Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Camping not so happy for homeless Singaporeans

Unlike most city centres, if you walk around downtown Singapore, you almost certainly won't come across any homeless people.

That's largely because vigorous policing in the showpiece city centre ensures that the homeless are shunted out to the suburbs.

One such man, Noor Mohammad Yassin Ismail, has been jailed for four days after being found camping without a permit in Singapore's East Coast Park, a pleasant 6km stretch of beach.

He was fined S$800 but then jailed because he was unable to pay. At least he'll have a roof over his head for a few days...

I'd always presumed that all the people camping on the East Coast, at Changi beach and Sembawang Park were there for a night out until I met a social worker last week who told me otherwise.

Apparently some homeless Singaporeans are forced to live in tents on a permanent basis. Unlike Noor, who was apprehended by eagle-eyed park rangers, the wiser campers take down their tents every morning so as not to arouse suspicions.

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