By TAY TIAN YAN
Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily
The passerby showed up, telling the world what he saw on that day.
Why didn't you offer a helping hand seeing the woman lying badly injured on the floor?
"I was afraid if I moved a little closer, I would be seen as the culprit "
If you knew she was still alive, would you try to help?
"I didn't have a cellphone with me, and there were no others around. No way I could help."
Did you feel bad just walking away like that?
"No. I was really short of time then."
The passerby's answers portray his crude candidness and the astonishing indifference of our society.
Not offering a hand to avoid trouble and for fear of being misunderstood (as the killer snatch thief?).
Not offering a hand because of not knowing how to (not even how to shout "tolong," or move the victim to the roadside, or use a public phone, or seek help from others, or slow down the rushy pace...).
Not feeling bad for ignoring the dying woman because of own tight schedule (which is more important than another individual's life).
If things have gone this far, what else can we say?
Perhaps not just that passerby who would think this way, or pretend not to see the urgent need to save a life, or not feel bad for not trying to help...
We don't have to point all our fingers at that passerby (and that's why his identity has been withheld here), as there are many others who will act the same way.
It has become a social norm that domiciles within the genes of Malaysians and lurks deep inside the core of our society.
Given such cultural background, doing a good deed and saving a stranger's life could be compromised and even obliterated if the same does not do us any good at all.
As if that is not enough, it doesn't even have any moral implication and has absolutely nothing to do with our conscience, not anything that requires us to bow down our heads when walking in a public street and yet still affords us a peaceful sleep at night.
So then why should anyone offer a hand to help? Rightly so, but if we should allow humanity to be brought down to such pathetic levels at the expanse of personal interests, this society of ours is no longer "human."
I believe the genes of benevolence and righteousness do have a place in human nature, which would mobilise us to help. That said, the overpowering selfishness and utilitarianism in our society have altered and distorted the value system of many.
Our society should be one that inspires people to do good and help.
We don't need to act like Batman, though, putting on a mask while doing justice. But if we live in Batman's Gotham City, caring only about our own business and not appreciating what Batman has done, there wouldn't be any who is keen to take on Batman's role.