Vegetarian lohei to celebrate Chinese New Year
REPORT ON PAGE 6
at Hindu temple
(From left) Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) vice-chairman
R. Dhinakaran, HEB chairman R. Jayachandran, Senior
Parliamentary Secretary Baey Yam Keng and Sri Mariamman
Temple committee chairman S. Lakshmanan tossing lohei.
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MCI (P) 135/03/2018
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
FEBRUARY 8, 2019
A DECISIVE TURN
IN THE ROAD
PAGES 4 & 5
HAS BEEN A
Golden turmeric spray on all during
Khandoba festival in Maharashtra
Devotees of Lord Khandoba celebrated the
Bhandara festival with much fervour and
enthusiasm on Monday in Jejuri, about
50km south-east of Pune in Maharashtra.
It is a unique festival which involves
golden turmeric powder and dedicated to
the local deity, who is worshipped in
Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra
The festival takes place on Somvati
Amavasya – new-moon day.
Devotees throw turmeric on each other
and people around.
Immersed in turmeric, they sing and
dance invoking the deity in their prayers.
The procession sees thousands of
devotees waiting to touch the palanquin,
which carries the deity for a bath from the
temple on a hill to the Karha River.
Singapore Press Holdings
(English/Malay/Tamil Media group)
V.K. Santosh Kumar
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Hindu right-winger arrested for
re-enacting Gandhi assassination
A leader of a fringe Hindu right-wing
group has been arrested in Tappal,
Uttar Pradesh, after a video of her
shooting an effigy of Mahatma Gandhi
The Hindu Mahasabha had
organised an event to celebrate the 71st
anniversary of Gandhi’s assassination.
In the video, taken on Jan 30, Pooja
Pandey is seen shooting the effigy with
an air pistol after garlanding a picture
of Nathuram Godse, who shot the
The Uttar Pradesh Police arrested
Pooja and her husband Ashok Pandey
and produced them before a local court
on Wednesday. According to the BBC,
nine people have been arrested in
connection with the video.
First rapist to be hanged under
child rape law
A district court in Madhya Pradesh has
issued a death sentence against a school
teacher who was convicted of raping
his four-year-old student.
Mahendra Singh Gond will be
hanged in Jabalpur jail on March 2.
This will be the first execution under
the new law which hands out the death
penalty for child rapists.
Gond kidnapped and raped the girl
on June 30 last year. He dumped her in
a jungle assuming that she was dead.
But her family found her and rushed
her to a hospital, where she spent
months in recovery.
Sabarimala temple board reverses
opposition to women worshippers
The board of the ancient Sabarimala
temple in Kerala said on Wednesday
that it now favoured allowing female
worshippers of menstruating age to
enter, reversing its previous support for
a centuries-old ban.
The board overseeing the Hindu
temple also said it would withdraw
from efforts to challenge the Indian
Supreme Court’s ruling that the ban on
entry for women and girls aged 10-50
must be ended to uphold rights to
equality of worship.
Pro-ban activists called the temple
board’s decision a betrayal.
The temple has been the site of
tension since the ruling in late
September. Thousands of devotees
have blocked attempts by women to
High-speed train to ply
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai
Ram Thakur on Wednesday flagged off
a new high-speed train on the
narrow rail gauge line.
It will reduce travel time between
Baijnath and Pathankot towns by
nearly two hours. Earlier it took seven
hours and 15 minutes to cover the
The high-speed train is expected to
boost tourism in the state as many
tourists ride trains on the line to enjoy
the scenic beauty of the Himalayas.
Shops to be allowed to remain
open 24 hours in Gujarat
Shops in Gujarat will be able to open
round the clock, the state government
announced on Wednesday. This will
come into effect after a legislation in
the assembly session this month.
“This will not only boost the income
of the traders but will also generate
new employment and benefit the
customers who can buy at their
convenience,” said Deputy Chief
Minister Nitin Patel.
Leopard cub seized from
passenger at Chennai airport
A passenger who smuggled a
month-old leopard cub in his hand
luggage on a flight from Bangkok to
Chennai has been arrested.
The cub, weighing just over 1kg, was
found in a plastic grocery basket
hidden inside a bag after the passenger
arrived on a Thai Airways flight.
Officials said they grew suspicious
after hearing sounds coming from the
Modi to flag off Train 18
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag
off India’s first engine-less train Vande
Bharat Express on Feb 15 from the
New Delhi Railway station.
Train 18, as it was originally called,
became India’s fastest train by hitting
speeds of over 180kmh during a trial
run. It will eventually replace the
30-year-old Shatabdi Express and run
between Delhi and Varanasi.
