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Showing posts from November, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

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On the basis of some recent studies, Yale psychologist Paul Bloom concludes that humans are born with a hard-wired morality. He thinks that a deep sense of good and evil is bred in the bones. Experiments with babies and toddlers found that they are able to judge goodness and badness in the behaviour of others. Researchers also found them desiring to reward the good and punish the bad. They even act to help those in distress and they feel guilt, pride and righteous anger.

These tentative findings are encouraging for those of us who believe that given the right role models and education, children will become kind and gracious adults. They show that babies and toddlers are sensitive to third party interactions of a positive and negative nature, and according to Bloom, this influences how they behave toward others and later on, how they talk about them. They are useful moral foundations, to say the least.


For a year now we have published a newsletter for the primary school children …

A Cleaned City Is Not a Gracious City

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My friend Liak Teng Lit is right to say that we are a cleaned city and not a clean city. In fact we are not even a thoroughly cleaned city. A few weeks ago, I joined a number of community leaders and concerned citizens on a Saturday morning to do some litter-picking. There were 82 of us. Armed with a garbage bag and a picker each, we fanned out into the vicinity of several blocks of HDB flats. Within less than 2 hours, we returned with bags full of garbage.

We found them under bushes, beside parked cars, at the children’s playground, on and around benches. There were rusted cigarette lighters, small bottles filled with stagnant water, broken glasses, styrofoam and plastic cups, drinking straws, paper bags, plastic bags, tissue paper, etc etc.

What is most troubling is that in some cases, the garbage bin is only a few steps away.

Last night my wife and I ate at a hawker center. There is in fact a tray return point though it is not too conspicuous. We sat near the tray return poi…