Community Leaders Dialogue Session

Community Leaders Dialogue Session

A dialogue session was held on 11th January 2009, at Ceylon Sports Club, Balestier Road. The session, facilitated by Tamils Representative Council (TRC) was to explore how best the various Tamil Organizations could come together and work as a unified force under the banner ‘UNITY UNDER ONE UMBRELLA’. Mr Karmegam facilitated the session and to ensure smooth discussions.

Mr Karmegam pointed out that there was no specific agenda for the session but it should focus on issues that the Tamil community faced in relation to the Tamil Language and Social matters. Mr Samikkannu, President of Singapore Tamil Teachers Union (STTU) stated that STTU although being a trade union had been closely involved in the development of the language and the community. He stated that individual differences should be put aside and all should work towards a common goal. Teachers were also facing problems having to handle students from different streams, Express, Normal and Mono when they were merged. More teachers were also facing discipline issues relating to the students and he felt that MOE should better control the examination timetable of the main examinations.

Mr Naa Aandeappan, President of the Association of Singapore Tamil Writers stated that the objective of the session had attracted him to attend. He assured TRC that his organization will support and join hands with TRC in its effort to promote the language and social issues faced by the community.

Mr Harikrishnan, President of Tamil Language and Cultural Society (TLCS) called for better communication amongst the organizations and that clash of dates should be avoided. Mr N R Govinden, President of Mathavi Literary Society applauded efforts made by TRC in bringing together all organizations for the dialogue session. He echoed the views of STTU in putting aside individual differences and working together. He also stated that major organizations like TRC, TLCS, Narpani and TLC should play an important role in assisting the smaller organizations and helping them where possible.

Mr Shareef from TRC congratulated Vasantham for turning into a full channel. However he felt that the quality of programmes were lacking and that Vasantham should avoid emphasizing on only entertainment programmes and move away from the ‘Tamil Cinema’ culture, instead, more efforts should be made on producing and tele-casting ‘info-entertainment’ programmes

Mr Mashuthoo felt that there all organizations should register their support for TRC and state that TRC was the leading body to raise such issues. Dr R Theyvendran also added that TRC has a multitude of programmes for members to benefit from such as Bursary awards, enrichment programmes and financial support for low income families. However more should come forward and join TRC and strengthen it so that it will be able to generate more support for its programmes. Many encouraged youths to come forward and engage themselves. However Mr Prasad from TRC felt that youths needed guidance and would excel if given the opportunity. Moreover the Tamil Community is “very shy” and thus does not come forward to actively participate. Youths also need time to stabilize themselves before they can attach themselves to an organization depending on how viable and attractive the organization is.

The dialogue session ended with Dr Theyvendran assuring everyone that the issues raised and suggested solutions will be further discussed and concrete steps will be taken to address them. Mr Pandiyan, General Secretary of TRC thanked Mr Karmegam for facilitating the discussion session and everyone else for attending the dialogue session.