After two weeks of reading articles and observing reactions relating to the National Library Board saga, I was glad to come across last Sunday's articles ("Let's not open the doors to 'culture wars' " and "It's about who decides what's right or wrong"), which were balanced and helpful.
In the first article, political editor Lydia Lim wrote: "But as we stand up for what we believe in, let us also remember to listen to those who hold different views, to take seriously their deeply held values and beliefs and to converse with them in a way that builds mutual respect and trust."
Let us not forget that on both sides of the debate, there are individuals who have to deal with fear and hurt. In the light of this, it is not helpful to adopt a "militant" stance or response that further alienates the other party and snuffs out the possibility of healthy communication.
In a multiracial, multicultural and multi-religious society, what has been painstakingly built up over the last 50 years or so can be easily destroyed in a short space of time.
Journalists and those in positions of power ought to express their views on issues of morality and religion in a way that does not subtly promote their personal opinions and prejudices.
In the other article, editor at large Han Fook Kwang wrote: "The official view often articulated is that the gay lifestyle isn't part of mainstream Singapore but is a growing reality that can and should be accommodated, provided gays do not push their agenda aggressively."
We need to acknowledge the realities in our society; let us not take a stand that ends up hindering mutual respect and promoting suspicion and discord, which would not benefit anyone.
Quek Koh Choon (Dr)
This article was first published on July 27 2014.
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