My fellow Singaporeans,
Every generation is responsible for the time they are given, and they are held responsible by their children and their children’s children. The same questions will be asked of us: did we make things better for people around us? Did we conduct ourselves with honour, integrity and compassion? Did we leave behind a legacy future generations are proud and passionate to follow?
While the questions are the same, every generation is beset with unique challenges. I am heartened that in this short span of political campaigning, some of these challenges are brought to the forefront of our minds, and subject to open debate. It is easy to be caught up emotionally as politicians do what they have to: garner popularity, but I urge you to see beyond the euphoria, the anger and the goosebumps because the challenges that face us require our attention for the long haul.
Questions like how do we provide quality housing that is affordable to all; how do we imbibe skills, ideas and passion found in individuals located all around the globe and merge it with who we are as a people while maintaining the core of our identity; how do we cultivate authentic compassion and empathy for the less fortunate in a self-confessed meritocratic society?
These aren’t easy questions and only the most naive would believe that anyone is able to solve them upfront. The solutions to many of these require a bold first step and subsequent adjustments. It saddens me to equal degrees: to see opinionated people insisting that their solutions are perfect; and other opinionated people trying to string the decision-makers up to dry because the first stroke wasn’t perfect by their estimation.
The challenges before us require all our collective innovation and creativity. Voting for whom and what you believe in is a great beginning, but I hope polling day doesn’t spell the end of passionate discourse and decisive action. It is easier to watch candidates go at it, but much more effective if we all get in on making Singapore a definitively amazing place to live.
Volunteer with organisations for causes you believe in, show a little compassion the next time someone in need tries to sell you a packet of tissue paper (you don’t have to buy, but examine yourself for traces of scorn and eliminate that for a start), head to the nearest sports complex and teach the bunch of youngsters how to strike a football the right way.
There is so much we can and need to do.
One of the most memorable moments in television I’ve ever watched has got to be the episode in ER where Mark Greene dies. He speaks these last words to his daughter Rachel:
Mark: I was trying to figure out what I should have already told you, but I never have. Something important, something every father should impart to his daughter. I finally got it.
Mark: Generosity. Be generous. With your time. With your love. With your life.
Mark: I’m sorry, Rachel. I’m so tired.
Rachel: It’s okay.
Mark: Don’t cry for me.
Rachel: I won’t.
Mark: Be generous. Always.
From the “On the Beach” episode of ER
Be the change we need.