People in Singapore a little more gracious now: Survey

People in Singapore a little more gracious now: Survey

People in Singapore have become a little more gracious, according to the latest results of an annual survey by the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM).

This year's Graciousness Index gave Singapore a score of 55, a two-point rise from 53 last year, when the index hit a record low.

But the score is still the second-lowest since the index, which tracks the perception and experience of kindness and graciousness in Singapore, was started in 2009. In 2010 and 2012, the index hit a high of 61 out of 100. The higher the index, the better.

"This year's results show that we are a little more sensitive to gracious acts that go on around us than last year," said Dr William Wan, SKM's general secretary.

"But I think we're so hard on ourselves that we don't give credit for some of the good things."

In response to last year's low index, the SKM has been engaging more users online, for instance, by encouraging netizens to spread the message of kindness.

The efforts have paid off. More people in this year's survey said they experienced acts of graciousness, be it doing or at the receiving end, or just witnessing a kind act.

Some 52 per cent said they had been a "recipient of a random act of graciousness in the last six months", up from 41 per cent in last year's study.

This year's study polled 1,666 respondents, of whom about 62 per cent are Singaporeans, over four weeks last December and in January this year.

Another key result is that heavy Internet users tend to believe in online graciousness.

Among those who use the Internet for more than 20 hours each week, 55 per cent believe graciousness is necessary online, and 80 per cent believe more needs to be done to educate people on gracious behaviour online.

This is higher than the 25 per cent and 57 per cent respectively among those who use the Internet for fewer than two hours a week.

Social entrepreneur Crystal Goh, 28, who is online almost all the time, said: "The Internet is our home and... we want a home we can be proud of."

While respondents, who included parents, largely agreed that the best way to instil kindness in society is to target young people, they were undecided whether parents have been "actively reinforcing moral values" in children. Only 37 per cent agreed, a third disagreed and the rest were neutral.

But Dr Wan said it is good that "parents are self-critiquing".

Other groups have also been encouraging gracious behaviour.

For example, the labour movement started a campaign this May Day to get customers to show more appreciation to workers.

This article was first published on July 10, 2014.
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