The report on Professor Tommy Koh's comments about Singaporeans and civic-mindedness brought to mind a conversation my husband and I had on the three most important values that we as a couple wanted to live by (Singaporeans can be more civic-minded, considerate, says Prof Koh, Oct 2).
Words like empathy, kindness, integrity, honesty came forth in that conversation, and we grouped them into three heads: grace, authenticity and humility. Our discussion elaborated on these.
Grace: The ability to be kind, empathise and be sensitive to others; to be polite in big and small ways; to hold a door open for someone; to acknowledge messages irrespective of who it is coming from; to respect another culture for what it is even if one does not understand it; to not pass judgment on everything and everyone; to not take family and friends for granted; to not see kindness as weakness and brashness as strength.
Authenticity: To be honest, both to oneself and to others; meaning what you say, keeping promises, admitting mistakes and staying true to who you are as a person.
Humility: To see who we actually are as human beings in the "big-picture" of things; to respect life and the environment for what it gives and takes from us; to not take oneself too seriously and magnify one's sense of importance, and thereby to be inclusive.
Maybe I'm an idealist, but trying to stay true to these values is very important to me as an individual, as a citizen of this country I love and as an inhabitant of this planet.
Nations and businesses are made up of people, and while everybody may have different values that he or she wants to live by, wouldn't it be lovely if we as a society are benchmarked as being a society with a moral compass and conscience, in addition to being benchmarked for being one of the most advanced nations to live in.