Thaipusam 2011 noise curbs: impact on CNY

To toast the last day of Chinese New Year 2011 in Singapore, my friends and I gathered at a Yishun coffee shop.

Someone said,”You know, this Chinese New Year is very boring. Last year at least the lion dance troupes went around visiting homes and shops. Although noisy, it was exciting and made the atmosphere more festive.”

Others also wondered why they were absent. 

Another said, “I heard a lion dance drum but it was very soft, like the person scared to play or something.”

Those of us who were aware of the controversy over the Thaipusam noise curbs then enlightened the ignorant ones. 

“Aiyah, Thaipusam only once a year, make a bit of noise also cannot” sums up the general sentiment among us. 

I recall the government trumpeting the vision of making Singapore the best home for all.

With all kinds of inane restrictions, best home for whom? For expats on fat expense accounts and PRs from third world countries?

Giving us an unsolicited perspective was this pot-bellied guy nursing a bottle of beer at the next table:”What best home? This cannot do,  that cannot do.”

If the authorities insist on applying the letter of the law instead of its spirit all the time, Singapore will soon be reduced to a really dull place. 

Sometimes using commonsense is wiser than strict interpretation of the law. 


5 Responses to “Thaipusam 2011 noise curbs: impact on CNY”

  1. The X’mas decorations along Orchard road is hazardous to road users, especially during rainy days. Perhaps we should ban those decorations as well?

    • Excellent observation. If falling light bulbs fall on us who’s to take the blame? One errant spark can cause a conflagration, ruining the tourism sector and causing loss of lives and properties. Our GDP will take a hit. The minister concerned must re-visit the law on the matter.

  2. Update: speaking to a stranger at a car wash this morning, he said,”Ya ah, this year no lion dance in my place Bukit Batok there. Don’t know why ah. Last year got. Why ah?”

  3. I’m rather surprised that many (?) estates were quiet during the recent CNY. It wasn’t the case in mine. I heard roving lion troupes at least 3 times over the 2 days of public holiday. The only thing that was (miraculously) silent was the construction site. But as there aren’t that many Chinese in my estate, the festivity of people going around visiting wasn’t very obvious, as was also the case during past years.

    Coincidentally, for some reason, the Thaipusam music-ban issue is again featured in CNA (18 Feb 11), with the headline
    Rules for Thaipusam apply to all religious processions: Shanmugam”

    Perhaps this issue was raised with respect to CNY. But unless I’m mistaken, CNY & lion dances have no religious affiliation or significance, so there shouldn’t be any legal issue, right ? If lion dance troupes were silent because they did not dare to play during CNY, could it be a case of self-censorship ? In fact, I prefer to call this festive season Lunar New Year, as it is tied to the lunar phases & the onset of spring. As such, it is one of those festivals that can be celebrated by everyone regardless of religion, because we all share the same planet & see the same moon.

    Ultimately, a progressive sort of world is one where everyone is free to celebrate everybody’s festivals (religious or not) without being hindered by authoritarian rules, or else fearfully resorting to self-censorship.

  4. Thanks Pat for your views.

    On the heels of the Thaipusam noise curbs in January, netizens angrily demanded that to be fair there should be no lion dance during CNY as well.

    It could be self-censorship, but I’d rather think that the bureaucrats had warned them.

    This government obsession with control leads them to over-regulation.

    In our multi-cultural society, we can enjoy each other’s festivals and rich heritage, and yes there shouldn’t be any silly restrictions.

    Instead of encouraging citizens to do that, they’re putting people off. The PAP government has scored an own goal.

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