Singapore, Jun 11 (PTI) The Singapore police are investigating an incident in which a 48-year old woman was filmed interrupting her neighbour's Hindu prayers by banging a gong.
Police confirmed that a report was lodged and the woman is assisting the police with investigations, reported The Straits Times on Thursday.
On Wednesday evening, Livanesh Ramu posted a 19-second video clip of the incident on Facebook, which shows a bespectacled man ringing a bell - a common practice in Hindu prayers - while conducting rites outside his apartment unit in the public housing estate of state-run Housing and Development Board.
A woman then emerges from the flat next door, picks up a stick from the ground and bashes it vigorously against a small gong for around 15 seconds. After the man stoops down and the sound of the bell becomes inaudible, she continues hitting the gong a few more times before returning to her unit.
Livanesh said in his Facebook post: "Like many other Hindus, this has been a part of our family's five-minute, twice-a-week prayer routine." "Having lived in this home for more than 20 years, we never had any issues. I guess with COVID-19, we have a new norm." Livanesh said that he and his family have given statements to the authorities.
"While we await their findings, I do not wish to speculate on behalf of my neighbour with regard to her actions," The Straits Times quoted the Indian-origin Livanesh as saying.
He added: "In the meantime, it is indeed heartening to see fellow Singaporeans in solidarity against intolerance." Meanwhile, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam on Thursday said that people may have racial preferences and that in itself is not racism. But if they bring it out into the public sphere and impose it on others, then it crosses the line, he added.
"You should call out, you should frown against it, and you should take action if it breaches the law. Because it is cancerous, it is divisive, and it undermines the values of our society," he said. The Minister was speaking on the Singapore Today programme on radio station CNA938, following a recent spate of racial incidents.
Last Saturday, polytechnic lecturer Tan Boon Lee, 60, lashed out at an interracial couple in public and said Indian men should not be "preying on Chinese girls".
Business owner Dave Parkash, 26, and his girlfriend, Jacqueline Ho, 27, the target of the comments, filmed the encounter and later posted the video on Facebook.
The open display of racist behaviour, among several other recent incidents, has sparked criticism and debate among Singaporeans.
Asked by the radio presenters if racial harmony is under threat in Singapore, Shanmugam said he did not think so.
"Name me a society where there is no racism which is multiracial," he said, adding that Singapore has made tremendous progress in building racial harmony and is better than most other multiracial societies.
He noted that Singapore's leaders have always recognised the existence of racism here, whether it is in the form of deep racial fault lines, outright racism, and even overt racial preferences, and stressed that the key is in mitigating it.
"Many of the Government's policies proceed by accepting that there is both racial preferences, as well as racism, and how do we mitigate that to make sure that meritocracy works, and that people of all races have fair opportunities," he said.
The incident involving Parkash, half Indian-Filipino, and Ho, half Chinese-Thai, is being investigated by the police.
It has also sparked discussion about whether Singapore's longstanding CMIO - Chinese-Malay-Indian-Others - classification framework may be an issue, according to a report in The Straits Times on Thursday.