We Are What We Eat
Science & Spirituality
1 December 2017 - Sharing on common dietary habits and benefits, and unique dietary requirements, based on science and spirituality, four healthcare practitioners of different faiths and areas of specialisation — Dr K Vellayappan (Hindu pediatrics), Dr Ong Yew Jin (Catholic, palliative care), Dr Norhisham Ma’in (Muslim, palliative care) and Ms Jenny Chew (Buddhist, nutrition therapy) shared centerstage at Manjusri Secondary School.
Host and moderator Mayor Dr Maliki Osman led the dialogue and questioned the audience on the threshold of tolerance and adaptability amongst Singaporeans, “Take for example, when colleagues or friends share a meal together at a common table, would a Muslim be uncomfortable in the presence of pork, or a vegetarian with meat dishes around, or a Hindu with beef served at the table? Would we shy away from joining the makan session just because some dishes fall within our dietary restrictions? Would Muslims refrain from attending a hotel function which serves alcohol? Would a Hindu avoid a Malay wedding reception because beef rendang is on the buffet menu?”.
In his closing remarks, Dr Maliki said, “Constantly emphasising on our commonalities can crucially help downplay differences, hence increasing appreciation for diversity, and just as importantly, reduce the risks of conflict”.
About 200 guests attended the dialogue which seeks to boost interfaith cohesion, harmony and trust beyond religious rhetoric, but through practical and social approaches, rather than theological.