I REFER to “Great fun and cheer at Bon Odori” (Sunday Star, July 17; online at https://bit.ly/3uXD1Lq).
Perhaps one of the takeaways from the polemic that surrounded this event earlier is that there is growing intolerance among some towards people of different faiths, thoughts and beliefs.
Instead of celebrating our diversity and capitalising on what makes us unique, some people prefer to silence different opinions, making the others feel uneasy or uncomfortable.
Is it really bad for people to have thoughts or beliefs that are different from ours? Don’t we realise that intolerance only breeds more intolerance?
Some consider themselves to be better than those who do not subscribe to their thoughts and beliefs.
These people would discriminate against those who believe differently from themselves, and create barriers to mature discourses that would eventually result in tension and conflict in society.
Imagine a nation with a singular belief, one train of thought and one way of thinking. In such a nation, citizens would reject and destroy anything that is contrary to what they believe.
It is high time for us to stop looking at this world in black and white only. Sometimes real life comes in different shades of grey. We should eliminate any form of prejudices while promoting the idea that everyone can live side by side in harmony even though they subscribe to different thoughts and beliefs.
We need to learn about other people’s cultures and beliefs, as advised by Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah of Selangor in relation to the Bon Odori issue.
We must make a conscious effort to discover how our differences can unite us and make us stronger through our shared values. This will effectively broaden our horizons and make our society more resilient in facing the challenges that we face daily.
MOHAMAD SYAFIQ YA SHAK
Universiti Teknologi MARA