Embracing diversity

Chapel sermon by Zainal Wong —

Who are we as human beings to judge one another because of their differences? As you saw in the video shown earlier, today’s theme is on Diversity. Diversity is the uniqueness of an individual person, making them different, to everyone around them.

What makes this school so diverse? It is the fact that no two people are alike. The person sitting right next to you is different, in almost every single way. You may disagree on a lot of things, and barely agree on anything, but it is the differences that make you stronger together, not the similarities.

What if everyone was the same? What if everyone had the same ideas and opinions? It may seem intriguing at first, because then well, you and your friends can suggest something you both like to see and do. But then you realise, it starts to get boring, with nothing else to do and with the same song or games playing over and over again.

Friendship will not grow, talks would be boring because, well, there’s nothing to be said. That’s the problem with similarities. Yes, you may be teased and people might not like the things you believe in, and you hope you can have a friend who was exactly like you, we’ve all been there at some point. But you need to keep your head up high, don’t let it drag you down, because of your differences.

Having a couple of friends with the same interest is fine. However, if you trap yourself in this closed box from the rest of the world that will limit your friendship and you will not be as open if you don’t talk to others. It’s because you expect them to be like you, but no one is, and no one will be. You’ll struggle to meet new people and talking to them will seem like a huge struggle, even to your own classmates.

Diversity forces you to talk more, to meet different kinds of people. It makes you learn and understand where they come from, and to respect their differences.

Learn from each other’s mistakes and be a better person than the day before. I am happy to be at St Paul’s Collegiate School. It is a school unlike no other. We may only have about 700 students and about 70 staff members, but the community has never been more diverse, more vibrant, humming with new people every day with something to give and to get.

So, Diversity. What is it? Well, now you know. If diversity has taught me one thing, it only gets you closer together, not further apart. Like love, you love that person because they are themselves, unique and special, not pretending to be you or anyone else. Believe in yourself. Because yourself is all you need to make a difference. That is powerful in itself.

Sermon by Zainal Wong – Thursday, 9th August