Why are Singaporeans too stressed to care?
By Faris – September 21st, 2010
An article in Monday’s edition of The Straits Times entitled “S’poreans – too stressed to care?” gave me serious food for thought. Its writer, Radha Basu, highlights how, despite the country’s technological prowess and generally high living standards, Singapore still falls short when it comes to basic human kindness such as donating time and money and caring for one another. I read with shock when the writer gave two such examples — one in which fellow diners at an Ang Mo Kio food court took a whole hour before noticing that a 50-something-old man seated amongst them had died, and how a woman who had collapsed, frothing at the mouth, near Marsiling MRT station received little help from passers-by… Read More
I was reading this Yahoo article on the topic “Why are Singaporeans too stressed to care?” and I was very impressed and in awe of the Yahoo writer, Faris’ article and his boldness in addressing this very touchy and sensitive topic. This article is unbiased, well-balanced and substantiated with evidences. Personally, this article is one that have spoken the untold words in my heart.
Being a student, I acknowledge that the environment in Singapore can be quite choking at times. Since young, we are ingrained with the unspoken rule to ‘succeed in life’, putting status and wealth as top priority, which can work both ways for the good or for the worse, depending on the individual. Competitiveness and strive are something forged from all these experiences, which as above, can work both ways. Still, I must give due credit that this system has achieved a certain level of success, producing talents that are sought after in many countries and bringing our country to where we are today. Perhaps for us to progress on into the future, adjustments must be made to improve and better the system. (Increase social responsibility and moral values without compromising on competitiveness.. How? I don’t know!)
However, I believe that all of us have the capability and the capacity to do good and help the disadvantaged and underprivileged if we want to. May I add that, though we can argue that political and environmental factors can shape our beliefs, attitudes and even values, but at the end of the day, we all have the Sovereignty of Freewill. This is one area that is definitely within our control and out of reach even by our current system and policies (if you believe that that’s stopping you from caring or volunteering). A friend of mine once said this; “Freewill is a sacred realm that no one can touch.” How true. Hence, I feel that the desire to be gracious and helpful was not put to a halt because of the economy or the Government and their policies and what not, but perhaps if I can say this, our unwillingness to do so.
I believe that no matter what environment we are placed in or how stressed we can be, we always have the ability to care. No matter the situation that presents itself, we always have the ability to be the better person that we ought to be. As the saying goes, “Be a Man! Do the right thing!”
I certainly don’t think that we have to come to a point that our Government has to [continue to] act like our foster parent whereby we have to be taught or told to give way to aligning passengers before boarding, saying our pleases and thank yous, having more courtesy, giving our seats in public transports to more needy passengers, to care for the underprivileged and disadvantaged, etc.
Is it too much to ask for that we simply make the decision to be more gracious and helpful to our community – volunteer to do social work, etc from today onwards, rather than putting the blame on the Government? …
With that said, I must acknowledge that there are also plenty of Good Samaritians out there. I personally know quite a number of friends from Non-Profit Organizations; CHCSA and CityCare, who volunteer and commit to doing social work every week. But like what Faris said, we need more of this kind of people! Let’s, be courteous, gracious and also pick up the spirit of volunteerism! Don’t let it become a lost art!
Let’s make Singapore a better place for everyone! 😀
This article is presented in the author’s personal views and do not represent views of Singaporeans as a whole. Any part of the article can be used at no charge, but should be credited back to author and tracked back to author.