According to the latest Graciousness Survey commissioned by the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM), which tracks experiences and perceptions of kindness and graciousness, Singapore residents remain generally positive about the state of graciousness and kindness while more Singaporeans also agree that we ourselves can and should take more ownership in promoting and fostering positive social values as opportunities to do so present themselves.
The annual survey is said to provide SKM with insights on various community topics in Singapore, which help to guide SKM’s focus, strategies and plans in the coming year. The study polled a demographically representative sample of 3,066 respondents via face-to-face interviews over two waves; from July to August 2016 and from December 2016 to January 2017.
Overall state of graciousness is stable
The survey seeks to find out respondents’ perceptions about overall graciousness, courtesy, consideration and appreciation. Results show these to be holding steady or moderately improving year-on-year. Over the last 12 months, more people deem that things remain the same – i.e., no clearly evident improvements or declines in overall graciousness perceptions.
Commenting on this, Dr William Wan, General Secretary of SKM, said, “I am heartened to learn that Singaporeans generally remain positive about the state of kindness and graciousness in Singapore, given the prominence of some incidents that have gone viral recently. We need to continue to strive for kindness – both online and face-to-face – so as to make society ever better and more positive, one which we all would like to live in and belong to.”
The survey provides insights on attitudes towards key community issues such as the role of parents in children’s upbringing in values, neighbourliness and the state of integration.
Parents recognise their pivotal role in inculcating moral values in children but require support
Overall, the survey indicates that parents agree they should play the primary role in educating their children about moral values. There is also a recognition of the need to work together with schools and student care facilities, so that there is mutual support in reinforcing such values. This point is particularly pertinent in light of recent incidents which may have reflected poor upbringing and inadequate inculcation of values of respect, courtesy, consideration and helpfulness.
The survey also revealed challenges faced by parents. These include notably a lack of time, as well as external influences such as friends and articles that their children come across on the Internet. Two-thirds of parents surveyed consider such external factors as possible causes of a child’s negative behaviour, including ungraciousness.
Parents would like more guidance or resources on parenting techniques, as well as additional opportunities and activities to learn together as a family.
More opportunities for interaction within neighbourhoods and at work
Respondents are generally satisfied with the current state of neighbourliness, and most share that they exchange casual greetings with their neighbours. However, more respondents also say that they are unaware of, or uninterested in opportunities to interact more deeply with their neighbours, and that they treasure privacy at home.
A parallel observation can be made about the attitudes of Singaporeans and foreign residents towards each other. Generally, there is more mutual understanding and appreciation of each other’s efforts to be welcoming and to assimilate and integrate. There is, however a recognition that interactions with each other are mostly at work and school, and that more could be done to create opportunities for interaction beyond such institutions.
“I’m encouraged to see people continuing to carry out acts of kindness,” says Dr Wan. “I hope that we will continue to amplify this in the decisions that we make in everyday scenarios – be it interacting with our friends at school, our colleagues at work or welcoming new residents into our neighbourhoods. Also as we partner with and support SGCares, SKM will press on with our work to continue inspiring and reminding each other that it takes each and every one of us to choose to do the kind and right thing, to care for others, and to make kindness and graciousness values that we Singaporeans will be known for. After all, kindness – it’s up to us.”