Sunday, 30 November 2014

Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power: Are You Superstitious?

[This is part of the book: Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power, click here to go to the main page]

When I hear people labelling others as superstitious, I can literally see the sense of superiority in the speaker’s mind, thinking that he is smarter than the others because he did not believe in that.

Superstitious in Chinese is called:

Literally: “Lost, hence believe”

The first word, “”, is an indication of the state of mind – in this case it is Lost. The second word, “”, represents the decision taken – in this case it is Believe.
If we list all the combinations, we will get 4 results:

, ”              – Lost, hence believe
, ”         – Lost, hence don’t believe
, ”         – Not lost, hence believe
, ”    – Not lost, hence don’t believe

Therefore, we can see that no matter whether a person believes in a certain practice or not, that person can still be in the “Lost” state of mind – Nothing to feel superior about.

It is fine to use the word “superstitious” on others, but you must ask yourself on what basis are you making that statement? And what are you trying to prove with that?

If you feel that you are smarter by saying that, think again. Ask yourself if you know their cultures and practices more than they do?
If not, you are just being silly, and that statement of yours simply exposed your ignorance and arrogance.

BOSS Wisdom: “Seek to understand the basis of others’ practices and respect them. Labelling those as superstitious without substantial understanding is simply foolish and wilful.” - BOSS 

[This is part of the book: Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power, click here to go to the main page]

Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power: Understanding Cultural Diversity in Singapore

[This is part of the book: Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power, click here to go to the main page]

[Note: Kindle version is now available here. I am setting it at a very low price of $2.99. Get it early as I will increase the price along the way. I have also enabled "Lending" and "Kindle Unlimited". For those who have purchased the book, I have set this to be free for you.]

At the time of this writing, it happened to be Hungry Ghost Festival[i]. Yes, tomorrow is the midmonth of it or rather 2 hours from now, as I type this sentence, eerie, isn’t it?

As usual, there are people who complained about the burning of the joss paper. Therefore, I find that there is a need to include this chapter.

Singapore is a very special country. We do not have a specific religion or culture, instead a mixture of those are our culture. We are all here on this small little island because of one single belief: “the common belief on the best way to build a home[ii]”.

If you think Singaporeans should do this or not do that, I am sorry to disappoint you because that is against the basis of Singapore.

I came across a Facebook post on people ‘littering’ the joss paper and felt obliged to say something. Yes, looking at that picture, technically it seems to be littering, but under the hood, do you know why?

The following picture provides some examples of the different types of joss papers used. This chapter focused on the reasons behind the ‘littering’ of joss paper.

 Figure 12: Different Types of Joss Paper

If you look at the images used in the complaint, there is a commonality among the type of joss papers that was ‘littered’? Yes, all are of the following type.
 Figure 13: Type of Joss Paper ‘Littered’

Think about it, if people wanted to litter, technically, there should be an equal distribution of all types of joss papers, but why did people ‘litter’ this particular type of joss paper?

Well, it turned out that this type of joss paper is meant to be scattered.

The beliefs are many. Some used it to appease the wandering spirits so that they will not disturb the offerings intended for particular ‘persons’. Some used it to request the wandering spirits to lead the path and not to hinder the journey. Some used it as an indication of the location of offerings, which is mainly the purpose during this festival.

The idea is that when those spirits wandered around, they may not notice the offerings. These type of joss paper helped spirits to easily find and ‘retrieve’ those offerings. Therefore, people felt that if one did not scatter this type of joss paper around the location of offerings, the burning is quite futile as wandering spirits might not be able to find those.

Well, I know, in some of the readers’ minds, you might be shouting “superstitious”. Of course, you have your reasons and rights to proclaim so. But we will talk about superstitious in the next chapter.
This chapter is not a research paper to assert whether scattering that type of paper increases the chances for wandering spirits finding those, but rather to explain the motivations so that all of us know the reasons behind the act.

We need to understand and respect the basis of cultural diversity and the differences, especially in a country like Singapore.

Think about this: 

If someone were to tell Philippines to stop Dinagyang festival because the celebration is causing emotional distress to his child due to the scary face painting, how would the people of Philippines feel?

