Being Kind

Friday, October 4, 2013

A beautiful quote from Winnie the Pooh and guess which character said this? :-) The most uncharacteristic of them all - Eeyore! 

It seems to me as if Eeyore is the one that normally doesn't give a damn (for the lack of a better word) about the things happening around him, always very gloomy and depressed, without much hope for the world but it truly surprised me to know that Eeyore was the one who said the words in the picture above! 

This really brings me to the point of this post - that I'm not a kind person by nature and I know that. The mindset I have to a lot of things is extremely self-centered and I'm not the kind of person who would go out of her way to help you with something and perhaps that's human nature - we tend to think of ourselves first. I am not one who would always buy tissues from an old uncle in the tunnel of a train station (I do sometimes - but not always), I am not one who says lovely and encouraging words to my friends without feeling weird and forced and I am not one who bothers about people around me whom I don't know. Do I care about what they are going through? How does that affect me? Maybe I'm making myself sound worse than I actually am - I do have feelings and I do get really emotional a lot but somehow I'm not the type of person who is naturally bubbly, affectionate and essentially, nice. 

But that doesn't mean I should stay this way all the time. 

Just like Eeyore, I can try to be a little more uncharacteristic and do something that I normally will not do. Perhaps that'll make me change a bit of myself and make what's normally uncharacteristic of me something characteristic. 

I want to be a kind and nice person and to be honest, I don't think it's a bad thing to want or try to become someone like that. Somehow I feel like there are people out there who might think that doing that is "fake" or that I'm trying to hard but really, wouldn't it beat being unkind and horrid and basically just allowing for the innate evil side in humans to conquer us? While I still can, I want to try to be a nicer person and hopefully it will eventually become something more genuine. It shouldn't be someone I am trying to become but someone I am. 

With that, and motivated by an question I received asking me 5 things I'd like to do in RG before I leave, I decided to do a little something for my schoolmates who are going through a tough and stressful time at the moment and I took inspiration from initiatives like "While You Were Sleeping" to come up with something simple: Bake cookies, pack them, write something encouraging and give them to random people who were studying till late in school as a little encouragement and motivation, from someone they didn't know. I thought of this on Thursday and immediately got down to baking that very day :-) I already had all the ingredients needed to make cookies so I just got some colourful bags, which didn't cost me very much at all (probably less than $4) 

Baked eighty chocolate chip cookies! 

Three simple and relatively cheap things that could possibly make someone's day: home made cookies, rainbow bags and a marker!

The rainbow bags came with super cute stickers as well!

 4 cookies per bag! :-) 

80 cookies, 20 bags - 20 people to reach out to! 

Just a little well-wish on the bag of cookies! 

On Friday, after Horror Movie Options ended at around 4pm, I headed to the canteen alone to embark on this little project, which I called "secret mission". To be honest, I saw a few juniors studying there and I felt really self-conscious and strange because something like that hasn't been done before in school and I'm not the kind that really talks to juniors, even those I know. I find it incredibly difficult to approach strangers as well. Then, Hui Ying came along so I told her about what I was intending to and she encouraged me to do it :') And why not? I mean, I'd probably be doing more good than harm, so I did. After reaching out to the people in the canteen, I headed to the library as well, and finally the classrooms around school. 

It was a really really nice feeling to see the smiles appear on the faces that wore rather stony expressions before when they received the cookies. It's so clich√© when they say you'll receive more when you give but it's true and honestly, I felt that through this little initiative. Although it shouldn't be the sole motivation of doing good because it's quite self-centred but I think this sense of self-fulfilment that one gains is enough to encourage the spirit of giving. 

I admit that I would have liked it better if all the people I gave the cookies to didn't know my name/ never seen me before so it would really be more of an act of kindness from a complete stranger but some of them did know me - three of them thanked me via social media later that day, which in turn made my day! One particular one though, from a Year Three, caused the most impact on myself because she said that she wanted to follow in my footsteps and do it next year :') 

And that is exactly what I wanted this little mission to become - something that spreads, yet remains a project that doesn't need to be governed by any authority in the school.  

I am sharing this not because I want everyone reading this to know that I'm a kind person (because that would really be a joke - I already said I'm trying to be one, and I'm not one yet) or because I want to preach big grand ideas of how one should be kind but really, I just hope that something like this will continue to spread on. To be honest, I also wanted to prove a point that you don't have to be from the Peer Support Board or any lead board to carry out a simple act like this. Alright, perhaps I'm not the best person to prove this point considering I am a part of two lead boards but I just wanted to show that there is no need to do any proposal writing / seek approval from teachers / gathering a whole throng of manpower to make someone's day and although it might not be very large scale, I'm pretty sure it would mean quite a bit to the people who received this simple act of kindness. 

I realize that this post is a little uncharacteristic of my personality and I'm a bit uncomfortable because I feel like I sound like a preacher who is acting so high and mighty regarding the topic of being kind but I'm trying to sound as genuine as possible, really. And I am genuine about what I'm saying, except that it seems to be coming across in a very strange way, so sorry about that! 

To end of the post though, I would like to do a little publicity for Singapore Kindness Movement's new campaign in partnership with Gardenia. Hashtag #NationOfKindness on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with your kindness story or photo (i.e. whether its yourself involved in a kind act or receiving a kind act or witnessing one) and Gardenia will donate one loaf of bread to the needy with each hashtag. This campaign stretches on till 31 October so go forth, friends :-) 


  1. Dear Li Yin,

    Thank you for such a meaningful post. We believe that everyone is innately kind, and by your display of kindness, you are showing graciousness to people around you. Thank you for joining us in our journey towards kindness. Hope you continue blogging and sharing your own personal journey in kindness and graciousness! :)

    Warmest regards,
    Singapore Kindness Movement

    1. Dear Dr Wan,

      Thank you so much for your comments - it really means a lot especially since I do get inspired and impacted by the various initiatives and campaigns conceptualized by the Singapore Kindness Movement, both around Singapore and within my school. Many thanks to SKM for the great work done so far - I'm confident that kindness will rub off on more and more Singaporeans gradually, myself included! :-)

      Li Yin