SINGAPORE: Indian-Origin Singapore Minister’s Pitch To Introduce Children To Tamil Language

SINGAPORE: Indian-Origin Singapore Minister’s Pitch To Introduce Children To Tamil Language

SINGAPORE: An Indian-origin minister in Singapore has emphasised the importance of Tamil language as a mother tongue, underscoring the need to introduce children to one of the four official languages in the prosperous city-state.

The Singapore education system encourages mother tongue as a second language in schools which include Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and other main Indian languages as well as Tamil, Malay and Chinese (Mandarin).

“We need to ensure our children have opportunities to be constantly exposed to Tamil language,” said Indranee Rajah, minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Tamil language acts as a “passport” that links all Tamil people, she said recently.

Language has to be learnt as a living lesson, Rajah said, adding that it is not something that “you can just study, you need to put it to use”.

“Be it through television, social media or print, as long as they are hearing, listening and using the language from young, we can keep it alive,” Rajah was quoted as saying by Friday weekly Tabla! To uphold the rich legacy of the Tamil language in Singapore, the Tamil Language Council (TLC) has been organising the Tamil Language Festival (TLF) for the past 18 years. Rajah launched this year’s TLF last Saturday.

The minister had earlier also emphasised the importance for every generation to stay connected to their mother tongue, and in turn, their heritage and cultural identity.

Centred on the theme of “Capabilities”, the TLC this year is being held from March 30 to April 28, featuring 47 programmes.

“This year’s theme was selected to inspire the creation of innovative programmes while harnessing our collective strengths,” TLC chairperson S Manogaran said.

More than 65 per cent of the programmes have been organised by the youths, which has boosted Tamil language engagement among young people through art, culture and literature initiatives.

“Many of our youths today are finding a new purpose in learning and using Tamil; many of the programmes are targeted at them,” Manogaran was quoted as saying by Tabla!

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