Monday, November 9, 2009


Mahatma Gandhi : My nationalism, as my religion, is not exclusive but inclusive, and must be so consistently with the welfare of all life.

If only we could live by his belief, perhaps the ugly face of discrimination has less chance to surface. Discrimination is DISCRIMINATION in whatever form it takes, even if it is legalized (eg Section 377A).

Nationality, religion and race are three of the most forceful triggers of discrimination, besides other factors such as social status, educational level, sexual orientation....

In local context, differences in nationality seems to bring on nasty jokes and remarks even at primary school level. Our local Chinese kids are passing unpleasant remarks on China nationality students. Those being discriminated against experience emotional stress.

Where did they learn to discriminate at such a young age ? Perhaps they overheard their parents discussion ? Do parents realise that their kids are picking up acts of cruelty unconsciously ?

The high influx of foreigners has caused some discontent amongst locals, besides the unfortunate bad publicity caused by some folks from China. But these should not be excuses to discriminate against others.

On global context, differences in religion and race are bringing out the ugly side human being. The recent high incidents of terrorism being undertaken mainly by people of the Muslim faith, have resulted in ordinary citizens suffering because of the acts of some fanatics who happen to share the same faith and/or the same race as them.

“Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason.”... Barack Obama

Perhaps Obama may be another Gandhi ? But then they are different, as Gandhi believed in passive resistance, while Obama will use military force, hopeful with restrain. Perhaps different times call for different measures to resolve conflicts.

'Hate the sin but not the sinner', said Mahatma Gandhi. If only we can be objective enough to focus on the issue, perhaps there will be more harmony instead of friction when we relate to others.

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