No 'massive compassion deficit'

Phyllis Poh, with her mother, Madam Joanne Ng, in hospital, where she was preparing for surgery. She is holding a card she made for her donor, who is only the second person in Singapore to donate part of his liver to a total stranger,

While Singapore, like any other country, can and should improve its level of compassion, we are certainly not suffering from a "massive compassion deficit" ("'Massive compassion deficit' in S'pore?"; Sunday).

According to a survey by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre, more people in Singapore are volunteering ("More people do volunteer work"; Feb 1, 2013). Also, more Singaporeans are donating money to charity ("S'poreans becoming more generous"; Dec 4, 2013).

I am saddened that Ms Charlotte Ashton has allowed an unfortunate incident and comments from friends to colour her judgment.

Many people have cited anecdotal evidence to prove that Singaporeans can be compassionate. Stories of how a cabby and a factory supervisor donated part of their livers to complete strangers continue to touch our hearts.

It is amazing how Ms Ashton can come to such an extreme conclusion based on one experience. Doesn't she know that "one swallow does not make a summer" and that there are "black sheep" in every flock?

I am sure there are similar incidents in any city in the world.

If there is any comparison to be made, perhaps it may be good to highlight that Singapore is still one of the safest places in the world. There is less worry that a passenger may be robbed or raped on our public transport system.

As a country, we have responded to many crisis relief efforts. We have not only contributed more than our fair share of effort, but have also punched above our weight in humanitarian work.

I hope fellow Singaporeans will reflect positively on the article. It should spur us to build a more gracious and compassionate society.


Patrick Liew


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