Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam wrote on his Facebook for Deepavali that it will probably take decades before people are won over by moderate political forces, such that ethnic intolerance and religious extremism can be overcome.
Reflecting on the global outlook, he said that this is a real challenge everywhere today. He explained that the Hindu tradition of lighting oil lamps during Deepavali signified “the flame of the human spirit - overcoming the darkness of ignorance and bigotry with learning and understanding”.
He said this message was "as relevant today as it has ever been” because every major religion, including Hinduism, has seen a rise of religious extremism, which will probably need decades of internal reformation to overcome. Given the challenging situation, he added: "All the more that we do everything we can to keep Singapore a place where tolerance and open minds prevail”.
Source: “Keep S'pore a place where where tolerance and open minds prevail, Tharman says in online post on Deepavali” (The Straits Times, 10 Nov 2015)