Merry Christmas

By Murray Bourne, 25 Dec 2005

Living in Singapore, you get a different view on religious "holy days".

It's great here, really. We get to celebrate public holidays for Hari Raya (Muslim), Deepavali (Hindu), Chinese New Year and Easter & Christmas (Christian).

Christmas is just as commercial here as in most countries, and is vital for local retailers. But it has more religious meaning here (19% Christian) than it does in Japan (1% Christian).

Singapore believes very strongly in religious tolerance and carefully controls what people can say (and do) about other religions. There were race riots here in the 1950s and 1960s and the Singaporeans don't want them repeated. It works well and this is a remarkably tolerant society.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

See the 2 Comments below.

2 Comments on “Merry Christmas”

  1. Dell says:

    ERRORS:
    1.Singapore does not have 19% Christians
    2.There was no race riot in 1950

    I suppose you absorb all yr facts fr 140th,pl improve,open up yr horizon.

  2. Murray says:

    1. Oops - I stand corrected. 19% is a tad inflated. According to Singapore Gov Statistics [no longer available], just under 15% claimed to be Christian in 2000. There is a similar figure from the CIA [no longer available], which probably knows more about it than anyone (or not): "Catholic 4.8%, other Christian 9.8%". But what does it mean really? Do those 15% really believe in Christianity, or just claim it rather than any other religion? I was brought up "Christian" but I do not put that in any census return. Like many sociological statistics, they should be approached with a dose of healthy scepticism.

    2. The Maria Hertogh riots broke out in December 1950. There was communal unrest throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s with the worst riots in Jul 1964.

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