According to Chinese papers Lian He Zao Bao, hundreds of elderly poor queued in the rain for over 16 hours to get a S$20 hongbao from a temple in Balestier Road. An 81 year old elderly woman told reporters that she started queuing at 3pm on Sunday (Dec 31), and the rain started at 5am on New Year Day (Jan 1). The temple only started the hongbao distribution at 7am, along with a cup of milo and some bread for the “visitors”.
The 81-year-old elderly woman who queued from 3pm a day before said:
“I live alone and really need the money, so I came earlier.”
According to the media report, the queue with an estimated 1,000 elderly was more than 500m long at 7am despite the rain.
It is unknown why the temple made the elderly poor queue for the hongbao every year when they could have just distributed them to the numerous ghetto areas with rental housing around Singapore. The temple has earned praises from the government and state media for their “charitable” act.
Singapore elderly is one of the poorest in the GDP-rich society due to the failure of the CPF retirement system. Under Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, CPF withdrawal age has risen from 55 to 65, and CPF withdrawal was restricted with Minimum Sum doubled from S$80,000 to S$166,000. The PM who controls the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Ministry of Finance, diverts the CPF money into multi-billion foreign investments for the country’s two sovereign wealth fund companies, GIC and Temasek Holdings, where he and his wife Ho Ching are Chairman and CEO respectively.