Is Singapore a less gracious and kind society?

According to the Singapore Kindness Movement, the latest Graciousness Index declined to 53, eight points down from 61 last year. The study polled 1,201 respondents in January and February this year, and asked them about their experience and perception of graciousness in the past year.

On average, 52 per cent of respondents said they experienced graciousness – defined as receiving, doing or witnessing gracious acts – in the past six months, down from 74 per cent last year.

Dr William Wan, general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, said: “The last year can generally be perceived as challenging, and the angst could have led us to accrue a deficit of kindness.”

Source: Singapore Kindness Movement, ST 9 April 2013

Take this in context with the Bloomberg report on a Gallup study in November, 2012 where participants were asked the following questions measuring happiness:

  • Had they smiled yesterday?
  • Learned something interesting?
  • Felt respected or well rested?


Source: Washington Post, Max Fisher

Only 36 percent of Singaporeans responded affirmatively to either the positive or the negative questions.  In the company of Georgia, Russia, Lithuania.  (Japan is much higher.) Clifton says one reason Singaporeans are so dour is their lack of satisfaction at work.   Bloomberg/ Businessweek, cites Dr Wan as saying Singaporeans take themselves too seriously, that “we don’t clap loudly in concerts”.

Are Singaporeans ungracious? Unhelpful?  Or is it a sign of a society with too many transient workers and going through much change.   Perhaps in transiting from Third World to First World, we Singaporeans need to re-learn social skills and how to enjoy life., smell the roses, have more time to small talk and ask about the weather.

What do you think about this issue? Drop me your comments.

What can we do to make Singapore a more gracious society?

Do we really want Singaporeans to be more emotional?  Or just happier?

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