Singaporeans have been faulted for being perhaps a bit too pragmatic. Pragmatic to a fault, and perhaps too mercenary in our approach towards many issues.
These faults have sadly been brought to the fore recently in discussions about our contribution to the Haiti effort, and then yesterday about our graciousness (or lack of)...
When responding to criticisms about how little we are monetarily contributing to the relief effort in Haiti, the gahment pretty much argued from a pragmatic point of view. And I am wondering why we need to cast everything in terms of realpolitiks, or look at potential economic returns in everything we do? Isn't doing the right thing, a good enough reason in itself? Isn't compassion a good enough reason in itself to want to reach out in a more substantive way to help a country in agony?
How about the discussion about the development of grace in our society? I couldn't believe the discussions reported in the Straits Times today, about the proceedings at the Singapore Perspectives meeting yesterday! An economic value to graciousness? Duuuhhhhhh........
Isn't being gracious important enough on its own merit, that we have to place a monetary value to it?
But these are not the exceptions in our national psyche...
We smile and try to courteous, not because these are worthy on their own merits, but because we want to improve our business rankings, and bring in the shopping $$$.
We are ethical, not because we think being ethical is important on its own merit, but because we want to be accredited and be recognized internationally, because it brings in the R&D $$$.
We try to be environmentally friendly, not because we genuinely want to save the world, but because of the economic value of being seen to be green.
So sad and tragic.
Singapore, what do we really believe in?
5 years ago