Sikh Fair Strengthens Interracial Ties, Defense Minister Says

April 19, 2004

Source: The Straits Times,4386,246514,00.html?

On April 19, 2004 The Straits Times reported, "They wrestled, tumbled and even slapped each other's faces, all in fun. They were playing an ancient Indian game that requires a player to enter his opponents' turf, touch one of them and race back to the line dividing both sides, while chanting 'kabaddi'. Whoever he touches has to stop him from escaping by whatever means. Kabaddi players pumped up the crowd at the Sikh community's annual fair yesterday at the Singapore Khalsa Association...Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean, who was the guest of honour, also witnessed a tug of war and folk dances, and presented prizes to winners for the longest moustache, longest hair and best-tied turban. The Sikh community also presented a cheque for $35,000 to the Kidney Dialysis Foundation. On a more serious note, Rear-Admiral (NS) Teo reminded the hundreds gathered in an open field that community ties can be easily strained in these times, when many countries, including Singapore, face more security threats...Social and community events like the Sikh fair can strengthen inter-racial ties among the country's youth, so they can weather a national crisis, he said. 'We have all heard the familiar saying that "the family that plays together, stays together." This is especially true for multiracial communities like ours.'"