E tramp

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - STAR CHILD - – Yip ren- Wei, 12

mp, loathed by many who ed his kind filth, slept ath the dank bridge, the he had done so in quite a ving been chased away by n who turned up their dis­gust upon the sight of

st shafts of day­light crept r the bridge, driv­ing away ngers. The tramp stirred ned his eyes, jolted by the resses of the sun. d in ragged slacks and a ith a faded em­blem, the wned loudly, draw­ing curis from passers- by who ooked away when the rected his gaze at them. His hazel eyes re­vealed a ceree of in­tel­li­gence. His dirty on­cealed a well bronzed ich bore the pun­ish­ment of day af­ter day. Judg­ing from the tramp was barely 16. ked up the card­board box rved as his mat­tress, and into squares with deft nts. Then he emerged into of the day, and headed to haunt. he spent his days, surby drunk­ards and piles of d empty beer bot­tles. amp could be seen work­ing arded maths ex­er­cise book, stim­u­late his brain and me­thing of his life.

Coins filled the rusty con­tainer with which the tramp used, to beg for money.

When the pangs of hunger stirred in his belly, he weaved his way through a maze of streets be­fore end­ing up at a com­mu­nity soup kitchen.

The aid work­ers smiled when they saw him. Be­sides hand­ing him a plate of hot meal, the work­ers had set aside a folder with ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­ri­als for him. The tramp’s eyes sparkled with grat­i­tude as he re­ceived the ma­te­ri­als with trem­bling hands.

Af­ter a shower and a change of clothes, the tramp en­tered the labyrinth of nar­row streets be­fore emerg­ing near the emer­gency exit of a hos­pi­tal. He made his way to a par­tic­u­lar ward in the hos­pi­tal, and stopped be­side the bed of a woman.

“Hi, Mum,” he called in a soft voice.

His heart was filled with ache, long nur­tured by years of liv­ing on the streets and the death of most of his fam­ily mem­bers in a hor­rific ac­ci­dent. Yip ren- Wei wins the Cre­ative Writ­ing prize for March. He walks away with Pseudony­mous Bosch’s

and Peter Lerangis’

( worth rM119.90) and a rM30 book voucher cour­tesy of MPH.

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