//
you're reading...
Guest Contribution

Social Apathy In Singapore: Starting With The Man In The Mirror

Recently, many individuals have brought up significant issues such as littering and the absence of graciousness amongst Singaporeans. I would like to attribute the reasons for these occurrences to a greater problem at hand, shared by both the young and old: social apathy.

Picture this: you are walking behind a person who “accidentally” drops a sweet wrapper. Do you pick up the sweet wrapper and run up to the person to tell him about it or throw it into the nearest bin? Or do you simply feign ignorance and leave the wrapper on the floor? I believe most Singaporeans will choose the latter, giving excuses such as “let the cleaners sweep it up” or “I do not want to dirty my hands”. This is hardly surprising, since pronounced social apathy – indifference to our social environment – is subconsciously at work.

It is my belief that every Singaporean should take the blame for pervading this deplorable culture of social apathy in our society.

It is my belief that every Singaporean should take the blame for pervading this deplorable culture of social apathy in our society, with the exception of a few quiet individuals who are constantly caring for our social environment behind the scenes. However, I have faith that Singaporeans are not inherently selfish; instead, most of us are probably uncomfortable with doing something confrontational and out of the ordinary, such as approaching someone to give up his or her seat for a pregnant lady. This is especially difficult when everyone else is feigning indifference.

How then, collectively as a society, can we stamp out social apathy? It is not enough to teach Singaporeans through advertisements or posters – we need people to perform these tasks in real life. Individuals can start out by doing simple things such as picking up someone else’s litter and throwing it in a bin. From there, we should encourage our friends and family to follow suit by telling them that “if I can do it, so can you”. With some experience, we can then proceed to help others, for example assisting an elderly person across the road, or asking someone standing on the right-hand side of the escalator to move to the left. This is also a good opportunity for parents to act as good social role models for their children.

I believe that if such scenes become more commonplace in our society, other Singaporeans will gain more confidence to do the same. Let us work together to stamp out social apathy from our society.

This article was written by Gabriel Tan Jun Xian (Mr.). He can be reached at tanjunxian@gmail.com.

Advertisements

About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “Social Apathy In Singapore: Starting With The Man In The Mirror

  1. Once I told an Indian to clear his dog’s shut but he snarled at me and said what’s it to you. Would you stand up to this foreign taleng ? I blame the powers that be for bringing him in

    Posted by miller | July 8, 2011, 11:40 am
    • If you as an individual won’t stand up for yourself, why do you expect others (for that matter, your govt) to stand up for you? Passive citizenship, Passive government.

      Posted by AK | July 8, 2011, 2:06 pm
  2. “collectively as a society, can we stamp out social apathy? It is not enough to teach Singaporeans through advertisements or posters – we need people to perform these tasks in real life.”

    I think you have to distinguish between Singaporeans and foreigners in Singapore when you said “social apathy”. The problem lies with the mass import of foreigners into Singapore without making them go through the same “Keep Singapore Clean” campaign which all native born Singaporeans had gone through. There were also many other campaigns (e.g. Courtesy, Gracious society, etc) in Singapore before 1990. They ceased because Singaporeans were already conditioned to keeping Singapore clean and were courteous. Example, when I travelled to other countries, such as Malaysia, China, etc, I won’t even litter the floor (private or public) even though their locals just anyhow litter. I also gave up my seat to the elderly, or parent with young kids, or the handicap, or pregnant.

    Therefore, Singaporeans are the victims of these social problems brought about by the PAP gov by bringing in FT without educating them. I think these foreigners should undergo those campaigns which Singaporeans went through and pass the tests before they are allowed to work in Singapore.

    Posted by Singapura | July 16, 2011, 2:01 am

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Daily SG: 8 Jul 2011 « The Singapore Daily - July 8, 2011

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow guanyinmiao's musings on WordPress.com

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,217 other followers

Twitter

%d bloggers like this: