When life is at stake, no one is a stranger

Passers-by help to lift a truck to free a man pinned underneath.
Passers-by help to lift a truck to free a man pinned underneath. PHOTO: SCREENGRABS FROM VIDEO COURTESY OF FOO SUAN WANG

I quote the late United States icon Maya Angelou: "It is good to remember that in crises, natural crises, human beings forget for a while their ignorance, their biases, their prejudices. For a little while, neighbours help neighbours and strangers help strangers."

How true this is is evident from two separate incidents reported in The Straits Times yesterday, one even garnering front-page treatment.

The first report was about a man trapped under a lorry because of an accident in Boon Keng Road and how more than 30 people rushed to lift the heavy vehicle's wheels to free the man ("Passers-by rush to help man pinned under truck"; yesterday).

It was truly amazing to see how the strangers responded in concert so quickly. One thing foremost in their minds is clearly to save a life, which they successfully did before the Singapore Civil Defence Force arrived at the scene.

It was truly amazing to see how the strangers responded in concert so quickly.

The relevant authorities should identify all the individuals who were involved in this particular rescue effort and give them some form of commendation or recognition as they had put their own lives in danger while attempting to save the victim.

The second report was about a couple from Bukit Panjang who helped rush a pregnant woman to Singapore General Hospital in their car after they saw her lying on the ground in pain ("Baby arrives in mad race to get woman to SGH"; yesterday).

The wife helped to deliver the baby in the back seat of her husband's seven-seater Chevrolet, which had become a "makeshift delivery ward", before reaching the hospital.

The husband had ploughed through heavy traffic with his horns blaring and hazard lights on to get to SGH as soon as he could.

It is gratifying to know that the mother and the newborn baby are doing fine.

Isolated incidents? Maybe.

But the actions of these selfless people strengthen my conviction that strangers will help when a life is at stake.

A. Kannan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2015, with the headline 'When life is at stake, no one is a stranger'. Print Edition | Subscribe