“Jie Jie,” a young boy cried to me in Mandarin. He
pleaded for $20 to rush to the hospital to see his dying mother. It was 40% of
my allowance, but I gave it to him with little hesitation. Moments later, a
stranger told me that it was a hoax – the boy had taken money from many others
before me. My heart froze. Did I do the wrong thing? It sat uncomfortably with
me. But I told myself that should this happen again, I would do the same thing.

I won’t be a by-stander when someone else is in need just because I’ve been
taken advantage of before. It is precisely the by-stander effect that causes my
society to be so unemotional and retroactive. The stranger could’ve warned me
earlier. I thus have to do my part and do the opposite – be unwaveringly concerned. 

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