Recently, Mothership.sg published this article on Oct. 24 about an old man in his 80s in Ang Mo Kio, who is regularly seen waiting by himself for members of the public to buy him a meal:
This prompted an outpouring of offers of help from the public, with some forwarding the story to the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to request they look into the situation:
MSF has since posted about the old man’s status and are glad to report he is doing fine:
Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin has also confirmed that MSF staff have established the old man’s identity and background, although it is not appropriate to make the details public, as the family’s privacy needs to be considered.
But Minister Tan said it is better for members of the public to be less sceptical when faced with such cases, as a little offer of assistance could be disproportionately helpful:
“I believe that we should always try, even if we err on the side of being generous…you never know how that small action could mean so much.”
Members of the public are advised to refer any of such cases to the authorities, such as the MSF, and finding out more about the situation — such as the person’s name, location and place he or she is frequently seen at — so that follow-up assistance can be more easily rendered.