80-year-old woman sleeps on the streets of Chinatown despite having 7 children and 18 grandchildren


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.”


  1. Children nowadays have too many responsibilities and money is never enough. Elderly people are more difficult to look after because of medication, nursing and bla bla bla. But if they have proper CPF money to support themselves, I bet many children will lend a hand to help their parents with the necessities they need. Money is the issues here. Money does break many humans relationship.

    • Feed one person mouth is not cost alot money and doctor +hospital have subsidi from Gov…money not an excused for children if they are really willingly to be filial..look after our parents is our job as they were bring you up till now and u have chance to see the world.

    • Sri Chia if you were to talk like that… That is more of a Malay culture. No matter what… Most of the Malays look after their parents. But do you know what these people go through!? Government help?? Do you know that many of them have to have two to three jobs just to support the family. Especially with sick elderly. Malay people are very supportive among the family. Even if they have to ended up with debts, they will still look after their parents and suffer silently. I still think CPF money can make lots of different for many ordinary and poor people.

  2. We do not know her actual story so is best not to comment about her children and grandchildren. She can get help from her MP or MSF. But sad to see her with no proper shelter and a bed to sleep. Hope the relevant authorities could step in and talk to her family to see how they can help her. Cos we all will grow old one day and hope we will not want to end up like her.

  3. It is very sad. No matter for whatever is the reason she is still your mother. What goes round will come back to the children of this auntie. You set a bad example for your children to see how you treat your mother, it will happen to you one day then you will know the feeling. Not too late.

  4. Sometimes what we see is only one side of a story…there r reasons behind anything.I once volunteer work in a hospices n this old lady with 8 children..yet not a single visited her.Sadly later we found out that she was a gambler all her life from one of relative visiting her that she..never take care of her children n her husband had to work days n night to feed the children…

  5. Wow so many that can give advise, so few that can really help. We need to do what we can to help without the obvious.
    Firstly is there a place where old folks can go to live out the rest of their lives in peace, joy and happiness, can someone recommend this to her.
    Can we all help out with some contribution

  6. The story did’nt say th children did not want to take of her. The story says she cannot get along with her children. Actually her children needs to understand when someone gets old, its is naturally they are a littlew slow, naggy , forgetful , demanding ( sometime unreasonable) and the list goes on. If she is 84, her granchildren is probably in their 20s or 30s and all working class people. Could not they contribute between 50 to 100 dollars a month to find her a nursing home? It makes me wonder but each family has their own problem, who are we to fully understand.

  7. Whether her story it’s true or fake after all she’s d 7children mother . Those children’s eyes r blind n their hearts r black . Rem they r someone parents as well , think one day their children did d same thing to them . How many yrs can ur mum Hv now ? Even dogs Hv a Gud home n shelter . Wad about all gran children not doing anything to help their granny ? O following d parents footsteps . Sad . God forgive them n lead them to d right path