Surely he’s no ghost?

Since my appeal earlier this month, I’ve again seen the old man in that tattered shirt, who is apparently cursed to walk up and down long stretches of two trunk roads — Bukit Timah and Dunearn — in sunshine, thunder or in rain. Much like the dancer cursed to dance till she died!

You would think his plight is for all the world to see and someone with more commitment and clout than me would have done something more permanent for him already — and I don’t mean incarcerating him, of course.

Yet, it appears that I may be the lone vehicle driver out of the thousands who pass him in daylight hours — who notices him and feels compelled to pull up on the kerb, whenever traffic permits, to pass him something for a meal.

This afternoon, he looked even worse for wear: his tattered shirt looked even worse than in my last post. Any minute, every semblance of what was once a garment is going to disintergrate into shreds, if not dust.

It’s in times like this that i feel our Government is spending money less than wisely: even as i pulled up beside this pitiful human stray, I was hearing on radio that the Ministry for Information, Communications and the Arts is pumping $4.2 million into the Silver Infocomm Initiative to help senior citizens embrace a digital lifestyle!

If the radio report was interactive, I would have said “hello, forget the digital lifestyle for senior citizens. Just spend enough first on senior citizens who got no life, let alone a lifestyle, OK?”

Pity it wasn’t. And I’m also perplexed why so many motorists are blind to this old man on the trunk roads when I am not? Perhaps he’s a ghost whom no one else sees?

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21 thoughts on “Surely he’s no ghost?

  1. Maybe the man himself wants his freedom to walk up and down, you think? He may be unhappier if “incarcerated” so to speak in a care centre where he would need to circumsribe his every action to centre rules? Did you get a chance to chat a little with him to see if he is at all helped? He may be, no?

  2. Pet, I don’t know if wot he’s doing is out of choice, in the sense like you and I can decide wot we want to do at any point in time. It gives me some comfort that he may be getting some aid, fm somewhere, other than for the occasional few bucks I pass to him. But whoever is rendering him aid must need contact lenses not to see that wot he’s wearing is abt to drop off his back!

    No, I never converse with him, other than say “Ah Pek, ciak”. Also, given the whizzing traffic on either road that I see him on, I can’t park and talk. He just grunts and takes wot I offer and continues to move on.

    It’s a shame isn’t it that i can’t do more than what I’m doing and hoping via this post to pass the buck to someone more compassionate and proactive? That’s me!

  3. Your contribution helps pay for his meals you know. As you can see, other people (can I say the rich folks living in that area) simply turn a blind eye.

  4. Pet, thanks for the thumb’s up. I wasn’t self-deprecating. Just recognising a certain flaw in myself.

    Blur, the “rich” folk in the area r probably very pushed for time. Whereas I’m not. And I’ve a got a certain guilt abt hungry pple because I like food so much myself!

    Btw, to all drivers who may have chanced on this post, the old man’s route seems to be Dunearn Rd heading for the city in the morning and Bt Timah Rd heading north in the afternoons.

  5. ironic sight, why the concern exists only on a few people? What does it mean that a lot of people without feeling sentimental?

    I want to be in your position, and I will take them to a decent place. While I’m currently in reality are the same as their fate.

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  12. International Forum: hope your situation is better than the old man’s and you are better now.

    Ashton: when u next run into him, pse take a pix? Also, do spare him $ for a meal. I haven’t seen him for months and assumed he had passed on or had been taken in by MCYS or otherwise settled. So sad to hear he’s still on the road 😦

  13. Oh..I always swing over to hand in some $. Wind down the window and pass it to him. Don’t think got time to take picture. You know, got to rush the kids to school.

  14. Ashton, where u saw old man? Let me know? He doesn’t stumble by my neck of wood any more between Balmoral n Keng Chin Rds. Don’t blame him either since it’s digging, tree chopping n don’t know what else by LTA and PUB day in and out, week-ends included 🙄

  15. It’s still the usual route that I would see him – walking down Orchard Road before turning to Scotts Road and heading towards Newton Circus – it’s usually along Scotts Road (just about Sheraton Towers) that I would see him (about 7:15am) but last week he was around the Thai Embassy stretch when I saw him – probably walking slower now with a slight limp. But not everyday, maybe once a few weeks encounter.

  16. Ashton, the old man seems to have slightly deviated from the route where I spotted him, esp the last time which was on Moulmein Road on the side heading towards town. Guess he has to change routes given the ongoing construction work all round. Or mayb it’s a different guy u r giving to. No matter! Every destitute deserves a little $ from those who can afford it and can be bothered to stop. Best to u!

  17. His shirt is a dirty beige with big black dirty patches on it. The pants are black and he wears slippers. The same outfit for years. I always spot him along Scotts Road walking along the divider, which is quite dangerous. I remember telling my son that the guy is crazy to be walking on that side of the road that he must be not of sound mind, when we first spotted him (4 years ago?). That time, we saw him almost everyday, just walking down towards Newton Circus. Perhaps after that, he would turn towards Balmoral road?

    When I first read your post sometime back, I knew it must be the same man, since it is quite near the vicinity.

    When I saw your posts, I knew it must be the same man.

  18. Ashton, it may or may not be the same old man; the probability is it’s the same; altho the times I’ve seen him his shirt was a dirty grey; at one time it was so ragged that it was falling off him like gossamer. Then the next time I ran into him, he was wearing an OK but oversized shirt. Guess someone somewhere could be giving him the odd shirt and pair of trousers. So his beige shirt must be a donated garment. I’ve only started running into him in the past two years while you’ve noticed him even longer. These human strays seem hardier than the average person with enough shelter, food and rest. Let’s join hands to give this group of wanderers a bite or two, whenever we can? Agree?

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