Graciousness the key to sharing public spaces

Much discussion has been going on regarding the use of public spaces, such as disability toilets and walkways.

Singapore is a country where space is a premium. Nobody should expect exclusive rights to any public space. Instead of coming up with more rules, what we need is graciousness and responsibility. A simple rule in life would be to live and let live, and if there is someone with a more urgent need, then the able should give way to them.

It is a shame to see a valuable asset used only once in a while. Disability toilets can be shared, with those with disabilities given top priority.

However, in a gracious society, even those with disabilities can exercise graciousness to someone who may have an even more urgent need to relieve himself, to avoid a very messy situation.

In the use of walkways, we should learn to give way to others and not insist that pedestrians own the walkways.

Users of personal mobility devices should exercise responsibility, and should travel at appropriate speeds and make their presence known. Pedestrians, too, should exercise personal responsibility and remain aware of their surroundings, instead of being engrossed in their mobile phones.

Public education is important. However, it is only when we are all truly gracious enough to share will these issues be resolved.

Ng Kei Yong