Topic: Multi Cultural Society and Racial Harmony Explanatory Paragraph What is Multiculturalism Multiculturalism is the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, when applied to the demographic make-up like in Singapore. In a political context the term is used for a range of meanings, ranging from the advocacy of equal respect to the various cultures in a society, to a policy of promoting the maintenance of cultural diversity, to policies in which people of various ethnic and religious groups are addressed by the authorities as defined by the group they belong to. A common aspect of many such policies is that they avoid presenting any specific ethnic, religious, or cultural community values as central. People of Singapore Singapore is the most densely populated country in Asia with a population of 4,608,167 (est. 2009). The Housing and Development Board of the country provides public housing to almost 85% of the city –state residents. The city-state also endows with remarkable example of an immigrant society in Southeast Asia. Base on the 2006 Statistics, Singapore has a multiracial population in which 76.8% are Chinese (one of the largest Chinese community out of China), 13.9% are Malays, 7.9% are Indians and the rest are Eurasians and other groups. The strategic location of Singapore is one of the factors why the country has a multicultural society. In order to ensure peace and harmony among the numerous religious and ethnic groups the government of Singapore gives emphasis on racial harmony in all aspect of the society- education, housing and military. Before Sir Stamford Raffles established the British trading post in Singapore, the country was populated by less than two hundred Malays. In 1819 after Raffles took possession of Singapore for Britain the island became a thriving free port, immigrant settlers from China, India, Indonesian Islands and Malay Peninsula soon came. Within five years after the establishment of the free port the country’s population had risen to more than ten thousand people. After twentyfive years of the foundation the country population was dominated by Chinese immigrants. The Malays are the first inhabitants of Singapore and the second largest ethnic group in the country. The Malays are generally of mixed descents. Originally, the local Malays came from aboriginal Orang Laut that dwells along the Singapore River, and the other coastal Malay groups that have intermarried with nonMalays and mostly are non-Malay stocks. The modern Malays of Singapore has been closely identified with their Malay ancestry. Chinese have formed the majority of Singapore’s population since the colonial period. Majority of the Chinese living in the country are from the southern Fukian province, and from Guangdong Province. Chinese immigrants began to move to Singapore during the 19th and 20th century to escape the conflict and poverty in China. The Chinese can be classified into several ethnic subgroups namely Cantonese, Hainanese, Hakkas, Hokkiens, Teochew and others. Each group has their own dialects which mostly uncommon to one another. Thus to unify the Chinese society the government came up with the Speak Mandarin Campaign. Chinese Singaporeans are descendants of Chinese immigrants or born in Singapore and attained a citizenship or a permanent residence status. They showed the widest range of class, educational and occupational status. The Chinese society in Singapore is considered to be one with a high degree of social mobility and in which status increasingly dictated by educational background and command of English and Mandarin languages. Today the Chinese in Singapore recognize themselves as Singaporeans rather than Chinese. Indians are the third largest ethnic group in Singapore like the Chinese and the Malays, Indians in Singapore belong to several groups - Tamil, the largest Indian group; Punjabis, Malayalees and Bengalis. The first Indian settlers in the country arrived from Malacca and Penang then eventually from India and Sri Lanka. Indians are complex and diverse group of people they are well presented in all levels of occupational hierarchy. Most of the Indians in the city state are bi or multi lingual and are adept at mixing Malay and Hokkien in their speech. Among the ethnic groups Indians are more likely to arrange marriages for their children or restrict the choice of partners to acceptable social class. Despite of the numerous ethnic groups residing in Singapore, still it is considered to be the best place to live, play and work. Singapore has succeeded in creating a remarkable tolerance for racial and religious difference in a multicultural society. Racial Harmony Day is celebrated annually on 21 July in Singapore. The event is to commemorate the 1964 Race Riots, which took place on 21 July 1964. Know the traditional clothes worn by the different ethnic groups in Singapore-Chinese-cheong sam, Malays-Baju Kurong, songkok, sarong, Indians-Saree, Kurta,dhoti The cheongsam is a body-hugging one-piece Chinese dress for women; the male version is the changshan. The stylish and often tight-fitting cheongsam or qipao (chipao) that is most often associated with today was created in the 1920s in Shanghai and was made fashionable by socialites and upperclass women. Malay dress baju Kurung The baju