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Singapore beggar leaves cashless Michele Gumabao 'shocked' by showing her a barcode

By Ratziel San Juan Published Apr 07, 2023 2:51 pm

In this digital age, finding someone without an e-wallet is close to impossible. Michelle Gumabao was proven just that during her trip to Singapore this Holy Week.

On April 5, the athlete-beauty queen tweeted that she encountered a local who was begging for alms. While the incident is nothing new for people traveling abroad, what caught Michelle by surprise was that he beggar gave her the option to go digital when she said she didn't have cash on-hand.

"May nanlimos dito sa SG, sabi ko sorry no cash. Pinakitaan ako ng barcode," Michele posted with a fearful emoji.

The tweet, which has earned over 352,000 views and over 3,641 likes as of writing, received various comments from Michelle's followers. This includes one that says, "level up" and "no excuses."

Another one wrote, "Same here in Shanghai, mga beggars sa downtown nakasabit sa leeg nila QR code to scan , dalawa pa yun, WeChat and Alipay." 

A netizen claiming to be a Singapore resident of 13 years commented on a related thread that it's fairly common for beggars to wear presentable clothes as well as use bar and QR codes to request monetary donations.

"They will approach you in decent clothing and will ask if you have some spare cash because they got lost and ran out of transpo money or something. It happens but rarely. If you politely say no, they won't insist naman. Twice ata ako naka encounter in 13 years," the netizen wrote.

They hypothesized that the bar code from Michele's experience was from a local mobile wallet service, but said they personally never encountered anything like that.

Apart from Singapore and China, other Asian countries have similarly reported the common practices of beggars using QR codes, such as India.