If someone were to tell Thailand to stop the Water Festival as it wet the tourists’ electronic equipment and is also against water conservation principles, how would the people of Thailand feel?

If someone were to suggest banning “Trick or Treat” during Halloween because someone dislikes
“unsolicited” knocking on the doors and the “threatening remarks” by the kids, how would people feel?

Don’t you think all these are very silly and irresponsible requests?

I can understand if new citizens not from the same religion don’t understand. But there is no excuse for PAP government not to know since they are in power for 50 years.

Of course, I know that the current batch of PAP leaders have nothing to do with the earlier batch and also nothing to do with the success of Singapore today, but as leaders of the country, it is still your responsibility to learn and find out.

If PAP government doesn’t understand, ask. Don’t jump into the conclusion that people are littering and printed brochures such as the following. Not only are you not solving problems, you are simply creating many more.

Figure 14: Posters Printed By PAP Government

What PAP government should have done is to educate the people, especially the complainers and the new immigrants.

We all know Malay wedding culture at the void deck and the sound of the musical instruments played during the ceremony and had accepted it. Similarly, we also understand Chinese custom for funeral and the purpose of their corresponding musical instruments.

This is Singapore – a multicultural environment that is uniquely us. Anyone is welcome to join us if you shared the same Basis Of Singaporean Spirit[iii], else, it may be more appropriate for you to look elsewhere.

What today’s PAP government must do is first to understand the People and their cultures and seek to help them solve the problems, not create more problems for them. This is the very basis of having a government.

BOSS Wisdom: “The basis of Government is to solve problems for their People, not to create more.” – BOSS

[i] Hungry Ghost Festival is a traditional Buddhist and Taoist festival held in Asian countries. In the lunar calendar, the seventh month is regarded as the Ghost Month, in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm. The midmonth is considered the ‘peak’.
[ii] Refer to the preceding chapter: “Time To Rekindle Our Singaporean Spirit” for more info.
[iii] Refer to the preceding chapter: “Time To Rekindle Our Singaporean Spirit” for more info.

[This is part of the book: Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power, click here to go to the main page]

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power: Are you a Xenophobe? Are you Anti-Immigration?

[This is part of the book: Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power, click here to go to the main page]

Xenophobic means: “Unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange”. Xenophobe is a person who is xenophobic.

So, are you a xenophobe? Are you anti-immigration?

Well, before you answer that, let me answer those for you. You are not a xenophobe, you are not anti-immigration. I am so sure because no citizen in the modern World is xenophobic or anti-immigration, unless medically proven otherwise.

Allow me to make short explanation long in order to let you better appreciate the fact.

Imagine there is a person who helped you with your work, giving you advice and supporting you. Irregardless[i] of whether the person is a male or female, and irregardless of his race, language, religion or nationality, will you like or hate this person?
Well, I am sure you will like that person, unless medically proven otherwise.

Imagine there is a person who abused you in your work, backstabbing you in the office and insulting you. Irregardless of whether the person is a male or female, and irregardless of his race, language, religion or nationality, will you like or hate this person?
Well, I am sure you will hate that person, unless medically proven otherwise.

Therefore, when you are unhappy about someone, you are not against that person’s inherent attributes, but against the associated negative effects of that person. If the associated effects are positive, you will like that person. Got it?

Now back to Singapore. I know many of us are unhappy with the projected population of 6.9 millions[ii]. But what is the ‘optimal’ number? I would say that even if the number is 5 millions, all of us can still be unhappy if the associated negative effects are still there, isn’t it?

Now imagine this: If every immigrant that is added to Singapore population put $1 into my pocket, do you think I will complain about 6.9 millions? Yes, I will, but this time I will be complaining why the government did not push it to 10 millions!

With an additional 3.1 millions in my pocket, I don’t mind subletting half of my house to those immigrants, bundled with 24hrs 1GBPS fibre broadband and with choice of Asian or continental buffet breakfast served daily from 6am to 11am. Airport pick up and drop off are also complimentary.

