S'poreans still behind in social responsibility, graciousness

Miss Tan Wye Yan's letter (Love our hawker centres, keep them clean; July 5) prompts me to share my pleasant experience of having meals at food outlets in Seattle during the school holidays recently.

In Singapore's foodcourts, eight to 10 cleaners are involved in cleaning and clearing after customers' meals. But in Seattle, there is usually one cleaner.

There, the customers spontaneously clean up after their meals and take their cutlery, plates and cups to the centralised tray-return station, where they separate and deposit waste into the respective bins: compost, recyclables and garbage.

Singaporeans need campaigns and signs to encourage them to do their part in cleaning up and returning trays, but in that United States city, such practices seem to be a way of life.

Even in public restrooms, which are clean and dry, both food handlers and customers wash their hands with soap and warm water after using the toilets. This hygienic practice is second nature to them.

On many occasions, I have observed that our food handlers do not wash their hands, let alone use soap.

It is sad that as a First World country, we are still lagging behind in terms of social responsibility and graciousness.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2017, with the headline 'S'poreans still behind in social responsibility, graciousness'. Print Edition | Subscribe