Vagabonds not creating trouble? Leave them be

Despite being an affluent society, Singapore still has no dearth of vagabonds or destitute living on the streets (180 found living on the streets; Oct 7).

Apart from those sleeping at HDB void decks and multi-purpose halls, there is another group of vagabonds who may have escaped the notice of the public.

These are the people who spend their time at Changi Airport.

It is not uncommon to see them holing up at the viewing galleries and in the stairwells practically every evening.

Not infrequently, police officers conduct random patrols of these areas. Occasionally, staff from the Ministry of Social and Family Development accompany the officers.

But a good number of these vagabonds tend to play "hide and seek" with the government officers. They would temporarily relocate to another corner of the airport or switch to another terminal.

These actions frustrate the efforts of both the police and government agency staff.

I foresee that it will be very challenging, if not impossible for ComCare staff to reach out to these vagabonds. Some of them have an inferiority complex, hold all relationships at arm's length, or may reject all assistance.

In my view, as long as these vagabonds do not create trouble, they should be allowed to continue living in this manner without any disruption or interference.

Zhang Guocheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2017, with the headline 'Vagabonds not creating trouble? Leave them be'. Print Edition | Subscribe