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When I board the bus, a boy is crying beside two school bags. A woman is standing beside the school bags, guarding the school bags (and the boy).
I sit down just two seats away from the boy and observe. This is not something that you encounter everyday. The woman does not make any effort to stop the boy from crying. The boy is crying, shouting and mumbling at the same time. Other passengers are looking at the pair, wondering what is happening.
The bus has travelled a few bus stations away and the passengers are getting impatient.
Someone offers a seat to the boy but is rejected.
Someone asks the boy to keep quiet but we get more shouting and crying.
Someone says he will call the police but he does not.
An innocent preschooler says the police will catch the boy and the mummy hushes the preschooler immediately.
An elderly woman calls the boy a spoilt brat softly so that the boy won’t hear her.
The bus captain calls the control station but nothing can be done as the trip needs to go on and the woman accompanying the boy should be responsible to calm the boy down. He calls the control station twice!
The boy moves to sit down. He is closing his eyes, sobbing still. It is almost time for me to alight. I get ready my travel card and a tissue paper. I offer him the tissue paper when I walk to the bus door. He wipes his tears.
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I do not know what happens next. From observation, the woman is his domestic helper. The domestic helper calls the boy’s mother after the bus captain calling the control station. The boy says the domestic helper doesn’t let him eat. Well, they are on the way home and food is ready at home. It is just that the boy is hungry at the moment, hungry and tired, and maybe stressed from school.
No one, NO ONE, tries to understand why the boy is making a fuss, not even his domestic helper. Everyone is blaming him for causing a scene in the bus. Only I offer him a tissue paper. I feel sorry for him. I would be making a fuss if I were at his age, hungry, tired and stressed out.
I really hope that Singapore can be a better place for children to live. It takes a village to raise a child. But what if the child is in a village that does more harm than good? The boy is just in primary school. How is he going to cope when he goes to secondary school?
I have been reading books on brain and emotional stability and how childhood experience will “haunt” a child even after he or she becomes an adult. I do hope the boy can learn from his experience and do not let the incident haunt him when he grows up.
This encounter has opened up my mind and my eyes on how strangers can be so “harmful” even though they mean no harm. They just use the wrong method. The tissue paper will dry his tears, why no one has ever thought of that?
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