YOUR LETTERS

Don't take climate of trust and kind deeds here for granted

Lieutenant-Colonel Eric Chua (left), head of operations at the 1st SCDF Division with the award recipients who were among a group of about 30 good Samaritans who rushed to the aid of a pedestrian pinned under a truck on July 22, 2015.
Lieutenant-Colonel Eric Chua (left), head of operations at the 1st SCDF Division with the award recipients who were among a group of about 30 good Samaritans who rushed to the aid of a pedestrian pinned under a truck on July 22, 2015.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Opinion editor Chua Mui Hoong's heartwarming commentary on how strangers helped one another in Singapore illustrates the importance of the social norm to help others (" In moments of need, there's just us"; last Sunday).

Having lived in China, I noticed an unfortunate wariness among people about helping others because of the fear that the individuals they help may turn around to accuse them of being responsible for their plight.

In 2011, in Foshan, China, a two-year-old girl lay dying on a busy street after being run over in a hit-and-run case. More than a dozen passers-by avoided her. She finally received help from an elderly woman, but the child died.

Some of the passers-by who were later interviewed said they did not want to be falsely accused of being responsible for her situation.

In another reported incident in China, a bus driver helped an elderly woman who had had a fall. But she later accused him of having knocked her down.

Fortunately, the driver's vehicle was equipped with a video camera and he was exonerated because of the recorded images.

Unfortunately, there are many instances where no videos images are available to exonerate the good Samaritans, except by court trials.

These widely reported examples remind Singaporeans not to take for granted the part each of us plays in strengthening our social norms and engendering a high level of trust that encourages strangers to help one another here.

Soon Sze Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 02, 2015, with the headline 'Don't take climate of trust and kind deeds here for granted'. Print Edition | Subscribe