(Source: The Sunday Times, March 25, 2012)
To mark World Water Day on 22 March 2012, a string of 15 celebrations were held island wide where a record of over 25,000 people attended. Events were held at Marina Barrage, Jurong Lake, Kolam Ayer and other places.
Importance and relevance of events
Such fun filled events to commemorate World Water Day serve to actively engage and remind the locals to cherish the Republic’s water resources. Injecting elements of fun into the events will also positively reinforce Singaporeans’ water conservation efforts. Furthermore, with an island wide commemoration, the issue of water conservation is made more salient to Singaporeans.
The island wide activities may serve two purposes. One – The community participation may reaffirm and reinforce Singaporeans’ collective identity as water conservationists. The collective identity will promote a sense of shared responsibility towards the water conservation effort. Two – The island wide commemoration may result in Singaporeans’ salient identity as water conservationists. As Brooks (2003) posited, salient identity leads to actual behaviour. Hopefully, this can result in Singaporeans’ actual water conservation efforts.
No doubt many Singaporeans do understand the importance of water conservation. But whether Singaporeans will do their part is another question altogether. This is because Singaporeans may not relate to the water scarcity problem as they have not been directly affected by it; the lack of tangible impact.
Like what Skinner suggested, people are innately egocentric. “Water scarcity may be a problem, but it certainly won’t affect me when I am still alive right? Let the future generations worry about this.” Such short-term and selfish thinking could hinder water conservation efforts. While the current generation may escape scot free, it will eventually be our future generations that will have to pay for our selfishness.