(Un)Popular Opinion | By nature, we humans are often drawn to things or events that make us feel good. It can be anything — food, destinations, people, or actions commonly known as ‘acts of kindness’.
It is also for this same reason that print publications and newspapers often have a section dedicated to reporting stories of anonymous individuals extending kindness to those around them, be it on or off camera.
As a writer myself, I’ve been doing this long enough to recognise the power of such stories and would often jump at the chance to cover it whenever possible because it is, after all, something worth writing.
In recent days, however, I’ve also noticed a pushback among readers against such coverage, where they accuse the person doing a good deed of being clout chasers, especially if the deed is being filmed.
This was evident in the case of a TikToker who taped RM50 on the shoulder of a Grab rider, where he was called an “attention grabber” and accused of doing it purely for content by netizens.
It then got me thinking: what then, constitutes as a genuine act of doing good to others whether it’s onscreen or not? At the end, it all came down to one single word: perspective.
It’s all about perspective
In the religion that I practice, I’ve been taught this verse which goes, ‘But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.’
For most people (including myself), it’s a reminder to do good deeds without the intention to publicly gain recognition or praise from others.
But increasingly, the line between genuine help and content curation has been deeply blurred with the rise of social media, making it hard to distinct between the two.
This poses a moral dilemma for content creators and normal folks alike: Should I continue doing good to others or just mind my own business even if I were to meet someone in need of help?
While I acknowledge this dilemma, I believe, in my humble opinion, that it can be resolved when one changes their perspective when the ‘act of kindness’ is carried out.
Going back to the RM50 story, one commenter summed up the heart of this subject very succinctly:
It depends on how you see (it). If your heart (is) full of hatred, you can only see the bad/negative sides whilst some people see this as an example to do kindness.
I wholly agree with what she said and I’d like to further add on by saying that as long as lives are touched and positivity is being shared around, is it not something worth celebrating?
Who are we to judge?
Though I understand the inner cringe or annoyance some may have when they see people extending help to others when the camera’s rolling, I’m also of the view that they have no right to pass judgement. After all, who can read the mind of the do-gooder?
We often get angry when others jump into conclusions without giving us the chance to explain, but here we are calling others a “hypocrite” and “fake” when we don’t know their side of the story.
Even if the person is truly doing the good deed merely as a pretense, let it be a matter between them and their conscience. The consequence is theirs to bear, not yours.
If given a choice, I’d rather see a TikTok clip about someone doing a heartwarming act (be it genuine or not) than one teaching gullible kids about dangerous trends.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and does not purport to reflect the opinions or views of WeirdKaya.