Doing Good

Last Sunday after Mass, the missus and I were in a bookstore at The Curve (that Rockwell-ish mall) doing some Christmas shopping for her inaanak: looking for a book-guide on making scrapbooks.

As the missus was searching for her gift, I passed the time by grabbing a book entitled
“Dropping The Pink Elephant" from the business-section, amazingly finishing Chapter 1 (a good read I might add). My "browsing" was nothing compared to this auntie (Malaysian term for "old lady") who was sitted comfortably along the cookbooks section scribbling out the recipe for blueberry pie on the back of an old receipt (ingenius ey?). After 20 minutes, we headed out of the bookstore since the missus' search was fruitless.

Before we went out of the bookstore, we were able to do something good. It doesn’t matter what it was we did but let me assure you that it was something good, a small gesture of kindness. What’s more important to tell was that I felt a sudden rush upon realizing that I did good, even in a small way. It was like I felt a rush of adrenalin.

After a while we were at our favorite Kopitiam (coffee house) sipping our daily dose of legalized caffeine and bread with butter and kaya. Our discussion dwelled on the issue of doing good, leading to (where else?) but PBB. Last week’s PBB task involved the housemates to take care of several Golden Acres residents. The missus shared that she and her org did something similar during college, visiting an orphanage to give sewing machines as gifts. At the end of the day she felt guilty parting with the orphans, as she and her orgmates went back to their cozy lives in the outside world.

I think the purpose of doing good, like visiting an orphanage (or anything similar) is two-fold.

First, there is the obvious: that we share ourselves to the least of our neighbors, be it financial or otherwise. The effect is towards the recipient. This is the most common.

But there is that other reason that I have just realized: it makes the giver feel better, i.e. the effect is towards the giver. No, it’s not that feeling of “ang swerte ko talaga wala ako sa ampunan” or something like that. That, I think, is a selfish reason. The “good feeling” that I’m talking about is that of realizing that you’ve given something, not of the “ang swerte ko talaga” feeling.

It’s like roti bakar (that toasted bread with butter and kaya), the missus always has that “good feeling” after she gives up her remaining share of that delicious bread to her
hungry loving husband.

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