I WANT to get this off my chest. I am an undergraduate in a local public university and come from a family that is not so well-to-do. Many of my friends on campus come from much more comfortable backgrounds and I am glad that they can get on with their studies and daily lives without having to worry too much about finances.
But I find that a handful of them seem to be insensitive to the plight of the less fortunate in our midst. Don’t get me wrong, they do not look down on the poor nor taunt them for their financial lack. But perhaps due to their entitled backgrounds, they can’t seem to be able to relate to how people like myself value any assistance that comes our way.
For example, the RM200 cash aid given to tertiary students like myself earlier this month under the government’s Prihatin programme went a long way in helping me cope. That amount was almost half of what I had allocated monthly for my expenses like rent (which I share with my varsity mates) and transportation costs.
Recently, during a casual conversation with my coursemates, some of them ran down such government initiatives, which they felt were a form of vote-buying or whatever. Perhaps they did not know how much it meant to people like me, who can’t afford to maintain a weekly Starbucks fix like some of them do.
For such entitled people, the plight of the less fortunate is a blind spot. Imagine being ridiculed for accepting help that got you through a tight spot. I used the RM200 to help me complete my thesis which required some fieldwork that was made more difficult by travel restrictions and the Covid-19 SOP.
Also, considering that a lot of our coursework has been done online, the government’s free 1GB data plan last year came in handy for people like me to hook up to classes via Zoom and Google Meet. In fact, I plan to use the RM150 e-wallet credit allocated to all youth under the Pemerkasa plan to upgrade my mobile Internet plan.
For many of my peers on campus, such amounts may be small, or even negligible. But for people like me, they can go a long way in helping us survive hard times. So before you run down such assistance, at least spare a thought for those who truly are appreciative of them.
People, show some empathy for those around you, please.
Seri Kembangan, Selangor