Ringing the Bell

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Standing by the roadside, ringing a little bell, asking for donations to the Salvation Army... The combination of activities probably concocts the most potent invisibility potion.

People walked past me, oblivious to my presence, greetings and vigorous bell-shaking. Some sped up, tilting their heads in another direction. Others looked determinedly forward as though their wildest wishes were waiting for them 20 paces away. A few even had the audacity to wrinkle their nose and sniffle while bypassing.

Well, I despised those who clutched to their Burberry/ Chanel shopping bags while ignoring the pleas for donations to help the needy.

I was feeling rather uncool, wearing the crimson apron while soliciting donations. It really felt quite embarrassing when people wouldn't - couldn't? - acknowledge my presence.

But why should I be embarrassed when it's all those stingy, selfish people who should be?

It was almost aching, the diffidence of the society to the cries of the needy.

I could break into their houses in my scarlet volunteer's apron, wave the bell around in their faces and they would still ignore my presence even while I make it off with their most prized worldly possessions!

The powers of a bell and apron. Never underestimate the invisibility it confers.
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The indifference of the bulk of the society was punctuated by the occasional Samaritan who donated most generously, sometimes up to $15.

It was heartening when someone suddenly walked up to put a crisp ten dollar note into the collection box. A couple even laid down their shopping bags so that they could forage for their wallets deep within their handbags.

Really gratifying, the warmness that some Singaporeans showed, particularly in contradistinction to the pointed arrogance of others.
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And for 2 hours, I smiled almost ceaselessly.

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