Devotees incensed that authorities allegedly disrupted Thaipusam kavadi procession for no good reason

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A post alleging that the authorities needlessly disrupted a Kavadi procession during Thaipusam last month has gone viral online. The post, by Facebook user Pradeep Thana, was uploaded on social media this morning and includes three videos that have garnered almost 250,000 views together.

Pradeep revealed that the Kavadi procession included the girl who received considerable praise during Thaipusam last year when a video of her singing during her father’s kavadi procession went viral.

Pradeep wrote that the girl, Vaishnavi, was apparently singing for her father’s procession, like she does every year, when the procession was halted by the authorities:

“Like every other year, Vaishnavi (the girl in the video) was singing hymns and supporting her father along Serangoon Road and Selegie Road when, a HEB member, and a police officer stopped our kavadi and accused us of singing too loudly. Not only did they disrupt our procession, they surrounded our kavadi and started taking a video of each and every family member and supporter of our kavadi. This two officers followed us for a good 30 minutes while we were singing and trying our very best to ignore the fact that we were being filmed for no apparent reason. This caused Vaishnavi and every one with the kavadi much distress and completely ruined everyone’s mood.”

Pradeep said that the members in the procession were appalled by the disruption. Some devotees could even be heard asking the authorities whether they have the wrong Kavadi procession since they were careful to not make too much noise:

Posted by Pradeep Thana on Sunday, 4 February 2018

Posted by Pradeep Thana on Sunday, 4 February 2018

Posted by Pradeep Thana on Sunday, 4 February 2018

Pradeep’s post has been shared over 1,500 shares, almost 500 shares and over 150 comments so far, with many netizens expressing their disappointment with the disturbance.

Netizens particularly called the Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) for their role in the issue, including notable local filmmaker, Jk Saravana:

Jk Saravana: I faced this same situation too on Thaipusam Day. Intimidating police officers with cameras were bearable. Rude HEB volunteers were unbearable. Time we engage HEB in a dialogue session. These ridiculous rules need to go
Janani Devi: Hindu Endowments Board this is something you may need to take note of, and take into consideration that some are merely singing to praise god. Control your crowd, but maybe inform the volunteers to not abuse their power given? Also, do take a look at the regulations set for the musical instruments and maybe alter Some that are really unreasonable. As a fellow Hindu, Indian and a devotee, i am sure you can sympathize with the rest of the society when they voice out that playing instruments and serenading god is culture and also motivation for the kavadi and kudam participants.
It’s been one too many times that such incidents have happened. I would think that HEB that was set up to care for the Hindus and their rights, would hear the voices of the common people AND ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING FOR THEM.
looking forward to many more Thaipusam where we can sing in praise of the lord to our heart’s content and not worry or complain. 
Kumaran Sp: Extremely disappointed with HEB volunteers stationed between Little India Arcade and Wilkie Edge. Kavadi on route was stopped by the Volunteer in-charge Mr Carol Loga at Little India Arcade. He engaged me physically, gave me a wrong name when asked. In any circumstances Kavadi should not be stopped during procession. Volunteers or Police should give ultimate respect to the Kavadi and milk pots. The bearing of Kavadi and milk pots are representation of the Lord itself. Punniyathanam being done prior to the procession by HEB and volunteers abusing their powers in the procession route. Where is the Bhakthi Margam. Is singing the hyms of the Lord during the Kavadi procession is a taboo? HEB volunteers called in the Police saying that we will playing a drum. Where was the drum? Police on duty from G Division stopped the kavadi again between Selgie and Rendezvous Hotel a few times. One lady officer said that we are not allowed to sing during procession. The HEB volunteers between Little India Arcade and Wilkie edge should be trained. Engaging the public (including the kavadi bearrer and devotees ) physically should be avoided. Treating kavadi bearer and the devotees following the kavadi as criminals should be stopped. Devotees participating in Thaipusam should be respected. Thaipusam is a thanksgiving procession. God has given us 365 days, we are giving only this day for him. Pls respect the devotees, volunteers pls stopped your arrogance unto us. People like Carol Loga should not be in the front line of volunteerism. Pls read the life story of Appar and understand what volunteerism is about.
Jackie Luigino Vico: Hindu Endowments Board with that name u guys are supposed to support fello indians.. those people were singing and supporting . The only thing that motivates the person carrying a heavy kavadi and the painful piercing to complete their vows is the music and god song .. thaipusam has never moved quietly .. even when god is brought around in ratham from temple there is music even after 7pm .. at that point of time no residence complaint ?
Darshy Jeraldine: Sadly…… HEB when are u gonna stand up for your own ppl?! It’s a once a year festival for god sake! Year after year some shit to stop stuffs….. Then bloody put a ban for the whole festival…. why conduct with so much restrictions at a high price like as if you’re putting in so much of effort for the well being of kavadi bearers?? Just to fill your pockets?!?!
Krishna Veni: Last year when my hubby carried kavadi we went for a meeting wif d heb n police. They so called said there will be music played every 500 m. Which was not. But this year i can only see i place little india where life music was playing. N i can see that this kavadi was at dawn n i suppose not life music so it is right that they shoyld allowed songs in praise of the lord be sung. Its ver clear that soo there will not be any kavadies in SG. All going accross to our neighbour country.

