I agree that it will take a long time, if ever, for Singaporeans to clean up after themselves and throw away litter properly ("PM reacts to meadow of trash that music fans left behind" and "Singapore becoming a 'garbage city', says ESM Goh Chok Tong"; ST Online, both published last Thursday).
Singaporeans have this "maid mentality", thinking that there are paid workers whose job is to pick up the rubbish left by them. Singaporeans' cleaning-up stops at their homes and doorsteps.
This is a very unhealthy and irresponsible mindset. Everyone is responsible for picking up after themselves, wherever they are, whether there are rubbish bins or not.
It is a personal responsibility, as well as a form of respect for yourself and for your country. Leaving your rubbish to be picked up reflects a lazy, selfish and irresponsible mindset and character.
We should follow the good example of the Japanese, who not only bin their litter properly, but also carry the litter in their bag till they find a bin. They also wipe the table after eating and return trays to the store's kitchen counter.
There is a very ugly trend today - people intentionally placing empty cans and bottles on top of railings and pavements in public areas. These people seem to think this act is funny or fun. On the contrary, it is selfish, irresponsible and childish.
Parents play a big part as role models in teaching their children to dispose of litter responsibly from a young age. Schools must also teach and remind students to clear their own litter responsibly.
Only with each individual's act of personal responsibility can we think of having a cleaner city.
- Tan Lin Neo (Miss)
This article was first published on Feb 03, 2015.
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