An uncaring society will nullify S'pore's economic progress

I was dismayed at the ungracious behaviour shown by the motorists who honked when the elderly man with mobility problems was still crossing the road even after the traffic light had turned green (Graciousness gets green light after traffic video; Aug 15).

Traffic hold-ups occur for specific reasons and motorists must exercise patience, understanding and graciousness. Simply honking out of frustration is not going to make things any better.

It is accepted that educating the public to become more caring and considerate citizens will not happen overnight. Slogans, courtesy campaigns and various forms of exhortations will have no effect on society unless people themselves and the authorities realise that education must begin at home and be followed up in the school system.

Parents play a humongous part in bringing up children with good values and social graces.

Schools should reinforce these values and place an increased emphasis on developing good character traits in their students, and not focus solely on grades.

Enforced correctly, these qualities will become second nature to Singaporeans as they go about their daily lives.

Singapore possesses one of the highest standards of living in the world and has demonstrated dynamic progress in various spheres over the years.

But we cannot claim world-class standards in human behaviour unless we practise zero tolerance for bad manners.

This can be achieved only if we go beyond individualistic and self-centred ambitions and become more caring individuals.

A lack of kindness, compassion, empathy and the human touch will nullify all the progress we have made economically.

V. Subramaniam (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2018, with the headline 'An uncaring society will nullify S'pore's economic progress'. Print Edition | Subscribe