Biting The Hand Which Fed Him

Some 55 years ago there was a guy whom we all referred to as “Haji” often dropped  by our former shop at 67, Pagoda Street to look for our father. It seemed he was unemployed and was trying to make a living being a commission broker. He usually came around lunch time and as a courtesy our father would ask if he had his lunch. He always replied in the negative and our father would order some butter toast bread and coffee from the coffee shop next door,  for him.

After some time, he took it upon himself to order the butter toast bread and coffee for himself without being asked and even when our father was not around to meet him. This became a daily routine and went for a few months. When we complained that the guy was taking advantage of our kindness, our father told us to let “Haji” continue with what he was doing as a way to help him out.  Then strangely for about a week , “Haji” did not come to our shop. We thought perhaps he had found employment or had earned  some commission in his brokering business.

 One day our father received a letter from Ministry  of Labour which required him to meet with an officer there to answer to a complaint lodged by Haji that he did not  pay  “Haji” his salary for a few months. Our father was furious to be wrongly accused.

Through his friends he was able to locate “Haji” and dragged him to Ministry of Labour to meet the officer. “Haji” admitted that he was only trying to squeeze some money from our father in making the complaint which was promptly dismissed.

Our father told “Haji” never to come to our shop again as he had bitten the hand that fed him.

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