Opinion: We must build a community and not become a crowd

The Black Lives Matter riots in cities around the world and the civil unrest in Hong Kong is a future that Singapore cannot afford in the future. The best prevention against such unrest is to build community so that we will not have crowds filled with anger pouring into the streets. And this is why real democracy is so crucial- it is to provide a platform to address grievances and unjust policies as well as to allow alternative views to be heard. 

The Covid 19 outbreak among the foreign workers in packed dormitories in Singapore is a timely reminder of our dependence on another and our need to care for one another. We need to seek the truth so that we will not be blinded by fake news or propaganda and even lies. Truth will set us free but fear will keep us in bondage. It is a time to choose between living as a crowd or as a community.

Crowds are fickle and easily manipulated. It is easier to control crowd behaviour with legislation than to encourage social responsibility through education. It is easier to medicalise death than to journey with the dying. It is easier to commercialise medicine and to profit from illness seeking behaviour than to promote healthy lifestyles. It is easier to institutionalise spirituality which encourages superstitious and superficial religious practices in pseudo-communities than to encourage faith building practices in communities of love. 

And we can see the disastrous effects of politicising the pandemic in the United States of America which has become the Divided States of America when political leaders are motivated by the lust for power instead of being motivated by the power of love. The most effective way to control a crowd is through fear and greed but it is only love that will build community. 

The Covid 19 pandemic is to teach us that there is a higher power and higher purpose for each one of us as well as our community. We need to face the reality of death so that our wealth will be a blessing to others and not a curse.  It is time to remember that paying taxes is not a burden but a responsibility and that taxes are to be used wisely for the common good of all. We need the spirit of a co-operative society – to pool our resources for the benefit of  all. 

Hence, this General Election is not about electing parties into power but electing leaders to serve the people and to be accountable to the people. It is also to lay the foundation for a responsible and responsive government. The choice before us is whether we want to be a crowd of people who are seeking to be G.O.A.T.s (Greatest Of All Time) or a community of people who are S.H.E.E.P. – Seeing Heaven Everyday in Every Person.

— Dr. Patrick Kee

Dr. Kee is a retiree from palliative medicine and was active in the Social Concerns minister of the Methodist Church in Singapore. He is a writer of three books, Living Well in the Autumn of Life, Living with Our Heavenly Father and Living With Our Shepherd of Love. He stood in the 1997 general election for Hong Kah GRC for the National Solidarity Party.

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