Monday, July 19, 2010

Mostly empty

Were the tins half full or half empty? Mine was mostly empty.

It has been years since I last sold flags.

Maybe I have become older and less charming, or maybe I wasn't wearing a school uniform, and hence somehow invoke less sympathy. Whatever the reason is, people HAVE definitely become less generous and more hostile. I remembered gathering much more donations from the passers-by then. In fact, it was those who refused to donate who looked embarassed, as if they felt obliged to donate. What has happened to our society since?

I didn't mind the heat and discomfort of standing beside a bus stop with a tin, even if it meant getting covered with dust from vehicles' exhaust fumes. But what hurt most was the rudeness I experienced. My goodness, being a misanthrope, I wouldn't say that I am usually friendly. But it was shocking to see the kaleidoscope of rejection methods. Some people...simply put, behaved as if they had the right to treat others anyway they want. I wanted to say, hey, I'm a volunteer, not a beggar ok... Just trying to help out here. Trying to be useful to society, even if it annoys you. You have the right to be a stingy bug*er but not the right to be a rude one.
Ok, I admit, eventually, some aggressiveness in me manifested. I approached a group of NUS students and (politely) asked if anyone would like to donate. The semi-circle of undergraduate eyeballs stared at me uncomprehendingly, and so I said coldly, "Not one among (all of) you can spare one coin?" Then I rolled my eyes at them and walked away. Self-righteousness rarely felt so justified. So there!

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