Oh, I can also throw in a full-time butler for them. What about minibar? Well, I will give them the whole fridge! Since I am ready to do all these, how could I ever be xenophobic?

Therefore, the root of the problem is the associated negative effects that everyone felt by the execution of the immigration policies.

The citizens are not the problem, the policies are also not the problem; the problem lies with the incapability of those who executed it.

If you can handle the influx and produce the associated positive effects, by all means carry on! If you can’t handle the influx, reduce it. Don’t overestimate your capability and cause problems for everybody.

At population of 5 millions, we are already having so many problems. It does not need a genius to extrapolate that with a 30-40% increase, the problem will get worse exponentially of at least another 40%.

Apart from the associated problems, the next question is: with the influx of foreigners, what are the values for Singaporeans? As far as I see, it is negative, so why should anybody be happy?

Since this is such a simple thing to see, why do people still continue the labelling and not solve it? Well, to answer that, you need to know the 3 methods of problem solving methodology used by politicians.

Politicians Problem Solving Methodology
Method 1: Deny the Existence of Problem
This is the easiest and most productive method. Well, what can be more productive than to resolve a problem even before it is considered one?

Method 2: You Are the Cause of the Problem
When method 1 failed, the next efficient method is to label you as the source of the problem. Since you are the source of the problem, again, there is nothing to be done, case closed.

Method 3: I Am the Source of the Problem
This method is very seldom used because it takes a lot of ‘balls’[iii] and effort to do it. In a political standpoint, it may not look good, so it is often avoided. Unless repeated execution of Method 1 and Method 2 failed terribly, no politician will employ this.

When people labelled you as xenophobic, they had failed method 1 and are now trying method 2. So, don’t be distracted by them. Stay focus on the root of the problem.

So what is the optimal number of population that I prefer? Well, first of all, I fully support immigration policies, I fully support any number, be it 5 millions, 6.9 millions or even 10 millions, as long as our PAP government can handle it and produce the associated positive effects, I will FULLY support it.

So now is my turn to ask them back:

“What is the number of population that you can handle to produce the associated positive effects?

6.9 millions? Are you sure? At 5 millions you had already produced so much negative effects and those are not solved yet, and with the 30-40% increase, are you really sure you can handle it?

What if you can’t? Resign? Why don’t we all make thing simple for you and me – Solve the easy problem first, i.e. produce the associated positive effects at 5 millions, once you achieved that, then we talk about 6.9 millions, isn’t that better?

I wouldn’t want to see you having to resign if you failed on your promise. Do you think this is a better approach?”


Since we have now proven above that we are neither xenophobic nor anti-immigration, let’s turn our attention back to PAP government. Are they xenophobic?

Do you still remember how PAP felt when more opposition members enter the parliament? Do they have “unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange”?

I will leave it to you to answer that.

[i] “Irregardless” may not be considered as a proper English word, however, the author still decided to use it so as to add emphasis to the sentence.
[ii] Singapore produced a population whitepaper that projected the population to be 6.9 millions. This created a huge uproar.
[iii] “Balls” is a slang, which means that a person has guts.

[This is part of the book: Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power, click here to go to the main page]

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power: Time to Rekindle Our Singaporean Spirit

[This is part of the book: Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power, click here to go to the main page]

What do you think is the Singapore Spirit? In 2010, PM Lee Hsien Loong defined it as a shared ideology, such as: "shared memories", "shared loyalty", "shared responsibility", etc.
It may sound great and give a sense of cohesiveness but do you know that that definition is totally wrong? In fact, it is this silly definition that had created tons of problems for all of us.

Let me ask you this: Are you sure we shared all those? The answer is an obvious "No".

Take new immigrants for example, do you think their "memories" are the same as that of true-blue Singaporeans? – No.

When Singaporeans have to serve National Service while the first generation of new immigrants do not have to, do you think there is “shared responsibility”? – No.

If one day, Singapore became a place less desirable than the immigrants’ country of origin (lower pay, crowded, dirty, etc.), do you think new immigrants will continue to stay in Singapore or will they go back to their country of origin? More likely than not, it will be the later, if so, what “shared loyalty” are we talking about?

