I gave away books for free the other day and boy, it was a lesson learnt

Whenever I get disheartened of a humane act or good deed I do as part of Tabung Minci or for just being an NGI, I’d scroll through my previous blog posts to gather insight on why I do this in the first place.

Like this post.

I am still learning how to ‘Give Properly’. To give in abundance, in ikhlas, precious and hopefully of need and meaningful to the recipient.

Recently, I decided to do book gifting to my colleagues. It was Xmas season. I mean, who wouldn’t like a book to read right?Surely professionals would love a book. And is willing to try and take on a new genre. Right? Apparently not. I got them wrong. haih.. paiseh.

The books are handpicked from my own shelf. These are books that I love to read, only knowing myself – I wouldn’t read them the second time because of time constraint. I still have a lot on my TBR (to be read) list.

Anyway, all of these books are too shiny, glossy and pricey to be rounded up in a recycling bin. And to do a jumble sale is taking too long to organize. I could actually donate them to a public library but the titles felt so personal ( I honestly don’t know how to explain) that I thought why not share the joy of reading them with my friends.

For each person, I chose a book that I feel would suit their personality and once I gave it to them personally- that was when things got interesting and awkward to a certain extent.

Common questions I got was

  • Why are you giving this?
  • Is this a gift or are you lending it?

Heartwarming response

  • reading the synopsis and willing to try a new genre
  • saying a simple thank you and keeping the book in their personal bag
  • caught already reading the book and loving it so far
  • talking about the book and recommending titles that I may like (bonus)

Heartbreaking response (trying to be chill about it though)

  • without a single flip through the book asking is he/she could sell the book on shopee (I said the book was a gift – it is up to you to do as you please. There was a small thug in my heart as the book was a really good one. If I had known, I would have given it to someone else)
  • without reading the synopsis , kept it in the office drawer. We all know whatever goes inside the drawer, never makes its way out unless it is time for spring cleaning
  • an immediate skeptic response to an unknown form of literature. I have taken into good faith that a thriller could be enjoyed in any language you understand. I failed to understand then, that a non-English thriller may not emit the same excitement of an English thriller

Despite the shortcomings, I felt it was still fulfilling all the same. I am not looking for a book in exchange, or a thanks on Watsapp group (oh god.. please no). It was a small act of sharing joy and giving that’s all. I kept reminding myself that I should give unconditionally. Yes, hiccoughs happen but they are there for a reason. Keep giving. Never stop.

Only in the future, make it Focused, Meaningful & Beneficial.

Ponderings on becoming an NGI

I scrolled my FB feed today and digested the usual ‘news’. Of syok sendiri viral issues, local crimes, nonsense politics, recipes that I can’t seem to find time to make and sales post and recruitment which is supposed to get you out of poverty or debt.

Then there was this little post by one of my favourite NGI’s; Syed Azmi. He was kind of ‘coaching’ a young NGI (Non Governmental Individual) wannabe, Imran, by asking a few basic questions that, in my opinion could help guide someone to the desired charitable purpose.

Some of the questions were;

  1. What is your skill?

  2. What is your passion?

  3. When is your free time you can volunteer?

  4. Do you drive?

  5. What is your strength/weakness? Your limitation?

I was stuck at No 3. I couldn’t really use my profession as my excuse because personally I do not think that it’s a formidable excuse. Like come on lah Minci… if you really want to do something – you would make time for it. Sampai bila nak harap pada pahala pasif kan? Which sadly seems to be the most popular thing nowadays. For instance, if someone wants to sell their product, it almost often ends with ‘share this post, you could get pahala for simply sharing” just how we love passive income? errr.. guilty as charged here. 

Hence I learnt something about this process. That we should give what we can with the capacity that we have. I may not have time (yet) to devote for my cause. But InsyaAllah, that intense push will come. yelah.. can you just imagine my husbands reaction? Dahlah already busy with oncall and on your free weekend you want to run for Africa? Not to mention those occasional but important days where you had to stay back at work because you had to?  Contoh je.. I just don’t want the topic of ‘anak kera di hutan disusukan‘ to rise in our daily couple conversation. Kah kah kah.  Until then, just do what you can. 

A kind word. A motivating speech/blog post/watsapp message.

A  mini donation/contribution here and there.

The ultimate act of charity is still about Time. I will get there.