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Monday, August 17, 2009

WHEN an old Chinese woman died last year, her family wanted to hold her funeral at the void deck of a neighbouring HDB block.

They set up the altar for the wake before getting town council approval, not knowing the premises had already been booked for a Malay wedding.

A tussle ensued when both parties refused to budge. The Malay family was upset because invitations for the wedding had already been sent out. The town council tried to persuade the Chinese family to hold the wake at another void deck, but they refused. They said dismantling the altar would bring bad luck.

The matter was resolved after the constituency's grassroots leaders and Member of Parliament stepped in to mediate.

Although the Chinese family had a weaker case, the Malay family graciously agreed to move its wedding to a nearby void deck. As a gesture of appreciation, the town council waived rental charges and put up posters to inform wedding guests of the change in venue.

In both his Mandarin and English National Day Rally speeches on Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong used the incident - related to him by the constituency's MP - to highlight the dangers of racial and religious fault lines and how they can pull Singapore apart.

'We have discussed potential fault lines in our society between rich and poor, between Singaporeans and new arrivals.

'But the most visceral and dangerous fault line,' he said, 'is race and religion.'

PM Lee pointed out that although sensitive incidents like the void deck tussle are rare - 'maybe one incident in 300 funerals', they are bound to arise from time to time.

If not handled carefully, they could escalate into a racial or religious conflict.
He said the void deck incident was resolved amicably because the Malay family was willing to give and take. It showed that Singaporeans are mature and understand the greater good. -source

I'm very thankful to have a good government who knows how to handle such situation.

It's really very scary,of what might erupt due to this incident.

Even though religion and race is considered to be a very sensitive issue to be talked about,but I do agree with our PM Lee for pointing out that we still have to face this problem and it is better that we talk about it now before anything happens.

Much thanks to the Malays and Chinese for the understanding,respect for each other's religion and race culture. It's rare but when we finally see this situation happened,it makes me happy to see them exhibiting such graciousness :)

I don't have too much views on this,just am happy and thankful for the peace. Government did a good job on educating us.

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