Singapore is, across the past twenty years, a very clean place. For many reasons, some I can see and others hidden well beneath the surface, it appears that tourists and the younger generation are at times taking this for granted. The very unscientific evidence to support this conclusion is the observed incidences of littering. I would never suggest that my observations are indicative of the true source. Having said that, it is interesting to be out in late evening or early morning hours. The contrast between the two groups identified and the older generation is stark. While a grandparent will walk a block to find a trash can, I have witnessed several instances of young university student that is unwilling to walk more than 3 meters and a tourist who cannot be bothered to walk at all unless the trash can is obviously right in from of him or her.
It is a sad indictment in many ways. Singapore has invested in making it easy to keep things clean. Trashcans are placed to makes things easy for all involved. They are regularly emptied, and cleaned. Singapore as institutionalized values and behavior criteria. The obvious example is chewing gum. It is illegal to import, to dispose of improperly, and to sell without a prescription. I have yet to see anyone flaunt his or her behavior in contrast to this law. The goal of taking care of our community, respecting others, and working together for the common good is well structured and embedded.
Yet some choose to break the covenant. When they do, I have yet to see anyone react other than observe. This is the one weakness that will eventually break the community into fractions.
The risk does not stop with this narrow area. While there are exceptions, there are too many of us (myself included) that can fall under an indictment. “No one speaks up for the right, no one deals fairly. They trust in illusion, they tell lies, they get pregnant with mischief and have sin-babies.” (Isaiah 59.4)
Yesterday's failures need not be today's actions.
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