Every small act counts

September 02, 2013

THE story of how Mr Tong Ming Ming saved a stranger’s life by donating of part of his liver is extremely inspiring (“Cabby donates liver to stranger”; Aug 11). Such acts of extraordinary kindness deserve all the accolades received.

Many of us can only stand in awe of Mr Tong’s courageous altruism. We may go away thinking that since we are not capable of such grand kindness, we are not able to make a difference.

But as Mother Teresa reminds us: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Let us not forget the little things we can do – little things that, collectively, can accomplish great things.

Mr Paul Heng’s letter (“Lend a helping hand by giving blood”; Aug 18) is about one of these “little things” that can have far-reaching results.

Hospitals rely on blood banks for many of the medical procedures we have taken for granted. They are constantly in urgent need of replenishing because blood shortages regularly occur.

According to the annual statistics report on blood donation in Singapore from the Health Sciences Authority, 70,855 people donated blood in Singapore last year, slightly shy of 2 per cent of Singapore’s residential population.

What encourages me is that 32 per cent of those donors are youth donors. What touches me even more is that the highest number of donations made by a single donor is an astonishing 243. In this regard, literally every individual and every drop counts.

A kinder and more gracious society is built in much the same way. The state of kindness of a society is not determined by single huge doses of grand kindness, but by a collection of small random acts of kindness.

Some, like Mr Tong, will continue to inspire others with grand, sweeping acts of kindness and selflessness. Most will carry out small acts of kindness – being neighbourly, expressing gratitude, showing compassion and understanding – and cumulatively, they will be the transforming force for good in our society.

The best affirmation we can give Mr Tong is to be kinder ourselves, be it donating an organ, donating blood or the smallest kind acts like giving up your seat or helping others with the door.

I am sure Mr Tong would agree.

Dr William Wan
General Secretary
Singapore Kindness Movement

First published in The Straits Times – September 2, 2013

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