The Harmony in Diversity Gallery may be small in size but it does carry an important message – the need for mutual understanding and respect for others in Singapore.
Located at the 4th floor of the MND Annex B building, above the Amoy Street Food Court, the Gallery opened in September 2015. It comes under the auspices of the Ministry of Home Affairs and aims to highlight the importance of mutual understanding and appreciation of each other’s beliefs.
Singapore society has been described before as a rojak – a mixture of the different cultures, religions and beliefs. It is this diversity that makes Singapore unique.
“Regardless of race, language or religion.” These are the wisely chosen words by Mr Rajaratnam in the National Pledge and recited by school children every day. While this aspiration may not always play out perfectly, it is something which we should aspire to perfect.
The Harmony in Diversity Gallery aims to provide a focal point on these issues. It mainly focuses on religious harmony in Singapore.
Seeking What is Common
One section of the Gallery recounts the events that led to the deadly Maria Hertogh Riots in December 1950 where 18 people died and 173 were injured.
The message is clear. We should never take religious and racial harmony for granted.
As a quote from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong states, “That we enjoy religious harmony in Singapore is not a natural state of affairs. It is the fruit of conscious and unremitting hard work, as well as compromise and mutual accommodation by all sides.”
Another section of the Harmony in Diversity Gallery elucidates the various religions found in Singapore.
Another zone showcases how religions co-exist peacefully together in Singapore, especially on streets such as South Bridge Road and Telok Ayer Street.
Learning to Respect Each Other
The Harmony in Diversity Gallery also has several interactive elements. However, some of these are inaccessible at the moment due to safe distancing measures. These interactive elements help to reinforce the importance of mutual respect and understanding.
A visit to the Harmony in Diversity Gallery is a reminder that we, as Singaporeans, should look out for one another and show respect for each other and each person’s beliefs. Building religious and racial harmony in Singapore is a continual and unending endeavour. Let’s focus on the things that bind us together and respectfully dialogue about things which can be improved. We can be stronger when we come together, especially in trying times like these.
Learn more about the Harmony in Diversity Gallery at its website here.