© 2019 Singapore University of Social Sciences.
All rights reserved.

Editor’s Note


Be Above the Line

Our alma mater is synonymous with lifelong learning – always seeking to form a seamless synergy for learning and working and indeed living. Our actions, sense and feelings from all these domains of our life need not exist on their own. When they are interwoven and brought into accord or agreement like a musical performance, there is harmony.

We are constantly presented with words of wisdom, inspiring ideals, and exhortation to form good habits–so as to be further uplifted and hence find more happiness. There is also much that we can extract from the array of leadership, management and social courses available in SUSS as well as beyond. These insights and learnings can be applied and harnessed across work and personal life.

Some believe that what we do at work, at home and in public are separate. To a certain extent, it is true because the context and environment are different. However, there is a common attitudinal and behavioural thread that runs through the domains of work, home and public that can reinforce each other. So how does one create the harmonious thread winding through these domains? This happens when how we act does not contradict with how we feel, which allows us to achieve performance excellence. This is where we are ourselves at work, at home and within our society.

Recently I was taught the concept of “above the line”. Put simply, one must be mindful of the words and attitudes in any situation that concern us. We should have a co-operative spirit and not take the tempting and sometimes knee-jerk reaction of blaming. It is important to find the truth but it is also important to have communication that seeks to resolve issues. Often it is the tone in the communication, be it verbal or written, that derails an otherwise easily resolvable issue.

Many a misunderstanding or conflict arises when one goes “below the line” — harsh words and demands, looking for fault lines, reluctance to seek or see other perspectives. Going “below the line” can be hurtful. Just like in boxing, hitting “below the belt” is disallowed.

There will always be difficult issues big or small, at home, at work, and in our society. In the midst of our busy day, we tend to lose our patience. So it is worth pausing and taking stock .This is where and when patience and kindness triumphantly lead the way. When we are in harmony with ourselves in all circumstances, that is being “above the line”, which will resonate and make for a more harmonious world around us.

There is no need for rigid, differentiated sets of attitudes in different settings. Our hearts, thoughts and actions need not be at odds. When we are mindful of our attitudes and words, and when these are in harmony within ourselves whether at home, at work, or in public, collectively we evolve towards a more harmonious whole. This is why our alma mater SUSS advocates life-long learning and making the mark for the greater good. So let’s be “above the line” and do it for the greater good. We’ll feel good too.



Dennis Tan

Director’s Desk
Join Our Editorial Group