Friday, April 15, 2005

Spare a thought

On my way to school yesterday, I was having lunch at my local hawker centre. The usual fare; chicken rice with extra gizzard, a Singapore favourite. Out of the blue, an old lady approached my table just as i was halfway through my oily rice and white chicken skin. She waved her shaky index finger at me.. making a 'one', it even looked like she was giving me a lecture, going "orrrr.. you naughty boy!" I quickly realised that her other hand was holding on to a packet of tissues. Ah, its the ubiquitous elderly tissue seller with a plastic bag of packet tissues hung on one arm that ply the markets and coffee shops. Sometimes they come without eyes, guided by an able guardian, sometimes they come without a limb and a majority of them are old folk trying to eke out some money for thier next meal.

I remember an incident last year that will always 'haunt' me in a little way, I turned away an elderly tissue seller at lunch, after which i felt a horrible sense of guilt for a long while. After all it was just a dollar, why didnt i find it in my heart at that instant to spare a dollar for that old lady? Perhaps i was telling myself that i couldnt help everyone who came to my table? Well the bottomline is, it was only a dollar and i couldnt live with my excuses.

This old lady was frail, her face weathered, wrinkled and dark . She couldnt form her words properly which was why she gestured at me. I gave her two bucks and I pushed back two of the five packets she gave to me, saying that i didn't need so many. She looked at me and with her rubber like mouth with much difficulty, yelped out a "kum sia" (Thank you in hokkien). I didnt know what to say, all i could say was 'it's okay'. She put her hand in her bag, took out another two packets to make five and walked off with her small frial steps to the next table.

If I was an old man and had it my way, I would be sitting in my rocking chair in front of the telly watching re-runs of channel 8 drama serials from the 80s while my grandchildren play with thier lego sets and toy cars in the living room. Not everyone is so lucky and I don't think it would hurt to spare a thought for them, just a little one.

I'm just glad i didn't turn her away this time.


At 6:52 PM, Blogger Sandra Ng said...

when i was 9 i bought 5 curry puffs for the ah pek selling medicated oil at a lonely alley at telok blangah. Sat and listened to his stories... and i got back more than i gave. =)

At 9:16 PM, Blogger siyang said...

Cool.. old pple tell great stories, hey telok blangah's my old home town.. haha.. miss that place

At 10:21 PM, Blogger Atrophy said...

u did the right thing.

At 8:15 AM, Anonymous gi said...

aww that was nice of u...
but only buy from old ppl are disabled ok... not those china girls selling lottery tickets pls.

At 12:52 PM, Blogger siyang said...

i don't buy lottery tickets


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