Thursday, July 26, 2018

Opinion Piece: Artistes should set aside differences, embrace kindness and work towards reconciliation

It is somewhat disturbing to read of the spat between two popular TV actresses (“Pan Lingling's alleged comments on relationships of Hong Huifang's children led to their split” (July 25, 2018, The Straits Times).

Even more troubling now is that a former Ex-MediaCorp actress Julie Tan has joined in the fray – as reported in “Julie Tan hits back after Hong-Pan spat casts spotlight on love life” (The New Paper, July 25, 2018).

Relationships can be so tricky, and even the best of friends can fall out when hurtful words said on the spur of the moment causes anger, bitterness, jealousy, envy and resentment.  Spats can also take place in homes when relationships turn sour.  

Given that these two artistes have a large fan base, it does not augur well for both of them as well as for MediaCorp to vent out their dispute that has caught the attention of the media. Added to that, morale among their fellow artistes can take a beating. If these issues are not handled properly, the reputation of MediaCorp will suffer. We should not allow this to happen to our national broadcasting station.  It would help if the MediaCorp HR department counsels the celebrities involved so that others who feel upset about this spat will not jump on the bandwagon.

MediaCorp has done exceptionally well by showing kindness to the less fortunate in Singapore through their on-going fun-raising shows on TV, programmes that raises awareness of those with special needs and through their staff who do community work.  Such kindness must be ingrained in all their employees.

In all relationships, we need to embrace understanding, forgiveness, love and care for one another, as life is so very fragile. Just read the reports of people in Vietnam and Philippines who are struggling to cope with natural disasters, the collapse of a dam in Laos and the heatwave that has devastated the lives of thousands in Japan to fully understand what an uncertain world we now live in. 

Though these events are mind boggling, we have also seen that out of such human tragedy, it is the milk of human kindness that has united people together –  against the odds.

Many people and organisations will readily step forward to provide that much-needed assistance and give a glimmer of hope to those in chaos.  And on all accounts, it so important to practise the virtue of kindness.

If we want to build a better home here in Singapore – for both locals and foreigners who live here, then everyone of us, including the media, must take on that added responsibility of bringing people closer together and bonding them.  More so when we live in a fast-paced environment with so much uncertainties coming on-stream.

This brings to my mind, my number 1 choice song which is, “Try a little kindness”, sung by well-known country and western singer Glen Campbell.  It is one of my favourite songs because to me, the lyrics bear an important message, a forgotten virtue, often overlooked in this complicated world of increasing stress and strain, greed and selfishness.  The message is one of showing kindness to another. 

The Hollies smash hit, “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”, is yet another meaningful song because it too touches on the struggles in life and the apparent need for people to help one another.

That said, I urge both Pan Lingling and Hong Huifang to set aside their differences, don’t hold anymore grudges, embrace kindness and then work towards reconciliation.


Raymond Anthony Fernando 

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