family life · parenting · Singapore

Smile, and the world smiles with you.

Never a difficult task to coax a smile out of this one.
Never a difficult task to coax a smile out of this one.

According to a Gallup poll, that appeared in the Straits Times last month, Singapore is one of the most emotionless and unhappy nations. Yes, oh YES a lot of Singaporeans sure seem to spend a lot of time just complaining (and blaming the government for everything, but don’t get me started on that) and not doing anything about it, but it’s heartening to see a trend otherwise, of people who are deliberately going out to try and make people smile. Like this undergraduate from NUS who sings with her ukelele on the NUS shuttle bus to make people smile (and intends to do it every time she’s on the bus!), and the people like the Morning Greeters – joggers featured in this week’s Sunday Life who make it a point to greet everyone on their run (jog over to their FB page here if you want to join!).

We are very chummy with one of our neighbours and the other day he and I were discussing how we have never heard some other neighbours utter a single word. Mostly from the mid to late teenage kids rather than the adults, but is a simple “Hello.” so difficult?

Recently we had new (tenant) neighbours move into a unit on our floor (out of only 6 units), and previously when I saw the wife there was nary a greeting. But then I decided that perhaps I should start the greeting instead of waiting to be greeted (even though sometimes I do regard myself as somewhat of a queen), and I do think that it’s important that kids learn to be friendly to the right people in the right circumstances. I decided to extend the greeting to the new neighbours this morning when the father and 2 primary school kids were going for a morning run, but that was it. Perhaps next time I’ll attempt at more small talk.

I’ve noticed a few mums in the estate who have a perpetual chao bin, and they’re great reminders for me to chill out and smile more. Sometimes when I’m frustrated with the kids I wonder how I must look with this great big frown or look of displeasure. Note to self: chao bin is very last season, except when necessary during disciplinary action.

I’ve also noticed that some people really find kids a joy. Sometimes you’ll get people who look as if they’re allergic to kids, but once in a while you’ll get random people to whom the kids (and their antics) bring a smile to, and even more so when there’s a chubby baby involved. Or maybe they see me with three kids and think, “wah lao eh!“. They are patient and considerate, and it sure makes it easier and more pleasant for everyone, than to be in the proximity of someone who looks like they’re going to break out in hives just from being in the company of a child.

The other day, I brought the boys out for a walk and called out to Abacus in front to stop cycling before the small road, and the man who was slightly ahead of him stopped too, with a smile, no less, to make sure that Abacus did. A while ago, a man actually got off his bicycle to help me make sure the boys had crossed over the car park (in their bicycles again). I was very grateful, and he said something like 安全是很重要的.

You might have seen this video already, I really really like how it’s not so much paying it forward, but more of a small random acts of kindness that inspires others to do likewise.


7 thoughts on “Smile, and the world smiles with you.

  1. I agree with you totally. I’m the introvert in the family. So I think I’m lucky that my husband and MIL are extroverts. So in the end we make friends with quite a few neighbors.

    And it also helps with the kids. My girl just went round waving to everyone (even the old uncle drinking beer at the void deck) the other night I brought her downstairs to buy some things. The smiles she bring across their face makes me happy too.

    But I agree there are also some who hate kids to the max. My boy is normally full of laughter and have “corrupted” alot of passer-by with his laughs. However, sometime his laughter can be a little sharp that I have to agree. And that day, he was having his high pitch laughter and a lady (who is a mum herself, cause she was with her boy) complained in Cantonese about his laughter to “the air”.

    Whichever the case, I’m getting my kids to spread more smiles and laughter while they are still at the adorable stage. For me, I will just stand behind and smile (acting back my introvert *bleh*).


  2. Love the smile and this post! Before i had a kid I used to look at these mums with super chao bin faces and pray I don’t turn out to be like them! Haha. But like you, as tough as it is sometimes, I do remind myself to chill a little and to worry less. And so far I’ve been pretty happy!


    1. I think sometimes I’m chaobin because I’m also trying to keep them in check and not disturb other people too much. Or maybe it’s more difficult with boys because they are SO active!


  3. Chanced upon your blog through another mummy’s blog and when I read that you had 4 kids, I went “WOW!” Made me chuckle when I realised your no.4 was born in the 70s!

    Like you, I have 3 kids, and I think I’m guilty of having the chao bin sometimes, especially when I’m out alone with the three of them. Had to have a chao bin to ensure they don’t get into mischief, y’know.

    Great reminder for me to relax a little and smile/laugh more. 🙂


    1. Hi!! I’m so glad you dropped by and left a note because I love your blog!

      You know, I’m convinced that us mothers of boys have it more difficult trying to keep them in check, hence the chao bin, haha! My girl is still young so I’m waiting for her to be older for me to confirm this hypothesis 😀


      1. Thanks for your kind words, I enjoy reading your entries too!

        I couldn’t agree more. I’ve realised too that it’s more difficult to keep my boys in check as compared to my girl. So my boys see more of my chao bin than my girl…


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