Singa Quits: Letter from Singapore Kindness Movement

Oh, behave!

Oh, behave!

This is a reply from Dr William Wan of the Singapore Kindness Movement to Lorong Cat’s previous post urging Singa to rethink his decision to quit.

We thank Dr Wan for taking the time to write to us and certainly agree with him that courtesy, graciousness and thoughtfulness are of utmost importance even as we live and manoeuvre in a competitive society.

Singa may be gone for now, but the good work of Singapore Kindness Movement continues. Without the little lion man watching over us, please continue to behave!

Dear Lorong Cat,

Your post on May 15th titled “Singa quits: A reply from your taxpayer boss” gave us very good feedback on the state of kindness in Singapore today, and I would like to thank you for sharing.

That is all we were trying to achieve with this campaign, to get people like you to talk about where we are as a country and what we can do about it. I am particularly concerned about your observation that “we are now a nation where a win-at-all-costs mentality is dominant and even encouraged as The Only way for us to survive, it lowers the importance we may place on any human decency, courtesy, graciousness and thoughtfulness that does not directly lead to tangible achievements”.

I would argue that human decency, courtesy, graciousness and thoughtfulness is the only way we can survive as a society. Any community which builds on survival of the fittest will eventually die out, and it is only by working together that we have a shot in making it in this increasingly harsh world.

That’s not to say we can’t have a competitive streak. Your tennis analogy was apt, so allow me to draw another sporting analogy.
Since Singapore is such a big fan of the English Premier League, let us look towards that as an example. When two football teams are on the field, they are combative, sometimes even to the point of losing their temper in a bid to win the match.

Yet, more often than not, when the match is over, no matter who wins, players from both teams will shake hands and share a drink in the lounge after the match. While there are the occasional times when a player goes too far and crosses the line, and such is the slippery slope a competitive nature puts us on, by and large, the players exhibit professional courtesy to one another.

Are we, as a people, not able to embrace the same values despite our competitive environment? Are the two values impossible to negotiate amicably? Are we not able to compete graciously and in the process learn from our competitors to become better friends? Do we need to treat competitors as enemies ? We don’t believe so and we do hope that the people of this nation can see that too.
Singa, the cartoon lion, is gone. In going, we hope that he will awaken the Singa in each one of us.

Thank you once again.

Dr William Wan
General Secretary
Singapore Kindness Movement