Continue upholding principles of multiculturalism

If candidates contesting the presidency or a potential prime minister has the ability, sincerity and willingness to serve all - regardless of race, religion, language, caste, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability, there will be no need to pay regard to their racial origins ("Majority willing to accept president or PM of another race, but prefer one of their own race"; Aug 20).

Arguably, the decision to vote along racial lines is an emotional rather than a rational one. I agree with Dr Norshahril Saat of Iseas - Yusof Ishak Institute that transforming the attitudes of the remaining 40 per cent or so and others of similar mindsets remains a challenge.

Race has no place in science, yet it plays a role in politics - even in the most advanced countries, such as the United States and Britain.

It is worth reflecting on the aspiration of the founding fathers reflected in the words of the late deputy prime minister S. Rajaratnam: "In the kind of Singapore we are creating there are no majorities and minorities but simply good men and bad men, with good men, whatever their race, language and religion, invariably triumphing over the bad men, whatever their race, language and religion."

And, now, we are fortunate in Singapore. The principles of equal rights for all - the majority race as well as the minority races - take precedence over exclusive rights for any of the races here.

Needless to say, it is conscience - to behave with self-respect and respect for others - rather than exclusivism based on race, religion, or language that distinguishes an educated person. And conscience is a nurtured factor.

The recent survey on race issues is an indication that Singaporeans have, by and large, become more open to intellectual discussions on race-related issues.

Thus, it is only reasonable to assume that the propensity to vote along racial lines will be - sooner rather than later - held at bay.

Individually and collectively upholding the principles of equal rights for all is the way forward towards peace, progress and prosperity.

S. Ratnakumar