Facebook user Claris Ortega shared an experienced she had at the Clementi Food Centre last week that would melt anyone’s heart.
While Ms Ortega was at the food court, she saw an elderly lady ‘pushing a trolley of folded up carboard boxes using rafia string as her belt’ who went up to the next table looking hungrily at the plates of scraps left behind by the previous customers.
She describe the woman walking away before circling back. Ms Ortega went up to her and before she could say anything, the woman asked if she could buy her a packet of chicken rice. Ms Ortega offered to buy her two packets but the woman refused, insisting she only needed one.
At the end of her post Ms Ortega writes, “This encounter really broke my heart. The reason for writing this post is not to boast I helped or whatever. But I really hope this reminds all who reads the real true meaning of humanity. And the importance of have compassion for another living thing.”
She ends with a plea to anyone around the Clementi Central area to help buy this woman a meal if they see her there.
The post has since been shared over 5.2k times and has over 1.1k comments.
Most of the comments are people praising Ms Ortega for her kindness:
One person even noted that the woman in question is a regular around the Clementi area and that residents there take good care of her:
Others shared stories of similar encounters they’ve had:
While others lamented the fact that there are still people struggling to feed themselves even in a first world country like Singapore:
A few days later, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) thanks Mr Ortega for her kindness and thanked members of the public for their offers to assist the elderly woman.
MSF added that their social service office (SSO) and local community groups have been in touch with the lady whom they refer to as Madam Tan and her family for some time already.
Apparently Madam Tan is the sole owner of an HDB flat where she lives with some of her children. MSF clarified that Madam Tan is cared for and supported by her children and grandchildren and also receives a pension as well as Silver Support Scheme payouts. They added that they will continuing to reach out to Madam Tan and her family to provide the necessary support.
Note that MSF did not state upfront that Mdm Tan does not require help in any form but to give an impression that she is self-sufficient.
In response to MSF’s response, a netizen wrote:
“MSF has been” looking into ” Mdm Tan’s dire situation. WHY look into and not take immediate action ?? Or isit msf want to ask more question like name of great great great grandmother and great great great granduncle and also what they do in their previous life before approving the hand out…”