Author Name: Nerissa Ngein
Age: 11
School: Zheng Hua Primary School

Dappled sun shone through the trees, creating mysterious shadows. Tiny specks of dust seemed to dance in the shaft of the afternoon sunlight that slanted through many windows. Roads shimmered in the heat of the midday sun. The sunlit skyscrapers pierced the hot blue sky that was dotted with fluffy clouds, that drifted lazily.

I was walking home from school while humming my favourite tune. As I walked towards Pending LRT, I spotted a shabby man in a patched T-shirt. He was crying bitterly at one corner of the street. I was taken aback as I had never in my life seen an adult crying in a street before. Being curious, I walked towards him…

As I looked at him at close-range, he looked like he was in his sixties. The man had sunken eyes, a bulbous nose and thin matted hair. His face was puffy, pale, oily and also riddled with pockmarks. He smiled repulsively, revealing stained and dirty teeth. Tears were flowing down his cheeks too.

‘Oh my god! What happened?’ I asked myself. The man started blankly at me. It really irked me!

‘Excuse me? Why are you sitting here crying?’ I questioned him.

‘Gu gah gu gah…’ the man replied.

‘Oh forget it! How am I going to understand what this ‘baby’ is talking about?’ I asked myself.

At several intervals, I noticed the claustrophobic man who looked rather jittery was sweating profusely. His both eyes kept glancing into the shallow drain right in front of him. He looked into it in a frenzy of panic. Not long after I spotted that, I then also saw a wooden bowl next to him. There was also a name card booked over his neck.

‘Could he be a beggar?’ I guessed.

‘That guy looked sad and despair. His eyes glistened with tears. I really pity him. Suddenly, he spoke a few babyish language.

‘Gah…Gah…’ while pointing into the drain.

‘Something important must have dropped in.’ I guessed. I helped the old man to lift the drain cover with all my strength.

‘Arh… Arh…’ I moaned.

Not long, the drain lid open. I felt weak with relief… I sat down on the ground and thanked God.

‘Yi? What did the man exactly wanted to take?’

Slowly, I saw the man lifting up a dirty 50-cent coin. Oh my! After going so much trouble, the man only wanted to get that? I could simply take one out from my pocket if I understood what he was trying to tell me.

Later, I tried to call the number on the card. After all the chatting, I realised that he was a retarded man who would usually beg every Thursday. His precious 50-cent must have fallen into the drain. Guessed he could not bear to leave the hard-beg 50 cent in the drain, he decided to stand by the drain and cry.

As I saw him huddle the 50-cent close to his chest and kissing at periodically, I could not help but allow my tears to cloud my eyes. He has taught me something no institution can teach me – to appreciate and value whatever we have …