After mass, went to Tampines where I was to volunteer with Mercy Relief, raising funds for the Sri Lankan war victims. At first I wasn't to keen on selling flags - seems like such a secondary-school thing to do. But it was the only area they needed help in, so we went.
Turned out to feel really good actually. Although most people, as usual, run in sheer terror when they see someone asking for donations, the others who realised to sincerity of the cause were great. My favourites were those who would give their kids money to donate and explain the whole thing to them.
At one point there was a girl with her boyfriend who totally brushed me off when I asked her to donate. The worst part is, she was wearing a Beatles shirt! So I told her, the Beatles would have donated. She seemed to find this funny.
We headed to the hunger strike going on in Little India - there's this guy who's on a 48-hour hunger strike to raise awareness for the war victims. The only thing I had a problem with was that they only cared about the Tamil victims. Sure, everyone can have their own opinion of who's the real victims - as far as I'm concerned the real victims are the Tamil and Sinhalese women and children who were thrown into the war by no choice of their own - which is exactly what Mercy Relief is raising funds and awareness for.
This woman at the strike started getting on my case about raising funds for a foundation that would probably give the money to the government. I argued with her for a while, for the sake of Mercy Relief, before giving up. The guy on strike came and apologised to us for her harsh words - he seemed quite embarrassed with her.
Mai's little sister had come along. Haven't seen this girl for years and now she's 11 years old and a pretty awesome young lady. There was an old Malay lady who donated $2 and then gave her $2 to buy herself a drink - if you saw how small she is you'd understand why - and this girl, she takes the $2 and goes and gives it to a beggar on the street. Amazing, right? It's even better when I remember how much $2 was to me at 11 years old.
Mai had discovered this vegetarian cafe in Chinatown and we went there for lunch. The chef came to chat with us and told us his life story - how he was vegetarian from birth but only discovered it's true importance when he was about 10 years old. He said he went to buy chicken rice for his mother and when he saw the chickens hanging in the window, he saw a woman with her head broken, hanging how a dead chicken's would.
He ran home and told his mum not to eat meat anymore and since then she's been veg as well. And since then, he says he's been able to see things, like spirits and people's auras. Wonder what colour mine is? A few years back I went to this Feng Shui type shop and they have a scientifically proven machine that can detect your aura. At the time, mine was a bright, fiery red.
Anyway, he shared with us how being vegetarian is important for your spiritual being. He said a lot of things that I'd always wanted to tell me friends but it sounds more objective coming from a stranger, so I was glad he said what he did.
After we left, Mai's sister said that she was going to turn veg. I haven't known this girl very much, but I felt so proud. And knowing that she's affected by the donation drive and the veg discussion, I'm glad I'm somehow managed to play a part in her decisions.
There's hope for the new generation after all!