Twelve years ago, my friendly neighborhood Muslim barber was still trimming my hair when he asked if I saw the collapse of the World Trade Center on television. No I didn't, but I learnt about it on the internet, and remarked to him, "Wasn't it terrible, so many lives were lost."
"Ya, too bad many died. But you know what, in my heart, I feel good." Why? Because the Americans are too proud, he reasoned. I explained the fallacy of the thought - the walls of his barbershop were plastered with posters of Hollywood stars, from Michael Jackson to Madonna - and no, he did not slit my throat.
There was no need for fear, the different races in Singapore have always lived together in peace. We may have our own unique religious and cultural practices, they have never stood in the way of harmonious coexistence. Once a while, politicians may stoke the differences for personal ambitions, but common sense soon prevails.
There are those who are still urging Barack Obama to act, to unleash hell on Syria for the use of sarin gas on its own citizens. They argue that the proposal to remove Syria’s chemical weapons through diplomacy rather than resorting to military force is a cop out.
Whatever the outcome of the international showdown, it is no excuse to be distracted from our own country's myriad problems. The issues of affordable housing, medical care and transportation have yet to be solved, roads are still flooding and trees are still falling every time there's a downpour. Don't try to pin it on the guy who initiated the tree planting in the first place though, he already absolved himself of the stop-at-two policy fall-out. That and the plane loads of foreigners that are straining at the limits of a melting pot society.