T H E H E A R T B E A T O F T H E I N D I A N C O M M U N I T Y
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
OCTOBER 13, 2017
MCI (P) 043/09/2017
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Oriental Pied Hornbills paying a surprise visit
to Lavanya Prakash’s home in the West Coast.
Singapore’s conservation efforts are paying off with many
species of animals and birdlife thriving in this ‘city in a garden’
REPORT ON PAGES 14 & 15
TO BE HELD
First women fighter pilots by
THE first three women fighter
pilots of the Indian Air Force (IAF)
will be commissioned by the end
of this year, while a second batch
of three women are being trained
for the role.
Asked if more women officers
would be commissioned as fighter
pilots, IAF chief B.S. Dhanoa said
it depends on how many women
volunteer and how many of them
clear the aptitude and other tests
required for the role.
He added that it is currently an
experimental project for five years,
and the Defence Ministry will then
decide whether to continue it.
Goa beaches open for
swimming after monsoon ban
AFTER being sealed off for swim-
ming during the monsoon, safe
swim zones were re-opened at
Goa’s popular beaches on Oct 9.
At the start of the monsoon
season, the lifeguards’ body
had issued an advisory instruct-
ing visitors to the beach not to
venture into the sea from June to
The agency has also issued
safety tips, which urge beachgoers
to keep a close eye on children
while in the water and to avoid
swimming during rough tides.
IMF cuts India’s growth
THE International Monetary
Fund (IMF) has reduced India’s
growth forecast for this year to
6.7 per cent, down from an earlier
estimate of 7.2 per cent, pointing
to the lingering impact of demon-
etisation and transition to the
Goods and Services Tax.
The government has faced
criticism over its handling of the
economy after growth slowed to
a three-year low of 5.7 per cent
from April to June.
But India is likely to regain the
fastest growing major economy
tag next year when it is expected
to grow 7.4 per cent.
Delhi Metro increases fares
for distances above 2km
THE Delhi Metro has increased
its fares — for the second time
this year — despite opposition
from the Delhi government, ignit-
ing mostly negative responses
from commuters amid some
confusion over the hike.
The minimum fare of Rs10 for a
distance of up to 2km will remain
the same. Fares for all the other
slabs were hiked.
The new fares are Rs20 for 2km
to 5km, Rs30 for 5km to 12km,
Rs40 for 12km to 21km, Rs50
for 21km to 32km and Rs60 for a
ride longer than that.
Legislators to be served lunch
during sessions in Bengaluru
FOOD will be served to legisla-
tors at the Vidhana Soudha in
Bengaluru, seat of the Karnataka
state legislature, when it is in ses-
The decision to serve lunch was
made after observing that many
legislators go out to eat and skip
the post-lunch session.
The menu served will be dif-
ferent each day, including boiled
vegetables, chapatis, and fruits, as
well as non-vegetarian fare.
LED lights to keep leopards
LED lights have found a new
use in India — to reduce human-
leopard conflict in the Aarey Milk
Colony in Goregaon.
The forest department is dis-
tributing specialised red blinking
LEDs to keep leopards at bay.
Dr Jitendra Ramgaonkar,
deputy conservator of forests, said
the blinking LED lights will make
it look like there is some activity
there, keeping the leopards away.
The forest department has
distributed 20 LED lights and will
get feedback from locals. It is also
carrying out the experiment in
some other parts of Maharashtra
and has seen some success.
Delhi’s Central Vista has a
new lighting system
A SPECIAL lighting system for
Central Vista — comprising the
iconic North and South Block
buildings of the Indian govern-
ment — with 16 million colour
combinations, displaying a wide
range of patterns and themes at
night, with colours changing ev-
ery few seconds, was inaugurated
on Oct 11.
Costing Rs15.40 crores, the
new lighting which spans an area
of 21,450sq m on the facade of
the two buildings, will be on show
from 7pm to 5am throughout the
October 13, 2017
Siglap shows the way
This is the sixth in a series
of seven articles featuring
the shared experiences
of members of the Indian
Siglap South CC
with an Indian touch,
from all walks of
NITIALLY members from the
Siglap South Community Cen-
tre (CC) Indian Activity Execu-
tive Committee (IAEC) comprised
mainly local Indians — profession-
als and also housewives.
But over the years as the com-
mittee encouraged new immigrants
to give back to the community, its
membership increased with a good
mix of locals and those from India.
Since 2001, the IAEC, which
reaches out to residents in the Joo
Chiat constituency, has been or-
ganising activities with “an Indian
touch” to inform and educate its
residents on the various aspects of
Indian culture and heritage.
