Devotees used portable amplifiers and Police received noise disturbance complaint related to Thaipusam

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The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has clarified on the Thaipusam incident on their Facebook page. This is after the Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) made a public apology as videos that have been going viral online show a man who identified himself as a HEB officer allegedly disrupting a family’s kavadi procession. The HEB indicated that the officer is a volunteer.

According to the SPF, the devotees were using portable loudspeakers during the procession at 4am in the morning and the Police had received a report for noise disturbance. The Police has recorded the incident in full and is working with the HEB to ensure that Thaipusam is conducted in a safe and peaceful manner.

We reproduce SPF’s statement in full below:

SPF Statement
Outdoor religious foot processions are generally not allowed. The Government, however, makes an exception for the Hindu community for Thaipusam, and allows an outdoor religious foot procession, in view of the festival’s significance and importance to the community.
Over the past few years, the Police have worked with the Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) to ensure that the Thaipusam foot procession takes place safely for devotees, participants and the general public, and in a manner which is considerate to residents and businesses along the route. The restriction on the playing of musical instruments along the procession route was introduced in 1973. Nevertheless, in response to feedback from devotees who wanted a more vibrant event, the Police and HEB have increasingly allowed religious music over the years. Since 2011, devotees have been able to sing religious hymns along the procession if no amplification devices are used. Static music transmission points were allowed in 2012 to broadcast music to devotees. The number of such music points allowed has increased from just two in 2012, to 23 since last year. Since 2016, three live music points were allowed along the procession route.
The Police are aware of videos circulating online of a kavadi procession at this year’s Thaipusam. This incident took place at around 4am, when some participants in a group of about 16 were singing, amplified through portable loudspeakers, and playing musical instruments. A HEB official advised them to stop, as it was not permitted under the Thaipusam permit conditions. However, one of the participants challenged the HEB official by claiming that what they were playing were not musical instruments. The group, however, eventually complied with the HEB official’s advice, and continued with the procession.
At around 4.30am at Selegie Road, near the Selegie HDB residential estate, the same group of persons was observed to be singing and amplifying the singing through portable loudspeakers. HEB officials and Police officers engaged the group a second time, and advised them to lower the volume. In fact, earlier in the night, Police had received a noise disturbance complaint related to the Thaipusam procession.
Each of the two engagements by the Police in support of the HEB officials was no longer than 10 minutes. The allegation circulating that the group was filmed and followed for 30 minutes is patently untrue. Police officers and HEB officials were accommodative during the engagements despite the group having broken the law and challenging them. Both engagements were filmed in their entirety by Police for evidentiary purposes, both in the interests of the devotees and the Police.
The Police will continue to work closely with HEB to ensure that the Thaipusam procession continues to take place in a peaceful and safe manner, for the sake of the devotees, their families and the many children who also participate, and the residents, businesses and general public along the procession route.

Hindu Endowments Board apologises for Thaipusam procession disruption following public backlash

76 COMMENTS

  1. Live and let live I say! Tolerance and understanding for other religions, practices is far far superior to rules, and regulations! Today’s Singaporeans just don’t have it! They have attitudinal problems, are arrogant MF, self-serving, kiasu, ungracious, greedy, thinks they are the best, …@###x@fffk###ing disgusting people we have here these days, unlike days of old! Mimicking their masters I guess.

  2. Thaipusum is a once-a-year 1 day Hindu religious rite. The Chinese have their lion dance and Muslims have their gongs which are just as noisy . But we have all these festivals in Spore for the longest time. They were never a problem but why now? Singapore police may want to consider not letting a few bad apples to hijack our uniquely colourful Singapore culture.

  3. Authorities should also come forward to explain their stance on a few things too
    Weddings and funerals under void deck
    Burning bins being placed in convenient locations in hdb areas
    The above 2 items also brings about not only environmental pollution but also noise pollution
    If we can have these occurring year round then what is the big deal about thaipusam . In fact make it a learning journey for schools and institutions to understand the significance behind this festival

    • Totally agree bro….. More Indians should speak up regarding to the unfair treatment …. Malay wedding , Chinese Lion Dance … Thaipusam is part of our historical celebration…. all require drums and some form of music played during the occasion …

    • What about funeral wake where noise from playing of drums and symbols, chanting are excessively high; outdoor pap functions where loudspeakers volume can be heard half a km away. These are not occasional events but often enough to make life hell. I am not saying to ban such events but there must be control over noise level and when the noise must stop, if not to house wakes in enclosed air con space, and select more secluded area for outdoor function. If the Govt’s reply is tolerance, then are they saying environmental health hazard should be tolerated!

