Religious and Racial Harmony

by Patrick Liew on March 20, 2017

The statements about the controversy over Disney film Beauty and the Beast by the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) and the Roman Catholic Church were not for the public.

They were addressed to their own leaders and parents in their congregations.

These statements were internal statements.
The Press picked them up and published them.

The Chinese has a saying: 国有国法,家有家规. In other words, every country has its own laws. Every home has its own rules. No external party has a right to impose their views on them.

In this incident, it’s unfortunate that the positions and statements of the churches have continued to attract many criticisms from different quarters, including many social media sites.

Many of these criticisms were unreasonable and even insensitive.

In a perfect world, every major initiative can be and should be debated, criticized and possibly even ridiculed to test its substance, strength and sustainability.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.

Race and religious beliefs are visceral part of human psyche and being.

The Johari Window theory suggests that all parties involved may not even be conscious of our negative prejudices and preferences.

Many humans may not even be conscious of the workings of a biased mind.

If anyone has been on the ground, and not hypothesize from an armchair, he will soon know that our country’s level of racial and religious tolerance or harmony can be fragile and be like glass.

An insensitive remark, even if it’s spoken out of a good intention can cause unintended backlashes, open up old wounds, and create new fault lines.

It can polarize our people and cause deep divisions in our country.

Once the social fabric is torn, it may be hard to return it back to its original functional condition.

Therefore, let’s not test the brittleness and vulnerabilities of many fragile aspects of societal fabric, especially racial and religious tolerance and harmony.

We should identify potential social cracks and mine fields and be respectful and sensitive in engaging and mobilizing key stakeholders to help resolve and eradicate these challenges.

If changes are needed, perhaps it’s better to make balanced and calibrated changes over an appropriate time frame so as to remove deep-seated emotional baggages and achieve sustainable results.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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