I was on the train platform near my home on Friday when this teenage boy who’s slightly taller than me and wearing white school uniform without any badge of proper name tag approached me. He started off saying that no one wanting to help him and asked if I could help him. I asked what help does he want and he requested to converse in mandarin. So there I was, trying to reply with the best I could translate from what I wanted to say in english and sifting through his accent. Here is the account in english.
Boy: My mom gave me $5 and I lost it. I need to get to Bedok.
Me: You could take a train towards city hall and transfer. -Points to the direction-
Boy: But I don’t know how to go.
Me: Let me show you the map. (I was about to walk towards the map and point the station to him but he seemed unwilling to follow me.)
Boy: I’m not lying to you. I really have no money with me now. I need to take buses to Bedok.
Me: -puzzelled- (Why is he in the station and not at the bustop?) How did you get in?
Boy: The station person let me in. Please, do you have $5 or even $2 will do.
Me: (I would if I had $2 or something. Just to get him off my back.) What bus are you taking?
Me: (I don’t remember a 100 here) Are you sure?
Boy: Yes, I sure. You know, the bus stop across the road..when you cross the bridge over there, you take Bus 100. I have to change 5 buses
Me: (You think I stupid ar?) It’s faster if you take a train. I can show you which station to stop.
Boy: I don’t know how. Even if you show me I won’t know how. I know how to take the bus there.
Me: Are you Singaporean?
Boy: No. I’m Malaysian. Please, could you give me $5?
Me: I don’t have $5.
Boy: Then how much do you have?
Me: (I’m not going to tell you I have $10) I don’t have any money.
Boy: Are you going to give me money?
Me: (I was infuriated that a kido is challenging me as to what I should do with my money) Cos I don’t have money for myself.
The train arrived and I strode in. Thank goodness he didn’t follow. I felt rather guilty after that…he was pretty good at manipulating my emotions. I found out later that night that bus 100 doesn’t go to woodlands. Thank goodness I didn’t give him any money or I would have felt really dumb.