As one reads the recent letters in the media about poor public hygiene and lack of public ownership of our shared spaces, one can't help but feel a sense of sadness at the deteriorating level of civic-mindedness of our people today. Despite relentless years of nation-building and nudging for people to appreciate and care for our shared spaces, it is still fairly common to find trays and half-eaten food left behind at food centres, dirty public toilets and broken/vandalized public facilities in our community. Amidst our march from 3rd world to 1st, what happened to our sense of unity and civic duty? It was suggested that we consider going back to the traditional ‘fine’ and stick approach. This might work in the most recalcitrant and die-hard cases but it achieves little in our quest towards a more civilised and thoughtful Singapore.
Being kind to our environment means appreciating the backbreaking work that our cleaners go through everyday at our hawker centres, schools, offices and shared community spaces to keep them spotlessly clean. It means returning your trays when you're done eating, keeping our public toilets dry and litter free. It means taking that one little step towards making the wider community part of your daily life and befriending our cleaners which can brighten up their day.
A happy mind breeds healthy thoughts and that translates into good actions for our community. When we start taking ownership of our daily actions and make a conscious effort to maintain the cleanliness of our community, our collective efforts begin to show. It is ironic that the only time we managed to achieve clean streets and clean air was during the Circuit Breaker when people were forced to stay at home. Our roads and common areas remained spotlessly clean as our cleaners kept up with their cleaning work, with no one around to ruin or damage the fruits of their labour. We can all be much kinder to our environment. Let us all keep Singapore clean as the way it should be.