Oct 3, 2007

On Beggars and Hawkers


ST Oct 2, 2007
Rid Orchard Road of beggars and hawkers

ONE cannot help but notice an increasing number of people begging for money and selling tissue paper along Orchard Road.

Also on the rise are illegal hawkers at places such as outside Orchard and Somerset MRT stations, selling anything from mobile-phone covers to roasted chestnuts.

I urge the authorities to take action against this group of people, as they are giving a bad image to spanking clean Orchard Road.

This is especially so as Orchard Road is a major tourist attraction and we wouldn't want tourists and foreigners alike to bring home an image of Orchard Road riddled with sidewalk beggars and illegal hawkers.

Nuryusman Mohamed Ibrahim

Actually the tourists probably find the roasted chestnuts quite interesting. The illegal hawkers add a little local flavour into our otherwise sterile cityscape. Think of the Suan Lum or Chatuchak night markets in Bangkok – they’re always crowded and messy. And always a big hit with tourists.

As for the tissue paper, it's usually sold by some poor blind woman or one-legged man. Mrs Wang is very kind. When she sees such people, she often gives them $5 or $10 for one packet of tissue. These people need our help. If you don't want to help, at least don't cause them to get arrested.

I don't know what this Nuryusman person is thinking. He notices an increasing number of poor people on Orchard Road, and his biggest concern is the bad impression that the tourists may have. For goodness sakes, Nuryusman. Your biggest concern should be for the poor people.

22 comments:

Mic said...

Alamak, I rich man like to see nice things only!

You like that also dunno :-)

Ned Stark said...

Personally I was rather appalled at the letter. I felt that such a letter, if published at all, should have been confined to the ST online forum. Unfortunately in their wisdom the editor saw fit to put this in print and relegated this

http://www.straitstimes.com/ST%2BForum/Online%2BStory/STIStory_163058.html

to the online forum instead.

ki said...

very weird, this Nuryusman person.. he might have to resort to "begging for money and selling tissue paper along Orchard Road" too if he himself doesn't have enough for retirement in future.

Mezzo said...

To be fair, he could have meant well. By mentioning the impact on tourism, perhaps he thought that the government would sit up and pay attention.

khirsah said...

I really don't see any problems with people (usually elderlies) selling tissue papers. Hey, they try to make an honest income. What do you expect from them? If you think $1 is exorbitant for 3packets of tissue papers, don't buy. If you are charitable, give them a bit more.

I encountered a few times when I got rejected for giving them $2 for 1 packet of tissue paper. They insist that I take 3 packets.

Don't look down on them. They may be poor with little or no education but they certainly have pride and earned my respect.

Anonymous said...

What is Nuryusman person thinking?? Is he some kind of elite, only good at creating good impression?? Obviously this Nuryusman person does not have a soul or an iota of empathy, this disgusting letter shouldn't see the light of day.

I would rather have all type of hawkers all over Orchard Road to add vibrant colors to this stale city state.

Btw, why should they be penalised for making an honest living?

Nuryusman go get a life!!!

Anonymous said...

IMHO, I think this writer is fake, must be some excuse by someone to get rid of them.....

Anonymous said...

I too don't know what this jock's intentions are.

Lilian is ... said...

Hmm what exactly is he thinking??? Indeed he has got very weird thinking.... who knows, 40-50 years down the road, he could be there selling tissue too cos he cannot get his CPF out and need to pay for annuity!

Yes, these people got dignity, if you try to give them more, they actually give you more tissue in return.

Anonymous said...

Nuryusman Mohamed Ibrahim,

Just cross your fingers you don't become bankrupt and have to beg for livelihood. If you do, remember not to spoil the image of our spanking Orchard Road.

You are a typical snob who cares more about what foreigners about you than the plight of your less privileged country folks.

Charity begins at home. Didn't your parents teach you that?

George said...

He is on the wrong ball, obviously!

CT said...

He thinks they're an eyesore? There's always this term: "Close One-Eye".
They're out to make an honest living. It doesn't matter where- Geylang, Serangoon, Chinatown. The tourist frequent these spots too, don't they?
If the tourists- the very group he supposedly represent have no issues, why should he?
It's bad enough that he don't contribute. Now he wants to take away their ricebowl... geez!

