Uncle David needs no introduction to most Malaysians. 5 months ago, his heart-wrenching “uncollected-250-Pokemon-soft-toys” story was making its round in the cyberspace. David Christopher Philips is 66 years old, a single father with a son who is studying in the States on a scholarship. He has been a soft toy peddler for 16 years. He used to walk around DU, but is now permanently stationed in front of HSBC bank in Damansara Uptown (55-59 Jalan SS 21/37).
In Sept 2016, he rose to “fame” when his plight of the uncollected 250 Pokemon soft toys by a customer went viral. Generous Malaysians went to his rescues in droves. At that time, he was a leukemia (blood cancer) patient, and was living on borrowed time. Doctors gave him six months to live, and that was March 2015. The (little) money he makes from selling toys helps fund his treatment – his profit margin is around RM 3 per toy.
His news resurfaced recently that his business goes quiet after the craze. The netcizens were divided into two camps, but there are more who are sympathetic than the haters. My two ‘old’ friends and I belong to the first group. Last Sunday, we arranged for a brunch at Starling Mall Uptown … so that we can stop by and support Uncle David. At that time, I wasn’t aware that Uncle has been cleared from leukemia. Yes, he has unless if Uncle David’s medical condition has changed since then.
Writing this blog post, I stumbled upon an article dated Nov 2016 on the Petaling Jaya Evangelical Free Church‘s website here. It says that Uncle David is a recovering leukemia (blood cancer) patient: “Last year, my doctors told me that I only had 6 months left to live. But on my 6 months the doctors couldn’t find any trace of white blood cells eating red blood cells anymore,” said Uncle David.
So, I asked myself this question – will I stop supporting him since he is now cleared from leukemia? I think long and hard, and I think that I’ll still be supporting him on and off. I respect how he live his life. To the haters: he never asked for the fame; stop hating. My mama once told me, “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.” We didn’t buy a lot. In fact, I only bought one (Pikachu) and this is one mon that I never intended to buy. It might not be much, but by buying a toy from him, he can go home a little earlier. I also think that by buying unnecessarily, we take away the dignity he deserves. He told us that he will restock in two weeks time, and by then he’ll have the Pokemons that I have in mind for the two special people in my life. I’ll be back then.
Reflecting back, I am glad that I went with two like-minded friends: no selfies, no showing-off that they have done a kind deed on their social networks, nothing, nada as such. Having said that, I am okay if people share with the intention of getting more people to support Uncle David. That’s perfectly fine, and blessed their kind and pure soul.
Charity is all about what’s in your heart. A cause should not be supported in order to feed ego. But that’s me, and I am entitled to my own opinions.
Update 22 Feb:
I went back 3 days later, and found that the new stocks have arrived. Bought 2 plushies from Uncle David.