She’d rather be a McRefugee than come back to SG and “lose face”
Apart from the juicy burgers McDonald’s serves, there’s another reason for people to be lovin’ it – the global fast food franchise also serves as a haven to the homeless, especially in Hong Kong, where flat rental prices are sky high.
Dubbed the McRefugees, the increasing numbers of homeless and poor folks spend their nights at the 24-hour branches of Hong Kong’s McDonald’s, as the restaurants provide a clean, cool environment rarely found in public.
60-year-old Singaporean Mary Seow had a taste of seeking refuge at McDonald’s about three weeks ago.
How it all started
The widow arrived in Hong Kong in September, after she was cheated by mainland Chinese “friends” she met at a local church.
They managed to persuade her into selling her house and she followed them to China to invest the money, where she depleted her funds in five years.
When in Hong Kong, she lived off meagre savings and earned money from working as a “parallel trader”, someone who carries goods across the border to China.
Seow previously spent her nights sleeping in a park, but soon noticed others sleeping in McDonald’s and started doing so in a McDonald’s in the working-class Jordan district.
When interviewed by the Associated Press, she said:
Sometimes I’m quite sleepy and I don’t feel shy about sleeping here. But sometimes I’m not sleepy and I feel quite shy. And I also ask myself why I have to end up in this way.
However, she was not ready to return home to Singapore as she did not want to lose face with friends.
MFA steps in
After Seow’s plight was highlighted in the media, the Singapore Consulate-General in Hong Kong has successfully located and offered help to Mary Seow.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has also gotten in touch with her family in Singapore, according to a MFA spokesman.
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