An elderly Singaporean lady and her husband were having a quiet meal at the hawker center along Lorong Ah Soo when she was rudely interrupted by a foreign tissue seller.

The foreign woman, who looked to be in her 40s and spoke with a loud PRC accent, had simply walked up, placed 3 packets of tissues on the table and asked them to buy them for $1.

When the elderly couple refused, the PRC refused to give up and would not leave the table without making a sale. When the couple continued to refuse, the PRC revealed her true colors and cursed at the couple, telling them that they would receive “retribution” for not buying her tissues.

Shocked at the rude outburst, the elderly couple decided to ignore the foreigner and she left to push her sales to other tables. They told reporters that the patrons seated at the tables around her simply ignored the woman, but some other tables were still willing to purchase her tissues.

Such rude foreign peddlers are not a rare sight however, as reports from residents across the island can attest.

One reader, who only wants to be known as Mrs Huang, said that she has encountered such hard-selling tissue sellers at the hawker center near her home in Ang Mo Kio. These foreign tissue peddlers would often wave the packets of tissues right in the face of eating customers, much to the annoyance of the patrons.

65 year-old Singaporean Mr Wu, who is visually handicapped, says that he used to sell tissues to make a living in the past, but has been outpaced and squeezed out by the more able bodied PRC tissue peddlers.

“They are able bodied and can walk without difficulty, but they chose to fight with us over this little money that we make.”

Social workers are aware of this phenomenon. Some have blamed it on the perception that Singaporeans are easy going and generous, which attracts foreign beggars to try their luck here.

According to Ao Xiang Counselling Service, Singaporeans lower their guard and sympathize with people whom they perceive to be “underprivileged”.

“I suggest that Singaporeans should stop feeling like they owe something to these tissue peddlers. Instead, they should pass our VWO helpline numbers to them so that they can seek help.”

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