Shanmugam: Are Singaporean children taught basic Respect and Compassion?

Recently as I was driving along Cavenagh Road, I saw something which made me think a lot.

A domestic helper was walking with a young girl in school uniform. The girl was probably 14, 15 or so. The domestic helper was carrying a heavy bag of grocery and a backpack which looked like the young girl’s school bag. The young girl was carrying an umbrella. It had just stopped raining. As I passed the couple, I saw the young girl handing over the umbrella to the house help, and the house help taking it. The girl was then walking, arms completely free. The helper had her grocery bag in one hand, the umbrella in the other hand and the backpack on her back.

Questions went through my mind : to what extent do we as parents teach our children to treat others with compassion and kindness? In Singapore we are lucky that so many of our households have been able to employ domestic help. But do we teach our children to treat our helpers, with respect, compassion? The young girl made the house help carry everything, including the umbrella ( once it was no longer raining), while she had her hands completely free. Will she grow up, learning to treat others with respect, and be considerate?

This education has to start with parents. We have to treat everyone with a spirit of compassion, kindness, and be considerate.

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