Address issue of lack of graciousness in schools

School children carrying their bags on July 4, 2019.
School children carrying their bags on July 4, 2019. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Recently, several Forum contributors have commented on the lack of graciousness in Singapore (Basic etiquette becoming obsolete, by Mr Anthony Lee Mui Yu, June 28; and Overcome fear of being ridiculed for kind acts, by Mr Albert Ng Ya Ken, July 6).

Educating our young people in ethics and decorum is critical as developing good habits and character traits should start during their formative years.

This is especially important since not every child is exposed to the right behaviour and values at home, so incorporating these good practices into the school curriculum will have a positive impact.

By setting the younger generation on the right path, it may also have a positive impact on their elders.

Perhaps Character and Citizenship Education lessons can be integrated with topics such as social consciousness, examples of which include not using your mobile phone during meals, muting devices in public, speaking softly in quiet places like libraries, greeting your elders, holding the lift door open for others, keeping to the left when standing on the escalator, returning your tray at a food centre, and safe personal mobility device and bicycle riding.

We can also launch campaigns specific to targeted actions, such as by putting up posters in lifts encouraging people to hold the lift door open for others.

Social media can also be harnessed to educate the young by getting social media figures with large numbers of young followers to feature in videos depicting the correct social norms.

Even if society is going south in terms of graciousness, let us not give up hope, and do something to address the issue.

Cindy Tan Siok Hoong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2019, with the headline 'Address issue of lack of graciousness in schools'. Subscribe