Multiple factors distinguish humans from all other species, pushing us to the top of the food chain. Kindness is one such trait. Our innate ability to show empathy and generosity, enabling us to connect and build relationships, forms a big part of human nature. But if so, why are there still constant reminders to #BeKind?
Thankfully, it is not because we are devolving into a society of unkindness. The desire to do good is within us. But surrounded by so much white noise, vitriol and egregious players determined to sow discord and prey on our anxieties, kindness takes a backseat and gets forgotten. Instead, we are led to believe that life is a zero-sum game, and the only way forward is to bulldoze our way through it.
Yesterday (May 19) was Kindness Day in Singapore, an occasion for all Singaporeans to celebrate kindness and graciousness. What started as a New Year Message by then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in 1996 has since evolved into a National Movement and beyond. Currently, it is about embedding kindness into our national psyche and using that kindness to build a caring and inclusive society.
Leading by example, kindness is the anchor behind many of our Government policies. Speaking at the Singapore Kindness Conference earlier this year, Minister of Health Ong Ye Kung said, “In the past, it had mostly been about proscribing what you could not do, for example, do not spit, do not litter, or you will be fined. However, we should focus on policies encouraging kind acts.”
For instance, returning our trays at hawker centres is a form of kindness and appreciation to our cleaners. In addition, promoting a zero-tolerance policy against abuse and harassment of healthcare workers, enshrining TAFEP into an anti-discrimination law and building a “digital first” rather than a “digital only” society; these are all further examples of policies designed to instil kindness.
“Be Greater” is the theme for our Kindness Movement this year. However, that does not mean turning acts of kindness into bombastic showmanship, uploaded onto TikTok for likes. Instead, it calls upon us to practise kindness as a form of mindfulness, to be unafraid to be kind, to move beyond random acts of kindness and turn them into a habit that becomes second nature in our daily lives.
As Minister Ong shared, “Together we can do much better and make Singapore a much kinder and more pleasant place to live in.”
Let’s celebrate kindness this weekend!
Ready to celebrate Kindness Day? Head down to Paya Lebar Quarters today (May 20) for a family day out. Collect a Bingo card to redeem delicious goodies, participate in a ceramic coaster colouring competition to win exciting prizes and enjoy performances by local artists.
Remember, #BeKind always wins!
Photo Source: Be Kind/Singapore Kindness Movement via Facebook