An old Chinese man came on board the train and stood beside me in front of the reserved seat. The girl on the seat did not notice him hence did not offer it to him.
I did what I normally do in situations such as this which is to ask the old man if he needs the seat. If he do need the seat, I will ask the girl to give it up. He said no, and that started a two station long worth of conversation.
He said that he prefers to stand as he can have the whole day to sit down and that sitting down too much is bad for an 80 years old man like him. He told me a saying by a Malay friend of his which goes something like this.
"Kaki kita macam tiang rumah. Kalau tiang tak kuat, rumah akan roboh"
(he spoke in Malay, which is a rarity now. Mostly only our pioneer generation can mostly speak Malay, regardless of race)
"Our legs are like pillars of a house. Weak pillars will cause the house to collapse"
He went on to tell me how he will try to keep active by walking around and I commended him for doing the right thing, which is what most able old folks should be doing instead of being coup up at home.
He left with this advice
"Without our health, all the money in the world means nothing"
Thanks old man. Wish you the best of health and may you have a meaningful life in your twilight years.
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