By Murray Bourne, 26 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.
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