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Is there a 'massive compassion deficit' in Singapore?

British writer recounts unpleasant experience on MRT, sparking talk on graciousness here

Published on Mar 16, 2014 9:34 AM
Freelance writer Charlotte Ashton said that she felt let down after her experience when she had felt nauseous on an MRT train but had to crouch for 15 minutes because no one offered her a seat. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Freelance writer and self-described food lover Charlotte Ashton jumped at the chance to relocate from London to Singapore last year, she says in the biography section of her website.

The Oxford University graduate and former BBC reporter and her husband were happy here until one day, in her 10th week of pregnancy, she felt nauseous while taking the train to work and ended up crouching for 15 minutes because no one offered her a seat.

"For the first time, Singapore had made me feel unhappy. I had been vulnerable - completely reliant on the kindness of strangers. Singaporeans, I felt, had let me down," she wrote.

Recounting the incident in a BBC Viewpoint piece, she concluded that Singapore suffers from a "massive compassion deficit".

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