SINGAPORE: The Joo Chiat Sharella program, an initiative that offered a ‘kindness umbrella’ on bus stops, informed citizens through a poster that it would be discontinuing its services by the end of February, as most people failed to return the umbrellas back to the kiosks.

According to the poster, the Siglap Youth Network Team has restocked and distributed over 1000 umbrellas across the eighteen Sharella Kiosks in the previous five months. However, due to the unanticipated low return rates, they have decided to shut down their service.

The concept of the program was that people would borrow an umbrella from the kiosk during the rainy season and return it afterwards, as these were intended to be shared and used by others as well.

Photo: Reddit Screengrab

One Singaporean Reddit user, u/xhjdhd72772, took a snapshot of the announcement and shared it on the social media platform on Tuesday (Jan 16). A picture of one kiosk with no umbrellas was also attached to the poster. 

Photo: Reddit Screengrab

Disappointed by the unexpected turn of events, the user said in the caption:

“Joo Chiat Sharella is being discontinued after only 5 months as ALL the umbrellas have been stolen. I don’t post often but this genuinely enraged me- as a resident l’ve seen people (mostly elderly) bringing the umbrellas home to keep and storing them in their house. Especially terrible as I’m sure these could have benefitted people during the rainy season. Rich neighbourhood somemore.”

Singaporeans say: “Any kind of service that hinges on goodwill will never work in Singapore”

In the comments section, one citizen stated:

“every time there is goodwill extended, xiasuay sinkies ruin it lol. I remember seeing an articleon a stall at Peoples Park Complex that still uses an honour system- now that the secret is out, our fellow sinkies cfm going to go screw them over. mark my words, their ‘honour system’ won’t last 1 month from now.”

While another citizen compared Singapore’s culture with Japan’s, stating:

“Any kind of service that hinges on individual goodwill will never work in Singapore, full stop. These values are not instilled deep in the culture like in Japan where children are already taught these things in kindergarten.”

One citizen also chimed in and said, “I mean what did they expect? Umbrella is an always useful resource so its valuable. For those book sharing places, books are only useful until you finish reading so ppl are more likely to return it”

Joo Chiat Sharella 

In November 2023, Siglap South Youth Network introduced the Joo Chiat Sharella to the public on Instagram with the tagline: “Share a Kindness Umbrella” 

The program was supported by Sharelah SG, the Singapore Kindness Movement, and the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

18 Kiosks were installed around the Siglap South and Telok Kurau East areas. Its aim was to protect local residents from unexpected rainy days.