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英語文法學堂:To lend or not to lend?

【明報專訊】Jason is the most senior volunteer in the Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong (SBHK) who is still serving today. By interviewing Jason, I came to understand more about the historical practice of this first Asian suicide prevention hotline service. In the following paragraphs, Jason recalls how he has maintained his service in SBHK for nearly forty years...

Jason

I have experienced many challenges during my service. On one Chinese New Year's Eve, some twenty years ago, a client, who was suffering from homesickness and suicidal, was brought to SBHK by a police officer. At 4 a.m., I finished the casework, but I had to call off my yearly ritual of visiting the Chinese New Year floral market with my family, as the market had already closed. It was fortunate that I had the understanding of my family members about skipping this annual activity.

I also recall an occasion when I lent $20 to a client to buy food. There was no rule at SBHK to regulate this practice in the early stages, but other volunteers had some opinions on what I did. Without regret, I lent the money to the client. It was, in fact, a very difficult decision for me. I trusted the client and, at that moment, I thought that I could really help the client, although I knew that the management of SBHK might not agree. The management did not want money be involved between volunteers and clients. However, the client was hungry and penniless(身無分文), I really thought that the money could help him solve his urgent need.

The client returned the money to the centre without saying anything. From my standpoint, it was important to satisfy the urgent need of the client.

It was after this incident that a small amount of petty cash began to be kept at the centre in case of an emergency. On the same grounds, SBHK sometimes pays for accommodation fee of guest houses in Yau Ma Tei if volunteers encounter homeless clients who are in desperate need of shelter.

■(text edited and abridged)

■Editor's Notes

Petty cash 即小額備用現金。Petty 指小的,如petty crime(輕微罪行)、petty squabbles(無聊的爭吵)等,可引伸解作吝嗇小氣。

■Giveaway

Do you want to get a copy of the book? Send your answer to the following question, your name, address and telephone number to english@mingpao.com. The giveaway closes on 13 December 2018. The winner will be picked and notified.

Question: What do you think of Jason's decision to help the client?

■Last week's winner: Chan Ying Chu

■Thanks: Red Publish

■資料提供:Selflessness: a Key to Wisdom

■by Dr Pak-Kei Kan

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