(Empathy) Week 1-3: Observation

Hello! We are Augus, Aurelia and Jen. Together, we are a group dealing with the issue of ‘lack of empathy’ in NTU.

Our journey started just the same as everyone else: pure observation. We talked around with people, finding out about common problems within NTU through casual verbal interaction.

One of the trends observed is general annoyance and frustration stemmed from a lot of people being very inconsiderate, both in using the public facilities and in general attitude. Forget having someone to help you open the door when your hands happen to be full. A lot of NTU students even lamented kiasu-ness in simple things such as behaviours in study rooms and libraries, among many other things. Courtesy is seemingly scarce in the competitive society.

After a fruitful discussion, it was hypothesised that the root of the issue is the lack of empathy.

By definition, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. The lack of empathy causes people to feel entitled to their own comfort and convenience, at the price of others’. The lack of empathy breeds ignorance and self-centred attitudes. “It doesn’t give any benefit to me, so why bother?”

Such lack of understanding on the effect of one’s bad attitude on others hampers compassion and the effect is cancerous. “They don’t bother to take the extra mile to be kind to others, so why should I?”. It’s a vicious cycle that devoid a community of compassion and a culture that can be supportive to one another.

Now that we’ve got our frame on the problem to tackle on, we are ready to start the next stage of brainstorming: Ideation. By the way, it was also around this time that we’ve got out group member sorted out: Augus Ho from ADM Product Design, Aurelia from Visual Communication, and Jen from Business + Visual Communication department.

Till next post!

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