Do you know the name of the mak cik you buy your morning kuih and nasi lemak from or the name of her children that accompany her? Do you think they struggle hard during this MCO?
Have you ever seen the construction worker’s family photo he kept in his phone? Do you think he is longing to kiss the cheek of his mother?
Have you ever seen how hard the construction workers work? Do you think they have something on their mind when they work? Perhaps they are letting themselves be stressed by the work so that the money collected is enough to be sent to their family overseas.
Have you ever asked what is the migrant guard at your workplace’s favourite book to read when he is bored on his duty? How long do you reckon he has not seen his family?
Have you ever talked to the person that is driving you in your daily travel through the e-hailing service? Do they look like they long for someone to talk to as the drive went on in silence? Maybe they have an interest that they wanted to share but the quietness that looms over in the car is too much to be broken by a small talk.
Have you ever seen the food delivery guy in the rain? Soaking wet from the torrent yet is still not abandoning their task even if they will catch a cold from all the heavy work. Could it be the payment is never enough and even if it is the rain that they have to go through to make ends meet, they will do it.
The cleaners that swept under your feet as you walk like a modern Dalit caste, have you ever seen how their hands are wrinkled and coarse from all the cleaning? Do you think that they ever wish that today’s labour might be a little bit less, a little less messy for them to clean, so that they may deserve a longer break, a longer rest under the shade from the gleaming sun that is never merciful to them?
Have you ever seen a sex worker? How do they look like? Were they hiding their bruised face and body with makeups and tight clothing so that they may not lose a client? Have you ever thought of how hard it would be just to earn enough for the day, but never for tomorrow?
The homeless that are begging on the streets or besides your car in a busy traffic, do you think they ever wanted to be what they are right at that moment? Where do you reckon they come from, and does it even matter? The beginning never matters for them after all, as long as there are few hands that are kind enough to reach out a few cents and notes in the present. But have you ever thought that maybe they were hoping to be at a better place?
When you see the homeless playing with the dirt as you drove past them, what is on their mind? Could it be that they are freed from the burden you are carrying? And could it be playing with the dirt is better than driving towards a destination that cages you?
Do you think all these questions matter? The people that laboured on the sides of your streets, the people that guard your house, the people that prepare your food, the people that deliver your food, the people that fill your sight, do they matter in your universe? Have you ever given them a chance to matter in your universe? Or are they just passing figures that will continue to become a stranger in your present and in your future?
Perhaps, they do, towards a future that is kinder to yourself and to others, it must be.
Ahmad Yasin is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
Register at headliner.newswav.com to become one of our content writers now!
*The views expressed are those of the author. If you have any questions about the content, copyright or other issues of the work, please contact Newswav.