HRISTMAS is more than just candy canes,
presents, Christmas trees and decorations. It is
more than spending time with our loved ones.
Christmas is also a season of giving, of sharing what
we have with those less fortunate than ourselves.
In the spirit of the season,
takes a look at
those who have done their part to spread the festive
joy with the needy.
Outings with the less privileged
Christmas came early for 100 underprivileged
children from Tanglin-Cairnhill Division’s We Love
CONTINUED ON PAGE
those who are spreading joy
to the less fortunate
Doing their bit... students helping out with the Indian Women’s Association’s charity drive.
T H E H E A R T B E A T O F T H E I N D I A N C O M M U N I T Y
MCI (P) 025/11/2014
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
DECEMBER 26, 2014
PAGES 4 & 5
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No more dry Sundays
THE Kerala government has
decided that Sundays will no
longer be dry days and 418 bars
that have not opened since the
beginning of this fiscal period will
become beer and wine parlours.
The decision was made on
Dec 18 as more than 30,000
employees would have lost their
jobs otherwise. The tourism
industry had also been upset as
companies that had planned to
conduct their meetings in Kerala
had decided to go elsewhere.
Kerala chief minister Oommen
Chandy said the government plans
to achieve total prohibition in a
“The earlier decisions that no
three and four-star hotels would
be given licence stands. Also, every
year from now on, 10 per cent of
the 383 state-owned retail liquor
outlets will close down. Already
the first batch of 39 has closed
down. On Oct 2, 2024, total
prohibition would be in force in
Kerala,” said Mr Chandy.
Gutka ban good, says WHO
A STUDY by the World Health
Organisation (WHO) revealed that
state-level laws banning gutka, a
form of chewing tobacco and a
cause of oral cancer, is creating a
positive impact among youths.
The study, which was conducted
in Assam, Bihar, Gujarat,
Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh,
Maharashtra, Odisha and the
national capital region, revealed
that support for the gutka ban is
very high (92 per cent) and that
99 per cent felt it was good for the
health of Indian youths.
India is the world’s largest
consumer of smokeless tobacco
with 26 per cent of people aged
above 15 using it. Nearly one
million people die in India every
year due to tobacco use.
Bird flu alert in UP
FOLLOWING reports of a bird flu
case in Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh
has banned the import of chicken,
eggs and all forms of poultry from
other states. The state government
has also ordered thorough
inspection of all poultry units
across the state. Director of the
Animal Husbandry Department
R.P. Singh said the import of
poultry products from other states
has been banned. The state
government has also ordered the
sampling of all chickens and the
formation of Rapid Action teams in
all districts to ensure vaccination.
Safe and secure
AFTER the rape of a
executive by a call taxi
driver in New Delhi on
Dec 5, the Transport
Department plans to
introduce security features
to streamline call taxi
services. A uniform rate
card, installation of the
GPS-tracked digital meters
and panic button in the
passenger’s seat linked to the
Police Control Room, will be made
mandatory. A senior official of the
Transport Department said call
taxis had been operating under
the regular Contract Carriage
Permit. Based on a directive from
the Madras High Court, a
preliminary meeting was held with
call taxi operators to work out
methods to streamline the service.
Work to start on Mumbai’s
CLEARANCE has been given to
start work on the proposed Navi
Mumbai International Airport
(NMIA) which will be operational
by 2019, said Maharashtra chief
minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Mr Fadnavis said the greenfield
airport, to be of world-class
standard, is expected to cost
around Rs14,500 crores in the
on a design, build, finance,
operate and transfer basis.
The announcement follows the
granting of environmental
clearance for the project followed
by the ministry of civil aviation
approving the regulatory regime
of “shared till” for the new
airport. The double-runway NMIA
is designed to ease congestion of
the existing single-runway
operations of Mumbai’s
Chhatrapati Shivaji International
causes chaos at Taj Mahal
HUNDREDS of tourists who had
bought entry tickets to visit the Taj
Mahal had to go away without
viewing the monument due to the
delayed arrival of Bangladesh
president M. Abdul Hamid.
Mr Hamid, who was on a six-day
visit to India, spent about half an
hour at the Taj Mahal (below).
The Archaeological Survey of
India (ASI) had informed the public
earlier that the site would remain
closed for a couple of hours in the
afternoon. But Mr Hamid’s delayed
arrival led to chaos at the entry
gates, where thousands had to
wait for several hours.
“And when our turn came, the
gates were closed for the day,”
said Mr Ramesh Bhai, a tourist
Said ASI chief in Agra N.K.
Pathak: “It is the local
administration and the security
agencies who decide these
matters. We can do nothing about
Early festive joy for city’s homeless kids
A GROUP of 30 underprivileged children (above) living in a shelter
in New Delhi had an early Christmas. They were given jackets, caps,
blankets and shoes by a team of officers from Lajpat Nagar police
station and 10 shopkeepers who visited the shelter, run by NGO
Chetna, on Dec 21.
