Showing you this image alone, you might have thought this is some warehouse with maggi mee.
Some kind of street-side vendor along some less well-to-do places in Southeast Asia?
It’s all unused donations given to just one uncle who doesn’t cook.
80-year-old Uncle’s house is filled with them too
If you thought that’s all he had: nope.
His house is filled with unused bottles of soya sauce and maggi mee too.
And everywhere else.
These pictures were posted by Keeping Hope Alive, a private initiative working with less privileged S’poreans, in a Facebook post on 28 Aug 2019.
The caption in the post:
Imagine the horror to see 80-year-old Uncle’s house packed with food and countless bottles of condiments. All these were ‘donated’ to him, but the thing is uncle doesn’t cook!
Are we giving what the recipients need? Or are we giving just to comfort ourselves that we have done a ‘good’ deed? Think again.
Giving is an art and requires wisdom. Pls give what the recipients need, and not what we want to give…. keeping hope alive @ rental estate.
Giving is hard, it’s the same for donations
Why this happened is pretty clear: the donations were given to the people who don’t need them.
Think back to the times you bought a gift for someone else: you had to consider the person’s likes and if the gift was actually useful.
Now imagine receiving a gift that you don’t need, but social practice means that you have to be polite and keep the gift. Welp, I guess that’s another moon cake box that I can’t keep or a frying pan that I already have!
Now think from the uncle’s perspective, and those maggi mee and soy sauce are basically the same thing: gifts from people.
In that position, he may feel that it would be rude to throw the items away, or he may just be a hoarder. Either way, the end result is an accumulation of junk that he can’t use.
Did I also mention that instant noodles full of salt and preservatives are also probably not that good as donations to the elderly who are more likely to have high blood pressure?
(and I haven’t even started on the environmental impacts of giving useless stuff… but I have a word limit)
Okay, okay, I’ll stop.
You’re remembering the donations you’ve given in the past, and you’re now feeling sad for giving yourself a pat on the back for doing a ‘good deed’ back then.
But, what can you actually do?
Food vouchers are best
Which is why for gifts, I advocate for cold hard cash. I mean let’s be honest. The last time you received a gift you didn’t need, you probably hoped that would just be money instead.
In fact, that’s exactly what one of the needy old folks said to the volunteer group:
“The porridge is very nice. You know, so many volunteer groups give us food items and hang them at my door. I think what works best for us is NTUC vouchers so that we can buy what we need.”
Which can basically be translated to: “You gimme this for what?”
So remember: money can’t buy happiness, but you’ll be miserable without money. And it’s more useful than maggi mee and soy sauce for most people.
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