Billybong said...

To a certain extent, i disagree with helping the 'tissue auntie'. Mrs Wang may be kind, but that is precisely the point.

Some of these people (blind or handicapped and so on) are afforded help by the govt. However, they refuse this help and instead turn to 'illegal' hawking. By preying on our compassion, they get people to buy tissue paper or whatever else they have.

I'm not against helping people, but we should help them in the right way. Giving in to compassion and buying 'exhorbitantly priced' tissue only serves to encourage them to continue.

Help the needy by contributing through charity. Adopt a specific society and contribute to them. Buying tissue does not actually help their cause.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Some of these people (blind or handicapped and so on) are afforded help by the govt. However, they refuse this help and instead turn to 'illegal' hawking."

Really? If you become blind or handicapped tomorrow, do you know what help you're going to get from the govt?

Arc Of Fire said...

guys, why should we bash Ibrahim up for his wonderful remarks?? you gotta admit his advice is so timely: walk past that old auntie selling tissue,pretend we did not see her and there, we spare ourselves the burden of helping the poor so that for our benefit, can at least save 2 more bucks for retirement funds and not on compassion-preying people who are about to die pretty soon. Ibrahim should be so proud of the fact that lotsa singaporeans are not encouraging the presence of tissue peddlers by doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING at all.

this is indeed a matter concerning the survival of the fittest. if u don't enough monie, then at least don't come damage s'pore's reputation by selling toilet paper on the streets. after all, Ibrahim and other like minded citizens' conclusion is extremely clear:
GET OUT OF MY ELITE UNCARING FACE.

RC said...

My office used to be smack in Orchard Road, and very often I would see a frail old lady selling tissue in front of the ex-Singtel shop(now HSBC branch).
I am not one who carries such tissue packs, but I would always give her a dollar or two when I have the change on me. And every time she would urge me to take the tissue, so I would politely refuse.
To me, she is really trying to make a honest, decent living. She does it with more dignity and integrity than many "respectable" charity heads we have seen recently.
She doesn't lambaste people who don't buy from her (as compared to "oh, you are to be blamed if our patients can't get dialysis"). She does not hoodwink you by selling you one piece of tissue for $1 (as compared to "oh, our reserves won't last us for much longer" or "oh, majority of our donations are used for patients' benefits")
Show a little love, Nuryusman!

Anonymous said...

That guy is seriously out of his mind to say such stupid foolish statement! Have he ever wonder what if those were his old folks ? Have he ever put himself into their situation ? He is absolutely has no idea what they are facing! Fancy he getting the authorities to chase them out and cutting their only lifeline! What a beast he is !

CALL URSELF A SGREAN ?

Anonymous said...

Actually this Nuryusman must be well-educated by our extraordinary and unique leaders. This why he understand that these poor are just being socially irresponsible and thus do not deserve any form of sympathy.

And because he is so well-educated, it is only natural that the first thing that came across his mind is not how to help these less fortunate but of more profitable and pragmatic concern such as upholding our 1st world world class image. After all welfare is dirty, you won’t want our well-educated Sinkaporeans to think dirtily.

Anonymous said...

Actually this Nuryusman must be very well-educated by our extraordinary and unique leaders. This why he understand that these poor are just being socially irresponsible who are trying to our tourism in and thus do not deserve any form of sympathy.

And because he is so well-educated, it is only natural that the first thing that came across his mind is not how to help these less fortunate but of more profitable and pragmatic concern such as upholding our 1st world world class image infront of the tourist. After all welfare is dirty, you won’t want our well-educated Sinkaporeans to think dirtily.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, you might not have noticed but, there are a certain number of tissue sellers who are Malaysians.

I have heart only for Singaporeans, until the FT policies get the much needed attunments.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, i think Nuryusman was trying to be sacarstic. His comment had a hidden meaning attached to it.

complainking said...

In the early 80's people complained about trishaws as well, and looks like they've completely disappeared.