Daniel Tay is the foremost freegan in the nation. Freegan, as in the act of living off free stuff by way of dumpster diving and salvaging unused or damaged goods — even food.
It’s Tay that vlogger Nas Daily focuses on in his latest one-minute video while he’s in Singapore. Tay’s adventures have been well documented in the past, with the treasures he found (including branded bags, iPods, cologne, a PlayStation 3, and more) being posted about on his blog. But it’s something that not many folks overseas would expect in a country prominently featured in a film about obscenely wealthy East Asians. Now they do, thanks to the Facebook influencer’s latest clip.
But that one-minute format isn’t enough to fully encapsulate what Tay really does, and folks are already labeling him as a “freeloader” and a “cheapskate” who’s taking advantage of the kindness of others.
In reality, Tay has actually done a lot of good through his Freegan endeavors. The man has organized “bread rescue” operations, where he and fellow freegans gather perfectly good bread from bakeries that could have gone to waste and redistribute them to the needy. He’s gone around collecting vegetables that sellers don’t want to sell anymore and passed it on to soup kitchens. He holds free workshops to share knowledge on how to repair broken things instead of just throwing them away.
In other words, Tay’s intention is to raise awareness that society produces so much waste when there’re actually ways to reduce them. Nas and other Singaporeans familiar with Tay have leaped to his defense on Facebook.
If the Nas Daily clip does Tay an injustice, here’s Channel NewsAsia’s extensive feature on the man’s work.