Graciousness Campaign

It’s people like these (“As graciousness drive starts, some want penalties imposed”, CNA), who really convince me that Singaporeans focus more external acts rather than the inculcation of the actual values. (Read the blogger’s views on the Singapore’s kindness movement, at the last few paragraphs of the article).

I can’t believe there are members of the public who believe that fining someone for sitting on a priority seat will actually inculcate ‘graciousness’.

I believe the solution to such issues is to inculcate in our citizens a sense of social conscience and responsibility.

If you see a pregnant woman, or an elderly folk on the train who has no seat – and someone sitting on a priority seat – what you could and should do, is to go to the person on the priority seat and ask if he/she can give up the seat to the pregnant woman or the one more in need of the seat.

I have not done this before, but a friend of mine has. She saw a pregnant woman on the train and went up to someone at a priority seat, asking her to give up the seat for the pregnant woman.

Of course there are many concerns – what if the pregnant woman doesn’t need the seat? What if she declines to sit down? What if the person on the priority seat is injured or not feeling well and has a fever, and therefore needs the seat? All these ‘what ifs’ can be resolved if we just take that step of boldness and ask.

A little step of boldness to ask someone to give up a seat is infinitely more useful than:

  • Taking a photo on your mobile phone and sending it to STOMP
  • Writing a letter to Forum, complaining about the lack of graciousness in Singapore
  • Giving suggestions just like the one above to SMRT or PTC to impose fines on people for not giving up their seats. That suggestion makes no sense both in terms of achieving the purposes of the campaign and administratively.

So, next time you see a public act of ungraciousness, go forward and be bold enough to encourage graciousness and if necessary, rebuke those who are committing those acts, especially if they are students. Let’s stop relying on government campaigns and rules to inculcate the kind of values that we all know are right. I know I’ll definitely be trying.

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