Almost every Singaporean recalls growing up with Singa the Lion reminding you to let people exit the train first before boarding and to give up your seat to the disabled or elderly. But after 30 years of service, Singa says he needs “a long break” as he’s “just too tired to continue facing an increasingly angry and disagreeable society.”
In an open letter posted on the Singapore Kindness Movement’s (SKM’s) website, Singa explains his resignation, effective Wednesday, saying “kindness shouldn't be a campaign”.
He adds that “kindness should be a part of values education” and that “people in authority – at work, in school, at home and in government – should lead by example.” Thus, he believes it’s time for him to “step aside”.
Singa also laments that Singaporeans become less gracious when they face big problems, and urges us to “rise above our differences and be gracious even in challenging times”.
Before bidding farewell to Singaporeans, he reminds us that “we are responsible for the sort of society we encourage and create. It is our choices that determine who we are.”
The smiley lion started teaching kindness to Singaporeans in 1982, first as the Courtesy Lion, and more recently as the mascot for kindness.
Singa’s resignation comes just days after SKM announced that Singa is venturing into cyberspace and that it will hire a full-time staff member to look at how people communicate with one another through social media.
The organisation also disclosed that Singapore’s Graciousness Index fell to a five-year low in 2012.