Singapore: Youth speak on Interfaith
Peta Yang is the founding president of the National University of Singapore Students’ Interfaith group and is a Baha’i adherent.
Interview with Peta Yang
Peta is a Baha’i adherent and is a final year medical student at National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.
Q. How did you become involved in youth interfaith work?
I was founding president of the National University of Singapore Students’ Interfaith group. We started out in May 2008 as a group of 12 idealistic NUS students who wanted to increase inter-faith understanding on campus.
Q. Who are some of the people who have inspired you?
Abdul Baha (1844-1921) – As a Baha’i, I look to Abdul Baha as a perfect example of how I should live my life. He was also known as the “Servant of the Glory of God” and “Father of the Poor”. Among the truths that Abdul Baha tirelessly proclaimed to leaders of thought and masses of people were: The independent search after truth, the oneness of the entire human race, the basic unity of all religions and the condemnation of all forms of prejudice. He tells us that “When there is love, nothing is too much trouble and there is always time”.
Helen Keller (1880-1968) – Helen Keller lost her hearing and vision suddenly as a child, but that did not stop her from being the intelligent woman who laboured incessantly for the betterment of the world. She said, “Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. ” (and I believe she would have approved of interfaith work as a worthy purpose!)
Q. Were there any challenging times or experiences at the group?
Oh yes. Many challenges! For one, it was difficult to get people to join the group!
There are basically 4 types of students in NUS -
- The exclusivist: Interfaith activities will weaken my faith. It is against my religious convictions. There is only one true way. Saying that all faiths are one is just crap.
- The bochap type: I don’t care about interfaith issues. It’s none of my business. Let the religious leaders sort it out among themselves. What has interfaith got to do with me? I don’t want to be involved. We small fries cannot change the world anyway.
- The nerd: I’m open to the idea and it sounds good, but sorry, academic work comes first. Interfaith work takes up too much time which I could use to study hard, get top grades and get a good job and make money later.
- The enthusiast person: I’ll join the activities and even help you set up the interfaith group in NUS. Together, we will increase the religious understanding on campus (very few people belong to this category.)
Q. What do you think are the important issues between faiths of today?
It is important to be sensitive and aware of another’s ideas and beliefs. If we want to share our beliefs with others, it should be done with the utmost sincerity, goodwill, and friendliness.
Q. How can Singapore youths play a role in society through interfaith work?
By empowering themselves to raise awareness among their social circles about the need for interfaith interaction. The condition of the world is steadily growing worse and our generation must provide the heroes, leaders, and administrators of future years. I am sure that with dedication and willpower we can rise to great heights.
Q. Do you see yourself continuing your involvement in interfaith work in any way?
Yes, definitely. I believe that the fundamental purpose of Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race. We should not make it a source of disunity. If religion becomes a cause of hatred, it would be better that it should not exist.
Source: Interfaith Action
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
|< Prev||Next >|