Charity

Was queuing for a taxi at Raffles City last night when this youth with a huge tattoo on his right arm approached me with a laminated letter, his wedding photo and a Neoprint picture of his wife and young kid.  I was trying to sms Booze Queen and Iceman regarding the breakdown of the MRT trains on the east-west line so I didn’t pay much attention to the letter he was showing me.

He said he was an ex-offender and how difficult it is to get a job.  He then went on to talk about this organisation (he didn’t give the name) that was helping ex-offenders get job.  So I asked if he was soliciting donations for charity (the charity being the organisation to aid ex-offenders).  He said he wasn’t.  He said he was selling this thing (2 furry balls held together with a string) to earn money to feed his wife and young daughter.

I said “no” politely.  He tried to sell the furry balls to me a couple more times… to which I kept saying, “Sorry, no”.  Seeing his scary tattoo, I certainly didn’t want to piss him off and be the first person in Singapore to get slashed/bashed over furry balls.

What made me uncomfortable and totally unwilling to donate was this.  How was his selling of furry balls (of which he said he earns 50% from each sale) not charity?  His modus operandi was the same as how a lot of deaf/dumb people go around hawking furry soft toys to earn a living.  If I were to make a purchase, it would have been out of being charitable.

Had he been raising funds for the Yellow Ribbon Campaign or something, I would have been more willing to donate.  The impression I got however, was this was his job!  His way of earning a living.  I know it’s tough for an ex-offender to find a job.  But there ARE companies that hire ex-offenders and surely a young man of 18-22 years old should find a proper job instead of going around hawking furry balls?

I have no conclusion to this post.  No moral of the story, no bottom line.  This is just a post to record my thoughts on the incident.

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