The Ceylon Tamils (or Sri Lankan Tamils as they are known today) first came to Singapore in the 1840s. They were mainly members of the civil service under British colonial rule. There were also a significant number of professionals such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants and teachers.
Founded in 1909 by some 300 civic-minded individuals, the SCTA has built a strong network to connect Singaporeans from all races, religions and occupations through its various activities and cultural events. In this way, the SCTA is an inclusive organisation that seeks to add vibrancy and strength to a multiracial Singapore.
There are several members of the Ceylon Tamil community that have served the nation and these include, the late Mr S. Rajaratnam (first Minister of Foreign Affairs), the late Justice AP Rajah (first Speaker of Parliament), Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam (Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies; former Minister of Education and Minister of Finance). The Singapore Pledge was written by the late Mr S Rajaratnam in 1965 when Singapore attained independence.
The SCTA is also active in education and various community services. Besides religious classes, there is also a well-established Music and Dance Academy which provides lessons in Carnatic vocal, Bharatanatyam dance, violin, keyboard, table and mridangam which it provides to the larger diaspora of Singaporeans.
The SCTA is the custodian organisation of the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple where many Ceylon Tamils meet at religious festivals and also at community weddings. However, the SCTA is a secular organisation that is open to Ceylon Tamils of all other religions too.
The SCTA also has a youth wing and it is hoped that more young members will come forward to emulate the great achievements of their forefathers that have worked hard to attain. The SCTA endeavours to inculcate the endearing values of diligence, perseverance and industry amongst its youth. In its own way, the SCTA helps the youth to appreciate the heritage and culture of the Ceylon Tamils in Singapore.