Time for both sides to take rational view

There has been some sabre-rattling on both sides of the Causeway by politicians who want to stir up nationalistic feelings.

This is what politicians do.

But we, as citizens, should urge them to avoid this. We should tell them we want peace, and not war.

The outcome of a discussion based on nationalism can only lead to one side winning at the expense of the other.

To save face, the outcome has to be a zero-sum game. This will not lead to a peaceful outcome but to a disastrous conflict for both sides, with no winners in the end.

We need to change our approach. We need to enter the discussion aiming for a peaceful and cooperative outcome which will be good for both countries.

It should be a friendly discussion between just the two parties, with no third party involved.

This should not become a court case, with only one winner and one loser.

We must aim for a win-win situation for both sides, after much give and take.

Only when we are willing to start off on the right foot can we achieve a result that can satisfy both parties.

The key is give and take.

Our motto should be: "Peace and not war", with a "win-win, compromise and compromise" coexistence for decades to come, so that both nations can grow in peace to the benefit of all their citizens and future generations.

It should not be about short-term legalistic arguments about boundary lines to satisfy the nationalistic ego.

George Wong Seow Choon (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2018, with the headline 'Time for both sides to take rational view'. Print Edition | Subscribe