Compelling evidence seems to show that common misery is a more potent glue in binding human beings than any policy.
Before the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act was enacted in 1990, our pioneers were instrumental in setting up the Inter-Religious Organisation, Singapore in 1949.
From the earliest colonial days when ethnic enclaves were set up, pioneer immigrants were not merely aware, but also hugely tolerant of the differences existing between them.
Back then, many people were illiterate and unlikely to have seen or interacted with people from different ethnicities or religions.
Nevertheless, they learnt to co-exist with total strangers for sheer survival, if nothing else.
The existence of churches, mosques, temples and other religious buildings in close proximity to one another today is convincing testimony of the harmony in earlier days.