Others in the Indian community must be wondering why the Hindu Endowments Board is strangely silent about speaking up for their religious rites and practices. Some clues are found in Timothy Auger's book, "SR Nathan in Conversation". The subject said that in 1982, he was appointed chairman of the Hindu Endowments Board, main job being to look after four important temples held in trust by the government.
"I got hold of some good friends, including Gopinath Pillai, Chandra Das, Sat Pal Khattar, Birgadier-General (Rtd) Kirpa Ram Vij, and Justice Rajendran, to form a core - we were all of us locals without much of a clue about religion."
The lack of domain knowledge among members of the select coterie is italicised for good reason. He adds, "We were not concerned with theology - that's the priest's job".
The emphasis was never about religious sensitivities. Instead they were more concerned that "these temples were not rich - quite the contrary, despite their popularity with crowds on festivals". So they put the priest on a salary, and took over the management. The worship was about money, not a spiritual entity. Nathan's smug conclusion:
"I think we put things in order and today the four temples are doing very well, with a good level of reserves. So much so that they're now attracting a new bunch of aspirants for leadership. Many of them are keen to find ways of spending funds raised through hard work on cases other than those of religious significance." (page 170)
All that protestations about noise makers and traffic disruption will soon be forgotten. If you still have doubts, tune in this weekend for the mother of all frenetic processions -the two day blowout for the spare-no-expense Chingay parade.