Mr Toh Cheng Seong ("Commuters can help make rides pleasant"; yesterday) compared commuter behaviour on our trains with that in Taipei and Tokyo.
The ungracious behaviour here brings to the fore core values that need greater emphasis and focus in our society.
Refusing to allow commuters to alight first, talking loudly on mobile phones, refusing to give way to those more in need of a seat, littering and other examples of bad behaviour are commonplace in our trains.
However much service standards are improved and however more frequently trains arrive, the train system will always fall short of world-class standards as long as we do not learn to behave more graciously.
The authorities have taken pains to instil in our citizens the need for more social graces, but their efforts seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
Getting the public to become more caring and considerate cannot happen overnight.
Slogans, courtesy campaigns and various forms of exhortation will have no effect on society unless the people themselves, and the authorities, realise that education must begin at home and be followed through in the school system.
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Parents have a big part to play in bringing up children with good values and social graces, while schools should reinforce these values and place increased emphasis on developing good character traits in their students.
Enforced correctly, these qualities will become second nature to Singaporeans as they go about their daily lives.
Singapore possesses one of the highest standards of living in the world and has demonstrated dynamic progress in various spheres.
But we cannot claim world-class standards in human behaviour unless we practise zero tolerance for bad manners, whether on our trains, buses or in our day-to-day activities.
V. Subramaniam (Dr)
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