Wednesday, July 07, 2010

It ain't nice to be nice?

I'm suddenly hit by this sudden urge to expand on the topic of 'niceness' from my previous post. These questions keeps going going round and round in my head. Is niceness truly overrated nowadays? Is it old-fashioned? Has it become redundant?

I don't see that many people giving up their seats on the LRT anymore nor do I see people helping out a neighbour who's moving out. People in trouble are now entertainment where its fun to gawk at their difficulties.

The world today has become selfish, self-centered and indifferent. We no longer live in the days of chivalry and manners. Its every man for themselves. You snooze, you lose. Being nice is no longer a part of life. It needs to be reminded with posters and signs and even TV advertisements. It is an afterthought. Something you entertain when you have time to spare. Being nice is not considered a virtue. Merely a time filler to while away idle time and to boost up your image while you're at it. Why do you think all acts of kindness are highlighted in newspapers nowadays? Simply because true acts of kindness are rare. Why be kind or nice if you have nothing to gain from it?

I still remember my conversation with my CEO, "Shan you're too sweet. You need to be more assertive. More forceful. Then people will respect you. If you're too nice then people will walk all over you. You need to erase 'May I'... 'Can I'... 'Could you'... and 'Please'... from your vocabulary." He then proceeded to demonstrate a "professional" call. Basically it was just him bullying a poor PA into releasing her boss's telephone number. My reaction to that was whaaaa???

If niceness is like an asset only to be used when it best suits you then why teach kids to be kind in the first place. If they're just going to grow up to be cold-hearted and unfeeling then might as well teach them from the very beginning that being nice is not the best way to go. So what if they're bullies when they're just gonna grow up into bigger bullies.

But me being the oddball of the 21st century, I still believe that a little act of kindness will go a long way. To this very day I still remember and how a kind young man gave up his seat for me simply because he saw that I gave up my seat for an elderly man. If me, one little person, can propel another individual to do an act of kindness than I'm sure 10 other person can do the same.

William Wordsworth once said that "the best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love". So be kind and nice people, because niceness is NOT overrated.

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