Public trust as fragile as delicate china
Cold, cough and flu are seasonal illnesses humans have learned to live with. But the moment somebody hears of cancer or any other terminal disease, the limbs go numb, the mind goes blank rendering people helpless, even if temporarily. And if the victim is a child — such as Luo Yixiao — desperation takes over reason.
Perhaps desperation was what drove Luo Er, 5-yearold Luo Yixiao’s father, to seek people’s help for the treatment of his daughter suffering from leukemia.
Reports say Luo Er owns three apartments, one in Shenzhen and two in neighboring Dongguan in Guangdong province. Instead of selling one of the apartments to get the money for little Luo’s treatment, Luo Er posted an emotional story online, through WeChat, on Nov 25 seeking donations from the people. And by Nov 30 more than 2.5 million yuan ($350,000) had poured in as donations.
The twist in the tale came when Luo Er, a magazine editor, allowed his friend and former colleague Liu Xiafeng, to post his daughter’s story on the WeChat account of his internet finance company, Xiaotongren. The other mistake, deliberate or otherwise, Luo Er committed was not to mention his properties in the story. And the moment people came to know about them, they reacted as was expected, though Luo Er explained later he cannot sell his properties in Dongguan because of “property rights issues”.
There is nothing wrong in seeking people’s help, in cash or kind, to pay the medical bills for a loved one’s treatment. But one has to lay bare all the facts before seeking people’s help, which is something Luo Er did not do.
Desperation may have forced Luo Er to lose his sense of reason. But Liu should have seen the trouble coming, because as a person running an internet company he should have known what the public reaction would be once people came to know about Luo ER’s properties.
Luo Yixiao deserves the best treatment, and we hope she recovers fully and enjoys all that this world of ours has to offer. It’s another matter that with each passing day the world has less and less to offer its children thanks to shrinking forests, dying coral reefs, depleting marine stocks, melting ice caps, wilting water bodies, vanishing wildlife, increasing droughts and floods, more frequent cyclones and earthquakes, expanding deserts, rising population and unemployment, and intensifying conflicts and wars.
Liu, if not the desperate father that is Luo Er, should have realized the public reaction once people suspected, even if wrongly, that some foul play was involved. Maybe Liu genuinely wanted to help Luo Er get the best treatment for his daughter. Maybe he saw an opportunity to exploit the plight of Luo Yixiao to promote his company.
But as a person dealing with the public, Liu should have known public trust is fragile, which should always be handled with care. Once it breaks … well, we know what happens to crockery, especially if it’s delicate china.
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org