And Singapore is one of the best places for a newspaper addict to live in, because there are free copies of newspapers, namely Today and MyPaper.
Some of you may have read this particular article written by a Today reader. And I thought I'll steal the story and share here.
A hit of humility
Thursday • February 12, 2009
by Richard Gomez
LIFE is strange — an unfortunate accident can lead to a memorable experience.
Just before Chinese New Year I was returning home when I was involved in an accident. I was about to enter the CTE from Ang Mo Kio Ave 3 when my car was hit from behind by a pick-up truck. The impact flung my car forward but I managed to pull off into the road shoulder and come to a stop without any further mishap.
I sat in my car for a few seconds, considering my response to the usual tirade one has come to expect in such situations in Singapore, such as: “Why did you stop so suddenly?” or “Why did you reverse?” and then got out of my car.
I felt thoroughly ashamed of myself when the driver approached me and asked if I was hurt. I was dumb-struck when he repeated his question. It dawned on me that he was really concerned about my well-being and was not going to find excuses for his momentary lapse.
I assured him I was not injured. He then volunteered to pay for the damages, stating that he was entirely at fault. He asked me if I minded sending the car to his friend’s workshop. I readily agreed and he then led me to the shop in Sin Ming and gave instructions to his friend to do whatever was necessary and to bill him for it.
He then hauled the contents of my car — golf clubs and cart — into his pick-up and insisted on driving me home.
On the way he disclosed that he was a vegetable delivery man and worked 14 hours a day, seven days a week.
He had occasional days off but worked longer hours during Chinese New Year. I asked him how he could afford to pay for the repairs and he said: “I make mistake I pay, I use bonus to pay.”
I was now close to tears. Here was a person with minimal education and meagre means, demonstrating the highest principles, while around him people with ample means are involved in devious schemes to further enrich themselves.
I made up my mind at that point that it would be criminal on my part to allow him to pay, and told him so. He resisted initially but then gratefully accepted.
Mr Chua is worth his weight in gold to Singapore. He amply demonstrated to me that honour and principle are not necessarily related to education or status. Many of our affluent citizens could take a page out of his book.
Mr Chua made me realise what Oliver Goldsmith had in mind in The Deserted Village when he said:
I'll fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay.
Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;
A breath can make them, as a breath has made:
But a bold peasantry, their country’s pride,
When once destroy’d, can never be supplied.
It is my fervent hope that we will start appreciating the value of people like Mr Chua to Singapore.
In the quest for a better life, how many of us still remember to retain our basic humility?