A joint effort by young and old

June 17, 2013

WE ARE encouraged to see that more people are articulating their thoughts on graciousness in Singapore.

The quest to bring about pro-social change is a responsibility shared by our society at large, and it is through such introspection and discussion that we can move towards effecting the changes we seek.

Mr Raymond Tan Rui Ming’s point that there is a need to educate the elderly on graciousness is well-taken (“Seniors who behave badly need educating too”; Wednesday).

However, ungracious behaviour is not exclusive to any one age group.

Regardless of age or background, all of us who commute on public transport or enjoy the use of public

spaces do directly determine the state of graciousness in our shared environment by our conduct.

That young people should be taught good social etiquette, as pointed out by Ms Siti Rasyidah Mat Rasid (“Teach social etiquette”; Youth Forum, Wednesday), is a given, and we do conduct programmes in schools to do just that.

Beyond that, we also see great value in empowering young people to take charge and start their own graciousness-related projects and initiatives. That too is taking place.

Lastly, Miss Khoy Yu Qiu raises a pertinent point in highlighting the dilemma over the viability and effectiveness of priority seating (“Fear of MRT priority seats”; Youth Forum, Wednesday).

Overhauling the system by changing all seats to priority seats would imply that commuters are willing to give up only priority seats and not unmarked seats.

It may be better to retain selected priority seating to remind commuters to be aware of fellow commuters with prior needs. At the same time, all other seated commuters in unmarked seats need to be mindful and helpful towards the needs of others.

We hope giving up seats will become part of our culture of graciousness and priority seat markers will then be rendered obsolete.

The journey towards a gracious society is a long one. We are delighted that our young people, among others, are walking alongside us. Slowly and surely, we will get there.

Dr William Wan
General Secretary
Singapore Kindness Movement

First published in The Straits Times – June 15, 2013

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