Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has become the latest politician to comment on a recent BBC article in which a British writer wrote that Singapore suffers from a "massive compassion deficit". PM Lee through a Facebook post on Sunday said that the article is "a good reminder" for Singaporeans to be more gracious and kind to others.
Freelance writer Charlotte Ashton, who moved to Singapore last year, had written about her experience on an MRT train when she was pregnant. She wrote how she had felt nauseous and was crouched on the floor for 15 minutes but 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.
PM Lee wrote that we "need not accept everything" that Ms Ashton had written but added that her article was " still a good reminder to us to be kinder and more gracious to one another". He added that even as the country has made progress in levels of courtesy and kindness over the years, "we can still do much better". "It takes effort from each of us, but it is important and worthwhile," he wrote.
"Our pace of life is fast, and we all feel the pressures of living in a city. But all the more we should try harder to respect and help one another. It will make life more pleasant for all of us," wrote PM Lee on Sunday.
Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin also posted on Facebook on Saturday a similar tale of his wife's experience on the MRT when she was pregnant and added that "we need to look at ourselves and ask if we too sometimes reflect these ugly traits".
But he also acknowledged that many kind-hearted Singaporeans do exist.
Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong also commented in a Facebook post on Saturday that Singaporeans "are and...can be better than this".