It is now obvious that that person’s understanding of Singapore Spirit is wrong. So how can there be cohesiveness? With that wrong understanding, the more immigrants we have in Singapore, the more obvious the problems will be.

Personally, I don’t like the term “Singapore Spirit” because it is lacking the “people” factor. Singapore, like any country, is simply a region identified as a distinct entity in political geography. It has no life. What gave it the life are their People. Therefore, I prefer to use the term “Singaporean Spirit” instead.

However, the feeling of being a Singaporean today is very different than it was before. The feelings of injustices are everywhere. At the same time, we are also given all sorts of labels – internally as well as externally.
Deep in our hearts, we know this is not the Singapore we want. We are well aware that we are not as labelled. We are far more capable, united and refined than anyone else, especially when compared with our so-called ‘leaders’.

All these problems are rooted from the lack of understanding of the basis of our spirit.

It is therefore important for me to define the basis, which is what I summarised as: Basis of Singaporean Spirit – “BOSS” for short.
In Chinese, I shall call it 《坡精神》.
“Singapore”, in Chinese, is written as “新加坡”. So the “” represents our country. Literally, the “” also means a small gentle slope – we are small, but well-mannered and humble, yet a significant part of the overall landscape.
精神”, in Chinese, means spirit. The reason why I chose “” is also because it rhymes with the English acronym – “BOSS”.

BOSS stands for “Basis Of Singaporean Spirit”. BOSS is the common belief on the best way to build a home. BOSS unites everyone under one common belief – the best way to build a home.
BOSS is not about creating a replica of US, Switzerland, France, or whatever. BOSS is about our distinctive characteristics and our core competencies. BOSS demonstrates our uniqueness and shows the World why we are better. BOSS is our guiding principle for our thoughts and behaviours.

To understand BOSS, the first thing is to look at Singapore’s existence. Singapore existed not because of its multi-racial society. No country in the World existed because of that; in fact, this is always the source of conflicts around the World.

Multi-racial society is the result of our nation building – not the foundation. The foundation of Singapore started with a single belief – the common belief on the best way to build a home. This belief is written very clearly into our Pledge:

We, the citizens of Singapore,
pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of race, language or religion,
to build a democratic society
based on justice and equality
so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and
progress for our nation.

People from all walks of life, who shared the same belief came together to build this dream home that we now called “Singapore”.
The multi-racial, multi-language, multi-religion constitution of Singapore that we see today is the result of the diversity of people who shared the same vision, willing to sacrifice, and willing to build this dream home together.

The composition will change over time as our value and belief spread across the World, but the foundation remains the same:

“The common belief on the best way to build a home”

It is this foundation that brought us the harmony that we enjoyed.

Today are we united?
No. We have leaders who labelled Singaporeans with all sorts of names, denying the fact that all the problems were created by them in the first place.

Did we achieve happiness, prosperity and progress?
No. I know those who defended this will jump into explaining how much we have achieved, etc. But did you realise how the objectives are ordered within our Pledge? Happiness is listed first.

I can also see the PAP government trying to make a lot of changes to rectify the situation. However, implementing changes without understanding the basis and value is suicidal.
For any organisation, it must have a guiding principle, which serves as a basis where all decisions are based upon.
Without a proper guiding principle, decisions and actions would be based solely upon monetary value and pressure from different rights groups as well as individual ideology. When an organisation loses its core principle or deviates from it, it loses it soul.
What is the guiding principle of today’s PAP government? Well, GDP growth. Technically, there is nothing wrong, but if it sacrificed Happiness, it is against our Pledge – Nothing will be right if leaders are doing things against the Pledge – the Basis Of Singaporean Spirit.

Some of you might argue that you need to have growth in order to have Happiness. But that statement is faulted. It is really about priorities. This is what Mr Lee Kuan Yew once replied:

“What are our priorities? First, the welfare, the survival, of the people...”

He did follow the Pledge and set the priorities accordingly. Did he sacrifice prosperity and progress? No, he didn’t.

Today, with the busy and stressful life, exacerbated by political issues, aggressive rights groups,  BOSS had been overlooked – people started to fight among one another, defending their own groups and ideas while trampling on others – overlooked that we all started from the same common root.

