SINGAPORE – Singapore has a reputation for being a “Garden City” and consistently ranked as one of the cleanest nations in the world. But every now and then, it could use a little help in keeping it clean.
In a recent video posted by Japanese YouTuber Ghib Ojisan, who is based in Singapore, a group of Japanese expats went on a cleanup exercise across East Coast Park, Chinatown and Japanese Cemetery Park in Hougang – and collected an estimated 10 to 25 kilograms of litter.
Harmful litter such as a razor blade and a syringe was picked up, aside from the usual tissue papers and cigarette butts.
Although a considerable amount of litter was picked up, the general consensus among the expats remains that Singapore is still a clean country in comparison to other nations around the world.
Singaporeans flood video with grateful comments
Positive and encouraging words flooded the comments section of the video, which was posted on both YouTube and Facebook.
“From a Singaporean, I want to thank you and the Japanese community for your contribution. You even made our beaches safer. Thank you, so much.” commented user Mark Ashley Simon.
“I am very impressed with Japanese culture. They are very responsible by ensuring that litters belong at the right place. Great job there. Hopefully the authorities will step up with the rules of cleanliness in Singapore so that we can make this country an amazing place for all.” commented another user.
Comparison between Singapore and Japan: government reinforcement vs nurture
Netizens compared the difference between government enforced Singapore to the cultivated culture of cleanliness in Japan.
The topic on motivation behind cleanliness and littering was also brought up in the comments section. Viewers were quick to point out that education plays a part in cultivating the culture of cleaning up and maintaining cleanliness.
“As a Singaporean I always found it perplexing how Japanese would describe our country as ‘clean’. Public toilets in CBD area are usually acceptable, but once you get to the heartlands or worse still, the hawker centres and kopitiams (coffee shops), ” said one user.
“Unfortunately there is much more Singaporeans can do in terms of civic-mindedness and hygiene compared to Japan. We are definitely a ‘cleaned’ country and not really ‘clean’.”
The unsanitary state of hawker centres and kopitiams and the amount of litter lying in those areas were also hot topics. Netizens on Facebook attributed the rise in litter in Singapore to manpower shortages of hired cleaners and an increase in tourist traffic post-pandemic.
Suggestions such as putting up educational signages and reinforcing imposed penalties were brought up, but netizens feel that maintenance of the city state ultimately requires active participation of citizens and initiative.
The YouTuber wrapped up the video by encouraging Singaporeans and expats to consider volunteering or donating to organisations like Waterways Watch Society to help the environment.
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