Monday, October 10, 2005

      Importance of Tolerance for Diversity

The recent blogger issue; people posting racial and seditious comments online has come to a conclusion with the accused convicted as guilty with jail and fine for punishment. This is a decisive conclusion laid out, no doubt; and it underlines the importance of tolerance for diversity, which is a very important factor in a multi-racial society like that in Singapore.

In addition, I like to extend the importance of such tolerance as pointed out by Alvin Toffler and Thomas Friedman as follows:

Alvin Toffler (in his book ‘The Third Wave’), highlighted that “de-massifying” in mass media, education and social forms have exposed individuals to myriad information leading to differences in thinking and values. This is inherent of the Information Age that we are in, which leads to greater diversification as people are better-informed, and free to take on opinions of their own. In turn, there is greater need than ever, for individuals to develop tolerance for different views and opinions; to socialize, live and work together.

Next, to quote Thomas Friedman’s (in ‘The World is Flat’) argument, the foundation for innovation and entrepreneurship is based on trust; and trust is foster through tolerance of differences between individuals of diverse backgrounds. He cited India and China’s economical progresses as good examples; adopting others’ best practices into their country to encourage growth, which would otherwise not have been possible. He also cited that it is this trust that terrorists are trying to destroy. For it is this trust that underlines open market trading needed for economical progress.

The current youths of Singapore had grown up in the age of racial stability, where they are not exposed to the horrors of racial riots in the 1960s. It is easy to understand how many can all take these stabilities for granted. Coupled with how many are sheltered from worldly issues and historical lessons, they failed to see the potential repercussion of their seemingly “harmless expression of free views”.

Freedom of speech comes with a sense of responsibility for what is being said.


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