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A live telecast of the historic Trump-Kim summit on MediaCorp Channel 5.

“Peace begins with a smile.” – Mother Teresa

I have been following the US-North Korea conflict over the past year. We were so close to an inevitable nuclear war but something miraculous happened.

The on-off and off-on again Trump-Kim Peace Summit is finally here. So unreal!

2,500 journalists have congregated in Singapore to record, write and analyse this historic peace summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. This is the breaking news of all time.

We all yearn for peace in all our relationships. This is hard-wired in our DNA.

As host, Singapore is even willing to bear the cost of this event, costing at least S$20 million. This does not include the amount that the US and North Korea have spent. Besides the enormous financial outlays, there has been an unimaginable deployment of human resources, massive security concerns involving road, sea and air, as well as an incredible amount of logistic arrangement to stage this once-in-lifetime event.

There is no doubt the journey to long-lasting peace will be fraught with enormous challenges, hard-nose negotiations, unrealistic expectations and rebuilding of trust. Both countries are working towards a permanent and durable, peace-keeping mechanism, the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and, hopefully, the end of the 70-year Korean War.

But, all said and done, it is a very good beginning, worth all the investment of time, space, effort and resources.

This, hopefully, will be a watershed moment in world history.

Desiring peace

Why is peace so valued? It is:

1. The innermost desire of every human being

“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.” – Michael Cunningham 

The Hebrew word for peace is “shalom”: Shalom is wholeness of being. Shalom is taken from the root word shalam, which means, “to be safe in mind, body or estate”. It speaks of completeness, fullness, or a type of wholeness that encourages you to give back, to generously re-pay something in some way.

When a Moslem or Jew, greets you with ‘”Shalom”, they are wishing you: “May you be full of well-being”. This is every human person’s innermost treasured desire – to be truly whole in ourselves. This is what I desire most in my life too … wholeness and fulfilment.

In contrast, fractured lives can result in the most tragic events of life, like the inexplicable suicides of celebrities like Robin Williams, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

2. The deepest yearning of every relationship

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr

Only when we experience personal wholeness will we seek the wholeness in others, especially those we love. I believe that every one of us deeply desires peace in our marriages, families, organisations, countries and in the world.

Nothing brings us most joy than:

  • When friends serve and sacrifice for each other.
  • When couples share beautiful moments of love at meals, on vacations, or even conversing over sweet-nothings!
  • When we see siblings enjoying each other’s presence.
  • When we experience the wholeness of family life.
  • When departments put aside silo-interests and work harmoniously with other departments to achieve the organisation’s common goals, it is synergy in motion.

It is so true in my life. I now cherish most the shared meals with my family, the wonderful conversations with friends and the sacrificial service of my colleagues.

We all yearn for peace in all our relationships. This is hard-wired in our DNA.

3. The greatest desire of every country

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” – Albert Einstein 

When peace goes beyond talks among tribes and ethnic groups or when countries come together for a common good, we rejoice because this is most desirable.

Only when we experience personal wholeness will we seek the wholeness in others.

In our much divided world of ethnic violence, racial discrimination, gender inequality, income disparity and political extremism, the Trump-Kim Summit is a beacon of light in a world of darkness.

Nobody believed that this summit could ever happen, especially when several months before, both leaders were trading insults, innuendos, and impassioned war of words. We were at the brink of a nuclear war, which would have been disastrous for the world.

Now, both are talking civilly, exchanging warm hugs, discussing peace. This has given hope to every country.

In the recent Malaysian election, the most astounding result was not just that the Opposition won but that it was won without bloodshed. It was one of the smoothest transitions of power that the world has ever seen. Another exemplar of peace. Now Malaysia is the darling of all peaceful democratic countries.

4. The truest reflection of God’s character

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” – Matthew 5:9

When divorcing couples make peace and reunite again, we see God at work. When over-bearing parents reconcile with their wayward children, we experience God’s grace. When warring, betrayed business partners come together again, we encounter the divine.

Peace is not only most valued but it is something worth fighting for.

Again, I cite the recent Malaysian election, when we see Tun Mahathir serving together with Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng (all of whom he had put in jail), being forgiven and forgiving. Banded together, they overcame impossible odds to overthrow the Najib government that has ruled Malaysia for six decades. Only God could have done that.

Who can ever imagine that these two world leaders, who are the most egoistical, most unpredictable individuals, with so much at stake, can come together in such a short time for this momentous moment for peace? This is nothing short of a miracle, whether they recognise it or not.

This is why peace is most valued. I have devoted my life to peace-making in my marriage and family, in promoting peace in families and in my consulting work with organisations.

May you find shalom in your life, marriage, family, organisation, city and country. It is not only most valued but it is something worth fighting for. Worth all our investments.

This article was published on leadership.com.sg, by Eagles Leadership Institute (ELI), and is republished with permission.

About the author

Dr John Ng

Dr John Ng is the Honorary Chair of Eagles Communications Board of Governance. John’s expertise includes leadership coaching, team effectiveness and change management. He has more than 25 years of management consultancy and training experience with corporations, academic institutions and non-profit organisations. He received his PhD in Interpersonal Communication from Northwestern University in the US.