An Elderly Woman Who Sells Tissue Earns Up to $300 a Day & Has a Helper


When you think of elderly uncles or aunties selling tissues in public, you might probably think of them as having to do so in order to make ends meet.

But that might not be the case all of the time.

And while most of us probably haven’t realised this, some people in Singapore have noticed the recent increase in tissue sellers, especially this Xiao Hong Shu user who uploaded a photo to the Chinese social media platform and commented that more tissue sellers seemed to have appeared in the Bedok area as of late.

The user even wrote, “It seems like the number of beggars in Singapore has increased as of late.”

Several netizens also left comments on the post claiming that they see around five to six people every day trying to sell tissues, including the elderly and some members of the younger generation.

They added that these people get in the way of others and that a blind person is often spotted selling tissues inside the MRT station as well.

Some netizens claimed that the situation is “worse” on weekends; one to two “new faces” will appear in the area on some weekends to try and get people to buy tissues from them instead.


After the post, which was uploaded on Sunday (19 February), made its way around social media, reporters from 8world News went down to the area outside Bedok MRT Station the next morning (20 February) at around 8 am to document the various tissue seller-related sights that they saw.

Here’s what they found out about these individuals who have turned to selling tissues outside the MRT station.

Three Tissue Sellers Were Spotted

When 8world reporters visited the area, they spotted three people selling tissues.

The three people were:

  • A man in his 60s who was in a wheelchair due to being an amputee
  • An elderly woman with grey hair
  • A younger man

Elderly Woman With Hunchback Asked Members of the Public for Money

An elderly woman with a hunchback reached the area around noon that day.

The woman, whose hands touched her knees while she walked, was spotted around the hawker centre area. She was also carrying a plastic bag.

According to 8world, she would ask every person who walked past her if they had any money to spare.

Some members of the public would give her a few dollars,

When talking to 8world, a lady who gave the hunchbacked woman $2 said that she did so as the older woman had asked if she could give her some money.

She added that she did so because she looked like a “poor old lady” and that she would even give the woman $50 if she had more money.

The lady also mentioned that whether or not the woman is telling the truth about her financial status does not matter and that she will still help the elderly woman as the money would genuinely help the elderly woman’s life if she were actually poor.

However, despite the generosity of some individuals, it seems like other members of the public have other things to say about her.

But Woman Apparently Has a Domestic Helper and Makes Up To $300 a Day

Yup, that’s definitely a plot twist that most of us weren’t expecting.

When 8world was at the scene, the reporter received claims from other members of the public that the elderly woman actually has a domestic helper at home.


It was also revealed that she has children and can usually make anywhere between $200 to $300 per day just by appearing in the area from 10 am to 7 pm.

Elderly Woman Refused to be Questioned by Reporter

Afterwards, the 8world reporter approached the elderly woman and asked to know more about her living conditions and whether or not she needed any help.

In response, the woman asked if the reporter could give her money.

She also claimed that she was in her 80s and living alone.

However, when the reporter continued to ask her more questions, the elderly woman refused to reply.

Young Man Who Sells Tissue Has Low IQ

On the other hand, the reporter also spoke to the father of the young man selling tissue in the area.


According to the father, Mr Zhang (Hanyu pinyin), who had dropped by at around 10 am that day to bring his son a beverage, the young man selling tissues is 32 years old and has a low IQ.

He said that his son, Zhang Yikai (Hanyu pinyin), cannot find other jobs that he can handle due to his condition and that his son uses the money earned from selling tissues to buy things he likes, such as a radio.

He also teared up while repeatedly turning to gaze at his son’s back while the latter tried to get people to buy tissues from him by waving his arms about.

The older Mr Zhang then shared that even though Yikai does not make much from tissue selling, he does not have any pocket money if he does not sell tissues.

Apart from that, he explained that his son does not have anything to do at home. Hence selling tissues is a way for him to pass the time every day and earn some of his own money.


As for how other people in the area treat his son, the father said that everyone in the area is usually “very nice” to his son and that his son has not experienced bullying in the area.

However, someone once stole Yikai’s money after he fell asleep while selling tissues.

Father Tries To Check On Him Whenever Possible

As for the older Mr Zhang, he works at a coffee shop at Kembangan and always drops by to check on his son before he starts work at 11 am every morning. Yikai’s mother works as a cleaner, meaning that his parents are unable to accompany him throughout the day.

According to his father, Yikai usually sells tissues near Bedok MRT Station for the entire day and eats lunch at the nearby hawker centre by himself.

Sometimes, he will wait for his father to end his work at 4 pm before the pair return home together.

When reflecting on his family’s situation, the father expressed that the family has no choice but to let his son sell tissues.

He also asked for others’ tolerance towards his son as he does not disturb or harass anyone in the area.

Additionally, Mr Zhang disclosed that he tried to apply for a tissue-selling licence on behalf of his son, but the application was unsuccessful.


Man in Wheelchair Used to Work At a Coffee Shop Drinks Stall

As for the 66-year-old amputee in a wheelchair, he told 8world that he used to be a drinks stall employee at a coffee shop and was responsible for making coffee.

However, he experienced a sudden blockage of one of the blood vessels in his left foot. Although he had surgery twice to try and open the vessel up again, the surgeries were ultimately unsuccessful.

This led to the amputation of his left foot in 2021.

The man, Mr Li (Hanyu pinyin), added that he would not choose to sell tissues if he was physically healthy.

However, he has no choice but to do so as receiving $640 monthly from his Central Provident Fund (CPF) is insufficient to cover his expenses such as rent, water, electricity, transportation and food.

With regards to how people may see him as a “different” person, Mr Li, who has been selling tissues near Bedok MRT Station for over a year, faces these looks with an open mind and said that he does not pay much attention to these views.

He said that some people will always have something to say about others regardless of what others’ lives look like. According to him, we do not need to pay attention to how others view us as long as we feel we have been true to ourselves.

Regarding the number of tissue sellers in the area, Mr Li agreed that the number of them has increased recently, especially on weekends, as there are seven tissue sellers in total around the area.

What Members of the Public Have to Say

Several members of the public were spotted buying tissues from the sellers, while others would give them $2 or $5 without taking the tissues.

A lady named Mdm Zheng (Hanyu pinyin) recalled how she once bought tissues from Yikai (the young man) in the past.

According to her, she did so out of pity and felt that buying tissues from them could help them. By buying tissues, she also has tissues that she can use.

Another member of the public expressed his sympathy for them and pointed out that no one would want to sit in the sweltering heat to sell tissues if they had the choice.

The individual, who declined to be named, added that he hopes that the relevant authorities will be able to help these people.

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Financial Aid Schemes in Place

For individuals who require financial aid, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has various relevant schemes such as the ComCare Long-Term Assistance and the ComCare Short-To-Medium-Term Assistance.

However, according to 8world, none of the interviewees have applied for assistance from the relevant authorities.

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