The curious case of music and Thaipusam

So strict for what?

Thaipusam is one of the greatest spectacles in our multi-cultural and multi-religious society. The sight of a procession of kavadi bearers walking the 3km route is pretty amazing. But what has always made me scratch my head was the ban on live music. This one I really catch no ball.

For 42 years, going back to 1973, the playing of musical instruments on the streets during Thaipusam was banned due to past fights between competing groups. Only from 2016, live music was played from three stages in Hastings Road, Short Street and Dhoby Ghaut Green.


I can understand why devotees would want live music. Carrying a kavadi is undoubtedly tough and having music motivates them to press on. So for the ban to last 42 years is madness. Surely, there can be some security measures in place to mitigate any risk of public order issues? How to tackle terrorist problems when this kind of thing also don’t know how to do crowd control meh? And seriously, the playing of music can cause devotees to start whacking each other???

Even now, the playing of live music on designated stages is just a half-measure. Yeah it’s better than nothing I guess but it’s still lame. I’m not Indian but this whole situation is so cock that I needed to say something on behalf of my Indian brothers and sisters.

A FB video posted by a dude called Suresh Vanaz has gone viral. Among other issues, he mentions the playing of music at Thaipusam. He also questions why Thaipusam is not a public holiday as Indians only have one public holiday a year i.e. Deepavali.

I feel like it’s quite unfair leh.  The government said before that there are no plans to make Thaipusam a public holiday. According to Deputy Prime Minister Tharman, the days were chosen in consultation with the major religious groups and “represent a careful balancing of the interests amongst the various groups in our society”.

Well, I’m sorry but I don’t agree with that. I think it’s time we allow live music at Thaipusam and it should be a public holiday. What do you think?