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Heart-breaking photos of disfigured elderly woman selling tissue packets lead to questions about aid given to the pioneer generation

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Photos and a video of an elderly woman suffering with a bent and disfigured spine, yet selling packets of tissue late at night at a coffee-shop have garnered many reactions from Singaporeans.

These photos, taken by a Netizen who wishes to be anonymous were shot around midnight.

Posted by Cinorom Elicebmi on Monday, 30 July 2018

They were also shared on Facebook group ‘All Singapore Stuff’ with the caption, “Elderly suicide rates the highest in SG? And you wonder why? Yah, and this poor old auntie was just doing her exercise”.

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In the video, a very old woman with what seemed to be Camptocormia, or Bent Spine Syndrome (BSS) can be seen hobbling around a coffee-shop with a plastic bag in hand, selling packets of tissue.

The photographer shared the video and photos and added, “It’s quarter past midnight. She is suffering from Camptocormia. Here, I witnessed she struggled to lugubriously move from table to table selling tissues.

Compassionately, almost all bought packets. Exhausted, she dolorously dragged her tired body down the street and disappeared into the silence of a cool night.

There may be unspeakable woes that led her to parade her wares at the wee hour of the night. It is not a quantum leap of logic to assume that she had contemplated suicide.

Her wretched life does not have a light at the end of the tunnel. Poor people never, or hardly ever, ask for an explanation of all they have to put up with.

Remembrance of things past is just for the rich. For the poor it only marks the faint traces on the path to death”.

The photos led to many netizens asking about the care provided to those of the pioneer generation, especially in terms of healthcare and welfare.

One Netizen, Skye Yap, even said “Life of an average Singaporean”.

Another Netizen brought up Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin’s previous Facebook post, when he was Minister for Social and Family Development.

Posted by Shamin Six on Monday, 30 July 2018

In 2015, he shared photos to an album titled, ‘Have you ever spoken to a Cardboard Uncle or Aunty’, and said, “The normal perception that all cardboard collectors are people who are unable to take care of themselves financially is not really true. There will be some who do this as their main source of income. Some do so to supplement what they have. Some prefer to earn extra monies, treat it as a form of exercise and activity rather than being cooped up at home. They do this to remain independent, so that they can have dignity and not have to ask their families for help”.

Other netizens asked where this lady was last seen in an attempt to help her.

Singapore does have homeless or elderly people living in dire conditions. The woman in these photos could be one of them. Incidents like these bring to light that more needs to be done and that there are those being overlooked.

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