Monday, October 13, 2008

Kindness is all Around

This article, written by my brother, was recently published in a local newspaper, The Star, in Malaysia. I know he won't mind me posting it here and I am quite sure that you will enjoy reading it as much as I did! Let's have more of this in the media!!!

In times of stress, it is all too easy to condemn others for apparently offensive acts. Often, we may see a prettier sight if only we weren’t so quick to pass judgment.

IT was 11.30pm and I was heading home aboard the last KL-Klang bus. After a hard day’s work, many of my fellow passengers and I had no difficulty nodding off for a well-earned snooze.

The dual carriageway had not been built then and, although the traffic was not as heavy as it is today, driving at night was not without its dangers.
All of a sudden, the serenity was shattered by a scream. “Sudah lepas! Ayoh! (I’ve overshot! Oh dear!)”, an elderly Chinese woman cried out.

So much for the snooze! Was it her poor tired eyes, I wondered, or was it the dimly lit road that had caused this.
The driver was visibly annoyed. “Apa pasal tidur? Turun! (Why were you sleeping? Get off!)”

I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the hapless woman but what could we do?
As the lady was about to step out of the bus the driver shouted, “Balik! Balik! (Get back)”.

She was confused. She had no intention of proceeding to Klang.

“Balik! Balik!” he insisted, the tone even angrier and more impatient.
She had no choice but to comply. And then we saw, or rather experienced, the ride of a lifetime.

Driving a big bus forward on a winding road in the middle of the night was no mean feat. To do it in reverse under such conditions required great skill and will.
And that is what he had. And that is what he did ­€“ moving backwards some 200m to her intended stop.

“Terima kasih,” the old lady gushed as she blessed the gruff-yet-kind driver with tears of joy rolling down her cheeks.

It was a beautiful sight. Everyone was happy even if it meant we’d all reach home a little bit later than we’d hoped.

I chose to alight last as we arrived at our destination. Going up to the driver, I told him in Tamil: “You are a kind-hearted man.”

He understood what I was referring to. “What to do, sir?” he said, “Paavem (poor thing), how to leave her like that?”

On another day, a public holiday in conjunction with a Muslim festival, I was waiting for my bus to move off, along with several worshippers who had apparently just finished their religious obligations.

The bus was parked with its engine running, ready to set off on its route any minute.
Suddenly, a Volvo roared up and screeched to a halt right in front of the bus, as if to prevent it from moving off.

You needed a strong measure of callousness and a stronger measure of gall to do that. The driver, unquestionably, had both. I could well imagine the other passengers’ disgust at what they had just witnessed.
Indeed, I concurred with a guy who remarked: “Dia mahu eksyen pasal Volvo (He wants to show off his Volvo).”

The driver, a Chinese youth, got down, opened the rear left door and - to our surprise and shame - helped an old blind man (who too must have come from the mosque) to alight.

“Perlahan perlahan, Pakcik (Slowly, slowly),” he said, gently leading him by the hand to the bus. He helped the old man up the steps, found him a seat and returned quickly to his car.

Next he opened the rear right door, helped out an old lady, probably the man’s wife, and helped her to a seat beside him.

I, and like-minded people, were humbled at our ability to pass judgement at such great speed.

My attempts at restarting my motorbike proved futile. It was about 6pm, and you certainly didn’t expect people returning home after work to stop and lend you a hand, especially in a narrow one-way motorcycle lane.

Some 10 minutes later, a young man saw my plight and came up to me.

“What’s the problem, Uncle?” he enquired. I told him. He tried his skills on my stubborn two-wheeler, but to no avail.
At least he stopped, I told myself, as he mounted his bike to leave. But no, he wasn’t leaving me.

“Uncle, naik motor, pegang bahu saya (Get on your motorcycle, hold on to my shoulder),” he said. He was going to tow me!

So, I got on to my bike and held on to his shoulder. It was a good 6km ride fraught with much fear and anxiety until we finally came to a motorcycle shop.

The good lad refused to leave and proceed home until he was satisfied that my bike was attended to.

No amount of persuasion would permit him to take a token of appreciation from me. He even refused to give me his name and address. My thanks seemed good enough for him.
We may be strangers belonging to different faiths, but love and compassion make us brothers.


  1. Lovely, heart-warming tales - they speak louder than the fanciest philosophy.
    Thank you Lucy for airing them here.

  2. Aren't they just? Want to start a Good News blog???

  3. That's a good idea actually - but hang on - you already have started one . . . right here.
    (I'm sure it's a car battery . . .)

  4. I'm glad we've cleared that one up then!

    Have I? Ok, well, if you think so. I thought I was traveling through soul-space but I guess its the same space that life occupies :-)

    Joy itself!

  5. For goodness sake, of course its a bloomin' car battery. How could I have not recognized it??? Easy - poor vision, poor lighting and low interest...especially the last!

  6. Well, it's a very pertinent photograph - hinting at the overbearing power wielded by the oil and motor industries - and how, even now, we have the technology available for pollution free transportation.
    Very subtle Lucy . . .

  7. I did not pause long enough for the subtleties to percolate to the top of my awareness so thanks for pointing it out to me Tim. Now, this is what I consider 'useful conversation' :-)