Can we really achieve a ‘compassionate meritocracy’ society?
Singapore has always placed economical growth as one of its top priorities, and the way to do that was through meritocracy.
The returns were good.
Today, we can safely call Singapore a utopia, for it has a wonderful infrastructure, great healthcare system and a robust education system, which many countries use as a role model.
Not to mention , low crime rates, clean streets, and the ability to go out with a white shirt and not come home with the shirt being soaked in pollution.
However, meritocracy is not without flaws.
Meritocracy created a war. A war between all of us.
We fight for slots in the best schools. In schools, we fight for the best results. At work, we work very hard to get that promotion. Even at the hawker centre, we fight to ‘chope’ a table.
This has turned us into people who are not only very materialistic, but very cold hearted people too.
We put off family time, so that we can work overtime. Woman would rather climb the corporate level than to produce children and lead a meaningful life.
At school ,we might know a friend who might not be doing well in school, but we don’t help, in the fear that he might beat us in the exams ranking. After all, you have to earn a place in any institution, and you’re not going to get that by helping your friends weaker in academics.
I dare say, Natural Selection could indeed be Singapore’s nickname.
We measure success through money, position on the corporate level. Ask any Singaporean the definition of success , and their responds would be a rich person who have the ability to fulfil his desire.
Now, in 2014, we have fulfilled the first 4 levels of Maslow hierarchy of needs. But yet, we can’t achieve the 5th level – Self-Actualisation.
Many of us are unable to do because we lack compassion, we lack kindness. We are very selfish people, sometimes, giving up seats only because they don’t want to get STOMP-ed, which eventually will look bad on them when they are up for promotion.
Singapore has also been called one of the least positive countries in the world.
We let everything – our worries, our concerns, our desires , our status – to affect our feelings. Personally, when I’m on the train, I worry about my GPA, my future and my status. It stresses me out when I think about it.
Until recently, only when my group project work forced me to look and declare that Singaporeans are indeed compassionate that I did realise that the missing piece to achieving a better society in Singapore is compassion.
Compassion bonds everyone, it assist cohesion among fellow citizens.
We need to learn to give up our seats , willingly , to help those in need. We need to learn how to be polite, be it on the roads , on public transportation. We need to learn how to help our fellow Singaporeans, or anyone for that matter, who have fallen to get back up.
Singaporeans have started to find the final piece to them fulfilling their needs, and the answer to that is compassion.
We need to have a compassionate meritocracy if Singapore wants to move forward.
Singapore could be a victim of its own success if it doesn’t start to be nice.
No one will take care of our elderly, no one will care about the poor. Singapore would become a state of selfish , self centre individuals who only care about success.
I do believe that we do not wish to achieve that.
So, the answer?
If we want to, that is.