About a year ago, there were several occasions where whenever me and colleagues go out for lunch, she would always be seen on our way, pledging for sympathy from passers-by to drop a few bucks into a plastic cup that she carried with her. I would described her as an able elderly woman who can afford to carry her legs all over Sunway, or Subang for that matter since I spotted her once in Asia cafe. Or maybe she belongs to some beggar syndicate who sends her everywhere to beg, if I’m being cynical about it.
I saw people surrendered to her teary, puppy eyes and proceed to hand in a few notes (in exchange of a compassionate relief?) and of course with no exception to some who hums along to the tune of Phil Collin’s Another Day in Paradise and simply ignore her presence while she mumbles incoherent speech over their cold shoulders.
I don’t know how long she’s been around in the begging business, but I was one of those who fell into the compassion-selling trap of hers. One day, I decided that if I see her again, I’ll buy her bread instead of giving her cash.
I mustered up the courage to hand over the bread to her personally and thought my deed is done there and then. But I caught the look in her eyes… which got me trembled all over. She took the bread and mumbles something I didn’t understand… because I wasn’t listening. I was trying to hold my tears together and hope to save myself from embarrassment of being seen crying in the public and left the scene red-eyed and shrugged off a passerby who questions the drama between me and her… it was only for that split second moment where I felt sorry for her, and stupid. What was I thinking? Think she’ll stop begging after some vulnerable sheep buys her bread??
Of course, a few days later we saw her again with her plastic cup.