Stray dogs have their supporters; so do stray cats. There are many kind hearted people in Singapore where animals are concerned, devoting time and money to ensure the strays are fed, spayed and, where possible, adopted. And as a last resort, compassionately put to sleep by the SPCA.
Not so fortunate are the stray humans who walk our streets and occasionally, even our main highways, stumbling along, dazed, if not mad, with hunger, continuous exposure to inclement weather of sun and rain, in tattered threadbare filthy clothes not even fit for the dump.
These unfortunate humans have somehow escaped the net of our Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports and the ubiquitous many helping hands of our NGOs which sadly don’t include a human version of Acres, SPCA or Cat Welfare Society.
And of course there is no way we can put a stray human out of his misery by putting him to sleep like we would a stray cat or dog which somehow can’t find a family to take it in.
So what’s the next best thing for a human stray?
My suggestion: let’s keep our eyes and wallets open for them; let’s help them survive one more day with a meal or two, till somehow MCYS or one of the NGOs come to their rescue.
Let’s start with this: those who travel along Bukit Timah Road and Dunearn Road as far south as around Sim Lim Square and as far north as Bukit Timah Plaza, please keep a look-out for an elderly man, who seems unable to stop trekking these long stretches of roads.
His hair is peppery white; his complexion ruddy, stumbling along in sun or rain, in a pair of slippers, a tattered shirt and black trousers that have turned grey with dirt; always with a plastic bag in hand. He obviously has nowhere to call home and no one to call family.
I’ve stopped to pass him some cash for a meal or two, whenever I’ve spotted him — which isn’t often, perhaps once or twice a month — and only whenever it’s safe to stop without causing a traffic jam
This old man may not be of very sound mind but he is a human being after all.
So, if there are people willing to put up $15,ooo to find the killer of a dog, I’m hopeful that there will also be people willing to spare a few dollars for this abandoned old man cursed to walk till he drops.
I pray that more sustained help will get to him before that happens!