Abstracts of essays; news; announcements; short takes.
Greetings Alex. Great post, as usual. It is not really true that all Singaporeans are wary about discussing religious issues in public. In fact, I have taken the battle into the lion's den (so to speak) by maintaining a thread primarily to discuss religion in the YoungPAP forum. See, for example, http://www.youngpap.org.sg/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=195250#195250 . I have taken the liberty of recommending your article to those who frequent the forum as the lastest posting on this thread.Warmest regards, Witness
Dear Alex, I pray this will not be seen as self-promotion of my blog. Just thought of highlighting two of my recent posts on race and religion:Still waters run deep and Choosing to remain or convert
Pseudonymity - I agree with your sentiments as expressed in your articles. Racial and religious tolerance in Singapore is very superficial, and I think partly, it has to do with the habit of sweeping things under the carpet.
Dear Alex,I've been deeply worried and concerned about this issue of racial & religious tolerance and interaction in Singapore. In fact, the worry & concern has been there way before the Sept 11 attacks which heightened the exposure on these issues. But in Singapore, due to the domestic political situation in which one central power and its minions dictate & rule PLUS the constant albatross around our necks (history of the riots) which keeps thumping the fear-factor into ones' head..........man, i dunno when we'll get over this superficiality and stop, as you've put it, sweeping things under the carpet. I'm not paraniod or anything but it'll be a sad & tragic day if we don't get beyond all this.
My Indonesian classmates, Muslims, give me the impression that they are religiously not as stuffy or rigid as the media may portray. They actually find me more sensitive when talking about such matters to them. According to them most Indon muslims couldn't care less about any of those fundamentalist teachings. But that is not to say there aren't fundamentalists or religious extremists there. But considering the huge population of Indonesia, even a tiny few can cause alarm and blow things out of proportion. So in a way the religious harmony or tolerance here that the Sg gahmen loves to crow about and take credit for is actually not any achievement of theirs but a natural progression that will eventually happen anyway.
Dear YB, I do believe you have been proven right by the scarcity of posts on this thread. Many people shy away from blogging Muslim issues.I am not an exception. I'm going to touch on this issue only because it might (and I stress the uncertainty in "might") have bearing on the interests of this website.The topic I have in mind is the arrest, a few days ago, of Singaporean lawyer Abdul Basheer Abdul Kader. I cannot help but wonder why would a 28-yr-old university graduate abandon a normal lifestyle to fight in the mountains of Afghanistan?What is a normal lifestyle for a 28-yr-old graduate? The answer, of course, is find a girlfriend, get married, have children, raise a family. It will need a very powerful influence to divert any normal person from this course.But if a person is not normal, has no interest in girlfriends and so forth, then it's easier for him to be diverted into radicalism.Further, if the state has laws which make his secret desires a criminal act, that person would think his life under present circumstances would not be worth living anyway. To such a person, risking his life in some imaginary "noble" cause would in fact be the prefered choice.I do not want to imply that the person I mentioned is affected by such circumstances, that would be pure speculation. I would even consider it offensive conduct.What I do wish to stress is that these kind of circumstances are what the gay community is facing. It's a rope being stressed, sometimes it gets broken. Some of the gays will feel so hopeless by the present laws, and the present teachings of religions, that they will much prefer to face death than to continue their life under an unbearable burden. For a Muslim in this predicament, what greater avenue of escape from his life problems than fighting a glorious jihad?The repeal of Section 377A will go a long way towards curtailing this source of recruits for Islamic terrorism.
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