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.


Thamizhmaangani said…
omg!!! what a fabulous touching article!:))))))))))))

it's so true //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.//

Srivats said…
oye tamil mango :) hahah thanks much
touching post, Sri! guess its the bane of our times.... the indifference,. the ' i dont need no one' attitude.....
but then again, there are always those who do care.. those who do help out those in need.. like u did..... u know the kind of reputation bbay has when it comes to helping out someone or even caring about strangers, but there have been so many times when i have been helped out by a complete stranger in buses or trains.... during the riots (i was then in college) i remember a group of hindu women escorting a group of muslim school girls home because the girls were scared to go home alone..... and such incidents are what make life worth living even in such a busy city...
Srivats said…
Dear anuradha

Your comments has given a new light to this post, I honestly felt my writing wasnt good enough, but I still wanted to keep writing to have that energy going. Its comments like these that keeps me writing. I am glad I touched a chord in you, and perhaps on others as well ;)
Srivats said…
There is a show called what would you do it, u have to youtube it, its a candid show for moral ettiqutes
Ramesh said…
You are a unique man Sri. Very special.
laks said…
The most painful thing is to see old people suffering... As u said how much can u r me do... just can share and feel that for a moment...but surely can teach our next generation to value everyone...Some changes will happen atleast at a small level..
Photo Cache said…
this is something i never expected in a modernized wealthy singapore. isn't it very asian to take care of our elders? do you know if they have programs for the seniors? and where are the children of this old lady?

thank you for writing this post.
Srivats said…

Yes well said, butterfly effect :)

Photo cache
yea well u may think so, I have learned that there are medical support programs and homes for people who have non to take care of them, but for others , its their struggle to be with the family and do work for thier own self. Some has sold their homes to give money to thier kids and became moneyless too.
I think there are a very few people who think like you Sri.........Otherwise no one has time to or interest to think about others! Keep up that spirit of spreading the message Sri......It will affect someone somewhere! I have never seen a Man or even heard about a man like you in the near past Sri! My blessings n wishes!!
Anonymous said…
How come I miss this fabulous post. one of the best post I ever read of yours. Connecting the small things together is an art and I guess you have earned a master in that.
Sri, what I feel is, these things are very common everywhere.You will find old people like that chinese lady in India too. But I still couldn't think over the way out for them. Are we need to accept this as it is and observe ? Or act and fight against it ? But how ??
jehan said…
hi Sri! thanks for visiting me and SooAe at my addiction page, hehe...

this is very mind blowing indeed. i didn't expect that of singapore. old people here are given due respect becuase if not for them, the south korea we know today would be non-existent. that's why in subway lines, they don't pay fare and in other transpo means and restaurants, they are given generous discounts. my MIL also gets free medical checkup every yearr.. i can feel that being the first son (he's the third in the family but he's the first son), my husband is hell bent on fulfilling filial piety to the extent of disregarding my feelings most of the times. not only to me but most of my Korean female friends complain about the same thing. so i just tell them that we endure more.. ^^,
Srivats said…
@ Aruna

Apologies for the late response, And I am humbled by ur words :) Thanks to teachers like u there would be more people like me :)


Thanks for ur workds, and sorry for the late reply. Well U cant change everything but U can do what you can do, just a little :)

Thats exhilirating to know they are well cared for in Korea, well its the same here, but the plans have not yet made it well enough I think. If this is the case here, god save the elderly in countries like India china and africa! Thats funny about ur MIL :) endure endure :)

Apologies for the delay in responding.

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