Expatriates, police, tabloids, sushi served on naked women at 3am dinner parties?! Singaporean community mediation sure does know how to make a splash!
Fresh on the heals of a national controversy which lit up cyberspace and Singaporean’s ire, the nation’s Community Mediation Centre is once again in the news, this time for good…for now.
Last year, a largely misinformed maelstrom battered the staid Centre as caustic online opinions rained down following a report that a local volunteer mediator had “got“ a party to accept a roundly maligned anti-curry concession as part of a larger resolution to a neighbor dispute. Appreciating both the nuances of language and mediators’ strict observance of session confidentiality, the volunteer in fact did no such thing – as CMC tried to assert too late – but the mediator and the organizations’ reputation took a battering nonetheless.
Ring in the New Year, and CMC already has another doozy on its hands. In all-too-familiar noisy neighbor turned “trespassing lunatic” fashion, the current incident is likely little more than your runaway run-of-the-mill interpersonal dispute. Still, that hasn’t stopped local media from fanning the flames and dishing all the juicy details.
Thankfully, the Community Mediation Centre once again stands ready to assist these neighbors in turning down the emotional noise long enough to deal with the real underlying issues. And, if CMC mirrors the success of U.S. community dispute resolution programs, it’s very likely these neighbors will find their way toward a more peaceful tomorrow. If not – or at least in the interim – we can be sure to read all about it online, including every seedy sushi detail!
Executive Director, NAFCM