Thursday, September 11, 2014


We write for various reasons, for pleasure, to give vent to our creative outbursts, to be heard, to be seen and also sometimes to make sense of it all. The last is my case, as life, as I know it, (and the way it constantly reveals itself to me), can be very nonsensical.
We were returning from a movie, late last night and no, this is not a movie review. This is a review of life in general. We were driving home, my husband and I. We were at a traffic light away when we could see ahead at the next light a few cars were stopped and what looked like a person on the road. We went past gingerly and saw a fast food delivery scooter toppled over in between the left lane and on the curb a few people surrounding a little boy sitting there. By the time my husband stopped the car with his hazard on, I was already running towards the scene. Upon reaching there and seeing that some first aid was being given, I was told ambulance had been called. Then the person dealing with the boy asked me, “Are you the mother?”  This is when the horror of the situation dawned on me. The boy was wailing with fright, “I don’t want to die!” Closer inspection revealed several cuts all over his hands legs and a deep one at his temple. I spoke to him gently as he was wailing for his Mom. I asked him who he was with - he said his brother. I turned around and saw a boy of 6/7 standing there really stunned and dazed with all that was happening. The injured boy was his younger brother.
These boys were returning from what is their parent’s food stall which is about ten minutes away from the scene. They had crossed the pedestrian bridge over the highway leading to the last pedestrian crossing prior to reaching home. While the older boy waited, the younger one darted across although the traffic signal had turned green for the cars. A scooter who was faster than the car beside it collided with the boy. The two young ladies who were in the car were witness to the entire incident.
Both the girls and I tried calling the parents, upon getting the number from the older boy, but their phone could not be reached. It was one of those pre paid card numbers. I asked the older brother where the shop was and he was going with the young lady to fetch his mother. On seeing his brother leaving, his younger brother started getting hysterical and would not let him out of sight. The medic was still working on his cuts and whenever the antiseptic wash burnt him, the he would wail louder and even hit the man. Unable to touch him, as we didn’t know of any internal injuries my best bet was to keep him talking which I did. He seemed to calm down. The cute boy then asked the medic, “Uncle are u a doctor?” to which the medic answered, “I wish boy, if I was, I wouldn’t be driving this car”. Amidst all that, I could not help thinking, we Singaporeans, really know how to make light of our situations. My husband spoke to the older boy and went off in the direction of the shop to look for the parents. Meanwhile there was another younger lad with an elderly man and I asked them if they knew the boy and they said they just saw the accident from the window and called the ambulance. The motor cyclist was also on the scene. He kept telling the girl his side of the story.
The ambulance arrived and the boy was checked and put on the stretcher and as the ambulance was parked at the inner side of the HDB block. They had to carry him there. The boy started wailing at the thought of going alone.....I asked them to wait, as parents had been sent for. Seeing his younger brother all bandaged and strapped to be taken inside the ambulance, it was now the elder brother who started crying. We hugged him and consoled him. It took another few long minutes before my husband came back with a distraught mother who saw the scene while she was coming down the pedestrian bridge and totally freaked out. Any mother would. I tried calming her and brought her to the ambulance and tried explaining to her but she went in to a complete fit. She could not speak English and a gentleman who was just passing by spoke her language and he became the translator. We then communicated that they were mainly bruises and that the head was bandaged because it’s a cut nothing serious and that they were going to take him to do x-rays. We got her to sit and relax. She insisted in wanting to travel with both boys in the ambulance and by then the police had arrived at the scene. One went off to question the motorcyclist and the other the boys waiting inside the ambulance. Of course we were asked if we were involved parties.
We went back to the scene and saw that the rider now was being attended to by the medic and the girls were giving their account, as was the rider. Our role of bringing the boys parents was done. My husband said the father was closing shop and coming soon. The professionals were there doing their job. I thanked the medic who just happened to be there on the scene like a god sent angel. He just did his job and was picking up his swabs and doing his packing up by then. Shook his hands and thanked him as he was the true hero. He then told me he has seen so many of these and not all turned out well like this one. We came home knowing we could not do much there anymore. I could not sleep and my mind was racing with various thoughts.
We came back to our sheltered life and shut the curtains to the reality, but could we really keep it away. A couple, to make ends meet, runs a food stall.  There is no one to take care of their two boys while they are away at work. These boys come home on their, own and go to sleep night after night. It takes an incident like this, for probably some people in the neighbourhood to even recognise them and know of their existence. The mother came running as that is all she could do while the father had to stay back and close shop and tidy it lest he lose that certification to run the “clean” stall. They are just doing their best to make life better for their two boys.
The nice thing to note was that all those who could help, stopped to help and there were many of us trying to do our bit, till the actual people in charge came. I will go back to the stall to find out how the boy is doing. I learnt that on the road there are so many things to look out for. I promised to be a much more cautious driver as did my husband. We also decided to have a talk with the kids once again about road safety.
However there is another side to this story. That, of the driver, who was feeling so bad, that he hurt a child. He also was trying to meet his delivery clock time. This was his night job and he looked like he needed the job. Apart from being a story about an accident scene I think this is more a story about our social scene. The lives we don’t normally see or interact with. The glossy effect of our marzipan existence where we are all strung on how perfect our lives are, they way it is. There are other people who are struggling to make it perfect for us. Be it the medic who stops to help, or the ambulance medics and the father who runs a stall of food, or the delivery man who brings home the fast food, while we watch cable in our air conditioned living rooms. Someone was upset last night and that was the person who was calling the hotline for the fast food chain, to find out when their burgers would arrive. Those burgers were late for their destination.