Monday, 12 November 2018

Invisible Heroes

Today has A Big Read on Invisible People. This refers to cleaners, security guards, petrol station attendants, and other low-wage workers who are often "invisible" to us.
People simply walk past them without greeting or talking to them, and they are not shown the respect they deserve or treated with dignity.

Long used to being given the cold shoulder, it did not take much coaxing for these low-wage workers to lay bare their suppressed frustrations and unaddressed hurt in interviews with TODAY.
Then I saw a video from the South China Morning Post reported on free drinks for the City's "Supermen" - delivery workers, cleaners, and police officers. This is not exactly a new video - it's about 3 months old. But a friend just shared it. Coincidence?

A poignant and touching moment in the video was when a boy put a letter in the fridge with the cold drinks for the "supermen". The boy's father was also a delivery man, and the days were getting hotter and it breaks his heart to think of his father working in the heat. And he is grateful that someone has thought of people like his father.

All this at a time we are talking about inequality, elitism, and human dignity.

Meanwhile, someone who managed to get into one of the "Big Three" University in Singapore is whingeing... about being too elite? You decide.

And a homeless man in Melbourne has found internet "stardom" as "Trolley Man" - for trying to help stop the knife-wielding terrorist in Melbourne, recently. That's one invisible person who made himself visible.

But it shouldn't have to be this way.

We shouldn't literally have to put our lives on the line (like Trolley Man) to escape "invisibility".

We are all heroes, in our own lives.

From this essay by a trauma surgeon:
"...we are just one profession out of countless others that keep our world moving. We are no more heroes than the social worker visiting homes in the projects, the farmer up at 4 to feed the cattle, the ironworker strapped to a beam on the 50th floor. We are no more a hero than the single mom working overnight as a custodian, trying to feed her kids. We are no more heroic than countless others who work in jobs they perhaps hate in order to care for and support the people they love."
So say "hi" or "good morning" to your office cleaner, or smile back when the security guard smiles at you. Or smile and wave first.

And no, not just at the pretty one.

And remember, they are heroes too. At least to their families who depend on them. And Invisibility is one of their superpowers.

Let's take that from them.

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