I am who i am. We are who we are.

I am Anuar Tahir.

As a Muslim who grew up in a Chinese-oriented environment, i had no problems socializing and sharing the things I love with my non-Muslim peers.  In fact, being in that environment helped me understand their beliefs and culture better. I treat my friends equally. Growing up in a meritocratic country taught me that there is no right for me to distinguish a person or a culture based on the colour of their skin. No one has the right to own anyone. Everyone is given a fair playing field and what comes out of it is your own hard work.  This also applies to Muslims for the chance reach out a helping hand to build Singapore’s future. If we are pre-judged for not being able to integrate well with non-Muslims, how are we then supposed to build a cohesive society?

I lived my life as a Muslim in Singapore and i go through the same struggles and pains in life like everyone else. I went through kindergarten where i was the only Malay/Muslim student. There wasn’t any Malay language offered so i took the opportunity to study mandarin. Throughout the two years, I enjoyed the company of my peers. I was in an environment where my peers spoke Mandarin. I had to integrate well with my peers, but that doesn’t mean that i need to forsake my religion. I had to make compromises to understand my peers better; i even remembered bringing packed lunches and i didn’t seclude myself from any of my non-Muslim friends. I cannot forget the smile on my friends faces when i shared my packed lunches with them. My religion taught me to give; no matter what race or religion they come from.

Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. My non-Muslim peers have come to respect my religion as I have come to respect theirs. What made this possible was the fact that we are willing to understand one another. I am thankful for that because Singapore encourages us to live together as one. I am reminded through the recital of the pledge.

We, the citizens of Singapore,

pledge ourselves as one united people,

regardless of race, language or religion.

Primary and secondary school-goers recite the pledge everyday. Profession isn’t enough. We have to practice what we preach. I was a giver in secondary school. As an ex-NPCC cadet, i molded my squad mates; no matter what race or religion they are into responsible citizens. I was also active in voluteerism; i had several projects under my supervision whose aims are to help the society. One of my fondest memory was being a part of a project to raise funds for Metta Home; a home for the mentally challenged.  Big or small, i hope my contributions have an impact to the people i have worked with. I will never stop contributing because it is part of my life. A life shaped by my morals, family, friends and Islam.

We follow a code of life where it guides us to be a good person as a whole. We live our lives normally like any other person. I sit at the same table where my non-Muslims enjoy their food, I am willing to talk openly about my religion and discuss about its prohibitions. Take for example, I am prohibited from drinking beer or any intoxicating drink. The underlying reason is obvious. We want to be focused at all times and given any moment if we let our guard down, danger might be lurking around in one corner. Prevention is better than cure.

There is no denying that we want the best for our future; ensuring a safe haven and a land of opportunity for our children. To achieve the best, we have to make compromises but not till the point where we lose what is dear to us. To forsake my religion is to forsake my life. Islam is not just a religion, it is also a lifestyle which encompasses what is right and good for us; which includes on how to lay the foundations for an enriching society.

Islam has contributed much to the society ever since the dawn of the new world. We owe much of the technical advancements and magnificent feats to thinkers such as Ibn Sina who wrote The Canon of Medicine where one of his works introduced the idea of quarantine to limit the spread of infectious diseases. You might have studied algebra in secondary school. Do you know who discovered it? Al khwarizme.

All of these discoveries have paved the way for new innovations in the world. Drug and medicine testing owed much the Canon of Medicine. Understanding complex Mathematics equations such as quantum physics wouldn’t be simple without the help of algebra. These individuals gave much to the world.

Communication is key to understanding. It has been a part of me. Being ignorant will not bring us anywhere and many prejudices will form. Seek what you don’t understand. It is important that we seek a common ground. We have to set our differences aside and look at our similarities. Speak out but practice caution if have any doubts. We are all equal and we can live harmoniously with one another. We can live as one; building our future together.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu%E1%B8%A5ammad_ibn_M%C5%ABs%C4%81_al-Khw%C4%81rizm%C4%AB – Al Khawizme

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avicenna – Ibn Sina

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Golden_Age – Islamic Golden Age