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Just read from somewhere that a person snapped at an old woman selling cut fruits (because she visited him 4 times in just a short while already). The lady apologized that her eyesight was bad…

I’m sure everyone out there, at least those of us who live in Malaysia (and to a lesser extent Singapore), seldom has a “peaceful” meal in cha satt/kopitiam/food court/hawker center. Often, you have people asking for donations, selling stuff (tissues, snacks etc.), selling lottery tickets and whatnot.

We’re used to say no, to these people. I remember there was once I was having breakfast at Maxwell hawker center, and ended up being asked by the same tissue-selling uncle for at least more than 5 times. Got so pissed off that I quickly leave the place after eating.

I often think that people who earn money by selling stuff are more much better than those asking for money, and from time to time I’ll just pay and buy the stuff (depend if I need it lah). But seriously, keep asking me doesn’t work.

OK, the main story here is, it reminds me there was once I was eating with friends in Jalan Sultan @ KL. There was this old lady asking for money and we said no (almost a reflective reaction). The lady then said she was hungry and asked if we could share a piece of roast duck (it was from Petaling Street Sei Ngan Chye and it was yum!) that we were having. I’m bad at shoo-ing people off so usually I’ll let my friends do the job (:P). Well, we rejected again, as usual…

And then when I think back, the old lady only asked for food, and she looked frail. Was it that bad to offer her a bit of food? Nowadays we seldom give money to the beggars on street, on the logic that they are (usually) exploited by underground business, or they don’t seem like someone not capable of earning money. But what if they ask for food? They can’t use the food to get rich or benefit any “third party”, can they?

A friend was saying, “well just in case she asks for more after you donated her food…”. Again I did not think much about such argument until later. I questioned (to myself), you can always shoo her off if she gets annoying after that anyway.

Well, I can’t tell what would happen if we did offer her a piece of roast duck. But I still can’t shake off the thought (until today) that I should have just offered her food. The “left” of me says, if someone is hungry and you are capable to offer, you shall give, food is after all a human’s essential need. Even if in the end she is fake, or she is a bitch and asking for more, I’ll still get the good karma (or hopefully :P).

I guess being used to say no to “these sort of people” prevented me from even considering to offer the food, i.e. to let the human and emotional side of me to take over the robotic side of me… It didn’t help she interfered in the middle of meal (I believe we just don’t want to get disturbed in the middle of meal) but then she wouldn’t have anything to ask for after we finished the meal…

I’m probably still too naive, believing that we are still living in a utopia (that human is essentially good). Guess this is the “一件小事” for me. Oh, do read the “一件小事”even if you read it already. It is one extremely powerful short story that worth more than once or twice reading. 🙂

Categories: Life, Personal, Welfare
  1. April 1, 2010 at 9:40 am

    I was in a similar dilemma, in fact I still am.. I feel so sorry for these people who come asking for money or selling tissues, yet I feel I shouldn’t be encouraging them by giving money. So I simply say a prayer to ask God to take care of them, make things a little easier. I don’t know if it would help them out in any way but just for my own satisfaction, that I did “something” for the person who asked instead of just shooing them away =)

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