IT IS very encouraging to read about the innovations by students from Ngee Ann and Temasek polytechnics (“‘Smart’ seat to prevent train rows” and “Return tray or forfeit dollar with students’ ‘topless table'”; yesterday). Singaporeans, and our young people in particular, are often unfairly stereotyped as not having creativity and kindness. These young people are proving critics wrong.
The creativity of the ideas presented must be encouraged, and it is good to read that the National Environment Agency, with whom we are currently collaborating on the “Stack, Drop, Go” tray-return initiative, is attracted by the second idea.
In our discussions with the transport authorities, we know that they are also aware that graciousness issues on our trains and buses need to be addressed not just with campaigns, but also with infrastructure improvements.
The ideas described, as well as others that were not mentioned in the reports, should convince us that our young people are interested in graciousness issues, and they are able to create solutions to improve our state of graciousness.
Singapore has recently taken much flak from several surveys. Rather than tear our hair out and question their validity and alleged flaws, we are better off recognising that we do indeed have issues to address, and channelling our energies positively into solutions, just as these young people are doing.
I have no doubt that when we put our heads and hearts together, no social problem is insurmountable. Our young people are showing the way to inspire kindness and graciousness. They deserve our support, encouragement and engagement. Together, we can make a difference by generating a real sense of ownership, community and home.
Dr William Wan
Singapore Kindness Movement
First published in The Straits Times – January 9, 2013