Colourful rangolis featured in multi-racial Singapore’s festivals post-COVID restrictions

PTI | Singapore | Updated: 15-05-2022 16:00 IST | Created: 15-05-2022 16:00 IST
Colourful rangolis featured in multi-racial Singapore’s festivals post-COVID restrictions
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As Singapore eased restrictions post-COVID, public events have been gathering momentum in the city-state, with events such as a challenge to draw rangolis.

The challenge to draw two rangolis in the midst of Indian festivals being held mid-April and mid-May publicly, bringing together various ethnic groups in the multi-racial community here, is being led by the Indian Activity Executive Committee (IAEC) in Nee Soon South constituency here, Chairperson of Organising Committee (IAEC) Sithara Doriasamy said as the neighbours came together to display Singapore’s strong and unique multiracialism and multiculturalism, post-COVID restrictions.

“Creating positive memories of shared experiences amongst people from different races coming together is very important,'' Parliamentarian and advisor to the grassroot organisations in Nee Soon constituency Carrie Tan said on Saturday.

“When we share a common purpose, such as completing an art project that everyone can be proud of, it helps to create positive bonds that we can draw from in times of tension and strife, to dissolve misunderstanding.

This is the essence of what grassroots organisations help to build in neighbourhoods,” Tan stressed.

“Over 100 residents of all races and ages from four years to above 80 years participated in the Singapore Book of Records (SBOR) for the Simultaneous Rangoli Sponge Painting,” said Tan, who started a women’s non-profit effort ‘Daughters of Tomorrow’ here after a volunteering trip to Kadapa in India in 2007.

“It was an inclusive community events, residents on wheelchair but keen on arts also added their artistic touches to the rangoli sponge painting,” added Tan, who took several trips to Delhi, Calcutta, Hyderabad and Kadapa again in the subsequent years to understand the challenges women faced, and provided training in handcrafts to trafficking survivors and also village women to make a livelihood for themselves.

“When residents share cuisine, art, songs and performances from their own cultures that transcend a need for a common spoken language, it helps people to appreciate one another better even though we may not speak the same language,” she elaborated.

RangoliChops, an Indian-origin cultural component of every celebration that starts with Rangoli, was made of 10,000 chopsticks, which the Chinese use to eat their meals, for the SBOR on Saturday. As a cultural fusion, it was surrounded by Indian motifs, added Sithara.

Tiger, as it is the Lunar Year of the Tiger for the Chinese community, was the main theme of the rangoli with chopsticks.

The Tiger image represents the Year of the Tiger, the Chopsticks represent our Chinese friends' culture, and the Rangoli motifs represent the Indian culture. The Tiger is a true showcase of Singapore's multiracialism and multiculturalism, Sithara added.

The second attraction at the gathering was ‘Simultaneous Rangoli Sponge Painting’ by over 100 participants of all ages and races for the SBOR attempt.

The Rangoli designs were drawn on 57 boards to depict the coming 57th National Day of Singapore.

The day-long gather, aimed at community participation post-COVID, included “Nee Soon South Celebration of Festivals” in the evening, featuring major Indian intra-ethnic groups’ new years that falls mid-April to mid-May, in particular Tamizh Puthandu (Tamil New Year) and Vishu (Malayali New Year), as well as, the Sikhs’ Vaisakhi festival.

“These two events are aimed at providing an opportunity for residents to meet friends and fellow residents face-to-face once again, after more than two years due to the Covid 19 pandemic restrictions,” the organisers IAEC said.

SBOR President Ong Eng Huat stressed the importance of organising social gathering across all communities in the heartland housing estate to give them insight into each ethnic group’s culture.

He said grassroot organisations are playing an important role in reaching out to multi-ethnic Singaporeans. He sees no barriers in communications as all Singaporeans speak English along with their mother tongues.

Among the lead artists that participated in the Saturday gathering were Sudha Ravi and Rajitha Pandian who came from Tamil Nadu 15-16 years ago and have been sharing their cultural skills such as drawing of Rangolis with the local communities, the Chinese, Malays, descendants of Indians who arrived early in the 1990s, and Eurasian as well as others that have made Singapore their home.

Singapore had imposed 'circuit breaker' in April 2020 as a restriction on people movements during COVID-19 break.

It had conditions imposed such as a limit on gathering of crowds and wearing of masks.

The government relaxed the restrictions in phases, and allowed employees to return to work from April 26 this year.

The country has also lowered its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level from Orange to Yellow for the first time in more than two years.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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