from his point of view as an eye-witness.


read more

MP SHOULD GET FACTS FIRST BEFORE COMMENTING

The incident at Tuesday's Thaipusam festival/procession is now the talk of the town. Briefly, a fracas broke out between some devotees and police officers over the use of musical instruments at the procession in Serangoon Road.

The use of such instruments and the playing of music is banned in Singapore for religious events which include foot processions. Law Minister K Shanmugam gave a lengthy and much appreciated explanation, although we may still disagree with him on the ban. (See his explanation here: "Hindus given special privileges: Shanmugam".

Whether the ban is justified or not should be debated civilly, and indeed this was what Mr Shanmugam said. "[Is] there a case for allowing musical instruments to be played during the Thaipusam foot procession, in support of the kavadi carriers?" he asked.

read more

The Thaipusam fracas – Real answers needed

While the police have attributed the scuffle at this year’s Thaipusam procession to inebriated hooligans, a fringe group even Hindus would frown upon, it may have been an incident that has been brewing (pardon the pun) since 2011 and perhaps much longer.

The fracas may in fact have been an act of defiance against laws the participants may have felt are unfair. An example of this can be seen in the video below of musicians during Thaipusam in 2011. Discontent in the Hindu Indian community has been simmering since several decades prior because Thaipusam is not a public holiday as it is in some parts of Malaysia.

The Hindu Endowments Board announced in 2011 that it would impose restrictions against shouting, musical instruments such as drums and gongs, music played through speakers, and the use of loud hailers during the annual Thaipusam procession. This did not go down well with segments of the Hindu community to whom Thaipusam was synonymous with all these things.


Trouble brews at Thaipusam

Thaipusam Drums Ban Is So Racist We Can’t Even

Thaipusam is a celebratory festival dedicated to Lord Muragan, the deity of youth, power, and virtue. However, the mood at this year’s celebration was anything but happy.

The problems began when organisers of the event requested that a group of participants stop playing the drums because doing so violated the conditions of the police permit. However, the devotees refused to cooperate and the police were hence called in.

read more

Thaipusam & the right to cultural and religious expression in Singapore

Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated by Tamil Hindus in Singapore, and other parts of the world that have a sizeable Tamil population. It has recently come under certain rules and regulations which have been deemed unjust.

In the 1960s, Thaipusam was a public holiday in Singapore. Thaipusam was then removed as a public holiday under the pretext that each major race is given two holidays; the Chinese have Chinese New Year (CNY), which lasts for two days. Malays, who are predominantly Muslim, are given holidays for Hari Raya Haji and Hari Raya Puasa. Indians are given Deepavali and Vesak Day. Hence, Thaipusam could not be considered as a holiday for Hindus.

However, who observes Vesak Day? It is a Buddhist holiday. Buddhism originated in India, but by and large, the world's biggest population of Buddhists, are East Asian. In Singapore, this means it is the Singaporean Chinese who are mostly Buddhist. Why is it gazetted as an Indian holiday when there are so few Indians celebrating it? In effect, this means the Chinese actually get three days of religious celebrations, and the Indians get one.

read more

On Drums during Thaipusam Processions in Singapore

Recently, lots of outrage has been evinced over the ban on drums at Thaipusam processions in Singapore.

While, naturally, this is seen as the oppression of a minority, the reality is a lot more complicated.

In the first place, even though Singapore pretends that racial and religious harmony are cornerstones of the national ideology, in reality racial and religious desires are not allowed free reign. For example during the Chinese Seventh Month, people are not supposed to burn hell money (and other offerings) anywhere they please, but instead in specified containers.

read more

Playing musical instruments banned during Thaipusam

Back in 1981, the police had a different explanation for the banning of music from religious foot processions, that it wasn’t so much the music itself that was disrupting the peace or inciting people to beat the hell out of each other like alcohol does, but that it moved people to DANCE all over the streets and block traffic in their spiritual ecstasy. The 1973 ban, of course, didn’t stop people from bringing on the bongos still, and things got ugly when the police tried to seize drums from participants in the 80s, with one cop suffering a black eye for performing his party-pooping duties.

‘Musical instruments’ back then included portable radios and cassette players, and I’m not sure if the police would swoop in to restore order and silence if devotees were playing ukeleles, harps or doing mass accapella instead. In 1984, there were Thaipusam near-fatalities after a fight and stabbing in Serangoon, music or no music. The ST did not mention if those involved ‘smelt of alcohol’. Nor did anyone consider the possible theory that maybe it’s not thumping music or dancing that’s responsible for a religious procession turning into a Little India riot. Maybe it’s, I dunno, dangerous WEAPONS perhaps? Instead of looking for parangs, the police are raiding boom boxes. If someone rolled in a grand piano, they may just gun the damn thing down before it hypnotises people into a murderous trance. It gives new meaning to the term ‘killer beats’.

The penalty for holding a parade without permit in honour of some deity’s birthday, Hindu or not, can earn you a $1000 fine, or up to 3 months jailtime back in 1989. The police won’t do anything, however, if you decide to hold a funeral bash, banging drums, gongs and cymbals included, for a deceased loved one. Best not to anger the spirit of a dead grandmother I suppose, compared to say Lord Muruga or the Monkey God.

read more

Time To Change An Archaic Law?

The Thaipusam incident has generated quite a lot of over-the-top reactions from many quarters. The incident has been turned into a loud chorus of accusations about Police brutality, racist profiling and if some internet trolls were to be believed, would degenerate into a racial riot.

There are a few things worth noting about the Thaipusam procession this year. Firstly, like the years before, it was held over a period of a day and a night. Secondly, apart from that particular incident, it went smoothly. And most importantly, the Police, contrary to popular belief, had been quite lenient in calibrating (I hate this word) their response to the playing of musical instruments during the event because there were in fact, musical instruments being played despite the ban. Almost all of the devotees who carried the kavadis were accompanied by some musical instruments of sort. The Police did not stop them. The musical instruments were not seized.

