'Indian festivities help bind S'pore together'

SINGAPORE - Residents in Ang Mo Kio celebrated the Indian New Year yesterday, as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong held up the annual festivities as an example of how diverse groups in Singapore come together as one family.

These groups include Singaporeans, new arrivals, permanent residents and people on employment passes, as well as Indians and non-Indians, he told 600 residents and guests at Teck Ghee Community Club.

Dressed in a kurta, an Indian tunic, PM Lee said these groups are "all participating in one big Singapore family... so that we feel that this is a place which is special, belongs to all of us, and where we all celebrate one another's festivals and happy events together".

Indian New Year falls on April 14, but the date varies in different parts of India which use different calendars.

As in the past 10 years, Ang Mo Kio GRC, where Mr Lee is a Member of Parliament, marked the new year with a range of activities.

These included cultural displays such as Thanjavur paintings, a men's bhaji (vegetable fritters) eating competition, and performances of classical Indian dances.

Also in the entourage were the GRC's MPs Inderjit Singh, Seng Han Thong and Yeo Guat Kwang, as well as Mr Darryl David, 43, a deputy director at Temasek Polytechnic and a well-known show host.

This article was published on May 4 in The Straits Times.

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