Sunday, December 23, 2012

Singapore - A City of Many Faiths

Singaporean Hindus pray at the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Singapore's Little India

Singapore's history and location practically guarantee its status as a melting pot. An island at an important trading crossroads off the southern tip of peninsular Malaysia, it was first settled by Malay Muslims and colonized by the British. The city-state has four official languages: English, Tamil, Malay and Standard Mandarin. 

The British, as was their colonial tradition, imported laborers and civil servants from India and China. The imported workers brought their faiths with them, whether they were Buddhist, Muslim, Taoist, Hindu or Sikh. When the British left, the workers, now Singaporeans, had put down roots and stayed to run the new city-state. Singapore, like the United States, is a nation of immigrants. 

Today you can see the diversity on every block of the city. Indian, Chinese, European, Malay all share space on the city's futuristic subways and teeming streets. 

During our time in Singapore, we made it a point to visit several houses of worship. We visited a Buddhist temple, a Hindu temple and a Muslim mosque. All were open to people of all faiths.