News and views from an unique perspective

A student’s encounter with a homeless Singapore family

Posted by temasektimes on July 14, 2012

Personally, I was really frustrated by the whole social structure of Singapore these days. The society was improving economically on the whole for the many rich and lucky idiots,who live blissfully in their own beautiful world, but leaving behind many of those helpless slowpokes, who had fallen way behind the society. I can’t seemed to recognise my own homeland Singapore anymore.

There have been many reports of Singaporeans especially with those towing with schooling children, has no home to stay ,and though many have went to seek out help from their various MPs, all they have were disappointing replies and in the end ended up on news to ask the public for help. However, if the MPs were the ones hired by the countrymen to help the fellow citizens and those cant seem to get their job done , then whats the point of having MPs paid by taxpayers money. They might as well direct the taxpayers money to help the needy straight.

Now , as a student who has always been blinded by one side of the story , blinded by the lies of the society finally understand that there is no absolute good government and leaders. Worst of all, news these days appears to be selective,covering out all the true stories of the society these days.

Just yesterday, when returning home from school , I walk passed Bukit Panjang Ring Road Blk 431,I saw a homeless chinese family and the poor little girl was crying to her dad that she was hungry . That girl caught my attention and I came up to conversed with the girl and her father. The father’s tireless eyes blink desperately with tears , filling me his sad life story . His wife has abandoned the family and left him single handedly raising two kids, a primary school girl and a secondary school boy. He tried his best to work as a taxi driver and trying to make ends meet . However, he had no permanent house to stay in , and has to keep on moving into different rented rooms.

Rented rooms these days were very expensive and he could hardly make his ends meet by paying a monthly rent of $750 plus all the living and taxiexpenses .His children were always hungry and he has not much to feed his kids. As a greenhorn taxi driver , he was new thus he does not earned much from driving the taxi. Finally, he could no longer pay for the taxi rents and the room rent , so he was forced to live underblock.

Throughout the conversation I could sense that he has given up in living as he was given up by the society. Seriously , I believed this will not be the first and last incident of homeless and helpless Singaporeans. I would have encountered. But , I feared for the safety for the little girl and the future for her brother. Both have been missing out from school for two weeks and surprisingly , the schools have not approached to do anything or provide some solutions for the two siblings. Anguish and helpless too, the only thing I could do at the moment was to passed them some money and wrote in here .

Hope there will be some kind souls out there or people whose jobs were to help those in such dired situations to provide a helping hand. An ITE student like me can only go this far to help . Hope the family will get better.


*The above was first posted as a comment on The Temasek Times.


63 Responses to “A student’s encounter with a homeless Singapore family”

  1. dred said

    that’s why we need Jesus back..if there are homeless even in a prosperous first world city state like yours..imagine how bad it is for the rest of the world.
    you can do something more than you think…believe and pray for the return of Jesus..and while you are waiting for him to arrive…do what he would have you do…we are never so hopeless and helpless that we cannot pray….”Blessed are the poor , for theirs is the Kingdom of God.
    “Woe to the rich for you have already recëived your reward.”
    You do not have to be a “christian” to do what Jesus does…just have to be a decent human being, with compassion who wants to do to others as he would want done to himself.

  2. Rena said

    Hi, would like to help … can u contact me at 98301680? Thanks!

    • Jeff said

      Hi Rena, i believe that you are a nice girl and is sincere in helping out the poor family mentioned above. But i think you might be better off sending the writer your e-mail address and exchanging e-mails rather than posting your mobile number here. Too many sex predators and opportunists around nowadays…

  3. wmulew said

    Simple answer go to MCYS. Talk so much and complain so much never actually bother to find out for him where to get help and direct him to help. A lot of times I see pple talking bad about grassroots leaders in my area yet not once have I seen anyone acting like what they posted online. Pls stop creating bullshit out of thin air and start doing your part to help. In an inclusive society, one which U guys argued for, everyone has to chip in. Be it with money or time

    • Blue Nights said

      You would be surprised to learn that there are a lot of people who do not know where to go to ask for help. The bureaucracy is such that unless you know someone on the inside personally (social worker for example), or someone at the top, you will be given the royal run. And all government agencies are set up this way. Sometimes one actually need to know the exact term to use to get help. Watch IKIRU. Our agencies are not very different.

