Social Sciences

Question (100 marks)

Read the following articles:

Article 1: Police arrest three for scuffles during Thaipusam procession on Feb 3

Article 2: Traffic concerns were the reasons for the Thaipusam music ban

Article 3: Shanmugam addresses questions over ban on playing music at Thaipusam

The first article reports that three men were arrested for a scuffle with police officers. The men were asked to stop playing drums during the Thaipusam procession that they were taking part in. They refused to stop, and so the police was called in. During the conversation, a small commotion broke out when two men came to stop the police from arresting one man. The three men were eventually all arrested. The second article traces the history of the ban on playing music during Thaipusam, to when it was first put in place in 1973. According to the article, the original reason for the ban was due to concerns over traffic situations. In the third article, law minister K. Shanmugan gives his opinions over the online debates that arose because of the incident. He addresses several concerns that were raised by concerned citizens, including whether Hindu citizens are being discriminated against because of the ban.


Question 1

In less than 500 words, explain why some people think that it is morally problematic to ban the playing of music during Thaipusam, especially in view of how the playing of music is allowed for some other religious/cultural events. Apply at least one normative ethical theory in order to demonstrate your understanding of the plausible moral complexity of the issue.

(30 marks)

Question 2

Assume that the government eventually steps in to address some concerns about discrimination of Hindu citizens because of the ban of playing music during Thaipusam. Their decision is to ban all playing of music during all religious and cultural festivals – including lion dances during Chinese New Year. Cultural or religious groups found violating this rule will be liable for arrest and severe fines. The reasoning behind this decision is that the government wants to enforce orderly behaviour, as well as to be neutral to all religious and cultural groups.


In less than 1000 words, appraise the decision above by doing the following:

a) Identify the morally relevant or significant factors that are involved in a decision like this.

b) Through an examination of these factors and the reasoning provided in the passage for the governmental decision, explain whether the decision is morally problematic.

c) Ultimately, with reference to your answer in (b), taking a stand on the moral permissibility of the decision.

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