In the process, it has brought to-
gether Indians and locals with a va-
riety of events.
Said Dr Uma Rajan, who chairs
the 30-member Siglap South CC
IAEC: “We’re a 100 per cent landed
and condominium population...
“There are many permanent resi-
dents from India, China, Europe and
Australia, who live in the condo-
miniums here and the expat num-
bers tend to be high especially at the
Mandarin Gardens condominium.”
The activities that the Siglap South
CC IAEC organises are also attuned
to the residential community, which
Dr Rajan, 77, said is mostly of a
higher socio-economical level.
‘A curious combination’
One of the large-scale events the
committee organised last year was
Deepavali Sangam at the Ritz Carl-
ton. The celebratory function blend-
ed northern and southern Indian
Said Dr Rajan: “Over the years,
we have seen a very high percent-
age of north Indians with sub-ethnic
communities such as the Maha-
rashtrians. There is a wide network
of Indians and each one doesn’t
know the other’s sub-ethnic culture
— there are differences in cuisine,
dance, music, language and even the
decoration is different.”
The event saw northern and
southern cultural programmes in-
cluding film music.
Indian home entrepreneurs also
set up stalls at the event.
“It was an opportunity for people
to know what’s happening
community and learn about the way
Deepavali is celebrated locally
different sub-ethnic Indian groups.
It was a curious combination of
northern and southern elements,”
said Dr Rajan.
A creative connection
In September last year, a visual
arts exhibition, Palettes Of Passion,
featured the works of locals and
A number of them were from the
Said Dr Rajan: “There are a large
number of residents in the constitu-
ency who are artists and love to
paint. They brought their works for
along with those of other
artists from all over the island.”
Though the paintings were
not on sale at the exhibi-
tion some of them were
purchased directly from
the artists later.
Said Dr Rajan: “Par-
locals and Indi-
wide range of
Holi By The
was held in
brought together people from all
walks of life.
The event, in its fourth year, was
organised by the Siglap South CC
IAEC and Indian Women’s Associa-
tion, and saw a mix of races coming
together to enjoy the Indian festival.
“We see Chinese, Malays, Cauca-
sians, Eurasians coming from as far
as Punggol and Jurong. There is mu-
sic, dance and good family fun. Peo-
ple get to know what Holi is about,
learn something about one anoth-
er’s culture and they also make new
friends,” said Dr Rajan.
An Indian festival of dolls, Bom-
mai Kolu, organised during the nine-
day Navaratri festival a few years
ago, also brought together people
of different races in the Joo Chiat
constituecny. The IAEC opened the
event to residents, young and old, to
display their dolls.
The dolls could be of any theme
and many children even brought
their Barbie dolls and arranged
them on the steps.
The event caught the interest
of many locals, especially children,
who were keen to participate and
learn more about the festival
the wide variety of dolls,” said Dr
In February this year, the IAEC
organised a poetry event — Shake-
speare And The Navarasa s — where
nine passages from Sha
various works detailing nine differ-
ent moods were read and acted out
by well-known theatre personalities .
Said Dr Rajan: “We also had a
well-know n Indian immigrant clas-
sical dancer portray the Navarasas
and local flutist and drummer
to provide live music to depict
the various moods. ”
The audience comprised a
good mix of Indians and non-
“It was a highly successful
programme as everyone could
relate to Shakespeare and at
the same time we had an In-
dian component in the Navara-
sas,” said Dr Rajan, adding that
many asked for repeat perfor-
‘Feels like more than home’
One of the volunteers, Mrs Sapna
Mahip Gupta, joined the Siglap
South IAEC to give back to the
The Jaipur-born 42-year-old, who
received Singapore citizenship in
2014, felt the committee was the
best platform to do so.
The Mandarin Gardens condo-
minium resident, who helps to plan
and organise events, said: “There is
a blend of so many cultures in Singa-
pore. It feels like home... more than
home actually. It’s fun to be part of
this committee, I don’t think of it as
volunteering because I’m enjoying
Dr Uma Rajan, who has seen
locals and foreigners bonding at
the activities, said: “We’re a multi-
ethnic, multi-religious and multi-
cultural community so in whatever
we do, our ultimate objective is that
we want everybody to be united. We
want them to make friends, bond
together, make friends, and under-
stand each other’s cultures.”
Organising events for all... (Top) a bhangra performance during the Deepavali Sangam
event and (above) participants at Holi By The Sea. (Below) Mrs Sapna Mahip Gupta
(left) with Dr Uma Rajan.
SIGLAP SOUTH CC IAEC,
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