When people can’t afford even a McDonald’s burger

Few days ago, I was at McDonald’s, twice in three days. Blwueekkk….. I am not a fan of burgers but it was the only outlet open where I can hang around while waiting for something. Ewweeukkk….

So, I absent-mindedly ordered the same stuffs, coffee for me and one RM3 beef and egg burger. All the time cursing that I had to stuff those things down my throat. Along came an old man, wearing shorts and some tattered t-shirt.

He sez : “I want to ask something” (in English)

Counter staff : “Mau aiskrim?” (want icecream?)
Ah Pek : *got annoyed* “I want to ask something. ” (His pronounciation wasn’t very clear because of his missing teeth.)

In the midst, my toddler started tugging me but I overheard Ah Pek asked the counter staff about this little coupons that come along with newspapers. It took a while to get his message through. He seem embarassed and the staff haddifficulties understanding him.
Counter staff : “Sorry lah, Ah Pek, kena beli baru dapat free.” (Sorry, old man, need to buy something then only can get free (some McEgg).

For a split second, I had wanted to tell the counter staff that I can gladly belanja (treat) the old man. But I also realised it is not a wise thing to do because the old man was really dignified inspite of his appearances. So, he walked off empty handed (but I hope not empty stomach).

That little scene really made my throat tighten and I feel a choking feeling. How many times have I thrown away half eaten burgers which my kids cannot finish because I hate, hate, hate McChicken. How many times have I thrown away McNuggets because they were already cold and dry. If only I can secretly tuck in RM10 for him so that he can get his hot meal. If only….

Seriously, I sometimes hate it when I have these compassions for others. Long time ago, my eyes aren’t open to all these. Life is much easier because I don’t have to feel so much. But on the other hand, I know there is a reason for this eye-opening experience.

Now, I dread going to the old folks home. Our choir is going to sing for the old folks at the Little Sister’s of the Poor next month. I have this phobia of old folks and sort of hate the thought of dealing with old people. My parents died in their prime. My in-laws? I couldn’t fulfil the duty of taking care of my comatose mom-in-law (hey, I got 3 small kids, then, ok?). She spent her last days (months actually) at the old folks home (luxurious private one). I had seen so many old folks there longing for company. Some of them are really cute and loveable.

I dread going to the old folks home not because I dislike old folks. But because I know I am going to get very emotional looking at these people. Heh, one of the reason I am afraid of old people was because my mom used to tell me the story of Hansel and Grethel, Hokkien version where this old witch fatten up little children so she can eat them. I don’t want to get eaten! No!!!!!!!!! Mom said they will chew all the fingers and spit out the bones.

Anyway, talking about this visit to the old folks home, I am a little disappointed with the number of people volunteering. Christmas, we have huge, huge turnout because we are going to posh hotels and Christmas Eve grand mass. We need to train for three months for Christmas. We only need three Sundays to practice for this old folks home choir but where are all the people? There is only a quarter of the members turn up. I hate to openly say this but I do wonder why people have lots of time for something glamorous and yet, no time for something that really matters which takes a lot less time? Aren’t we all serving God and aren’t being there to cheer up the old folks matters more?

*sigh….* Don’t mean to write soppy stuffs but they kicked out my sweet, bashful Elliot! I am so blue! Now I have no more reason to watch American Idol. *sniffs*

Moral of the story : Take care of your old folks! Just like how they used to take care of you when you were small.

20 Replies to “When people can’t afford even a McDonald’s burger”

  1. My grandmother is in an old folks home now and I try visiting her as much as possible. I feel emotional too but I gulped the feeling down so that I can still see her while she is ard. I do symphatise all the old folks who are there needing company. There is always no place like home 🙂

  2. Yeap… I am ashamed to say that I have not been “nice” to my folks, especially to my mom. Eventhough there’s alot of misunderstanding, I have not spoken to my mom for 5 years… yeah.. and to think mother’s day was just what.. last Sunday. Anyway… I have to agree, be nice to older folks.

  3. Next time ,do what I did, I asked the person ( in my case -old lady) for her coupon since I’m buying the meal then say, ayah, how to eat so much , its your coupon so you get whats on the coupon., then I also said darn they gave me coffee and I forgot not suppose to drink coffee.. what to do??

  4. Behold! Lilian the wise! Support ur opinion 100%! So all of u out there, take heed! Next year, I’ll qualify as one of those senior citizens…so if u see me at McDonalds or wherever, make sure u buy sth for me to eat! (After all, these days, who can survive on half ur monthly salary???!!!)

