Vital to forge a national identity amid diversity

Indeed, the values that bind us will - without doubt - give a sense of rootedness ("Managing Singapore's new diversities"; last Friday).

Singapore's diversity - race, religion, language, culture, sexual orientation, age, class, employment status and disability - is, indeed, a strength.

Arguably, the management of diversities today boils down to management of the "us versus them" factor.

Forging a national identity is of paramount importance. And, in order to give us a sense of rootedness, it must be inclusive and reflective of the national pledge.

Arguably, the values that bind us are the attitudes and beliefs that inculcate in us the instinct to uphold the principles of social justice - as derived from the national pledge.

I agree with those who argue that second-language choices ought to be fluid.

An attempt to keep race or language exclusive will hinder rather than help integration of ethnic communities.

We will indeed be better off, socially and economically, with diversity than without it.

S. Ratnakumar

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2016, with the headline 'Vital to forge a national identity amid diversity'. Print Edition | Subscribe