Monday, November 2, 2009

Reflections: Why I Serve Others?

I think I did deep reflections on why I serve others more than taking care of myself. I always wonder why people say that "If you do not know how to love yourself, you will not be able to love others." For me, I thought serving others means loving them. I love others therefore I serve. Yet, I knew that I did not love myself enough - I had no time for myself, no health, no money (or little money), no life. But I still can serve and I thought that I loved people much therefore I serve much. I thought that - if you cant do A, then you won't be able to do B - so if I can do B, then A will handle itself!

It was only this year that I discovered that I have not really loved myself enough for the past 29 years. Serving others seem to be an alternative for me to express love, fear, gain freedom and even recognition. Dr. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich mentioned that there are 10 basic motives of human.
  1. desire for self-preservation
  2. emotion of love
  3. emotion of fear
  4. emotion of sex
  5. desire for life after death
  6. desire for freedom of body and mind
  7. desire for revenge
  8. emotion of hate
  9. desire for self-expression and recognition
  10. desire for material gain
All in all, 9th basic motive - desire for self-expression and recognition has made much sense in my life.
The main reason why I serve others was because I came from a broken family - I figured. Having a pair of divorced parents and a strict disciplinarian aunt as my guardian. I figured that I have to seek externally for love. Having good friends and teachers around me was great and their opinions were seek first before I do anything. At home, no one I can talk to regarding my personal problems. My family wanted me to focus on my studies so if I can talk about studies, then it is a conversation. Other than that, I seek opinions from friends and teachers.
  • This explains my extrovert nature because I seek externally rather than internally.
  • This explains my very unique behaviours, talkative nature and always naughty - I wanted to express and those are ways to do it and I wanted the recognition. 9th basic motive.
  • This explains why I always love to be outside rather than at home - but this year I have stayed home more than any years before this. I redecorated my living room and bedroom with the main purpose to stay home more.
  • This also explain why I needed words of reaffirmations most of the time and easily influenced by others. I also needed approvals by others. I can tell myself I can do it hundreds of times before I believe I really can do it but it takes only 2-3 people to say that I can do it and I start believing it's true.
  • This explains my nature to argue and finds arguments an art - again 9th basic motive - I want to express, recognized and feel cool to win an argument. At times it was just because I wanted to win. I believe this year I have toned down a lot.
The second reason why I serve, I figured was because of my aunt. So much so my aunt will be disciplinarian and not many conversations to talk about, her words were the most powerful coupled with emotions. I saw her one day in her room. Tears were rolling down her cheeks. She lamented "Our Chew family will never be successful! Look at uncle's (her husband) family - engineers, lawyers, doctors - Chew family has none." My cousins were not very successful but lead a good life enough.

Her words coupled with strong emotions at that time has planted a seed in my mind. "I want to see cry again but this time it will be because we are successful," I told myself.
  • This explains why I tried to gain positions in many many organizations - and I really proved myself worthy of those positions, not just holding on to them. Positions which I think I could not contribute - I resign very soon.
  • This explains why I love recognitions - 2006 Selangor Youth Award, 2008 Great Women of Our Time Award - both these awards, when brought to my aunt, she cried with joy in her eyes. I DID IT!
  • This explains why I want to do things in proper ways - I figured successful people always do things the "right" way - which also explains my kiasi (afraid to die) and kiasu (afraid to lose). I can't fail - I must be successful to prove it to my aunt.
  • This explains why I seek knowledge - successful people are always very knowledgeable. My highly inquisitive mind makes me learn and learn and learn and never tired of it. This year I have spent close to RM10,000 just to attend courses.
  • This explains why I always seek perfections - which has put a lot of pressure and stress to myself till I learnt to relax and understand is OK to be imperfect. We are human anyway.
  • This also explains why I serve people - it is because successful people will serve people. In fact, again and again people say "Once I am successful, I will serve others." "Now is not the time yet, I must be successful before serving." "I want to make money first then only join all these NGOs" - so if I can serve, it could be a sense of achievement as if I am already successful.
All combined, it explained why I even risked my life to save a dying 13-year old girl.
  • I wanted to save a life even if a person not a family member (seeking love externally) because I really love a human kind, not just because he or she is a family member. I thought that if I can love others enough, I will gain love myself
  • I deeply feel for the little girl and wanted to give her a lease of life
  • Self-expression -I wanted to express my opinions about organ donation and spread the words so more people will pledge organs, and walking the talk is surely a way to do it
  • I have never expected the news became a hit with multiple newspaper report, magazines interviews and various media - these "recognitions" has encouraged me to further push organ donation awareness campaigns.
It is because this year I have stopped joining more NGOs and resigned from many, I can have the time for myself to reflect on the many WHYs in my life.

So let me rectify things and slowly turn into, hopefully, a better person. I appreciate that I am still breathing for me to rectify my life, that I have met my editor Mahani Zubedy for digging me out, appreciate a lot for being able to do what I want to do - writing a book and having the strengths to continue on things I am doing.

No words can be enough to explain thoroughly why I serve but sufficient to have 2 main reasons.


  1. You know, even if you had just plant a tree and the tree grow and have branches and give shade to others and be a place for birds to make nests and make babies, for years and years, it is like you have done all the good for years and years.

    I am certain that whatever your intentions and reasons were, they really don't matter, the small good deed you did must have seeded and grew, beyond your own knowledge and any acknowledgement.