Singapore lives up to its friendly but law-abidingly stern demeanour, according to survey

According to a survey conducted in June 2018 among a sample of 3,175 Singapore residents and 3,821 Thailand residents, Milleu Insight has found that Singaporeans tend to respect orderliness more than Thais but scored lower in areas like social courtesy.

According to the survey conducted by the independent market research company, 66% of Thais said that they smile at strangers all the time – living up to the moniker “The Land of Smiles” – while only 11% of Singaporeans indicated the same. And though 40% of Singaporeans reported that they greeted their neighbours all the time, this is still significantly lower than the Thais (61%). These two indicators as well as the fact that only 33% of Singaporean drivers give way to vehicles all the time compared to Thais 54% reveals that Singaporeans do not display social courtesies quite as frequently as their Thai counterparts.

The report on the survey suggested that this could be pegged on a variety of reasons including a fear of being rejected, misunderstood, or awkwardness (in terms of greeting strangers and neighbours) or the Singapore ‘kiasu’ attitude (in terms of driving etiquette).

However, where Singapore did excel was in orderliness, something Milleu attributes to success of strict laws. Compared to Thailand, Singapore scored significantly higher on issues like littering and queuing up. For example, 45% of Singaporeans reported that they would never cut queues even when given a chance while only 21% of Thais said the same. Similarly, more than half of Singaporeans (56%) said that they would never litter compared to a mere 16% of Thais – obviously this is a testament to Singapore’s strict anti-littering penalties.

Finally, and possible quite intriguing is the section on graciousness. The survey found that Singaporean parents tend to be more gracious as compared to other non-parent Singaporeans in every category. Naturally, the report suggested that parents may feel more of a responsibility to lead by example and inculcate kindness in their children – kindness begins at home after all.

Mothers especially ranked as the most gracious group. 57% of mothers reported that they greet their neighbours all the time while 88% said that they kept the noise down at night all the time. This is significantly higher than the average Singaporean at 40% and 76% respectively. This further confirms the theory that parents, especially mothers, are the key role models for their children to learn civic mindedness from a gracious home. Children tend to do what they see, not what they’re told.

Although we still have a long way to go in building a gracious society, our civic mindedness when it comes to issues like littering and giving up our seats to others in need proves how far we have come in making an effort to care for others. Effective public initiatives should also be commended in making a difference. However, social responsibility should also start at home, as Singaporean parents have successfully demonstrated.