A hero is defined as a person who is admired or idealised for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities.
Do an internet search and you will find all kinds of heroes who have contributed in politics, justice, medicine, education and agriculture. Many names will be unfamiliar to us, nor will we be aware of the extent of their contributions.
But there are also unsung heroes in our midst who do great work consistently but receive little or no recognition for their deeds. These are our everyday heroes. While their actions often go unnoticed by the majority, a minority still recognise their service to society.
Seldom are ordinary workers discharging their duties so diligently – at times, with significant risk – labelled as heroes! Perhaps the work they do does not draw the attention of the print and electronic media.
It is sad when we discriminate by paying tribute only to certain groups. It is time for us to change our mindsets and recognise everyone who deserves it.
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Recently, I witnessed the deeds of one of our everyday heroes. While I was in Lucky Gardens in Bangsar, I popped by a printing shop to get my new road tax laminated.
My friend Vincent, the shop owner, asked me to accompany him around the vicinity. Outside his shop was a drain filled with empty mineral water bottles; it was an eyesore.
Vincent requested my help to get the drain cleaned up.
I took a snapshot of the clogged drain and texted it to Mohamed Fahmil Kamal, the ever-helpful Alam Flora officer in charge of Lembah Pantai.
Within a minute, Fahmil responded, “Noted Sir.”
The next day, Alam Flora staff went right down the drain and removed all the mineral water bottles and rubbish which had clogged the drain.
After they had completed the work, Fahmil texted me a brief note with photos, “Done Sir.”
Going by the photos, it must have been a tough job for these Alam Flora workers, but they carried out this tough job splendidly, removing all the debris.
This was not the first time Fahmil responded spontaneously. One Sunday morning a few months ago, I noticed a dead cat on the walkway along Bangsar.
Despite it being the weekend, I still texted Fahmil, and he got his staff to clear it within an hour. I had only expected the deceased cat to be removed on Monday morning. I guess Fahmil’s passion for his work runs deep.
These are just two occasions when Fahmil responded so promptly but there have been other occasions too. Syabas (congratulations), Fahmil and the Alam Flora staff who always work diligently to serve the residents of Bangsar. You and your staff are a credit to Alam Flora, and they should be proud to have staff like you.
On 17 December as I returned home after my morning walk, the battery in the remote control for my front gate went dead as I reached my house. I could not open my front gate. I called our Nepali security guard, Vriender Kumar (Vicky), who came to my house within minutes.
Vicky climbed over my gate, opened the front door with my house key, and then opened my front gate using the remote-control switch inside my house.
I later posted a note of appreciation in our residents’ association chat group and thanked Vicky for his help. This is not the first time our security guards have come to my help.
Greatness in life comes through serving others. There is no better lift to self-esteem than through community service. Doing any form of community work should bring about tremendous happiness and satisfaction for any human being. It a something that cannot be valued in monetary terms.
When many people see a wrong, they say to themselves, this is not my problem, it does not concern or affect me; why can’t someone else handle it. Some may say it is the job of the relevant authorities to handle matters affecting the community, as taxpayers pay them to do just that.
But there are a minority who buck the trend and drive along the road less travelled. Their moral conscience dictates their response and they try to rectify any shortcomings within their means.
I am so thankful to be part of a community of everyday heroes who have done so much for us and who gallantly serve society with honour, pride and dignity. Their work ethic and dedication are a credit to humanity, and they soldier on, despite, sadly, being seldom recognised.
Carry on the good work as you everyday heroes are much appreciated by many of us, like my friends and me.
God bless these everyday heroes who contribute so much to society, never expecting anything in return – not even a simple thank you most of the time.