My Comments on “Why are Singaporeans too stressed to care?”

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! 😀

Yours Sincerely,
Reuel Eugene

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.

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2 thoughts on “My Comments on “Why are Singaporeans too stressed to care?”

  1. Pardon me for the intrusion but I wish to bring your attention to the article which you find it “unbiased, well-balanced and substantiated with evidences” by Mr Frais.

    I note that you’re a student and do feels the pressure of being one in our meritocratic society. Obviously, the price to pay to be on top and excel is high. Every parent wants their children to live a good life and better than they have now. That’s the spirit (regardless of rich or poor) that had spearheaded Singapore into one of the richest and technologically advanced country in the world.

    There are always two sides of a coin. If you have read my post in FTP and others who have responded, you will see that Singaporeans, by and large, have a heart. The Government need not be our “foster parent” and tell us what to do. It has never been so for charitable events and the number of volunteers out there are countless whom had sacrificed in one way or another, to help another fellow Singaporean.

    Your perception of certain gracefulness of Singaporeans, to a certain extent, is quite true. Generally, most Singaporeans are kind and helpful. There is a Chinese saying “There’s One Type of Rice, But It Feeds Hundreds Types of People” [一种米养白种人] which will tells you the complexity of the human race. Good or bad, we are not the Judge.

    Please do revisit the FTP site again and you will see the difference. The writers (both Faris and Radhu Bas) are biased and with prejudiced. The so-called statistics they gave are baseless and there is no study to substantiate their point. Both do not have actual ground data and merely picked on a topic for their personal agenda. What are their objectives? May be to score points for their own career to be in controversial subject or another ploy to gain attention to further their political pursuit.

    The world out there is cruel, very realistic and practical. There are those who, in order to survive, disguised under masks, plays such roles of being a good guy. Nevertheless, it is within their conscience and if they do have any, they should themselves, be good examples to do what they should, not only as a Singaporean, but as a human being.

    I thank you for your time and hope that my thoughts can bring you more positiveness about Singaporeans. We, as a human, tends to look at things with a coloured eye. But why can’t we remember that when your one finger points at another, three more of your own fingers are pointing back at yourself.

    Practical critcism is one thing but critical appreciation is another. Both are crucial to let us view this world in a better light.

    • Hi Tuning In!

      Thank you for your insightful sharing! I am glad that you raised your thoughts and all on this humble blog of mine. Yes, I for one also believe in the better of the human spirit! As for the Yahoo bloggers you have shared, whether they are truely biased or not, I think it’s better for me or for us to remain status quo on this ba. Time will tell if their words match their actions! In any case, it’s their own pa sang (business)! Haha! I guess, in my opinion, as long as we ourselves are making the constant effort to change for the better, that’s what matters the most.

      On a very positive note, I observed that Singaporeans are becoming more gracious in giving way to alighting passengers! Once again, thank you for taking the time to share your views, similar or contrasting. I’m sure many people who have read this blog have been blessed by 2 different angles of thoughts! Let’s jiayou to make Singapore a better place to live for our family, friends and fellow countrymen! 😀

      Yours Sincerely,
      Reuel Eugene

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