“It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” ― Mother Teresa
Just before 2014 drew its curtains, whilst most Malaysians were busy shopping and preparing their homes for the holidays, the East Coast of Malaysia suffered some of the worst floods in Malaysian history. What should have been a time for celebration and cheer instead turned into a most desperate period for many Malaysians.
I joined Rahmat Lim & Partners as an intern at the end of December 2014 and not long after settling in, I was roped into the Flood Relief programme organised by the Firm. To start off, the Firm initiated a drive to collect donations from members of the Firm, and topped off such donations with a donation of its own. Armed with these funds, volunteers from the Firm (including myself) went out to purchase items that we had been informed by the relief agencies were required by the flood victims to assist them in their recovery process. These items included cooking utensils, stoves, shovels, medicine, mops, pails, mats, detergents etc..
The next day we transported the goods to a warehouse owned and operated by the Malaysian Red Crescent Society (“MRCS”). As we entered the warehouse, we were greeted with a gargantuan sea of boxes which were almost impossible to count. In those boxes, we were told, were other relief items such as dry food, bottled drinks, clothes and other equipment. The seven trolleyfulls of items we had bought were now dwarfed by the mountains of other donations that the MRCS were able to muster up. The MRCS representatives even told us that they had sent a few trucks’ worth of items to the East Coast a few days earlier as the warehouse was full! The other volunteers from the Firm and I took some pictures before we finally said goodbye to the MRCS representatives and made our way back to the office to resume our legal work.
Admittedly, I had pondered along the way how our relief items could make a difference to the plight of over a hundred thousand flood victims. It was only when I entered the warehouse that I realised it was not how much we gave, but that we did give. In this respect, it was inspiring to know that individual Malaysians had bonded together to provide relief to our fellow countrymen in need.
I am grateful I was given the opportunity to give back to the community from whence I came, and I learnt a valuable lesson from this Flood Relief programme – that there are bigger things and bigger needs outside the four walls of our offices (or cubicle in my case). Indeed, meeting deadlines and logging in billable hours are important in every law firm. Nonetheless, it was good to be reminded that above all, we are human beings – small links in a very long chain.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some work to get back to.
Joel Justin George