16 July 2013

Old Man Outside the Train Station

Today I was on my way to work and as usual, I would take a puff before I enter the station, there was this old man, he approached me with a smile, I knew for sure he wanted something from me, strangers don't usually approach with a smile, he was smoking too, his cigarette was more high class than mine; I am smoking the cheap hand-rolled type. I was immediately alerted at that moment, if he was going to ask for money, straight no.

Indeed he was trying to ask for money but he started by saying he is not doing well and he didn't have a decent meal for days and all he wanted was just some money for tea. I told him I'm not doing well too, everything is expensive, I was expecting him to get pissed off and walk away but he smiled and said how can I be more worse off than him. So I asked whether he has a job and he said he has been trying to find one for a long time but he always got rejected due to his age, according to him, he is 65 years old. He said once a person reaches 55, it's very difficult to find a job in Singapore. I nod in agreement.

Next I asked about his children, he knew exactly why I asked so he told me he have two sons, one is 39 years old, unmarried and trying to find a job, the other is married and earning about S$1200 a month. The old man is staying with this married son and he said he doesn't wish to add to the financial burden so he didn't ask for any money from this working son.

I then asked why didn't he ask government for help, he said he tried CDAC and they helped him by giving S$100 or S$200+ a month and they told him to find a job. Then I asked if he was aware of the GST rebate that our government is giving out and he said he is aware but he has to wait until next month before he can receive it. Then I asked him about his cigarette he immediately said he got it from a guy earlier on, then he asked me for a cigarette and I showed him my hand-rolled stuff and he didn't want it.

But all the while he was smiling, I don't like giving strangers money but since we talked a bit, we aren't that far apart so I gave him S$2. He thanked me and said when he gets his CPF money next month, at this moment I stopped him and said keep it and spend wisely, don't spend it on cigarettes and liquor, then I left for work.

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