There are a myriad of labels applied to people in Singapore. It is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world; a mixing pot of native Singaporean (I am not sure what that actually means), Malays, Indonesians, Indians, Chinese, English, Australian, Kiwis, and Americans just begins to start the list. You can easily add Dutch, Korean, Japanese, French, and Thais. The list goes on, and then on some more. To the mix of labels one can easily add labels for religions, power, status, and economic standing.
In spite of, or maybe because of the mix, there is an incredible sense of community with respect and honor that permeates society at all levels. Buddhist holidays are celebrating with the same intensity as Hindu and Christian festivities. Everything mixes in a glorious chaotic kind of way.
I wonder if any of the labels we commonly use make a difference. Are people in Singapore simply individuals living in a community? Do any of the labels make a difference in how they react in or to a given situation? Do their actions tell a story?
The questions are not new. They merely echo a question of the old days; “Listen to this, family of Jacob, you who are called by the name Israel: Who got you started in the loins of Judah, you who use God's name to back up your promises and pray to the God of Israel? But do you mean it? Do you live like it?” (Isaiah 48.1)
You and I wear labels. Do we know what they are? Do they reflect our values and priorities? We can and should understand what they are. We must examine how we lived out the opportunities we encountered. Even as we find comfort knowing we made it, we can learn and grow.
Today is an incredible day, full of new opportunities, relationships, and experiences. The labels we wear are far less important than the labels we create by our actions. Everything is possible; nothing is mandated. Each will carry memories. The future is unwritten; we are the history makers.
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