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Why is it important to cultivate a gracious society?

As the world globalizes and countries around the world get increasingly developed and affluent,
many governments are still struggling with a perennial and ugly social phenomenon --- An ungracious
society. This paradox motivates many pragmatic leaders around the world to address this pressing
conundrum imperatively by propounding and implementing new policies and crusades to encourage their
citizens to be gracious. A gracious society can be defined as a society with citizens of certain level of
maturity such that they are able to put others before themselves and thus can be an indicator as to how
mature and developed a country is. It is important for a country and its citizens to value graciousness due to
the many benefits that it can bring about, such as economic benefits, tolerance of differences and a caring
society. However, one should also note that an obsession with graciousness could also be detrimental for
society where it becomes a mere ritual with no meaning and thus stifles creativity.

It is of paramount importance that graciousness should be valued by a country for it aids in the
generation of revenue from the tourism sector in a country. Strong tourism industries capitalize on good
and impressionable service. If the service provided for the tourist is good, it serves as an incentive for them
to visit the country again for their next holiday trip due to the favorable impression left by the service
provider. This allows the country to have a strong tourism industry with a steady influx of tourists which
helps to bring in revenue for the country. An example would be the Go-the-Extra-Mile for Service (GEMS)
movement launched in Singapore in 2005. The movement aims to promote good service through gracious
acts practiced not only by the service providers but also the customers. This shows that Singapore seeks to
be a gracious society which helps in the development of this small nation into a cosmopolitan hub. Hence,
it can be seen that graciousness is important due to pragmatic reasons.

In addition, gracious societies with polite people can result in stronger bonds being formed
between the different people in the country and hence leads to a peace in a country. The country can be
made up of different races and religions but a little politeness goes a long way. Singapore would be an
example of a country with campaigns for politeness and better English. These campaigns are put forth with
the objective of bonding the different races of Singapore together through greater understanding and a
common language. With greater mutual understanding and reduced racial tensions, the country’s progress
would not be hindered by potential hostility among the different races and thus it would be able to channel
its resources to other sectors with more pressing needs. Therefore, by being gracious, probable conflicts can
be avoided and peace can hence be achieved.

Moreover, the cultivation of graciousness is important as it can help a country develop into a
caring society. Graciousness begets volunteerism and philanthropy. Gracious societies tend to have more
altruistic volunteers who are willing to fork out their time to lend a helping hand to the less fortunate, be it
in the form of aiding non-profit organizations or helping out in fund raising activities. For instance, in
Singapore, it is mandatory for schooling students to serve a specific number of Community Involvement
Programme Hours, depending on their level of education. Such a practice encourages children and youths
to be gracious from young and learn to render their service to the community. They will eventually grow up
to be caring and sharing citizens through this compulsory programme. As such, the less advantaged will be
able to assimilate and receive help from the rest of the society. A cultivation of graciousness will hence
lead to a caring society.

On the other side of the spectrum, gracious societies might not be as ideal as we think they are.
Obsession with graciousness might result in making it a mere ritual without meaning. This fixation with
protocol and obsequiousness to superiors may hinder development in the global arena. An example would
be Japan where its people are so obsessed with social graciousness that they do not dare to voice out their
opinions. This stifles creativity as the lower-tier workers would only do as they are ordered and not give
suggestions. This might hinder development of the nation and thus social graciousness might not be
important.

In conclusion, social graciousness should be pursued in societies as it demonstrates the maturity of


its people and is beneficial to a country’s progress in the long run. Though it is encouraging to see social
graciousness being pursued around the world, countries should not be obsessed with it. Obsession with
graciousness can result in making it a mere ritual without meaning. This fixation with protocol and
obsequiousness to superiors may hinder development in the global arena. Hitherto, not many countries have
attained to a high level of graciousness. However, the pursue is still worthwhile and we should be
determined in the cultivation of this value. Let’s stay sanguine and start to be gracious to those around us!