“The Delhi Police are concerned about the city’s street children.
We distributed the warm clothes to provide comfort to these
children,” said additional station house officer Rakesh Kumar Singh.
The children were also taught their rights and how to protect
themselves and seek the police’s help in case they found themselves
in a precarious situation.
December 26, 2014
Pioneer generation immigrant devotes his time
to helping his neighbourhood
AY back in 1950, Mr Raghavan Raveen-
dran, then 23, was working as a surveyor in
the Kerala government’s Public Works De-
partment (PWD). From people in his neighbour-
hood who had relatives in Singapore, he heard that
those who worked in the technical industry here
were paid well. So, Mr Raveendran took two years
of study leave, came to Singapore and took up a job
as a surveyor in Singapore’s PWD.
Fast-forward to 2014. Two years had turned into
64 and Mr Raveendran is still in Singapore.
He made the decision to stay on after comparing
the government services in Singapore and Kerala.
Six years after he first arrived, he returned to India
to get married and then settled down in Singapore
with his wife. The couple now have three children
and seven grandchildren.
Mr Raveendran is a pioneer generation immi-
grant who spent 47 years in the workforce – first as
a surveyor in Singapore’s PWD, then as chief sur-
veyor at the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) and,
finally, in a consulting firm owned by the PSA.
Throughout this time, he has also been busy giving
back to the community.
His volunteering days started in 1965 with the
Sree Narayana Mission. He was its secretary in
1967 and 1978, when he assisted in the setting up of
the old folks’ home as well.
The home started out with just four residents. To-
day, there are over 200. “Because of the name Sree
Narayana Mission, you would think that there are
more Indians there. But over 170 residents are Chi-
nese,” Mr Raveendran explained.
He also joined the Faber Hills Neighbourhood
Committee (NC) in 1994, and has been involved
with it for the past 20 years. He recalled that
then-Member of Parliament for Bukit Timah constit-
uency Dr Wang Kai Yuen sent letters to all the resi-
dents in the area to let them know that he wanted to
set up the NC, and that there would be a meeting
“On the first day, there were only eight people,
out of 460 residents at that time!” Mr Raveendran
. The second meeting saw over 17 people
in attendance. The NC was formed, and by random
allocation, Mr Raveendran was appointed general
secretary. Today, he is the NC’s vice-president.
He has also been an Integration and Naturalisa-
tion Champion for the last seven years. He has been
with the Integration and Naturalisation Committee
(INC) from the start, when the INC’s chairman, who
was previously chairman of the NC, needed help
and asked him to come on board.
For the 87-year-old Raveendran, en-
gaging in volunteer work is important
not just because he is giving back to
the community, but also because it
is paramount for him to keep his
mind and body active.
“At my age, I am at risk of de-
mentia,” he explained. “All my
friends are gone, so I keep my-
self busy so that my brain
doesn’t get rusty.”
To keep his mind busy, he
spends his mornings reading
news from Kerala and answer-
ing his e-mail. The afternoons
are reserved for work for the
NC, which usually involves ad-
dressing complaints from the
residents on estate mainte-
nance and arranging for the
complaints to be rectified.
He also enjoys attending
activities organised by the
Ayer Rajah Citizens’ Con-
sultative Committee. “It
gives me an opportunity to
meet other grassroots lead-
ers and communicate with
them,” he said.
Working with the INC is a
different experience from the NC. The INC regular-
ly organises outings to places like homes for the
aged, Gardens by the Bay, Universal Studios Singa-
pore and various museums, and encourages both
new immigrants and Singapore citizens to join
Mr Raveendran admits that he does experience
some difficulty at times communicating with the
new immigrants, as he does not speak Mandarin.
When there is an interpreter, communicating is not
much of a problem as the instructions and explana-
tions are usually given in English.
Language barrier aside, Mr Raveendran enjoys
helping the new citizens and new permanent resi-
dents (PRs) integrate, “because they don’t know the
laws and the behaviour of the locals”.
He believes that the work the INC is doing is
very important. “The new citizens and PRs who are
coming from different countries are not accustomed
to local culture and behaviour. These gatherings and
outings that we organise help them to mix freely
with the locals,” he said, adding that, during these
outings, the new citizens and PRs take the initiative
to interact with one another and with the Singapore-
ans who join them.
His work with the community has earned him
long-service awards from the NC – for his five, 10,
15 and now 20 years of service – and recognition
from Members of Parliament.
But, at the end of the day, Mr Raveendran is just
happy that he is able to help those who are new
here to be integrated into society.
From immigrant to
He’s a pioneer...
Mr Raveendran receiving
the Pioneer Generation
Certificate from Ms Foo
Mee Har, MP for West
Coast GRC and adviser
to grassroots leaders
under Ayer Rajah CCC.
December 26, 2014
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