Basic etiquette becoming obsolete

The reasons for not showing kindness to others cited by youth involved in the survey on graciousness sound pathetic to me (Youth too embarrassed to show kindness in public: Poll, June 25).

Formerly unspoken etiquette, such as greeting neighbours and pressing lift numbers for others, is endangered if not extinct among many these days.

Saying "sorry", "thank you" or "excuse me" now seems to be a big deal and going obsolete.

I suspect online experiences corrupt many and lead them to dispense with "unnecessary" pleasantries and niceties offline.

There are street-or people-smarts that schooling and families haven't taught. For example, you could ask someone first if he needs a seat before vacating it - to obviate embarrassment should he reject it. Believe me, those sorely in need of the seat wouldn't play hard to get.

Initiating kindness isn't martyrdom when you are dignifying yourself, your family and society, not necessarily the receiver. Ditto talking softer, pushing back chairs after dining and returning crockery.

Anthony Lee Mui Yu

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2019, with the headline 'Basic etiquette becoming obsolete'. Print Edition | Subscribe