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Graciousness Survey Indicates Singapore Residents Are Embracing Kindness to Be Greater

June 24, 2019

  • The annual survey provides SKM with insights on various community topics in Singapore, which help to guide SKM’s focus, strategies and plans in the coming year.
  • More youths are aware of their roles towards building a gracious society, and want to make an impact in creating a greater community.
  • However, fear of embarrassment is the top reason cited for not being outwardly kind.
  • The overall state of graciousness and kindness has improved in Singapore.

Singapore, 24 June 2019 – As more millennials and other youth cite making an impact in creating a greater community as an aspiration, fear of embarrassment and being mocked appears to hold many back. Among the general population, lack of situational awareness (i.e. not being aware of others’ need for help/being unsure of how to help) is cited among the top reasons for not being outwardly kind, and older folks in particular were more concerned on whether they had the ability to help.

This is according to the latest Graciousness Survey commissioned by the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM). Since 2008, the Graciousness Survey has provided behavioural insights and indicators on graciousness and kindness in Singapore, leading to targeted communications and initiatives that aim to make Singapore a nicer, more pleasant place to live in.

The annual survey provides SKM with insights on various community topics in Singapore, which help to guide SKM’s focus, strategies and plans in the coming year. For this year’s Graciousness Survey, some behavioural indicators were updated to reflect changing perceptions of what exemplifies kindness and graciousness.

The study polled a demographically representative sample of 2,071 respondents via face-to-face interviews over two waves; from 7 August to 14 September 2018 and from 18 February 2019 to 17 March 2019.

General state of graciousness and kindness continues to improve
This year, considerate behaviours have seen progress and correspond with an improvement in more intentional acts like volunteering and donating. This affirms the strong relationship between simple acts of kindness and sustained larger acts of giving like donating and volunteering.

More youths are aware of their roles towards building a gracious society, and want to make an impact in creating a greater community. One such example is Angelo, who espoused such beliefs and is inspired by his late father to help those in need. He was riding his motorcycle one night when he encountered an aged, wheelchair-bound man trying with difficulty to get across the road. Without any hesitation, Angelo got down from his bike and helped to push the elderly man across the road.

“It only takes a few seconds to be kind to others, and it can change someone’s day. It can even create a ripple effect where others are inspired to be kind to those around them too. You can be greater with the simplest of acts,” Angelo remarked.

Significant improvements in satisfaction with neighbour relationships
Respondents are generally satisfied with the current state of neighbourliness, and most share that they exchange casual greetings with their neighbours. The survey also found that respondents believe that they are able to rely on their neighbours in times of emergency.

Commenting on this, General Secretary of SKM, Dr William Wan reflected, “I’m glad to see the overall improvement in neighbourliness. We see our neighbours almost every day and they can be the first to help in times of need. Start with a simple smile, and get to know our neighbours better; it may be the start of a budding friendship.”

Parents recognise their pivotal role in inculcating moral values in children
Survey results continue to show that parents agree they should play the primary role in educating their children about gracious values.

However, parents also feel challenged by external influences such as friends and articles that their children come across on the Internet.

To address this, SKM has various resources available for parents to discuss and interact with their children on. These include Kindsville animation videos uploaded 4-5 times a year on SKM’s YouTube channel, and the accompanying Kindsville Times distributed quarterly to all primary school students. There is a Kindsville Times Jr edition for pre-schoolers, who are also hosted for pre-booked Kindsville Tours at The Kindness Gallery in Stamford Court.

Beyond the insights: Be Greater
In relation to the fear of embarrassment and being mocked when stepping up in kindness, SKM will continue to build on the Be Greater campaign that was launched in July last year. To inspire and nudge Singaporeans, the campaign features characters who are based on real people. On SKM’s YouTube channel and social media platforms, there are 7 backstory videos of the real people and their purposeful acts of kindness, who share their own experiences on why they chose to act as they saw opportunities around them.

This communicates that everyone can be greater by being proactively kind within their own circles, including in very ordinary neighbourhood settings.

Everyday situations, made kinder by these everyday real people, highlight how being greater is something achievable by all. Be Greater is a call for everyone to be better versions of ourselves, for a more gracious Singapore.

SKM and Starbucks continue partnership to encourage graciousness
Encouraged by the results from the Graciousness Survey and the previous collaboration, SKM and Starbucks will organise a second partnership for the continuing Be Greater campaign.

Expanding from one Kindness Café in 2018 to all 143 outlets islandwide this year, patrons who are spotted sharing their tables with others will receive a special edition Starbucks Be Greater pin from 8-12 July, and will get $1 off their next drink’s purchase which can be redeemed by 14 July.

“I am heartened to see the perception of graciousness improving in Singapore, and more corporate collaborations with the Singapore Kindness Movement,” Dr Wan concluded. “This shows that we are progressing in the right direction towards becoming a Nation of Kindness. Singapore Kindness Movement will continue to remind Singaporeans that kindness starts from within, and everyone is capable of greatness.”

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2 thoughts on “Graciousness Survey Indicates Singapore Residents Are Embracing Kindness to Be Greater”

  1. •Naturally, i do agree that youths in singapore may be afraid to commit acts of kindness.I have experienced it myself and i am disturbed by the fact that there we so many moments when i could have taken the initiative to lend a helping hand but didn’t, its probably due to us being afraid to help others fearing that doing so may be embarassing or that we may be laughed at.
    •Well yes i do admit it has became a nicer place to live in, as many actions were taken in order to promote to sense of kindness in singaporeans, this in turn would promote our status of singaporeans being very empathetic or selfless citizens, which may lead to people thinking that singapore is a nice place to live in.
    •To be honest not really, as i typically isolate myself from people most of the time or that i usually hold my poker face as i rather keep my problems to myself than trouble other people with them.
    •Well, quite alot to be honest. I naturally like helping people with big or small problems whenever the oppotunity presents itself, one case probably includes helping an aunty in the sbs carry her groceries for a moment or that i usually give my seat to the elderly or people who look like they need it more than me.

  2. I agree that Singaporean youths are afraid to be kind, due to being scared of getting laughed at when they help someone, or just seeing it as an uncool thing to do as you don’t get recognised for it. I think that Singapore has become a nicer place to live in as people are starting to realise the importance of helping people which in turn gives out the vibes of a more empathetic society. I have witnessed an elderly man being helped by a student to climb the stairs. I have been helped by several people when I lost my way in Taiwan. The people were very friendly and patient as I told them that I was lost and needed to go to a place when they asked me “what’s wrong”. I have done a kind act in public before. An old lady was struggling to get up the bus, and the people trying to get on the bus were very frustrated at her snail’s pace, so I offered to help the old lady. Once she got on the bus, she turned to give me a hug and said “thank you”.

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