  4. Seraphim said

    I do not think the school can do anything considering they have no permanent address. A social worker would be more helpful in his case than that MP he requested aid from…

    Anyway, here are 2 helpline and hope you might be willing to lend him your handphone. I hope it still works…

    Comcare Hotline 1–800-222-0000
    Family Service Centre Hotline 1–800–838–0100

    If both the number fails, get him to a nearby FSC and see what they can do for him and his family.

  5. Vic said

    It is really touching. My heart bleeds for the two children. I wonder whether he could leave them with an orphanage.
    Anyway, there are some places of charity they can get free meals.
    Singapore Buddhist Lodge at Kim Yan Road temple serves free vegetarian breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7am to 7pm.
    The Tanjong Pagar GRC, under the free Hawker meal Program provides $36 worth of meal vouchers every month to needy recipients for a year. The $3 voucher can buy a free meal at selected food staff at some of the coffee shops in Bukit Merah View and Henderson Road.

    • Ben said

      Ppl stay bukit panjang u wan them to go kimyan and tanjong pagar GRC

    • pinoys love to suck cock said

      A family of 4 eat 1 meal a day…each person fish ball noodle cost $3, total 4×3=$12….. 3 days voucher use finish liao……we pay so much direct and indirect taxes and this is how much the gov give to the poor? What happen to the gst is to help the poor?

  6. kaypoh said

    Sad….who is the MP?

    • i say what i think only... said

      teo ho pin. all uncle auntie loves him. i am a resident of bukit panjang and i hope dr teo is not treating the residents this way. if not…

  7. Daft Peasants said

    QUOTE: ” Just go live in streets lah , tell me also no use!!! Not just you homeless leh ! There are many homeless and i just an MP !! What can I do ! You go live on streets lor , think like that can threatened me!!!” :UNQUOTE

    Are you sure the mp said this???

  8. Julie Ong said

    Thank you very much Helpless Student for your poignant narrative of the homeless and hungry family. I had intended to ‘hibernate’ from writing, but when I came across your piece I cannot tahan. How come like this?

    Looks like we now abandon our needy and pander to the greedy!
    Wrong direction. Turn back!!

    Any advance and forward looking nation will look after/protect its vulnerable citizens eg. children, women, the elderly, sick or anyone who may need a helping hand. This is not the welfare mentality. This is Humanity and Decency! I will not for a moment think of a lifelong safety net, but give whoever needs it a break to enable them to get back up on their own two feet and move on. Everyone in our lives face difficulties sometimes, but I’ll be brutally frank: Misery was my mate during the dark and difficult periods in my life. I definitely can put myself in the situation narrated by Helpless Student.

    Next, what can we as an advance/respected nation do? Which department to turn to? Ministry of Home Affairs? Whatever/whoever, DO SOMETHING! This will be a blight on us. A disgraceful situation where a first world country abandons its citizens in distress.

    I hope our government is listening. The clamour is only going to get louder.
    If we cannot look after our citizens we might as well outsourced to foreign political talents well experienced in matters of this sort and in fact have shouldered heavier responsibilities of government when they were in power.

    The icing on the cake: They Are Cheaper!

  9. They prefer to help foreigners lah.

    • ??? said

      Haiz…Why can’t we use the sponsorship budget catered for just 1 foreign student to help a family like this case – to tie through their difficulties. Sincerely, don’t think the economy of SG will be greatly impacted by having 1 less foreign student. Moreover, in this case it helps to save 2 Singaporean students who are potential local talents if they are given the opportunity to grow.

      Clearly, who is the priority here???

  10. bukit panjang smc mp is teo hon pin said

    depending on where he stays, half of bukit panjang is also grouped under holland-bukit timah grc which is helmed by minister vivian. mp liang en hwa is one of the mps in charge of that area

  11. Jenny said

    If this is real, Singapore is hopeless…Only the rich can survive, and politicians doesn’t care about the needy. Is 2016 too late?

  12. Mally said

    "However, if the MPs were the ones hired by the countrymen to help the fellow citizens and those cant seem to get their job done , then whats the point of having MPs paid by taxpayers money. They might as well direct the taxpayers money to help the needy straight."

  13. kong kong said

    我很怀疑??????I am a Singaporean I do not buy this story

    • pinoys love to suck cock said

      U do not see or heard that doesnt mea it does not exist……..

      • CY said

        I agree with Kong Kong. There is more than meets the eye here. I recall a clarification being posted here, which TT has refused to publish. Moderators and admin, Singaporeans are not blind. You guys better restore the clarification or else…

    • KKit said

      Because you are a new cock singaporean living here right.. Bodoh sotong!

