I went to bed last night feeling hopeless and frustrated with the barrage of news that was exploding from every media outlet.
In US, a 17 year old Muslim girl who was on her way to Macdonalds after prayer at the Mosque was kidnapped and thrashed to death with a baseball bat. Her remains were found at a pond.
The very same day, another hate attack happened in London, where a man rammed his van on worshippers leaving the mosque after prayers, killing and injuring them.
Back home, the Oxley news continues to unfold causing confusion, distress and uncertainty amongst Singaporeans.
We think it doesnt affect us. We continue on with our lives as though it is just another day. Yes it is just another day. Another day where someone was targeted because of their faith. Another day where someone was targeted because of their race. Another day where someone is targeted because of sexual orientation. Just another day where we choose to be divisive and abusive. Just another day where we choose to be racists and misogynists. Just another day where we choose inequality over justice. Just another day where we choose to spread animosity over peace. Just another day where we choose to sit back and watch instead of doing something! Just another day!
I feel like crying my heart out. Is it so difficult for us to look at someone who has a different belief(ie faith/race/politics/gender/whatever) and just simply accept them? Not agree with them. Just accept them. Is that such a mind boggling concept ? To simply accept?
The idea of hating the action and not the person – is that rocket science for us???
Our states are so fragile now. I sometimes think, well, thank god i live in Singapore. Nothing like this ever happens. My 21 year sister can come home from the mosque and nothing happens.
For how long? What if a terror attack happens in Singapore and ISIS claims responsibility for it? Then what? I sadly dont have the confidence to say that Singapore will continue to stand united. Not with some of the sentiments ive seen online lately.
Ive said this before and i will say this again. The time for us to come together and stand as one was yesterday. We are way overdue.
If your neighbour is cooking curry and it stinks, knock on their door and say hello. Build a relationship and find creative ways to navigate around it.
If your fellow Singaporean feels targeted because of his race – have an open conversation around it. Seek to understand. Not call the police.
If your family member or close friend shows signs of extremism, reach out to them. Seek help.
If your external community is holding a major event about something you and your community feel strongly against – get together over coffee. Maybe you will never agree or see eye to eye. But reach out to them! Speak about it in person. Get to know them.
Imagine if a HDB block somewhere in Singapore starts burning – and in it were gays, muslims, islamophobes, misogynists, PAP supporters, opposition party supporters, anti-PAP supporters, atheists, rich, poor, PRCs, foreign workers etc.
And at that time, you’re in your house – trapped on the 15th floor, with your loved ones- and one of the guys (any of the above who you disagree with) reaches out to help you – are you going to deny his help? Will you at that time, care about the above? Will it even matter for one second?
Or if you had the chance to escape and knew a way out and as you were running, you hear your neighbour (who is one of the above you disagree with) screaming for help. Will you at that time deny his cries for help? Will you walk away and not lend a helping hand? Will his beliefs even matter at that time?
Why do we have to wait for such fatalities before our community decides to come together? If we are so kiasu about things which hardly matter then can we also be kiasu about what truly matters? Can we please create a kiasu culture for our state of humanity as well? Can we please be kiasu about loving one another? Can we please be kiasu about creating a community that truly cares ? A community that is open and inclusive. A community that chooses love over hate – regardless of race, language or religion. Or nationality. Or gender. Or sexual orientation. Or politics.
Can we please?
1.(of a person) very anxious not to miss an opportunity; grasping.