A cultural norm that needs re-engineering

Crockery left on the tables at Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre.

I AGREE with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong ("PM reacts to meadow of trash that music fans left behind"; last Thursday) and Miss Tan Lin Neo ("Time to grow up, clean up after ourselves"; yesterday) that we Singaporeans need to clean up after ourselves.

All the campaigns we have had all these years since I was a young man have all been in vain.

I remember an occasion when I was having lunch at a foodcourt with a colleague and I cleaned my table and cleared my tray.

I was expecting my colleague to do the same but he didn't.

When I asked him about clearing his tray, he said: "I pay for the food, I must also clear my tray?" The irony is that the same person cleared his tray when he was in Europe because that was the norm.

On another occasion, when I was having lunch at McDonald's, I noticed a big group of students from the Singapore American School who entered the fast-food restaurant for lunch.

They obediently queued up for their food and, after they were seated, the teacher in charge told the manager of the restaurant to inform the staff not to clear the students' tables.

With the teacher's supervision, the students did indeed clear their trays.

We should develop a culture of cleanliness beginning with the children, because the parents are not teaching their children to clean up after themselves.

The parents themselves are at fault as they also claim that there are cleaners to do the work.

It is time for the children to educate their parents.

This article was first published on Feb 4, 2015.
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