Singapore sits at the crossroads. Countries, cultures and traditions from around the world have representatives on this relatively small island that functions as a major hub and intersection for trade. When I think a person’s origins is obvious I know I am likely wrong. I am careful with my views because the story that follows unravels my logic in embarrassing ways.
Externals are not helpful. Indians by appearances can be from Singapore, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, an Africa country, or one of the Caribbean islands. Fair skinned Caucasians can be from a western country or not while being a citizen of another. Then you have the Southern European colored man from Myanmar who grew up in East Malaysia, speaks Bahasa Malay, English, and French with equal comfort, and considers Calgary home with a Canadian passport.
It is easier to see individuals by the values and priorities told through action. Without commentary, distinguishing behaviors include others versus self, single view versus embraced diversity, open versus closed, and learning versus learned. In ways I look at the individuals and world around me, barriers have become opportunities.
First is the realization of what binds us. For me, individuals that are compassionate, accepting, and open to learning are soul-mates on a shared journey. Our differences are never obstacles! Each difference has the potential to be an example of an embrace with God. They are living examples of the Psalmist’s note of God’s action; “I commissioned you judges, each one of you, deputies of the High God.” (Psalm 82.6)
There is always more to discover. The apparent differences between us are tempered by an awareness that there is so more to discover and understand. With no need to rush to judgment, time can be invested in getting to know the individual and understand her/his journey.
Other attributes emerge to shape the way I interact. Experiences reminds me that everyone has a moment within their life that I can admire. Each is beautiful in one way or another.
I have given up guessing. Asking, listening, and seeking to understand creates fun possibilities.