Forum: Good to take stock of the health of society while there's still time

A view of the Singapore skyline. PHOTO: ST FILE

I share the observations and sentiments of Ms Liu I-Chun (Lack of civic-mindedness apparent in Singapore, Dec 27) and Mr Paul Chan Poh Hoi (First World status more than just attaining checklist of qualities, Dec 27). They have provided a snapshot of our fellow Singaporeans, and all of us here.

If we cannot or refuse to see our faults - individually and as a nation - and honestly admit them when they are pointed out to us, and do not reflect on the shortcomings and make the necessary changes to better ourselves, then it will indeed be a sad day for all of us.

The telltale symptoms visible in our society and other advanced countries remind me of Rome - specifically the later years of the Roman Empire. Along the way, it lost the values that propelled it to greatness.

The obsession with excessive personal well-being, to the detriment of the society at large, will be our undoing. Our values are sadly not the same ones that helped a young nation catapult to prominence.

We did not achieve First World status by fluke. There are certain universal values that promote peace, prosperity and civilised living. It is wise to remember this adage: Pride comes before a fall.

Life was a bit slower when Rome fell. Unfortunately, we live in a world where events are shared at almost the speed of thought. And as recent events around the world have shown, we may not have the luxury of time to realise that something fundamental has gone awry and may cause unexpected difficulties.

Are we sensible and sensitive to these changes in values to take stock of the health of our society while there's still time?

John Prakash

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