Back from an overseas community service or volunteerism trip and wondering about which picture of you – with the kids you’ve “helped” – to post online? Think about these:
– The child might’ve agreed to be in the photograph with you, but did he or she consent to you putting it up on cyberspace (for everyone to see)?
– Are you objectifying him or her, and his or her emotions? Using his pain and suffering to make a socio-political point? Using her joy and happiness to justify your personal endeavours (or the “success” of a particular project)?
– What is your purpose for publishing that photograph? For personal reasons, to reaffirm your supposed contributions to a community which is purportedly impoverished and backward; in desperate need of help and assistance? Are you doing it to impress upon your counterparts that you are a noble messiah, doing your bit for the greater community?
Because one who is truly dedicated to a cause labours silently in the background, and keeps his head (and face) down. He craves for no attention or superficial praises (or “likes”), except for steady progress in his projects. Eliminating these aforementioned, self-serving mentalities (here) is one way to temper these service adventures with a degree of pragmatism and a healthy dose of scepticism. And maybe address those sentiments of self-importance too.