Since our inception, we have made numerous contributions towards the enhancement of Sikh community’s role in Singaporean society. Here are a few highlights:
- Dialogue and Understanding: We have initiated and been involved in numerous interfaith dialogues that have fostered understanding and respect between Sikhs and other communities in Singapore.
- Policy Advocacy: We have successfully advocated for policies that protect the rights and interests of the Sikh community, ensuring their voices are heard in Singapore’s legislative process.
- Community Building: We have hosted several cultural and religious events, helping to establish a strong and vibrant Sikh community.
- Educational Outreach: We have initiated programs aimed at educating people about Sikhism, dispelling myths and misconceptions, and fostering a spirit of inclusivity.
Since our reconstituion in 1948, the Sikh Advisory Board (SAB) has accomplished numerous milestones. Our achievements are an embodiment of our unwavering commitment to the Sikh community’s growth and progress in Singapore.
- Promotion of Language & Education (1955 – 1959): We successfully sought permission from the Government in 1955 to use two schools in Waterloo Street on Saturday mornings for teaching Punjabi to Sikh children. Around 500 Sikh children were educated by 17 dedicated teachers, with the Sikh community shouldering all expenses. The classes, which continued until 1959, were then relocated to the Khalsa Dharmak Sabha and Sri Guru Singh Sabha.
- Introduction of Sikh Studies (1983): We played a pivotal role in facilitating the introduction of Sikh Studies in 1983 as a compulsory subject for Sikh students in all Government schools under the Religious Knowledge teaching program.
- Establishment of the Singapore Sikh Resource Panel (1989): We formed a panel of Sikh professionals to address the unique challenges faced by the Sikh youth and community at large.
- Singapore Sikh Lecture Series (1990): We organised the inaugural Singapore Sikh Lecture series, promoting knowledge and understanding of Sikh history and values.
- Formation of the Singapore Sikh Education Foundation (1990): We set up the foundation to teach Punjabi language and Sikh values to Sikh children across five Punjabi Language Centres throughout Singapore.
- First International Conference on Punjabi Heritage (1992): We took the initiative in organising this conference, bringing global recognition to Punjabi heritage and culture.
- Gurdwara Staffing (1994): We successfully sought the Government’s approval to allow each Gurdwara to employ at least six foreign temple workers, recognising the needs of our religious institutions.
- Establishment of Sikh Welfare Council (1995): We created this council to address the welfare needs of those in the Sikh community requiring assistance.
- Sikh Advisory Board Expansion (2003): We obtained Government approval to expand the Board to include representatives from the Central Sikh Gurdwara Board and Gurdwara Sahib Yishun.
- Establishment of SAB Website (2006): Our digital presence started with the setup of the Sikh Advisory Board’s official website, making us more accessible to the community.
- Project Fateh (2007): We presented a comprehensive report focused on strategies to prevent the conversion of Sikhs to other faiths.
- Hospital Mortuary Facilities (2008-2009): We sought and obtained Government’s approval to use the washing facilities in six public hospital mortuaries for the bathing of deceased Sikhs.
- Inaugural Sikh Retreat (2011): We organised the first Sikh Retreat themed “Moving the Sikh Community Forward in a Multi-Ethnic Society.”
- Project on Teasing of Sikhs (2011): After a series of public incidents where members of the Sikh community were reportedly victims of teasing and bullying cases for their distinct religious appearance, the SAB set up a task force to study the trend of this issue and the underlying reasons for such cases as well as recommending greater community outreach among solutions.
- Kirpan Guidelines (2012): The SAB worked with the Singapore Police Force to develop a set of reasonable and acceptable guidelines that would advice Amritdhari (baptised) Sikhs on the wearing of Kirpans in Singapore.
- Establishment of Coordinating Council of Sikh Institutions (2014): We played a key role in the formation of this council, further strengthening the network of Sikh institutions in Singapore.
- Guidelines on Foreign Religious Speakers (2019): The SAB developed a set of guidelines to advice Sikh organisations engaging foreign religious speakers in Singapore with these organisations agreeing to adopt these guidelines and ensuring their invited speakers commit and adhere to them before any speaking engagement in Singapore.
- COVID-19 Measures (2020-2022): The SAB developed a platform to help the Gurdwaras in Singapore manage congregations and worship timing in accordance with prevailing Safe Management Measures (SMMs), while conveying evolving SMMs to the Sikh institutions and supporting them to adhere to these rules as well as advocate for the resumption of langgar and full worship services in the Gurdwaras at appropriate times as well as facilitating vaccination information within the community.
These accomplishments stand testament to our continual efforts to foster a strong, vibrant, and self-reliant Sikh community in Singapore. As we look to the future, we remain dedicated to our mission, serving as a guiding force for our community.