Race relations should not be taken for granted here

The public should do its part by being alert at all times and sparing no effort to prevent terrorist activities from taking root here.
The public should do its part by being alert at all times and sparing no effort to prevent terrorist activities from taking root here.PHOTO: AFP

The unprecedented mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand are yet another stark reminder for Singaporeans to be on our guard at all times as no country is immune from terrorist attacks (NZ in shock after 49 killed in terror attack on 2 mosques, March 16).

As terrorist activities in South-east Asia are alive and kicking, perhaps the Asean "Our Eyes" Intelligence initiative could step up its intelligence gathering by collaborating with the Five Eyes alliance, comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Singapore authorities have taken pains to tackle terrorism on all fronts. Security at Singapore's borders and checkpoints must continue to be escalated and tightened to prevent any infiltration of terror agents.

The public should do its part by being alert at all times and sparing no effort to prevent terrorist activities from taking root here.

Any unusual situation should be treated with utmost suspicion, and it is better to err on the side of caution.

At the same time, Singaporeans should continue with their daily activities and not be paranoid.

They have been constantly reminded that it is a matter of time before Singapore is hit by a terrorist attack and that they should be prepared to recover quickly as a community in the aftermath.

Race relations should not be taken for granted. Racial Harmony Day reminds everyone of the need to be tolerant in Singapore's multiracial society.

Having experienced the race riots in 1964 as a teenager, I still have memories of them etched in my mind. All it takes is a spark to ignite a blaze, causing irreparable damage. Racial clashes should never, ever occur again.

The Inter-Religious Organisation should continue with its good work to foster interracial harmony. This nation thrives on political, economic and social stability. Everyone should work towards this goal.

Andrew Seow Chwee Guan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 19, 2019, with the headline 'Race relations should not be taken for granted here'. Print Edition | Subscribe