Thursday 29 June 2017

Graciousness Survey 2017

Singaporeans prefer privacy to mingling with neighbours: Poll
Lack of interest in interaction may be due to lack of time, says kindness movement's head
By Priscilla Goy, The Straits Times, 28 Jun 2017

The kampung spirit in Singapore seems to need revitalising.

People here have been mixing less with their neighbours, with more indicating a need to maintain their privacy and putting less emphasis on greater neighbourliness.

These findings, released yesterday, are from the latest Graciousness Survey by the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM), which tracks kindness and graciousness among residents.

In the face-to-face poll of 3,066 Singaporeans, permanent residents and non-residents, only 23 per cent said they exchanged greetings with their neighbours more than three times a week, down from 29 per cent in last year's survey. In terms of striking up a casual conversation, only 11 per cent did so more than three times a week, falling from 17 per cent last year.

And when asked if they wanted to have greater neighbourliness, 26 per cent said yes - lower than the 29 per cent in the previous year.

More than half said they think the "current situation is good enough now", 15 per cent said they preferred to maintain their privacy - up from 11 per cent last year - while the rest said it was unnecessary to socialise with neighbours.

SKM general secretary William Wan said people's lack of interest in interacting more with neighbours could be due to their lack of time.

"Surveys have shown that Singaporeans have longer working hours than others in the world.... by the time they go home, they have dinner, watch the news for a while, then it's time to go to bed. They're tired after a long day at work."

Dr Wan felt various government efforts to build neighbourly ties had succeeded, but "people are quite content with superficial relationships and have not considered the advantages of stronger bonds with neighbours".

He said it was vital to have more neighbourliness so people could turn to one another for help and could also be more aware of suspicious activities.

National University of Singapore sociologist Paulin Straughan said the year-on-year change in figures was "marginal", and pointed out that not exchanging greetings often is not necessarily an indicator of bad neighbourly ties, but could simply be due to neighbours not seeing one another often.

Retiree David Kwok, 67, was concerned about the growing proportion of people preferring to maintain their privacy. The Tanjong Pagar resident said: "If a lift breaks down, such people may prefer to just wait for others to give feedback about the lift. Worse, if there are emergencies such as fires, such people may just think of themselves."

He added: "We should have good relations with neighbours. You never know when you need help."

Besides looking at neighbourliness, the study also provided insights on issues such as the integration of foreigners in Singapore, and the role of parents in inculcating values in their children.

The annual survey used to have a Graciousness Index, with Singapore scoring 61 out of 100 in 2015, the last time when such figures were released. But SKM said the score had not changed significantly in recent years, so it decided to do away with the index.

Lower score for cleaning up after meals and keeping public loos clean
By Priscilla Goy, The Straits Times, 28 Jun 2017

Despite various public campaigns, Singaporeans scored lower for their behaviour in keeping eating places and toilets clean.

In the latest Graciousness Survey by the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM), people were asked to rate the country on several behaviours on a scale of zero to 10, with zero representing "very poor" and 10 representing "excellent". Findings released yesterday showed that people rated Singapore 5.52 for "cleaning up after meals in public spaces" and 5.88 for "keeping public toilets clean and dry after use", down from 5.83 and 6.17, respectively, last year.

SKM general secretary William Wan found the results surprising, given the groundwork by the National Environment Agency and the Public Hygiene Council.

"I'm quite surprised that despite all the effort, we're still not making much progress," he said. "We get so used to people cleaning up after us that we don't take it upon ourselves to do so."

In May last year, the Public Hygiene Council had also given low ratings for similar behaviour.

Council chairman Edward D'Silva said he was not surprised by the SKM survey findings.

"Singaporeans have a sense of self-entitlement and it is getting worse. There are parents who tell their kids to let the maids or cleaners do the cleaning," he said.

"But there have been recent efforts to get children to clean their schools. Hopefully, the results of that would be seen in the next 10 years and beyond."

Office manager Tina Mahadi, 40, a mother of two, said: "I think if kids have the habit of cleaning places, they will learn to be more humble too."

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