    • Blue Nights said

      1. Go talk to some social workers,
      2. Walk the blocks in Aljunied (as but one example, there are others),
      3. Walk up and down along East Coast Park (go early in the mornings on weekdays) and observe.

      The PAP has been hiding them away very well because if they are picked up, there are some places they get sent to. And with a family, they will be separated and this might not be what the family wants. It can cause a lot of psycholigical trauma as this is not a case of parental abuse or neglect. This is a case of poverty.

    • Blue Nights said

      Sorry, with reference to Aljunied, I am not implying that the MPs are not helpful. I would not know. What I meant to say is that those are areas traditionally where many homeless people, when they are finally assigned a rental subsidized flat by the HDB, gets sent to.

  14. Another stomp fabrication said

    Oy TT, do you vet your stories before posting them up. Sounds awfully suspicious to me, not that Singaporeans facing dire straits do not exist but I doubt that an MP would have the gall to say such things and people caught putting up make-shift homes in void decks or any public spots (changi beach) for that matter would be “relocated” elsewhere by our authorities.

  15. How old is this student anyway?

  16. Rina said

    Does anyone seriously believe that a MP will say what was written ?? Please lah, you guys wanna cook up story oso must be more realistic mah….
    The story written seems more like to trying to do damage to a MP i/o of hightlighting a case that needs help.
    Try harder Temasek Times. Next time, be more realistic.

  17. Jack Lee said

    hello TT,
    pls ask the homeless family to look for Dr Teo Ho Pin.
    just got his reply after I post to Dr Teo fb.
    pls see his reply :

    “Teo Ho Pin
    Jack , Thks for the posting. We have helped many needy families in Bukit Panjang . Till today , we r still giving out food vouchers to families monthly. I hv not heard of this homeless case. The last homeless lady we helped was given a HDB rental flat 2 days ago. Pls ask that homeless resident to see me. Thks”

  18. Wolfglare said

    If these is a true incident…who is the bukit panjang MP….so what is our government PM Lee or DPM Teo going do abt it…..are they going to investigate these incident or just cover it up to protect their own….what do u think

  19. Ren said

    You sure its not staged or not…

  20. Don't fake fake said

    I don’t buy this story. Which MP would say this kind of thing? Although I agree the MPs may not always meet the people’s needs all the time, but what the MP said sounds a bit far fetched, is this for real? If so, would appreciate you to post the MP name.

  21. Jack Lee said

    if I dont get reply from TT soon, I’m pretty sure that something amiss in this story…

    • mahbok tan said

      Although I disagree with our present GOVT but i would not stoop to such low and inaccurate reporting…..beacuse the story from this helpless student just does not connect overall….it is testing our intellectuality.
      Seriously been reading this story more than once to understand it….but seems far fetch …. but if it is the truth than I would like to apologies first.
      The fact is I do not believe 100%…sorry.

    • Khali said

      Hmm…. being cab driver & can’t earn enough to feed family & pay rental? In tat case comfort better raise fares higher? Some friends & my dad drive cabs can feed family (plus wives) & put children to uni. Story simply too fantastic!

  22. Julie Ong said

    My goodness, I may have ‘jump the gun’. Cannot be sure though. If indeed I have, then I have blundered.
    Moving on, does anybody know what happened to the assault case on the supposedly pregnant lady? A few days ago it was when this burly man acted violently after apparently having being spilt with mala soup or something of the like. This is on video and it is explicit. Was that monster man caught and questioned? In this latter case I have no doubt that the authorities must act as this thug can go on to hurt others especially weaker and vulnerable ones. If someone can tell us more about this I would be grateful. The assault and the aggression displayed disturbs me. I would suggest that the Police Force be increased to cope with the influx of foreigners if steps have not been taken already to do so. We want a street safe Singapore just like it used to be.
    Whew! I’d await news/confirmation about the veracity of the homeless family case. If true please help. If not, I stand corrected.

  23. Nahbeh said

    Mp speak in hokkien accent? This article is bullshit. If you drive taxi everyday, sure got money to pay rent. Rent is paid daily..

