Not all heroes wear capes — Dharm Navaratnam

OCT 15 — Over the last couple of years I have been fortunate to meet people who are intent on making a difference.  More importantly, these people are interested in making a difference in other peoples lives. 

I will be the first to admit that I myself was caught up in the ratrace of the corporate world.  I was more interested in wondering where the next buck would come from and how I could double that buck.  I was more interested in discussion politics and the state of the nation.  There was hardly any thought for those less fortunate and if there was, it was soon forgotten.

Then I met people who sacrificed their time and energy to volunteer at food kitchens to feed the needy.  Each and every week.  Then there were others that tried to reduce food wastage and hunger.  Yet others provided free counselling services to those with problems.  There were others that volunteered at refugee centres.  And there were others that volunteered at more than one concern.  Sometimes, the same faces would be seen at different causes.

The stories from these volunteers were quite staggering.  There were cases of violence and disorder. Threats were made against volunteers when requests for money were turned down.  There were stories of sexual harrasment both verbal and physical.  There were instances where women volunteers were groped when handing out food.  There was a story where there was an attempt by a mother to leave her newborn baby in the arms of a volunteer that was cradling it. 

Quite shocking really to have these things happen to you when you are trying to help other people.  What is truly amazing though is that these volunteers keep going back each and every week depite all these setbacks.  Despite the danger that they are putting themselves into, they believe in the larger cause of helping people and that has to be admired.

Today, one of these volunteers decided to celebrate their significant Birthday with Myanmar child refugees.  To me, that selfless act was what motivated me to write this article.  There is a need to share what our fellow Malaysians are doing for the needy and less fortunate because too many of us are just not aware of what is out there.  Too many of us dont even care.

Maybe it’s time that we looked at ways and means to help out those who are less fortunate.  Maybe the way to a better country is to focus less on politics and to focus more on each other.

I dont have the answers but I know that there are a lot of people out there that are prepared to sacrifice their time, their money and their efforts in making a difference.  They put their thoughts, ideas and effort into action to directly impact other peoples lives.  They put aside politics, religion and idealogy to focus on what really matters - helping our fellow man.

And that to me makes them true heroes.  As a friend of mine once said, not all heroes wear capes.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or organisation and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

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