Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Singapore Spirit Lives

The recent Norwegian shooting in Utøya made me wonder what multiculturalism means to people in different parts of the world - political lip service? election slogan? marketing gimmick? social taboo?

In Singapore, multiculturalism is real, it flows in the very veins of the Singaporean society. Singapore is multiracial, multilingual and multireligious. In Singapore, Chinese, Indian and Malay people live side by side in a cohesive society. A person may speak English, Malay, Mandarin or Tamil. He or she may be a Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Taoist, or even a free-thinker. We recognise these differences make Singapore a colorful and vibrant society. Together, these distinctions give Singapore its rich heritage and make Singapore special.

Multiculturalism is an achievement and a key strength of Singapore. The appeal of radical religious ideologies in recent years, among all Islamic militancy in neighboring countries and around the world, is a reminder that social cohesiveness in Singapore is result of the labour of the present and past generations of Singaporeans. It did not come by easily, and will take equal efforts by future generations to maintain.

On this 9th day of August, 2011, I wish Singapore, my home, a very Happy 46th Birthday.

Majulah Singapura!