IMG_3218ON one of our night runs to provide sanitary packs and food to the homeless with the 28 PJ Scouts and Reachout Malaysia we stumbled upon this interesting man. What seems to be a stereotypical homeless person took all our hearts away that night and left us all with a feeling of great humility and reverence. Dressed in ragged clothes, shoeless and unkempt with a beard covering his face…his  garland of jasmine flowers strung around his neck was the only saving grace of this man whom we don’t even know his name.

He had initially approached us for a bottle of water with the typical gesture of pointing his thumb and clenched fist to his mouth…some of us must have though that he was asking for a alcoholic drink which is rather common among people living on the street. It is also common for them to ask for money and many of them end up spending it on drugs, cigarettes or other wasteful addictions. All he wanted was to have a drink of plain water to quench his thirst.

Then he had seen one of our volunteers’ phone and was pointing to it… we had thought he wanted to use the phone to make a call. It was difficult to converse with him as he could only speak in monosyllables suggesting that he suffered from some form of speech aphasia. The owner of the phone, Mr Steven Chin had realised that he did not want to make a call but only wanted his photo to be taken and had kindly obliged. He posed with a certain calmness and poise that seemed like he was letting time capture the memory of him for all of us to remember and for him to leave his image etched  on all those volunteers who were there to tell his story. When he looks at his photo the most amazing thing happened….

With his right hand he touched his chest then brought it towards the photo of him on the phone and then put both his hands together towards the night sky and he did this three times. It seemed like he was praying to the photo of himself and this caught all our attention. He then went around hugging all the volunteers and Im  certain that we all had our own interpretation of the meaning of his actions that night and that it had a deep impact on all of us.

My personal opinion is that there is God in all of us. Without a roof, we all live under the cover of the same sky and when we look up into the universe we see the same stars. Without shoes, we all walk on the same earth which rotates in the same direction and revolves around one sun. Without food and water, we all feel the same hunger and thirst which can be quenched with the same water and a simple meal.  Without family or friends, we are all part of humanity and are able to love one another the same way through simple acts of kindness.

We will all have our own path to walk in life and that road is unique to each one of us as our DNA. Inside the Doctor that heals, the nurse that cares, the teacher that imparts knowledge, the farmer that tends the earth, the engineer that builds, the CEO who builds companies and whoever you are reading this… we are all one and the same.  I am not sure if i will ever see this man again, but that night he showed me that he is in every man, woman and child that walks this earth and that there is GOD in all of us.


Prathaban Raju



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