Saturday, 16 July 2011

Too full of oneself

Delusional Singaporeans have a long way to go.....

Singaporeans 'could be more gracious'
by Carolyn Quek, TODAY, 5 Jul 2011

Singaporeans think themselves kinder and more gracious than their fellow citizens, according to the latest poll conducted by the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM).

The findings, in the words of SKM general manager William Wan, indicate "an unhealthy level of self-centredness and self-absorption" among Singaporeans.

The SKM was set up in 1997 to make the nation a kinder place and the findings of its third State of Graciousness survey, released yesterday, revealed that more than 40 per cent of the 1,404 respondents thought they were gracious, but only 15 per cent felt the same of others.

Almost nine in 10 felt they had performed a kind deed in the past six months. In contrast, half felt they had been the beneficiary of another's kindness.

Describing the "big perception gap" as surprising, Dr Wan added that the poll also showed that Singaporeans are "not being aware of and not appreciating the efforts of others".

Another surprise for the movement: Foreigners had a better impression of the Republic as a gracious society than Singaporeans did.

Singaporeans ranked Japan and Thailand as more gracious societies. In comparison, tourists ranked Singapore first among the three nations, while foreigners working here put Singapore second, behind Japan.

Respondents also felt that graciousness on public transport, in public spaces and at eating places needed the most improvement.

Still, Dr Wan noted that Singaporeans' score on the Graciousness Index was stable: "Nothing to be too concerned about but it also tells us we still got a lot of work to do."

The SKM might find it tough to change attitudes, considering how 62 per cent of the respondents felt it was impossible for Singapore to become more gracious because of the hectic and stressful lifestyle here.

Among those MediaCorp spoke to, Mr Richard Lee, 59, agreed and said: "We're very engrossed with our own living. Everybody's so busy making a survival."

To Ms Theresa Tan, 43, some Singaporeans just do not want to "lose" out to others: "They think if they don't strike first, then somebody's going to take away their advantage. Everyday on the MRT, I hear pregnant women going, 'How come nobody gives me a seat?'."

While Dr Wan agreed that the hectic lifestyle Singaporeans lead is a factor, he stressed: "We mustn't make that an excuse."

The movement is already engaging the young here in various ways. For example, tertiary students are given seed money for projects to find practical solutions to problems associated with graciousness.

Up next: A curriculum to teach a younger generation - pre-schoolers - how to be kind.

Said Dr Wan: "Kindness is ultimately about 'other-centredness' and being considerate of others' needs. If we can think along those lines, we can actually be kinder in spite of our hectic lifestyle."

"Take Japan for example. Japan is hectic, Japan is highly industrialised and yet the Japanese people have decided to be kind and gracious. They're succeeding and we can, too."

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