Opinions

What Nelson Mandela would say about the Little India Riot

With the world mourning over the loss of a beloved leader, here in Singapore, the Little India riot which happened late last night will definitely be echoed in times to come.

In this time of havoc, ugly things will tend to surface. Before we react to the situation, let us be reminded of the few quotes that Nelson Mandela has left for us  (“From Nelson Mandela By Himself: The Authorised Book of Quotations”),

#1 It is never my custom to use words lightly. If twenty-seven years in prison have done anything to us, it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand how precious words are and how real speech is in its impact on the way people live and die. 

Racial slurs and derogatory remarks have already begun spawning over twitter and facebook. Although it may be super tempting to post that well crafted racist joke, don’t. It ain’t cool, and this is not a time for one to be a douche.

Instead, exercise discretion and self preservation. These will go a long way in aiding the situation.

#2  When the history of our times is written, will we be remembered as the generation that turned our backs in a moment of global crisis or will it be recorded that we did the right thing?

Though this is far-cry from a “global crisis”, this riot is still quite major. Lives were lost, people were injured. Did we just stand watch, busily tweeting and hashtagging OMG SO SCARY, or did we actually go out of our way to lend our support?

#3  We tried in our simple way to lead our life in a manner that may make a difference to those of others.

Initially directed to freedom fighters upon Mandela’s receiving of the Roosevelt Freedom Award in 2002, this quote directly applies to all the police officers, firefighters and ambulance personnel who were at the scene. Despite of the danger, they fearlessly commit to their job, risking their lives for the sake of others. We salute you, and we could not thank you enough.

#4  It is in the character of growth that we should learn from both pleasant and unpleasant experiences. 

Though this riot is saddening in nature, it should not limit to that. Try instead, to discover the lessons that we can walk away with. Be it from finding tolerance, exercising selflessness or even mustering a bit of prudence, this incident could serves more than just a mere speculation.

To better or worsen this situation, it is up to us.

Read also: Riot in Singapore’s Little India; some used it as excuse for racial jokes

 

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