“I HAVE a home, but I like it this way. It is my own choice.”
This was the reply a Malaysian woman gave when met by Bernama on Monday night, during checks over claims that Malaysian workers are living in the streets of Singapore.
The three-hour rounds that began at 10pm covered several parts of Kallang in the central region of island.
Kallang was picked based on Singapore’s first nationwide study in November last year, which found that it was one of the five areas on the island with the largest number of homeless people.
The 48-year-old who wanted to be known as Chris, from Miri, Sarawak, is a cleaner at Changi International Airport.
When met, she was sitting alone at a hawker centre watching her favourite TV show on her mobile phone.
Asked why she chose to sleep on the streets, she said she would stay in her room if she didn’t have to share it with others.
“I like being alone,” said Chris, who came to Singapore a year ago. She was the only Malaysian met by Bernama from about 30 homeless people interviewed last night. She later accepted a blanket that was offered to her.
Having been on the streets for the past two months, she said she often came to the hawker centre to feed stray cats.
The study released by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) at the National University of Singapore was the first nationwide study of homelessness in Singapore. It was supported by the republic’s Ministry of Social and Family Development.
It found that about 1,000 people were sleeping on the streets. Some of the areas identified in the study are the hawker centre, the corners around the playground there, the stairs of the Housing Development Board (HDB) and the commercial building nearby.
Apart from Kallang, the study also found Bukit Merah, Rochor, and Geylang as the areas with the largest numbers of rough sleepers ranging between 51-100 while Downtown had more than 100 people.
Gilbert Goh, the founder and the president of Transitioning.org said most Malaysians had managed to get their own lodging.
Goh had previously shared efforts to assist the homeless people on social media and said on several occasions, they included Malaysians.
It is estimated that 25,000 Malaysians currently live in the Republic. – Bernama