Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Letter to The Straits Times: Europe's refugee problem needs resolution

My letter to The Straits Times on the above matter was published on Saturday 21st November 2015.

Like many others, I was shocked by news of the terror attacks on France said to have been committed by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.

The killing of innocent people has angered the French government into going on the offensive
to conduct air strikes on ISIS targets and hunt down and bring the perpetrators to justice (“French jets pound Syrian city” and “France on big manhunt for terror suspects”; both published on Tuesday).

However, is this the best solution? There is likely to be retaliation (“War not the solution, address root causes” by Ms Maria Loh Mun Foong; yesterday).

Europe is already grappling with a refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands fleeing places like Syria and Iraq and seeking asylum in European countries.

If these problems escalate, we will be faced with a refugee crisis which is bound to cripple the economies of many nations which are already struggling to stay afloat.

The international community and political leaders need to provide humanitarian aid to the growing number of refugees. For a start, there is a dire need to provide them with shelter, food and clothing.
Dutchman Johan Huibers has built a life-size Noah’s Ark that is three storeys high (“Unlike Noah’s, this ark meets fire safety standards”; May 31, 2011). Brunei also has its famous Floating Village.

As a temporary solution, such arks could be built to provide shelter for these refugees.

Philanthropists, the community and world-famous performers can help raise funds for this humanitarian purpose.

Next, countries could consider accepting refugees who can be trained in skills so that they can become self- reliant.

The Buddhist charity Tzu Chi Foundation had an excellent “cash for work” scheme in the Philippines, where Filipinos affected by Typhoon Haiyan were given cash in return for helping to clean up the community and rebuild their homes. A similar scheme can be put in place for refugees.

If humanitarian support is given to those who need care and love, perhaps one day, we could see the end of terrorism.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

Monday, November 16, 2015

Letter to The New Paper: DJ SPLITS WITH YOUNGER BEAU : Age no barrier to love

My letter to The New Paper on the above matter was published today, Monday 16th November 2015.

It is never to cope with a divorce or failed relationship.  It may seem that the whole world has turned upside down for the affected couples.  That is why I full empathise radio DJ Rosalyn Lee, 36 and her boyfriend Justin Vanderstraaten, 24 who have broken up ( ‘Insecurity eventually crept in” (The New Paper, Nov 12).

Despite their age difference, the couple were able to carry on with their relationship for two years and it is a pity that they had to call it quits.

Though they may take time to heal, they can learn much from the experience and grow into wiser and stronger people.

To me, age is just a number and should not in any way be a barrier to anyone falling in love.  And it should not keep any loving couple apart, whatever society may think.

Relationships are often complicated and require us to work hard if they are to survive the trials and tribulations of modern life. 

Couples embarking on serious relationships, and eventually marriage, must be aware that the trip may not be smooth, that there may be pitfalls and bumps on the road.  

But it means sharing everything in your life – problems, decisions, joy, sorrow, and that makes it all worthwhile.  




Thursday, November 12, 2015

Assault on elderly Catholic Priest- Fr Adrian Anthony: Letter to The Straits Times: Important to be patient on the road

My letter to The Straits Times on the above matter is published today, Thursday 12th November 2015.

I have noticed time and again that some impatient drivers have the habit of blowing their horns at other vehicle users and pedestrians when they are in a hurry.

This is why driving instructors must educate their students – the future road users – on the virtue of patience, and that they must not engage in aggressive driving.

Our elderly citizens are often on the receiving end of abuse – physical and psychological – and I am glad that District Judge Janet Wang recently sentenced Dick Lim Poh Guan to seven weeks’ jail after he punched 72-year-old Father Adrian Anthony in a road rage incident (“7 weeks’ jail for punching priest”; Oct 30).

The district judge also called his behaviour and that of his wife deplorable. I hope that the authorities will counsel Lim as he serves his jail sentence.  It would also be useful if Lim’s wife is sent for mandatory counselling as well.

Parents need to inculcate good values in their children. Given that the couple have two children, it is important that the aggressive behaviour of Lim and his wife are not picked up by their children.

Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults and collisions, which result in injuries.

Road users who come across drivers who display signs of violent behaviour need to be cautious and not provoke them, as they can easily become victims of road rage bullies. It is far better to take down the vehicle number and report the incident to the police.

It would also be helpful if culprits of road rage are suspended from driving for an indefinite period until they improve their behaviour.

Raymond Anthony Fernando