We’ve become a more gracious society: ESM Goh

Over the years, the level of graciousness among Singaporeans has improved, said Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong on Sunday.

Speaking as the guest of honour at the first Singapore Kindness Movement conference, Goh noted that the habit of spitting in public is not as widely visible and common as compared to the past years.

He also observed that Singaporeans have grown more polite when speaking on their mobile phones at the public places, albeit there are still cases of people being inconsiderate.

“In my view, I think we have become more gracious,” said the former prime minister.

The Member of Parliament also mooted the idea of creating a “4G Home” which stands for “Great, Gracious, Generous and Green home” for the whole of the Marine Parade group representation constituency, which he represents.

This movement could later on be extended to the other parts of the country, he added.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin, who is also MP for the GRC, said that Singaporeans can choose to be kind and gracious or not to those around them.

“We all make those choices every day. How we treat our family members, how we treat our neighbours. When we walk out and we see them, do we smile? Do we greet them? When we know they’re rushing, do we hold the lift for them,” he asked.

“All these little actions doesn’t cost you anything,” he pointed out, adding that doing such acts of kindness would eventually become second nature in people if done regularly.

Tan also reminded parents that they also had a role to play in instilling positive values in their children. For instance, he said that the way parents interact in public could have an influence on the behaviour of their children.

“Do we as parents pay attention to the way we talk in front of our children, the comments we pass about the neighbours, about people out there. We are sometimes very loose in the way we way talk,” he said.

William Wan, general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement Council, also stressed that the kindness movement is not a top-down but more of a bottom-up approach.

“This is a movement; this is not a government thing. This should be a people thing,” he said.

And this year’s campaign theme “Say Thanks, Make Someone’s Day” aims to ensure that Singaporeans are able to participate even through the simplest act of kindness, he said.

The conference was held in conjunction with the World Kindness Day which will kick off at Orchard Road on Sunday. Around 30,000 yellow gerbera daisies will be given out to the public and they are encouraged to spread the idea and pass it whenever they witness any act of kindness.

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