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Thanks Uncle, I'm keeping your umbrella!

This sunny morning, was heading towards I12 Katong Mall, pushing my 13 month old daughter in her pram. She fell asleep just as it started drizzling, then raining and as the story goes, pouring. We were taking shelter in a bus stop, 30 mins of leisurely walk away. Older uncle (in his 60s) questioned me for not having an umbrella, made me uncomfortable though I could hear that it's his way of caring. 

 

Rain lessened, I pushed on while wondering how I'm going to get her in a taxi without her wailing and fumbling with my bag as I try fold up the pram etc, not that there were any taxis in sight. Ended up in another bus-stop and another older uncle (in his 60s) questioned me for not having an umbrella. He had an umbrella, could see that he needed it himself but he paused, looked at my sleeping daughter, looked at his umbrella and practically pushed it into my hands. He told me not to worry, he lives nearby and that the umbrella is old, I could toss it away later. I thanked him profusely, he turned away quickly, guess he's not used to gratitude. 

 

Somehow I felt I had to walk briskly away with the umbrella, to show it being put to good use. And it truly helped me… not so much from the rain (we could have waited out the rain or taken a taxi) but from the reminder that there is not only much kindness from total strangers around, but that often this kindness isn't packaged in the way I expect. Stern-looking, disapproving tone and plain nonchalance or even at times seemingly gruff Uncles and Aunties.. I am learning to prefer this if my other (non) option is the indifference from many in my own generation (X, that is. Note: I'm not generalising that the younger generation doesn't care, just believe many don't even notice others in need). I didn't need the umbrella as much as I needed this reminder in life that we have much to learn and appreciate from our seniors. 

 

Thanks Uncle, I'm keeping your umbrella!

Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself.

- Plato