Two headlines within a week in the Voices pages caught my attention. It was difficult for me…

…to miss them as they were preceded by a bold word in red: Accolade.

Two headlines within a week in the Voices pages caught my attention. It was difficult for me…

…to miss them as they were preceded by a bold word in red: Accolade.

The first one, “All hail this cabbie” (March 28), was about how a “competent and polite” taxi driver helped the injured letter writer and got her to the airport on time. He took her to a doctor, made sure a wheelchair and a helper were ready for her at the airport and refused to accept the fare. On top of that, he gave credit to his company, SMRT, for making such service possible.

The other, “Chased by cops . for a good cause” (March 30), was about two Woodlands Checkpoint officers. They returned a waist pouch containing personal documents and valuables to the letter writer.

It is a pity that accolades do not appear in the local media as frequently as criticisms, complaints and condemnations do. When one is indignant or piqued, one is more strongly motivated to express them. The reverse seems true when it comes to paying compliments, especially in writing.

I am guilty of it. On many occasions, I planned to make my appreciation known but did not. Somehow, my excitement to share my positive encounter fizzled out by the time I got home.

One Saturday at Orchard Road, my mother was approached by a friendly flag-seller. I recognised her Nanyang Girls’ High School uniform. All her fellow volunteers were doing their school proud with their smiles and bows for all, whether they donated or not. I wanted to congratulate the school’s principal and teachers on the fine manners of their pupils – but I did not.

Another time at Bishan, I saw, to my horror, an old lady fall. She was stunned and obviously in pain. A group of boys from Guangyang Secondary School rushed to her aid. One ran to a provision shop and bought a bottle of medicated oil to massage her injured leg. I intended to inform the school of the good deeds of its pupils – but I did not.

When I went to the National University Hospital for my bi-monthly infusion to strengthen my bones, I was treated very well by the doctors and nurses.

They impressed me with their professionalism, compassion and care. Their friendship relieved me of the boredom of my stay. Their expertise gave me comfort. I wanted to compliment the hospital for having such wonderful staff – but I did not.

Through this article, I hope I have made up for some of my failures.

I urge all readers who are recipients or witnesses of goodwill to share with others their experiences. This is important as it will encourage more of such behaviour and correct the impression of us Singaporeans.

For we are not as ugly as we think. There are many beautiful Singaporeans, but we don’t publicise them enough.

I am glad that Today publishes such accolades, especially the recent one about the taxi driver. In view of the numerous complaints against cabbies, I was inclined to think of all of them as rogues. Now I realise I was wrong.

And don’t tell me one swallow does not make a summer. I am sure there are many good deeds by taxi drivers that have not been written about and, thus, are unknown to us.

(This journal entry can be found in TODAY of 18 April 2006)