Monday, April 26, 2010

To reach out and help someone, do we or don’t we…

To reach out and help someone, do we or don’t we… I was faced with this exact question this past Sunday and was struck with my initial response.

I was driving home along a side road when a little old lady (of Chinese ethnicity if you must know) came running into view waving her arms furiously. And my first instinctive response was? Not to stop. To ask myself what scam was this and what was she up too? I was shocked at myself and buried that skepticism, pulled over and asked her what the problem was. It turned out her brakes had seized. On a brand new Honda Civic. Delivered to her just the day before. She had gone to the shops and on the drive back her car had come to a stop and had refused to budge. She had thought her engine was at fault but when I checked and drove the car a short distance (she was blocking someone’s driveway) I knew instantly what the problem was. I parked her car safely, offered to give her a lift home and advised her to call the dealer as the car had to be towed. She accepted my offer of the lift and on the way to her place, told me that she had been standing there for over an hour trying to get someone to stop and help her. And no one had.

When I had dropped her off I retraced the entire event over in my mind and questioned my initial reticence. I asked myself, why had I been apprehensive to the point of possibly not helping? And why after more than an hour of seeking help, had no one else stepped forward? To step forward and help a little old lady. The obvious answer, we live in a fear filled society. Our papers are filled with reports of snatch theft victims, road side scams, muggings and extortions. Petty crime has spiraled to such a point we have ceased to be civil as we move about in fear in our little cocoons. In so doing, we avoid and ignore our fellow man.

Over the past days though I have come across some interesting newspaper reports. One was of a student who fell to his death while trying to leave an apartment that was being raided under a joint exercise by Jais and the police. A raid that they were supposedly conducting under a tip-off…..

Another report covered another joint raid on muslims at bars and clubs at some mall in Selangor

Juxtapose this against the rising crime, the cloud of fear we are all living under and you can’t help but wonder if our resources are being misappropriated, our focus myopic. And in so doing not addressing what should be the core priority of our internal security forces. To combat real crime, to elevate this cloud of fear we live under such that, among other things, we can start functioning as a real society again. To be what we claim to be, a sociable people ever ready to help one another.

In the interim, until we see this happen, we shouldn’t be using the above as a reason, nay an excuse to not help. To not be a part of the human race. Selflessness as opposed to selfishness. It’s the least we can do I think…

1 comment:

Alex said...

I've been thinking about it and my answer is "depends". For me it would be a split second decision, depending upon the time, place and circumstances.

A sign of the times I guess.