The issue of drums, cymbals and gongs
The new directive on what can or cannot be done during Thaipusam is going to become very contentious and a very difficult position to defend. The policy is going to cut very deeply into the credibility of the decision makers. In my view, the thinking behind it is half baked as the repercussion across all community festivals will bear through its naivety. The closest policy in the same vein is the banning of a bicycle event in East Coast Park, very similar thinking, and very short sighted. The controversy will only grow with everyday and with every festival in our multi cultural society. The danger of big festivals is obvious. The death toll of a cultural event in Cambodia was too vivid and recent to be forgotten. So were the cases in India and Saudi Arabia. In huge crowds driven to a frenzy, any small mistake will be multipled and can become a disaster or a tragedy. Even our National Day Celebration or New Year Eve Count Down could turn ugly. The trick is how to manage and control the crowds in big events. The bigger trick is how to introduce directives and manage an event sensibly and fairly without being seen to be discriminatory. Ah, the art of govt and the skills of the policy makers are very demanding in such circumstances. Any half baked idea will quickly back fired.