SINGAPORE — A heartwarming story of kindness emerged from a recent Facebook post, which stands in stark contrast to a recent post made by former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP), Calvin Cheng.
In his post last Friday, Cheng called for the naming and shaming of food stalls that accept only cash, sparking outrage from netizens.
However, one stall at the Yishun Ring Road coffeeshop, Jin Wei Wanton Chicken Feet Noodle, showed nothing but kindness to a customer who only had $7 cash for an order of four packs of wanton mee. The stall owner told the customer to pay her back the next time she comes, but the customer offered to leave her phone number to assure the owner she would return the next day to pay.
The owner replied that there was no need and that the most important thing was that the customers were first fed.
The customer, Sun Meilan, praised the stall’s old-school charm, or “人情味,” and the reasonable prices of its food. The post quickly went viral on Facebook group Hawkers United – Dabao 2020, with many commenting on the warm hospitality of the stall owner.
Jia Hui Tham wrote, “Indeed. For Chinese, food is a very important part of our culture. Not just for filling the stomach, but also warming the soul. Some people are too entitled till they forgot about humanity. Saddest part is he is so proud of his complete lack of humanity. Way to go, wanton mee auntie!”
Another netizen, Vady Hidayat wrote, “Received kindness from a hawker that I frequented at Tiong Bahru too. I didn’t realise that I had no cash on me and I asked if I could come back and pay later, he said no hurry! And the best part? He asked me if I needed to borrow money from him! I was quite shocked but this experience warmed the cockles of my heart.”
Lynn Koh also shared her nice experience with another hawker, “Bought a packet of chicken rice from a coffeeshop but realised I didn’t have my wallet with me! The lady boss asked me just take it. I assured her that I would definitely come back to pay by today but she said it is okay, take my time, no hurry. I m not a regular patron of her stall and yet she is willing to do that.”
The incident stands in stark contrast to Cheng’s post, where he called for the boycott of all businesses that only accept cash, saying that they “must not hamper Singapore’s development as a smart nation.” Many netizens criticized Cheng for his comments, with some calling him “disgraceful” and “elitist.”
Ian Tan wrote in the Facebook group, “That ‘somebody’ is a shameless self-serving elitist twit. Using his verified platform to bully. Instead, he could have gotten them some education and assurance, he chose the low road, yet again. I’d continue to support these uncles and aunties.”
On the same day as his post, Cheng made headlines after his Swiss digital asset firm, Damoon Technologies, was granted membership to the country’s Financial Services Standard Association. Despite Cheng’s belief in the future of digital assets, netizens pointed out the hypocrisy of his comments about cash-only businesses and his own involvement in non-cash finance.
The kindness shown by the stall owner at Jin Wei Wanton Chicken Feet Noodle serves as a reminder that there is more to life than just money and technology. As the customer commented, “人情味” is the true treasure.