Monday, December 11, 2006

Disgraceful Singaporeans

I was at the Grand Blue Wave Hotel in Johor Bahru this morning to deliver a paper at the (Malaysian) National Productivity Corporation's Regional 5S Convention. 5S is the Japanese technique of Good Housekeeping and Workplace Organisation.

I spoke about how to utilise 5S as a tool for continuous improvement or 'kaizen' at the workplace. I took the opportunity to share with the delegates about my trainining in Japan.


The photo below was taken in 1985 at a plant called Aisin Seiki in Nishio, a company that manufactures brake pumps for Toyota Motors. I am standing, 3rd from the right. There were altogether 6 of us Singaporeans. The rest are the company's staff and interpreters. We were attached to Aisin Seiki for 2 weeks. This attachment was part of our three-and-a-half months fellowship training at the Japan Productivity Center. Would you believe that we are at a rock garden right in the middle of the factory. The factory was so clean that it was a 'shock' for us Singaporeans.


Anyway, as I was leaving the hotel, I came across a disgusting sight in the car park. Somebody had discarded several used HDB/URA car park coupons on the floor. I presume the culprit was a Singaporean, although there is a slight possibility that he could be a Johorean who works (and drives) in Singapore. I hope none of the delegates at the convention saw this because if they did, I would be their chief suspect. Imagine what they would be saying to themselves. "This hypocritical Singaporean. Dare to come to our country and preach to us about how to keep the workplace neat and clean ......."


Come to think of it, I should have picked up the rubbish. I wish I had.

7 comments:

Chris said...

Chun See, the title of your post couldn't have come at a more appropriate time. I had some bad experience with local Singaporeans while holidaying in Australia recently. They almost marred an otherwise perfect holiday for me and my family. Will blog about soon to let off steam. LOL.

zen said...

Chun See sharp observation prompts us to look at the negative side of Singaporean social behavior and also slack public hygienic practice. Take for example the need for massive clean-up after National Day held at the stadium, vandalism in public toilets (here I agree it is not necessary done by Singaporeans), reckless and dangerous driving (the penalty seems to be light when even compared to the US), and many other unethical acts. Another terribly unhealthy sight, we often see cleaners swiping off left-overs(sometime liquids), by using a piece of dirty cloth into a bin fixed onto a wooden run-down trolly at hawker centres, or coffee shops. Relevant authorites and the public at large should really sit up and do something about this poor state of affairs.

Victor said...

My comment to your post is here, except that unlike you, I caught the culprit.

Victor said...

>Come to think of it, I should have picked up the rubbish. I wish I had.

Do not feel guilty about not picking up after that litterbug, Chun See. In my opinion, picking up after a litterbug is not a good solution to the problem. When the litterbug returns and discovers that his mess has been cleared up by someone, he will only think that the efficient cleaner has done it. (And you thought that he would thank you, didn't you?) He is also likely to think that it was the cleaner's rightful duty to do so since the cleaner was paid to do the job.

To continue the discussion of this interesting topic of anti-social behaviour further, allow me to pose some questions in an imaginary scenario. Please answer them honestly:

1. Suppose you had caught that person red-handed. Would you have confronted him/her directly and pointed out the offending act, whether in a polite tone or a disgusted one?

2. If you said 'yes' to Question 1, what if that offender looks like a burly gangster who had just been released from prison? Would your answer to Question 1 still be "yes"?

For me, my honest answers are "no" for Question 1 and a bigger "NO" for Question 2 (although I didn't have answer Question 2).

I prefer to use my camera, my words and the Internet to do its work for me. For that, I would probably be safer and likely to live longer too.

If I have the time, I will also write a note and put it on the driver's windscreen. The note will say that I have witnessed the incident and also state what follow-up action I am going to take. The note will end with "Have a nice day".

But you can't do the same to say an offending smoker, can you? So for such cases, my camera, my words and the Internet are still more versatile and powerful for the job.

Have a nice day.

Lam Chun See said...

My answer to question 1 is no, becos I am kiasi (cowardly).

But I think I shd have picked up the litter not becos I want to do the culprit a favour, but becos as a Sporean, I feel bad that my countryman has dirtied another person's country.

zen said...

Some jokers justified throwing litters saying that by doing so, they are actually providing more employment to locals. Do you agree to this statement ? Actually, on one occasion, I saw my brother-in-law KC chiding her daughter (a kid at that time) for throwing a piece of paper onto the ground, during a BP outdoor activity, telling her to pick it up and throwing it into a bin. He is an exemplary father, bringing up his children who become very courteous with wholesome characteristics.

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