We mustn't lose faith in altruism

Updated: 2013-09-26 09:48

(China Daily)

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Two migrant workers in their early 20s risked their lives to save a man and a woman from drowning in Hainan province recently. But in the process, one of the young men went missing and is now presumed drowned. What has upset the public most is that the two rescued people vanished from the spot without as much as thanking the duo for saving their lives, says an article in Beijing Times. Excerpts:

The valor and heroic deed of the two migrant workers will be remembered despite the ungratefulness of the ones whom they rescued. An earnest "thank you", rather than a reward, is enough to express gratitude for a good deed. But nowadays it happened frequently that people run away from acknowledging the good deed even after being saved from certain death, which is a pity.

Over the past few years, some good Samaritans have been wrongfully accused of things they didn't do. Even people who have returned money or other personal belongings have been falsely accused of stealing them.

A recent case in which a teenage girl escorted a pregnant woman home only to be murdered by the woman and her abusive husband after the latter's failed attempt to rape her has left many people wondering whether or not to help people in need.

In the Hainan incident, the best thing for the rescued man and woman to do would be to publicly acknowledge the debt they owe to the two migrant workers. But even if they do not do so, there is no reason for people to loose faith in the sanctity of good deeds.

Tolerance and understanding can make us understand why some people risk their lives to help or save others and why many of the possible victims refrain from thanking their saviors. Irrespective of what a few people think about altruism, good and selfless deeds by people are what differentiate one society from another.

(China Daily 09/26/2013 page9)