Event offers insight into Sikh culture

RAVI SINGARAM

An intercultural event last Saturday left around 100 people of different races and religions with a deeper understanding of Sikhism.

Titled “Singapore Sikhs”, the event was held at the National Library Board (NLB) building, where attendees took in a cultural display of Sikhism in the form of performances and dialogues.

Visitors were introduced to Sikh artefacts, arts and craft, garments and musical instruments.

A segment featuring turban tying was especially popular with the attendees.

The audience was also treated to musical performances by the Singapore Dhol Squad and Shere Punjab Bhangra Singapore, among others.

The event was organised by the Centre for Singapore Tamil Culture, NLB, Singapore Khalsa Association (SKA), Sikh Advisory Board and Young Sikh Association.

Professor Tan Tai Yong, president of the Singapore University of Social Sciences and chairman of the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, delivered the keynote address.

A long-term scholar of Sikhism, Prof Tan, who has written a book on the Singapore Khalsa Association, spoke about the contributions Sikhs have made to Singapore from the colonial times to the modern era.

“In the true spirit of a Sikh (the word Sikh means learner or disciple), I am still learning more about the culture,” he said. “There is still so much that we can learn from one another.”

A panel discussion highlighted the origins of Sikhism, its core values and unique cultural facets such as its food, music and dance. The discussions also touched on the challenges in expanding this culture to the younger generations.

SKA president Hernaikh Singh said it was heartening to see people of diverse cultures coming together to learn more about Sikhism. “It’s a true reflection of our multiculturalism,” he said. “The participants walked away with a richer understanding and appreciation of the values that Sikhs stand for.”

Singapore Polytechnic student Xuan Ting, who attended the event, said: “Though I’m Singaporean and have been living here for 17 years, I’d never been to an event like this. It was insightful.”

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