A member of the public Jason Goh Yew Choon wrote to ST Forum on Tuesday (29 Oct), questioning why the grassroots organisations at Tanjong Pagar GRC and Radin Mas SMC chose to celebrate Halloween instead of Deepavali, which is a Singapore’s festival celebrated on Sunday (27 Oct) this year (‘Forum: Community event could have focused on Deepavali instead‘).
“Tanjong Pagar GRC and Radin Mas SMC organised a Fright Night event for Halloween at Tiong Bahru Park last Saturday (26 Oct),” Mr Goh noted.
He opined, “Instead of organising an event centred on an ancient European pagan ritual, the organisers could have, instead, conceptualised a bazaar or a street party celebrating Deepavali, the Hindu festival of lights, which was, coincidentally, only one day away.”
“This would have provided the population of new citizens in Tanjong Pagar GRC an opportunity to learn about Singapore’s multifaceted culture and varied religious festivals,” he added. “It would also have provided an opportunity for non-Hindu Singaporeans to understand more about Hindu festivals.”
In Singapore, Deepavali is officially celebrated but not for Halloween. Under the Holidays Act, Deepavali as mentioned in the Schedule of the Act is kept as a public holiday in Singapore. Halloween is not mentioned inside the Schedule.
Grassroots organizations to organize Deepavali celebration
After 3 days, the Organizing Chairman of the Halloween event William Tan, who is representing Tanjong Pagar GRC & Radin Mas SMC, replied to Mr Goh’s letter today (‘Forum: Deepavali celebration is up next‘, 1 Nov).
“We agree with Mr Jason Goh Yew Choon that Deepavali celebrations at Tanjong Pagar GRC and Radin Mas SMC on Oct 26 would have provided residents an opportunity to learn about Singapore’s multifaceted culture,” Tan said.
“This is done every year, with our volunteers and residents coming together to organise festive celebrations for Deepavali and other key festivities such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Puasa and Christmas.”
In other words, Tan is saying that his grassroots organizations do organize all the key local festivities including Deepavali for the residents every year.
He added, “At these events, different races, religions and cultures come together to celebrate, bond and better understand the different cultures and their practices.”
Tan then announced that this year’s Deepavali celebration would be held next Sunday on 10 Nov, “This year, the Tanjong Pagar GRC and Radin Mas SMC Deepavali celebrations will be held at Buona Vista Community Club on Nov 10.”
He explained that Halloween was celebrated as it is one of their popular annual programmes which “brings residents together and promotes community bonding”.
“It is an event many residents have said that they enjoy. Just like the Halloween event, we also organise other programmes that cater to different groups of residents,” he added.