If a Picture Paints a Thousand Words

After a week of violence from Islamic extremists in Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Bangladesh, two pictures cheered me up.

And both are in Singapore. Hopefully, they represent the underlying strength in our race relations.

On the cover of the Straits Times was a story on the Muslim Affairs Minister calling on Singaporeans to develop our form of Islam that embraces all people. Accompanying the story, is a nice picture of a local Muslim family hosting a Hindu, a Christian and a Sikh as part of their Hari Raya celebrations.

Further inside the newspaper is a picture of a Muslim lady being treated at a TCM clinic with three other ladies in hijab in the queue. The story quoted the Chinese chairman of the TCM chain saying he was very happy more non-Chinese are coming “because our mission is to serve all, irrespective of race”. The TCM provides free consultation but charges a nominal fee for medicine and treatments.

We should be proud of such sights. And these are not to be taken lightly, given where we have come from.

Racial harmony takes efforts and a long time to develop. This is even more important with racist politicians all over the developed societies (USA, UK and Australia) and nearby nations coming to the fore of late. Let’s just hope our race relations are not superficial. The real test will come in a crisis.