SICC | Singapore International Chamber Of Commerce | Raffles Quay – The voice of international business in singapore
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23 JUN 2020  |  ISSUE 302

Dear Members and Friends

The pandemic, the Circuit Breaker and the phased re-opening of the economy have forced us all to take a step back from our normal day to day lives. Many people have refocused on what is important to them and what is not. The getting and spending of pre-pandemic days, with its wholesale worship of the rat race and materialism, has been weighed and found wanting. Much of what we all did pre-pandemic was empty, going through the motions, meaningless and a waste of time. Good health is back as our number 1 priority. Many of us have rediscovered family life, cooking or taken up baking (there was a run on flour!). Others took time to appreciate and notice nature, enjoy and photograph sunsets, catch up on reading or reconnect with family and friends on zoom.

Our collective empathy has increased as evidenced by a renewed appreciation for the essential workers who enable our lives every day and a renewed awareness of the living conditions of migrant workers who build our city. Let us not lose our increased application of empathy gained these last few months. Tough times are ahead for each of us and we’ll all need our fellow humans to treat us with the same level of empathy and respect that we expect to receive.

While I am on this subject, SG Enable, together with the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the National Council of Social Services, have developed a helpful circular designed to familiarize frontline staff with identifying and engaging, with respect, fellow human beings who are differently abled.

Part of empathy is putting ourselves in the shoes of others. For example, fellow human beings with visual impairment may find it harder to observe safe distancing rules. We can help them. Face masks prevent deaf people from lip reading. We can help them. Those with autism or intellectual challenges may feel stressed by safe-distancing measures and the repeated Safe Entry check-ins and outs at different offices or shops within the same building. We can help them.

Every business and each one of us has a responsibility to play a part in helping our fellow humans, who are differently abled, to navigate these challenges. By applying the advice in the helpful circular, we can serve all customers and deal empathetically with the people we meet. It is up to each of us to create the more inclusive society we all claim we want. It is not someone else’s job. It is ours.

Keep safe and well.

Yours faithfully
Victor Mills
Chief Executive
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