There was a girl named Adelina. She is a human being.
She has a name and a face and she laughs and cries just like any other human being.
She came from Medan, Indonesia, at 19 to find work for her family. She came as a human being.
She found work as a maid with an employer of 36 and her brother of 39. As a maid, she is no less a human being.
Adelina was innocent and pure, not knowing what to expect in her new owners' house. She thought she had found a job to support her family. But Adelina soon found out the dark side of humanity. A side she never expected, a side that doesn't treat her as a human being.
Two years later, she was found sitting on a porch of her employer's semi-detached house. She sat there with a swollen head and face. Her rescuers also saw pus on what appeared to be burn marks on her legs. She has suffered much as a human being.
Adelina had been sleeping on a mat outside for one month. Her only companion was a Rottweiler tethered to her. The dog was barking at her rescuers, but Adelina was too terrified to respond to them. She was treated no different from a non-human being.
But kudos to her rescuers, Steven Sim, Cheng Han and Joshua Woo, for their swift action when alerted by a journalist. They saw Adelina in utter despair and acted with humanitarian courage and compassion. They acted as human beings would.
Yet, in this world, not all humans are human beings.
There are some like Adelina's employers who have shown us the worst side of being a human being.
While admitting that they had slapped Adelina before, they insisted to unbelievable cognitive dissonance that they have not "mistreated" Adelina. They insisted they were no depraved human being.
To explain her burn marks, they said that Adelina had bought a cleaning chemical after she had defecated in the kitchen's drain hole, clogging it up. And they claimed that Adelina accidentally spilled the chemical on her legs and arms when pouring it into the drain hole. As Adelina kept picking on her wound, she made it worse. That's the excuse from the mouths of these so-called human beings.
But why, I mused, did Adelina have to defecate into the kitchen drain hole until it was all clogged up? Is she not allowed to use the house toilet as the very least one human being can extend to another human being?
And when the rescuers found Adelina, her employers' mother refused to bring her to the hospital despite her swollen head and face, and pus and burn marks. The rescuers were told to mind their own business. Is the life of Adelina not worth the life of a human being?
But human being or not, Adelina came to look for a better life for herself and her family. She thought she had found it. But what she found was a tragedy unspeakable. When she was bought to the hospital, she was too terrified to speak to anyone.
She passed away a day later. Adelina has finally found rest and peace as a human being.
Lesson? I don't know much about Adelina and her life. But I like to think of her as someone's daughter, someone's sister, and if married with children, someone's mother.
My god, she could even be my daughter or wife suffering a fate truly unbelievable.
She is a human being not just by birth, but more importantly, by relationships.
And for this reason, Adelina was definitely more than a human being. She was missed by someone, cherished by someone, and once cared for by someone. She was the love of someone's life.
Her life counts even if she might be a stranger to many because every human being's life counts.
For we are not just joined by trade, titles or estates. We are first and foremost joined by the common ties of humanity.
What thus makes us a human being is not our possessions, reputation or achievements, but our humanity to one another, our compassion, our common bond.
Alas, now that Adelina has left us, I pray for those she has left behind. Surely, life will go on for them as it will go on for those who will be brought to account for their deeds.
But as a human being myself, I have read today about the worst and the best of humanity, the mistreatment and the rescue, what we can do to others and what we can do for others.
Sadly, Adelina only got to see the worst side of humanity.
So, I will always choose consciously and valiantly to stand by the side of the rescuers because there is surely much more that is redeeming about us as human beings in this unbreakable bond that holds us together. Cheerz.
Ps: You left this world more broken than before. We are truly sorry. RIP Adelina.