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Digital Heritage Projects
Oct 5, 2019
Thirukkural: Sacred or Secular?
Considered the greatest of the Tamil texts, it offers profound insights into how life should be lived, both externally and internally. While widely respected, Thirukkural has also generated spirited debates about its underlying perspective – is it a secular perspective or a religious perspective? If religious, which religion does it represent? Such questions are intriguing and have to be resolved entirely by reference to the text itself, as there is little external evidence one way or another.
To help us explore these questions, three thought leaders shared their views at a special discussion forum, conducted in English.
Prof S Thinnappan, a leading Tamil scholar in Singapore;
Mr Sabaratnam Ratnakumar, who has translated Thirukkural into English;
Mr Subramaniam Nadaison, a Master Teacher in Tamil in the Ministry of Education.
Moderated by Mr. Arun Mahizhnan.
On 20 March 2019, in an interview with Oli 96.8FM, CSTC Director Arun Mahizhnan spoke on the Centre's objectives, its core groups and activities. On the same programme, Jayasutha Samuthiran, Head of Intercultural Programme, shared about the upcoming event "What's In A New Year?" and appealed to the public to register and participate in the event.
What's In A New Year?
Singapore is blessed with many cultures and their respective festivals that we all collectively enjoy. Yet, many of us are not quite sure why a certain festival is celebrated, what are its philosophical underpinnings and the true significance of certain rituals.
The Tamils in Singapore observed their Tamil New Year on 14 April 2019. On 31 March 2019, the Centre for Singapore Tamil Culture (CSTC) held a discussion programme titled: What’s In A New Year? In this programme, eminent scholars discussed not only the Tamil New Year but also several other New Years celebrated by different cultures in Singapore.
The event was attended by 150 people from different cultures, including the Chinese, Malays and Indians.
“In all traditions that celebrate the new year, it marks the restarting of the calendar. However, traditional calendars vary: some follow the solar cycle; some follow a lunar cycle; others combine the two cycles together. The Christian calendar, for example, combines a lunar Easter with a solar Christmas.”
Chinese New Year - Dr Vivian Wee
When Chinese New Year comes around, one topic of public discussion is about the animal year it will be. Counting time in numbers is cumulative: the numbers increase with the passage of time. But the reckoning of time in non-numbers – in this case, animals – is non-cumulative. Instead, time is conceived as cyclical, going around in cycles of 12 years.
The Muslim New Year in a Malay Context - Dr Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib
Muslims do not generally observe the new year in a huge way. Hence, new year celebration has never been a key feature of Muslim communal observances, including in the Malay world. In fact, there is a glaring absence of grand celebrations for the Muslim new year.
The (Tamil) Solar New Year - Dr. Sureshkumar Muthukumaran (Yale-NUS)
The Tamil-speaking peoples of South India and Sri Lanka use the solar method to compute the New Year and the harvest festival of Poṅkal. Otherwise, most other festivals celebrated by Tamil speakers are determined by the lunar and nākṣatra systems. The “Tamil” New Year is a bit of a misnomer, and it has never been named as such in pre-modern sources.
Center for Singapore Tamil Culture Launch
Mr Arun Mahizhnan, Director,
Center for Singapore Tamil Culture
Today is a historical day for all of Singapore, especially for Tamils. Though Tamils are known to have arrived, occupied and even settled in this region centuries ago...
Tamil Digital Heritage Inauguration
I am very happy to join everyone here for the inauguration of the Tamil Digital Heritage Collection...
Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister
Mr Arun Mahizhnan,
On this day, we are gathered to witness and celebrate a historic, unprecedented and enduring contribution to the nation by a small community...
Tamil Digital Heritage Launch
I am very pleased to join all of you this morning for the launch of the Tamil Digital Heritage Project...
Mr K T M Iqbal,
We all wish that our writings are read by many. And we wish it will spread across the world. This Digital Heritage Project makes it possible...
I am going to share the beliefs I derived from my own experiences. We all know that gadgets like ‘kindle’, used to read e-books, are becoming more popular these days...
This is a very happy day for all of us. Today we are embarking on an unprecedented and, to some extent, uncharted journey...
Mr Naa Aandeappan, Chairman, Association of Singapore Tamil Writers
Tamil Poet Bharathy dreamt of ‘honey-like’ Tamil Language to spread all over the world. Now his dream has come true as Tamils are living in almost every country...
The logo is made up of eight arrows and three primary colours. The big and small arrows depict the "eight directions," which in Tamil connotes all directions, from which Tamil culture has been influenced in big and small ways. Tamil culture is a distillation of such multidirectional influences. Likewise, Tamil culture has influenced others in many directions. The arrows are arranged with gaps in between to indicate the open and dynamic nature of Tamil culture, instead of being fossilised in a closed, exclusive environment. Just as the three primary colours of Red, Green and Blue, when combined, create a multitude of other colours, so are the numerous cultural manifestations based on a few fundamental values of the culture.