Monday, August 11, 2008

Do we care enough to care?

I read in the papers today that a charitable organization is running a nationwide campaign to promote kindness and graciousness amongst the people in this country. It's a 5 month long campaign and its slogan is, "If we could care for strangers, caring wouldn't be strange."

People here are generally not very gracious to strangers. I can count the number of times when someone gave up his/her seat for me in buses and trains when I was pregnant. Believe me, that number does not exceed the number of players in a soccer team!

Most of the time, people just close their eyes or look away or pretend to be doing something else when a pregnant lady or elderly or disabled person boards the bus or train.

I don't know why it is so difficult for people here to care for others. Maybe everyone here is just so tired and drained from working so hard, maybe everyone here is inherently apathetic or maybe that's just how they have been brought up.

My intention of writing this is not to run a psychological analysis on the social graces of the people here but rather to share a glimmer of hope that maybe they will start to care. Maybe I'm in an idealistic mood at the moment or some might say naive but one would like to hope that we still care enough to care.

In all my 5 years of living in this country, one of my pet peeves are the reckless cyclists. In general, they think they own the pedestrian pathway (there are no designated lanes for cyclists here) so those who walk on 2 legs (or 4 for that matter) share the pathways with people on 2 wheels.

"Give way to you?? NEVER!"

I have experienced being almost knocked into by cyclists, even when I was carrying Osh Osh (be it that he was in my belly or in my arms!) on numerous occasions. I've also lost count of the number of times I've heard these loud annoying bicycle bells warning me to get out of their way or else, I'm to suffer their "wrath". These cyclists always seemed to be in a rush to get to their destinations.

One question which I often ask DH is why can't they cycle on the grass? DH's normal reply is because they don't want their bicycle wheels to get dirty!

Let me get back to the point of this post and why I said there is a glimmer of hope for me.
Last night, while having an evening stroll with DH and Osh Osh, I heard that oh-so-familiar bicycle bell. I was walking beside DH and DH was holding Osh Osh's hand. Almost on "auto pilot" mode, I just took a step back and started to walk behind DH and Osh Osh to give way to the cyclist.

To my surprise (or rather shock as this has never happened before to me in this country), the middle aged cyclist said, "Thank you". I almost fainted!
Dare I say that there is still hope that we care enough to care?

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