Thanking the unsung heroes of Singapore

Pictures of Singapore’s unsung heroes have been showing on Facebook.

It’s basically a project to compile the faces of all the people who help make Singapore awesome.

That’s why it has quickly received many positive comments from people who think it’s about time those that give Singapore its true soul are recognised!

singapore-unsung-heroes

It’s true: next time you’re in the bus, the MRT, or in your car – don’t just sleep, take a look around. You’ll see all kinds of people – reading newspaper, playing Candy Crush, bringing their kids to school.

But you don’t always see people talking (unless it’s an old auntie scolding an ah lian for giving up her seat) or even smiling to each other.

In most cases, it’s not that people aren’t courteous or polite – though many will argue that it is indeed the case – just that our lives are extremely fast-paced, and so people don’t simply spend more time than necessary.

Take the service industry for instance; the counter person will tell you that the motivation is not the money, but the joy of interacting with and satisfying people.

Unfortunately, most of the time these very small daily interactions are cold and functional: people need a coffee, they order, they pay, and then they leave.

In very rare occasions people will walk in, greet the salesman/barista/server, look them in the eye as they order, attempt even the smallest of chit-chats, and then thank them for the service rendered.

True, we can’t just stop and converse with every single person we run into during an average day.

But we can at least try to treat service people as human beings with feelings, families, hopes, and aspirations, and not just as robots designed to get us what we want as fast as we want it.

Part of the problem is the “customer is always right” mentality. As we become more modern with a growing sense of entitlement (pai kia, I tell you), people start overlooking even the simplest of courtesies.

“Why should I say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’? It’s your job what.”

This is why people in this industry are the first ones to feel the full force of the growing divide in Singapore society. Not just in terms of income gap – though that gap is growing dangerously larger by the day – but in terms of mutual esteem and respect.

So to all of Singapore’s unsung heroes: thank you!

And don’t forget to brighten someone’s day and tell them they’re doing a great job! :D

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Najib A.

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