Lim Kiat arranged each one of the accessories around him carefully, with the love of a parent towards their children. There goes the amplifier, a few inches from his right foot. The microphone, just below the lips. The guitar, his beloved guitar, cosily over his lap. And the donation box, perfectly six inches in front of where his feet met each other. The donation box, he smiled. God must have created a donation box first; after all, they are at the centre of every church or temple, so he had heard. Lim Kiat was blind.
He could sense that the sun was setting behind the buildings. It used to set much later a few years back. But it was good for him; the crowds now came in much earlier. He liked to call the shopping mall his office. He still remembered the day when his lovely daughter had guided him to this spot the first time. Liam Kiat wished that children never grew up.
The footsteps around him; the world is mostly made of busy heartless people. But the kindness of a few could make up for the rest; well almost. He wished he could see the people who supported him. He wished he could know which person had given him the most.
He had always considered himself a musician. But he knew that most considered him just a blind beggar. He took great care in selecting the song he would sing. The weather around him gave him the cue. If the footsteps around him were too frenetic, he would sing an old Chinese song asking people to slow down, take a pause and reflect. And God bless Bob Dylan, he gave the world so many recognizable and easy to play songs. And yes, once the weather was breezy, it had to be “Lady in Red”. Lim Kiat got goose bumps playing that song. He wanted the couples to circle him and listen. But these people never bothered to listen. They just saw and made up their minds based on a glimpse of me. When will they tip me for my music and not for my misfortune? And he hated the youth of today. That day a guy asked him to sing some song by 50 cents. What kind of a name is that? Which street musician had a box that allowed only 50 cents to go in?
And dear God, if you created the donation box, why did you create the ATM machine and credit cards. So many people never bother to give just because they don’t have small change!!!