Saturday, February 25, 2012

Taped python, personal foul and starless skies

I bet, If you take a Singapore train by hand and rattle it in the air, the number of electronic gadgets flying out would be at least twice the number of people on board. And I also bet if you have a python taped to the ceiling of the cabin, no one would notice, because everyone is busy looking down on Ipad,phone,pod or psp.

Occasionally you would find someone reading books, or handling their kids or adjusting a big bag from Mustafa. These are either housewives, old, Indians or all of the above.The good thing is no one cares about the business of other, and the bad thing is no one cares about the other. In the city where one can get happy meals at 2 in the morning and have wending machines to serve drinks all day long, no one needs anyone.

Last friday, I was walking home close to 11 in the night after a solo basket ball game. I heard weeping sound from the side walk and went closer to check. There she was, a 68 year old beautiful Chinese lady sitting and crying like a baby, eyes swollen and blood red. A passer-by translated her words or rather pain to me. She is working in a nearby food court (yes at 68!, most cleaning jobs at food courts are done by aged people in Singapore) and going home after work (yes at 11 pm in the night).

You would expect a city like Singapore to support its pensioners, or put them in old age homes or whatever that provides and takes care of aged people. I assumed so, but this is the second time I held a hand, and walked home a aged person. Last time it was a 70 year old man who was standing motionless in the train station, because he couldn't walk.  When I asked why they didn't go to doctor, they both said the same thing,  its costly and that the medicine doesn't help much. Of course it does not, you are suppose to be resting and enjoying a slow life at 60 plus, not pushing carts of used plates and wiping tables for 9 hours!

After a 15 minutes crawl, the sobbing Chinese lady, the translator, me and my basket ball were standing at  her door step. 3 door bell rings and no answer. She lives with her equally aged brother, her nephew and his family. When she fumbled with her keys and opened the door, I could see 30 plus couple comfortably seated in good cushion chair watching a reality show in 50 plus-something-inch idiot box.  They didn't even bother to get up as I asked them to take her to doctor's.

The stranger and I took the lift  from the 12th floor each processing our own thoughts. The sodium lamp from the hallway illuminated us at every floor, creating a flash of light and dark. There are so many people out there who needs help, be it physical, or monetary, or both. And  how much can I do?  I cant even afford a new paper back book to read in the trains.  I went back to the deserted court to play. I needed to vent out something from me, with my china made round friend.  I even remember shouting "fu!k" loudly when I missed my 4th shot in a row to the basket.

After half an hour erratic shots, tiredness caressed me. I laid down right there, feeling the warm concrete on my back, sweat and wind cooling me off, to the star less sky. "We need to switch off the lights to see the stars", I said that loud and smiled realising that I am talking to myself like a third person. May be we are too afraid to switch off and look up from our Iphones to see the reality. May be we don't need anyone, but I bet none of us want to be the one sitting by the side walk and crying at 11 pm.