Being Gracious

April 3, 2006

For once, I’m not going to talk about cats but something else I witnessed this evening. Its us aka humans aka homo sapiens. To the point its us being gracious, a gracious society. 3 incidents in Raffles City foodcourt prompted to write this post.

Incident 1 – I was sitting at a table behind 2 ladies who occupied a 8-seater table. An old man came along with a tray of food, hoped to share the table with the 2 ladies. One of them quickly told the man that the table is taken, he should look elsewhere. He ended sharing my table. That’s fine. But what is not fine is those 2 were actually ‘choping’ the table for just another friend. Its only 3 of them. But they just don’t want to share the table. That really pissed me off. It would have ok with me if it is not a peak period. Lunch & dinnertime are usually the busiest in any foodcourt & empty seats are hard to come by. By being selfish & with an old man, is simply inconsiderate, rude & not to mention, ungracious.

Incident 2 – a young guy sitting at the next table finished his food, stood up, clear his table, handed the tray to an elderly cleaning lady. I thought he was the foodcourt’s staff but he wasn’t. He picked up his bag & left the foodcourt. That is not just a gentlemanly gesture, but a kind gesture. I was very impressed & at the same time, I was ashamed. As I’ve always taken the cleaners for granted. Yes it is their job to clear and clean the tables. But what is wrong with helping them? Especially the elderly ones. They take up such jobs for different reasons, be it to pass their time or to earn a living. The fact remains that they are our elders & respect should be accorded to them. This, I believe, is part of gracious living.

Incident 3 – a Caucasian tourist family. Husband queuing to buy dinner, wife nowhere in sight, 1 preteen daughter & toddler in a pram standing right in the middle of foodcourt traffic. Instead of pushing the pram aside or closer to her dad, the daughter was shouting to converse with him. Everyone had to walk around them.

Later, I ran into them again at the taxi stand. The father rudely & condescendingly ask the guy in front of me “THIS. TAXI. STAND.???” The guy obviously offended, just nodded his head. The father turned to the family & said “This is stupid, standing in the queue. Let’s go to the main road & get the taxi there.”

So, its not just Singaporeans who are ungracious. The westerners who are ‘supposedly’ better than we are, are sometimes not any better or worse sometimes. This family is a disgrace to their country. Ungraciousness knows no boundaries, country, race or religion.

Many of us animal lovers believe that we need to gracious to animals in order to become a gracious society. It is true. But before that, I think we first need to be gracious ourselves, to each other. If we can’t shake that I, me, myself attitude, how can we possibly be gracious to another being? And if we can’t be gracious as a human being, then how on earth can we be gracious to animals, how can we become a gracious society?


9 Responses to “Being Gracious”

  1. vegancat said

    The cause of this ungracious behaviour – an affliction worse than the most malignant cancer ===> SELFISHNESS. “Nothing is more important in this whole universe than ME and MINE.”

  2. geraldine said

    I noticed among the young children, what we usually hear is – “I want this.” instead of “May I have this?” – whenever they demanded something from their parents. Graciousness starts from young and we have a long long way to go …

  3. the letter b said

    the problem with singaporeans and asians in general is that we usually don’t these condescending western twats off. try this in their country and i guarantee we’ll get soundly walloped. and the most amazing bit is 99.9% of our educated peasant lians never fail to get their eyes glazed whenever an ang moh is mentioned in any conversation. but probably in their rather narrow vision, ang moh —> walking bulging wallet. that may explain the glazed drooling look.

    ok seriously, i still get weird looks whenever i hand the trays over at starbucks or clearing them off at mcdonald’s/burger king. try leaving these trays in the UK, sure kerna wallop.

  4. M said

    Re: Westerners
    I am an American.I can say Westerners are most certainly *not* better or more gracious.
    I haven’t traveled outside of America besides Canada and Mexico but I have known people from other parts of the world. In comparison, I think we Americans are arrogant and thoughtless, like bulldozers running over everyone around us.
    We are not all bad, though! Yesterday, I saw some young guys helping a family whose car had stalled on the side of the road.

  5. the letter b said

    no, m, i apologise if my comment above sounds like i’m tarring every westerner with the same brush.

    the major problem over here in Asia and Singapore especially is that there are some so-called tertiary-educated [surely a mighty waste on us taxpayers’ money] but delusional lowest of the lowest common denominator “pretty” [with that face/slitty eyes? give. me. a. break.] young things [or what they’d call in the UK “chavs”, or in the US “rednecks”] who think that the average Westerner does no wrong. to the point of worshipping the ground they tread. but then again, that’s what they’d do – or simply do anything – as long as they get their grubby paws on the bulging wallet of the “rich” westerner or stay in some “palace” [i kid you not, roads are paved with gold to these amoebae] in the West – regardless even if he’s married with kids.

    to quote what one of my bestest friends : “there are idiots everywhere on this planet”. indeed, but some just don’t deserved to be called human.

  6. the letter b said

    sorry Cat, btw m, how come Californians and even some New Yorkers tend to be very loud wherever they go?

    😀 i know, generalisations are bad but there are idiots out there who play up the stereotype.

  7. M said


    you are fine! you are fine! no apology needed.
    i can’t speak for Europeans, but i know Americans can be rude and loud and not very nice sometimes…(but there are nice americans too, i hope you get to meet some)

    i liked Cat’s blog about being gracious.. The whole world needs a little more graciousness and peace.

  8. Victor Tabbycat said

    It happens locally, too. In my boy’s school, there are many different skin tones, “Americans” and some Hmong immigrants, and we have to remind him that there are nice kids and there are mean kids and it has nothing to do with how they look. He said he wishes he could meet more of the nice kids from different backgrounds instead of the mean ones. In fact, I’m learning it comes from the attitudes in their homes. Look at the example that Western Dad was setting for his children.
    BTW, it seems like people who talk too loud usually don’t hear very well. By being loud, they control the conversation and by controlling the conversation, they don’t have to listen or figure out what they can’t hear.
    Last thought: it’s easier to be compasionate to animals because they are so simple and transparent in their appreciation. They don’t care about your skin, clothes, wallet, age, job or accent. They’re genuine and won’t stab you in the back.

  9. Cat said

    How true Victor Tabby. Animals are the most genuine of all – what you see is what you get.

    Men are the worst. Backstabbing, greed, lies, steal & not to mention, kill.

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