Can we try to be good Samaritans?

THERE'S a saying that's been quoted again and again through the years, and it's repeated all too often because it's true. It's true that evil prevails when good people do nothing.

I suppose that it's why it's always reassuring to read news of ordinary people standing up to do the right thing, especially when it's done selflessly by someone who doesn't expect anything in return. It’s a clear break from the politicking, bickering and infighting that seems to flood the front pages and web pages lately.

So having said that, I can't help but be thankful that across May we have also seen reports of people - people like you and me - stepping up to help others in need.

The first instance that comes to mind is the story of the act of an anonymous Malaysian who triggered the #payungitforward movement. Basically, 30-year-old copywriter Naqib Nadhir Shamsuri was caught in the rain when he was walking when a woman driving by slowed down and called him over with a hand gesture.

"I slowly walked by the car to see what was going on, and she slowly wound down her window and she passed me the umbrella. Before I could even thank her, she rolled up her window and drove off," said Naqib when interviewed by The Star’s Desiree Gasper after his Facebook post of May 10 went viral.

Following from this, Naqib has vowed to continue this woman's act of kindness to him by passing on the umbrella to another in need, which is why his movement is called #payungitforward.

"Such a person is a rarity these days," said Naqib.

Having said that, this woman isn't the only kind soul out there. There was another act of compassion on May 13 when 29-year old Dr Dalvinder Singh stepped up to help when he saw a father holding his two-year-old child at the bottom of an escalator at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) after getting off his Kuching-Kuala Lumpur flight.

“My first thought was that the child fell when I noticed that the boy had his hand stuck in the escalator up to his forearm. The child was crying and I did not see anyone trying to help,” he said, adding that he was shocked to hear that the father had been waiting for help for 15 minutes.

Indeed, Dalvinder noticed that people were watching with their phones out and taking videos, but no one was helping.

After checking on the child, whose arm had gone slightly blue, he sprung into action and helped two airport maintenance staff who were trying to pry open the escalator.

The boy’s arm was finally released after a few minutes, bleeding and cut with tendons exposed.

He quickly administered first aid and the boy was immediately taken to a nearby clinic for further treatment.

And in speaking to The Star's Chow Yin Shan, the doctor with the Sarawak State Health Department raised a really powerful point to ponder.

“What is the point of posting photos of the incident and captioning ‘oh so sad’? Why not help out? No one can help everyone but everyone can help somebody," he said.

I'll agree with him on that note. As the anonymous Samaritan in Naqib's case clearly illustrates, we can all help someone in need, and I feel we should.

All we really need to do at the end of the day is to keep our hearts and eyes open and our conscience as primed, charged and ready as many of our smartphones and social media accounts are at moments like this.

Indeed, in reading Dalvinder's comments, I am reminded of a question I was asked once. 

"Where will you be now, will you care?"

Will you be like Dr Dalvinder and the anonymous Samaritan, or will you chase "likes" and reactions on social media? Will you come forward when you see someone in need because you care?

The choice - as always - is yours to make.

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