kurung is a traditional Malay costume which loosely translated as "Enclosed Dress". This type of costume is the national dress of Brunei and Malaysia, and can also be found in Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand. Although "Baju Kurung" is the name for the attire for both male and female, in Malaysia, the female dress is referred to as "Baju Kurung", while the male dress is referred to as "Baju Melayu". Two versions of the costumes are popular. One is the Baju Kurung Teluk Belanga and the other is the Baju Kurung Cekak Musang. The main difference between this two fashion styles is the cutting style at the neck, where the Teluk Belanga style has no collar and the neckline is stitched in the style known as "tulang belut" ("eel's spines or bones"). The Baju Kurung Teluk Belanga originated, as its name implies, from Teluk Belanga, in the island of Singapore, which was previously the capital of the state of Johor. On the other hand the Cekak Musang style has a standing collar with holes for five buttons including two buttons for the collar. Songkok/Peci A peci, songkok, or kopiah is a cap widely worn in Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, the southern Philippines and southern Thailand, mostly among Muslim males. It has the shape of a truncated cone, almost always made of black or embroidered felt, cotton or velvet. It is ordinarily worn with the traditional outfit for men. It is also worn by male in formal situations such as wedding feasts, funerals or festive occasions such as the Muslim Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha and came to be associated with Islam in Malaysia. The songkok may be a form of taqiyah or Muslim cap. According to one Brunei newspaper account, the songkok became a norm in Maritime Southeast Asia around the 13th century with the coming of Islam in the region. Alternatively, it may be related to the fez, which was adopted by the Ottomans in 1830. In Malay literature, the word "songkok" is mentioned in Syair Siti Zubaidah (1840).[ Sarong A sarong or sarung is a large tube or length of fabric, often wrapped around the waist and worn as a kilt by men and as a skirt by women throughout much of South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa, and on many Pacific islands. The fabric most often has woven plaid or checkered patterns, or may be brightly colored by means of batik or ikat dyeing. Many modern sarongs also have printed designs, often depicting animals or plants. Dhoti The dhoti or pancha is the traditional men's garment in the Asian subcontinent in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. A similar garment is worn in some rural areas of Punjab province in Pakistan, but the use is fast declining. It is a rectangular piece of unstitched cloth, usually around 4.5 meters long, wrapped around the waist and the legs and knotted at the waist. Sari A sari or saree is a strip of unstitched cloth, worn by female, ranging from four to nine metres in length that is draped over the body in various styles. It is popular in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Burma, and Malaysia. The most common style is for the sari to be wrapped around the waist, with one end then draped over the shoulder baring the midriff. The sari is usually worn over a petticoat, with a blouse known as a choli or ravika forming the upper garment. The choli has short sleeves and a low neck and is usually cropped, and as such is particularly well-suited for wear in the sultry South Asian summers. Cholis may be backless or of a halter neck style. These are usually more dressy with plenty of embellishments such as mirrors or embroidery, and may be worn on special occasions. Women in the armed forces, when wearing a sari uniform, don a short-sleeved shirt tucked in at the waist. The sari developed as a garment of its own in both South and North India at around the same time, and is in popular culture an epitome of Indian culture. Know the festivals of different ethnic groups in Singapore-ChineseMalays and Indians Chinese Festivals 1 Chinese New Year / Chinese Lunar New Year are also known as Spring Festival. The festival begins on the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar and ends with Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day. Chinese New Year's Eve, a day where Chinese families gather for their annual reunion dinner, is known as "Eve of the Passing Year." 2 The Qingming Festival , Ching Ming Festival in Hong Kong, Vietnamese, Pure Brightness Festival or Clear Bright Festival, Ancestors Day or Tomb Sweeping Day is a traditional Chinese festival on the 104th day after the winter solstice (or the 15th day from the Spring Equinox), usually occurring around April 5 of the Gregorian calendar (see Chinese calendar). 