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Homeless German man in Hougang surviving on welfare; used to make S$12,000 a month

A Singapore PR, he married a Singaporean but the marriage broke down

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Singapore – A homeless German man was spotted at Block 106 Hougang Avenue 1. He revealed that he was surviving on welfare and help from kindhearted strangers after his marriage ended and he left his job.

The story of a 49-year-old Thomas (translated from Mandarin) who came from Karlstadt, Germany, was featured in Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News on Mar 13.

Mr Thomas arrived in Singapore 10 years ago. He started a family and became a Singapore Permanent Resident.

He worked in the construction and renovation sector before starting a company and earning S$12,000 a month as its director, Shin Min reported.

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After two years of operations, Mr Thomas had a falling out with his partners and left the company. It was reported that his marriage with his Singaporean wife also broke down.

Mr Thomas left their Hougang flat and moved in with a friend. He moved out during the Covid-19 pandemic and has been sleeping rough on the streets since then, reported Shin Min.

He told the publication that he has been dependent on donations for almost a year and found shelter in parks and other places. For his food, Mr Thomas would rely on kindhearted strangers and the nearby Man Fut Tong Lin Chee Cheng Sia Temple.

The Hougang Sheng Hong Family Service Centre is also assisting Mr Thomas. A social worker from the centre told Shin Min that the former company director could not remember recent events clearly. He has to undergo a health check-up before the centre could decide on a proper form of assistance.

Mr Thomas revealed that he did not have his passport, nor could he remember his bank account PIN. He was also too embarrassed to seek help from his relatives back home.

He has been job hunting and would even personally apply at construction companies. He has not been successful in his search thus far.

Mr Thomas presumes that employers initially think he would require a high salary because he is Caucasian. However, he claimed he did not mind taking up cleaning jobs.

Shin Min confirmed that the German Embassy in Singapore was aware of Mr Thomas’ situation./TISG

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