Recently a few people were quoted in this BBC news article calling Singapore “Misery City”. While it is certainly true that Singaporeans could be more gracious, like giving up their seats on the MRT, giving way on the roads or even just signaling, for goodness sake; moving to the back of the bus, or even something as simple as holding the lift door for the poor lady behind you who’s carrying a baby and towing another 2 kids (your mother never teach you manners?!), and..
Ok I’m just listing out my pet peeves here but while there is room for much improvement, I’m sure there are an extensive list of places which are even more miserable than where we are. And in many cases, there is actually little that the common man can do. In our country, it is not entirely impossible to do what little we can to help make this world a better place. I know that sounds so idealistic, and although I suppose it is possible to lobby for policy changes with reasonable and logical intention, there are many small things that each of us can do.
Take for example, these Morning Greeters joggers who made it their mission to greet people while jogging; this NUS girl who made it her mission to serenade fellow students on the university shuttle bus; this lady who makes it a point to pick up litter wherever she goes; these graduating NTU students who chose to do their final year project on meaningful topics like promoting unstructured play amongst families, promoting dental health among children, promoting healthy digital media habits;
But you don’t need to embark on a project to make a difference, there are many simple ways of spreading joy. It could simply be greeting your neighbors in the morning, letting that kaypoh Aunty chat with your kids, or giving a fellow mother struggling with kids a smile and a nod. It could also be engaging with your town council, statutory boards or relevant ministries on feedback and suggestions (like suggesting more ramps rather than steps in the estate or reporting mosquito breeding like yours truly); volunteering with your residents committee; or seeking out your MP on the issues of your passion. If you have never attempted any of these before, you’ll be surprised at how receptive the government bodies can be. Caveat – to relevant and important information, rather than flippant complaints of an unreasonable nature.
It could also be engaging in meaningful discussions with friends on politics instead of just ranting all the time without coming up with any constructive solutions “because we have government scholars to do that”.
This Singapore50 video brought tears to my eyes, and anyone true Singaporean who loves their home, will love it too.
I am sure to many miserable people, we are indeed misery city. But to the people whose hearts and minds are committed to this place, misery it is certainly not. It is our home, and ours for the making. Last year I wrote a post entitled “Smile, and the world smiles with you” – and perhaps I should add, “Be miserable, and it will be misery city”.
Ask not what your country can do for you or how much handouts you can receive at the next budget, but what you can do for your country, and your people.