Told To Move Out Over $99

An unemployed single mother who’s caring for her ill father has been told by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) to leave her rental flat by April 30, according to a post online.

The reason? She owes them 3 months’ worth of rental fees, amounting to a whopping $99.

Forced From Flat

Career counsellor and social activist Gilbert Goh shared this gut-wrenching story in a post on Facebook.


He also uploaded 2 pictures of the letters sent by the HDB to the family.


Shocked Netizens

Another instance of a public service unsympathetic towards the plight of the less fortunate?

Netizens seemed to think so, as many questioned the HDB’s lack of compassion.


Offers Of Help

However, it was nice to see many good samaritans offering to lend a hand to the underprivileged family.


Lost Its Heart

The plight of this family could be an example of a public service that has “lost its heart”.

That’s in the words of Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency Member of Parliament Louis Ng during a Budget speech earlier this month, where he said we have a “system without a heart”, reported Today.

He cited our rush to automate such proceedings so they are carried out efficiently, but in the process piling extra hardship on the needy.

Several MPs also echoed his words, encouraging members of the public service to have greater compassion.

Read his full speech in his post on Facebook:


Computers Don’t Have Heart

Apparently, the HDB might not know that such letters are sent as they’re computer generated and that their aim “seems to be to process each case as fast as possible and to follow the book as strictly as possible”.

Some netizens reiterated that fact, with others adding that HDB isn’t unreasonable — if you actually manage to talk to a human.


Some say the family in need could have helped themselves by being more proactive and seeking aid early — but how would those who have less education or barely enough time to rest know about that?


Point Proven

The way the HDB allegedly allows such computer generated letters to be sent without proper vetting does prove Mr Ng’s point that the public service has lost its heart.

The family isn’t the only needy one that has been slighted by public agencies; Mr Ng also cited a resident who was slapped with letters demanding mortgage and tax payments while struggling to provide for her late sister’s two children, and recently there was also a case of a debt collector being sent by Changi General Hospital to the flat of a patient over an unpaid bill of $37.

Maybe more could be done to understand the problems of the less fortunate on a case-by-case basis, instead of being so relentless about efficiency that we forget that the public service is about serving people.

Featured Image from Facebook, Divany and Wikipedia.