This incident happened on a Monday evening after my Open House duty at HQ, Syed Alwi Road. It affected me for days and it also left me with regrets. In life, people come and go so do certain incidents, but there is just no way to forget them.
The time was about 15mins to 10pm as we made our way to a nearby coffee shop for some beverage after the Open House. There were 4 of us including myself. I remembered we were discussing about a durian trip which was organised by the Welfare. The place was not packed, only about 3 tables including ours were occupied. 30 mins later, it happened.
Due to our seating position, I was the only one that witnessed it. A man with white disheveled hair, over-sized chequed blue shirt and a pair of knee-length faded black bermudas, sat down. He called out to the coffee-shop lady who was standing just about a metre away from him. He was barely audible to me.
Very soon, the lady came back with a bun, a small one. When she placed the plate on the table, the man who was probably in his 60s, put his hand into his bermudas to search for some money. He took quite a while and finally he had his hands out with some coins in it. The lady then took whatever she needed and left the rest intact. The old man then put his hand back into the pocket.
At this point of time, I was not paying attention to the discussion. What came next, was something that I could never forget.
He brought the bun to his mouth and bite into the steaming hot bun. The look he had on his face when he ate the bun was..... I .... I can feel tears welling up in my eyes.
He did not eat it hungrily or quickly. Instead he enjoyed the small little bun, he ate it as though it was a delicacy. He took his time to chew and enjoy his meal, which could probably be his dinner after hours of begging on the streets. However I can tell that he had problem swallowing his food.
I quickly looked away when he took the second bite. I could no longer take it anymore. I knew that if I looked on, the tears which I was trying to control would definitely roll down my cheeks. I was at a loss for words, I... don't know what to say and even right now as I am writing about it, I had to fight back tears.
Then a thought came into my mind, maybe I should get him a hot tea or milk, or whatever for him to drink. But I had second thoughts about doing it. What will the old man think? Will he think that I am pitying him? Will he not want to accept it? I took out my purse, turned back to look at him, he was gone.
Why? Why did I not do what I think? Why did I have so many questions? Why did I procrastinate? I regretted not buying him the drink which I wanted to.
I could not stop thinking about him as I made my way home, I was silent throughout the journey. That night when I slept, I cried as his look came into my mind again. I felt so sorry for him and at the same time I hated myself for not doing something.
Is he married? His children had abandoned him? His wife? Or probably he is single? CPF? Savings? Work? Why?
Despite knowing that he is one of the many out there that is homeless, it affected me badly. How will you feel if this happens to be your grandparents?