Monday, October 8, 2012

The Need For A More Compassionate and Gracious Society (Our Singapore Conversation)

Hi guys, my humble perspective on the need for us to create a more compassionate and gracious society. Appreciate if you can drop in some of your personal comments through the FB link! ^^

By Stanley Chia, OSC member

I am heartened by the sharing of Yeo Yue Ann on how we as a country should come together and “do our part to make Singapore a nation for everyone whose heart is here”.

I also agree with Ann Lee that “We (Singaporeans) need to be a more caring society showing compassion towards the less fortunate, the less able, the handicap and the lower income group.”

Based on the Individual Giving Survey 2010 and past reports from NVPC, Singapore’s volunteerism rate has been increasing every year, reaching 23.3% (2010), which is a significant increase from the previous results of 16.9% (2009).

Although this is something that we can be proud of, we should note that there is still a long way to go. The volunteerism rates in many western countries are commonly above 40%, with active participation by citizenry of all walks of life.

Another worrisome trend to note is also the huge drop in volunteerism by fresh graduates as they transit into their careers. Seeking to understand the reasons behind this problem, I realized that there are two common schools of thought:

1. Making student volunteerism compulsory in our education system has failed to help most youths develop a genuine desire and willingness to contribute back to the community when it is no longer required of them.

2. Due to work stress and intensive work load, we are no longer able to derive time for active civic engagement and/or volunteerism.

This got me thinking. Since many of us do sincerely recognize the need to be a more gracious and compassionate society, what else can we do to ensure that our graciousness extends beyond giving up our seats on public transports, donating a few cents during flag days, or proclaiming the need for the government to do more? We ourselves are not doing enough! I recently reminded a group of youths that social-change is not the sole responsibility of the government, but also that of the community, and of each and every individual! 

True volunteerism arises from the attitude of “Genuine Giving”. Giving without any expectations of rewards, awards or recognition for doing so.

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