It is now time to remind all of us about BOSS and revive the hidden values – let it be our guiding force for our thoughts and behaviours.

BOSS Wisdom: “The Basis Of Singaporean Spirit is the common belief on the best way to build a home, which is described in details within our Pledge.” – BOSS

[This is part of the book: Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power, click here to go to the main page]

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power: Playing Politics and Basis of Organisation

[This is part of the book: Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power, click here to go to the main page]

If you look up for "play politics" you will see the following definition: "to deal with people in an opportunistic, manipulative, or devious way."

But what exactly is Playing Politics? Is it good to have it in organisation?

Well, first of all, we don't have a choice - it is everywhere, no matter whether you like it or not.

Playing Politics can be good, depending on what types of politics are people playing. For a start, we need to know that there are 2 types of politics.

The first type is what I called "Baby Politics". I called it "Baby" because this is what my little boy always played:

"He is not my friend!"; "I don't want to share my toy!"

Don't laugh. This is exactly what happened in the workplace as well as in the political landscape.

Surprisingly or not surprisingly, Baby Politics is the main politics that people play. In Baby Politics, people formed groups to defend themselves and fight against each other - at the expense of the organisation.

Baby Politics divides. Baby Politics destroys. Baby Politics is very bad.

Do you remember HDB Upgrading Carrots[i]? Well, it is an example of Baby Politics.

Another example of Baby Politics is the infamous "fix the opposition" as shown below.

The next type of politics is what I called: "Value Politics". Value Politics is the good politics.

In Value Politics, people look for value-add to the organisation and fight to be the one adding that value.

Value Politics is usually played by very smart people. And these are the people who are liked by all and constantly get promoted as the organisation expands. A win-win for everybody and the organisation is a nice place to work in.

Taking a step backwards, although Value Politics is good, we need to know that people cannot play it when there is no clear value, which is why, the basis of an organisation is important.

The basis of an organisation is the value-add it provides to its ecology.

Only when we inculcate this basis within an organisation, will we be able to see Value Politics in play.

BOSS Wisdom: "Basis and value are critical to any organisation. When an organisation loses its core principle or deviates from it, it loses its soul." - BOSS

The book is also available at
BasisOf Singaporean Spirit - People Power: A Wake-Up Call for Leaders around theWorld

[i] HDB Upgrading Carrots is an election tactics PAP used. If you vote for PAP, PAP will invest in upgrading your neighbourhood. BTW, note that the investment money is from Singapore, not from the PAP party itself.

[This is part of the book: Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power, click here to go to the main page]

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power: Unification of Three Powers in Political Science

[This is part of the book: Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power, click here to go to the main page]

The book is also available at

[This chapter was planned to be published later, however, since recently Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said that the poor pose election risk, I find it timely to publish it now. Please share. This article is not meant to support China or Hong Kong, but for academic discussion purposes.]

Recently, in an interview with foreign media, Mr Leung Chun-ying shared his concerns about 'poor dominating politics'. Conversely, with 'rich dominating politics', shouldn't that be his concerns too? Given that he said: 

"If it's entirely a numbers game and numeric representation, then obviously you'd be talking to the half of the people in Hong Kong who earn less than $1,800 a month" 

Which "politics" do you think Mr Leung believes Hong Kong is in today?

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (has a daughter, not in the picture)

For a society to be in harmony there must be unification of the 3-Powers (details of this is in the preceding chapters) and they must be working in a collaborative manner.

In political science, these 3 Powers are present as:

Power () – Represented by Politicians
Wealth () – Represented by Businesses
People () – Represented by Commoners

When there is disunity, we will have huge problems. There are two types of disunity: Total Disunity and Partial Disunity.

Total Disunity

Total Disunity represents a state where there is no collaboration with any of the other powers.

The following are the potential issues.

Singular "Power"
When Power executes without regard to the other two, it will manifest as political lockups, and people could be jailed without trials.

This may be necessary in times of extreme chaos, but ultimately, whether it is good or bad, it really depends on the overall outcome. That is, do the lives of People get better or worse?

