I read this very interesting article in a news paper today. And it reminded me of a very funny story that my friend told me a couple of month ago.
He was a student at BLCU, and there is this time he met some girl right before class, and while they were talking, some Chinese guy was smoking outside the classroom, my friend was kinda pissed so he decided to ask the Chinese guy if he could go smoke in the bathroom instead, he spoke in a very fluent Chinese and with respect.
After that, the girl said: let me guess you are from Singapore. My friend was surprised, because she was right, he asked her how she figured it out, and the girl said : You speak fluent Chinese, fluent English and you have good manners, you can't be Chinese.
I DIDN'T WANT TO OFFEND ANYBODY, AND MY APOLOGIES IF I DID.
...Now read this article.
SINGAPORE - Don't spit in public. Throw your litter in the bin. Pee into the urinal, not on the floor. Speak proper English.
Singapore has become famous for government-funded campaigns designed to rid society of nasty habits from its impoverished past, but parents in the city-state have taken self-improvement a notch higher.
Pricey etiquette classes designed to turn little girls and boys into proper ladies and gentlemen are becoming popular among Singaporeans who are not content with traditional ballet classes and piano lessons for their children.
"I feel that it is best to train children before bad habits have a chance to develop, and such skills will also stay with them for life," said Eunice Tan, a trainer and consultant at the Image Flair Academy of Modern Etiquette.
Tan, 37, says "please" was the first word her own daughter Ethel, now 6, learned to speak when she was just one year old.
"The skills they learn in the social graces classes will stay with them as they mature and will influence them in all areas of their lives," she said.
After breakneck economic growth turned Singapore into one of the world's richest societies in just one generation, commentators and government officials admit Singaporeans have yet to catch up on the etiquette front.
One government campaign urges Singaporeans to make it a point to show small acts of kindness in their everyday lives.
"I think the soft skills are something that parents do see as important," said Jonathan Goh, an associate professor at the National Institute of Education of Singapore.
"I do see a lot of benefits," he added, stating that children well-versed in social graces would have a "special advantage in the working world" when they grow up.
Typically held during the school holidays in June and December, children's etiquette classes don't come cheap, with hourly rates ranging from about $22 to $35.
But many parents can afford it. Singapore's per capita gross national income stood at $35,924 last year, making it the world's 33rd richest society, according to the World Bank.
Tan, who conducts classes of 10 students each, said she had to open a new class during the month-long June school holidays as all lessons were fully booked, a far cry from her company's quiet start four years ago.
Lessons are divided into three levels, with the introductory grade teaching children as young as three how to meet and greet people.
Level two teaches telephone manners as well as anger management techniques, and the most advanced course imparts values such as honesty and responsibility in a step-by-step method.
"The quiet encouragement they receive when they do well and the extra coaching given to quieter children makes them good learners," Tan said. "After the sessions, children are eager to showcase their new g