I really want to thank everybody for their encouragement to me, especially to this someone who wrote
Found this article today, it is a very short article but it is deeply meaningful to me. How many times have I hesitated to do something when a situation arise in front of me that prompts the people around to go into action? When you see someone in need, the first instinct is to go and help the person. But too many times the brain reward/punishment machinery kicks in and starts to think about the consequence of the action to help, whether it will cause embarrassment, whether it is acceptable, etc.
I want to make the same commitment as the author: “The commitment to stop waiting for other’s approval or even support, the commitment to just stand up immediately to do what is right. The commitment to never standby when someone is in need.”
I like the last parting words by the author.
“Because a nation which cannot even offer someone in the rain an umbrella without a committee meeting is a nation which can never help itself or others.”
I just wanted to say a big thank you and to let you know how much your words mean to me. You won’t believe what a big encouragement it is! I never thought that my personal thoughts could actually make any impact, so I’m so touched that you’ve decided to make the same commitment.
I’m beginning to realize it actually can be a tough commitment. Today I was at a foodcourt, and the stallholder was passing food to a customer standing out of her reach, but I was between both of them so I reached out to take the food to pass it on to her customer. The stallholder immediately recoiled her plate and yelled, ‘Did you order this? This is not yours you know!’ And I was like, ‘But I just wanted to help you pass it to her!’ The customer quickly took the plate and thanked me.
My first reaction and thoughts were ‘Ok I’m not going to do this ever again’ and a while later ‘Maybe she thinks I’ll contaminate the food by passing the plate along’.
But I’m trying to tell myself, ‘Maybe we’re just so not used to being helped that we automatically recoil from help when its given. Our defenses and suspicions just spring up because we’re more used to seeing people getting cheated than getting help’.
And I’m trying to tell myself, ‘No, I’m not going to let that stop me from my commitment. Because I am making it a point to refuse to contribute to this culture of fear.’
Honestly, I find it tough. There’re so many mental obstacles. I’m still thinking, ‘did I do the right thing giving that blind speaker the water? What if the organizers think I’m insulting their level of hospitality?’
But then again, if we act on our fears, rather than on our compassion, we can never ever expect anymore than the silence and inaction towards Myanmar.
The other day, this lady related how she heard domestic violence going on in her neighbour’s flat, and called the police, who actually told her to stop being a busy body.
I imagine it feels horrible to be called that, after trying to help. But we can’t let that stop us. Because somebody’s life actually depends on you being a busybody. And that person’s life might depend on you continuing to be a busybody, to be a bigger one to personally go over in fact, even after being unfairly insulted.
Ten years ago, my very dedicated debate teacher Ms Priya Rajan, told us, ‘You have to learn to speak with butterflies in your stomach and your heart in your mouth. When others are attacking you, that’s when you must smile, calm down, and explain to everyone why you are right.’
I don’t know if she realized it then, but I think that’s the advice that can take us one step towards saving somebody’s world.
Let’s make the pledge “I will not standby and do nothing while someone suffers”