Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Charlotte Ashton's Article on Misery City Singapore: The Accurate Word to Use Should Be Thoughtfulness Instead of Compassion -- Some/Many Singaporeans Don't understand What Thoughtfulness is

I read how quite a few people commenting in the local media(letter in TODAYNTU students) who misunderstood Charlotte Ashton's BBC article where she describes Singapore to be a Misery City with a massive compassion deficit. They misunderstood her article and said that she should have asked for a seat if she wanted one. However, the point of her article wasn't about whether or not the seated commuters would really give up their seats if they were asked, but whether or not they had put in much thought in looking out for others' needs before others even ask for it(being thoughtful is more than being helpful), just like the thoughtfulness of the sensitive and gracious Singapore Girl(flight attendant in Singapore Airlines) being sensitive to what passengers need before they even ask for it. Being thoughtful of others is the same as being caring for them.

ANA seems to have got on SIA's tail:

Singer Stephanie Koh explains in a video about how the people in an Australia airport were thoughtful enough to ask about her laptop when she accidentally dropped it. That is the exact thoughtfulness that Charlotte was talking about in her article and what some locals still cannot understand to be missing. Being too subservient and lack of room for thinking freely for themselves and others have really made some/many Singaporeans stupid to not understand the meaning of being thoughtful of others. 

Why I am not proud to be Singaporean

The focus of Charlotte's article was on thoughtfulness/consideration that is why it discusses the reasons why commuters could lack thoughtfulness/consideration due to being too concerned with other matters such as earning money or being too concerned with themselves.

I feel that the word Charlotte used in her article to describe the commuters shouldn't be "compassion" since such a quality doesn't necessarily lead to the required physical help. A better more accurate word to use should be "thoughtfulness" or "consideration". The quality of being thoughtful or considerate can be recognized from a person's appropriate physical response to the needs of others.

Commuters on a train can have compassion but can fail to show it due to being distracted by their phones and therefore fail to react considerately/thoughtfully/appropriately/responsively/caringly to those who need a seat. But if they are thoughtful/considerate enough of those who might need a seat, they would choose not to be distracted by their phones but be constantly aware of those around them who might need a seat.

Having compassion is just one thing but having thoughtfulness/consideration can encompass compassion as well as having the constant awareness, adaptability and responsiveness so that one can respond considerately/thoughtfully/caringly to the needs of others.

Another example would be the people who are reading newspapers on the train who have much compassion but can fail to bring about any appropriate response from such compassion towards any needy person around them who might need a seat due to lacking thoughtful awareness by being too distracted with their paper. So even if people are innately compassionate, they can fail to evoke any considerate/kind/caring actions from such innate compassion if they choose not to be thoughtfully aware of those around them who might need a seat.

It is more important for commuters to have thoughtfulness/consideration that can lead to the appropriate physical response to those who need help in public, rather than just having innate compassion that may fail to come about to lead to an appropriate physical response to those who need help.

But whether or not Charlotte has used the right word to describe the commuters in her article, her experience still made her feel miserable about Singapore after all.

I wrote a blog post about Singaporeans being too subservient due to Asian upbringing, which is why I feel they can lack the skill and ability to be thoughtful for themselves and for other people's well-being.