Monday, January 28, 2008

Suharto: .."if he had any faults, please forgive them"

Hi Friends,

'Father has returned to God.

'We ask that if he had any faults, please forgive them...may he be absolved of all his mistakes.'

These words by Siti Hardianti Rukmana, the eldest daughter of the late President Suharto are poignant indeed.

Great are Suharto’s excesses but so are his achievements. I will leave it to the Great Weighing Scale in the Sky to conclude if the balancing scale tipped in Suharto’s favor.

It is perhaps too easy for us to speak of forgiveness if we were but bystanders looking from a distance. Forgiveness would be most meaningful if it came from those whose loved ones’ lives were snuffed out in Acheh or East Timor during the many military conflicts of Suharto’s reign.

I hope that all who suffered find peace and solace and let bygones be bygones. The alternative would be to let hatred gnaw inwards until little remains of the human soul.

Many giants of history had endured unmentionable torture and brutality only to forgive their tormenters later.

Nelson Mandela forgave FW deKlerk.

Kim Dae Jung forgave Chun Doo-Hwan and Roh Tae-Woo .

I look to the day when on our own sunny Singapore shores, the players of both sides of our political scene learn to live and let live. Let there be more debate about ideas and less on destroying the messengers.

Are there many still banished from our borders because youthful idealism led them to join liberation armies that were not to be? Are they still languishing in south of Thailand? How ironic that those who were most passionate are punished whilst the apathetic gets rewarded.

All of us have a lot to learn from two twenty-year olds last weekend in Melbourne. Looking at the photographs of Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with arms on each others' shoulders and matched by wide smiles. Can you tell who won the Australian Open?

To Indonesians out there, Cheers!

Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan