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Why Are You Doing This?

The kids are in this play area and I dump them there while I saunter around aimlessly in the shopping mall. Nothing captures my fancy because (my friends know this) I am not much of a shopper. Not that I am a careful shopper (only in a pub am I dangerous) but I don't like shopping for things simply because.... The only thing that can capture my fancy are books. So, I head to MPH and since I don't have membership with MPH (I have one with Popular instead), I grab one book, some wrapping paper (for my new books - they're going to be CLOTHED!!!) and off I went to sit down on a bench overlooking the....TRAFFIC. Ah well. Better than nothing. I sat there and read three pages before someone said, 'Excuse me, Miss. Do you have five minutes?' I looked up and went Aw, fug. Hit on by some marketeer, no doubt. 'No, Miss. I am not interested. I am,' I said waving my book around. The only people I will actually entertain when they walk up to me like this are people who are volunteering for charitable organizations. And lo and behold, she was. She flashed me her card, gave me her name, gave me her IC number, a book of pictures and verification documents and said in Mandarin, 'Miss, all we need from each person is one can of milk for these handicapped people. One can is RM30, that's all.' I look at my RM35.90 book...this book can feed some handicapped people for a month, eh? OK lah, OK lah...let me have a look lah!!! I did this begrudgingly and ended up berating myself for two seconds after that. She's a volunteer working to help others and here I am trying to give her crap. Fine. I flipped through the documents and even asked her for her IC. I may be big hearted but I don't take kindly to being conned. I want to know I am passing the money to the right people with the right frame of mind. Anyway, it matched. It's a habit coz I donate a bit whenever I can. I don't mind sacrificing a little for what means a lot to others. So, I don't know if you guys do this or if these people ever had people ask them but this is what I always ask BEFORE handing in the money, 'Why are you doing this?' She went, 'Huh? I am legitimate, Miss. I am not cheating you, I promise.' 'No, I mean, why are you doing....THIS.' She paused for a while and we had to decide on a language: her faltering English, my faltering Mandarin or a language we can BOTH speak, Cantonese. Bless Hong Kong TVB. 'When I was young, I was very disobedient. My parents told me not to drink too much Coca-Cola but I was very naughty, all my pocket money, I spent on Coca-Cola only. I can drink up to eight bottles of Coke everyday. I only completed Std Six and after that, because my family is poor, I have to come out to work. But at the age of eight, my liver failed. My parents had no money but with the help of relatives and most of my villagers' help, I managed to be treated in Penang. If not for them, I would not be here today. I am from Alor Setar but I am working in a restaurant in Jinjang today, I am nineteen. I continue to be on medication but I am OK most of the time. I always tell myself that if not for the help of others, I would not be here today. I can't do this very often so once a month, or twice a month, I help out. Others help me and it's my duty to help others now that I can, at least, work to fend for myself.' I sat there, listening, wondering if she was acting. The Coke thing is probably untrue because just from consuming Coke alone, one would not have liver failure. My guess is it's probably inborn or genetically inherited. Whatever it is, I held onto my money and listened. At the end of it all, I believed her. There were many others who have told me stories before and most of them went along the lines of 'my father's wish' or 'a relative is living in this facility' or 'it's near my home'. I don't think a lot of donors ask this type of question and it often disarms them. But this is one of the truest I've heard so far.
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