Little by little…and that would be enough

This is based on a news report I shared in July 2014 and the link no longer works now, so permit me, please, to share part of the article:

Yang Yu Lan diligently stitches bits of cloth, which she collects from neighbours, into floor mats. The 84-year-old grandmother’s sewing machine has broken down, so she hand-sews these mats, which she sells or trades for essential items like shampoo, toothpaste and soap with sundry shop owners.

As dawn breaks, she tends to her farm and she harvests what she can for sale at the morning market in Sungai Pelek, Sepang. Despite her advanced age, she cycles 3km to the market on a nearly two decade-old but trusty bicycle with her crop of ladyfingers, spinach and sweet potato leaves, which will earn her RM20 to RM30 daily. The bicycle has seen better days, and so has her humble abode of 56 years.

Yang is not poverty stricken, nor is she neglected by her adult children, who have done well for themselves. The true salt of the earth has a clockwork routine as she works the land in the morning with a pick, shovel and hoe, sells vegetables at the market, and stitches floor mats in the afternoon before returning to work on the farm again in the evening. She does all these, not out of need, but in order to raise enough money to donate to charity.

Although she doesn’t fit the image of a typical philanthropist, Yang is without a doubt an exemplary benevolent old woman, who gives credence to the oft-said statement that the poor are often the most generous people because they know what it is like to be without anything.

Yang has given all her disposal income in the last 10 years to charity. She has donated over RM40,000 to more than 10 charitable, educational and religious groups including schools and dialysis centres, apart from down-and-out individuals desperate for help. “My next plan is to donate RM3,200 to a local dialysis centre, and I am saving up for that day. I am only able to save at most RM200 monthly, I still have a long way to go to meet my next target,” she says.

Charity need not be about doing big things, it’s about doing little things with lots of love and sincerity without expectations of anything in return.

To the street animal feeders who say they can only save a few animals due to lack of resources, we say: Do it well and with lots of love and that would be enough.

There is no need to be a bigtime hero. Just do what you can, but do your very best and most importantly, without expectations of any recognition or reward.

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