THE incident at the Rifle Range flats in Penang, where a 60-year-old woman, Tan Kim Chuan, was killed by a snatch thief, is horrible.
This happened at 6.02am. She lay unconscious on the road with a cracked skull but no one went to her aid immediately. According to the closed-circuit television camera, six people passed by without attempting to alert the authorities.
What does this tell about our society? Some may say it is a sign of the times, that there is no sympathy nor empathy among us, only apathy.
This cannot be brushed aside as an isolated incident. There is a proverb that to test whether the rice is cooked correctly, you have to pick one rice to check. This micro event tells us of our macro state of apathy.
We have built a prosperous nation, envied by our neighbours, but we may have lost the soul of the nation without realising it. We can go on a denial mode and say this does not represent the nation but we may be wrong.
In our material pursuit, we have lost the precious element of humanity. We have become political animals, disunited and heartless. There is no difference between the heartless monster who was the snatch thief and the six people who passed by, while the woman was lying down with her cracked skull.
Is there something wrong with us? Is our educational system failing us or are our religious beliefs just a mere show?
The government should rectify the situation through its agencies and awareness programmes to prevent a recurrence.
If such incidents recur, Malaysians will lose confidence and respect in themselves and the institutions that are tasked with protecting us. Let this be a wake-up call that there is something fundamentally wrong with our society.