I’m not Indian.
I’m also not Hindu.
But here’s what I’d like to say about this whole Thaipusam music furore.
I used to work in Little India, more than 4 years ago, when musical instruments were still allowed. I remember crossing the street near Hindoo Road, then slowing down to a halt as I watched the procession go by. I would end up late into my office that day because of that magical feeling I get from watching the procession accompanied with music. It felt magical and there was a true sense of culture, heritage and pride.
Today’s Thaipusam bust-up was not caused, fuelled or otherwise encouraged by alcohol. Today’s conflict is a summation of all that is wrong, a sense of injustice that has finally boiled over.
It is a rejection of the idea that in multi-cultural Singapore, a Chinese New Year Lion Dance ruckus is acceptable, that a Malay Wedding complete with loud drums and singing is alright (Remember how we hounded Amy Cheong?), but a Thaipusam procession is somehow not alright.
This isn’t alright. This is not the way we should behave and treat people.
Return the music to Thaipusam.