spent a while with him yesterday. saw a photo of him with our principal for his long service award presentation. he looked so different.
his medical condition caused him to lose so much of weight. he must have dropped many waist sizes. his face now looks sad. he looks long drawn out. he walks slowly, although still in the same manner.
he stays alone in the printing room all day long. i guess he reports for work at 9am and leaves at 6pm/630pm. all day long, he’s sitting in that room. occasional visits to the washroom and thats about it. all day long. Mr Tan from sci lab comes down to talk to him now and then. and i appreciate Mr Tan for that. apart from that, all of us enter, say hi, give him things to print, say thanks, and leave.
i dont know how many children he has. i dont know whether his wife is still alive. i dont know what his favourite colour is. what his favourite animal is. what is favourite songs and movies are.
i had always wanted to buy him a gift. but never managed to. so i decided to ask him, “Mr Toh, what do you like to eat?”
he stammered and replied, “no no. nothing.” and after some persuasion, he continued, “bread only. i can only eat sandwich from home. nothing else”
i almost dropped a tear. i dont know whether its because i felt sad for him, or whether i was afraid that i’d be like that one day.
growing old is really a scary concept. and im genuinely afraid. sigh…..
Mr Toh is one of those ppl whose help we really need, but many ppl never recognise him. so many of the worksheets that students use are printed by him. all the letters to parents. termly schedules. invitations, program sheets, exam papers, etc…. and through all these paper that helps students get through sec sch life more conveniently that it was for us, i think he isnt sufficiently acknowledged.
EAS award on teachers’ day? thats just formalities.
i would like to give him a card to show my appreciation. i think it might be weird to give him a card out of no where. but, i do not want to wait till teachers’ day to show my thanks and appreciation.
because, im worried that it might be too late, and he’d never know that someone bothered enough to write him a card in appreciation.
when he had his first attack, i immediately asked, “can teachers visit him?”
and i was told, “no. we will visit him. you have things to finish and submit. we will visit him on everyone’s behalf”
if i remember correctly, he had a second attack. i think most of the teachers were concerned. surviving a second attack at his age takes alot of luck.
but really, spending that time in the printing room, deciding to help Mr Toh with the cutting and laminating of the biology game cards, i feel really sad that someone i know may just be priming the end of his life.
i dont know if he’ll survive a third attack.
May he be Blessed that if these are his last months or hopefully years alive, that he live them in the happiest and most fulfilling manner.