DPM Tharman said that in a Facebook post for Deepavali yesterday. His message was clear and simple, it is important to keep the harmony between the various religions and ethnic groups in Singapore. Singapore has enjoyed a long spell of ethnic and religious harmony.
Mr Tharman spoke about the rise of religious extremism and ethnic intolerance and how as a people we have to battle it and overcome such situations by keeping Singapore a country where tolerance and open minds prevail.
Mr Tharman said the Festival of Lights is about “the flame of the human spirit — overcoming the darkness of ignorance and bigotry with learning and understanding”.
“All the more that we do everything we can to keep Singapore a place where tolerance and open minds prevail. Where everyone grows up with friends of different races and religions, and where there is some give and take in everyday life in our neighbourhoods, so we live together without any unease. And where we develop a deeper and genuine interest and understanding of one another,” he said.
“Everywhere we look, we find examples of learning across religious and cultural boundaries … The flame of the human spirit is universal.”
However we now see an influx of migrants coming in, living and working amongst us. These are new communities with new cultures and different traditions. They’re new to the Singapore story and many of them have yet to embrace the culture that we have here. I believe that Singaporeans are a tolerant people and that we’ve done everything to maintain that and that it will rub off on new citizens, and that we will continue to maintain the peace that has brought us prosperity and the hot bed of culture that we all enjoy, prime example being our love for sharing food.