Do away with 'me-first' attitude
MY FAMILY recently visited Taiwan and a frequent remark made by our tour guide was, "If Singapore can do it, why can't Taiwan?" ("The dirty truth about Singapore"; Dec 30).
He was full of praise for our gleaming city environment and modern infrastructure, and wished that Taiwan could learn from Singapore on how to build a modern country.
My personal observation, however, is that Taiwan excels in the softer areas that we are clearly lacking in.
While I take pride in the accolades given by the tour guide, I feel that many aspects of our lives may have been overlooked.
Singapore society has, to a great extent, developed a "me-first" mentality, which lacks that human touch and love for the community.
I share the same observations made in the article on the graciousness, quality service and recycling efforts of the Taiwanese.
Other than providing very clean toilets in its train stations, Taiwan's rail operator provides accurate announcements of train arrival timings. The announcements are also made in four different languages/dialects, including English. This is done to further assist commuters and retain Taiwan's dialect heritage.
We should learn from Taiwan on how to instil pride in our multilingual heritage.
The communal spirit in Taiwan is also very strong.
Closed-circuit television cameras are absent in most shops, and the staff do not follow customers around to prevent theft.
It will be an uphill task to change our ingrained mindsets overnight, but with a multifaceted approach and the will, everyone can play a part in making Singapore a more gracious and pleasant society to live in.
If Taiwan can do it, why can't we?