Forum contributor Thomas Lee Hock Seng’s suggestion on getting people to become more civic-minded when using public facilities may cause more problems (Give people sense of ownership over public facilities, Oct 8).

We need rules and regulations to live in peace. Otherwise, people with power or connections may abuse the freedom given to them.

I am 83 years old, and I lived in one kampung after another in attap huts, without electricity or piped water, until my mid-20s . I understand the meaning of “gotong royong”, or kampung spirit, well.

I also involved myself in grassroots work for over 50 years.

The people I have interacted with include the very humble – like cleaners, hawkers and drivers – and professionals. I feel I should understand people from different backgrounds pretty well.

It is indeed difficult to change human behaviour in an adult.

To inculcate good behaviour, we need to begin with young children. Instil in them the right values. Teach them self-respect and integrity, and they will live with such wholesome values ingrained in them throughout their lives.

The school and home environments must work in tandem to achieve the desired outcome.

Tell the children to ask themselves: “Who am I? What am I?, What would I do if I knew I would not be found out for doing a bad act?”

Tan Kim Hock