How can I help you?

Act 2

Act 2 of @40acts today was titled ‘People Watch’ which came across as a bit creepy and was in fact not really what today’s act was about. Today’s act was about helping people. Being aware of those around you. Looking for opportunities to assist.


I have to say it is a mantra I have drummed into my daughter – be aware of those around you. It is something I noticed does not generally happen here in Singapore. People walk along everywhere with their phones in front of their faces. It’s an incredible sight but also really frustrating as people do not look where they are going and are completely missing the world around them.

When we first arrived in Singapore I likened it to the people on the spaceship Axiom in the 2008 film WALL-E. The inhabitants of the spaceship are glued to their screens and have no idea what is happening around them or even interact with real people until WALL-E disrupts things. It’s the same here in Singapore. People walk along glued to their screens until something interrupts that and makes them glance up.

I digress though.

40acts challenge

Jackie Kaines Lang wrote today’s #40acts challenge. She says:

“Every day is full of potential mini miracles – and sometimes immediate action is the best way to find out what a mini miracle might turn into.

This is very true. She went on:

See that person wrestling the pushchair up the stairs? Ever been in the queue with someone who’s 50p short on their shopping bill? What about the person in the café who starts to chat with you and makes you feel a bit uncomfortable? Or the person you know whose life would be transformed by something they can’t afford – but you can.

All looks relatively simple and easy doesn’t it? Except that I wasn’t planning on venturing out today and now I had to change my plans. I also have the cultural, and sometimes language, barrier to overcome. (I made the faux pas of trying to tip at a hawker centre when I first arrived. I leaned that lesson very quickly.) It was a bit daunting to be honest.

Today’s Bible reading

As if God was trying to hammer home the point today, my daily Bible reading (from the wonderful folks at Word@Work) was from Mark 6:38-44. This is a famous biblical miracle where Jesus feeds the 5,000 families with 5 loaves and 2 fish. The commentary said this:

“So, what do you have that the Lord wants to use – your money, possessions, skills, and availability?  However small it may seem to others, if it is significant to you, the Lord can multiply the scale of its usefulness.  Perhaps He is speaking to you about that at the moment… don’t be frightened that you cannot understand everything – He does!” Word@Work

Ok- I get it – go out and be helpful.

How did it go?

As anticipated, this was not easy. I managed small things like keeping the lift doors open for a man with disabilities and returning my food tray to the table cleaner in the Hawker Centre. I did go out of my way to return coffee capsules for recycling at the shop and pick up new recycling bags for my husband. It all felt a bit ‘small’ for want of a better word.

My opportunity came when I met a lady in a coffee group I attended for the first time (still looking for ‘that’ opportunity to help someone). She was clearly in some pain with a temporary medical complaint and I sat and listened to her stories about her three elderly cats as a distraction from her discomfort. Normally, I would have tried to steer the conversation onto something I would have found more interesting or involved others in the conversation to ease the pressure – but I didn’t. I sat and listened to a lady who loves her cats and cares about them deeply. I listened and asked questions until she finished everything she had to say about her cats.

She was the person in the cafe who started talking and made me feel uncomfortable. (Purely because I didn’t share her passion for elderly cats – and nothing else.) After this meeting I did feel I had completed my #40act for the day.

The day is not over yet and I will continue to look for opportunities throughout the evening.