Local youth organisation showcases good in S'poreans
In the third of a five-part series, NATASHA MEAH (email@example.com) speaks to the director of a local youth organisation which embodies the psychological aspect of Total Defence
A beggar and a smartly dressed businessman fall in front of you. Who would you help?
Would the men's appearance matter?
Youth organisation, The Hidden Good (THG), decided to carry out a social experiment to gauge people's reactions.
In the video posted on YouTube titled Singapore Rags vs Riches, two actors - one dressed as a beggar, the other as a businessman - fall on Orchard Road. The video, which was uploaded on May 28, 2014 has nearly 48,000 views.
It was inspired by YouTube channel DM Pranks, which carried out the social experiment in Italy. In the original video, the experiment was repeated 10 times. In 10 out of 10 cases, the businessman was helped by passers-by.
But in only two out of 10 instances was the beggar man assisted.
In the local version, Singaporeans stepped up on an equal number of occasions to help both individuals.
In the case of the beggar, a passer-by was even seen handing him cash, while others offered to buy him food. One bought him a bottle of water.
An elderly woman offered the businessman medicated oil and advised him to sit and rest until he felt strong enough to walk.
SHOWCASE THE GOOD
THG was started in 2013 by Mr Leon Heng and Mr Rovik Jeremiah Robert. Motivated by growing negativity online, the duo started the movement to showcase the good in society.
THG director Wu Jiezhen said: "At the time, there were some surveys that said Singaporeans were apathetic or emotionless...
"We started this because we wanted to show a different perspective and show our strength as a community and build up from there. Sometimes, we just need to take a moment to notice someone doing something kind or strangers connecting."
THG started conducting social experiments to show the hidden good within Singaporeans.
It has since grown into a community that helps amplify the good, spark conversations and inspire action.
Another social experiment titled Drunk Girl Says "Yes"? was done to find out if Singaporeans recognised what sexual consent meant, and if people would step in to help if a woman appears to be in a potentially-perilous situation.
THG's videos and projects have inspired the online community to take action and look out for kind acts in their own communities. They now have over 300 volunteers between the ages of 15 and 35.
"People started contacting us on how they can join us and now all these youths come up with these ideas and talk about issues they care about," said the 26-year-old Wu.
"I think THG ties in with psychological defence because it's about imagining the possibilities. For example, we're working with the Khoo Teck Phuat Hospital to build a more dementia-friendly community.
"Dementia is on the rise and we need to make more dementia-friendly communities...
"The answer is not in medication, but how we engage people to look out for each other.
"It's about time we amplify these things - be it through good deeds or bringing neighbours together.
"It's moments like these which help to connect people and build unbreakable communities."
One volunteer, engineering undergraduate Frank Meng, 23, said: "The social cause has a huge impact - engaging with people our age and making a change. It's eye-opening to see the good in Singaporeans and how we are actually a sympathetic people."
Ms Wu said: "We want to show people that there are so many opportunities for us to step up and do something different... It can happen through the smallest actions like greeting the bus driver or doing the little things that connect us as humans."
Colonel Tan Boon Kiat, the director of Nexus, which is behind this year's Total Defence campaign, said: "Total Defence is about everyone being committed to working together and ensuring the continued success of Singapore.
"The efforts of The Hidden Good - celebrating acts of kindness around us - is a great example of our youth stepping up to make Singapore a great place for everyone to live in."