How many of you have come across beggars in Singapore?
Of course if you want to compare to other countries like India, Pakistan, China or even America – Singapore’s beggars are not that bad. In fact, most of our beggars now upgraded to selling tissue packets instead.
Y’see, just like many other things in our little island – even for begging, you require a license. I believe it is basically like a busking license.
In Singapore, everyone knows the uncle who busks down the underpass at Orchard Road MRT that leads you down to Wheelock.
Now don’t think I’m against beggars or anyone financially deprived – I’m against those who are utterly shameless about it.
I don’t really care much whether the beggar has a license or not… It is not like how I encourage male friends to look for a prostitute’s license & medical card before bedding her.
…then again (side track a little…), I recently came up with the concept that even though the prostitute did her checkup yesterday, but before you – she bedded another man who has some disease… You’re in for some shit, even though her card says “AIDS-free!”.
But that aside!
Ask my friends or Mark, most of the time when I see a beggar or busker; I’d pull out my wallet without hesitation because I feel every bit makes the world a better place for everyone.
I sometimes even put notes in when I see one really pitiful one. So don’t think I’m some heartless woman.
Contrary to some people’s beliefs, I’m actually rather nice and patient. *grin*
However, I guess probably thanks to female intuition… I sometimes stubbornly refuse to even put on 10 cents because the beggar is simply shameless.
They think that because they are in a plight, the whole friggin’ world owes it to them to help.
Hello? It is called goodwill for a reason! It is not an obligation or requirement – that if I don’t give money to a beggar, I’d stop breathing or something.
Let me share a couple of terribly annoying beggars I met, some of which I actually told off.
#1 Shameless Beggar
Location: some random hawker centre
Hawkers are always a hotspot for these beggars. Simply because no one could really chase you out – like they could in a shopping centre.
I was having dinner with mommy when this Auntie came up to us and just (quite literally) slammed 3 packets of tissue paper on our table. Mommy and I got a tad cheesed off (my mom a little bit more…).
My immediate reaction – “W.T.F.?!”
Firstly – you have the audacity to slam your wares on my dining table; robbing me of basic respect, privacy, space and fellowship time.
Secondly – $2 for 3 packets of tissue paper is like going to the bank and demanding they increase their interest rate for your savings account.
So we ignored.
Auntie: Please help! Please help! $1! $1!
By then I was quite turned off, but I looked at her wrinkled face and felt pity. So since I had $1 change from buying drinks, I simply slid the gold coin to her.
Okay, fine. Honestly, 50% I did it out of pity – the other 50% is out of pure annoyance and hope she’d just leave us alone.
So she took the coin… And 1 packet of tissue paper.
So instead of $1 for 3 packets, it was $1 for 2 packets.
Not that I’m some stingy person who would get pissed off over $1, but that was downright cheating!
I knew I didn’t have to say anything… Mommy is quite a tigress.
Mommy: Excuse me! My daughter gave you $1 for 3 packets, why did you take back 1? How can you cheat people like that?
Auntie: How can both of you be so heartless?? Can’t you have a bit more compassion?? I’m an old person and I need money!! I have back aches and seeing the doctor requires money! And my husband is also ill!! All these need money, you know!! It is not like people like you cannot afford to give us a little more money!! I’m sure in your bag you already have more tissue packets! Why do you need so many for??
And she went on & on & on about a heap of medical history she and her husband has… I swear I could almost be a doctor’s assistant by all the medical background she revealed.
Then I said something which I sort of guessed she wouldn’t be able to comprehend.
Me: Auntie, it is not that I don’t want to give you money to help you. But you should at least be polite to people. Not to mention, your promised me 3 packets – even if I don’t need it, I paid for it. So it is rightfully mine. Being so, I can accuse you of stealing one of my tissue packets!
I knew at once I shouldn’t have said that because it opened a whole dam of sob stories about her oh-so-pathetic life.
So after repeating her stories only about 2 million times, while mommy and I continued eating – wonder how I still kept my appetite… She slammed the one packet she took back on the table and walked off.
Mommy was complaining, I just calmly finished my food. And walked off, leaving that single packet on the table because it disgusted me.
I just hope no one thought that table was booked…
#2 Shameless Beggar
One evening, some of my friends and I were seated at the outdoor area of the shopping centre when this old lady came up to us to sell us tissues.
However this apparently “poor” Auntie came up in a nice outfit – with even rosaries around her wrists. Nicely permed hairdo and earrings as well.
To put it simply – this Auntie does not make it apparent of her poverty.
And thus, I did not see that she needed money – to me, she merely wanted more.
My friend was all-ready to pull out her wallet, when I said, “No, thank you.”
And then she started blabbering nonsense – so my friend put her wallet back.
Auntie: You treat an elderly well, tomorrow you will have good fortune! You young people! Just spend a little, and you can get good fortune!
She repeated this quite a few times.
Don’t get me wrong, I think that good deeds begets good – karma.
However, I simply refuse to aid those who are not in need. To me – if I help those not in need, but in greed… It is merely encouraging them. Thus allowing such bad traits to continue in our society.
Now why would I want something like that?
And besides, she gave me really bad vibes.
So I ignored this Auntie and continued playing my Scramble With Friends! …which I scored quite badly, by the way. She was making so much noise with her nonsense!
Then my other friend tried telling her, “Auntie, we all have tissue papers already. We don’t need anymore.”
Auntie: You think I don’t know?? In Singapore, who doesn’t carry a tissue paper? I’m not even asking for $100 or anything! Just $1 or $2!! Why are you all like that??
And blah blah blah…
Then after a while, she walked away – I hope finally realising how idiotic she sounds.
Like I said, I have no qualms about helping people in need. Which part of that well-dressed auntie screamed, “Look-at-me-the-poor-soul!!” ?
Now I have seen really poor people – in Singapore, don’t be surprised. The elderly cast aside in really filthy homes, but they live. Families with 7 mouths to feed, but only earning $400/month – but they live.
I have put in time, money & energy into helping them before and it felt really good.
But once when I helped someone like those two Shameless Beggars I talked about above… I felt kind of robbed. And I felt worse when I know that I actually let it happen.
Guess we can call it financially violated?
Let’s put it across directly – beggars are selling their pitiful state for money.
There’s supposedly no fixed price and just like anything else – you should be given the freedom of will to reject or accept what is being offered for ‘sale’.
And trust me, some of those beggars on the streets… Are nowhere near being really pitiful. They just want to make easy moolah.
I’d rather spend money on things that make me happy or on people who really need it.
X.O.X.O. Love Love.