The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


If You Want To Be Treated With Respect, Treat Others With Respect …

I appreciate what I’m about to write is something deeply important to me.

I’ve written about this situation before.

[Actually there’s tons of posts about it, so if you’re interested, click here]

Hell, I even started a lobby group to try and stop it.

But a few weeks ago, I was reminded how much needs to be done.

Or said another way, how bad this situation is becoming and – if government figures are to be believed – how much bigger it will become.

I am talking about homelessness.

More specifically, societies apathy towards it.

Now I posted this story on Linkedin a while back and was met with a bunch of abuse.

People saying I was trying to ‘big myself up’ for giving to the homeless.

People saying I was threatening and bullying to those who don’t.

People telling me to remember that we are all going through situations others can’t see – and so to expect everyone to help is bordering on ridiculous.

I get it … I’ve written about that too [though I can’t find the bloody link to the post that specifically dealt with this] and I accept that while I was not in any way trying to ‘big myself up’ about giving to those who need it, I get it could be construed that way – especially if you don’t know me.

But – and it’s a big one – while I absolutely appreciate it can be confronting to have someone stand in front of you asking for help [and that may also trigger all manner of personal issues from people’s past] the actions and reactions I’ve seen over the years [and specifically in the last year of London public transport] would seem to suggest that either the vast population of London is going through that or they.just don’t care.

Are there other possible reasons for it?

Of course.

Lots.

But my point is that ignoring the homeless has seemingly become the ‘method’ and all I am endeavoring to do is to shock people out of this malaise and maybe realize their situation – however bad – is not as bad as theirs.

Please note, I’m not even talking about money or food, just acknowledgement that the person in front of them exists.

Nothing brought this home to me again than a situation a few weeks ago.

An elderly homeless lady very politely went around the tube asking for help.

Every one of these people, every single one acted like she didn’t exist.

Didn’t even lift their eyes up.

Fortunately I had some money and food on me so I was able to help but even if I didn’t, I would have had said I was sorry I had nothing. Not to make myself feel better but for her to know she was seen … that she existed … that she mattered.

Now I know some will say there are many people who pretend they’re homeless and make a ton of money out of it – but apart from that being the bullshit spouted by the Daily Mail – anyone who has to ask strangers for help day in, day out just isn’t doing well.

Let’s hope it never happens to you.

Let’s hope you never feel like you don’t exist and have no value.

Let’s hope the people who have countless reasons not to give don’t close their mind to the issue at hand.

As the title of this post states … if you want to be respected, if you complain about people not giving a shit about other people, then maybe you want to start with your behaviour rather than blame everyone else.



Look Up And Help …

A few weeks ago, as I was going home on the train, a lady got on the tube and announced to everyone in the carriage that she was an ex-drug addict, ex-criminal and homeless.

She then stated that she was not going to go back to her old life and was asking if anyone had any work she could do for them or spare a little change.

She was met with silence.

Worse, she was met with silence from people who all suddenly started looking down at her feet – petrified to make eye contact.

All credit to the lady, she pointed out that they didn’t have to look away because she was the one – in her words – humiliating herself in a bid to keep doing the right thing.

I watched this episode unfold with disgust … so I got up, gave the woman some money and loudly announce that she was an inspiration and I hope all works out for her.

After that, I sat down and enjoyed the feeling there were now 2 people on the train no one wanted to make eye-contact with.

I’m not saying this because I am seeking any praise for what I did, I’m doing it because for a human being to do that is a cry for help and for people to want to ignore it or avoid it is horrific.

Sure we all have busy lives.

Sure we all have pressures and expectations.

But lets hope we’re never in a situation where we have to ask a train of strangers for help because based on this interaction, most would turn away.

There’s a major issue going on right now that we are fast becoming a cashless society. To be honest, I was fortunate to have some Euros on me, and that was only because I’d been in Amsterdam. It’s an issue I am asking R/GA and the Virgin Money Foundation [who help me with Human_2] to look at solutions, because it’s only going to get worse.

But – and it’s a big, big but – if you don’t have cash or you don’t even want to give cash, you can at least give these people respect because they are people … real, live, living people with feelings and emotions … and just having someone acknowledge they exist is better than what they encounter on a daily basis.



Give A Little Love To The People Who Think They Will Never Get Any …

As today is Valentine’s Day, I am going to write about love.

