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Yesterday I went to a casino. S$10 bought me just one chip. I placed it on Black 21, and the ball landed on Red 12. Here, S$10 buys you a failed flit. In Nepal, it could feed a family.

I spent S$46 here on accommodation. S$10 on a show. S$3.50 on an iced tea with extra cream.

Today, in an act of charity, two strangers bought my lunch.

After purchasing a S$20 bus ticket to Melacca, by currency balance stood at just $S1.95. Faced with the challenge of obtaining a stock S$2.00 lunch I asked at one stall if I could purchase just rice and vegetables. Mandarin conversation ensued, and before I knew I had been handed a full dinner, paid for by the next customer.

I am not poor. I am lucky enough to be able to tour the world for four months in comfort. I can buy my own lunch. This felt shameful.

Having barely thanked the stranger for his generosity (amidst the confusion) I sat down at an empty table, before resolving to eat every last morsel – the least I could do.

As I took the first mouthful, a bowl clattered down onto my tray. Another stranger, who had stood behind the first in the queue, had brought me a fruit salad. He gestured me to eat, wolfed down barely half of his rice and left abruptly without a word. His leftovers, I felt, must be for me. These I left.

I could, of course, have withdrawn a further S$10 from the ATM. I could, in fact, have taken out S$50 and eaten alongside bankers at the Fountain Of Wealth restaurant complex if I had wanted to.

But I didn’t. I chose just to try to get by, and was pitied.

Charity is not for somebody who can tour the world. I offer my apologies to Singapore for receiving it.

My S$1.95 I donate to a truly deserving cause.

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