According to the latest Graciousness Survey commissioned by the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM), it is said that considerate behaviour among local residents have progressed and corresponded with an improvement in more international acts like volunteering and donating.

In addition to that, more youths are aware of their roles towards building a gracious society, and want to make an impact in creating a greater community.

“It only takes a few seconds to be kind to others, and it can change someone’s day. It can even create a ripple effect where others are inspired to be kind to those around them too. You can be greater with the simplest of acts,” said Angelo, a man who espouses such beliefs and is inspired by his late father to help those in need.

The survey, which is conducted annually, provides behavioural insights and indicators on graciousness and kindness in the country, leading to the targeted communications and initiative that aim to make Singapore a nice, more pleasant place to live in.

The study polled a demographically representative sample of 2,071 respondents via face-to-face interviews from August 2018 to March 2019.

Significant improvements in satisfaction with neighbour relationships

It appears that respondents are generally satisfied with the current state of neighbourliness, and most share that they exchange casual greetings with their neighbours.

The survey also found that respondents believe that they are able to rely on their neighbours in times of emergency.

Commenting on this, General Secretary of SKM, Dr William Wan reflected, “I’m glad to see the overall improvement in neighbourliness. We see our neighbours almost every day and they can be the first to help in times of need. Start with a simple smile, and get to know our neighbours better; it may be the start of a budding friendship.”

Parents recognise their pivotal role in inculcating moral values in children

The survey results continue to show that parents agree they should play the primary role in educating their children about gracious values.

However, parents also feel challenged by external influences such as friends and articles that their children come across on the Internet.

To address this, SKM has various resources available for parents to discuss and interact with their children on. These include Kindsville animation videos uploaded 4-5 times a year on SKM’s YouTube channel, and the accompanying Kindsville Times distributed quarterly to all primary school students. There is a Kindsville Times Jr edition for pre-schoolers, who are also hosted for pre-booked Kindsville Tours at The Kindness Gallery in Stamford Court.

Fear of embarrassment prevents many from being kind

Although there’s a positive sign of improvement to be kind among most people, but the study also found that fear of embarrassment and being mocked appears to hold many from showing their kindness.

Among the general population, lack of situational awareness (i.e. not being aware of others’ need for help/being unsure of how to help) is cited among the top reasons for not being outwardly kind, and older folks in particular were more concerned on whether they had the ability to help.

In a move to help curb this problem, SKM will continue to build on the “Be Greater” campaign that was launched in July last year. To inspire and nudge Singaporeans, the campaign features characters who are based on real people.

On SKM’s YouTube channel and social media platforms, there are 7 backstory videos of the real people and their purposeful acts of kindness, who share their own experiences on why they chose to act as they saw opportunities around them.

This communicates that everyone can be greater by being proactively kind within their own circles, including in very ordinary neighbourhood settings.

Everyday situations, made kinder by these everyday real people, highlight how being greater is something achievable by all. “Be Greater” is a call for everyone to be better versions of ourselves, for a more gracious Singapore.

Partnership with Starbucks to encourage graciousness

Encouraged by the results from the study and the previous collaboration, SKM and Starbucks will organise a second partnership for the continuation of “Be Greater” campaign.

Expanding from One Kindness Café in 2018 to all 143 outlets islandwide this year, patrons who are spotted sharing their tables with others will receive a special edition of Starbucks Be Greater pin from 8-12 July. They will also receive S$1 off their next drink’s purchase which can be redeemed by 14 July.

“I am heartened to see the perception of graciousness improving in Singapore, and more corporate collaborations with the Singapore Kindness Movement,” Dr Wan concluded.

“This shows that we are progressing in the right direction towards becoming a Nation of Kindness. Singapore Kindness Movement will continue to remind Singaporeans that kindness starts from within, and everyone is capable of greatness.”