By LIM SUE GOAN
Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE
Sin Chew Daily
In October last year, two-year-old Wang Yue was run over by two vans and ignored by 18 passers-by in China. The incident sparked a discussion online: Would the ending be the same if the incident took place in other countries?
Unfortunately, a similar incident was staged in Penang. At least five people walked past a Chinese elderly woman who was snatched and fell to unconsciousness, without lifting a finger to help her. Wang Yue struggled in the hospital for nine days before she passed away while the elderly woman succumbed to her injuries eight hours after she was admitted to the Penang Hospital.
Although the woman was killed by the heartless snatch thief, the indifference of the passers-by is bitterly disappointing. Lending a timely helping hand might be able to save a human life.
Wang Yue was run over by two vans and 18 passers-by walked past her without trying to help in seven minutes, until an elderly trash collector rescued her. Whereas the elderly woman in Penang fell and lay unconscious after her handbag was snatched by a motorcyclist and at least five passers-by hurriedly walked past her in four minutes. Compared to the Wang Yue incident in China, the elderly woman in Penang was rescued three minutes faster with less indifferent passers-by.
It should not, however, be used as a standard to assess morality and the spirit of mutual help. The passers-by had indeed left the victims in mortal danger without lifting a finger to save them. Moreover, it is not the first case of similar incidents. Local artist Lim Dang Chii was robbed and assaulted at her gallery in Penang at 10pm on June 26, 2012. Covering in blood, she shouted for help, but was ignored by at least three passers-by.
The Wang Yue incident sparked outrage within the community and even the international community had questioned the quality of the Chinese people.
The Chinese's people morality was mostly discussed among netizens. Why were they so cold-blooded? What was wrong with the society?
Similarly, we must ask ourselves, are Malaysians turning callous? Particularly, Rifle Range is very dense in population. Is the spirit of neighbourliness no longer exits?
I think that we can actually study the incident from two points of view. Firstly, is minding only own business a deep-rooted bad habits of the Chinese?
The Chinese have been seen as timid and selfish and although some improvements have been made in recent years, they are still not enough to change the overall perspective.
Rifle Range is a Chinese-majority area and two Chinese had joined the acts of helping the elderly woman, including an elderly man with a walking stick, who shouted for help. However, the two persons who called the ambulance and the police, as well as moved the victim to the side of the road were Indians.
Secondly, the number of crimes has increased and if we still do not help each other, the criminals might return one day.
Please allow me to tell a true story here. A Chinese couple migrated to the Chinese district of New York were assaulted and robbed by two African youths in a lift.
The robbers fled and the couple knocked from door to door, calling for help. However, they either received no answer or some residents just cast an indifferent look at them before shutting the door.
One and a half month later, the man brought a few newspaper cuttings about the incident and a handwritten appeal letter to police stations and called on Chinese immigrants to form a community street watch mutual aid teams. However, he received no response. He sighed and said: "What I have encountered today might happen to you tomorrow..."
Indeed, we might encounter the same tragic ending of the elderly woman in Penang tomorrow if we do not change the indifferent attitude today.
Malaysians have no more counter to be indifferent.