SINGAPORE: Survey respondents in the latest Graciousness Index said they have experienced significantly fewer acts of kindness and graciousness in the country this year, compared to the same period last year.
Respondents were polled in January and February 2013 about their experiences in the last six months.
The annual study, which is into its fifth year, tracks the perception and experience of kindness and graciousness in Singapore. It was commissioned by the Singapore Kindness Movement.
The index fell eight points from last year, to 53 this year - the lowest in the five years the survey has been conducted.
Across the board, respondents who said they have been on the receiving end of gracious acts fell from 65 per cent in 2012 to 41 per cent this year.
They also reported doing fewer acts of graciousness as well, dropping from 83 per cent last year to 62 per cent this year.
However, most respondents still perceived Singapore as a kind country and would like the society to be a more gracious one.
Perceptions of overall graciousness dipped slightly by 0.4 points, to 5.8 this year.
The study polled some 1,200 Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders.
The Singapore Kindness Movement said pressing issues such as cost of living and car and housing prices may have sent graciousness to the back seat.
"Maybe in their own preoccupation with problems of their own, they're probably not as aware of the need to smile… all those things can add up, and give the impression that we're really not as gracious," said Dr William Wan, general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement.
Dr Wan also noted that there have been many who have started their own mini kindness movements, and added that the Singapore Kindness Movement will do more to support and link them up in the coming year.
For the first time this year, the survey also included a separate aspect on social media.
While many said the internet allows them to talk about things they normally would not, the survey found that not many believed that the same gracious behaviour should apply in cyberspace.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 representing those who strongly agree, the overall perception score for those who agreed gracious behaviour is not applicable on the internet was 4.4.
This is something the Singapore Kindness Movement said it also hopes to address this year.