Acceptance is better than tolerance

DO we really need to practise tolerance? In the recent past, and present, there have been various calls for the people of this nation, especially from the majority group to the minority group, to be tolerant, particularly in relation to race and religion. But, do we really need to be tolerant? Are our differences so shallow, that we are only able to differentiate ourselves by race (i.e. ethnic identity) and religious inclination? Don't we all know that our differences are more diverse than just race and religion? Indeed, our ethnic diversity contributes to, from as simple as our skin colour, our hair style, our language, our believes, our culture, our customs, our family values, our food, our clothing, our habits, our religion, and so on. Don't we see this as our strength? I do, and I believe all of you do, too. Then, why do we need to tolerate these differences? Rather, shouldn't we embrace them with great pride and joy?

As of late too, we hear regular calls to beware of the sensitivities of certain quarters, especially those from a certain religion and race, and we're often reminded the of need to be tolerant. Why should we be? I'm a strong believer of (1) leave your religion behind the moment you walk out of your prayer room, and (2) leave your race and ethnicity behind the moment you walk out the door of your home. When you are out and about, be it at public places, work places, etc, you're just an ordinary citizen of this country, just another person on the street, no similarities, no differences.

Just as I do not have the right to impose my family values, my religious believes, my cultural believes, my customary practices, my language, my food and beverage preferences, my dressing preferences on anyone else, I expect the same from others.

We just need to live in harmony with our inherent differences. There is nothing difficult about this. Now, tell me, do we need to be tolerant? I don't think so. There is no need for it. The best thing we can do is to accept and enjoy our differences.

KK Chettiar