Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Of a Blind Couple and An Idiot (Me!)...



I was on the bus just the other day, and I had two seats to myself...My mum got me two seats because I happened to know I would be carrying a lot of things back to Penang, so to save the trouble of being all cramped up and annoying the person next to me, we just went ahead and bought two tickets...



Anyway, as things would have it, sitting in the seat opposite the aisle from me, was a blind couple...They boarded the bus with the help of a friend, and sat down and started chatting among themselves...


Anyway, the highway was terribly jammed up and we took considerably longer than usual to reach the toll-booth in Juru...As we were approaching somewhere around Alor Pongsu however, one of the passengers had an 'emergency' and needed to use the loo...



I was happily snoozing all the way, and when the bus made the pit-stop, I woke up, and heard the blind man next to me ask, to no one in particular: "Are we in Butterworth yet?"...


I groggily replied: "No, Uncle, not yet"...


I saw he was looking a little anxious, so I said: "Don't worry, Uncle, I will tell you when we reach Butterworth, k?"...

He replied with a partially-toothless smile: "Ok!"...




So it happens that I never went back to sleep, because I was afraid I would miss the Butterworth stop...



Anyway, when we finally reached Butterworth (about 40 minutes later due to the jam), I leaned across the aisle and said: "Uncle, we're here in Butterworth"...


He immediately said, "Ok, thanks little girl"...



I helped him and his wife pick up and collect their things and then asked them if they needed help to disembark from the bus...

They said no...



I didn't push the matter because I know a lot of blind people who are very independent who would feel 'insulted' if you insist on helping them because it looks as if you don't think them capable of doing anything on their own...So I said goodbye and watched anxiously as they slowly made their way down...



After about 10 seconds however, I felt like kicking myself a few times, because it turns out, in the frenzy, the couple got separated...The man managed to get off properly, but the old lady was clearly having problems...


When she reached the door of the bus, she stretched her hands out and tried to get hold of something to help her find the steps to the bus, but luck will have it that she could not find anything to hold on to (and she didn't dare to walk any farther for fear of tumbling down the steps)...




And guess what? All the people behind her did not bother to help her at all...All they had to do was to take her hand and place it on something which she can hold on to, and help guide her down...


But everybody just waited in line and left the poor old lady to fumble her way (although to be fair, nobody grumbled)...



I was stuck in the middle of the bus, and there was no way I could do a thing, although I was tempted to growl out-loud "For crying out loud, will somebody help Aunty?"

But I didn't say a thing, cos I didn't follow my initial instinct of helping them off the bus in the first place...





After a while, she managed to get off the bus, and the couple were reunited...And then I saw this elderly man come up to them and after a brief conversation, I saw him lead the blind man by the arm (with his wife holding on to his other arm), and lead the couple to the taxi stand, where they sat next to each other, each holding on to the other...



And to think there were so many young people all around who just watched and did not even bother to do a thing...

What an embarrassment and what a sad thing to see that in the end, it was an old man that helped the blind couple, when there were so many young and able-bodied people who could have helped them...



I stand corrected...Next time, better get scolded for 'insulting' them, than to not be able to sleep becuase I did not help them when I should...


*Kicking myself*


27 comments:

Akmal said...

Daphne,
Hi there. Hey you did what you can. You respected their own choice, and what happened after that is beyond prediction.

'And to think there were so many young people all around who just watched and did not even bother to do a thing...'

Our youngsters sure got a very, very, very long way to go to improve, don't you think so? That includes me... :( I mean, this is quite a common reflex. To just stand steadily watching, that not the kind of reflex we should have here...

Farina said...

geram i baca this story Daphne. not at u lah but to those ppl yg still tak reti2 nak tolong those yg unfortunate. pisses me off!

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

oi you,

dont be too hard on yourself la d. the fact that you sacrificed your nap for them says a lot already.

trust me, as many uncaring jerks out there, there are still a few who would go out of their way to help those in need.

Sean E said...

If you want to have a better future for our children in Malaysia, do you part by signing the on-line petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/RCER2008/petition.html

This is one of the way (non-violence) to bring our message to the Government. Don’t just sit there, stand up and be counted!

Why do we need to reform the Election Commission?

1) Gerrymandering. The discrepancy between number of voters in voting areas is too great. The smallest parliamentary seat (Federal Territory, Putrajaya) has only 6,608 voters while the parliamentary seat for Kapar in Selangor has 112,224 voters. What this means is that one vote in the Putrajaya parliamentary constituency is equivalent to 17 votes in the Kapar constituency.

