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This post was edited by Fookchew at 2013-8-6 10:14|
There is a little humanity in all of us.
In March, my brother-in-law (a pastor) and his wife visited me in Shanghai, China's most affluence and cosmopolitan city. I took them to the sixth floor of Metro City at Xujiahui. Understandably, like most English educated Singaporeans they were skeptical of Chinese people's mannerism having heard of the "not so refined" behavior of Chinese.
Coming to China for the first time, they were impressed by the great wealth and development that were all around.
Then, I noticed my brother-in-law, half through at our lunch table was staring at something a few tables' away. I asked what caught his attention and he drew us to the table where an old man (a recycled plastic bottles collector) were picking leftover food off the tables. And a family of five rather respectable looking people invited him to join their table for a while before they moved off. One of the ladies called him "uncle"and then asked him to carry in the meal as they left.
" I could not believe my eyes that China still had people who cared," the pastor sad, his eyes welling up in tears, "this happening in China?"
When the old man was eating all by himself, something occurred. The dish collecting girls were doing their rounds and when they came to this old man eating the leftovers, one of the girls attempted to clear the leftover dishes from him (whilst he was still eating). She clearly acted in a way as if to push him to leave whatever he was eating. Shocked, we stood at a distance and watched. The old man then used his arms to embrace the remaining dishes and hurriedly gorged down the food. He even choked a bit. He probably didn't know when he next meal would be. The girl stood there and looked at him with disdain. And as he walked off, she swept all the dishes into the bin giving him an angry stare.
There must a serious class issue here, I thought. Later we learn that these girl employees come mostly from the countryside. We were at a loss at what we saw and cannot relate to the rural girl's behavior toward the poor old man who obviously was living from hand to mouth.
Then we were at the lift, the old man was at the lift too, with his bag of recycled stuff. He stood upright and pressed the button for everyone to enter, he himself going in last. In the lift he was polite, holding on to the buttons for those vacating.
"He is a principled man," my sister-in-law said softly and with a crack in her voice.
"Imagine if he was my own father," she muttered.