Friday, November 27, 2015

Singapore beggars on the rise?

Gullible and clueless are the “generous” people who forked out money to pay beggars on the street who displayed limbless but abled bodies. Some are the elderly. According to Ministry of Social & Family Development (MSF), beggars can sometimes get S$100 to S$200 in just a few hours (Begging an “easy way out” for some S’poreans, Straits Times). That is still the status quo, but when more beggars are joining the begging game, that lucrative pie will be diluted even more. By then, with more competition means that most of them will have to up their ante by crafting innovative means to move people emotionally to pay more.
Fortunately, Singapore is a place that will not allow a child to be manipulated to beg. Countries where children are being FORCED to beg have only these gullible people to thank for putting them into such predicament. In some parts of the world, children are kidnapped and maimed so that they can be DISPLAYED to earn easy money for syndicates. All thanks to people who like to fork out money the easy way. Example, Siem Reap Milk Powder Scam in Cambodia, child beggars on Malaysian street, and Slumdog Millionaires the movie that depicted thesad reality in India where children are kidnapped and maimed to beg for money. Did paying child beggar alleviated their poor condition? No!
When I see people giving money to beggars, I don’t see them as caring individuals. Rather, I see them as clueless about helping people. They are akin to parents who give sweets to crying children.
Lately, on TV there have been commercials highlighting the 8th ASEAN Para Games 2015 depicting our athletes who braved daily challenges to achieve their dream and representing Singapore in the Para Games. To me, they have already won. The commercial touched me so much because by seeing their happy, proud and dignified faces made me humbled by their achievements.
However, I can’t say the same to seeing beggars making themselves looked undignified and sprawled out on pavement with extended hand and the sad look. 
There are also the visually impaired who are made to sit in a corner the whole day begging. The caretaker who brought these people there just leave them at the place to beg daily. Is that living? Worst is when I see them staying there until late at night at 8 to 9 pm. Did the caretaker took the money and spent it on happy hour and forgot about their care?
For those who resisted begging, but instead learnt new talent/skill to show in street performance (which required annual license), I salute you. Examples are:
  • Visually impaired lady who played musical instrument. I am more supportive of her than the rest. She is independent and talented. She used to play only the Tambourine but she later learnt how to play the harmonica.
  • An old man who played the Chinese instrument called Erhu. He is worth supporting.
Now, I used to see only one beggar at the MRT station where I travel to work. Today, I am seeing at least three.
  • One who held a card saying that he had “Osteoporosis”. He used to hold crutches but now he is travelling in an electric scooter. I doubt that he knows what osteoporosis means. He is just 30 to 40 years old without any sign of osteoporosis, except that he bandaged his leg. If he had written “fracture”, that would have been more convincing.
  • A man with amputated legs sprawling out on the walkway.
  • At least two ladies with tissue papers.
  • Another obese man on electric scooter.
Begging is illegal in Singapore. You can apply for a license to perform on the street but you can not beg. However, a loophole in law had produced the so called “Tissue Paper” aunty/uncle who are now technically “not begging”. Loop holes are what encourage people to misuse it and thus, we are getting more “Tissue Paper” sellers in Singapore.
When the government tried to discourage the practise by imposing a S$120 licence, Singaporeans made a hoo-ha. Well, that means Singapore will have another attraction to talk about by travellers, apart from Durian and the food. Versatile usage of tissue papers, e.g. from chopping for seats to begging. 
I guess if begging gets out of hand, the government will surely intervene. We wouldn't want people to get hooked up to begging. 
Just a thought.

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