It would be hard to tell that Mdm Tan is homeless from her appearance. The 80-year-old is neatly dressed, carries a clutch purse and pushes a trolley – it appears that she is out to do some shopping like many others her age, milling around Chinatown.
However, the reality is that the streets of Chinatown have become more than a shopping spot for Mdm Tan – it is where she has taken to sleeping every night, on an uncomfortable stone bench near a CK department store in the area.
Mdm Tan shared her story with the Chinese daily, and revealed that she has been sleeping on the streets even though she has 7 children and 18 grandchildren.
The senior citizen, who can only converse in Hokkien, said that she is not on good terms with her children and that her late husband, who was twenty years her senior, passed away 11 years ago.
Once serving kway teow noodles to countless customers in an Orchard road food stall she ran, Mdm Tan now depends on the kindness of strangers to supply her meals.
She revealed that she has no money, is always running out of battery on her phone and hopes that a good samaritan can offer her a more comfortable place to stay:
“It’s uncomfortable and I can’t even lie down and sleep so I just sit down and slowly fall asleep. I only hope now that someone can help me find a place to stay.”