Aruna’s Story

Where is my ah girl?

The last time she came to visit, she gave me her old phone, and told me to call her whenever I want. But when I press the numbers on the screen, it says ‘wrong passcode’. I entered in correctly, right? I followed the eight numbers she scrawled on the back of a Toto* ticket. She said she will ring, but there is always no sound. Maybe she is busy earning a lot of money now, and is working hard for me.

Reflection: I wrote this from the perspective of many elderly in Singapore’s status quo; and I myself am no stranger to such a reality. With the increasing emphasis on respecting and nurturing our seniors, these kindly octogenarians are but still neglected behind the comforting veil of community work that clouds our vision. To many elderly; even we ourselves are aware, the only memory they hold is of their pining and longing for their loved ones — whereas we cannot care less until they are no more. As much as we even try or pretend to care (as can be seen by the ah girl in this story giving her aged mother her old phone), we, deep down, are not always 100% sincere about it (the ah girl not teaching her mother how to use the phone past the lockscreen). Even so, our predecessors always assume the best of us, and wait patiently for our prodigal return, even past their last breath.

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