According to dictionary.com, volunteerism means practice of volunteering one's time or talents for charitable, educational, or other worthwhile activities willingly, and without pay.
With that, I think I should confess: I started this post as a show of support for my friend's campaign, and oh, supposedly to advocate a greater cause of humanity.
For a long time, I don't remember lending my helping hand to others without being asked or told. Unless we take into account my extra-curricular activity in secondary school as a trained junior first aider...Or my recent trip to the Salvation Army Children's Home in Ipoh.
I'm standing on the left, bottom row; standing next to and behind me my fellow classmates.
To be utterly honest I'm not entirely proud of that trip because when one of the children there asked me: "you came here because of your coursework?" in Mandarin, I had to bluff to not upset her.
Echoing her words...My conscience wouldn't let me off. I spent the next few hours after the trip twisting her words over in my head, turned in upside-down and pondering how I should feel. So I did the planning and budgeting along with 14 others in my course, figured out all the activities for our 2-hour stint there and did the shopping for all the souvenirs at the only department store in Kampar, Tesco clutching a calculator...And I did it all because of homework? That couldn't and shouldn't, be the only reason.
Slowly, I try to look on the brighter side. Perhaps then, it did not matter why I was there in first place. I realized what I should really be concerned about is whether or not it's for a good cause, or if I had been able to help others. Cliche but, what if volunteerism is just a simple matter of giving what we could, and seeing someone's smile in return?
If that is the case, I've just taken my first step after a long, long time of negligence to my surroundings. Moreover, I've taken more than I gave from this assignment, though I no longer see it as work. I got to know 14 of my classmates better, half of them I've barely spoken to since first year (I'm in my final semester in year two), meet more people, renewed gratitude to my parents, a stronger sense-of-self, and even...
A big shred of happiness.
Well, I'm smiling for my volunteerism now.