"Don't give her money! Don't give her money! She's a con artist!"
Then they turned towards the woman and spat on her. The toddler woke up crying, due to the commotion. The woman tried to pacify him by patting his back and holding him closer.
I was stunned by the behaviour of these two fashionably-dressed young ladies. Some passers-by also started scolding the woman as they walked past her. A couple even called me 'Stupid'. I was speechless. I could not understand why these people were behaving this way when all I did was to give a starving woman some money.
I looked at the poor woman. Her look was unfathomable. She continued to eat the rice from the garbage bin, nonchalant. I chased after the two young ladies.
I asked them why they called the woman a con artist. They explained that the woman has been doing the same thing everyday for several months. They told me to look closely at the rice in the bin. They're clean because she placed them in the garbage bin.
When word spread to my office that I gave the con artist money, the Chinese staff started to tease me. One guy even pretended to eat from my dustbin.
Whenever I think of the woman eating from the garbage bin, I wonder what makes a human being resort to that? Poverty?
It's degrading. It's unthinkable. And the poor toddler. Will he grow up to be a better con artist?
What was EastCoastLife thinking?
My Chinese staff and friends blamed me and foreign visitors for 'encouraging more beggars' on their streets. As a human being, it is really not comfortable to see my own kind suffering.
I like what our Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said in Parliament. "Help first. We can check on their background later. They can only cheat us once." I keep that in mind.