The Homeless Guy who Gazed at Me
It was 10pm and I was sitting at the food court of Sim Lim Square at the outside. The food court was already closed and not many people left to hang around. It was only me and two other souls seated far apart.
One guy left. There was only me and one other person. He sat very far away. While happily typing on my MacBook, at the corner of my eye, appear a very rugged person. I turned my head to him. He sat down on the floor looking unwashed, unkempt and lost. He was holding to a bottle of Minute Maid, though I thought he was drunk. Maybe in the bottle is a potion mixed with Vodka. Our eyes locked as we try to read each others’ intention. “Does he want something for me? Is he going to go berserk, or snatch my bag then run away?”. We were 3 metres apart. Looking at his gaze, I think he was drunk and couldn’t do me much harm. Therefore, I kept sitting and continued punching the springy keyboard of the Macbook.
11pm and I was done. I packed my bag, then made my way to the stairs. The unkempt man was still there, lying on the floor sleeping. I did a quick check. His belongings were a pair of slippers, an umbrella, and a piece of cardboard which he used as a bed.
I was on my way up to leave this man behind and continue with my life. As I put my right foot on the first step, a piece of thought came to my mind. “Maybe this unkempt man is a homeless person. He might be hungry. I should give him some money”. I took my wallet and prepared some cash. I was thinking of putting the dollar bill next to his umbrella and suddenly he woke up. Our eyes were locking again. Instead of giving the money, I put it back into the wallet and walked towards him.
“Are you sleeping here?”. That’s my opening sentence. A start of my conversation with this person. “Where do you stay? Where are your parents? Where are your siblings? Are you hungry? Have you eaten? What will you do tomorrow? Do you have money? Do you want some bread? Do you want drink?”
He’s probably in his early 30-s or late 20-s. However, I think he’s got a personality of a 10 year old child. Probably, he is mentally challenged, but he is very straight in his answer, just like a kid’s. He wasn’t drunk and completely sober.
This is the 5-minute conversation I had with him (redacted):
“Where’s your home?” Boon Lay.
“That’s quite far. Why don’t you go back home?” I don’t want (sounds annoyed)
“Do you always sleep here?” Yes.
“Have you eaten?” Yes. At the temple. No meat, only vegetarian food.
“Do you want me to buy you food? Bread maybe?” No. I have eaten.
“Do you want drink?” I don’t drink (I think he misunderstood me. Maybe he thinks that I’m offering him a bottle of beer)
“Can I give you money so you can buy food?” No. I have eaten at the temple
“Do you have money?” Yes
“Where do you get the money?” My boss give
“Oh, you work for your boss. What kind of job do you do?” … (no answer, I’m not sure if he understands what I mean with job)
Clearly, he doesn’t want anything from me. He was there because that was his sleeping place. He’s not interested in receiving money, food, or drink from me. Not a slight of sadness, negativity, or unjust appears in his eyes while we were interacting.
Sir, you may be unkempt, homeless, and has few possessions. However, you’re a tough human being who don’t let the situation define you. Salute to you!