Singapore, to those elsewhere who have heard of it, might conjure up the words “clean”, “cosmopolitan” or, thanks to a little movie, “crazy rich“.
For those who do know it, the descriptors might differ a little: “kiasu”, “stressful”, even”boring”.
Regardless of one’s take, “kindness” would definitely not have been in the top 10. Until now.
Before I carry on, I assure you, I am not a snowflake millennial who chooses to see only butterflies and rainbows.
Put it this way: The other DJs have many nicknames for me, but Little Miss Sunshine isn’t one.
However, given the times we are living in, I do feel it necessary to spread some measure of joy.
My husband – whom the government has deemed a front-liner, an “essential business”, one of the many courageous individuals responsible for keeping Singapore’s economy going – is a barber.
Grease Monkey Barber Garage, being a small shop and not part of a chain, was facing impending closure.
We faced the impending doom of possibly becoming a single-income household. “Adulting” suddenly became a looming reality.
Also, I was pregnant.
Hoping to keep the shop going through the circuit breaker, Grease Monkey decided to issue vouchers which clients could purchase for use at a later date.
The only “pre-purchasing” ticket I know of Singaporeans buying are for concerts because, well, kiasuism – but the response was outstanding.
My husband’s customers, who had booked cuts when the shutdown was announced, insisted on paying, because they understood the struggle of small businesses during these times.
As far as kindness goes, surely that has to be a 10 out of 10.
Let’s also not forget the group who wanted Singaporeans to wait by their windows on a Monday night and, at 8pm, cheer for our front-liners – the most ridiculous, un-Singaporean thing one could think up.
The appointed time came and one lonely guy under my block was clapping his heart out. That soon turned into blocks of people cheering and clapping, which, in no time, included this cynical Cindy.
My heart grew three sizes that night and all the people in Whoville rejoiced.
Sure, the shelves at supermarkets are sometimes bare, but aren’t our proverbial cups overflowing with love? Aren’t we all a little glad to be going through this together?
Seeing the potential of how united, selfless and strong we are as a people and as a nation, don’t we feel like singing “this is home truly, where I know I must be”?
My fellow countrymen, I urge you to share the article about the Singaporean who bought 100 packs of Hokkien mee to support his favourite stall and to tar pau for all his neighbours.
Spread the story about the Singaporean who is helping to house Malaysian workers.
Repost that poster that shows how to make a donation to help our foreign workers.
When I recount this period to my child, I’ll be telling it from the perspective of how humanity came together, helped each other where they could and gave support in whatever way they knew.
As my fellow millennials would say: “Faith in humanity was restored.”
Oh, and they shut down McDonald’s for a month. #epic
Jillian Lim, known as Jill, hosts the weekend shows on Kiss92 from 8pm to midnight on Saturdays and noon to 6pm on Sundays. She is married to Kenneth Christopher, who started Grease Monkey Barber Garage and is a musician with his band Suneater.
This article was first published in The Straits Times.