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The latest social media drama to hit town is that of Hawker vs Cockroach Man spat. Essentially, this spat has gone viral in a post chronicled by the hawkers’ daughter, Andrea Gail Poon. The story goes that a girl (a child) took utensils from said hawker stall (without permission, without purchasing food) and was told to return them, which prompted her to cry. Girl’s angry father then reportedly told his daughter that he would cause trouble for the stall by reporting it to NEA for cockroaches (even if there weren’t any). Which leaves us with our story today and the latest social media drama, with Andrea starting her lengthy post by saying, “How many of you feel that our society is getting colder and colder?”
My personal opinion is that if Andrea truly wishes for a more gracious society, the man’s face could have been blurred out if she had only wanted to drive the message across. Is there a need to shame him publicly without giving him a chance for his side of the story? Social vigilantism is increasingly breeding a culture of fear and oppression, me thinks. Another question that I have is, why would a child suddenly cry when told to return utensils? Could it have been that she was shouted at or spoken to gruffly by the hawker ah pek/auntie, which scared her? In most cases, it usually takes two to clap. It could very well be that the girl was in a bad mood, or is prone to hissy fits, but regardless, we need to think about why such a simple act led a girl to cry? Could there be reasons unknown to us?
Whatever the case may be, if what was recounted was true, the cockroach man is quite frankly, a gross adult for teaching his kids to be entitled, that the world revolves around them, that the best way to get by in the world and come out tops is to crush others and step on them mercilessly, using any means possible to get what they want. The thought of handing over our Singapore to a generation of millennial kids who will grow up with such selfish, self-centred thinking is frightening. No matter the reason, such thinking and actions surely cannot be justified. You don’t use a wrong to right a wrong.
As parents, we have a responsibility beyond bringing our children up to be healthy adults. We owe our motherland for giving us a nourishing environment and countless opportunities to arrive at where we are today. We owe it to our motherland to give back as much as she has given us. We owe it to our children many lessons in life; that life is not handed to them beautifully dished on a silver platter, that sunshine doesn’t come out of their arses. We owe this much to our children, and more, because the more we molly coddle our kids, the more entitled and obnoxious they will become, and the likelier they will fail in life as adults and human beings.
As parents, we are the safehouse for our kids, as well as the lighthouse that will bestow on them their first moral compass in life. We are responsible for creating a culture at home and beyond that encompasses everything from morals to attitudes to manners.
Just imagine this. Kid falls down. Do you teach your kid to beat the floor for tripping the kid up, thereby blaming the floor for what was the kid’s carelessness? Or do you teach your kid to be more careful of his surroundings, and to be responsible for his own wellbeing? This kind of attitude translates into the attitude with which we carry in life. If a project I am in charge of screws up, do I blame my colleagues for their incompetence, or do I first look to myself for answers, and see how I can further improve to make things better?
Another situation – MRT is approaching. Do you tell your kids to ignore the passengers coming out of the train cabins, and to instead, use their small sizes and young age to squeeze in and get seats for everyone? Or do you teach your kids to wait behind the yellow line so that passengers can get off first, and then teach your kids to thank the adult who gives up his/her seat to your kids? A priority seat should go to those in need, but before that logic even kicks in, it is first and foremost, an act of graciousness and kindness. How you view this simple act is the lens with which you show your kids the world, and the lens with which they will use for many years more.
So with Andrea having posed her question, let me pose another – Do you bestow upon your kids lens which are tinted and warped, or lens that are crystal clear, lens with which they were originally born with to absorb the goodness of what this world has to offer? What kind of lens do you want your kids to grow up with?
Let us use this as a lesson to think about what we want for our Singapore and our culture, for together, let’s believe that we can build a gracious society that we will always be proud to call home to cap off this SG50 year.