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Make kindness a stronger part of our identity

I refer to the debate over what the Singaporean identity is. In Singapore, “actions speak louder than words” when it comes to kindness.

James Poh Ching Ping

I refer to the debate over what the Singaporean identity is. In Singapore, “actions speak louder than words” when it comes to kindness.

This kind of kindness needs no trumpet-blowing.

We see ordinary Singaporeans show kindness towards the underprivileged on programmes like Channel 8’s Tuesday Report, but what goes unnoticed is the real-life examples happening in our neighbourhoods.

There are many untold stories of kindness shown by Singaporeans, such as people offering free medical treatment, free coffins and free burial services for foreign workers or tourists who died in Singapore — instances that many foreigners would remember.

Recently, full-time national serviceman Dickson Phoon’s gesture of kindness — carrying a heavy bag of tissues for a struggling elderly man and buying him a drink — was caught on camera and went viral, touching the hearts of many.

Singaporeans are not ungracious, despite our aloof expressions during the morning rush hour, which may put people off.

We should go back to basics and not forget the magic words of “thank you”, “you’re welcome” and “sorry”. We should not use our car horns unnecessarily, but live graciously.

Gracious behaviour should be a stronger aspect of our Singaporean identity, more so than other labels like “No 1” and “efficient”.

In this age of social media, I urge netizens to share more instances of kindness to prevent this aspect of our identity from being eroded by overemphasising the negative.

Let Singapore be a country people want to return to because of our friendliness, kindness and sense of hospitality.

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