Friday, 15 May 2009

Insignificant BIG difference

I was actually in the middle of composing another entry describing my experience in KL while on holiday not long ago... but I decided to abandon the entry half way through because of a sad incident which happened last week. While I was writing about the hotel i stayed at and the food i tasted and the places we've been to, it suddenly seemed pointless and meaningless.

Last week on a Friday morning, the normal activities of Westbourne grounded to a halt and the M&S that i worked at was shut in the morning because a man was found dead outside the store area. Initially, when the cause of death and the identity of the deceased remained a mystery, people were just horrified that a death had occurred. However, as police investigation got underway and more and more was revealed, we found out that the deceased was someone we used to know. Ralph Millward, the deceased was a BIG Issue seller who used to stand outside the store (rain or shine or snow) and chatted to everyone who greeted him. In fact, my partner and I knew him more than that because he used to sit on the steps behind my partner's shop with a book and was always very friendly whenever we chatted to him. Courteous, polite and dignified, those were some of the words that i could think of to describe him. Not many may agree because Ralph was a homeless person who lived on the streets. But if you do a search on google, the amount of tributes paid to Ralph is overwhelming. What was sad and horrifying about this incident was that Ralph did not die because he was weak from living on the streets, or was weakened by the harsh weather, or not having proper nutrition... Ralph paid with his life just because some 14 and 16 year-old kids decided that they wanted to have some fun. A post-mortem revealed that he died from multiple injuries sustained from prolonged and brutal attacks. Until today i still find it hard to accept this senseless and brutal murder and it made me think really long and hard when a customer said to me yesterday 'You really wonder what kind of upbringing these children have had'. What are their parents thinking now, knowing that their children have killed someone?? Whenever i was doing my evening shift, i would look out and Ralph would be standing there with his Big Issues and chatting away to people. Now he's gone. There is a huge emptiness where he used to station himself. Instead, what replaced him now is a massive pile of flowers, teddy bears, candles and drawings, all of which were personal tributes from people who used to know him and care for him. I think i feel the same way a lot of people are feeling now... i wished i had given more and chatted to him more. Coming back from work at the uni i would walk past him, going into work i would walk past him... but i never once asked if he has eaten or if he was cold or if he was tired...

Next Wednesday at 2pm, there will be a tribute and a church service for Ralph in Westbourne but sadly I won't be able to attend coz I'll be at work in the uni. But I'll be thinking of Ralph, the insignificant BIG difference.

Rest in peace Ralph because we know you're in heaven now.

4 comments:

tiee said...

oh, that's really sad and terrible. Big issue, i know that mag. anyway, may his soul rest in peace. walking down the lane would never b the same again i guess. take care of yourself dear.

escape2 said...

eh, bea's link is wrongly typed in.

Audrey and Martin Wiles said...

i didnt know him but i feel for him. may he rest in peace. n may your newfound awareness of the fragility of life keep you seizing each day as if it were the last. dont waste your days on promises of the future. do what you have to do, want to do now before it is too late. dont settle for second best. make it count. and by the way, peng2, your entry was very beautifully and insightfully written. i salute you. ;-)

PengPeng said...

audrey, you have no idea what it means to me to hear you say that. on some days we doubt our existence and sometimes that happens to me. your comment will inspire and encourage me on one of those days...

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