Sunday, August 7, 2011

Two And A Half Cents

I really don't like TV shows that focus on low-income families and treat these families as somewhat entertainment-commodities. One of said shows would be "Jika Aku Menjadi". In this show, a guest star (usually a female) is required to live and work with a low-income family for a couple of days, and in between, she would cry and tell the viewers how sad she is to see how much this family "suffer" and struggle on a daily basis, and that she should be more thankful to God for having a better life than them. That boils me.

You see, doing such is no different than walking down the street and approach a random hawker and say, "oh my, your life is so tough. Thank God I have a better life". No matter how "poor" someone is or some people are, we should never belittle their status. I mean, seriously, you cry in front of someone you consider poor, because you're sad that he or she is so poor? Imagine how the poor person would feel. He/she will feel poorer, because someone is making it clearer for him/her that he/she is extremely poor.

I remember a guest star of the TV show giving her comments which more or less sounded like this: "I'm so sad, (cries), because he works so hard (cries), and it's so lonely here (cries). This man works every day picking up tree sticks and gets only Rp.10.000 a day, while I can spend so much for a single lunch (cries). There's no entertainment here, no shops, nothing. I always complain back in the city, while in fact there's so much entertainment there. We have cinemas, malls (cries). I can't imagine living his life".

And how does saying such a thing make that man feel any good?

Wouldn't it be much nicer if we actually made him feel better instead of poorer? Why do we need to emphasize on things he (currently) doesn't have and point out in front of his face that his life is "so poor"? Instead, we should appreciate his hard work whatever his "job" is, no matter how much he earns. We should remind him of how lucky he is, because he is given such good health and strength. We should tell him how much we envy his simple, humble life in the village, because life in the city is full of complexities. We should provide him the faith that he can make a betterment in life if he works harder. We should support him to never feel disheartened, for life, no matter what, works in many different ways. And we guide him with whatever knowledge or information we have, so he can be inspired. If this is done, then providing him (and his family) some cash at the end of the show as a capital for him to start a (better) job would be more relevant.

Helping people is not supposed to be done only by (giving) money. But by (giving) moral support. And respect.