Why Singapore succeeds in maintaining harmony

The State Flag flypast at the parade held at the floating platform in Marina Bay.
The State Flag flypast at the parade held at the floating platform in Marina Bay. PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore's success in maintaining harmony and progress can be attributed to three factors:

•Its Constitution ensures that no one citizen, regardless of race, colour or creed, enjoys more rights than others;

•The Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act; and

•Most of the people in the majority ethnic group, the Chinese, are reasonable. Constitutional safeguards will not protect minority groups in a country where the majority are unreasonable people. Even among minority groups, divisions exist.

I agree with OnePeople.sg Youth Advocates' stance that "while we do not want to rub anyone the wrong way, retreating and shying away from discussing these issues is not the answer" (Open talk about race, religion is the way to go, Sept 9).

To ensure the success of such discussions, the rules of conversation must be rooted in the right reason, and "safe space" must be built on truthfulness.

We will not rub anyone the "wrong way" as long as we are truthful and not tone-deaf to the other person's skin colour, culture, language and religion.

S. Ratnakumar

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2019, with the headline 'Why S'pore succeeds in maintaining harmony'. Print Edition | Subscribe