    • One other gripe I still have is folks ignoring the bins and burning the paper on grassy areas, leaving the candles at the edge of the grass, and still one can find altars in open areas. Let’s all go ballistic and nit pick every religion, culture and ethnic practice and not single out the devotees of Thaipusam.

    • The problem here is no procedures on how to curb the situation , if you want to ban instruments and music at processions then it should apply across the board and while you do that please also ban the use of void deck for funerals and weddings and instead have more halls in cc for this . For burning bins please move to industrial area like tuas and not have it in residential estates . We can all practice our various faiths but in a more responsible and controlled manner . If we continue to let this carry on then ordinary folk will be quarreling with one another

  4. We hear for a long time certain groups want to stir up racial issues. Is this one of them ? Then there are those who want to create an anti law environment. Didn’t the rules get relaxed ? If you want changes further, talk to the authorities. Unless you just want your way to prove high and mighty holy one !

  5. 1. Who are the person(s) who made the police report of noise? Indigenous Singaporeans would know that this processions is a rarity and accept the little inconvenience.

    2. From videos record, the presence of the police filming the participants are as it is threatening, what else is needed to show the passive aggressiveness of SPF?

    3. Hindus hope you remember who caused such bad light on this diaspora.

    4. Lastly, we deserved who we voted for.

  6. “amplified through portable loudspeakers and playing musical instruments”

    So, teacher’s voices “amplified through portable loudspeakers” using the EXACT SAME MODEL used by the girls can barely be heard in a typical classroom is enough to create a din across the “Selegie HDB estate”.

    A good fairytale must be loved when it is read aloud.

  7. First, who made that complaint? Ask them to reveal. Next even if someone made such ridiculous complaint, our First World Police must over react ? The devotees has released video clip and it’s very visible that they were well behaved. The noise level was not all disturbing. Then why the clowns responded as such? Throw weight at innocent and weak people. Shame on you SPF. After Tekka incident, after Holland Road robbery, after watching many of you struggling to apprehend one man, after watching you using cable tie to hand kids, I have ZERO respect for you. I trust any security guard than you guys who are good after someone is dead.

  8. Only once a year…even with a bit of louder noise..I truly believed our local SG ppl will be able to tolerate n morever its only a 2 day event.Whats is the fuss…our authorities?
    We hv been here living together since our forefather n we r different because we hv so many ethnic groups in this country n yet we stayed put in peace.Do not makes another group thinks we r discriminating them or else things could get worse in future.

  9. First off, Thaipusam is not even a holiday which is bad enough for those celebrating it. So what if the possession lasted till wee hours of the morning, it will walked passed in a split second. What’s the big deal.
    If it’s an issue why HEB authorized it till 4am. Furthermore it’s just once a year thing, just let it be man.
    It’s all about tolerance. We all lived together as a community, don’t u all think we should behave like one as well. This incident only prove that we are not…

  10. ‘Police received noise complaint….’ and apparently very efficient in acting on it.

    Interesting to know who complained? Also if someone complained against the noise when the music instrumentts are used to welcome the president or MPs, and or against the CNY noisy celebrations or other events, will the Police be as efficient & do exactly what they have done to the devotees at Thaipusam

    • It’s licensed sir. It’s not like the devotees suka suka start walking at 3am. Anyway, Singapore is a multi cultural society and the keyword should be tolerance. Usually, kavadi Starts later, so the devotee carrying the 30-50kg kavadi will not feel the pain of the weight and piercings while listening to the music, usually aft 8am, however due to the eclipse, at 6pm, it was permitted for the devotees to leave the Temples earlier than usual as eclipse is deemed as a bad omen and Temples would be closed

  11. So I must interject now.. This year.. There was an eclipse. The HEB reduced the hours of the procession and this is why there were kavadis at wee hours of the morning. I myself was at the temple from 1130 the night before and left the temple at 230 am. So SPF pls don’t make ‘patently’ half statements. Put out a full and proper statement of facts. We deal with facts. Nothing less nothing more.. 30 years ago alot of hooliganism associated with thaipusam. The community as a whole has improved.. Become more educated and still we believe in Thaipusam and kavadi. You have a responsibility to us, a duty of care and general support during such events. Just like how u expect to us to toe the line when u want us to.