home (dis)comforts

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The Petronas Twin Towers

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Kuala Lumpur, my country’s capital, is a mere 20 minutes drive away from where I live. Despite that, I have so seldom visited that my experiences there can be compared to those of tourists.

Today, while I was walking towards Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) from Bukit Bintang, I noticed a group a foreign tourists were lost and needed help with directions. I happily tried to help, but unfortunately knew with little certainty where we were on the map or where they needed to go to get to where they wanted to go. They spoke little English, but I managed to work out where their destination was; still, I did not know how to get there.

Sheepishly, I told them, ‘I think it is this way,’ while internally feeling disappointed and a little ashamed. Later, further down my walk, I came to the realisation that I had given the wrong directions and immediately worried for them. I wondered if I should race back to find and tell them, but at the same time, rationalised that there was no way I was going to be able to find them considering the time that has elapsed.

I thought back to all the times I had spent in foreign countries and asked for directions, almost always receiving help or some kind of helpful direction, and despaired at my inability to return the favour to others in my home nation. All I could do at that moment was to pray that they had noticed my mistake and asked for help from other, hopefully more knowledgeable, people, and reached their destination without event.

Maybe, I should have just told them I didn’t know the way instead of being overeager to help; being overeager (or excitable) can so often be a detriment.

At the same time though, I’m not comfortable with the thought that people should be less enthused about helping only because they are unsure.

Food for thought.

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