More often than not, Singular "Power" manifests as dictatorship.

Singular "Wealth"
When wealth takes the centre stage, a common situation that is observed is bribery.

In order to get things done, money is the key differentiator. Money can enable a businessman to get special permit or even special treatment and to avoid any punishment.

Singular "People"
When People acted alone, riots and revolutions will be common events.

In a totally dysfunctional country, it is not uncommon to see all of the three singularities happening at the same time.

Partial Disunity

Partial Disunity represents a state where there is collaboration between only two of the powers, against the other.

Case 1: Wealth + People
In this case, we have a situation where money can decide who will take power.

In countries where there are no rules on political campaigning, rich people can inject huge amount of money to run campaign to promote a given candidate.

In this case rich people will be calling the shot, politicians will have to listen to the rich and implement policies as told.

Case 2: People + Power
In this case, we have People who are very demanding and willing to make their point by voting.

Depending on the nature of the People, and whether their demand is logical and fair, the outcome can vary, but in general, when People + Power is too strong, it may end up as an unsustainable welfare state[i].

In the extreme case, it is likely that we will have a situation where there are excessive taxes on the rich, not a nice place to do business or live in.

Case 3: Power + Wealth
This is the worst situation of all. 

In this case, politicians are very rich themselves. Most, if not all of them, are highly paid and many are involved in key appointments of the major corporations of the country. There is also a strong tendency for them to remain as such.

Therefore, whenever there are any comments or discontents, those will be silenced immediately through libel sue or political lockup without trial.

Interestingly, in democratic countries, we often find that this is the situation that People of the World often voted themselves into.

How is the 3-Powers Distribution in Your Country?

In order to have a harmonious society, it is important for politicians, businesses, and the commoners to understand that the balance of the 3-Powers in politics is of utmost importance.

The above lists the various scenarios of the political climate that you may be experiencing so as to allow readers to understand their current situation and balance it accordingly, if desired.

So how is the 3-Powers distribution in your country?

What do you think are the 3-Powers distribution in Singapore and in Hong Kong today? What do you think you could possibly do to balance it in order for the society to be in harmony?

I will be posting some of the other chapters in the online version, so please follow my blog and also like/follow my page on facebook to get updated on the chapter postings. 

[i] Note the key word here is "unsustainable". If it is sustainable, there is nothing bad about it.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power: Why Do You Want to Go to Heaven?

[This is part of the book: Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power, click here to go to the main page]

[This chapter was planned to be published later, however, since there is a huge conflict in Singapore where a lady wreaked havoc on other's worship, I find it timely to publish it now. Please share.]

[This chapter was initially written for Singapore. However, during the writing of this book, there were conflicts in the Gaza area. Therefore, I would like to dedicate this chapter to the People of Israel and Palestine too.]

A Dedication to Ms Yeo, Who Wreaked Havoc on Other's Worship

First of all, this is a religious chapter. In a multi-culture and multi-religion Singapore, it will not be complete without a chapter on this. If you don’t believe in religion or feel that it is too sensitive for you to talk about it, please skip this chapter.

When we were young, we were told to be good and kind, so that we can go to Heaven.

Heaven was described as a place full of happiness and with all the kind people, while Hell was described as a place full of suffering and evil people.

In general, there is a common understanding that Heaven is a better place to go compared with Hell.

But the next question is: "How does one go there?"

Different religions have different ways and different descriptions on how Heaven really is. So who is right?

Let's assume everyone is right. If so, how can this be possible? Well, maybe there are different 'segments' of Heaven, where different people go to different segments depending on their beliefs and approaches.

But if so, what is the difference between Heaven’s multi-segment-model with the Earth’s multi-country-model? Don't forget that terrorists also have their version of Heaven[i], would we be fighting up there again[ii]?

Let's take a step backwards. Maybe, despite all the differences in all the religions, could we possibly be talking about the exact same Heaven? But how could this be possible?

Well, let's take another step backwards. I am sure 99% of us had heard about the story of "The Blind Men and The Elephant", right?

