Dr Perpetua Neo

Be the one who says "Thank You"

Brighton & Hove is the happiest place in the UK. It’s also the city where its people are the most proud of it. What the newspapers and government surveys don’t report is how many people you meet say “I moved to Brighton, and never left. I couldn’t bring myself to.” I’m one of these people. There’s a running joke that over here, we’re tolerant of everything except lactose and glucose. But that aside, let me tell you what I see everyday that makes me so proud of this city. On leaving the bus, everybody tells the bus driver ‘thank you’. It’s warm. It’s also something that’s not part of Singapore culture.

I remember the first time I took a bus in London. It was 8am, I was enroute work. Before I got off, I thanked the bus driver. He stopped me.

“Wait a minute, did you just thank me?” he asked. He sounded genuinely befuddled.

“Yes, I did”, I replied. Equally befuddled.

“But no one’s ever thanked me for driving before in all my 25 years”, he exclaimed.

“They should, and thank you for bringing us to where we want to”, I said.

A slow smile spread across his face.

“Have a good day. I’ve never wished a passenger that before”, he said.


And in that moment, I realised how a simple ‘thank you’ to the people we take-for-granted, can light up their eyes. I learned how communities get connected- through little gestures of kindness. And everyday decency.

Where can you be the one who says ‘thank you’, and inject a little warmth into someone’s day?