Filipina beauty queen claims Singapore ‘beggar’ approached her with QR code during her Holy Week trip

Image: Michele Gumabao
Image: Michele Gumabao

Anyone who’s been to Singapore can attest to the Little Red Dot’s affinity for cashless systems — which apparently does not escape even the few who choose to beg for alms.

Take the case of volleyball player and beauty queen Michele Gumabao, who shared on Twitter that she encountered a local who approached her for money while on vacation in the city-state for Holy Week.

“Someone begged for money here in SG, I said sorry no cash. He showed me a barcode,” she wrote.

“First world problems,” one user replied.

Meanwhile, others casted doubt on her claim, adding that people would not get away with begging so easily in the country, which is known for its strict measures.

“Begging is illegal in Singapore! In my 15 years of living here, I have never seen anyone beg. Next time, report it to SG police,” one wrote.

“Singapore is practically a cashless society that’s why they have codes. But there are hardly any beggars, they have pride [so they give you tissue in exchange] of what you will give. Tissue costs S$1 but you can give more than that. Even buskers have their own code,” a Singapore-based commenter chimed in. 

“I think that case is very rare in Singapore. They would sell you tissue and other stuff that you would buy even if you don’t need it, out of humanity,” another added.

If true, people wouldn’t need to go far to experience beggars with QR codes. Actress Iwa Moto also shared on TikTok about her experience with street children who begged for money and showed her their GCash account, a popular e-wallet in the Philippines, when she said she didn’t have cash on her.


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