Leaders need to show more empathy, listen attentively

While there appears to be an indication by Singapore's leaders of willingness to listen to all voices from the people, there is no assurance that they will be effective listeners.

People must feel that the leaders have not only heard their voices but also understood them.

This deep sense of empathy appears to still be lacking in the responses government agencies and officers, including ministers, have given to feedback from the people.

If leaders like Education Minister Ong Ye Kung want to accomplish their vision, they must get their colleagues and civil servants to start listening with attentiveness and suspend their preconceived notions of solutions (Working towards a more equal society; May 16).

They must reflect that they have heard clearly and make people feel that they have been understood.

Deep empathy is the primary predisposition and attitude that the Government must demonstrate if the aspiration of rallying all Singaporeans to work towards a more equal society were to take place.

Thomas Lee Hock Seng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2018, with the headline 'Leaders need to show more empathy, listen attentively'. Print Edition | Subscribe