Forum: Highlight examples of good behaviour so others can learn

People cross the road at Yishun bus interchange on Feb 11, 2019.
People cross the road at Yishun bus interchange on Feb 11, 2019.PHOTO: ST FILE

I am proud to be Singaporean because the majority of us are well behaved and kind. Like any other society, there is a small minority who do not conform.

I have often been offered help without even asking for it.

For example, a middle-aged man who had overheard me and my friends discussing how to get to an MRT station pointed us in the right direction.

In another instance, a young woman walked up to me to help when she noticed I was fumbling with the ATM.

While it is good to be made aware of our shortcomings, it is better to have a balanced view. Being too critical of ourselves will work to our disadvantage.

We may not be the best-behaved people but we are not the worst.

A recent sea cruise gave me the chance to notice how well behaved Singaporeans are compared with passengers from other countries.

Of course, we did not tell off those passengers. They may have had a reason to behave differently from us. And as Asians, we did not show our disapproval outright.

There is a noticeable difference in social behaviour among Singaporeans of different generations. It takes time for society to change.

I believe that social behaviour improves with economic development. In Singapore's case, the economy developed so rapidly that there was no time for graciousness to catch up.

But we should highlight examples of good behaviour so that those who appear to be less gracious will eventually catch up.

Yeo Boon Eng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2019, with the headline 'Highlight examples of good behaviour so others can learn'. Print Edition | Subscribe