Singapore is busy. Its residents embrace three national pastimes – making money, shopping, and food. While friends get attention and acceptance, others are politely ignored. If I had been asked to assess the level of care for others last week, Singapore would have been in the “ignore others” or “do not care category”. A trip to Malaysia reminds me that I am often wrong.
Every driving trip to Malaysia includes two preparations. They include a trip to a moneychanger for petrol cash and making sure you have your toll-card so that you can get through the first checkpoint.
I was sure I had everything. I found my white envelope in the study. I checked to make sure the card was there along with some Malaysian ringgit. I put the envelop next to my helmet and gloves. As I left, I blissfully picked up everything except the white envelope.
As I cleared the Singapore checkpoint I started digging for the white envelope. After not finding it the question was turning around or pressing on. For some reason the urge to ride trumped my knowledge of what I was going to do at the first tollbooth.
As I rode up to the narrow motorcycle gates, I checked to see if at least one was manned. No human being was within sight. As I sat trying to figure out what I could do, I waited to see if a bike with a Singaporean plate was going through as well. When he arrived, I explained my situation and asked if I could use his card. Without reservation he smiled with a chuckle and said sure. As I offered to pay for the toll with Singapore dollars, he laughed and waved me off.
As I retold the story to a friend at the first petrol pump, with no hesitation she reached into her wallet and offered to lend me her second card.
Paul’s advice still lives across the generations. “I try my best to be considerate of everyone’s feelings in all these matters; I hope you will be, too.” (1 Corinthians 10.33)