Separate needy from fraudsters

SINGAPORE - I am glad that Mr K. Kalidas has highlighted a social problem in our midst ("Foreign 'acts' that give Singapore a bad name"; June 2).

In recent months, near my workplace, there have been foreigners posing as monks and approaching passers-by for monetary donations.

One of them even specified that the donation had to be at least a dollar. I could tell by their accents that they were not locals.

At City Hall MRT station on weekends, a few foreigners would also play music and sing for money.

There are local buskers who genuinely need to make a living as the music industry is highly competitive and professional musicians may not get permanent gigs from clubs and hotels.

It is time for the authorities to separate the genuinely needy from those who are not.

With society so affluent, it is unusual to see elderly folk having to collect cans, bottles and cardboard pieces to make a living.

These people have fallen through the cracks and need society's help.

But there are also fraudsters from abroad who seek to take advantage of the generosity and sympathy of Singaporeans.

Could the authorities comment on this issue?

It may be time for the Government to review its policy on short-term social visit passes. Some restrictions ought to be imposed.

Ada Chan Siew Foen (Ms)

This article was first published on June 10, 2014.
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