Recently, the NLB bans three books from the children section on grounds that it is not pro-family, in other words, it contains LGBT theme. It creates quite a commotion in Singapore, with people debating whether it is right for NLB to remove the book. To be fair to the NLB, the citizens request for the books to be removed. 26,000 signatures are collected to support NLB decision and only 3,830 signatures are collected to reinstate the books. But this set of statistics is just one of the reference point in SIngapore.
Before deciding the societal norm of Singapore, please consider these numbers:
– Pink Dot SG attracted 26,000 people this year. It begins with 2500 people in 2009.
– A Facebook group called “We Are Against Pinkdot in Singapore,” has 3,955 members
In a society, there will be bound to be conservatives but progress has to be made. Women will still be subservient at home, the blacks will still be the viewed as the lower race, and many people would have already been stoned to death for breaking the Sabbath and a whole lot of stuffs, should we still cling to the past societal “norms”. At this age of technology and progress, the term “should be” could become obsolete in the next day.
Progress to me, doesn’t mean being obscenely open-minded. I still appall at nudity in performing art. I still dress conservatively, t-shirts and knee-length shorts, exception being when I’m belly dancing. Progress means adapting to the state of affair and bringing better and more equally distributed welfare and equilibrium to the Earth, be it human kind, animals, nature and our environment.
Hence, getting obsessed at busily agreeing to what the society is at the point in time is very detrimental to the progress of society. We will continue our wasteful lifestyle till the collapse of the Earth, we will persist in mongering hate among people until the social fabrics tear and the society borders on a purge.
There are too many hate groups in Facebook, online and real life. There are the one who hate my diet, my lack of religion and so on. Death threats were thrown around online. People insult others in a way that they probably won’t do offline. Yes, I judge people but I won’t say what I won’t say to them face to face. If I think they are doing something that doesn’t fit my way of thinking, I will express it. And if we couldn’t come to a consensus, then let’s agree to disagree.
I would always support the freedom in being. Because I’m one of them, I’m one of the people who receive judgments and criticisms. I choose to be different due to what I learn is happening to the world. We are left to be enclosed in our own treadmill, to keep on pushing for the next mile, and the next mile without understanding where it is all heading. The goals, which we set for our-selves, might seem lofty, but it all willy-nilly comes to an end. What will be left is that there wouldn’t be much pondering on who we are. Yes, you could say that I hanker after the glory of wanting to change the world. And I did change the earth, literally anyway. I got myself a cute garden. But you could say that I’m not after the fame in the world, because I couldn’t care less about throwing my name out there.
All I ever want to do is to spread the love and joy. And perhaps, hold up the peace sign. But I’m not your stereotypical type of hippie, barefooted and dirty. I want it to be through sincerity and earnest. I want to bridge connections. I want to believe that we all have in us a better hope for tomorrow, even though some of us might hold prejudices against certain groups of people. It is my deepest wish to see that we could iron out all these differences and strengthen the social fabric. Let our lives not be dictated merely by a blue book with gold leaf pages or on any one set of book, let it be reflective of what the society needs. Our social norms are constantly on the change, and why don’t we choose for it to be in rainbow colours, black, white, red, yellow, brown and so forth? Let’s hold our own deities or lack thereof close to ourselves and not allow it to break relationships. Because that is not what any religion preach. Should extremities and lack of tolerance appear in a religious text, we have to use our logic and reasoning to discern the right and the wrong. Let’s practice being kind to our neighbor, being compassionate and recognizing that we are not so different after all.
At the end of the day, if we are so concerned about the upbringing of our kids, let’s teach them that differences exist. Rather than putting up resistance, let’s do what it means to be human, to discern but not to judge the differences. Let’s teach them that the environment is turning for the worse, and that we need them more than ever to be compassionate. Maybe we are to be blamed, but we need the next generations to be radical solution thinker, so that they could solve the problems that our current mindset has gotten us into. Let us teach our kids to be creative, to be a thinker, to be bold, to be resilient, and to have the grit.
Cultivate the good in them, because our world needs all that our children have the potential to become.