: Sometimes, a rude act really irks your day and makes it all wrong. Especially when it starts with raining cats and dogs. I was on the road waiting anxiously for a cab for the past half hour. Two different people came right in front of me and snatched my cab away. I even shouted out to one man just a few metres from me, who looked at me with much aloof and ignored me to go into the cab. (Yeah… so much about being a gentleman, they don’t even have manners to start with) I was fuming when a third man came in front of me to cut my line about 10 meters away. I walked over and told him off. He simply shrugged and laughed it off. I’m sure you’ve had similar teeth-gritting experiences. (Argh!)
Certainly, there were pleasant incidents. I remember once I was waiting for taxi, the African-European guy who was first in queue graciously gave his place to the family behind him as there was a baby. When the next cab arrived, he gave his place to me again, saying “Ladies First” and calmly waited for the next vehicle. The entire taxi line was filled with smiles.
Of course, I am not expecting everyone to be as ridiculously polite as this; it would be absurd to do so. However, basic politeness is something we should try as it not only reflects positively on ourselves, but also the good upbringing in our family. Although to be fair, I have been observing some improvements in fellow Singaporeans. Many people try not to take the reserved seats on the MRT anymore. People don’t push into the MRT as severely as before. Good start fellas!
Having said all that, let’s do a little poll to test the ground sentiments. Got my friend who did the same poll for GNH to do one for this piece. (See end)
I observed a higher tendency in people taking initiatives to care for their surroundings when life is better and we worry less about our livelihood. Nevertheless, we can do more! Since we are famous as ‘kiasu’ Singaporeans, why can’t we be more ‘kiasu’ about losing our faces and therefore present ourselves more appropriately?
Let’s be nicer to each other before 21 Dec 2012. You never know who is going to be next to you. And if we do live past that, good for you! We can celebrate Christmas together. After all, it takes 13 muscles to smile and 33 to frown. Being nice helps you save money on Botox!
So be good and nice. It all starts from YOU (ME). =)
(Results will be published on the week of 7 May 2012)
We see what we expect to see, so perhaps how rude or gracious we consider a society to be is affected by what our pre-conceived perception and does not always reflect reality. It’s called confirmation bias. That is, if we think a particular group is rude, then we tend to particularly notice when they are rude (and maybe even dismiss instances when they are gracious).
A recent Kindness Movement survey of 1,400 people showed that Gen Y had become more gracious. Not by a lot, but it’s an improvement. While one may not have personal experience of the change, it might be worthwhile to give the benefit of the doubt.
Of course, there’s the other curious thing about graciousness, and that’s kindness by example. Some experts believe we are more likely to behave kindly if we see others doing it. A symptom of being a social animal, perhaps?
There is also the idea of a tipping point. If enough people are gracious, there will a point when everyone starts to do the same.
Anyhow, it all might just boil down to something quite simple: whichever generation or group we’re in, kindness might just start with oneself. Have a nice day!