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  • Strangers Asking for Money

    Hi folks! How do you feel about strangers stopping you and asking for money to buy a meal or to take a cab home? I've encountered this twice. The first was an elderly lady along Orchard Road and the other time was a middle-aged man, again in the Orchard area. Both times I acceded to their requests. The man also wanted me to stay and chat. I remember thinking that his kids probably paid no attention to him upon reaching adulthood, and feeling very sorry for him. However, since young, I was taught not to talk to strangers, hence, I'm ashamed to say that I simply walked off after giving him the money.

    My husband once came across a Hindu man begging him to give him $10 to take a ride home while he was in the vicinity of Bedok. This is a young healthy man in his prime. :roll: My husband was so disgusted with his request and ignored him. Still, at times I think the man could have simply lost his wallet and hence, needed money to return home.

    Have you folks had similar experiences? What is the proper etiquette and response, I wonder?

  • #2
    Happened to me right outside HDB Hub. Two men, one on crutches and sobbing, the other barely holding him up. Claimed that the one on crutches lost his wallet, could he have some money to go home? I was suspicious and suggested they call a friend for help. I would have given him 10c to make a call if he'd ask, but he didn't. Walking away, I thought it suspicious that they would BOTH be left without a cent on them??

    Bizarre situation four years ago at a Milan train station: a Taiwanese couple asked to borrow (yes, borrow) money to take a train!! They thought that a fellow Chinese would be willing to help. I forgot what their excuse was, but I refused and told them I was only a poor backpacking student.

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    • #3
      I'd buy a meal for them rather than give them the money. Cos they may use it to buy cigarettes, drugs or alcohol instead.

      Sometimes it depends on how they asked. Those who genuinely lost their wallets or phone or whatever will usually feel embarassed to ask strangers for help. Whereas those who are out to con tend to have a ready line to reel in the sucker.

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      • #4
        i encountered this twice.

        once is a old lady who asked me to give her $2 for a meal.
        and that was rather shocking, bcuz she just asked me to give her $2 out of no where?

        the 2nd one, i forgot already, but it's also for meal

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        • #5
          i got asked this a couple of times, both in singapore and australia.

          i always said "sorry, cant help you on this."

          however i do think there are pple who do need help, but probably not a lot of them? :roll:

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          • #6
            I see ... so the right thing to do is to refuse? I wanted to, but failed. It wasn't kindness that prompted me to accede to their requests (sorry, I'm not a kind person ). Rather, it was the concern that what they said might have been true after all, and I didn't that on my conscience. Because quite frankly, I would worry if I had ignored their appeals. Just like with the Hindi that my husband encountered. It was some weeks ago but till this day, I'm still brooding over it.

            But I suppose you folks are right - if I were to lose my wallet, or for whatever reasons, I would probably be too embarrassed and thin-skinned to ask a stranger for money. I shall steel my nerves and refuse in future, but knowing me, I'll be more likely to fail yet again. Anyway, what are the odds of me meeting such persons again?

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            • #7
              i got asked once by an elderly man for $5 to take a cab home. he told me that his wallet had gotten misplaced and being unfamiliar with taking buses, he required some money to take a cab.
              seeing that he looked quite frail and weak, i complied and gave it to him. before he left, he wanted my address to return it to me. i didn't give it to him, because i was quite wary about giving my address to a stranger. so he asked for my name instead. i didn't see any harm in telling him so i did.

              about a week later, i got called by my school's office. the man actually took notice of my school uniform that i was wearing and had gotten someone to bring the money back to return to me! i was quite pleasantly surprised.

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              • #8
                wow, that's very nice of the man. I remembered once with my ex, we were walking at tampines and some elderly (old man?) person asked for money. We were looking at each other and my ex opened his wallet and took out $2 for him. I think it was for a trip home. But they're making use of our sympathy, sometimes, and we won't know.

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                • #9
                  This happened to me once when I was in my teens. A guy asked me for $2 and said he needs it urgently, looking very flustered and desperate. I was freaked out and kept shaking my head. It was at a crowded bus interchange, and he looked almost angry at me before turning away. I did not see if he approached other people.

                  I saw an Indian/Bangladeshi man asking someone for money once at a bus stop. She did not agree and he persisted for quite a while before going away.

                  I really think for our own safety we should not agree to give money when approached by strangers. Who knows if he would leave you alone after you hand over the money?

                  When I travel to China, I was warned by everyone including my local colleagues never to give in. Sometimes they would seem really pitiful with stories about children back home starving etc, but it would really be better if they are not encouraged to continue "earning" their living that way.

