True do-gooders don't do good for 'likes' on social media

Over the past few years, I have observed with growing unease an increase in narcissism in our society, particularly "communal narcissism".

According to Dr Craig Malkin, who wrote the book, Rethinking Narcissism, communal narcissists regard themselves as especially nurturing, understanding and empathetic. They proudly announce how much they give to charity or how little they spend on themselves.

Communal narcissists come from many walks of life.

They believe themselves better than everyone else, but cherish their status as givers.

They talk about having a "mission" or being "committed to a cause". They make it clear that others' concerns are petty and shallow, while theirs are possessed of deep meaning and intent.

But any action they take stems from the desire to further their personal aggrandisement.

Their true colours show when they become territorial and more concerned with appreciation than the communal goal you thought they were working towards.

If left unchecked, communal narcissism breeds self-centredness.

It could corrupt the minds of our young, who may think that good deeds are valuable only if they are captured and posted on social media.

This undermines the efforts of true do-gooders - the silent individuals who do charitable acts without announcing them to the world.

Let us do good for the sake of doing good, and not for "likes" on social media.

Brendan Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2017, with the headline 'True do-gooders don't do good for 'likes' on social media'. Print Edition | Subscribe