A TV, mobile data, a maid - needs or wants for a poor family?

A girl sits on a bench along East Coast Park while using her mobile phone.
A girl sits on a bench along East Coast Park while using her mobile phone.PHOTO: ST FILE

Experts look at the seemingly questionable spending choices of some families who get financial help

A few years ago, housewife Noor Hayati and her family excitedly bought a shiny new 32-inch TV set.

It cost $1,200 - just shy of her husband's $1,400 salary as a cleaner. The family of five, who lives in a two-room rental flat in Tampines and gets $120 a month in financial aid, paid for it in instalments of $100 over the course of a year.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 01, 2018, with the headline 'Mobile data, maid - needs or wants for the poor?'. Print Edition | Subscribe