2) Phantom voters. A common tactic is to ‘buy’ the identity card of the voters. Party members from the ruling parties will then vote on the voters’ behalf. Random checking of a person’s identity must be conducted using those finger print checking device (like the bank use). Any voting done on another person’s identity must be made a serious offence under the election law.

3) Postal votes. The rules on postal voting must be reviewed, tightened and amended. The current rule favours the ruling party as the armed forces personnel and policemen who vote by ‘postal voting’ would obviously not jeopardize their career or promotion prospect by voting for the opposition. Voting under postal voting is not secret as it is under the watchful eyes of the senior officers.

Bitta said...

Don't be hard on yourself Daphne. It's out of your control and you already helped where you can helped. As for those other passengers, either they are also blind or they're just not civic minded.

Talked about some people's lack of civic minded hehehe.. once few years back, when I went back sabah. I was in Karamunsing kompleks with my two barely out of todlers age kids. I was pushing this double stroller. I was alone, trying to get down from the ground level to the sidewalk to go to the SESB ofis to meet my ex-collegue. The staircase is guite high.. and there's like one security guard standing there on the top platform and a few men standing by, just watching me strugling to get my stroller down with my kids inside, down the staircase to the sidewalk. It was a hot day and I was just sweating like heck. I managed to get down at last without any help but in my heart.. I was thinking lah, this people no civic minded or what.

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Akmal,

Yeah, I know I respected their choice, but I still feel bad that I could have done more, seeing that she did face the difficulties I thought she would!

As for the 'reflex', I guess it is because we were all raised in an environment where we are expected to not jaga tepi kain orang? I'm speculating though...

What you think?

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Kak Farina,

Geram huh? Me too...Lagi-lagi when you're standing there there seeing people turn a blind eye...*Grrr*

But what to do? Like I said, I can't bising when I myself didn't bring her down =(

Daphne Ling said...

Oi You Back (Kerp),

Haih...I could have done more...Itu yang geram, you know?

I know what you mean about there being caring individuals around, but it is sad that we don't have young people who rise to the challenge much...

We can't keep expecting the old people to do all the things needed to be done!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Sean E,

Thank you for the comment...=) And thanks for coming by...

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Kak Bitta,

Oh, those passengers aren't blind, so they must be uncivic-minded then...

As for your own experience, I was reminded of this article in the magazine a while back (can't remember which mag) which had this reporter act in three scenarios to see how gentlemanly our public are...

*Not that civic-mindedness is something that only men should show*

Anyway, the first scenario was the reporter in a cast with a broken arm, the second scenario was a the reporter lugging several suitcases down a flight of steps, and the third scenario was the reporter 'accidentally dropping' a stack of newspapers in the mall...

Quite interesting to see that a lot of guys just play bodoh and walk past without offering to help...

It was thus refreshing when a guy does stop to help! A knight in shining armour doesn't require much nowadays, huh? =)

Anyway, glad you got your kids and the stroller off the curb safely...=)

ms istanbul said...

HI Daphne,

And I wonder why the Government protested when we were ranked at near bottom of the list for being "rude". (I seriously cant remember what survey it was but it had to do something being kind/courteous, rank by countries).

Even my friends who came here (London) for a visit, said the same thing. She was close to Malaysia Hall, with a baby and stroller, and NO ONE helped her to bring the stroller down to the canteen (the stairs are pretty steep). Unlike when she boards the bus, people just help her to carry her stuffs (seeing she struggles with baby, bags, stroller).

Malaysians, home or abroad, clearly need brainwashed. *winks*

Bitta said...

Hi again..

I won't say err... it's just a malaysian thing or any nationality for that matter :-)

Cos' I've experienced many helpful people in Malaysia as well as abroad who would come and offer their help in an instance.

One time I came back from Malaysia and landed in seattle or Pdx airport I forgot, I only recalled they have to shuttle us from the international zone to the domestic zone for us to catch our domestic flight. I kena this shuttle's lady driver. There I was struggling to get my kids out of the double stroller, fold the stroller and haul it into the luggage rack while trying to make sure my kids gets in the shuttle and also I have this small hand luggage in tow. Not one of the passengers came down to help me.

I kept glancing at the lady driver... in my mind I thought, maybe she can come down and help me, cos that's what they're supposed to do... I think, or at least asked someone to come and help me. Nope, she instead gave me this impatient looks.

I manage to get my kids out and ushered them into the shuttle and while I was struggling to fold the stroller, one of the airport personnel, a young hispanic guy happened to passed by and straight away helped me and even hauled the stroller and my bag into the racks.

Shame on all the man in suit and women alike... in the shuttle just waiting and watching me in my predicament.

