Saturday, November 14, 2009

World Kindness Day: will kindness keep us alive?

Just like love, huh? Kindness will keep us alive. Perhaps.

It's, however, a pity that World Kindness Day is limited to just for a day (it's on 13 Nov, by the way). But why being kind to others is defined to just for a day? Without this so-called World Kindness Day, surely people can still be kind to one another?! Duh. Let's not state the obvious, shall we?

So what's the purpose of celebrating such a day?

Partially quoted from World Kindness Day website from Australia:

The purpose of World Kindness Day is to look beyond ourselves, beyond the boundaries of our country, beyond our culture, our race, our religion; and realise we are citizens of the world.

As world citizens we have a commonality, and must realise that if progress is to be made in human relations and endeavours, if we are to achieve the goal of peaceful coexistence, we must focus on what we have in common.

When we find likenesses we begin to experience empathy, and in such a state we can fully relate to that person or those people.

While we may think of people from other cultures as being ‘different’ when we compare them with our own customs and beliefs, it doesn’t mean that we are any better than they are.

When we become friends with someone from a different culture we discover that despite some obvious differences, there are many similarities.


Incidentally, it's the exact wordings noticed from Singapore's World Kindness Movement page on World Kindness Day. Good. At the very least, there is a standard definition, I guess.

Here in Singapore. the first celebration of World Kindness Day yesterday was done with 45,000 stalks of yellow daisies distributed to public who in turn can pass the flower as a token of appreciation to someone who has been kind to them.

In UAE, the theme of World Kindness Day was set to be "Brush your teeth, Be kind to yourself". I suspect, the union of dentists there were unhappy about it. Seriously, what's the point of having 'Brush your teeth' in the theme? I mean, well, yes, of course brushing one's teeth is important, but so are taking a bath, having sufficient rest, exercising, and so on and so forth.

No matter. It's good, though, to see how refreshing the approach of UAE. When we hear the words 'Be Kind', we tend to think immediately that the words refer to others. Be kind to others.

How many of us think that the words 'Be Kind' may also apply to our own selves?

And really, nothing's wrong with that. If one can't even be kind to one's own self, how can he/she be expected to be kind to others?!



Singapore marked World Kindness Day for the first time on Friday.

This day is also celebrated in countries such as Canada, Japan, Australia, Nigeria and United Arab Emirates.

Yellow daisies are said to be the fifth most popular flower in the world. And as part of World Kindness Day, Singapore has adopted it to represent its kindness movement.

Some 45,000 stalks were distributed at various locations, such as Raffles Place, to motivate the public to show appreciation to someone who has been kind to them.

Many were pleasantly surprised, while others were a little confused.

Azizah Ahmad, volunteer, said: "At first they were a bit apprehensive... But after we explained it to them, they were so happy."

One person said: "I think it is very interesting that you actually have this; it is like passing on a deed."

Another commented: "Everybody is so busy with their life, and it does not take much, just a simple smile, just a simple flower. I think it will make somebody's day."

A third person revealed: "I am going to give one stalk to my colleague because one day when I was sick, she brought me bread for my lunch. That is why I want to thank her."

Yet another noted: "Everyone in the office has been very kind to each other, so I thought this (is a good) opportunity to let everyone appreciate each other."

The Singapore Kindness Movement hopes the flower initiative will be more effective than a big scale campaign.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Singapore celebrates World Kindness Day".



Gulf News readers are all geared up to celebrate World Kindness Day on Friday. It is a day that encourages individuals to overlook boundaries, race and religion in order promote peaceful co-existence.

According to worldkindness.org, in 1996, the Small Kindness Movement organisation in Japan met up with individuals who had initiated some sort of kindness movement, which marks the start of this day. Since then, they meet annually to increase the spread of kindness around the world.

Elaine Fernandes, an Indian expatriate, believes kindness comes from the heart.

She said: "I would like to highlight how a clerk in our office, who joined less than a year ago, got us sweets on his birthday. He is alone in this country and he treated his colleagues as his family. Kindness is not limited by cast and creed."

Every individual might have a different definition for the term ‘kind'.

Fernandes said: "The definition would differ from person to person, but to me kindness means touching someone's heart with an act that doesn't cost much, but can make a huge difference."

Zahrah J. Saleh, a Somalian expatriate, defines kindness in a different manner.

She said: "It is about a friendly smile and a welcoming attitude. Even if it is a complete stranger, I try to assist an individual in need. However, we should not keep count of such acts of kindness."

During her years in the UAE, Zahrah says she has come across a lot of kind individuals.

"A lot of my colleagues are very kind, but we should allow people to provide us with feedback on our deeds."

Peter van Veyeren, a South African expatriate, believes helping those in need without expecting anything in return is the true form of kindness.

He said: "I don't think the purpose of kind acts is personal gain. That is not the reason why several people are involved in various forms of charity work."

Veyeren personally volunteers for organisations that support the under-privileged.

He said: "It takes a lot of time, but to see the gratitude on those innocent faces makes up for everything and the negative is erased."

Albert Gayo, a Filipino expatriate, suggests putting yourself in somebody else's shoes.

He said: "You should expect to be treated the same way you care for others — what you give is what you receive."

Gayo witnessed an act of kindness, recently, which he claims is unforgettable.

He said: "I saw an elderly man get on the bus, but he was asked to leave as his bus card was not working. However, a young man volunteered to give away his own bus card to him. They did not know each other, but that simple act of humanity was much appreciated."

Dubai Brush your teeth, Be kind to yourself, a simple but a significant message that the Kindness Movement in the UAE is emphasising on World Kindness Day on Friday.

Nawar Al Dass, Chief Executive Officer of the Kindness Movement in the UAE, told Gulf News that as a group here they are not planning any big events on the day, but they believe everyday should be a kind day.

"Kindness for me and for all of us here in The Kindness Movement of the UAE is the essence of every virtue in our life, if we practice kindness we will assure a life, which is rewarding and meaningful but I wish we all can add a bit of creativity to our work," he said.

Al Dass said being kind to ourselves is the first step to spreading kindness.

"It [kindness] is contagious and will grow every time. One has to start by being kind to themselves, their family members, friends, coworkers and then it keeps growing," he said.

Al Dass said they are planning to bring to light outstanding kind individuals, as they are planning to start kindness award from 2010.

A simple message

Brush your teeth, Be kind to yourself, a simple but a significant message which the Kindness Movement in the UAE is emphasizing on this year's World Kindness Day.

Nawar Al Dass, Chief Executive Officer of the Kindness Movement in the UAE, told Gulf News, that as a group here they are not planning any big events on the day, but they believe everyday should be a kind day.

"Kindness for me and for all of us here in The Kindness Movement of the UAE is the essence of every virtue in our life, if we practice kindness we will assure a life which is rewarding and meaningful but I wish we all can add a bit of creativity to our work," he said.

Al Dass said being kind to ourselves is the first step to spreading kindness.

"It [kindness] is contagious and will grow every time. One has to start by being kind to themselves, their family members, friends, coworkers and then it keeps growing," he said.

Al Dass said they are planning to bring to light outstanding kind individuals, as they are planning to start kindness award from 2010.

World kindness day is being celebrated across the globe with various activities in countries like Italy, India, Scotland, Singapore and Japan to name a few.

From Gulf News, "Gulf News readers celebrate World Kindness Day".


No comments: