Different faiths never an issue in their marriage

Madam Tay Bee Yan, 48, visits two temples on her twice-yearly pilgrimages to Waterloo Street.

First, she goes to the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple dedicated to the goddess of compassion Guan Yin, where the devout Buddhist lights a joss stick or two.

Then, she accompanies her Hindu husband, Mr S. Raveendran, 55, to the Sri Krishnan Temple next door, where he prays to the deities there

The couple have negotiated ups and downs in their eight-year marriage, but their different faiths have never been an issue, they said. "There are many similarities between Hindus and Buddhists," said Madam Tay, a management support officer.

"We are both vegetarians," she added, laughing.

And yet, a national survey on religion found that many are not comfortable to marry a person of another faith or to have their children do so. Among Buddhists, for instance, only 35 per cent are comfortable to have a Hindu spouse.

But both Madam Tay and Mr Raveendran's families are supportive. "We come from open-minded families," said Mr Raveendran, a retired prisons officer.

Madam Tay said: "I was already 38 when I met my husband. I didn't even know I was going to get married. When I did, my family didn't object to his religion."

The couple have decided to let their two boys, aged seven and five, choose their religion when they are older. But Madam Tay admitted that "whenever they are naughty, I will tell them to go to the altar and talk to Guan Yin".

This article was first published on June 18, 2014.
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