READING about how the late Mr Don Ritchie reached out to help numerous potential suicide victims has touched us in more ways than one (‘A lifetime saving lives on the edge’; June 3).
Mr Ritchie has shown us that one man with ‘the power of a kind word and a smile’ can make a huge difference to the hundreds of people he prevented from committing suicide.
More than 160 lives were saved because of his simple and consistent words of kindness in reaching out to his fellow human beings.
If we multiply that by the thousands of others whose lives intersected with those of the people he saved, the influence of one kind person is inestimable.
The late Madam Chin Mee Ngo, who is known to have donated regularly to a number of charities, bequeathed more than $1 million to the Singapore Children’s Society (‘Children’s Society gets $1.38m donation’; June 3).
It is gratifying that the society is dedicating the bequest to character development. Its executive director, Mr Alfred Tan, clearly understands the inestimable value of character formation.
Kindness is a very important aspect of one’s character, and the value of inculcating it in our children is priceless.
If kindness is as valued as we say it is, according to a recent Singapore Press Holdings survey (‘What’s valued most in Singapore: Honesty’; March 3), we have to ‘put our money where our mouth is’. Parents cannot afford to abdicate that responsibility to schools, religious bodies and charity organisations like the Singapore Children’s Society.
As responsible parents, we need to reinforce the practice of kindness by setting examples, in the way we speak and act.
It is crucial that we inspire our children to be kind to themselves and to others today. If we fail to do so, there is a good chance they will break our hearts tomorrow.
Dr William Wan
Singapore Kindness Movement
First published in The Straits Times – June 11, 2012