The recent case of Annie Ee Yu Lian, a mentally disabled woman who was tortured to death by her long-time friend, certainly caused outrage among Singaporeans. It is indeed a tragic story and should never have happened in a first world country like Singapore. It made me wonder whether in the pursuit of wealth, can we afford to become a more gracious and caring society?
In life, what goes around comes around. I always believe in paying it forward. In response to my previous article, “GST should be raised to 12%”, some readers had also expressed concerns that the poor would be the most affected by the impending tax hike. Although such concern is indeed valid, it is important to note that part of the increased government spending could be on social needs. Then again, the perennial thinking is that the government should be responsible for making Singapore a caring society. Below is an article I wrote in 2014. I hope readers would be inspired to reach out for our fellow Singaporeans.
The scene was at a supermarket where grandmother and her two grandchildren were shopping for groceries. Her granddaughter saw a lovely strawberry cake and wanted to buy it. However, when checking out the items at the cashier, grandmother realized that there was not enough money to buy the cake. Thus, she promised her granddaughter that she would buy it another time.
The little girl was very disappointed but nevertheless, left the shop reluctantly with her grandmother and brother. Just then, a gentleman was standing behind them and saw the situation. He paid for the cake and caught up with them. Gentleman gave the cake to the little girl but grandmother refused to accept it. At that point of time, the gentleman related his story to them.
He recounted that when he was young, his family was poor. On his seventh birthday, he and his mother went to a cake shop but had no money to buy a birthday cake. He was disappointed and refused to leave the shop.
Then, a middle-age man who was standing behind them, saw the awkward situation and bought a birthday cake. He then offered the cake to him and wished him a happy birthday.
The mother was so grateful to the man and requested him to note down his address so that one day she could return the money to him. However, instead of noting down his address, the middle-age man wrote something else. He then promptly left the shop. The gentleman never got to know the man’s name but he never forgot this incident, which created a change in him.
Upon hearing his story, the grandmother thanked the gentleman profusely and requested him to note down his home address on a piece of paper. She hoped to return him the money one day.
It turned out that the little girl wanted to buy the cake for her grandfather because it was his birthday. The grandfather was old and fragile. Indeed, he was happy to see his favourite cake but lamented to his wife that she should not have spent the money on the cake. At that point of time, she related what happened and passed him the piece of paper from the gentleman. In it, the old man saw the message “A little act of caring creates a seamless ripple”.
This was the same message that he himself wrote when he gave a birthday cake to a young boy more than thirty years ago. The story ended with grandmother and grandchildren singing birthday song to the grandfather.
The above story was based on a video produced by the Singapore Committee Chest as part of a series of initiatives to celebrate Singapore’s jubilee birthday in 2015. Even though this is probably a fictional event, the story moved me.
Sometimes in life, it is not how much you gained or what you possessed that matters; it is what you do that make a difference to the society. A little act of sharing or caring to others, especially the poor, can help to make a positive impact to others. Just think about it, wouldn’t it be a wonderful experience if you can make a difference to another person’s life? Instead of criticizing government policy, you can certainly play a part in building a caring society through small acts of kindness.
It is in this spirit that I started this blog in 2010. Basically, my goal is to share information on how to build wealth and in the process, nurture comradeship among fellow Singaporeans. With this blog, I aim to empower readers to take action in making Singapore a caring society.
I also hope that after I passed on, my children would read this blog post and grow up with the right moral values in life. There are many poor and needy people among us. Sometimes, all they need is a helping hand from us. Growing up, I have been through this phase before but I am fortunate enough to receive a good education which enables me to move up the social ladder. Because of this, I feel oblige to pay it forward.
As Singapore celebrated 52 years of nation building, let us cherish our history and reflect on how to make our society a better place to live in.
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