It was drizzling on Tuesday morning when I left home for office.
As I stood below the building and about to open my umbrella, an old Malay man walked past briskly into the rain with his head looking down.
I opened my umbrella and strode towards him and patted on his shoulder and asked: “Hi, it’s raining. Do you need an umbrella?”
He gave me an astonished look before he smiled and said: “No, it’s ok. I’m fine.”
Even though he has rejected me, I continued to shelter him from the drizzles.
After we have crossed the road, his bus came and he thanked me before boarding his bus.
My heart was touched as I watched him his back disappearing in the bus.
Isn’t that what life is? Just just a simple act of generosity can bring happiness to us.
Soon, I boarded my own bus and started reading my book till I reached my destination.
It was still drizzling as I could see droplets of water dancing in the air. I could also see rays of sunshine trying to pierce through the cloudy sky.
I looked around, hoping that I would see a rainbow but was disappointed.
Even though it was just drizzling and one would not get too wet, I decided to use my umbrella.
Along the way, I saw yet another young woman walking briskly under the drizzle, and I had the urge to share my umbrella with her. But I held myself back for I worry that I would be mistaken to be trying to get close to her.
This matter was very trivial, but it left me with some thoughts to be pondered that day.
It was a long day and as I sat in the company transport on my way home after work, I watched the streets whizzed past before my eyes.
The morning rain has cleared all the filth in the air while the afternoon sun seemed to have brought a fresh look to this beautiful city.
At times, I just love to gaze into the external world even though it’s just a concrete jungle. I could see the evening sun descending slowly as the bus moved along the road and the fiery clouds filled the blue sky.
I let my thoughts wander and began to recollect my morning experience with the old man and the young woman.
I was wondering what has given me the strength to approach the old man and yet what has stopped me from sheltering the woman from the drizzle.
Honestly, I knew that I have held myself back for the very simple reason of fear — the fear of misunderstanding from the young woman. I was worried that she might think I wanted to get close to her. And therefore, I have found myself the best excuse, which is the drizzle was not going to make her too wet.
This is apparently one of the problems we face in this society, where we find ourselves too concerned on how others think or look upon us, regardless at home, in the office or along the street. We are afraid of the “surprised“ look on their faces, always thinking that we are silly, foolish or even having a motive in what we do.
But as I recollect my memory for that day, I found myself so silly to worry too much.
So what if the young woman really thought that I wanted to get close to her? So what if the other people on the road thought the same way too? These are all passers by in my life, and the chance of us meeting again is so small. More importantly is, whatever I thought may not be what I thought it was.
It’s all our own worries created out of nothing.
On the other hand, it is reality that has made us to behave like this, as we see more and more selfish thoughts and actions in this first world society.
Technological advancement, especially in multi-media, has caused this world to be a place where “mine-fields” can be found everywhere. Whatever that we do or say can be so easily captured by all the phone cameras, and sometimes resulting in misunderstanding of our situations.
I seem to have put the blame of my own selfish thoughts on the society, when in actual fact, I have not understood the true meaning of compassion.
Whenever I take public transport (public buses), I will find a seat in the upper deck (if it’s a double deck bus) or at the rear of the bus.
If there is no seat available, I would rather stand than sitting down in the lower deck or in the front rows.
My behaviour is a result of experiences that I have gone through. I know that the elderly, the needy and the pregnant women will seldom climb to the upper deck or move to the rear, as they have difficulties to do so.
But I do so not because I am selfish, but more often than not, I have the habit of reading while sitting, or gazing out of the windows, or even dozing off and this can result in me not knowing that someone who needs the seat more than I do has boarded the bus.
And if that happens, I may draw the attention of the other commuters and get myself into a situation where everyone think that I”m selfish guy with no compassion.
Unfortunately I have been through experiences which put me into embarrassed situations and I have since chosen the path of avoidance. I have squeezed through crowded buses to give up my seats for someone who needed it more and was rejected.
At that point in time, I could feel all eyes were on me, for I have caused a bit of inconvenience to the others. I didn’t know should I take back my own seat or just stay put.
And as I think of it now, it is my own vanity and hypocritical personality that led me to such behaviours, as I was too concerned on how others look at me.
in fact, such thoughts in itself is inappropriate for I should not feel guilty just because I have not extended my help to others due to my own vanity or dignity. I should always help with true compassion, disregarding how others look upon me.
Compassion is not something that we practise for others to see.
My experience that day has truly proven that I have not really understood the meaning of compassion, as I was still concerned about the opinions of the other people, even if they are strangers.
I could have just walked towards the woman and sheltered her from the drizzle.
This was honestly a trivial matter but it led me to think deeper into how human beings behave in this society. We have always thought that some things are so trivial such that we simply neglect the importance of helping others. And this caused us to see the world as a cold and unhelpful world.
Do not disregard small good deeds, even if our little actions can only bring upon a smile onto the face of the receivers, or a little warmth in their hearts.
We shall not ask for anything in return and shall not expect others will treat us likewise.
As long as we are still able to help others, it is our own blessings.