Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Singaporeans have 'Unhealthy Level of Self-Centredness'

Fresh out of the papers and I'm being Gracious to share it with you guys, lest you say I'm being self-centred...


More Singaporeans think that they are doing acts of kindness and graciousness then being on the receiving end!! Haha.. So does it mean we're more of a giver than receiver?? Or are we helping the same group of people all the time, hence the % of receiver is so small compared to % of giver?

I guess it's not wrong to say that the environment in Singapore indirectly (or directly??) affects the attitudes and behaviour of SIngaporeans. The hectic, everything also must strive to be number 1 mentality imbued into all our minds and lives have made us all very results oriented and focused on delivering. So in a way, it makes us self-centred cos it's a 'Survivor of the Fittest', "Dog eat Dog" world out there! Kill or be killed, right? We have to fight for everything in this small little country!!! No freebies at all!

Then again, I think we should give Singaporeans a chance. After all, the Courtesy campaign had been around for so many years, it has to have some effect on us!! If not, government lose face! But seriously, I think we've become more kind, courteous and gracious, be it on the road (more drivers seem to drive better nowadays and give way to pedestrians....), or just day-to-day communication. The 'Reserved Seat' on MRT seems to be working much better now than earlier!! Yes, some people still turn a blind eye towards the needy, but we're improving! Maybe the companies should all adopt normal working hours to ensure their employees get enough sleep so that they don't dose off on the train and 'miss' the pregnant woman standing in front of them!

Of cos, I would say the westerners seem to be much more gracious and courteous on the road (the drivers give way to other cars and not rush ahead when they see you signal change of lanes), they greet you every morning and every day with 'How are you today', 'How was your weekend' etc. It all boils down to the culture. It's in their culture to respond and behave that way. In Asian culture, we're more reserved, less expressive of our feelings and more wary about trying to invade other people's privacy, so we don't usually do that. Of cos, you see the Japanese being extremely, sometimes overly polite and they were brought up that way, to always give respect to seniority or elders. Maybe in Singapore, being a melting pot of all cultures, we're not really into that.

That being said, I think I'm a courteous person :) I respect people, I say thank you, I give way, I give up seats to the needy, I don't litter (ok, I guess 99% of Singaporeans are brought up NOT to litter). Ok, maybe I don't say 'Please' in front of most sentences all the time (it didnt bother me at all until Mad Max started giving me a 'hard' time in Philly..) but I use a nice tone when I request or ask for things to be done. So am I self-centred? Haha, I guess everyone in one way or another has a certain degree of self-centredness, assuming their always right etc.. Maybe at times, it is inevitable. I don't think I'm a self-centred person, I do acts of kindness often enough & I do receive acts of kindness every now and then, sometimes it even surprises me that Singaporeans are so gracious!!

We may not be as smiley and approachable as the Thais (they're known as the country of 1000 smiles, for god's sake!) but I think we're all very nice and helpful people! Yes, we chope seats with tissue paper, but that's a sort of cultural display of Singaporeanism! Does that downgrade us into ungraciousness? I'm sure other countries have weirdness mannerism or culture but that cannot be a criteria for graciousness (americans and even british swear from the minute they wake up, shldnt they be labelled extremely ungracious?).

So I say, give Singaporeans a chance! Dont' be so quick to label us as Self-Centred. It's probably too harsh a word to use from the results of the tiny survey! Yes, we may display signs of kiasu-ness often enough, but self-centred? Hmmmm.....

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