Monday, October 24, 2011

Humanity losing out to apathy

BY now, many would have seen the video footage of a little girl who was run over by a van and left to die in the streets of Foshan, Guangdong, in China.

The closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage showed how Wang Yue, aged two, was toddling along the street when she was struck by an oncoming van.

The driver stopped briefly when he realised he had hit the toddler but resumed driving, and the vehicle's back wheels went over the girl again.

As the toddler lay in a pool of blood, 18 people walked by without stopping to help, until another van ran over the girl again.

Finally, a scrap picker saw the toddler, pulled her to the side of the road, and cried for help, which attracted the attention of the toddler's mother.

According to news reports, Yue's father was working in his shop and her mother was hanging the laundry when the toddler wandered off into the street.

Last Friday, Yue, who was admitted to the Guangzhou military hospital, died of organ and brain failure.

A doctor described her injury as being too severe and that she could not be saved.

The tragedy sparked an outcry over China's declining morality amid the nation's rising affluence.

The subject was also hotly discussed in social media networks as links to the footage on Youtube were shared through emails and messaging systems.

On one of the Youtube videos, hundreds of viewers criticised those who witnessed the tragedy and did nothing to save the toddler.

When my wife showed me that video last week, I lost my appetite for dinner. Reading the comments there, many of which were from Malaysians, I was tempted to join in and give my two-sen's worth but resisted as I wondered, as a society, are we any different?

We have had our share of situations when our values have been questioned, have we not?

We often hear or read about snatch theft victims being dragged on the roads without anyone stopping to help. I hope the victims would have the heart to forgive the so-called innocent bystanders who, for reasons known best to them, did not come to their aid.

And the stories of babies who were dumped and left to die, God only knows for each one who was found alive, how many more did not survive.

And what about children who were lost in supermarkets as their parents were too engrossed in their shopping? How many times have you come across a distraught child lost in a sea of shoppers and reached out to help the child find his or her parents?

How many times have you faced situations where your personal integrity, social responsibility and sense of kindness were tested and you looked the other way because you are afraid to or did not want to get involved?

It is easy to blame others who looked the other way, and quite easy, too, to forget that by pointing a finger at them, three of our own are pointing back at us.

But whatever the circumstances, apathy is inexcusable regardless of whether it leads to tragedy or not.

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