ICONIC country singer Glen Campbell died this week at the age of 81.
To many, Campbell epitomised the Rhinestone Cowboy. It is the title of the chart-topping song he recorded in 1975, making him a household name among country and pop audiences worldwide.
Some of his other hit songs include Gentle On My Mind, Witchita Lineman, Galveston and Hand That Rocks The Cradle.
Campbell told The Telegraph in 2011: “I did what my Dad told me to do – be nice, son, and don’t cuss. And be nice to people. And that’s the way I handled myself and people were very, very nice to me.”
Remaining true to what his dad had taught him is reflected in his 1969 hit – Try a Little Kindness. And in all probability, the song may have also inspired many people to try their best to do right by that virtuous philosophy of life.
This week also saw Monica and Jackson Mazlan, siblings of the first two persons to have died from the outbreak of rabies in Serian, expressing their gratitude to the people who have helped them in time of need and grief.
Michellina Mazlan, 10, one of the siblings, was thankful for their new house (with proper toilets and bathrooms), built with a special RM60K allocation presented to the family by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Dr Zahid Hamidi.
Toilets and bathrooms are essential household fixtures of which we tend to take for granted, thinking they are found inside every shelter man has built since the beginning of time.
For the Mazlan family, these amenities are a godsend – nothing short of the most welcome in-built additions to their new home.
Mechellina said: “We are always scared whenever we need to ease ourselves at night as we have to go to the nearby stream. So we are very happy that very soon, we will have a house with proper toilets and bathrooms.”
The new house was built under the Bantuan Rumah Rakyat Miskin programme at the cost of RM60K. It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, one with toilet attached, a sitting room and a kitchen.
As The Borneo Post has discovered, the new house is a farcry from their two-room bamboo home with no toilet and bathroom. The family have been using the stream next to their house for their ablution needs.
This is a fine example of how a small gesture of kindness can make a huge positive impact on the lives of the have-nots. Of course, we won’t know how many are altruistically inspired by Campbell’s “Try a Little Kindness” to extend a ready hand to the disadvantaged and underprivileged. Hopefully, there are many.
For those not familiar with the song, the lyrics go like this:
If you see your brother standing by the road
With a heavy load from the seeds he sowed
And if you see your sister falling by the way
Just stop and say you’re goin’ the wrong way
You’ve got to Try A Little Kindness, yes show a little kindness
Yes shine your light for everyone to see
And if you’ll Try A Little Kindness and you’ll overlook the blindness
Of the narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets
Don’t walk around the down and out
lend a helping hand instead of doubt
And the kindness that you show every day
Will help someone along their way
You’ve got to Try A little kindness
You’ve got to try a little kindness …..
How many times have we seen others facing difficult situations and stumbling in their tracks but instead of pausing for even a moment to help them, we find ourselves gossiping about their predicament, even to the extent of saying they deserve their misfortunes.
When such wicked thoughts fill our mind, we should perhaps remind ourselves of the morailty in Campbell’s song – Try A Little Kindness and let our light shine for everyone to see.
How many times have we seen people walking on the streets and hustling their way to make a break so that they can shine like a Rhinestone Cowboy? Do we stop to give them an encouraging smile or a leg-up to ‘ride out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo,’ so that they realise their dreams and shine like a Rhinestone Cowboy?
Campbell’s most intimate song – I’m Not Gonna Miss You – was his last. Released in 2014, it chronicles his battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.
American music producer Julian Campbell who co-wrote the song told the Wall Street Journal in 2015 that the lyrics came out of something Campbell said after his diagnosis.
“(Glen) Campbell had a hard day coping with people asking him about Alzheimer’s and how he felt about it. He didn’t talk too much about it but came up to me and said: “I don’t know what everybody’s worried
about. It’s not like I’m going to miss anyone, anyway,” he recalled.
With a lot of kindness and care from the family, Campbell made a 151-show farewell tour which would have served as a great encouragement to families dealing with Alzheimer’s.
The music video showing Campbell’s family photos, scenes of hospital visits and his last appearances on stage, is definitely a source of great solace to many in a situation like his.
Be compassionate and kind – that’s how we are called to be.