A month-long Tamil language festival will be held in Singapore starting April 1 to encourage young people from the community to embrace their mother tongue.
The theme of the annual festival is "Azhagu", or beauty, and the aim is to get everyone to appreciate the beauty of the language and maximise its use, The Straits Times reported.
Organised by the Tamil Language Council (TLC), the festival will have 42 programmes by 43 partners, featuring a variety of literary, oratorical, arts and cultural offerings. A record 67 per cent of the programmes will be youth-centric.
It will also witness a day-long translation workshop and newsroom tour for tertiary students by Tamil Murasu, a Tamil language newspaper.
TLC chairman Manogaran Suppiah told The Straits Times that Tamil has a special emotional connection for the community — one that cannot be replaced by English.
"The TLC and our partners are very positive. We are aware of the challenges, but are still convinced that we need to do more to make Tamil a living language," said Manogaran.
The official launch of the festival will be held at The Theatre at Mediacorp at 9 p.m. on April 1.
According to the 2020 population census by the Singapore Department of Statistics, English was most frequently spoken at home for 48.3 per cent of Singaporeans aged five years and older in 2020 — up from 32.3 per cent in 2010.
Within the ethnic Indian community, those who spoke English most frequently at home continued to form the largest group in 2020, at 59.2 per cent, up from 41.6 per cent in 2010, the report stated.
The Tamils make up the largest segment of the South Indian community in Singapore. They have been present in South East Asia and Singapore for more than 2,000 years, according to the book, From Sojourners To Settlers — Tamils in Southeast Asia and Singapore.
Apart from Tamil, English, Mandarin and Malay are the other official languages in Singapore.
Besides Singapore, Malaysia has the largest number of Indians, majority of which are Tamilians.20230315-165202