Steph's Friend

Saturday, February 18, 2006


Today I was on the way to Potong Pasir just like any other Saturdays. It was in the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) that I saw two boys (around the age of 16) holding hands and laughing. There was also this aunty behind them. It was a really touching scene...

One of them was handicapped in that he could not walk properly. His friend held his hand and guided him as he walked out of the MRT at Outram Park. The aunty is apparently the handicapped's mother. I too alighted at Outram Park as I need to take the NE (North East Line) to Potong Pasir. I walked beside the group of three to find out more...

The handicapped boy's name is Benjamin. Both the boys are in some special school. Not special as in gifted but special as in needing special attention. However, Ben's friend (I couldn't get his name), seems normal. They were talking on things like...

"What are you going to do after this year?"
"I think I will go into Delta."
"Delta? Why don't you continue on? I think they will provide jobs for special people for us here."

Is Delta like Secondary 4? Or is Delta their version of Junior College? That I am not too sure. But Benjamin didn't talk much. His friend talked the most. Ben's mother helped Ben to answer questions asked by his friend.

Looking at this scene really touched my heart. It's nice to know that there are people who are fortunate to have friends to accompany you and your mother to your home. In today's society, good people are hard to find.

Earlier on in the day, there were secondary school children doing CIP (Community Involvement Project) by asking for donations. There are a lot of people who refused to give. I am not saying that Singaporeans are heartless, but I guess it's that the various organisations have been doing the same thing for years of Saturdays, to the extent that it loses its meaning.

Then there was this lady in the MRT. When the MRT stopped at one of the stops, a small boy accidentally stepped on her toes. Her face turned black and she hissed! The grandfather of the boy was embarrassed and said "Sorry", but that lady did not accept his apology as her face was still black. It wasn't fortunate for me as she was standing in front of me as I was leaning against the glass pane at the sides of the MRT door. I looked out through the glass panel at the door, avoiding her killer stares (yes, she was that angry).

For goodness sake, the boy is still young! Why get so angry over it? I am sure that lady has stepped on other people's toes when she was young too.

As I was returning home, it was raining. I was waiting at the traffic light with my umbrella, waiting for the green man to light up. Then there was this man (in his 40s) beside me under the rain. I stretched my umbrella out to him. He didn't say anything (or maybe he did but it was soft) but he didn't refuse my offer either. The green man appreared and we crossed the road. As we were crossing, he did not say a word. In fact he was walking so fast that I had to quicken my pace to catch up with him. It seems that he is rejecting my But when we reach the other end of the road, the man said "Thanks". I was like "Welcome...?"

I guess Singaporeans are not used to kind acts from strangers. So much so that when they are on the receiving end, they feel awkward and "pai seh". I guess the courtesy campaign here still have much to do.

As for the student from China that I have, she's very hardworking. She is the first student that I have who is willing to stay back after lesson time to practice on the drum. The only complain I have is communication. Communication was a big problem. As expected, she asked for the Chinese names of the various parts of the drums. I was like wo bu zhi dao (Translation: I don't know). She asked me questions in Chinese and I answered her in Chinese and English. I felt so pai seh, speaking broken Chinese in front someone from China. She also has that "China accent". She talked so fast I was like "huh?". But after a while, I got used to it and teaching her was okay. She's a hardworking student who takes down notes and practiced after lessons.

This reminds me of the competition that I will face from students from China when I go to university. Getting to the top 5 won't be that easy anymore. If learning to play the drum is already taken so seriously, how much more getting a degree!

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