Why the police decided to take action in that particular incident in now under investigation. So I am not going to discuss it now.

read more

Thaipusam: The Ban on Musical Accompaniment, and an appeal for change

A letter that I intend to write to MCCY and HEB. Don’t know if I should publish it as a petition.

But before that, a few thoughts on the response to the ban on musical accompaniment for Thaipusam.

I completely disagree with the argument that we should be allowed to use musical instruments because other religious groups are allowed to do so for their festivals. This in my opinion, is a completely inadequate argument. It trivializes the need for music and reduces it to nothing more than a childish competition.

read more

Thaipusam & the right to cultural and religious expression in Singapore

Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated by Tamil Hindus in Singapore, and other parts of the world that have a sizeable Tamil population. It has recently come under certain rules and regulations which have been deemed unjust.

In the 1960s, Thaipusam was a public holiday in Singapore. Thaipusam was then removed as a public holiday under the pretext that each major race is given two holidays; the Chinese have Chinese New Year (CNY), which lasts for two days. Malays, who are predominantly Muslim, are given holidays for Hari Raya Haji and Hari Raya Puasa. Indians are given Deepavali and Vesak Day. Hence, Thaipusam could not be considered as a holiday for Hindus.

However, who observes Vesak Day? It is a Buddhist holiday. Buddhism originated in India, but by and large, the world’s biggest population of Buddhists, are East Asian. In Singapore, this means it is the Singaporean Chinese who are mostly Buddhist. Why is it gazetted as an Indian holiday when there are so few Indians celebrating it? In effect, this means the Chinese actually get three days of religious celebrations, and the Indians get one.

related: Traffic concerns were the reasons for Thaipusam music ban

read more

Thaipusam rules apply to all religious processions


RULES governing the conduct of the Thaipusam foot procession are general rules which apply to all religious processions unless specific exemption is given,

The rules were not specifically drafted for the procession. They are not new and have been in place for many years.

This was emphasised by MR K. Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs, in a written answer to parliament questions posed by Nominated MP (NMP) Mr Viswa Sadasivan.
Mr Sadasivan asked the Minister to provide greater clarity on the rules and regulations for Thaipusam, and when were these rules first introduced.

related:
Hindus and Singaporeans want equality and fairness, not privileges
News reports wrong about Thaipusam incident, says devotee
Hindus given special privileges: Shanmugam
Thaipusam & the right to cultural and religious expression in Singapore
Traffic concerns were the reasons for Thaipusam music ban
The Thaipusam fracas – Real answers needed
Eye-witness account of the Thaipusam incident on 3 February


read more

Hindu Endowments Board will continue engaging authorities in reviewing rules for Thaipusam

The Hindu Endowments Board has said it will continue to engage the authorities to review the conditions imposed for Thaipusam.

"Such engagement resulted in the relaxation of the rules in 2011 when singing of religious hymns was allowed along the procession route," chairman R Jayachandran said in a statement today.

"Our Board values the views of Hindus and other stakeholders in our review of our services. Those who wish to give their feedback may write or email us, or post them on our Facebook," he added.

read more

Thaipusam: 5 things to know about the colourful Hindu festival

Here are five facts about the colourful and dynamic festival you may not have known.
  1. The word Thaipusam is derived from the 10th month in the Tamil calendar called "thai" and pusam meaning "when the moon is at its brightest". It is thus celebrated when the moon is full in the Tamil month of Thai (between January and February).
  2. Besides being acknowledged as a symbol of virtue, bravery, youth and beauty, the Hindus believe that Lord Murugan, also known as Lord Subramaniam, is also the universal dispenser of favours.
  3. The men can choose to carry the kavadi which means "sacrifice at every step". The act of carrying the kavadi is the most distinctive act during Thaipusam.
  4. There is more than one legend behind Thaipusam. No matter what the legend, the rites that are followed are fairly similar. On Thaipusam day, devotees make offerings to Lord Murugan for eradicating the ills that afflict them
  5. The kavadi-bearer observes strict celibacy. Only pure, Sattwic food, which is believed to lead to clarity of mind and physical health, are taken
read more

Thaipusam 2015 தைப்பூசம்

During the Thaipusam procession on 3 February 2015 at about 6.50pm, Thaipusam organisers requested a group of people to stop playing drums at the junction of Serangoon Road and Desker Road, as doing so contravened the conditions of the police permit for the event. However, the group was not cooperative and police were called in.

When police officers were speaking to the group, a 33 year old man from a separate group came forward and confronted the police officers in a rowdy manner. Despite numerous warnings to calm down, he persisted with his disorderly behaviour and was placed under arrest. While one of our officers was effecting the arrest of the man, another two men, aged 32 and 28, came forward to stop the arrest, with the 32 year old assaulting three officers in the process. The three men, all Singaporeans, also used vulgarities against the officers. All three men were believed to have been drinking earlier as they smelt strongly of alcohol. They have been arrested and investigations are ongoing. One injured Police officer was conveyed conscious to TTSH and is in stable condition.

The prohibition of musical instruments during processions is not a new requirement and has already been in place since 1973. Police have disallowed the use of music during procession to deter public disorder which may be caused by rivalries between groups and to minimize the impact of the procession along the procession route.

read more

The Singapore Daily

Thaipusam 2015
– Five Stars and a Moon: A student’s view of the Thaipusam instrument ban
– Ghetto Singapore: The Chettiars’ Temple on Tank Road
– Five Stars and a Moon: Fighting For Thaipusam
– Blogging for Myself: Thaipusam: Favored not Discriminated
– Singapore Notes: When Push Comes To Shove