Cohesion in society will not happen by chance

Maids at a Chinese New Year event organised by the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training, on Sunday.
Maids at a Chinese New Year event organised by the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training, on Sunday.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Reader Neo Poh Goon's plea for gracious behaviour among our people brings home the message that there is a dire need to educate people to appreciate, embrace and respect differences in culture ("Constantly practise tolerance, goodwill and graciousness"; Jan 31).

The instances of ungracious behaviour we sometimes encounter have no place in our society as we strive to develop into a nation of polite and gracious Singaporeans. Lack of kindness, compassion, empathy and the human touch will nullify all the progress we make in economic and social development.

Real interaction and cohesiveness cannot come about by chance. It has to be carefully nurtured and cultivated by the state and its citizens, working in concert so that it becomes second nature to all.

With the presence of many immigrants in our midst, the need to foster a closer community spirit between our local communities and with immigrant groups has never been greater.

A joyous mix between multiracial groups that embrace and celebrate diversity is the surest way to create cohesiveness.

While individualism is understandably on the rise in Singapore, I have no doubt that the colourful multiracial and multicultural fabric of our society will prevail with greater intensity and passion in the years to come.

V Subramaniam (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2017, with the headline 'Cohesion in society will not happen by chance'. Print Edition | Subscribe