In keeping up with this fast-paced world, many may wonder where there is time for Tamil and Tamil culture.
"Naanum Thamizhum" is a ten-part video series featuring ten experts who have excelled in their careers outside of the Tamil language. In each episode, these experts share how Tamil has played a significant role in their personal and professional lives. The goal of this series is to inspire young individuals to develop an appreciation for Tamil and to demonstrate the diverse applications of the language.
Meet Dr. Elavazhagan Murugan, a bio-scientist who writes Tamil poetry and Tamil plays! Though the founder of a scientific research firm dedicated to developing solutions for environmental problems, he has also found inspiration in Tamil language and culture. In this first episode, Dr. Elavazhagan shares his story, the seed behind this series and the importance of preserving Tamil culture.
As a doctor, Dr M Premikha sees Tamil as a living language. It is the language of her heart and heritage and it is also the most effective way to communicate with her Tamil patients when they need support or information on their medical conditions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she served over 800 COVID-positive migrant workers, many of them Tamil-speaking. In this episode, Dr Premikha talks about how her experiences with patients showed her that she could effectively communicate with them in Tamil to provide them emotional support in addition to medical treatment.
Bhargav Sriganesh is a diplomat in the Foreign Ministry. Ramayanam and Mahabharatham can be perceived to simply revolve around family feuds or disagreements between individuals. But at the same time, these epics contain fundamental lessons about political strategy and diplomacy. Even today, when he grapples with such issues, Bhargav turns to these two epics for their innate wisdom. In this episode, Bhargav shares with us about his love for Tamil and how it started from a very young age through Thirukural.
Mohd Farook is a principle optometrist at the Singapore National Eye Centre and sees his Tamil patients with two lenses: Tamil and English languages! His journey with Tamil began when he had to translate official consent forms to make it accessible to Tamil-speaking patients. And as part of his community service, Farook also organises briefings in Tamil to increase public awareness of eye health and medicine. In this episode, he shares his passion for Tamil and his desire to take the language to the next generation.
In this episode, we meet Aswani Aswath, a playwright since 2014. From writing award-winning plays for schools at Singapore Youth Festival to those enacted by Ravindran Drama Group, T:>works, and the Singapore Writers Festival, Ms Aswani's journey has moulded her into the successful playwright and Literary Arts teacher she is today.
Why are her plays in English and not Tamil? Well, she wants to increase the participation of Indians in English plays and portray Tamil characters realistically rather than stereotypically, as was the norm in the early days of Singaporean plays. Through her plays, she promotes Tamil culture to all Singaporeans, providing a more authentic voice for the Tamil community. Find out more interesting insights about the local arts scene through our interview with Ms Aswani right here!
Passion for Tamil exudes from Dr M A Kader's words and eyes, as he brings us through how Tamil accompanies him in his profession, throughout his day-to-day interactions with clients. Indeed, if our love for Tamil is inseparable from our heart, it will inevitably be inseparable from our work too, and Dr Kader is a living testament to this.
As a Public Accountant running his own auditing firm Kader & Co, a lecturer at British, Australian and American universities, and President of Jamal Mohamed College Alumni Association (Singapore Chapter), Dr Kader shares how Tamil is a part of each and every one of these hats that he wears.
Legal eagle Ramesh Selvaraj credits his Tamil fluency for giving him the advantage in defending a migrant worker who could only speak in Tamil. Tamil has also helped him offer pro bono legal advice in Tamil at legal clinics in community centres!
Outside work, Tamil has been the glue that keeps the bunch of long-distance runners calling themselves 'Thaarumaaru’ Runners, a self-deprecating Tamil term that actually inspires many!
Science and Tamil go hand in hand in this inspiring young lady's life. The Tamil poems of legendary poet Bharathiyar in fact, inspired her to walk this path less trodden by women, to lead change from the front.
As a researcher in vascular dementia, her love for Tamil extends the reach of her dementia workshops to the Tamil-speaking community as well.
How else does Tamil intertwine with science in this lady's life? Hear it from Ms Sharmelee Selvaraji!
Scaling mountains is no mean feat, but even the toughest of the peaks (not just literally, but in life as well) can be reached with the right support - that's what Tamil provides for this daring mountain climber cum doctor.
The strength of bonds he has formed through Tamil sustained him in icy snow caps and rockslides.
This week we present to you Everest Man Dr Kumaran Rasappan, the mountaineer-doctor who paves the way through toughest terrains for not just himself, but many lives through passion and profession.
Our Naanum Thamizhum series is coming to a close with Associate Professor Chitra Sankaran's sharing about how her work in English literature is enhanced by exposure to Tamil literature. Bilingualism for her is more than work. It's her life!