If not, the story goes like this (there are slight variations of the story, but in general, it is as follows):

A king gathered 5 blind men to the palace and asked them to touch an elephant and describe it. After they had each touched the elephant, the king asked them to describe the elephant.

The first man who touched the tusk said: "Elephant is like a spear!"

The second man who touched the ear said: "Nonsense, it is so soft, it is like a fan!"

The third man who touched the body said: "No, it is so hard and firm, it is like a wall!"

The fourth man who touched the tail said: "Rubbish, it is so thin and long, it is like a whip!"

The fifth man who touched the leg said: "It is obviously thick and firm, it is like a tree!"
Soon, an argument broke out and all the men insisted on their views and refused to accept others' arguments.

The commotion was interrupted by the king's laughter. The king proceeded to tell them that all of them were right and advised them to share their knowledge by guiding one another on their experiences.

After the experience sharing, all the blind men were extremely happy and exclaimed that they finally got to know what an elephant really was!

Isn't it amazing that this story had been told in so many religions as well as in so many literatures?
Although the details are not exactly the same, although the context may not be exactly the same, it points to the same message - that elephant is a big creature that we need to collaborate and share information in order to fully comprehend it.

Had it even dawn upon you that Heaven could be the big 'elephant' that if we do not collaborate and share knowledge, we would never be able to fully comprehend it?

Could these be our training ground that The One up there had thoughtfully created for us to practice to be magnanimous and encompassing so that we can all go to Heaven together, happily ever after?

Did you realise how The One had crafted the training ground for all of us using the 3-Powers[iii]?(these are mentioned in earlier chapters, will be published later)

Heaven (Abstract Factor) - Religion
Earth (Physical Factor) - Country
People (People Factor) - Race

Only when we are able to transcend beyond our beliefs, our locations, and our outlooks - to be indiscernible[iv] and share among ourselves, would we be able to enjoy the harmony.

Do you know that there are 3 types of Harmony? They are Compromise, Acceptance and indiscernible.

At the lowest level, it is "Compromise". Compromise is about tolerating others, i.e. "I give you this, but you must give me that", or as what my boy always tell me:

"If you want me to practice piano, you must let me play iPad!"

Although there is harmony, it is not a true one.

The middle level is "Acceptance". It is about understanding the differences and accepted them as part of the overall day-to-day life.

At the highest level, it is "Indiscernible". At the indiscernible stage, we don't even realise that there are differences, so how could there be conflict in the first place? This is the ultimate state of harmony.

In closing, I would like to point you to the following picture.

Figure 17: Picture of My Boy's Friends

 Did you see the picture with whale, Christmas tree, octopus, seahorse, snowman, grapes, etc?

One day, when I went to fetch my boy at a Kids' Club[v], he showed those to me and said: "Daddy, can you use your hand phone to take a picture of my friends?"

I was so touched because this is an example of indiscernible - everyone and everything can be his friends. Some of you might think it is childish, but let me assure you, it is not. He is a very smart boy and I am often amazed by his thoughts and speeches.

Reflecting it back to ourselves, we were all like him when we were kids, when had we become so calculative and intolerant?

BOSS Wisdom: “Religion is just like a stream, delivering the water to us. The water will look different and taste different because it had been customised for our easy absorption; however, it still comes from the same common source. Go beyond the boundaries of religion, walk up the stream to the source. We will all meet there, laughing happily together on how silly we were before, thinking that our water were the best, which in fact, is from the same source.” - BOSS

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[i] I supposed that you are not that naive thinking that terrorists do what they did just to go to Hell, are you?
[ii] I came across a saying that if a person is not in a specific religion, that person will end up in Hell. I have heard it from not just one religion. So applying logical analysis, does this mean that they will end up in each other's version of Hell? To me, that saying doesn't make sense at all. Does it make sense to you?
[iii] Please refer to the chapter "Introduction to Three Powers" for the background on the 3-Powers.
[iv] Not distinguishable.
[v] Kids' Club is a facility provided by most hotels where kids can play under the supervision of hotels' staff while their parents enjoy themselves.

[This is part of the book: Basis Of Singaporean Spirit - People Power, click here to go to the main page]