Learning from NUS Prof’s Comments

“Your own words are the bricks and mortar of the dreams you want to realize. Your words are the greatest power you have. The words you choose and their use establish the life you experience.”  ~ Sonia Croquette

In the past week, Singapore has seen itself divided by a FB posting from an NUS Professor, Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied, of which his FB postings had ran afoul of the LGBTQ community because of some words that were considered ‘hate speech’.

For those of you who have watched the speech on ‘Exercising Importance of Interfaith-Intercultural Understanding (for work & personal)’, some key points which were highlighted, are reflective of the situation that the Prof and others before him who have been made famous through the internet, have found themselves in.

While the two examples shared in the speech were regarding the cultural relationship between Foreigners and Singaporeans, it also mentioned Singaporeans albeit a lesser emphasis on it and the other social issues grappling Singaporeans as much as the rest of the world.

But one thing for sure, the takeaway from this case, is as mentioned in the speech,

(With regards to the use of the internet) “When used incorrectly and negatively, we stir misunderstandings, misconceptions and an inevitable feeling of resentment and hate, which spreads faster than anything good. Rarely do we see good and positive things go viral. Most things that spread like wildfire are stories of negativity, hate and resentment.”

“Living in a small country like Singapore, we need to be extra conscious of our actions all the time. The words we speak, the photos and captions we choose to upload online will affect the country.”

Moving forward, I hope we can see a more compassionate community, regardless of who that person is.

Sharing with you a bit of what I learnt from Restorative Justice during my fellowship at University of California, Irvine, we need to separate the sin from the sinner because while the sin is bad, the person is good.

It was simply a case of the good person who committed a sin (and this is for you to decide on who the person is and what the sin is).

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