Friday, 29 May 2015

[Today] Politicians must reach out to struggling nations

It is a sad state of affairs that few nations want to give hope to the Bangladeshi and Rohingya refugees, who will die of hunger and disease at sea if help is not rendered quickly.
Over the years, many events have changed the lives of people across the globe: The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, the Sept 11 attacks, the tsunami in Asia and other natural disasters such as Typhoon Hagupit, which struck the Philippines last year.
The most recent tragedy was the Nepal earthquake, though it was uplifting to the human spirit that several countries, including Singapore, rallied around the Nepalese.
Now, another blow has hit the Philippines: A heatwave that has killed two people as temperatures soared past 40°C.
With water rationing likely to come, I fear life is going to get tougher for the Filipinos.
During my trip to the Philippines in March, three street children — a girl around 10 years old and her two younger brothers — approached me for food.
The girl said they had not eaten for days. I gave her some money and hugged her. Teary-eyed, she asked me where I was from and for my name.
The world needs kindness, and one man I take my hat off to is Singaporean Thomas Wee, who set up a soup kitchen and built an orphanage in a rural Philippine village.
Likewise, politicians must not only look after their citizens’ welfare but also reach out to countries grappling with poverty and natural disasters, as all of us live on one earth and share a common destiny.
It is heartening that the Singapore Government has offered cash to countries in the region that have been aiding the Bangladeshi and Rohingya refugees (“ASEAN urges Myanmar to end crisis quickly”; May 25).
To take it a step further, our leaders should urge rich nations during international summits to do their part to make this a better world.