Last evening as I was leaving Chinatown Complex after packing up my stall, I spied a man - who was probably in his forties - roaming suspiciously around the near deserted centre. He seemed ordinary enough, well-dressed in a long-sleeved shirt and pants, a leather satchel in one hand and an umbrella, the other.
Interest piqued, I followed him for a bit. I then watched, stunned, as he swooped down on tables that still had uncleared food and drink, and crammed remaining food morsels into his mouth. He’d also take generous swigs of leftover beer - piss-warm by now - in between bites, all the while glancing furtively around.
I left quickly, embarrassed, when he spotted me.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised by the incident. Almost on a daily basis, I’d see plenty of poor elderly lurking around Chinatown Complex. Selling tissue paper? Why make the pretense of trying to make a living out of marking up a packet of tissue paper by a few cents? No. They’d simply ask for a handout, so that they can afford their next meal. Or they’d pick over leftover food like crows over a fat carcass.
I’m not about to go into a spiel about how our country has no safety net for the poor and destitute.
But it hurts the human spirit to witness the downtrodden, the ones without hope or future. And not being able to do anything about it.