Singapore Soka Association Participates in Mercy Relief Seminar
On May 21, representatives of Singapore Soka Association (SSA) participated in a seminar titled "Natural Disaster & Humanity," organized by Mercy Relief (MR). The seminar's aim was to deepen understanding of the psychological impact of natural disasters on communities in order to enhance relief efforts.
In the opening address, SSA General Director Ong Bon Chai, who is also MR vice chairman, stated, "Nature gives in the same way that it is taken. As such, humanity needs to be conscientious of its treatment of the environment." Mr. Ong posed the questions, "What spurs humanity to go beyond itself to reach out to our less fortunate fellow men? In a calamity, what or who can help the victims to recover from their traumas?"
In response, three speakers from various faiths--His Grace Archbishop Nichola Chia, Venerable Master Ching Kung and Imam Habib Hasan Al-Attas--were invited to share their thoughts on how to interpret and cope with natural disasters from the perspectives of Catholicism, Buddhism and Islam, respectively, and the role of religion in the aftermath of disasters. A question and answer session followed.
The seminar was attended by some 200 people, including guest of honor K. Shanmugam, Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs, and leaders from various faith, civic and governmental organizations. The event served as an opportunity to strengthen the fabric of religious harmony in Singapore.
[Adapted from an article in the June 15, 2011, issue of the SSA Times, Singapore Soka Association (SSA); photo courtesy of SSA]