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Malaysian boy goes missing in Singapore for 10 days, too shy to ask for help




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This young man’s tale is an object lesson for… well, everyone who travels overseas. It’s always a good idea to keep the address where you’re staying on you at all times and to muster up enough courage to ask for help when you’re lost.

The young man, identified by Sin Chew Daily as Zhang Daming, an 18-year-old Malaysian male, came to Singapore to visit and find work last month, and stayed with a friend, Zhai Ziyong, on Sturdee Road. On the day after Christmas, December 26, Zhang left his friend’s house to get some lunch. All he had was S$50 borrowed from his friend.

After a while, Zhang realized that he had gotten lost, so disoriented that he could not even tell buildings apart. All he had on him was the money from his friend—no other cash, passport, mobile phone, or any other form of identification.

In his shyness, he could not bring himself to ask for help. And so the boy was reduced to sleeping outside HDB buildings, using the restroom in malls and eateries, and eating only cai fan until his money ran out after the eighth day since he got lost. Afterward, he resorted to begging for money so he could buy food, getting only enough to buy himself some water.

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Zhang could not tell where police stations were either, where he could have gotten some help.

Ten days after he first got lost, an old woman approached him near a playground 6 kilometers away from his friend’s place and asked him if he was the missing boy from Malaysia. She then called the police for help. At 9 am on January 6, though he was hungry and dehydrated, Zhang’s ordeal was finally over.

His friend Zhai Ziyong, who worried when Zhang did not return, spread word that he was missing online and also put up posters.

The auntie recognized Zhang and helped him reunite with his friend, after which he soon went home to Malaysia by bus. Zhang says he does not plan on returning to Singapore in the near future, as he had no desire to repeat his ordeal.

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