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'Indian festivities help bind S'pore together'

Residents in Ang Mo Kio celebrates Indian New Year with PM Lee
The Straits Times - May 4, 2014
By: Goh Chin Lian
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'Indian festivities help bind S'pore together' PM Lee Hsien Loong trying his hand at a Thanjavur painting. On his left is visual arts tutor N. Prakash of Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society. -- ST PHOTOS: LAU FOOK KONG

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.

He told The Sunday Times that he had started volunteering at Mr Inderjit's Kebun Baru ward since April last year, including his Meet-the-People Sessions. He is a member of the ward's Citizens Consultative Committee.

Although already a councillor at North East Community Development Council for more than six years, he said he joined Kebun Baru's activities to give back to the community. He has lived in the ward for eight years.

"If you are helping one person write a letter that will help them maybe get a flat faster... to me that's making a difference," he said.

Asked if he would stand for elections if asked, he said: "I enjoy what I'm doing in Kebun Baru. If that ever comes up, then of course I will seriously consider it."

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