The social glue that bonds all citizens is not half as strong and enduring as most imagine it to be, despite all unifying efforts. It is more like a weak gel that will melt in the heat of just a little provocation (Guarding against incendiary words; April 5).
Scratch the surface, and we are all different. Emphasise the differences and disparage others on racial or religious grounds, and primal atavistic aggression will stir immediately.
Racial harmony and religious accord can vanish in an instant, as global genocidal events have proven time and again.
While bigger countries with stronger buffers and more illustrious histories can suffer such conflict and survive, small countries will become just footnotes in history.
Religious teachers proselytising within the circumscribed bounds of decency can easily find converts if their words ring true, even among the non-religious.
Denigrating other beliefs to show the worth of one's own religion only exposes the poverty and untenability of one's preferred faith.
The punishment meted out to an Islamic religious leader recently for making religiously offensive remarks is entirely consistent with our strategy of policing divisive preaching (Imam fined $4k over offensive remarks, will be repatriated; April 4).
The West may have its own idea of what passes as free speech and may cherish the romantic notion that while it may disagree with what is said, it will undyingly support the right for it to be said, hang the consequences.
We know better, and must prevent, control and punish irresponsible, divisive and incendiary remarks the minute they are uttered, before they have a chance to take root.
Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)