Sunday, 20 May 2007

may i help you?

this episode of helping che' chomeyll proof-reading her final thesis and her subsequent glowing acknowledgements got me thinking about this business of helping people. are there any real intrinsic values when we reach out for those helping hands and where is the line between nobility and responsibility?

checking with the oxford online dictionary, the literal definiton of help is as given here:

  • verb 1 make it easier for (someone) to do something. 2 improve (a situation or problem). 3 (help someone to) serve someone with (food or drink). 4 (help oneself) take something without permission. 5 (can/could not help) cannot or could not refrain from.
  • noun 1 assistance or a source of assistance. 2 a domestic servant or employee.
PHRASES so help me (God) used to emphasize that one means what one is saying. there is no help for it there is no way of avoiding a situation.

i guess what lollies and myself did for che chomeyll thesis could be defined as the no 1 and no 2. we definitely didn't help ourselves with her thesis as in definition 4 and similarly, all the food that we got while doing the helping was our own servings anyway.

do we expect something else in return when we help people? i can't speak for everybody but for me, it is a resounding yes. the expected returns could be in any form of religous, social, financial or personal gains. i could assure you that i will not be included into one of those noble people that would unselfishly reach out to those pleading hands and expect nothing in return. but what matters more is what do we expect in return? it could be as simple as feeling good and appreciated to the more sinister expectations such as kickbacks and other scary repercussions that i simply could list down here. hence, the hutang budi dibayar body connotation which thankfully to myself and che' chomeyll, not what i had in mind. when all else fails, my justification of helping somebody is as simple as hoping that i would be able to find those helping hands myself in the future when i reached out for one. and could not help ourselves not helping her? i don't know.

the glowing acknowledgements from che chomeyll also got me thinking about the value and appreciation that we would receive in returns for being the knight in the shining armour. ever noticed that the appreciation that we would show to the helping hands is inversely proportional to the closeness of that person to us? i can't speak for the rest of us but for me, i know that i would express more appreciation to my office mates whom would offer generously his or her biscuits or banana fritters during those hungry afternoon compared to the wife who cooks dinner after spending her entire day in the office. another example to illustrate my point is that of a bed-ridden person in a hospital whom exhibits his or her gratitude to a passing stranger whom hands over that bottle of water compared to a similar act performed by his or her 5 year old child.

tonight is definitely is not my writing night. i've been staring at this for a good half hour and the words are just not flowing as it should be. my daughter's insistence on putting her to bed halfway through certainly didn't help either.

well then, there were several points that i would like to make. maybe i will just list them in bullet forms to get around the problem of looking for the best way to express them.

  1. while most of us cringe to cry for help for various reasons such as personal pride, admission of fault and others, my greatest fear is overdoing it to the point of overindulging hence personal backlash not unlike what happened to fd's "friend".

  2. the stranger the person, the more appreciated the help would be.

  3. we normally fail to acknowledge the "help" that we get from the people closest to us and dismiss those as their responsibilites. i should work more on that.

  4. when you really, really need help, just reach out for those helping hands. despite all the violent crimes, despicable acts and competitiveness, there are still many noble people out there who might surprise you with their helping hands (nope, i'm not referring to myself, lolies maybe)

  5. helping hands do benefit from answering the calls. at least in my case, i now understand completely what those future doctors meant when they said that their ams is completely unrelated to their medical profession and it only served as a vehicle to wasting away all those clinicals that they had done in their previous years. i also got to know the kind of studies that they did to measure the perception of exercise among different people. maybe i should read up more on this definition of exercise because definitely i'm not doing enough.

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