Former Workers’ Party and Independent electoral candidate Zeng Guoyan – also known as “Parrot Man” on the internet for the pet parrot he always carries around on his shoulder – has been locked in a dispute with Ngee Ann City over his soliciting activities near the mall for the past 6 months.
According to Ngee Ann City mall, 65 year-old Zeng would pretend to be a cripple and sit on a wheelchair in the middle of the walkway during evening peak hours to solicit donations from the public. The dispute has gotten to the point where the mall, being unable to evict him with their security team or police intervention have placed a sign post warning passersby about Zeng’s “dishonest” behavior.
Zeng, who is able to walk and ride his bike, was arrested several times by the police, with at least 7 offences related to him loitering at the linkway. Nearby shopkeepers told reporters that Zeng could often be heard using abusive language on police officers when they told him to leave.
Despite the hostile reception, Zeng intends to return to the linkway every evening. He blames Ngee Ann City’s mall management of being “jealous” and “selfish” of the money he has been earning from shoppers and insists he has the right to stay in the linkway as the place is a common area between the 2 malls. He adds that he is not begging and is simply in need of some money to help with his cancer treatments, which has already spread to his liver and lungs.
“True, I require the money (in case I become bedridden), but I am not begging. I don’t go so low as that… I don’t con them and ask them for money if they don’t have money. If they have extra, they give, I say thank you. I don’t want to con.”
The Ministry of Social and Family Development told reporters that Zeng has rejected their offer of help the last time they approached him.