What I talk about when I talk about giving


Do you know how it feels when people keep telling you that you are doing charity?

How does it feel like when people ask if you give away a part of your life to help people?

One of the reasons I started this series “What I talk about when I talk about……” is to keep myself in-check with what I want to do, instead of occupying my life with people’s point of views. It’s a matter of fact that we can’t escape to give what we do a second thought when questions were raised, especially when the “truth” you perceived is highly dissimilar compared to what others have for you.

Partly, it’s always because I’m tired of explaining. When the idea of helping people is nothing other than doing charity, in which charity always means sacrificing yourself for the greater good.

IT HAS TO CHANGE. This conventional mindset of self-oriented focus that ignores the participations of others when you give. Whenever you give a hand, you receive another. Reaching out is only meaningful when your hand is accepted. It always takes two to clap. Please forgive me for being cynical about the concept of giving but how many of us have really thought about doing the right things right?

Giving is no sacrifice.

So right now I want to come clean. Undoubtably, I work hard to survive. In order for me to pay my bills, I chose to work in the day time and allocate my remaining resources to connecting with people who genuinely need help. They might not always need food or money from us. Sometimes they are happy enough to see you dropping by to say hello, to get them a packet of cigarettes and for them in return, buy you teh tarik.

This ain’t no sacrifice. This is social life.

And how many times we see people tried so hard to provide for someone? They gave away their time with their families. They gave away good health with no rest for their mind and body. When you help someone, you empty your soul. Are you up for this, pushing yourself over the edge to pull someone up from that cliff? It is also not about how much you give. It’s about how good you have facilitated the transformation. If you want to give, make sure you don’t just create an abundance of the same thing. Be efficient and you know how scarce resources are. There is a reason why most of the NGOs have failed to be as efficient as businesses.

Lastly, giving is also about endurance. It might not be something you are comfortable with, but it may change you as a person when you realise how much change you have initiated in you and the people around you. Take it slow and let’s embrace the bravery in us to give and share.

“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater.

But sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.

That is the sort of bravery I must have now.”

Veronice Roth

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