Singaporeans are self-centred and money-face

There was an online article written by a foreigner who described her experiences living in Singapore. Not too long ago, she came here with high expectations of Singapore and our culture. After some time, she was indeed happy with her life here, until she became pregnant recently.

She complained that nobody gave up the reserved seats in the train. Once, when she almost fainted at the train platform, nobody came forward to help her. She felt disappointed by Singaporeans’ lack of empathy and compassion.Being a local and having lived in Singapore for 34 years, I can concur with her that Singaporeans are basically self-centered and very money-face.


When her article was published, a lot of Singaporeans came forward to dispute her views and threw brick bats at her. Many claimed that what she wrote was based on an isolated incident and argued that it was unfair to judge us based on that single incident. Many also threw up lame excuses to justify our lack of compassion. There are very few locals who supported her views and many just dismissed her accusation as baseless.

When we come across such an article, instead of doing self-reflections, we are always quick to go into defensive and denial mode. In fact, this is not the first time that such an article was published online. What do we really need in order to make our citizens realize our bad culture? Instead of admitting our flaws, we are always quick to put down other negative opinions of us. We don’t admit our character flaws and shrugged off criticisms as “noises”. Personally, I am quite ashamed that even though our country managed to become one of the wealthiest nations on earth, our values are gradually degenerating.

Nowadays, we no longer look out or reach out for our fellow Singaporeans. A recent incident validated my view. During a meeting break at one of the conference hotels, I witnessed a frail elderly man suffered a fall. He looked disoriented and had a minor cut. Even though there were many shoppers around, no one came forward to help the man. I lifted the man and found that he carried a card that stated that he suffered from dementia. As my mobile phone battery was flat, I tried to seek help from one of the stranger but she gave me a dirty look and ran off. I was quite sure that she is a local.

The above incidents may seem trivial. But let me share with you something of more concern. My wife used to work in one of the local banks and she told me that she witnessed far too many cases of siblings fighting over their parents’ savings in her branch office. Generally, most Singaporeans are only interested in their parents’ monies and not willing to take care of them.

Look, most of us don’t bother to rationalize such things at all because we simply don’t care any more. But let me tell you that we all grow old and will become sick one day. If we don’t impart the correct moral values to the next generation, one day, we will be the next to suffer.

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Magically yours,

SG Wealth Builder

6 thoughts on “Singaporeans are self-centred and money-face

  • March 26, 2014 at 4:35 am

    Hi Gerald

    I can concur with your views as one grows older . I think most are jealous of other’s success as in context money wise in sg.

    An example would be friend A pulling down friend B behind , stating friend B is getting rich and starting to be ” proud ” ( Friend B do have his own investments and business).When infront would be praising friend B . Friend B would be the one who pays the bill for the gathering first ( No doubt he is the richest among the group .)

    Alas ,how two faced a person can be infront and behind .

  • March 26, 2014 at 7:19 am

    I can’t help but notice that you conclude with the sweeping statement, “Singaporeans are self-centred and money-face(d)” through some anecdotal examples. That is hardly statistically valid to say Singaporeans as a whole are like that. Like any society, Singaporeans are made up of good people and bad people and many who can be good/bad depending on the context.

    Do you think there are British (or any nationality for that matter) who are all made up of saints or sinners? To encounter one of each type and to label the entire people inhabiting the British Isles are ______ and _______ (insert your favourite stereotype) demonstrates a fairly superficial understanding about people in general.

    I have met good people in life during my NSF days who helped me. I have also met people in my life who back-stabbed me in career for “money”.

    Be well and prosper.

  • March 26, 2014 at 11:15 am

    There are times when ladies and guys gave up their seat for me in MRT train!

  • April 2, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Instead of lamenting about Singaporeans being self-centred and money-face, why not ask “why” are Singaporeans self-centred and money-face? or what can be done to change it? If this seems too big a question for us commoners, than perhaps ask if “I” am self-centred and money-face? Or am I teaching my children to be like that, and do something about it.

    Have a blessed day.

  • May 1, 2014 at 9:02 am

    We should start to strengthen our core values and not let it go down the slippery path of no return. Of course there are black sheep in every society, but I can see that our moral values are going the wrong direction. Lets not be defensive and approach this issue with an open mind. There is no quick fix solution, e.g like implementing a government policy. But we need to be open and engage in such discussion and see how things can be improved. By keeping silent, we are not doing the problem good.

    SG Wealth Builder

  • July 5, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Sometimes the truth hurts.


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