Good Citizenship

Been pondering what a good citizen means in Singapore for the future that we want to live in, and to create for our future generation. One of the things we were conditioned to consider in our nation-building days is “if everyone does this then…” and usually if we can agree that chaos will ensue then we will opt not to do it. As a result we learn to understand rules and regulations in the context of the overall social outcomes.

At some point we had been railing against some degree of inflexibility and stupidity in this. I recall one senior who tried to flag down a cab outside the departure hall only to be rebuked by the security guard and was told the cabs are only allowed to drop off and not pick up there. In some sense, Singapore’s orderliness is possible by design and not emergent. But can orderliness be emergent?

Actually it can, and when we have active good citizens who are able to act in considerate manners, who self-organise into queues and lines, who practice grace and politeness, then we get order that is ground up. Which we do see in Singapore. The next generation of good citizens would be those who can recognise what is truly good and important for the nation, and without prompting or mandate from government, organises the others toward those goals.

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