I guess it's all a matter of one's mentality eh.

Good discussion going here Daphne. Sure makes one think.

Zawi said...

Daphne,
Sad to say not many Malaysians are brought up with a caring upbringing. The adage of 'not to jaga tepi kain orang' is maybe one of the reasons.
The biggest reason is that we are always in a state of denial. When people says we are rude, we deny it. We never take it positively and make amends. Our top leaders are not sensitive to such things. They never have time to do what Mr. Lee Kuan Yew did to Singaporeans once - he asked his people to smile.

Nightwing said...

Hi Daphne,

Agree with what the others have mentioned. U did what u could.

And u were even thinking abt them...i doubt if anyone behind her was thinking about them.

the Razzler said...

Dear Daphne..

You did what you did with their interest at heart!! I guess the real challenge is when they are near the stairs and the people sitting nearby could have done something!!

I am super proud of you .. :) :)

Jo-D said...

Hi Dahp! Sorry I went away on holidays. You pity thing. You were sick and I did not even know about it! HOw are you now? Hope you are feeling better. I have never met a blind person. But if I see one next time I will remember to help them. Don't kick yourself Daph. We still need you to write this blog! He He.

Anonymous said...

Hey Adik,

Don't feel bad...as we're all humans. As the others have said, you did what you could, and I'm proud of you!!!! Countless times I noticed our people regardless of age just could not care less..., but I agreed with kerp (hi...:)), there're still a few who will go all out to help others..We can only do so much, and the others need to play their part too. Then only we can call ourselves a caring society!

Hope you've fully recovered...ST

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Ms Istanbul,

Hey, thanks for coming by...Truly global you are...Called Ms Istanbul, staying in London, coming from Malaysia! Hehe...

Anyway, I believe the survey you are talking about is the Reader Digest Survey (on how rude a country is, or something to that effect)...Malaysians did very badly...=(

As for your friend's experience near Malaysia Hall, could it be possible the people near there weren't all Malaysians? Hehe...State of denial I am in...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi again Aunty Bitta,

You know, you have a point there...It is not about nationality or status when it comes to being polite...

I have been shocked time and again to see professionals (like the doctors, lawyers etc) behave terribly rudely...

Like a saying goes: "The measure of a man is not in how he treats his equals, but in how he treats his subordinates"...

I guess it applies here too...If you are really a nice person, you would extend help to whoever you meet, whether or not they can benefit you directly...

Agreed?

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Pak Zawi,

You're right about us not taking it seriously...

Over here, when we have the 'Budi Bahasa' campaign (and the government asked civil servants to smile more), people mock it...Our cartoonists draw caricatures of how badly it can go wrong, or how people will laugh and make fun of it...

I think Malaysians are a friendly lot, generally (just compare the air-steward/ess from Malaysia and other countries when you're abroad)...But when it comes to real manners and civic-mindedness, we still lack behind...

Which is sad, huh?

Daphne Ling said...

Hi NightWing,

I am sure the people behind her were thinking of her...But I don't know if they were thinking of her kindly...Sad, really...

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm quite sure taking Aunty's hand and putting it on the frame of the door doesn't take much energy or time...Come to think of it, you save time...

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Uncle Jimmy,

Thanks a lot for the vote of confidence...

But I still feel bad, ya noe? I helped, but it wasn't enough...But I agree when you said the real challenge was at the stairs when people could instantly help, but didn't...

Thank God for the nice, elderly man...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Jo-D,

Aha! I was wondering what happened to you...Pray tell, where did you go this time?

I'm feeling great now, safe for the pile of work I have to catch up on...=(

Thank you for saying you will help a blind person the next time you see one...I am going to say the same thing...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi ST (Er would that be a Kak or an Abang?),

Yeah, you're right! We have to play our role as a society...We have to work together, because we can't become a caring society alone...Thanks for pointing that out...I didn't think of it that way!

Ok, you made me feel a little better...=) Hehe...

And yes, I am feeling much better, thanks for asking!

ms istanbul said...

Daphne,

Hmmm... you could be right... "look like malaysians, talk like malaysians, but not exactly malaysian". jeng jeng jeng... This reminds me of the famous video clip. *winks*

U keep well!

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Ms Istanbul,

Hehe...This joke is going to be around in Malaysia for a long time...It's just tooo lame a sentence for a lawyer to make! Haha! Ok, so alot of Malaysians are rude, wherever they may be...

You keep well too! =)

The damsel of no distress. said...

****)*^^&$^%$^#^%$^@@##@^%#^^$****

Urgh! I can't believe we;ve evolved so much just to be like this!