When an accident occurs, there will usually be a large number of people pulling over by the side of the road. Instead of rendering some sort of assistance, many are there to gawk, take videos and pictures. FILE PIC

THE digital age has certainly captured the hearts and minds of those with voyeuristic tendencies.

Every day we are bombarded with pictures and videos of various things that are out of the ordinary, heart-wrenching, warm-fuzzy-feeling-inducing or just plain macabre. These pictures and videos go viral easily and Malaysians are no less likely than anyone else in the rest of the world to look at them or watch them, if not more so.

Many of these have to do with crime or death, or both, and one such video which went viral just a week ago was just one example of the many that have crossed our paths.

The video clip in question was taken from footage recorded from a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera in Taman Limau Manis in Kota Baru. In it, we see a man approaching a woman from behind and snatching her bag, sending her “flying” to the ground. The man then jumps into a car driven by an accomplice. An hour after the incident, two brothers were arrested for the crime and the 72-year-old victim’s handbag recovered.

Incidents of snatch thefts are not uncommon in Malaysia, as we all know, though the vast majority are done by those on motorcycles. The fact that these men used a car, however, was not the reason why the video went viral so quickly.

To be sure, Netizens expressed outrage at the men’s brazenness, committing such a crime in broad daylight. But the real reason the video clip went viral was mostly because it showed several people passing by without helping the poor woman, who was obviously in pain as she rolled around on the ground, so much so that she eventually ended up rolling herself into a drain.

Perhaps most of these people did not notice what happened, but some definitely did and at least one motorcyclist witnessed the entire thing. The clip showed the man slowing done and stopping, but we do not know whether he eventually helped the victim as the clip ended abruptly, shortly after that.

That short clip leads us to the question of whether Malaysia, known by many in the world as being a caring society, has lost its way in this particular department.

Have we moved from being caring to being callous and having a “couldn’t-care-less” attitude?

How many of us would actually stop to help a person in need? When an accident happens, you can bet your annual salary that there will be a large number of people pulling over by the side of the road.

But just how many of these people are actually there to see if they can render some sort of assistance and how many are there to gawk, take videos and pictures, or just take down the registration numbers of the vehicles involved for the next trip to the local 4D outlet?

How many of us, knowing that something bad is happening to someone in a neighbour’s home, would report it to the authorities? Do we do that, or do we not want to get involved in someone else’s problems?

The past few weeks or so have seen so many reports of children being abused, some fatally, and the death of Indonesian maid Adelina Lisao, purportedly at the hands of her employer.

In the wake of her death, another video went viral with the claims that this was of her being abused. If indeed this was a clip of her being stomped on and hit, why was this abuse not reported?

For that matter, surely neighbours must have heard or noticed something.

And this goes for little Nur Aina Nabihah, the 9-year-old who lived in Port Dickson whose soldier father was charged with her murder recently as well.

Adelina Lisao and Nur Aina were, of course, not the first maid and child to have died from injuries sustained due to physical abuse.

Sadly, they are likely to not be the last. Nor will the septuagenarian woman in Taman Limau Manis be the last victim of a snatch theft to be injured or killed.

For as long as we continue to have a callous attitude towards our fellow Malaysians, our fellow human beings (and animals), there will still be victims. For us to prosper as a nation, we need to move back to being a caring society, as a whole.

We need to drop this jangan jaga tepi kain orang attitude. We need to be nosy.

Leslie Andres has more than two decades of experience, much of which has been spent writing about crime and the military. A die-hard Red Devil, he can usually be found wearing a Manchester United jersey when outside of work. He can be reached via lesliea@nst.com.my

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