Among the many facets of life that would capture my attention as I venture along the streets of New York are the poor and sad homeless people. It is easy to find many of them sitting and begging along paths where crowds rush to get to work. Some would be lying down outside food shops waiting for kind souls to offer food. Others go as far as to make the staircase landings their temporary homes.
The sight of these homeless folks saddens me each and every time I encounter them. I once saw a veteran of war who was crippled while on service. He is now left on the streets without assistance. Not wanting to be forgotten, he placed his veteran identification number and listed down the countries where he had fought and trained to make the point that he had served his homeland. Now, he wants his people to help him find a home.
Although I rarely see homeless people in Singapore, I have however read about their plight in the newspapers. We may blame these people for not managing their lives well. We may fault them for not doing enough for themselves so much so that they are left without homes of their own. We may be angry with them for sleeping in tents by the beaches and benches in parks with their children.
But our sense of humanity tells us that the homeless should not be left to suffer in silence. We need to think about them more and figure out ways to take them out of the sorrow state by which they are in. I am no policymaker who can offer big solutions to the problem of homelessness the world over. As an ordinary man on the street, I just hope that we could bring our energies together as a community to help these homeless people to get their lives back on track. I doubt it will take much effort to make this happen. It starts with us thinking about the less fortunate in our society. It starts with us sparing some change to that homeless person on the street, leaving some words of advice and showing the avenues out of their sorry state.