Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated by Tamil Hindus in Singapore, and other parts of the world that have a sizeable Tamil population. It has recently come under certain rules and regulations which have been deemed unjust.
In the 1960s, Thaipusam was a public holiday in Singapore. Thaipusam was then removed as a public holiday under the pretext that each major race is given two holidays; the Chinese have Chinese New Year (CNY), which lasts for two days. Malays, who are predominantly Muslim, are given holidays for Hari Raya Haji and Hari Raya Puasa. Indians are given Deepavali and Vesak Day. Hence, Thaipusam could not be considered as a holiday for Hindus.
However, who observes Vesak Day? It is a Buddhist holiday. Buddhism originated in India, but by and large, the world’s biggest population of Buddhists, are East Asian. In Singapore, this means it is the Singaporean Chinese who are mostly Buddhist. Why is it gazetted as an Indian holiday when there are so few Indians celebrating it? In effect, this means the Chinese actually get three days of religious celebrations, and the Indians get one.
Singaporeans are fond of making comparisons between Singapore and Malaysia, remarking on the institutionalized racism in Malaysia that favours ethnic Malays. However, Thaipusam is a religious holiday in Malaysia. A country that is supposedly less fair than Singapore, is able treat its minorities with so much more respect and sensitivity than Singapore does.