In a dark cubicle of an equally dark pre-war house, somewhere in Kong Sai Kai (Keong Siak St) , some fifty years ago, a girl was born. She was born mute. And somewhere in Chinatown, another boy was also born. Mute.
Like a typical Chinese tale .. they were match-made. When this mute girl was growing up, her mother was concerned about her future. And so, she had long decided that she must get a husband for her. And so, these two mutes got married. Life was not easy but they got on. Husband was working on odd jobs. Wife worked as helper. In between, they had lovely kids, yes, they talk and are normal, thankfully.
If life was tough in Chinatown in the 60s to now, theirs would probably be more challenging. But each time when I met the mute lady, she was always happy and using her hands and whatever sounds she could make to communicate. She was a distant relative, probably linked all the way to this tiny village in China. And so, wherever we could, we would share something with her.
Unknownst to us, our Indonesian maid was also helping! We were wondering why she was keeping all the used drink cans in the house. Oh, she washed (to avoid the ants from making a mess) and saved them for the husband to sell!
And then, one morning, she waited and waited. In vain. She could not see him at the usual place. Then, we knew that he had passed on. When my wife met the wife, she was describing with her hands and sounds how she cried for days. (^^;
Now, each time I finish a can of drink, I think of these lives in our midst. A garbage could well mean a possible warm meal.