Elgin Teng

Embrace Diversity, Grow your heart

I was introduced to this platform by Sarah, a long time professional associate turned friend. My story dates to quarter 4 in 2020, when I had 2 encounters of youths knocking on my door.

The first, asked if I could purchase ice-cream tubs. I kindly rejected. The second, asked if I would purchase a key chain as she wishes to earn some pocket allowance for herself. Again, I kindly rejected simply because I thought the youth would be better off gaining some work experience at the workplace (FnB, etc) than to do door to door sales like that. My guests at the table were feasting and laughingly made a comment 'Eh, door to door sales is proper job ok! hahaha'. I laughed that off too but it stuck to my head for the following week.

I realised that I struggled to embrace those who take on odd jobs like the two youths above. Then my girl entered Primary 1 earlier in 2021. She came home and I asked if she made any friends in school this week. She went to share that she made 2 friends that day. "Daddy, 1 of them has something in her ear. If she cannot hear u, she just needs to adjust it and she can hear you clearly. If the class is too noisy, she will just take it out and the world is quiet. Amazing right?" In my heart, I quickly passed a judgement and sympathised that the girl is hearing impaired. The following week came and I asked the same question to my girl. This time she replied "yes, Daddy. Today I made another friend. She has a patch over her right eye.." I immediately clarified if it was an eye patch due to lazy eye. She responded and said "No, it's a very big birth mark that covers half her face" At that moment, I was perplexed. I asked "you made friends who are different from you, at least in looks. Does that make you wanna hang out with them lesser?" "No Daddy, they are my friends." With a smile, she turned and went her way to play.

Her response hit me so hard I felt ashamed of myself. A child is able to embrace others so different from her yet as an adult, I begin to build fence and allow entry for those whom I have a preference for. The above motivated me to kick start a self-funded project to spotlight 'Embracing Diversity' in the society. Part of me feels proud of my girl, the other part me is propelled to point the society towards being more accepting towards one another and try to understand others first, before being understood. Once this phase kicks off, I wish to also spotlight 'Family' (building your village) as the next topic. Children have such pure hearts until we adults ruin it by our bad examples
Elgin Teng