First off, I just want to give a disclaimer, that my views are just my personal opinion, and I do not represent Christians or Singaporeans, or Asians, or Singaporean-Chinese for that matter. I do not intend to offend anyone in this post but just to express my interest and in some way, my anxiety toward what I see as the polarisation and increasing extremism from many parts of society today. I know it’s really lame, when Christians who meet a homosexual tell them, “It’s OK, I have gay friends”…. But, seriously, a friend who changed my life at a time when I really needed it, and who I loved very much – so much that that I chased the person away, unfortunately, was my first Muslim friend, and I do have quite a few close Muslim friends. I mean, there is no difference with having any other non-Christian friend, agnostic, atheist, Buddhist, even with different denominations one experiences differences in belief that should be carried with grace and mutual understanding, if need be, just agree to disagree?
Have you noticed that the Singapore media has been trying somewhat desperately to maintain a balanced viewpoint about the streak of terrorist attacks and regarding Islam? I do not think this is a bad thing, given that the Singaporean Chinese are a double minority. Despite being the majority race of the nation, due to the regional ethnic composition, the Chinese in Singapore are part of a double minority. Also, since it has been highlighted that in recent years Christianity has been getting more and more of a hold in Singapore, there are greater implications to what could happen if the Christian sector were to push their weight and move to the extent of wanting to Trump out what they consider as a threat. Imagine if they were to activate themselves just like how they protested with the “white shirts” vs. the “pink shirts”.
Of course, I don’t think Chinese Singaporeans or Christian Singaporeans have such a strong animosity toward Malay or Indian Muslims here. But I racism is inherent in the way humans have evolved. For an interesting opinion about the inevitability of racism this is really interesting: Racism?
By default, any person identifies with what is familiar and is separates from, even fearing “The Other”. Without that we wouldn’t have Distinct Identities.
It is so disturbing, to read the newspapers and see how the once highly controversial hypotheses of the Clash of Civilisations has seemingly been vindicated. At least in the newspapers I read here, there is a lot of reporting on China’s disputes over Island territories in Asia.. there was also a big report last year about how the US and Britain went to get trade goodies from China. Is the the Sinic civilisation “Remaking [the] World Order” as Huntington’s 1996 book suggested?
More than a year ago I remember how I was extremely dismissive when my mother, TYPICAL bible study “Auntie” (She has finished Bible Study Fellowship – 7 Years and has been doing Precept Upon Precept since the 2004 or so) told me this: “You just see, Muslims are going to overpopulate the whole world soon. See here, they have 4 or 5 kids but we all only have one, maximum two.” She was just being was being anti-Islam and racist. But suddenly there’s the migrant crisis in Europe. One in every two of those crossing the Mediterranean this year — half a million people — were Syrians, Afghans accounted for 20% of the migrant flow, and Iraqis 7%.
The increasing discontent following the Cologne attacks allegedly by migrants is troubling to me. (see picture of migrants apologising outside Cologne Train Station)
But the at the core of the entire issue, the fear and hatred of “The Other”, that is so natural, yet, so unjustified, I just don’t understand. My parents have always been racist. But I never really picked it up. I even remember having the motto that “everyone is worth getting to know, if you get to get to know them” when I was a teenager. I never grew up, as a child or teenager with other races though, as the schools I went to were all majority Chinese as the were SAP schools offering Higher Chinese. So I grew up feeling that Chinese was the only race. I think in Singapore that is very easy to do. Despite the bombardment of national propaganda about multiculturalism, the nature of things is all about segregation. The ironic thing about the Chinese in Singapore is that so many of us lost our language. And we blame it on the education and nation’s policies, but have the minority groups lost their “mother tongue”? I think elitism is also an important factor that drove the rapid Westernisation and adoption of English as a first language, rather than the government policies.
I digress… I’m sure most of you know about Trump “looking into ways” to fix the “Muslim problem” (he was asked how he would do this at one of his rallies). Just as the saying “one thing leads to another” goes. I believe that the polarisation and the extremism of the West is a step by step thing. I used to think that moderates were also those who were liberal. But those who are liberal allow for freedom, and a variety of opinions. Sounds similar to moderation right? But if you don’t take a specific moderate viewpoint, and you are too liberal, you will lose your vision altogether. Worse still, like Angela Merkel’s Germany, when you bite off more than you can chew, you will want to banish all the good that you once believed in.