I’m quite sure it is not my imagination, but Z has an affinity for Indians.
There are a lot of Indian or South Asian foreign workers living in Geylang area, and we would be on the bus with them, or pass them along the streets, or in the mini-marts.
And Z would call out to them, or smile at them.
And they invariably smile back.
On the bus or train, Z has molested other passengers – old men, young women, old women, Filipinas, Peranakans (they look Peranakan to me)… anyone really.
And she would smile at them or grin, or even chuckle and they would smile back.
I’d like to think that Z brings them a little joy, a little human interaction, a little unexpected smile in the day.
Then as we get off the bus, we’ve had total strangers waving goodbye to us, and then we realised that Z had been smiling at them or otherwise interacting with them while on the bus, and they were waving goodbye to her.
I like that Z brings joy to others with her mischievous smile, her infectious laugh, and her cheeky demeanour. I like that she truly is colour-blind and interacts with everyone.
I look at the foreign workers playing with her and I wonder if they had left little ones behind when they came here to work. And I feel sorry for them that they had to make this sacrifice.
I cannot imagine having to leave Z behind to work overseas in order to provide for her. That is a sacrifice I cannot imagine making.
The one that looks more intently at Z, he looks like he might be a father of a young one back in India. The young man who smiled and went back to his smart phone, probably not a father.
The young local couple (well, more the young lady) who waved goodbye as they got off the bus are still dating. But maybe there is a child (or more) in their future.
We’ve met helpful Filipinas who gave their seats up to PL and Z. And play with Z.
The old couple playing peekaboo with Z on the bus may have grandchildren themselves, but the grandchildren may have grown up. And Z reminds them of the times when they were her age.
Another old couple in Church, seated behind us, were playing “guess the baby’s age” with each other. Then they ask PL how old Z was. The old lady smiled smugly when her guess was closer.
On a train once, Z kept molesting this old man seated next to her. She was touching his arm throughout the trip. His smile was fixed to his face, but he didn’t move his arm away or show any annoyance (or fear of baby saliva/drool).
On a train once, there was only one seat so PL and Z was seated, and I was standing some distance away. Z saw me and waved and called to me. But there was another guy standing closer and somewhat in between and he was puzzled why this baby was calling to him (I’d like to think that for a moment he wondered if his sexual indiscretion of his youth had come back to haunt him. Except that he was probably about 17 so a bit young for sexual indiscretions in his youth. Or earlier youth. But he was Malay so, that’s not entirely improbable).
Anyway, this older lady (I think she might have been the grandmother to the teenager) was also standing back and could see or guess that Z was calling to me, and she told the teenager, who might have felt relief that he was not a young father. Then she asked me if I were the father.
I thought she was quite observant. Or that some distance gives one a better perspective. Somehow I felt happy to be recognised as Z’s father. No rational reason. It just is.