  5. Going to Old Folks’ Home will guarantee you an emotional and sad sight…. especially here in Malaysia. Mention ‘Home’, abandoned old folks, ignored by their loved ones immediately come to mind. But, overseas mia Old FOlks’ Home is a completely different story. Some of them are Retirement Home where they live in nice posh environment and get to mingle with other folks their own age. Oh, did I mention swimming pool as well…?? lol

    That is the Asian mentality where old folks are supposed to stay with their children, grandchildren & great great grandchildren. Never mind they are just as lonely being ignored in the house, but, as long as they are staying with the family, it’s acceptable liao.

    I sincerely hope, folks our generation or the next will accept retirement Home is not a bad place. (provided you have enuff $$ to buy yourself a place in a decent home…)

    Guess people prefer to bitch how they got totured by their DIL, grandchildren etc than to go Old Folks’ Home…

  6. helen – Actually, I look forward to go to those retirement homes. Told my old man, wuah…looking forward to the day when I can flirt with every old men (assuming I became single again?). And told my kids I will take up ballroom dancing and cha-cha myself to death. LOL. When I was in Europe, I saw those very, very old folks who struggled to move around on public transports etc. They are very indepedent and they have the proper facilities. Over here, we have this superior mentality hor? I am old, you kids have to take care of me.

    STP – Wuah…you so old liao ah?

    ahpek – This chicken got feathers wan lah.

    romantic – Oh, you face that too? It didn’t occur to me cos my toddler was tugging at me, asking something (which I can’t remember what cos I was listening to the old man) so I was half distracted.

    kc – Aww….go on, make the first move ‘cos she is not likely to do so. And I bet she is no longer angry/whatever.

    princess – Yeah, these cute, old ah pohs just want someone to listen to them talking and talking (which LOL, is the same story) and someone to hold their hands. I got a friend who volunteered in an old folks home in Seremban who did just that, listening and touching the old folks. Respect for her.

    wingz – Sin choy, sin choy.

  7. Lilian ; Hate to tell you lah– I have been to visit few of these posh ones, govt run homes–men are in real shortage there LOL. I told my friend maybe he should check in next time–LOL he said maybe all those women nagged their men to death,LOL

  8. Katharine’s gona win.. doomed.

    The best that I can do for my folks is to irritate them less, being such a rebel I am. 😛

  9. thats life all over. Just human i guess, never to think and always wake things for granted. Always believe in the action and reaction thingy – POU YENG in Cantonese.

  10. I can’t imagine myself rotting in old-folks home, it is worst than any horror movie. I will rather go travel around, MIA in a jungle/mountain. If worst happen, e.g. immobolise, I will take all good food and end the course with puffer fish liver.

  11. When I am old and useless and unable to walk or talk but still conscious of mind, I am going to choose euthanasia and when I meet god hor, I choose to kick his butt.

  12. That depends lah on how you want to look at it. I’d like to live with my children, of course. But i know they’d want their freedom, like i so desperately want mine now.

    Maybe, i should think of setting up some posh-posh retirement home ala overseas to cater to those who wants to mingle with ppl their own age. Good money woh, hoh…

  13. yes this reminds me of another incident i saw … could not remember where but it was a stall somewhere in KL

    i was happily entertaining my gluttony sin with this plate of noodles, wheni saw this old aunty approaches this stall, she asked how much it was for a bowl of noodle – the lady boss answered in a very rude manner, i can see from the face of the old lady … she could or might not or would not be able to afford the bowl of noodle.

    She thkinke for a while before saying thanks and leave the stall, i remember the stall owner giving her this weird look which makes it very obvious that she is looking down on a lady who is not going to be her potential customer …

    and then i see the old lady emptying her pocket with a few ringgit in hand, counts it, then puts it back in her pocket …

    then it striked me, suddenly and sharply – how bad i am – here tucking gulping down food like there is no tommorow

    sometimes it makes me feel guilty or at least its weird to me, why am i eating this plate of pasta which cost me RM45 when i can just have the same amount of food to fill my stomach at RM4.50.

    I am the kind of people who is not choosy or picky when it comes to food may it be the quality nor the type nor the price, i may pay RM4.5 for a meal and up to a hundred of bucks for just a meal, it all boils down to some blardy mixture in the gut, that is what makes us full by the way, and not to mention gives us energy, and by the way i do need that much of energy when i only sit in the office and type all day long.

    i now feel sad/guilty/weird whenever i have my meal knowing that there is constantly people out there who is in hunger, dont even go talking bout other countries, when its actually happening in my own country.

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