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                  • #10
                    This happened to me once at Bugis Junction. A Chinese lady came up to me and asked me for $2 to take bus home cos she lost her wallet. I might have just given her the money if not because she offered a very lame excuse like she didn't want to report her wallet lost to the authorities because she is having a toothache and her speech is not clear :huh: This made me suspicious cos she sounded perfectly alright to me and well, I didn't even ask for an explanation to start with! At the same time, she didn't seem to dare make eye contact with me. Anyway, I felt that she was out to con me and so I just shook my head and walked away. The moment I walked away she started shouting after me (yes, at a crowded escalator landing in Seiyu, Bugis). She called me "black-hearted" :roll: Sigh.....

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                    • #11
                      I'm usually one of those who would give some money, maybe less than $5, if asked by strangers.

                      I think it's better for my karma cos even if you got "cheated", then the other person will have some "retribution".

                      Anyway, the most I've given is $8 when I was in JC then.
                      I would acertain the person normally before I give, but I'm rather soft-hearted.

                      I think $2 is pretty reasonable for a bus ride. Or some coins is reasonable for a phone call.

                      I actually forget/lost my wallet a few times before, while on the way to work and really did have to ask for $1 plus for the mrt ride when I reach the station! But it's usually the aunties who are more compassionate.

                      I would offer to return, and ask for a phone no. but the kind souls usually would just smile and ask me to forget abt it. Feel so touched when it happens...

                      Of course, those who show an attitude like "I deserve it" would definately be rejected by me.

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                      • #12
                        Interesting thread!

                        I sort of agree with purebleu in the sense that I always believe what goes around comes around. As long as it's a genuine case to me, i guess i wouldn't mind forking out the couple of bucks or so. Even if I really was cheated, i believe the person who cheated me will get his justice desserts!

                        There was once however when this old lady came up and showed me her doctor appointment card and pointed to me that the cost is $10 and she doesn't have the money to pay. Well, i knew she was taking me for a ride but I gave her 4 bucks out of pity. Oh well, i just took it as a "pay it forward" thing since a taxi driver offered to wave the fare when i forgot my wallet once!

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                        • #13
                          i'd been approached a few times by different people at different locations (locally), under different circumstances. i don't recall ever giving in and gave them the money.

                          not that i'm a heartless person, i guess it just happened too often, i got really wary and sceptical of such requests.

                          two incidents to share:

                          1) my friend was once approached by an old man at the mrt station, claiming that he lost his wallet and just needed some money to take a cab / eat. so my friend believed him and gave him $10 out of pity. few days later when my friend was at the mrt station again, that silly old man actually went up to her (cuz he couldn't recognise my friend) and requested the same thing (using the lame old excuse), and this time my friend knew she'd been hoaxed and made a big hoo-ha, raised her voice at him so that other people nearby would know and not be cheated. that guy got so embarrassed and just ran away within seconds.
                          moral of the story: if you want to cheat, please at least remember your "victims" clearly :roll:


                          2) i was once approached by this well-dressed chinese man (china-man accent) at the entrance of china square central. he came up to me and told me his long story that he was here in singapore to meet up with a business associate but that associate had moved and he couldn't locate him... so now he's stranded and didn't have a single cent on him, needed to <b>borrow</b> money from me to take a cab to the airport and also get himself something to eat. somehow, i would have given him $5 or at most $10 to just get him to go away. then i asked him how much he needed, and he actually dared to ask for $20!! gosh, that kind of threw me off and i suddenly noticed he had a trendy mobile phone (newer model than mine!?) clipped on his belt and he looked way too well-dressed to not have a single cent on him. then it dawned on me that his excuse was just too bizzare and didn't make sense. i asked why couldn't he use his credit card or call his company, which he couldn't answer... only persisted on the fact that he'll return me the $20... blah blah blah... in the end, i just said "sorry, i can't help you" and walked away. blame himself for being so greedy... if he had asked for $10, i would have forked that out

                          - crazygirl

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                          • #14
                            At times, I think that it may be better to give these people the benefit of the doubt, however incredible their stories are. IMHO, it's not an easy task having to approach a complete stranger to recount your plight. They must have expected the disbelief, which makes it even more courageous on their part.

                            Of course, the 'courageous' part only applies if their stories are true, and there's no denying that there're plenty of con men out there. *sigh*

                            But wouldn't you worry if you had refused? I mean, what if s/he had to go hungry or suffer from malnutrition without money to buy a meal? Or their family members might worry and be fraught with anxiety if they had no money to return home? Or what if they had to turn to another stranger who happened to be some lunatic with violent tendencies, and harmed them?

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                            • #15
                              this happened to me and my bf in sydney. we were waiting at the bus stop for the bus to go to our hotiel late at night. got approached by a 20something gal asking for money cos she was hungry. didn't want to give mer money, but bf gave her a uneaten Snickers bar.

                              he told me later if we gave her $, she might use it on drugs instead of food. with a choc bar, there's not much you can do other than eat it eh?

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