Beneath the soles of a cardboard collector

Beneath the soles of a cardboard collector

MdmAwMet Madam Aw on 21 May 2014
At the Extend The Feast (ETF) 3
Organised by Happy People Helping People Foundation (HPHP)
She was 76 years old
About 5 feet tall
About 40+ kg in weight

Petite in size
Further compressed by the burden of life
She has a signature sunshine smile

Well-tanned face
With more than usual wrinkles
Caused by over exposure to sunlight

She lives in Whampoa
Collects cardboards for a living
Sells her collection at Toa Payoh

She pushes her trolley of cardboards daily
From Whampoa to Toa Payoh
A journey of more than two hours in each direction
For an extra 3 cents per kg offer

At ETF 3
Offered her some money
She declined with her signature smile

I have a relatively new car
With very nice interior
I struggled with myself
To offer to send her and the soiled trolley home

She declined my offer
Took her lunch
Took her dry ration entitlement
Off she goes.

For future EFT communication
Bought her a mobile phone
With a pre-paid card to last until next meeting

Delivered the phone to her home
Popped the probing question
Why do you have to collect cardboards?

Signature sunshine smile disappeared
Tears flowed
Like a burst dam

It is not for the need to kill time
It is not for the need to exercise
She has no other source of income

On a good day her income is about $5 to $7
On a good day she has about $5 to $7 for three meals.
On a bad day her income is about $2.50
On a bad day she has $2.50 for three meals

I offered her some money again
She willingly accepted this time
She could not believe there are many kind people from ETF 3

In Dec 2014
Nafiz from HPHP
Posted a shocking picture (see picture)

Beneath the sole of Madam Aw
Slippers with big holes
Not for ventilation
Not for better grip

Nafiz took swift action
Bought her a new pair of slippers
Had a hard time convincing her to accept the gift

Many of you will ask
Have you brought her to see the MP?
Have you brought her to the Family Service Centre?

We apologise for not doing more
To meet your expectations
We are just doing our minimum

As I penned down my unorganized thoughts
A droplet smeared the paper
It’s not from the aircon leak

By Anonymous.

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