A German man, apparently at his wits' end after his marriage broke down and he left his job, was recently spotted rough sleeping at Block 106 Hougang Avenue 1.
Shin Min Daily News reported on Mar. 13 that he is a 49-year-old man from Karlstadt, Germany, called Thomas (translation of name from Mandarin).
The Chinese paper said that Thomas has been relying on donations for almost a year and sleeping in parks and other places. He relies on kindhearted strangers and the nearby Man Fut Tong Welfare Society for food.
He is also receiving assistance from the Hougang Sheng Hong Family Service Centre.
A social worker from the centre reportedly told the Chinese paper that Thomas can't remember recent events clearly, and has to undergo a health check-up before the centre can decide on the proper form of assistance to offer.
Was a director drawing S$12,000 a month
According to Shin Min Daily News, Thomas arrived in Singapore over 10 years ago. He started a family here and became a Singapore Permanent Resident.
He previously worked in the construction and renovation sector, before he started a company, drawing S$12,000 a month as its director.
However after operating for two years, Thomas fell out with his partners and left the company.
Shin Min Daily News also reported that Thomas' marriage with his Singaporean wife broke down. He left their Hougang flat and moved in with a friend. During the pandemic, he reportedly moved out of his friend's house and has been rough sleeping on the streets since.
Job hunt not successful
Thomas told Shin Min Daily News that he does not have his passport and he does not remember his bank account PIN.
He also told the paper that he is too embarrassed to contact his relatives in his hometown for help. However, if the situation does not improve in three months, he plans to ask his relatives in Germany to buy air tickets for him to return home.
Thomas has been looking for job openings in the newspapers, and has even approached construction companies personally. However, his efforts have been futile.
He told the Chinese paper that employers probably think that they have to pay him a high salary because he is Caucasian, hence they don't want to hire him. He also claimed that he does not mind taking up cleaning jobs.
According to Shin Min Daily News, the German Embassy in Singapore is aware of Thomas' situation.
Top images courtesy of Shin Min Daily News, Google Maps.
Edit: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Thomas received food from the Man Fut Tong Lin Chee Cheng Sia Temple. The error has been rectified.