128 COMMENTS

  1. Let’s be more logic and not racist. No problem during lion dance, no problem during chingay, no problem during hungry ghost festival burning, no problem on muslim marriage with the kompang, no problem of other sound. Every year I read issue with Thaipusam. What are these people trying to prove? It’s only one year event also have problems. This shows they are picking on their minorities. We are multi cultural country and we need our future generations to adapt all cultures.

    BTW…. Every Sunday orchard nuisance no problem too.

  2. What’s going on that we cannot even respect the right to practise a religion? Thaipusam in the past was celebrated with much joy even for the non Hindus. It was a sight to behold for tourists . Do we have to clamp down on every thing when a complaint or 2 is made?

  3. cos the police do not understand their own fxxking law and can change & take the law into their own hands anytime.. thats the white dogs thats THE democracy they are singing aloud to the world when we are declining to be another north korean soon. they do not know how to respect the people anymore so why should we even respect them in any ways

  4. There is only 2 options : – The police officer says “lower” down.So option (1) is to have a future “SILENT” Kavadi procession.

    Option (2):- Just go to neighbouring Malaysia to carry your kavadis and one can really “feel” the mood of the procession there..As far as I see HEB does not speak up for Hindus in such cases.

    • Why should you go to another country to perform Thaipusam. This country has been celebrating Thaipusam from the arrival of the Indians. If some police officer do not understand how to differentiate singing of religious songs from noise. Then they should be schooled on this. The Indian played a big part in building Singapore so why the double standards. When we sing our pledge loudly why the police do not stop us. When we sing the national anthem loudly why the police not stop us. So why they harass the devotees is because of the noise. Noise is ok with other races, Christmas at orchard road, CNY at Chinatown, New Year at Marina Bay, Hari Raya at Geylang. HEB grow up you have put the Indian community down. You and MIC is the same.Once a year you cannot stand up for the devotee and give them the support to perform their vows with friends and families singing/musics and encouraging their loved one to perform the vows. It blatant harassment in this particular incident.

  5. Apparently these numbskulls don’t understand music/drums also help the devotees to focus on their ceremony. Why CNY lion dance so noisy, why don’t say? Why Malay weddings noisy why don’t say? I am not racist as I have Muslim, Indian , Chinese n And Moh relatives. There has to be some social solution n tolerance.

    • Well said, Once a year the Indian celebrates Thaipusam. So once a year the police get a chance to flex their muscles. This officer are like people that has been cage for long time and when release they run wild. So they do not think about keeping the peace but choose to look for trouble. Here we can see Harassment to the extreme.Reference to other festival their association stand behind their people, however the HED (Hindu Endowment Board) are too busy doing the reverse. The day of drunken behaviour has been reduced drastically, but basing on this episode this family and friends are a victim of harassment.

  6. An Indian colleague of mine who was in and out of prison in his teens and twenties for gang offences explained that the police “gang unit” takes the opportunity when it arises to update their “records of known gang members and their affiliates. And Taipusam sees a major gathering of Indian gang members. That said, while it’s insensitive and their brusque presence is unsettling, it’s a conscious and conspicuous exercise to deter any violence btw gangs.

  7. I can see why the police needs to video to document the issue. Imagine a group of at least 50 people or more walking down the street and singing songs during nighttime after 8pm or perhaps after 10pm and there are people who complained on noise level, the police have to investigate right? As they don’t want to disturb the ritual, they have no choice but to video the procession. They cannot do nothing right? Perhaps they can get Indians to take the video so that they will not be seen so out of place? Come on people, they are just doing their job lah.. they also film the Chinese during their chinggay or cny celebrations or even the F1 just that you don’t know lor. Further, they din seem to be so out of place cos a Chinese guy filming during a Chinese celebration seems normal and they could be filming in discreet for investigation purpose such as terrorism.

  8. The public and we Singaporeans are not the problem we live together for ages and we understand each other .we know why such music or prayers are done in any race or religious events . On a Sunday we would hear Malay wedding taking place and we understand it a wedding. This is the Singapore I was born and grew up .but the thaipusam festival is been insulted and the devotees insulted. If the Hindu Endowment Board doesn’t want thaipusam they should call for the ban of it for good .but this people wants the devotees money and in return treat the Hindus like dogs

  9. I am disgusted in how our dear Hindu friends are treated. If there is one group that creates the most noise, it is my Chinese counterparts. Just think of the many funerals that generate plenty of noise. Let’s not include the getais and lion dances. But heck, do the other races or religions complain or are systematically targeted? No. So why must our dear Hindu friends be treated in this manner? Why? Why? Answers please from HEB & the SPF!

