Acts of kindness are infectious

  • Opinion
  • Sunday, 05 Apr 2020

Goodie bags: Vegetables and fruits left on a fence in Sabah during the pandemic. ­­ —­ Prisca Lambun/Facebook

AT the entrance of Kampung Pogunon in Penampang, Sabah, bamboo shoots are hanging from the fence around a villager’s wooden home. The message on the wire-mesh fence – as well as on social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook, where it is accompanied by photos – reads “Free, take one”.

During this ongoing movement control order (MCO) period, Joe Suleiman, 59, has been hanging bags of bamboo shoots, bananas and chillies on his fence.

“We do our little bit for our community, as it is now difficult for people to go out to buy food,” he said.

Other villagers, like Bibi Zairah Alli and Prisca Lambun, are also hanging bags of vegetables and fruits on their fences.

Over in Peninsular Malaysia, a resident of USJ13 in Subang Jaya, Selangor, posted in her community WhatsApp group: “USJ 13 folks – if any elderly people in our taman (residential park) are living alone, please identify them if they need extra support for food and medicine. I try to help around as much as possible, ya.”

Ruby Stephen, a 43-year-old mobilisation manager, offered her help because she understands the hardship experienced by those who need help, especially the elderly.

“During the MCO period, most of them struggle to go out to get essential items from a nearby shop, especially if they don’t have transport,” she said.

Other USJ13 residents have also made offers through the community’s messaging group to help neighbours during the MCO period.

There are many such untold stories of acts of kindness among Malaysians facing the Covid-19 pandemic.

In our fight to contain the outbreak, the new normal in the time of Covid-19 is social distancing, scarcity of three-ply face masks, hand sanitisers and bread, and #JustStayAtHome.

However, trying to remain negative of the virus has brought out positivity. At a time when we are ordered to #JustStayAtHome, Malaysians are reaching out via messaging apps or social media to help their neighbours with little acts of kindness.

At a time when we are anxious about keeping a physical distance from our neighbours, friends and strangers, it is heartening that we are showing emotional closeness through kindness. There are Malaysians who are ready and willing to do what is necessary to help each other during this testing time.

The acts of kindness, like those displayed by the villagers in Pogunon and the resident in Subang Jaya, are inspiring, heartening and, dare we say, infectious.

The Pogunon story has gone viral in Sabah, encouraging other people and communities to follow suit. Or, as Mary William, who lives in Kuala Lumpur and has roots in Pogunon, puts it, “You give, you receive ... God bless.”

As we face down this Covid-19 pandemic together, it is a time for social distancing, yes, but also for strength and kindness.

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Sunday Star Says , MCO , Covid-19 , kindness


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