It’s a touching picture; one where a smiling Good Samaritan—male or female—hands over a hamper to a patient on a hospital bed. If the patient is too weak to move, his or her guardian will be receiving the package from the cheerful giver.
It’s a picture speaking volumes about humanity and the spirit of love and sharing, radiating compassion on the part of the giver, who from the little or bounty they have considers sharing with those in need.
When you are the Good Samaritan, you are likely not to see anything wrong with such a picture as you obviously want the world to see you in that positive image, but I often wonder if the patient or the guardian feels the same way about publicising such a picture.
And I bet if roles were to be switched—that the givers were patients and the patients were givers—most of the people that smile at the camera when giving would never allow the presence of a photographer or camera man during such gift presentation ceremonies.
I know giving is mostly done with good intentions and that by publicising charity activities, churches and organisations raise such a massive amount of awareness for various causes.
But even with the positive elements that come out of such publicity, very few of us would want our pictures taken in a needy and vulnerable position like that of a hospital bed to be exposed, yet we thoughtlessly expose our friends’ pain and desperation simply because we are in a position of power.
If I were a patient struggling with some ailment in hospital, I doubt I would want pictures of me on that hospital bed splashed in newspapers courtesy of some Good Samaritans.
But every now and again, especially during the festive season, we, through the media, see individuals, churches and organisations cheering patients in hospitals where journalists take pictures that are circulated to everyone who cares to read a newspaper or watch television.
For those sharing Christmas and New Year gifts, this is positive publicity that many look for, but does the patient, just for the simple reason of receiving a gift, want to be seen by millions of people in their sickly state?
And by the way, do the givers or hospital authorities even ask the patients for permission to have their pictures taken and published?
Don’t take me the wrong way here. Giving is good and it should be encouraged, but should the positive publicity be enjoyed at the expense of the patient, whose moment of illness—which many of us would want to be private—is made public simply because they were getting a hamper?