  10. Why must our authorities do that?
    We here multi racial society n many ppl all ard the world had ask me..how on earth did you ppl can stay peacefully without trouble..My answer…because we r different ..we all tolerate n respect other belief ..malays ..indian ..chinese all flow the same blood..only culture divide us..
    Now t man in blue….please buckle up..dun act like a dumb racist chap

  11. Please try to understand wat we are trying to say, we are not against any religion here we grew up watching lion dance n Malay wedding gompang, we enjoy the music n their culture tat is wat we are (Singaporens) but why these double standard, u may argue donkey years ago they were uncontrollable but look out society nw almost 80% of our youth are in traditional wear all well educated sings bajans during Kavadi n plays thavil, isn’t it good enough, we hav to appreciate these changes n support them, we are devotes walking together wif Kavadis but heb n police asking the devotes to follow them to step aside. Is these religious freedom.If tat small gal singing is crime n family supporting is a crime than wat to say. Will she want to do it again next year, she would be so scared to come out n do it again.
    We are not against the government or other religion but don’t treat us like tis. Heb was like own finger poking the eyes.

  12. SPF must be greatly traumatized by the little India riot ….
    It is part of tradition for our Hindu friends and moreover what’s a little singing gotto hurt anyway ? I know the police force isn’t really as professional as before but didn’t realize that they have degenerated to this extend ….. and you wanna talk about counter terrorist ? Who you wanna fool ?…. and you going to stop our Muslim friends from singing loudly at void deck on their wedding day too ? Or maybe you will press charges against GE TAI on 7th month for all the disco lights and loud music ?
    Duh ……

  13. Thaipusam used to be a very vibrant, colorful event & a public holiday too. Used towatch the procession which starts from the temple at Chinatown (Correct me if I m wrong) to tank road or serangoon. Thise days Thaipusam is like sime yearly chingay where folks will gather along streets to watch the procession. But now ….gone r de days

  14. I saw the video clip posted by the concern family. They were behaving decent and were no way warrant Police intervention. The way the Police video team was behaving, you feel like slapping them. Totally disgraceful performance. Unwarranted and deserve public rebuke. Again this govt scored own goal.

  15. I tot the singing was very nice. U know wat is noise? Chinese lion dance during cny, drums at malay weddings, getai during 7th mth and the mindless stupid chingay (what is that in the first place!?)… seriously if thaipusam (tt has become a tourist attraction for malaysia) is becoming a prob for the sg police force, then ban it. Along wif all the other festive ‘noise’ created by other cultures and races. Ban them all. No more noise.

  16. I like Thaipusam very much. Every year I would go and take pictures and hear the drums beating, singing and I dont feel it a distrubance. Y other denomination can make noises to celebration their culture and Indians cannot. Without the noise is just like hvg a lion dance without the drums. Lion dance, Malay wedding, chinese funeral( pls 4give me), seventh month are all so noisy. Y is it not banned?
    We are suppose to be multi racial? We are suppose to endure each others way of life. So whats happening to SINGAPORE?

  17. I think the Government does not want another Little India Riots. Years back the Prophet Mohammed Birthday procession started a Racial Riot that took weeks to get it under control and many others riots always started with religious processions. Prevention is better than to be sorry later. Let not make a mountain out of it because of personal issues and grievances..

    • Are you stupid or were you trained in the fine art of moronic commenting. What the hell has the Little India Riots got to do with Thaipusam, you half-witted imbecile? This is the height of racism as you compare one gathering of fully foreign Indian workers with a devotional gathering of Singaporean citizens. And please explain “many other riots always started with religious processions”, because it is seditious in nature. Please crawl back to hole of whence you have come from, heathen. Malaysian Temples are open for any Singaporean during Thaipusam, yes even racist idiots like you.

  18. Not fair at all…as if the music they play in Thaipusam can be hear in Yishun or Changi meh…only once a year for our Indian friends taking part in Thaipusam also can not give chances meh..we Chinese also love the music playing when they carry the kavadi…

  19. Once a year, let our Hindu friends celebrate. Is it too much to ask? Government uses multi racial excuses only to forward their own agenda. They are the ultimate racist. Noise from countless weddings at void decks karaoke whole day. Lion n dragon dances for almost 2 weeks during CNY. Don’t see police intruding and taking videos of them. Sic.

  20. Just let the Hindus celebrate their festival. It’s rather ironic that they have to “mourn” and keep quiet during a happy occasion. What’s with them singing and playing instruments? Don’t other races in Singapore create louder and noisier sounds when we celebrate/ or even during funerals?