Take time to reach out to neighbours

PHOTO: ST FILE

I was gratified to read about neighbours stepping up to lend a helping hand in Toa Payoh (Fire breaks out in Toa Payoh flat; neighbours lend a helping hand; Jan 9).

I believe that there is inherent kindness in every one of us, which is often released in situations of crisis.

Building good relationships encourages neighbours to help and look out for each other.

By becoming friends with neighbours of different races, nationalities, religions and socio-economic statuses, we also learn to appreciate diverse cultures.

According to the Graciousness Survey in 2017, Singaporeans prefer to maintain their privacy and interact less with their neighbours, which is not a healthy trend.

I have, over the years, intentionally reached out to my neighbours by initiating greetings and simple conversations, and organising get-togethers. As a result, my neighbours and I are no longer strangers.

This is proof that the kampung spirit is not dead in my neighbourhood.

There are many such examples in Singapore, and I am glad that such acts do not go unnoticed.

The Good Neighbour Award was launched in 2009 to recognise and honour residents who go the extra mile to enrich their community with exemplary acts of care and neighbourliness.

If we can welcome the new year by taking the time and effort to build deeper interactions with our neighbours and learn to appreciate each other's differences, we will be a step closer to becoming a nation of kindness.

Just An Extra Chair is an effort to encourage people to invite neighbours and strangers to share a meal during the festive season. Why not check it out? You may well convert a neighbour into a friend.

William Wan (Dr)

General Secretary

Singapore Kindness Movement