Cheryl Ting narrates the encounter with a beggar.

A trembling, wrinkled hand,
struggling to keep its grip on a blue plastic bowl. 

A plastic bowl,
with nothing but a few pennies,
containing not much but some sympathy.

A pair of eyes,
with nothing but helplessness and uncertainty,
looking at all directions.
desiring contact with eyes containing tinge of sympathy,
or compassion.

They met my eyes,
or rather,
caught mine.
Struck me,
with a signal:
I. n.e.e.d h.e.lp.

I looked away.
The expression of hope in the eyes fell back to helplessness.
How unbearable.
That helplessness.

A voice within me:
H.e.l.p h.e.r.

My hand fished in my pocket.

One shiny penny.

It did not end up in the blue plastic bowl,
but found its way into the pocket of a hawker.

‘Take it, auntie.’
Look of bewilderment,
as the trembling hands held the kaya bun.
‘Is this.. for me?’ Hope flared in those eyes.
‘Yes.’  A curt nod and smile.

Walked away.
Left behind was an old woman.
A female beggar in a wheelchair,
a kaya bun in one hand,
blue plastic bowl in another.

Yet that pair of eyes was etched in my mind.
Not the ones with helplessness,
but those with the tinge of hope.

What went was a bun worth a penny,
in return a helpless heart found hope.

It was no longer worth a penny,
But priceless.


Cheryl Ting, preferably Cheryl Plankton has an obsession towards plankton, for no whatsoever reason. A random girl with a peculiar temper, she laughs and turns red-faced at jokes and bites if you step on her toes. Currently studying Ausmat in Sunway College JB, aspiring to be a better person than she is now.