Bedok Hawker Responds After Being Accused of ‘Cheating’ Elderly of $5


While hawkers can be pretty intimidating sometimes with their bellowing when they call out to customers or colleagues, I think most of us can agree that most of them mean no harm.

But it seems like one Singaporean had a different experience, as she apparently ended up being “cheated” of $5 while purchasing a plate of Teochew Curry Mixed Rice and even got cursed at by the stall assistant working there.

Here’s what happened.

Woman “Got Cheated” of $5 at Bedok Hawker Stall

Earlier this month on 2 September, Facebook user Diana Soh posted in the COMPLAINT SINGAPORE Facebook group to share her mother’s experience of buying food at the stall, which is located at the Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre.

The incident, which took place on 25 August this year at around 1.30pm, involved a “dishonest hawker” that Soh attempted to warn other Singaporeans about.

She added that customers in the area, especially the elderly, should not patronise them due to their service and behaviour.

Soh, 40, then explained that her mother had bought a plate of economic rice worth $5 at the stall and paid with a $10 note, but did not receive any change from the stall after handing over the money.

“When my mom tried to ask for the change, they refused to return her any and started arguing with my mom, yelling at my mom asking her to swear that she gave them a ten dollar note and if she didn’t my mom will be hit by a car and die! If my mom swear then they will return my mom the change,” she added.

Apart from that, she also shared that the stallholders “kept insisting” that her mother had paid with a $5 note instead of a $10 one. To that, she responded that her mother is not colour blind, and that she “can definitely” tell the difference between the two notes.

“This hawker stall is very rude and dishonest and bully the elderly thinking they’re helpless and won’t be able to do anything about it.

“My mom is very angry and wants to warn everyone about this hawker stall so others will not experience the same fate as her. This kind of behaviour is very unacceptable! How do we actually lodge a formal complaint against dishonest hawkers in Singapore???” she concluded.

Stall Assistant’s Response

However, it seems like the stall assistant who served the woman on that day has a very different story to tell.

Speaking to Shin Min, the 45-year-old woman surnamed Zhang explained that she still remembers the customer, who was in her 70s, and still insisted that she only took $5 from the customer and not $10.

She even said that the customer ordered a vegetable dish, a meat dish and a fish dish before passing her the $5, and that she even commented that it was “just nice”, meaning that she would not have to fish around to give her any change.

However, Zhang continued by saying that the customer, Soh’s mother, was extremely adamant that she had paid $10 even after Zhang tried to explain to her that she had indeed paid with a $5 note.

After quarelling for five minutes, Zhang claimed that she lost her temper after the customer refused to believe anything that she said.


Did Not Curse Customer, Cursed Herself Instead

However, although Soh claimed that Zhang cursed her mother during the argument, Zhang said that she had cursed herself instead.

In order to prove her innocence, Zhang mentioned how she told the customer that she (Zhang) would get knocked down by a car if she had taken $10 instead of $5 from the customer, the exact opposite of what Soh claimed in her Facebook post.

Thereafter, she said that the customer did not pursue the matter further and sat in a corner to have her meal, probably out of fear.

Zhang then continued to say that she “truly” did not curse the customer, but admitted that she might not have expressed herself very clearly due to her anger and annoyance at that time which prompted her to speak in a hurried manner.

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Stallholder’s Opinion

As for the stallholder of the stall, he told Shin Min that he often reminds his employees to give customers their change before placing the money received into the cash box in order to prevent any misunderstandings.


The owner, surnamed Chua, explained that his employee was still holding the $5 note when she confirmed with the customer that her meal cost $5, and that his employee definitely did not make a mistake.

Chua, 55, added that his employee only raised her voice in the spur of the moment as she was getting impatient, and that she had no intention of cursing the customer.

However, when Shin Min reporters contacted Soh, she mentioned that her mother, who is 76, informed her about the incident after she reached home that day, and that she felt that her mother had been “bullied” by the hawker, and brought up how the fact that her mother had to go through something like this was extremely unfair.

She added that she chose to post about the incident on Facebook to remind hawkers to not take advantage of the elderly.

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Featured Image: Diana Soh