100 Happy Days / Day 2: The 90-Year Old Granny

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#100happydays / Day 2

As I was pushing my bike towards the lunch spot, I spotted an old granny sitting alone with fruits and vegetables carefully spread around her. I pushed on and sat down. I happened to pick a table where I could see her make-shift stall, but I couldn’t see her face as there was a signboard blocking her.

Many people walked up and down this row of shophouses along Thomson Road, and no one stopped to  give her a direct glance. Some shifted their eyes sideways; giving a quick glance at the goods before moving away as quickly. The more I looked, the more curious I became.

A middle-aged lady pushed open the doors of the learning centre where the old granny sat outside. She didn’t acknowledge her and went right inside. I wondered, would the students who have come here to learn, take a second look and greet her? Each time a silver-haired uncle or auntie walked past the granny, I wondered; would they be more inclined to stop and buy something? None did.

By the time I finished my noodles, I decided to go over and buy something. As I was approaching, she caught my eye and said to me in Teochew,

“Come, buy some bananas, they are from the hill, very good”. I nodded and smiled, pushing my bike to the side.

“Or buy these eggs. Look, they are so big. They are from the hill, very good”.

“Where is the hill?” I asked.

“Bright Hill, you know? Where the temple is.” I know the temple but I don’t recall seeing any farm or chickens there.

“I will get the bananas.”  I started to take out my wallet when the granny said, “No, buy the eggs. They are good and big.”

Some of the bananas were still green but she had 3 trays of eggs. She probably needed to sell the eggs more quickly before they turn bad.

“I like the eggs, but I am riding a bike and I am afraid they will break”.

“Don’t worry, I will wrap them up with newspapers and you just ride slowly. You will be fine.” I could not say no.

“How old are you, Granny?”

“90 already!” she answered and continued to bend forward to put the eggs carefully into a red plastic bag.

“You have so many goods; did you have to carry all of them here by yourself?”

“My grandchildren asked me to stop selling and they would give me money. But …,” and she mumbled something which I did not catch.

“Chinese new year is coming, just a few days more…” the granny continued to talk as she picked out more eggs.

“$3” as she handed me the bag. I took out a little more and gave it to her, “Here is wishing you Happy New Year”.

Her eyes widened and she said “No, how can I take this.”

“It’s ok la, it’s the new year:)”

“Have you eaten lunch?” the granny asked. “The duck rice at the corner, very good.”

I decided to ask if I could take a picture of her. She nodded her head gently. I showed it to her and said, “90 and still looking very good!”

“Old already, hair so messy, where got pretty…” she started patting down her stray strands of hair which were blowing with the wind.

I smiled and waved goodbye, carefully balancing the bag of eggs as I had quite some distance to go.

P.S. The lovely granny’s stall is at 244M Upper Thomson Road, Singapore if you would like to visit her stall. 

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