I work at the agency doing PR for St Patrick’s Day (although I write this in my personal capacity) and we’ve worked hard (along with organisers SRO) to make it an inclusive, celebratory and totally rocking weekend event. There was great food, great bands (shamelessly promoting especially The Disclaimers and Craic Horse), and flowing Guinness (our dear sponsor, here’s a #jointhecrowd for you). Contrary to assumptions, this was a family event too, with all sorts of entertainment for the kids over the weekend.
Some Indian urumi drummers showed up (as expected), as did M Ravi (not as expected), and they were warmly welcomed by both local and Irish organisers. Parade chairman Colin MacDonald, while walking through the parade before it began, shook hands with Ravi and welcomed him personally. I’m not sure what part of that Ravi considered “negotiations”, but I think Colin certainly won Ravi over. That was about all that transpired between Colin and Ravi (no negotiations, not much shock expressed, etc). After the parade, the entourage proceeded to Hero’s for a few drinks (mostly Guinness).
I just want to make it clear that at no point had anyone ever rejected their participation – the parade is and has always been open to the public, and stands as a testimony to Singapore’s multicultural and inclusive spirit, so that rumour about some unnamed Singaporean organiser is utterly confusing.
Nonetheless, the important thing was that the Indian drummers were a welcome part of the celebrations, this year and in any year to come. Colin MacDonald said that “the St Patrick’s Day parade is and always he’s been organized by a joint Singaporean and Irish organizing committee. We welcome everybody to join. Next year, please come down and bring your drums; bring everything! We welcome you!”
Ravi’s attendance (and I guess the drummers’ too) was orchestrated by Augustin Lee (Zixu Augustin Lee). All I can say is… COME DOWN TO BOAT QUAY AND HAVE A DRINK LAH.