Diversity, social justice vital to unity

I agree with last Friday's editorial that recent events have shown that "picking the right person to be the most powerful leader in the world was meant to be a deliberative exercise, but it turned out to be more of a mass display of anger" ("Why the political centre must hold").

The growing propensity towards nationalism and "protecting" cultural values in Western democracies, and the politicising of religious beliefs in Asian democracies is cause for concern.

A majority vote for a political party that is driven by a "purist" ideology can cause contention among minorities.

Indeed, democracy needs all the help it can get not only to defend diversity but also to advance social justice at all levels .

History reveals that the primary cause of all acute conflicts and public disorders is hyped-up emotions.

We are lucky in Singapore. While there is no national religion, all religious and non-religious groups enjoy equal protection and opportunity to thrive.

Politicians and government leaders do not invoke their religious ideologies to support their arguments; religious leaders do not interfere with government affairs; public places remain secular and inclusive; and the national pledge remains inspirational to all.

S. Ratnakumar

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2016, with the headline 'Diversity, social justice vital to unity'. Print Edition | Subscribe