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Tales from the Road

Tales from Singapore: Remarkable Auntie Maybel

SINGAPORE | Sunday, 21 June 2009 | Views [1197] | Comments [2]

We spent most of the day walking around the "city/country" exploring as much corner as we can until we were ready to go home. It was going to be a long ride from Harbour Front to Orchard Road with a couple of train transfers in between. I planned to take that time to just sit and reflect on what have transpired during the day. 

I was about to pop in my earphones when I felt something lightly brush my knee. I saw that it was a delicate hand of somebody who seemed old. I looked at the owner of the hand, a Singaporean woman well above her age. The strap of my bag caught her knee so she brushed it away. I looked at her and smiled as I said "Sorry". 

She smiled back. 

She was interested to know where I am from. She became interested when I told her I am from the Philippines. She thought I was a student so I had to explain to her what I do. She said she's been to the Philippines and even to Baguio City where I grew up. She loved it there. I can tell by the way she described the place - it was cold, the temperature was perfect, it's so green, the people are nice - she'd go back there if she could. But she said that was about 30 years ago, back when she was still on her 40's. I told her she's lucky to have gone there during the best years of the city. She should have very good memories of the place.  She smiled.

The man sitting to my left turned down the volume of his mp3 player and took off his head phones. He seemed to have shown interest in our conversation.

The woman asked where I have gone so far, so I recounted the events from the day I arrived in their city up until before we boarded the train. She named some of the famous attractions and I was proud to have identified those places. Thanks to my excessive use of maps during the past couple of days. 

So what was a 75-year old woman doing alone in the train, traveling even farther than we were at past 8 in the evening? She said everyday she would walk around the city, traveling as much as she can, visiting friends and relatives. 

"Why everyday?" I asked. But inside I thought whatever her reason was, I will still not understand her.

"What else will an old woman do?"  she answered with a defiant smile. I just nodded - not sure if that was in agreement with her or with what I had in mind. 

She sighed and told me she was worried the train won't take her where she's bound to be. The train route was interrupted somewhere that she may have to get off even before she reached her destination. I assured her she will be fine convincing her that they have a very good transportation scheme in their country. Really.

We were silent for a while. I glanced at my friend who was sitting across us. She was looking at me, probably measuring my patience in trying to understand the woman's every word. We struggled a bit in conversing with the locals because of their english and the way they pronounced the words. I am one with the longest patience in people I guess. So I did not mind having small talks with the locals.

"I am a song writer," she interrupted the silence with an interesting statement. "I wrote a song that children are singing in church." In the back of my head, I thought Wow, she's not just a healthy old woman with a knack for adventure. She won back my interest. I explained I am a Catholic and that yes, I am a believer. She tried to explain what she wants to happen to the world through her song. Her song is about hope and trust in the Lord no matter what happens. 

"Can you sing it?" It seemed that she is living a very good spiritual life. I was wondering if she could share part of that to a stranger on the train. I was surprised. With no hesitations, she sang me her song. I felt people around us also tried to listen as she was singing. For that 30 seconds, I felt like she was praying for me. The lyrics were well thought out, with her own interpretation of how we all need hope and trust in the Lord. I smiled and I felt my eyes light up after her song - for some profound reason, I felt good.

The train stopped a couple of seconds after her last note. We had to get off. I thanked her and gave her my name. She extended her right arm. "Maybel, Auntie Maybel." I smiled and reached out to her. 

Who would have thought something interesting will still happen just when I thought my day was done?

Tags: singapore

Comments

1

Interesting things happen when you least expect them...old people become more aware of their conscience and the things they do it seems.

  Pensativo Jul 19, 2009 4:24 PM

2

Yeah, I think I would agree to that. Thanks for dropping by! :)

  Lorie Jul 20, 2009 12:30 AM

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