80-year-old grandmother has 7 children but she sleeps on Chinatown streets

PHOTO: Lianhe Wanbao

She has seven children and 18 grandchildren but an 80-year-old woman in Singapore has been spending her nights out on the streets.

Madam Tan Kim Guan roams the streets of Chinatown during the day and sleeps on public benches at night, Lianhe Wanbao reported.

When a reporter from the Chinese evening daily found her last week, the elderly woman was seated outside the CK departmental store just gazing at the passing crowds.

Right beside her was a market trolley that held her only belongings - a blanket and a few bags.

She has no money and her mobile phone has run out of power, but kind strangers have made sure that she doesn't go hungry.

Although she wanders the streets, her identity card showed a Kim Tian Road address.

Madam Tan and her husband, who died in 2011, ran a char kway teow stall near Orchard Road and Tanglin Road when they were younger, she said.

She lived with her youngest daughter for nine years at her Kim Tian Road flat but they had a falling out.

So, Madam Tan moved to live with another daughter in her Henderson road rental flat.

Photo: Lianhe Wanbao

But when her children suggested sending her to a nursing home after she suffered an injury in March this year, Madam Tan left for the streets.

"I didn't want to lose my freedom, so I chose to sleep outside," she told Lianhe Wanbao.

When asked if she needed help, the elderly woman said that she hopes for a roof over her head as living on the streets is uncomfortable.

However, Madam Tan's daughters told the Chinese evening daily that they found it difficult to get along with their mother because of her temper.

They also struggled to support her with their low incomes.

As Madam expressed a wish to live by herself, her youngest daughter said that she put her up at a backpackers hostel while they looked for a suitable accommodation for her.

She had also given her mother her usual $100 allowance on Oct 7 before the elderly woman went missing.

Photo: Lianhe Wanbao

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has since found Madam Tan temporary lodging in a welfare home and added that it will provide appropriate assistance to the family after understanding their circumstances.

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