We were cycling out to Marine Parade on one of the narrow Joo Chiat side lanes. At a quiet corner two boys were sitting at the road curb, cradling a ball, and the smaller one called out “Do you have ten dollars? We are hungry but we have no money. Our parents kicked us out.”
HY was riding in front of me and she replied no we only have ten dollars for our own lunch. I asked why to which the smaller one replied, “We didn’t do our homework.” They were both very tanned, and didn’t look too street or poor, just despondent!
He added, “He’s sec two and I’m primary six. We’ve been asking for more than one hour and no one would give us any money.”
The first thing that came to my mind was this long road. So I told him that the road is very long, just do the homework, and again, because the road is very long. We offered the ten dollars we had, and the vocal one said never mind it’s ok. He said we needed money for our own lunch and kept saying it’s ok. We insisted and told him to just do the damn homework. I also provided our address and got him to remember. I want the money back I told him.
He’s an honest one. Kicked out. Hungry. Didn’t do homework. He could have lied. He could have not spoken for the two of them, but he did and he did so unpretentiously, unflinchingly. That’s the part I like most.
As for the money back, it all depends. This boy’s got something going for him. Now it all depends on the road un-taken.
Patience wins out in the end.
Tin Can Toy Making For Boys