Why I keep giving

By Charlie G

‘I give to others not because I have a lot but because I know what it’s like to have nothing’  

I was born into a poor family. My family lived in a shanty town in Kuala Lumpur in the 70s and 80s. I vaguely remember our lives changing for the better in the 90s. I remember running around our first proper home, a low cost flat, touching the walls and thinking, ‘So this is what it feels like to live in a brick house with proper toilets.’ We had two toilets in the flat. It was a BIG deal.

My family was fortunate because we managed to turn the tide but there are still many others who are not that fortunate. My father is always thankful for the fact our lives changed for the better and has continued to give (sometimes too generously) to charities even though he doesn’t have much. I suppose the quote above rings true because I suspect that my father gives to others not because he has a lot but because he knows what it feels like to have nothing.    

However, it doesn’t mean that you need to experience what it feels like to have nothing in order to give. We really shouldn’t bother with quantifying how much we give but rather start thinking how we can make a difference. The simple truth is we don’t have to give a lot to make a difference, and I quote Tesco’s slogan – ‘Every little bit helps’. In fact we often think of monetary terms when we talk about giving but I personally feel giving could also come in the form of giving your time, love or even a smile.

To be able to make a difference in a situation or in someone’s life especially for the better is a wonderful feeling, and it works both ways for the one giving and the one receiving. When someone learns of my job (I work for a large not-for-profit organisation), my sponsored kid in India or the stray cats which I feed everyday, he/she usually say, ‘Oh you’re so kind’. I am not fishing for compliments but what I really intend to do is to make people realise they could all make a positive difference (no matter how small, it can be large to someone). 

Call me an idealist but wouldn’t the world be a better place if there were more love and care? (I know I sound like I’m describing an episode from Care Bears). In my case, my job is often a thankless one (sometimes I wonder why I do it), my sponsored kid won’t pay me back the money I diligently sent for her education and the stray cats probably love me because of the kibbles I hand out to them. The truth is I was ‘paid’ when I did the above but in the form of happiness, warmth and love from knowing I helped make someone’s life or a situation a little better. I cannot describe in words how fantastic that feels.

Life can be a tiring and difficult journey, full of obstacles and challenges. I personally think no one should go through this alone. Besides it’s always a lot more fun to do an obstacle race with a partner right?