Thursday, August 07, 2008

A LITERAL BLIND ITEM: Are We Allowed to Help?

Luang Prabang, Laos -- I got up very early in the morning just in time to catch the monks do their morning rounds. They walk about town in a single line, collecting food for the day from Buddhist devotees like me attempting to improve our karma. Get it? Anyways…

I waited and waited at the side of the road, looking left and right expecting a trace of saffron/orange would emerge from afar – sticking my neck out…Nothing. No sign of ‘em.

"This must be a bad location." I said to myself. My eyes gloomily fixed on my offerings in a rattan tray. I got fruits, sticky rice and sets of brand new tooth brush and tooth paste – seems like I’m going to feast on these myself. *sigh*

*cough cough* It’s almost 7.15am…I wanted to give up OR go to the temple myself and give ‘em my offerings personally – But I don’t wanna do that. I wanna stay here on the side of the road and WAIT…

…Suddenly, just across the road from where I was standing -- Two dudes came out from nowhere walking in a single line. No, they aren’t monks. They must be office workers on their way to work -- Yeah, on their way to work. BUT WAIT!

The older dude behind is wearing dark sunglasses and his left arm is on the other dude’s left shoulder, leading him. “Ah! A blind dude!” I mumbled. No walking sticks? Very brave.

I am trying my best not to watch them go about. And I SWEAR – I didn’t mean to stare. No, no. The dude leading him is wearing a school uniform – must be his kid. Yeah, must be his son. And no, I didn’t intend to notice that detail either.

*gasp* they stopped! They are going to cross the road to my direction! Gahd! The kid must’ve seen me staring! Darn! There goes discretion. Whew!

The road is muddy and trickly uneven - patches of water here and there. The lead man stopped right at the edge.

I was carefully watching them (although I don’t intend to, I promise)… My eyes going back and forth from the lead man’s face and the muddy water in front of him…he took a step –

BAM! His right foot is ankle-deep in the mud!

Whadda?!” I didn’t mean to say it out loud. I WASN’T watching them, remember?

But he wiggled his right foot in the water!Waaaah! Don’t do that!” I wanted to yell at him. He kept wiggling his right foot on the mud! “Are you mental?!!!” I wanted to run up to him.

He swiftly followed his left foot – SWOOSH! I could hear the water like a tsunami washing my guts away! NOW BOTH HIS FEET ARE ON THE WATER! Hey!

The blind dude behind -- left arm still firmly anchored on his son's left shoulder started to panic! He called out “Wait, wait, wait!” in Laotian and he didn’t know where to look (oops! I didn’t mean to say that!). I mean; he wobbled his head like Stevie Wonder. Yeah, like Stevie Wonder.

ALAS! A great secret was uncovered – the lead man is blind too! A blind leading a blind. What a cliche! Argh!

They both stood right on the same spot for a full minute, talking to each other -- planning a move. Lead man on the water, the tagged-along at the edge -- Then they decided to take 3 steps back and took another spot to cross the road.

That was really something. It caught me off-guard and sricken.

Now, my question isSince, I have never encountered a predicament like this first hand all my life…ARE WE really ALLOWED TO HELP THEM? I mean when we encounter them like this?

When I had the urge to run to their rescue, the first thing that came to mind was – “What if they don’t wanna be helped?” Those blind dudes must be very proud/independent walking about without sticks or any indication they are actually blind.

If I help -- What if they get offended? Shall I take all their beating till their walking sticks are broken on my body?

Or shall I take all their verbal wrath BUT I would swiftly go right behind them so I won’t be so hurt? They wouldn’t see me anyway!

So tell me, my dear readersAre we really allowed to help?

--Pisanu in Luang Prabang
29 July 2008


Allen Yu said...

I have a close friend who became deaf when she was 14. And everytime we meet up, she doesn't want me to use sign language (though we both know how). She tries to do lip reading even if I use words like "peculiar" or "animosity". That's what makes them feel stronger. That we don't see them as incapable of everything. We can help, yes. But treat them as "disabled"... hmmm... not really.

You're great with what you're thinking Pisanu. If you feel the urge to help, don't hesitate to offer. Just don't feel bad when they refuse. ^^,

-oh my, did i just say that?!

curbside_puppet said...

by all means pisanu!
i think you feel pretty bad if you didn't help them at all.

MischMensch said...

Well one way to improve your karma is to help people, if they refuse just walk away...

ArchieMD said...

Among the 3 of you on that road, who has the eyesight?
You should have helped. They would appreciate it. If they don't, at least you showed good intentions. Helping someone in need is even better than waiting for hours for monks.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you understand the post, Archie. I could tell with the passing of judgement.

Read it all. Read before you judge.

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