Old man's sad tale

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 April, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 April, 1996, 12:00am
 

A few years ago, when I was living in Kwai Shing, I came across a miserable old man called Wong.


Old Wong was a strange character. He would not talk to anybody, so I knew very little about him.


As far as I know, he had three sons. But all of them had emigrated to the United Kingdom last year, leaving old Wong alone in Hong Kong. What irresponsible sons, I thought.


Old Wong was in his late sixties.


There were many wrinkles on his forehead. Every day he would dress in a T-shirt, a pair of old trousers and a pair of rubber shoes.


Because of age and illness, he could not go out to work. He earned his living by either begging in the streets or getting money from the Social Welfare Centre.


Old Wong liked to keep pets. There was a dog and two hens in his home.


However, he did not look after them properly. The animals would use his home as a toilet, so there was always an unpleasant smell about the house.


The neighbours would complain about the smell, and tell old Wong to abandon his pets.


But, of course, he ignored them.


Besides, he would quarrel with his neighbours over trifles.


One day something most unfortunate happened to this poor old man.


I happened to be passing by his home when I noticed smoke seeping through the crack in the front door.


I knew something was amiss, so I knocked on the door but nobody answered. I then used my legs to force the door open.


I saw old Wong lying on the floor unconscious. I half-carried, half-dragged him out and called the police.


Minutes later the police arrived, and old Wong was taken to hospital.


I was asked to go back to the police station to make a statement.


I told the police the story of old Wong.


Upon hearing it, the officers referred the case to the Social Welfare Centre, and old Wong was later sent to the Home for the Aged.


I have not seen old Wong since.


But I am sure the incident involving old Wong will leave life-long impression on me.


Good luck, old Wong!

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