We can be successful – and gracious

SINGAPORE - Ms Catherine Ho Shull's letter ("Much to gain from slower pace of life"; last Thursday), which discussed the "unquantifiable price we have paid" in our quest to be No. 1, struck a chord with me.

I am 51 years old and was born and raised in Singapore.

Over the years, I have observed changes in the way we relate to one another and how we conduct business.

I was brought up to believe that hard work and honesty are virtues we should pursue. My generation was taught to earn an honest living, make time for one another and be patient and gracious. But things seem to have changed over the past 20 years or so.

In our overzealous pursuit of excellence and economic success, we constantly try to outdo one another. Those who succeed reap more rewards, while those who cannot catch up lose out.

This constant quest to outdo one another is manifested in many ways.

On the roads, many of us speed up when others try to overtake us. In school, we make sure our children go for tuition classes to increase their chances of getting into top schools. At work, there is rising income inequality between white-collar and blue-collar workers. In sports, we celebrate only the winners. In our quest for economic success, our mindsets have changed. We demand more than what we have paid for, are quick to complain and have less time to spend with our families and loved ones.

I am at the stage in life where I realise that success is not just about being rich, holding a high position or staying ahead of everyone. We must examine the way we treat others. We can achieve economic success, but also feel happy and be gracious to one another.

This is what I would like Singapore to be in the future.

Tan Kah Hong

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