Popular travel vlogger Nuseir Yassin, or more famously known as Nas from Nas Daily on social media visited Singapore in the past week and made videos on his Facebook platform, about the land of the "Crazy Rich".
In one of the videos, entitled, "Crazy Poor Asians", Nas said that the video represents the reality he found in the ‘rich city’ of Singapore.
After looking for the information from articles, speaking to speaking to locals and professionals who know the figures, Nas pointed out in the video that the stereotype that Singaporeans are crazy rich is far from reality. Covering various aspects of life in Singapore, such as the lack of minimum wage, the average wage of Singaporeans and elderly who have to work beyond the age of retirement.
Reacting to Nas' statement on the video that the Government is helping the low income, the homeless, and the poor with housing and food, a viewer by the name of Shirley Soares made a comment on the post asking if there’s no homeless in Singapore:
Shirley Soares wrote: “Seems like no homeless in Singapore, is that true?”
This triggered a reaction from the viewers, mostly from Singapore, discussing the homeless in Singapore.
While a few of the readers commented that there are only a few cases of homeless in the country – mostly elderly:
Mohammad Shazwan wrote: “Very few, but the numbers are increasing!”
Andrew Lee wrote: “Here and there.. You'll see some. Mostly the elderly..”
Rebecca Chong wrote: “Very very few because our government forbids and would step in, in one way or another through social support schemes to aid the poor.. may not gonna be enough but they do help and of course at the expense of our taxes.”
Michael McCormack wrote: “I only saw one or two homeless. What I saw even less was police officers and no garbage on the streets.”
Maria Teresa B. Tejada wrote: “Nas Daily that’ what I appreciate in SG, very few homeless because of the charitable organizations that keeps and provides them “home”. Social and community workers are very active in this country.”
There were a lot of citizens commented that there are many homeless people in Singapore:
Eric Yeo Shumin wrote: “There are tons of homeless elderly in Chinatown.”
Jeeva Eswaran wrote: “Very few young ones and tons of the older generation. Suicide rate is high for them here, as they are unable to afford a home & medical.”
Ai Peng Loh wrote: “Nas Daily did they not bring you out to see all those elderly sleeping on the cardboard boxes or on stone chair surrounded by their ‘pick/collection of the day’?”
Nur Kaii wrote: “Actually there are a lot of homeless people. Mostly elderly people. And a lot of young people who may get kicked out of their homes at any time because living in Singapore is very expensive for the average man who usually makes SGD800-1500. There's a lot that the world doesn't know about my country.”
زهرة اميد حان wrote: “There are tons. Just not looking at the right places.”
Steven Junhao wrote: “I saw many elderly being homeless. They can be spotted sleeping at Chinatown and East Coast Park to name a few. There used be this guy who live under the bridge in my old estate.”
Stacy Teo wrote: “Shirley Soares, not true. Go to the beaches and you will find tents. Some homeless set up 'temporary homes' there. Apparently to the government it was illegal.”
Abdul Raymax wrote: “I have friends who bums on their workplaces coz they can't afford to own a home and they are working at least 12 hours a day 6 days a week with earnings of just $2000 a month on gross wage and only getting $1600 nett wage after a 20% deduction from the Central Provident Funds every months, and a small apartment home with a living room and 2 bedrooms may cost you at least $300K to $400K, so that's why they can't afford to get a home.”
Aisyah Choo wrote: “Sadly there is.. we came across a few but few organization still try to assist them in getting them a rent home or a temporary shelter.”
Many commented that it is illegal to stay on the street in Singapore and that the Government emplaces the homeless in welfare homes. But others said that they were put in special place to work for very small pay which also deducted for lodging:
Ali Yahya Raee wrote: “Many. They stay with parents, siblings or relatives. To stay on the street, it’s illegal.”
Maurice Tan wrote: “There are many homeless, just that they are usually chased out by the authorities. I.e sleeping in tents at parks, the park rangers chase them off (even some of this tenting requires a permit). Sleep at the common housing corridors, police chase them away. So they end up usually on the road for a place to snooze in, with much negative anticipation that they will get chased out at any time.”
Yasmin Fantaghiro Yusof wrote: “There is alot actually...they make themselves unseen....Because it is illegal to be homeless in Singapore....”
Han Tiong Khoo wrote: “There is no social help groups or anything. Being homeless or poor is somewhat of a social stigma that the government wants to hide from the world. If caught begging they will put u in a special place where u get to "work" for peanuts and get pay deducted for lodging. That why a lot of homeless prefer not be "helped" by the government.”
Natasha Hassan wrote: “There are destitute people. You just don’t see them as the government will emplace them in welfare homes while they learn to get back on their feet.”
Sera Nygate wrote: “Lots of homeless elderly and young people but the government have kept it well hidden by trying to make it illegal to be homeless.”
Ashton Law wrote: “Well, I know some homeless folks even retreated into the forest and built their place inside as it’s actually illegal to be homeless in singapore. Even made a video out of it.
Elisabeth Frances Wong commented that the homeless are actually put up together in a shelter which creates additional problems to them:
Elisabeth Frances Wong wrote: “Eh. Actually, those in destitute are being put up with other destitutes, which doesn't always work well. The more aggressive one makes it difficult for the milder one to stay with him/her, which explains why some folks choose to sleep in the open. Technically, they share a rented flat with another person, which puts them out of the homeless category.”
Diana Dee stated that she was a homeless person for years, and she shared her experience and knowledge about the homeless people:
Diana Dee wrote: “I was homeless before for years. Can't even afford monthly rent. So I slept around places but being young at that time. People never knew I was homeless. They assumed I was some student studying outside or lazy to go home. Because I don't look homeless.”
Diana Dee wrote: “There are homeless . If you go to the beaches at night the homeless are among the camping tents. They are without housing only sheltered tents. They blend in with the other leisure campers that we have no idea that's actually their house. I can't reveal the majority of the homeless location that I am aware. I fear they will ask to be moved.”
Answering to Aisyah Choo who commented (quoted above) that organization still try to assist the homeless in getting them a rent home or a temporary shelter Diana Dee wrote that organization prioritise families that are homeless:
Diana Dee wrote: “Aisyah Choo. Organization prioritise families that are homeless. For lone person it's harder to get help. I know from experience.”