3 Chingay Festival was held in celebration with the birthdays of the Chinese deities or the procession of the Goddess of Mercy (Guanyin). Chingay is originated from China, and the Penang Chinese first performed Chingay during deity processions. It is a street art where the performer balances a giant flag that ranges from 25 ft to 32 ft in height and about 60 pounds in weigh. Today, in Singapore, Chingay is not only performed by the Chinese, but the art has successfully attracted the Malays and Indians. It has become a unique multiracial performance. The popularity of Chingay in Singapore has made it one of the very impressive cultural landmarks as well as an important tourist attraction. It was first held in 1973 in Singapore 4 The Ghost Festival, also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival, is a traditional Chinese festival and holiday celebrated by Chinese in many countries. In the Chinese calendar (a lunisolar calendar), the Ghost Festival is on the 15th night of the seventh lunar month (14th in southern China). The seventh month in general is regarded as the Ghost Month, in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm. Distinct from both the Qingming Festival and Chung Yeung Festival in which living descendants pay homage to their deceased ancestors, on Ghost Day, the deceased are believed to visit the living. Activities during the month would include preparing ritualistic food offerings, burning incense, and burning joss paper, a papier-mâché form of material items such as clothes, gold and other fine goods for the visiting spirits of the ancestors. Elaborate meals (often vegetarian meals) would be served with empty seats for each of the deceased in the family treating the deceased as if they are still living Malay Festivals 1. Hari Raya Haji, otherwise known as the “Festival of Sacrifice”, is celebrated over a period of three days by Muslims all over the world. It commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son in the name of God. According to the Islamic calendar, Hijrah, this festival starts on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja, 70 days after the holy month of Ramadan. Practicing Muslims celebrate this auspicious day to mark the end of Hajj, the annual holy pilgrimage to Mecca. The Hajj, which is currently the largest annual pilgrimage in the world, sees thousands of pilgrims simultaneously converge on the Holy land to perform a series of rituals. It is also considered the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious obligation for able-bodied Muslims with the financial means. It is not just a powerful demonstration of the solidarity between Muslim men and women, but also of their complete submission to Allah (God in the Islamic scriptures of the Quran). 2. Hari Raya, Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id l-Fitr (Arabic: عيد ‘ الفطرĪdu l-Fiṭr), often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast". The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-tosunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The first day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month Shawwal. Eid-ul-Fitr has a particular salah (Islamic prayer) consisting of two raka'ah (units) and generally offered in an open field or large hall called an Eed-gah. It may only be performed in congregation (Jama’at) and has an additional extra six Takbirs (raising of the hands to the ears while saying Allah-uAkbar [God is Great]), three of them in the beginning of the first raka'ah and three of them just before ruku' in the second raka'ah in the Hanafi school. This Eid ul-Fitr salah is, depending on which juristic opinion is followed, Fard (obligatory), Mustahabb (strongly recommended, just short of obligatory) or mandoob (preferable). 3. Hindu Festivals The festivals celebrated by Indians-Deepavali also known as Festival of Lights. Fire walking ceremony, Thaipusam, Harvest festival. Check out when these are celebrated and the reasons for celebration. Also know what is done before and on the day of the festival. Diwali (also spelled Devali in certain regions) or Deepavali, popularly known as the "festival of lights", is an important one-day festival in Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism, celebrated for different reasons, occurring between midOctober and mid-November. For Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. During Diwali, all the celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends. Diwali commemorates the return of Lord Rama, along with Sita and Lakshmana, from his 14-yearlong exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. In joyous celebration of the return of their king, the people of Ayodhya, the Capital of Rama, illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas and by bursting firecrackers. Thaipusam (Tamil: தைப்பூசம், Taippūcam ?) is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February). It is celebrated not only in countries where the Tamil community constitutes a majority, but also in countries where Tamil communities are smaller, such as Singapore and Malaysia. The festival is also referred to as Thaipooyam or Thaippooyam . The word Thaipusam is derived from the month name Thai and Pusam, which refers to a star that is at its highest point during the festival. The festival commemorates the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a vel "spear" so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadam. There is a misconception among people that Thaipusam marks Murugan's birthday; however, it is believed that Vaikhasi Vishakam, which falls in the Vaikhasi month (May/June), is Murugan's birthday. 