Thursday, February 9, 2012
Never Judge a Book by its Cover
The chinese aliken two people who cant understand each other when talking as a chicken and a duck.
You never know who you will encounter when and you never know when your paths will cross again.
About 6 years ago, I was at school waiting to pick my kids when this gruff old man squeezed his car in between my car and another, though the space in between was really small. In the process, he bumped into my car. When I got out to inspect, he went "Moh see! moh see!" which means "Nothings wrong!" in cantonese. Of course I was a little pissed, but seeing no dent on my car, I just let it pass, and was always weary whenever I saw this gruff old man's car whenever it approached.
Fast forward 6 years and this same old man, who still comes to school pick his grandchildren has become a "friend". He is a little hard of hearing, speaks no english, a smattering of mandarin, and hardly any hokkien has been telling me his life story!! As some of you may know, I speak no cantonese and understand only basic mandarin. So when we communicate its like a chicken talking to a duck.
You see, I go quite early to school on most days just to ensure a decent parking lot which would enable me to get out of the school zone as quickly as possible. And being early, I talk to some of the other grandparents and parents who go early too. This old man, is friends to some of the others whom I talk too, and naturally, we just hang around and make small talk.
One day, he shared with me his life story, with my MIL helping to interpret some of the parts I couldnt understand.
His mum died when he was 9, and he was left to fend for himself, as his dad was a seaman, whom he only saw no more then twice a year. As such he was forced to leave school. With no food on the table at home, and no one to watch over him and his siblings, he was forced to find his own food. He went out to work just for food.
Being small and scrawny, many laughed at him. He was lucky that where he stayed, there were lots of samsui women, who took pity on him and shared their food with him. He did any work that came along and in time managed to earn his keep.
He now owns a condo apartment in district 10, a prime district in Singapore, which he bought paying in cash ... which resulted in him being fined for tax evasion! You see, all along, doing odd jobs, he just kept what he was paid, paying no tax.
He is a father of 4 kids and 12 grandchildren, and a doting parent and grandparent to boot. This man is a heart of gold. He wakes up at 4am every morning to do the laundry, and single-handedly cooks and ferries all his grandchildren to and from school.
This past December, he braved the cold, and language barrier and made a trip to Japan just to check on his daughter. He had told me that his daughter had not come home for some 4 years and was again not coming home this year. Married to a Singaporean working in Japan, he wanted to make sure that everything was in order for his daughter, and that she wasnt facing any problems with spouse or anything else, so he made the trip just to check on her wellbeing! (When he told me this, it brought a tear to my eye, coz it really shows his love for his child!!)
This is one man that will help anyone if within his ability. One day another parent had a tyre puncture, but was unwilling to get it replaced as she was going to change her car in another 3 months. Instead she had it patched. He had inspected it, and thought that the patching wasnt going to last her the 3 months. The next day, this man had used his contacts and came with a spare tyre just for her. And whenever anyone has any problems with their cars, he would always assist by checking it out as he had worked at one stage in his life as a car mechanic.
For someone who has never gone to school, and had such a hard beginning he has really done well. A man with a heart of gold. I now have new-found respect for him, tho' I still can barely understand him when he tries to share with me more of his life stories! AND I am still weary when he parks near my car.