    • k said

      if you drive the taxi everyday it doesn’t guarantee that you are able to recover the high variable costs incurred. the taxi company can take your taxi away 🙂 you should ask mr TEO himself, he knows best 🙂

  24. Edmund Tan said

    MP said this? hmmm.. Prove it and we will make sure out he/she go… mercy…else…

  25. Sonny Nyson said

    I just had a quick look at Teo Ho Pin’s FB and noticed he was away for an official trip to Indonesia on 09-7-2012. In this instance, how could an MP who was not in the MPS “said” those comments to a resident? Teo Ho Pin has been actively helping needy residents in Bukit Panjang. Please ask that homeless family to look for Teo Ho Pin for assistance if they are in fact really staying in Bukit Panjang, as stated by the ITE student. I believe no MP will ever say those irrational comments to a resident. The details can be found at

  26. axe said

    I am just glad that there are many here who do not just swallow the article whole. What we all need is some critical analysis of the story before commenting. There is still hope yet.

  27. good said

    That’s really funny… why are they homeless? There are still many nice vacant homes in Sentosa Cove looking for buyers. Don’t these people know?

  28. Ben said

    Singaporean all fool ? I don’t believe Mp dare to say such a thing lar . If come out from the taxi driver then maybe he got night mare , just a dream only ,ok ……

  29. yong choon kiat said

    I am not surprised. I have 2 frens who went to seek 2 different MPs for help. One was caught for theft during his teens and was fined back then. My fren works in a bank. Recently MAS change ruling and became more stringent. As a result, MAS refuse to grant my fren RNF code. My fren check with the police and they say the record exist but rendered span and SPF could do nothing abt it. hence my fren turn to his MP for help. The whole conversation ended with Jaccob saying “Are you trting to challenge the government?”

    • yong choon kiat said

      The other fren went to MP to seek help for employment. Hes a degree holder but cant find a decent salary job. His job offers were btn 1600 to 1800. He told his MP abt it but the MP simply told him dats this amt is the market rate n he should accept those job offers. Pls Note that this particular MP is onli a degree holder as well. Do they really CARE abt SINGAPOREANS????

  30. kbkb said

    Hi TT,
    Such story without proof will get u into trouble. If so, we gonna missed u. Good luck.

  31. First class citizens but second class residents due to selfish policy said

    First class citizens but second class residents

    Due to “selfish government policy”, many Singaporeans are first class citizens but second class residents, many foreigners are first class residents and second class citizens.

  32. Passerby A said

    You want to know if it’s cock-and-bull story or not, just go to Bukit Panjang Ring Road Blk 431 la! Why arrow each other because of it? And TT, please ask the writer for more verification (e.g. the man’s hp no. if her has one, whether they’re still staying under the void deck etc) before posting his article. Don’t make us as helpless as this writer, can see but cannot help!!

    • Passerby A said

      sorry it’s “if he has one”. Must proofread next time

      • Alfred said

        As a taxi-driver,he would be able to support his family. You need to know some basic road direction b4 can get vocational license.

        If this case is real, then ‘ needy student’ should bring him to the moral home for assistance .

  33. k said

    rich gets richer and poor gets poorer. not surprised.

  34. Sebastian Chia said

    Dear Temasek Times Editor / Temasek Review Facebook Page Administrator / The Temasek Review Facebook Page Administrator

    I am one of the volunteers at Dr Teo’s Meet-the-People Session.

    Dr Teo had met the father of the homeless family during his MPS on 16-7-2012.

    We hope you are able to publish the following clarification on your blog and Facebook page.

    1. The father had not seen Dr Teo previously. Both of them have not met prior to the meeting on 16-7-2012.
    2. The father had sold his HDB flat three (3) years ago and applied for a rental flat that HDB had rejected.
    3. The family’s registered address is not in Bukit Panjang Constituency but they rented a room at Blk 431 Fajar Road instead.
    4. The family is facing financial difficulties.
    5. The family is currently staying in a flat with New Hope Community Services’ assistance.
    6. Dr Teo had approached South West Community Development Council and Fei Yue FSC’s assistance to help the family.

    I would appreciate if you could post the above clarification accordingly.

    I can be contacted at if you require further clarification.

    Best regards
    Sebastian Chia

  35. Singaporean said

    I am willing to bleed and fight for familes as mentioned in the article. This is a holy war, there is no other ways.

  36. Pai Sei said

    Would suggest ask the Foreign News Media to do an interview of this family and report this incident to the world. News media is an powerful tool, you know….

  37. Terence Teo said

    Quickly advise the man to meet his MP. They are there to help. If his gross income is below $1700 per month, he would be able to obtain financial assistance from CDC and also get tarriff vouchers and ntuc vouchers.

  38. Undeniably believe that which you said. Your favourite justification appeared to be on the internet the easiest factor to bear in mind of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while other folks think about issues that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the entire thing without having side-effects , other people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

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