1 Thai Ponggal (Tamil: தைப்ப ொங்கல்) is a harvest festival celebrated by Tamils in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Indian Union Territory of Puducherry and in Sri Lanka. Pongal coincides with the festival Makara Sankranthi celebrated throughout India. Pongal in Tamil means "boiling over" or "spill over". The boiling over of milk in the clay pot symbolizes material abundance for the household. Thai Pongal, celebrated at harvest time, is traditionally intended to thank the Sun God and farmstead livestock that helped create the material abundance. Ponggal is traditionally dedicated to the Sun God Surya. Tamils thank the solar deity for the good harvest and consecrate the first grain to him on this 'Surya Mangalyam'. 2 Theemithi (Fire Walking Festival)Witness the faith of Hindu devotees as they follow in the footsteps of the goddess Draupadi, who proved her innocence by walking barefoot on burning coals. Celebrations begin at 2am at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple and the fire-walking starts at 3am at the Sri Mariamman Temple. Visitors to the temples are advised to dress respectfully and to remove their shoes at the door. Q&A 1. Who are the first inhabitants of Singapore? a. The Chinese are the first inhabitants of Singapore. b. The Malays are the first inhabitants of Singapore. c. The Indians are the first inhabitants of Singapore. d. The British are the first inhabitants of Singapore. 2. What is the largest ethnic group and what percentage are they today? a. The Chinese are the largest ethnic groups and they are 66.8% of total population. b. The Chinese are the largest ethnic groups and they are 76.8% of total population. c. The Malays are the largest ethnic groups and they are 66.8% of total population d. The Malays are the largest ethnic groups and they are 76.8% of total population 3. When is the Racial Harmony day? What is the significance of it? a. Racial Harmony Day is celebrated annually on 9 Aug in Singapore. The event is to commemorate the 1964 Race Riots, which took place on 9 Aug b. Racial Harmony Day is celebrated annually on 21 July in Singapore. The event is to commemorate the 1964 Race Riots, which took place on 21 July 1964. c. Racial Harmony Day is celebrated annually on 21 July in Singapore. The event is to commemorate the Singapore’s Merger with Malaysia in 21-July 1964. d. Racial Harmony Day is celebrated annually on 21 July in Singapore. The event is to commemorate the Singapore’s Seperation with Malaysia in 21July 1964. 4. What race of which traditional clothes is Sarong and what type of dress is that? a. The Sarong is traditional dress of Chinese, It is a body-hugging, one-piece Chinese dress for women. b. The Sarong is traditional dress of Malays, It is often wrapped around the waist and worn by men and women c. The Sarong is traditional dress of Malays, It is a traditional cap worn on special occasions d. The Sarong is traditional dress of Indian women, It is a long piece of colorful cloth draped over the body. 5. When is the Hungry Ghost festival celebrated? a. Hungry Ghost Festival is on the 15th night of the 1st month of Chinese Lunar New Year. b. Hungry Ghost Festival is on the 15th night of the seventh lunar month. c. Hungry Ghost Festival is on the 1st night of the 1st month of Chinese Lunar New Year. d. Hungry Ghost Festival is on the 15th night of the July Every year. 6. What race of which traditional clothes is Cheongsam and what type of dress is that? a. The Cheongsam is traditional dress of Chinese, It is a body-hugging, onepiece Chinese dress for women. b. The Cheongsam is traditional dress of Chinese, It is a body-hugging, twopiece Chinese dress for men c. The Cheongsam is traditional dress of Malays, It is often wrapped around the waist and worn by men and women d. The Cheongsam is traditional dress of Indian women, It is a long piece of colorful cloth draped over the body 7. What is the significance of Hari Raya or Eid ul-Fitr? a. Hari Raya Haji, otherwise known as the “Festival of Sacrifice”, is celebrated over a period of three days by Muslims all over the world. b. Hari Raya or Eid Ul Fitr means the beginning of the fasting month, usually dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan c. Hari Raya or Eid Ul Fitr means the New Year for Muslims. Celebrates the arrival of new year in the month of Ramadan d. Hari Raya or Eid Ul Fitr means the Festival of breaking the fast. Celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan 8. What is Diwali and its significance? a. Diwali is Festival of Harvest, is for thanking sun god. b. Diwali is Festival of Lights to signify the triumph of good over evil c. Diwali is the Festival breaking of Fasting to seek forgiveness of God d. Diwali is the Festival of Lights to signify the Indian New year Celebrations 9. What is Theemithi and its significance? a. Theemithi is the Fire Walking Event, it is thanks giving to good. b. Theemithi is Festival of Harvest, is for thanking sun god. c. Theemithi Festival of Lights to signify the triumph of good over evil d. Theemithi the Indian New year Celebrations 10. What are the official languages of Singapore? a. Chinese, English, Malay and Indian are the four official languages of Singapore. b. Chinese, English, Mandarin and Malay are the four official languages of Singapore. c. Chinese, English, French and Malay are the four official languages of Singapore. d. Chinese, English, Malay and Tamil are the four official languages of Singapore.