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There's a Chai Chee Prick in all of Us
Where are You Thou Politeman?
By now we all know (maybe a little too much) about who CCP is. In a nutshell he is a passenger who was outrageously rude to a taxi driver who caught it all on tape. Netizens have gone ballistic, with many disagreeing with his behaviour, some threatening to beat him up and some who revealed his photo, full work and personal information to shame him.
A subsequent article pointed out that he sums up everything that is wrong with living in Singapore.
1. Everything is about “regulations”
2. As long as you pay money, you have an absolute right to be an asshole
3. Road immaturity
4. When I do something wrong, it’s for convenience. When you do something wrong, you’re an idiot
Self-Entitlement is the Name of the Game
It's true, we have all encounter similar versions of Chai Chee Prick during our daily lives in Singapore and we have all been one ourselves from time to time. Albeit not to this extent but to some small extent.
Who hasn't been strangled by red tape and given the roundabout by customer service personnal? Who hasn't 't been frustrated by the lack of self-empowerment at work where taking initiative means stepping out of line?
Be told to do things law by law, as the popular local saying goes, and soon enough, a human zombie is created. Someone who toe the line but doesn't develop effective problem solving skills, someone who feels powerless in the face of change.
It's often more sustainable in the long run to teach a man to fish rather than give a man a fish.
As a nation, do we need to be more gracious?
Complain Kings & Queens
A reasonable person understand the need for regulation but do not complain about everything and anything as and when.
Case in point is another recent article where the writer complains about why Punggol sucks as compared to Tampines. Reasons include lack of a decent interchange, lack of a variety of food choices, difficulty hailing a taxi, getting lost due to unconventional road names and lack of parking.
What gets my goat is when it is within the realm of personal responsibility and it can be easily resolved. Such as travel out for food, leave earlier and take the MRT/bus.
If you don't mind the effort, go petition for road name changes, more parking and an interchange if that really pisses you off. If all else fails, move back to Tampines. Problem solved.
If you can't be bothered to put in the effort then it probably doesn't bother you that that much anyway and you are able to work around it. Then why bother complaining, it gets you nowhere.
Gracious for Gracious Sake
It's a common occurrence that taking a step back is an indication that the other person can move 2 steps forward. This happens at work and everywhere else.
On the road, you give way to someone (it's your right of way) and have that exact some person honk at you later to do more for them. Yes, it only happens in Singapore that when you signal to change lanes that people speed up to block you. Or when you let someone go first and they never ever wave a thank you.
At work or in daily life, you take a step back and the next thing you know, unreasonable requests come forth. As if it is your duty to do so. We are not talking about overt appreciation or even the need to reciprocate here, we are talking about continuously getting an inch and asking for a mile.
For example, I am part of a FB recycling group in Singapore where people bless out unused or preloved items to others at the cost of shipping or at no cost at all. A member commented that she is constantly frustrated with the behaviour of some people who opt for the items. They keep insisting on meeting up at their convenience when she has already stated it will be at HER convenience in her post. Oh, come on, she is already gifting it to you, what more do you want? It's not rocket science, can't fulfil the requirements on her post, don't opt for it.
Another member said she has been asked to justify a $1.50 shipping fee and said she obviously isn't making a fortune out of this, she still has to pack the items, go to the post office and send them off. Her time and energy plus the item is naturally much more than the $1.50 anyway.
This is already a situation where the receiver is getting something FOR FREE. You can just imagine if monetary compensation is involved. It gets SIGNIFICANTLY worse.
It's these daily occurrences that makes living in Singapore a pain. Open-hearted people end up feeling guarded and some feel jaded enough to not do it anymore. Get beaten up and unappreciated enough and it becomes a vicious cycle - you can so I will as well.
We begin to see it as the norm and we convince ourselves we will be uncompetitive if we do not go with the flow but in reality we have a choice. We always have a choice.
What Can We Do?
Have we as a nation been reduced to people who focus on myopic complains that can be easily resolved while forgetting to learn how to be contented. Things have gotten so bad that many even start to see complaining as a default way of bonding. Dinner conversations amongst friends often leads to complaining. FB posts are often an indication that misery loves company.
Is it true that we do not take personal responsibility for our own behaviour, choose to elect the exact same people to enforce regulations and continue to complain anyway?
When we live in a world where there are people dying every day from lack of essentials like clean water, food and shelter. Where children are used as human shields, natural disasters abound and strange airplane disappearances happen.
Let's not even talk about the world, In Singapore, we have one of the highest Gini coefficients in the world but about a third of our students go to school with no pocket money to buy lunch.
Who are we to complain so much?
It all boils down to expectations and contentment. If living in a nice landed property and driving a nice car is seen as an entitlement then I guess most people will be unhappy for a while or until it happens. We focus so much on the goal but we forget to live each day to the fullest. While pursuing the dollar, we forget basic human decency and the need to live with dignity.
What if we try to see the other side of the coin and thank our lucky stars about having our basic needs met? How about trying to not let complaining become a habit, develop some self-awareness, contribute more to the community through volunteerism?
All is not lost here, this has opened up an avenue for self-reflection, there are still some drivers who do take time to wave thank you, there are still some people who queue respectfully, there are still some people who are passionate about volunteerism, there are still some people who ask how they can give and not just receive. The outcry about the unfair treatment of single moms is an example close to my heart, it's encouraging to see discussions where people feel compassionate towards single moms. I am blessed to know some of them. You can read more about single moms HERE.
These are the people who remind me of the possibilities, these are the people who be the change we want to see.
How about you?
© 2015 Min