Not the rubbish peddled by the card and florists so they can charge a 100% mark-up on their usual prices because today is supposedly a ‘special day’, but the sort of love that shows you genuinely care rather than have been bullied into looking like you do.

The fact is, they’re more people on the streets than at any point in the last 20 years and it’s going to get worse.

While a lot of media likes to paint these individuals as thieves or con artists, the vast majority are good people who have simply fallen on hard times. This could be because of family, work or mental health – but they are good people and we can’t be allowed to forget that.

While it’s easy to avoid them, I have a little ask.

If you see someone who you think is having a tough time – and please know most don’t have the confidence to write a sign, let alone ask for help – just quietly go up to them and say, “I don’t want to embarrass you but I thought this might help” and then provide what you can.

A bit of money, some food or a [none alcoholic] drink.

Then simply walk away with no fuss or expectation of gratitude because I guarantee your small act will have made a difference, if only for the momentary interaction of human warmth that is hugely different from the invisibility and insignificance they experience every day.

As many of you know, this is an issue that is hugely important to me that I see getting worse every day. Any help, helps … from simply acknowledging their existence, to offering a little helping hand to doing something that can give them back some of the self-esteem that they thought they had lost forever.

I will be forever grateful to Virgin and Human_2 for helping me see how much a little gesture can make a big difference. If more people understood that, maybe they’d feel more comfortable reaching out when they see someone having a tough time.

Happy Valentine’s Day.



Brian Stops Being Invisible And Becomes Human 2 …
September 18, 2007, 6:00 am
Filed under: human_2

Silent Time

I’ve just found out that Brian [the man who was the inspiration behind me getting off my arse and starting human_2] has just moved into his first ever home. 

This is a massive thing .. a massive thing .. and I’m so bloody proud and happy for him.

Brian has suffered more pain and suffering than most of us could ever comprehend, let alone cope with … so to hear he’s taking back control of his life is the best news in the World and reinforces how a little bit of help can go a hell of a long way.

According to his boss [who also deserves massive praise for reasons I won’t go into here!], Brian is growing in confidence each and every day and apart from always wanting to work hard and do his best, he’s happy because he feels he’s fulfilling his promise to his [now deceased] Mum.

This is a guy who society chucked out for reasons beyond his control … a beautiful, warm, loving, caring, polite  guy … and I don’t mind admitting I was very emotional when I heard how well he was doing.

I did so little … literally so little … but it was enough to help him help himself to a better future and that is why human_2 is so bloody important.

So what’s happening with all that?

Well to be honest, it’s progressing far too slowly for my liking … some red tape issues, some waiting on meetings issues and the little fact I’m based in Asia when I am trying to make this happen in the UK … however it is all progressing and I hope to be able to update you with some real news very soon.

Saying all that, there’s alot of Brian’s out there so don’t wait for me … a little help can go a long, long way. 

Please try. Thank you.



If You Only Do Two Things Today …
July 25, 2007, 7:32 am
Filed under: human_2

One is go here … and the second is to do what you’ll be told to do. Thank you.

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If You Only Do One Thing Today …
July 24, 2007, 9:42 pm
Filed under: human_2

… please go here and vote for human_2 … because we can’t let a post that is focused on helping the homeless lose out to some self-pontificating marketing wank and/or the sort of output you’d expect to see from a 5 year old who has been locked inside their bedroom for a week because it’s been raining and cold.

Seriously, if human_2 loses then I have undeniable evidence that the … 

1 Blogging community are a bunch of fuckwits.

2 Ad community are a bunch of cocksuckers.

And yes … I do appreciate the other posts are good really [far better than the ‘self pontificating marketing wank and/or output you’d expect to see from a 5 year old’ that I write on a daily basis] … it’s just this is a cause for people who are helpless, whereas the ad industry have only got themselves to blame for the mess they’re in.

God, I feel like a Miss World contestant saying she wants “WORLD PEACE” …

[Thanks to Jemma for the ‘call to arms’ logo – lets hope it works!]



This Is The Most Important Post I’ll Ever Write …
July 11, 2007, 4:21 pm
Filed under: human_2

… so please go and read it [including the comments] promote it and then try and help us do something about it. Thank you.

Comments Off on This Is The Most Important Post I’ll Ever Write …