I love the phrase “gracious mindfulness” -a state associated with the making of offerings. Usually an offering is something simple, like flowers or incense, food or fruit and is given to improve one’s position in the cycle of life and death, or to release one from suffering.
As we left the car, we immediately came upon the floral offering in the photograph and as we made our way through the streets, we happened upon concessions making and selling offerings for the nearby temple – Kuil Sri Veeramakaliamman. It is believed the temple was built in 1855 by Tamil laborers and from my research, I believe it to be Dravidian architecture.
When war broke out in Singapore in 1942, the temple served as refuge from the bombings that were threatening the city and its inhabitants. It was believed the temple would provide safety and security – which in fact it did. The temple emerged unscathed with all its statues intact. During my visit, the building was under renovation so I couldn’t see the carvings – although I saw two similar temples while in Chinatown.
In Singapore, Tamil students learn Tamil as their second language in school, with English as the first. To preserve the Tamil language, the Singapore government has made it an official language despite Tamils comprising only about 5% of the population, and has also introduced compulsory instruction of the language for Tamils.
SW spoke of the support the government lends in keeping alive the culture and community of each constituency, whether Malay, Chinese, British, Indian – including a strict policy on cultural balance in each section of the city. I continue to be enthralled by the multicultural dynamism of Singapore.