THERE are many who think that our world is getting too divisive. That people are disagreeing about everything under the sun, and are increasingly resorting to silly antics to make their point.
We can, under such circumstances, feel despair, or we can perhaps take a look at things from a different perspective.
And there is no better place to start than to visit someone in the hospital. But instead of going straight to his room, you should explore the hospital a bit.
At the accident and emergency unit, you see people in life-and-death situations. There is a lot of activity there as anxious relatives and friends mingle with overworked doctors and nurses.
You might want to take a detour to the orthopaedic department. Here you may observe patients with plaster casts sharing stories about road accidents and how many broken ribs they have.
At the oncology ward, you will see patients young and old, of different creed and walks of life. And if you listen, you hear stories about how non-smokers can get lung cancer and that hair loss due to chemotherapy is only temporary.
A visit to the childrens oncology ward is bound to bring tears as you see youngsters still full of joy even as they go through treatment.
If you start feeling a bit depressed, head to the maternity unit. There you can see rows of babies, and happy fathers peering through the glass windows rejoicing in the new additions to their families.
And I would certainly recommend a visit to the blood bank where we will be reminded that whatever the colour of our skin, the colour of our blood is still the same red.
Just as the patients come in all sorts of shapes and colours, so, too, do the doctors, the nurses, and the hospital staff.
If you can forgive some of the complaints about bad service, you will agree with me that in the hospital, all are committed to helping the sick get better in a very cosmopolitan environment.
Besides teaching us that illness throws out biases, a hospital tour can also give us insight into how we can be good visitors.
When we visit someone in hospital, there is always the danger of saying and doing the wrong thing.