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Sikh News Out On Foot To Promote The Outdoors


Jun 1, 2004
KUALA LUMPUR: Two men want to promote "the great outdoors of Malaysia". The two, Dya Singh, a Sikh musician based in Melbourne, and Vikram Singh (formerly Vic Briggs), a former member of the 1960s pop band The Animals, will walk from here to Malacca from May 15.

Both musicians, who are in their 60s, hope other people will join them in the walk instead of being cooped up in air-conditioned offices, shopping malls and vehicles.

Dya, an old boy of Victoria Institution here, said: "Walking is good for health, especially as one gets older.

"It is also a great way to get in touch with Nature and one's soul."
Dya, who was born in Raub, Pahang, and grew up in Taiping, once worked briefly as a cadet journalist with the then Straits Times here before he went to Britain to study accountancy in the 1970s.

After working as an accountant there, he migrated to Australia in 1981.

His career blossomed Down Under and he became increasingly known for his Sikh spiritual music.

Dya, which means merciful or compassionate, walked from Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur two years ago and from Penang to Kuala Lumpur last year.

In an email interview, he said the Penang-Ipoh walk last year represented "one of the best weeks of (his) life" as there were "blue skies, little traffic on the trunk road and meeting lovely kampung folk and, of course, the nasi lemak, laksa, mee goreng, cendol, coconut water, sugar cane juice, durians and other fruits".

Dya said Malaysia's natural attractions were best appreciated on foot and more Ma-laysians should know that they had a beautiful country.

"In my career, I have travelled to many countries.

"None can match Malaysia and I have not yet seen all of it.

"If I can spend my remaining years just seeing and enjoying Malaysia, I shall consider myself very fortunate."

Dya said Vikram was here for the recent Vasakhi celebrations and had performed before Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak when the latter visited the Tatt Khalsa Diwan Selangor gurdwara in Jalan Chow Kit here.

The British musician, who has played alongside musician Jimi Hendrix and singer Dusty Springfield, became a Sikh in 1970 after he left The Animals (best known for the song House of Rising Sun) in 1968.

He is now based in Hawaii and produces music, including Sikh spiritual music.

Dya, who got to know Vikram at a gurdwara in the United States, in 2000, said they were planning a series of Sikh spiritual concerts for October 2001 but it came to nothing because of the Sept 11 attacks.

"A few months ago, he contacted me and told me that he was passing through Malay-sia. That was during the recent Vasakhi celebrations.

"Vikram was so taken up with the reception from the Sikh people, the hospitality and beauty of Malaysia that he asked to join me in this walk. He is a bit of a fitness and yoga buff."

Dya said their walking partnership might lead them to collaborate on music.

He said they hoped to end their walk to coincide with a Sikh event in Malacca: the commemoration of the death of Sikh saint Sant Baba Sohan Singh Ji on the third weekend of this month.

"We are taking the old route because it is more scenic and has less traffic.

"The route will take us from Cheras to Kajang, Mantin, Seremban, Rembau, Tampin and Malacca. Except for Rembau, all the other towns have gurdwaras.

"I do not wish to achieve anything. I am grateful that my legs can carry me and I can appreciate my country of birth.

"Life is a journey and, therefore, the passage towards an achievement is more important than the achievement. "It does not matter what I achieve and there are no expectations."

He said it would be a bonus for him if he could get more Malaysians to know that they had a lovely country and get more of them to exercise and spend more time outdoors.

He said his childhood friend and producer of his compact discs, Menjit Singh from Kampung Pandan, and Gina Dhaliwal from the Sikh Women's Advance Network, would help to organise the walk. -- Bernama


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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
These are two inspiring Singhs under normal circumstances. Dya Singh is someone with a very personal way of bringing the ideals of Sikhism to us through kirtaan. The story is a real pick-me-up and I wish I were there to meet both of them. Hope that many join them in Malaysia. :up:
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