Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Capital bum of brown-ness
There is a bus stand between the LRT station and my workplace which I pass every morning and every evening on my way to and from work, one that is inhabited by a homeless man in a grey shirt and dark grey trousers. Today, he was sitting on the kerb and staring at nothing in particular; sometimes he sits on the bus stand bench, sometimes he just stands and smiles at passers-by, who avoid him like the plague. Some resort to performing sidesteps as they approach him while others decide to take another route altogether to avoid him.

But his smile is not a friendly one. It is empty and meant to embarrass, used to confront and extract validation of his existence from those who would otherwise ignore him completely; it is for this reason, I think, that he defecates at the bus stand and smears his faeces around. People have no choice but to keep their eyes squarely on the ground around the bus stand in order to navigate safely through criss-crossing brown streaks, the only signs of his existence they acknowledge.

I smile back at him one day, and immediately his hand comes up in a gesture demanding a handout; it feels as though he is demanding recompense for his unfortunate situation. I gesture that I do not have anything to give him, or perhaps that I do not want to.

I see him wandering around the outdoor bistros at KLCC harrassing waiters for cigarettes and drinks. He is the most well-fed tramp I have ever met.

posted by Hong at 12:18 am | Permalink |