We are the change

  • Good governance and civic sense a must for building a better society

Jan 18, 2019-

A few weeks back, the government had expressed its desire to turn the country’s only international airport, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIU) into a ‘boutique airport’. Since the plan is in its nascent stage, no budget has been procured for it yet. But in its bid to make the airport look aesthetically presentable, the airport authorities are planning to remove the advertising boards around the departure area. They have even covered the walls with wallpaper. But within a short period of time, the newly plastered wallpaper were torn and tattered by passengers. Oftentimes, the passengers leave the taps running, and cause damage to sinks and commodes in washrooms. There are balls of spit, gum, and other unidentifiable matter on the walls. Many of us are quick to blame the government for everything, but fail to engage in introspection. We have a strong sense of public entitlement but an utterly weak sense of civic responsibility. This is problematic.

Just as much we need good governance, collective moral behaviour and civic sense are equally important for societies to evolve. While we constantly blame the government for being incompetent, we fail in keeping our street, roads, and public spaces clean. We break fences in the name of revolution, litter parks and vandalise public property. Some (wrongly) express love by etching the name of our lovers on bus seat covers, gnaw at metal bars and leave streams of vomit falling from bus windows. Some have no problem adding to the perpetually growing heaps of litter by our streets. People zigzag through cars dangerously through the middle of the road instead of finding a zebra crossing. Those who do use zebra crossings are met with cars that habitually storm into crowds. The list goes on.

Civic sense means showing consideration for unspoken norms of the society. It is displaying a sense of responsibility, a sense of belonging. Societies that have a disregard for upholding basic law tend to also have zero moral obligation —especially when damaging public property becomes routine. Though these laws may be seemingly minor, when more minor laws are broken on a daily basis, the larger legislative framework is degraded and taken for granted. 

As the government continues to make investments that address long standing issues with regards to public infrastructure, citizens have an equal role to play to ensure that these efforts do not go in vain. It is a two-way street. We need governments to implement innovative policies and plans to keep moving forward. And on our part, we too need to take ownership and act responsibly. Public property or public spaces are called public for a reason—they are owned collectively by fellow compatriots and not just the government. As the concerned authorities follow through on their plans to give TIA a much-needed facelift, we should do our bit by showing respect for their efforts. 

Published: 18-01-2019 07:21

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