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Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong attended the inauguration of a gurdwara and impressed the Sikh community by wearing a white turban and greeting them with "Sat Sri Akaal" in perfect Punjabi. During his speech, he praised the Sikh community for their efforts in mitigating the disruptions caused by the pandemic. He commended the gurdwaras for rallying members to help those in need, irrespective of their race, religion, or background. PM Lee specifically mentioned the Silat Road gurdwara as a shining icon in Singapore's multi-religious landscape.

The Silat Road gurudwara 

The Singapore-based Silat Road gurdwara went the extra mile in adapting to the "new normal" during the pandemic. The Sikh leaders innovated and used technology to help worshippers adjust to disruptions. They live-streamed congregations and provided mental health support for the community through a task force called 'Project Akaal'. PM Lee appreciated these initiatives and shared some photographs of his visit to the gurdwara on his social media handles.

PM Lee also expressed hope that these initiatives would inspire the wider community as they move towards a new normal of living with an endemic virus. He shared his delight in attending the inauguration of the Silat Road Sikh Temple, which had undergone prolonged renovations during the pandemic.

He took to Twitter and expressed his views saying that similar to other religious groups, Sikh leaders have assisted their followers in adapting to the challenges posed by the pandemic. To alleviate the mental health stresses triggered by the pandemic, the Coordinating Council of Sikh Institutions established a task force named 'Project Akaal' to provide mental health support to the Sikh community. Sikh places of worship (gurdwaras) united the community to assist those in need during this challenging period, irrespective of their race, religion or background.

He said that these initiatives serve as an excellent model for the wider community, as the world  strives to establish a new normal of living with an endemic virus. The Silat Road Sikh Temple not only represents a sacred space for worship but also a remarkable symbol in Singapore's multi-religious and multi-racial environment. 

His gesture 

In his speech, the Prime Minister said, “Congratulations once again to the Sikh community on this momentous occasion!”

The Indian High Commission in Singapore shared some pictures on Twitter of PM Lee visiting a newly inaugurated gurdwara and congratulated the Sikh community. This gesture by the Singapore PM has been appreciated by Sikhs worldwide, who have shared his speech and image on social media. Parminder Singh, a former executive at Twitter and Google, expressed his gratitude with a folded hands emoji. Delhi BJP Secretary Impreet Singh Bakshi also shared a picture of PM Lee wearing a Sikh dress with a turban.

After renovation, the Silat Road Gurdwara can now accommodate up to 2,000 people in a safer and more comfortable environment, compared to the previous capacity of 1,500 daily visitors.


*Based on an article published in NDTV on 6th July 2022


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