February 8, 2019
Lohei, which literally means “tossing up
good fortune” in Cantonese, is custom-
arily done during Chinese New Year cel-
ebrations in Singapore.
Last Saturday, the “prosperity toss”
was performed at Singapore’s oldest
Hindu temple located in the heart of Chi-
People of different races and reli-
gions came together to do the lohei at
the Sri Mariamman Temple (SMT) and
celebrate the Chinese New Year.
“Lohei has many ingredients symbol-
ising the different aspects of human life
such as prosperity, health, wealth. This
has similarities to Hinduism, where
many of our deities and prayers to them
are for such aspects,” said Mr Raja
Segar, CEO of the Hindu Endowments
During lohei, a group of people
gather around a big plate, tossing its con-
tents vigorously and saying auspicious
phrases before eating them.
It is commonly believed that the
higher the toss, the better a person’s
prospects and fortune in the year ahead.
Traditionally, raw-fish slices form an
integral part of this dish as they symbol-
ise abundance throughout the year.
However, because this was done in a
Hindu temple where non-vegetarian
food is not allowed, the lohei was fully
Around 120 elderly residents from
the Sree Narayana Mission, Tembusu El-
dercare Centre, Banyan Home, Sasco Se-
nior Citizens’ Home and Kreta Ayer Se-
nior Activity Centre formed the guest
A lion dance welcomed Guest of
Honour Baey Yam Keng, Senior Parlia-
mentary Secretary for Transport and
Culture, Community and Youth to the
temple’s multi-purpose hall, where the
celebrations took place.
This was the 16th successful year that
the temple, managed by HEB, was host-
ing the Chinese New Year celebrations.
“We are honoured to be part of these
celebrations year after year,” said Mr Eu-
gene Wan, the leader of the Singapore
Yan Wong Cultural Troupe which has
been performing the lion dance at the
temple for the past five years.
“By celebrating a Chinese festival in
a Hindu temple, we cross the bound-
aries of skin colour, race and religion
and come together as human beings,”
added the 40-year-old, who has been in-
volved in the celebrations at the temple
for the past 10 years.
He pointed out that one of the lion
mannequins used in the dance was
blessed by a Hindu priest.
It was inscribed with the words “Ther-
ady Karuppaswamy” – a god popular in
the rural areas of Tamil Nadu in India.
The deity provides protection and
can be found at the entrance of Hindu
temples in south India.
This is resonant with the guardian li-
ons seen in front of Chinese imperial
palaces and tombs, government offices,
temples and homes of government offi-
cials and the rich.
“We have a private temple located in
the Jurong area called Yin Hock Heng.
Other than Chinese festivals, we also
conduct prayers and rituals during In-
dian festivals such as Pongal and Deep-
avali and celebrate birthdays of certain
Hindu deities,” said Mr Wan.
At the Mariamman temple, the
guests were served an eight-course Chi-
nese vegetarian buffet prepared by its
volunteers. Vegetarian cereal prawns
and fish tofu were among the new items
introduced this year. The cooking was
spearheaded by head chef Path-
manathan Velayutham, 61. He has done
this for the past 16 years.
Sixty volunteers were involved in or-
ganising the celebrations.
“My father was a volun-
teer at the Mariamman tem-
ple for around 40 years and I
joined as one last year,” said
Mrs Tilekavathi Karmagam,
55. “Now that my only child,
a daughter, is married, I feel
lonely. I find it meaningful to
spend my time volunteering
The guests were also
treated to multicultural per-
formances such as the
Bharatanatyam and a Malay
dance with Indian and Chi-
“I’m happy to be here and
enjoyed the great food and
company. It is my second
time celebrating at Sri Mari-
amman Temple,” said
Mr Tham Lai Heng, 80, a resi-
dent at Kreta Ayer Senior Ac-
tivity Centre .
Mr Baey distributed hongbao (red
packets containing money) and goodie
bags to the elderly.
“What is heartening is that it is 16
years of outreach and care for the com-
munity by the Sri Mariamman Temple
which showcases the multi-racial, multi-
religious aspects of Singapore society,”
“The elderly can be quite lonely... to
eat with people, sing, listen to music, par-
ticipate in lohei adds spice to their life.
They don’t ask for a lot but to be valued
and cared for. Hopefully, we can do this
throughout the year and not just on fes-
Mr S. Lakshmanan, the chairman of
the temple committee, said: “By organis-
ing such an event, we are able to reach
out to the less fortunate and help foster
closer ties among Singaporeans.”
skin colour, race and religion
and come together as human
– Mr Eugene Wan
Volunteer Tilekavathi Karmagam with an elderly guest.
a lion dance
Prosperity toss at Hindu temple
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